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Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Little Things

This weekend is my half-marathon that I’ve been training for since that ice-cold day in January. I’ve walked a total of about 275 miles and just 13.1 to go. I am excited but also anxious about the HUGE crowds. This is the biggest Marathon we have in our humble state. The weather is supposed to be mild and a bit breezy so it should be a fabulous walk.

One of the recommendations is that you wear a small back pack with water, chapstick, your phone, a jacket, etc. in case you need any of that. On our last 9.5 mile walk I went ahead and carried it to see how it would be. I had a light-weight all weather backpack that, even when filled with these items, was still feather light.

Something happened during the walk. That light weight back pack became heavier and heavier and more uncomfortable until I just wanted to drop it and walk without it. It probably doesn’t even weigh five pounds…filled up.

I hadn’t given it much thought other than thinking I am not going to carry it this Sunday. There are water stops and I can shove chapstick into one pocket and my phone into the other. I thought again about the times I take my ‘burdens’ to the cross and try to leave them there…and I realized even the things that seem so tiny, too insignificant to even approach God with…eventually even these tiny things weigh us down tremendously as we try to carry them ourselves.

WOW…those tiny, light weight ‘things’, whatever they are, they matter to Him too. He wants us to give Him EVERY burden. I think I get it.

…And there is one of the little things this training has taught me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Less For More

I can’t help but notice everywhere I go, whether it be the gas pumps, grocery store, even the bagel shop, I’m getting LESS for MORE!

The gas pump has been an ongoing mystery to me ever since the year the prices jumped and jumped almost to $5.00/gallon before finally settling back down. Now they’ve got them back almost to $3.00/gallon and the way it’s edged up it appears they try to desensitize us by taking us up high and then dropping it down a bit, but not back to the level we were paying only days before.

The grocery store is a whole new world anymore. They have these tiny little 8 oz sodas that are $3.68 for a 6 pack. Yes, you heard me right…$3.68 for a 6 pack. That’s 48 oz of soda for almost $4.00. I guess that helps diminish the frustration of gasoline prices, or movie theater sodas. Just about everything that is packaged is coming in a ‘smaller’ more ‘conveniently sized box’ (translation: smaller and cheaper made). The funny thing is the prices don’t reflect these new reduced sizes. It’s almost like they think consumers won’t notice. Uhm…we do notice.

I went to Panera today to buy a bagel and a frozen coffee beverage. Frankly, Panera is WAY overpriced anyway, but occasionally I can’t help but fill the craving for an Asiago Cheese Bagel w/cream cheese and a yummy coffee drink. The bagel went from $1.00 to $1.35 within about 2 months and the cream cheese went from $1.00 to like $1.50 or so. This is for a single serving of cream cheese. Add to that my wonderful coffee drink which went from like 12 oz to about 8 oz…the price is still $3.69. So for just $6.69 I got a bagel with cream cheese and a coffee drink. You’d think they would at least shrink the straw a bit, but NO they give you this straw that will basically suck the entire drink up through it in 3 swallows.

Uhm…Panera, clue in. If you’re going to shrink the cup, shrink the straw so we are less likely to notice.

So during this time of less for more, let’s embrace the one thing good that comes from this phenomenon…the more I see this principle, the less I indulge and the less I consume, the more I appreciate the things that get overlooked in a better market…like family, friends and the value of a homemade meal and a game night.

Monday, April 05, 2010

If I Were...

I had read this at Praise Junky recently and finally decided to 'borrow it' today for some fun. I haven't done a Meme in like forever.

If I were a month, I’d be May. (Starting to really warm up and I love the smell of freshly cut grass)
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Thursday.
If I were a time of day, I’d be dusk.
If I were a planet, I’d be the Sun.
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a mermaid.

If I were a direction, I’d be left.
If I were a piece of furniture, I'd be a comfy chair.
If I were a liquid, I’d be vanilla extract.
If I were a gemstone, I’d be peridot.
If I were a tree, I’d be a weeping willow.

If I were a tool, I’d be a jack.
If I were a flower, I’d be freesia.
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be sunny.
If I were a musical instrument, an upright piano.
If I were a color, I’d be lime green.
If I were an emotion, I’d be love.

If I were a fruit, I’d be a strawberry.
If I were a sound, I’d be an ocean wave crashing to the shore.
If I were an element, I’d be water.
If I were a car, I’d be a convertible.
If I were a food, I'd be Mexican.
If I were a place, I’d be a beach.

If I were a material, I’d be t-shirt.
If I were a taste, I’d be spicy.
If I were a scent, I'd be the smell of summer.
If I were an object, I'd be a prism.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Price of Passion

I'm home from church today. I haven't really been to church on Easter in years as I would prefer to leave those seats for the people who show up at Christmas and I'm not into the 'show'. God decided this morning to give me a real reason to stay home...tonsillitis. I just had a bout of this in December, but it's back. Four of the people at my work had strep this week and I was obviously exposed to some nasty bug.

So for better or for worse...I'm home. God still chose to bless me. It's one of my favorite things about God. He doesn't have to see your behind in a pew (or folding chair) to bless you. He will bless your socks off with where you are at any moment. This is so important in my own life because I've had some challenges this year and God has still chosen to bless me right through those challenges. I have lost trust in people and realized that's not where my trust should have been to begin with. I had that 'hiccup' with my husband this week and felt forgiveness for him like I didn't think existed. Even my mother mentioned she had never seen me so patient and 'easygoing' about things. Don't tell her, but it's not me, it's God...sshh...keep it on the d.l.

So I'm home on this Resurrection Sunday and was flipping through the channels while my husband got ready for church and came upon the Potter's House. Oh, how I LOVE T.D. Jakes and the way he can preach it and teach it. His message was "The Price of Passion".

He took us through the stories of the Bible that teach us about the price of passion. There were tears streaming down my face as he taught us about the love Hosea had for Gomer. When he compared this love to the greater love Christ had for his Bride, a love so great He chose to die for her...for us, I finally began to feel that depth of love that I struggle so to understand.

The hardest part of Christianity to me is understanding so great a love when it's so elusive on earth. Love seems so conditional on earth. Love seems fleeting. Love doesn't fit the Scripture in I Corinthians 13...on our imperfect and sin-filled earth.

But hearing T.D. Jakes speak about Hosea going to get Gomer from the slave table, to reclaim purchase her pay the price he didn't began to hit me. Then as T.D. Jakes covered this young audience woman up and continue to tell the story, I could honestly feel the love God feels for me and the cost of that love.

In all my Christian walk, since I was 13 years old I haven't felt this explained as well as I did today. So I'm pretty sure as my church and EVERY church on this Continent are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, I'm understanding a little more about the price of His passion...for me.

I pray Easter is a day of reflection on not only the Resurrection, but the cross and the price of His passion for you!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Missing the Point

I was answering a questionnaire about blogging yesterday which I believe turns out to be a bit of a marketing hoax, but it did get me thinking about some things I’ve left lying dormant in my mind for some time as I coasted along the past few years.

I’ve read a series of books by Brian McLaren, an insightful, if not a bit non-conforming and definitely unconventional type pastor/author. One of his books is about ‘missing the point’ of Christianity ultimately. I have to say this applies not only to Christianity and churches, but also to individuals and even more rampant in an age of technological advances to the point of completely missing the point.

Let me just share some examples…

1. Where I work we have automated process that we are STRONGLY encouraged to use, that sometimes take longer to utilize than our manual processes. We’re still supposed to use them. Hmmm…interesting.

2. Almost ALWAYS, when I see people hanging out together…one or both of them are connected to their blue-tooth, I-Phone or whatever other gadget they have to get lost or distracted in. So ultimately this says to me, I’m not important enough to have your sole attention?

3. At church it often feels like if the media doesn’t run correctly; a mic goes out, or a nursery worker ‘no-shows’ the service cannot continue.

4. I’ve observed pastors’ preach about friendship while they have a security guard ushering them around…during church.

5. I’ve observed pastors’ preach about love and then flip off the middle-east…during service.

Somehow we’re missing the point. I was given a great opportunity this week about this very thing in my own life. Obviously I’m not exempt. I’ve shared often about my battle with road rage and how I’ll be worshipping God in my car and cursing a bad driver (or what I’ve deemed a bad driver) while singing! Thankfully that’s not what God ‘caught’ me at this week.

This week, I found out something my husband didn’t tell me about that happened last year. It’s not something that will hurt our marriage, but it was definitely something that made me stop and question his motive and his integrity. When I realized his motive was his self-protection (from ME), it dawned on me I may be part of the problem. Then God told me (in prayer) I had to forgive him and move on, I realized this is an opportunity. I can either; stay angry and risk further damage, or I can forgive and move on like God asked me to.

Oh it’s hard…but I’m trying. I love my husband so very much and I know he has our very best interest at heart and frankly I haven’t always made the best decisions either…so who am I to decide that his offense is worse than mine. I don’t want to say I forgive someone and just keep bringing it up again and again. I really don’t want to miss the point.

Much of my blogging quest is ‘seeking truth’ both through questioning my own truths and being challenged by others’. And so the quest continues…