Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MY EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS


My daughter has been torturing me for several weeks now. She has gotten me a couple of Christmas presents that she knows I will just love. Everyone she has told has said, "Wow! Where did you find that?" She is so excited about these gifts...the perfect gifts! What she doesn't know is that she has already given me the best gift...her excitement, her search for just the right things...that is reflective of the love she has for me. It fills me with wonder and awe and gratitude!
.
This morning I called a friend to check on her dad's progress. He had been through a serious surgery with complications afterward. He almost died. She shared with me that just the other day, when she went to leave, he told her he loved her. She couldn't remember having ever heard him say that before. It was a precious gift that she received...hearing those words. And sharing in the wonder of this gift with her....well, it just left my heart full and bowed in prayer, if that makes sense. All day, as I have reflected on her story, I have felt the miraculous.
.
I know it has been said more eloquently than I can, but sometimes, the best gifts aren't found underneath a tree.
.~
Image taken from here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

CAN SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSTAND?


More and more, I am seeing palm trees as stand alone Christmas decorations. I could see if they are placed by a nativity scene to more accurately reflect the plant life from the region where Jesus was born. But what is the significance of a stand alone palm tree? Can anyone help me out here?
Image taken from here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

HAVE YOURSELF A RADICAL LITTLE CHRISTMAS!


All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchant's windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurry into their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
We'll be gathering around our hearths and tables
Giving thanks for all God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
O they call Him by the Prince of Peace
And they call Him by the Savior
And they pray to Him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill His churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in Him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
But pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.
Image taken from here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I LIKED IT


I just finished reading this book and I really liked it! I have read alot of books on marriage and relationships and this is by far, the best! This book does a great job of applying the gospel to marriage, or any relationship for that matter, and puts Jesus Christ right at the center.
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CONFESSION OF A SINNER

The other day in a post, I encouraged the giving of the gift of mercy this Christmas season. So, today I thought I might put a picture of a present for each time I have extended mercy since Monday, the day of my post. There were the ones I gave to my co-workers, a couple extended to friends and family.

And then, I had a thought that HORRIFIED me. I began to wonder how many of these "gifts of mercy" might have been gifted to me without my awareness? What if these gifts were overflowing from underneath my Christmas tree as I smugly sat recounting the half dozen or so I had gifted? I also thought of the many, many mercies You have gifted to me. If I took the rest of my life, I could not even begin to recount them all.

And I wept.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

THESAURICALLY SPEAKING.....

Last night my daughter and I were on our way home from a Bible study. She said, "Mom, did you realize you talk like a Thesaurus?!" She went on to describe how I added synonym after synonym while expressing my thoughts.

My daughter, offspring, heir, descendant had me laughing, jovially expressing myself so hard, vigorously, intensely at her depiction, representation, portrayal of me talking, discussing, conversing.

But seriously, I have no clue as to why she would think that!

Image taken from here

Monday, December 03, 2007

CONSIDER GIVING THIS FOR CHRISTMAS

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesses him that gives and him that takes.
-William Shakespeare "The Merchant of Venice"

BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY SHALL RECEIVE MERCY. - Matthew 5:7

image taken from here


Thursday, November 29, 2007

TRADITION


"TRADITION!" I have had a number of conversations lately centered on traditions. Last night my daughter and I spent some time decorating one of our Christmas trees. There was alot of tradition tied up even in that. We buy a new ornament every year. Certain ornaments are the favorites and hold places of honor on the tree. The big tree gets the special flickering flame lights while the smaller tree gets the mini lights.
.
Tradition(s) can bring comfort and joy and peace and hope. We have so many ornaments on the big tree. It "feels" beautiful. There are tons of memories. Some day, I will box up many of those ornaments and hand them off to my daughter for her own home and holiday traditions and she will know that there is love and a memory in each and every one. After we finished decorating, we turned off all the lights and just spent some time wrapped in the warmth emanating from our tree.
.
Sometimes traditions can cause discomfort, pain, or really need to be discarded. As we were going through our ornaments last night, I came across several that were Kathy and Dan ornaments...the one from "1979 Our First Christmas" and the one with the picture taken a few years later and the handmade ones that boasted our union. But now there is Kathy and there is Dan. Through twinges, I wondered to myself why I hadn't boxed these up and set them aside for our daughter. She is the only one to whom these depictions of the "Kathy/Dan" period truly now belong.
.
A few years back we were going through some very hard, dark times. I could not bring myself to put up all the Christmas decorations. So we put up our big tree and hung one, lone ornament on it. This ornament had a painting of sparrow with the scripture, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31) Funny, but that is one of my favorite Christmas memories...the year we were broken hearted and discouraged and the one bright beam of hope that shown through, like that one ornament standing out against an empty and stark Christmas tree...was that we were in the hands of an Almighty God who knew every hair on our heads and loved us. It was holy. And we were strengthened and comforted. I am so glad we departed from our traditional tree that year.
.
I think so it goes with church. Some of our traditions I value because they transplant joy and hope and peace into the center of my heart. Some don't. Some can distract. Some can actually devalue our relationships, with each other and with our Christ. In the end, traditions are just that...traditions. I guess there is value in knowing which ones to keep and which ones to let go and even in starting new ones. But true wisdom lies in knowing that traditions are not Jesus. Jesus is Jesus.
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

QUOTE OF THE DAY


"Remember Son, always use your brain.....AND your mind!"
(overheard by my daughter at a friend's house!)


Image taken from here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

AND GOD RESTED....

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. Genesis 2:2

God, How do you rest? I mean, I cannot picture You working. I know You create things and do mighty things....like keep the whole world and universe spinning and intact....but what does work look like on You? I know what work looks like on me....sometimes grueling, sometimes tiring, sometimes intense, sometimes exhilarating. But what do You look like when You are working? And resting? What do You do to rest? Lay down? Put Your feet up? Close Your eyes? Keep very still? Day dream?

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:8

And Lord, when You planted this garden...did You start it from seeds or did You speak it into existence? Did You dig holes for the plants and wipe the moist soil off Your hands onto what....overalls? Did You have a seed bag slung over one shoulder? Did You watch as the seedlings burst from the earth and grew into maturity? Did You rest under the shade of one of the trees You had planted?

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7

Now this...this I can understand. Because I remember when You breathed the breath of life into my spiritually dead life. I remember awakening and coming alive. I can remember the closeness of Your presence, Your very touch. And still now, those moments when Your breath, Your very Spirit, Your touch... fills my heart and mind and soul with echoes of that newness of life, renewing the deadened parts of me, and drawing me ever closer to You.

Image taken from here.

Being created in the image of God...well, now...that is just a gift!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

QUOTE OF THE DAY


"Just push the mute button even if she is standing right in front of you!"

(motherly advice)


Image taken from here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

AUTUMN WEEKEND

Raked and mowed up leaves in the backyard. Bought my first Christmas presents. Had my first holiday season get-together with friends. Watched the Lions lose to the Cardinals. It was a mostly good weekend.

By the way, check out the autumn pics at Richard's.

Image taken from here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

PREJUDICE & STEROTYPES

I was just listening to the radio during my lunch. I heard it reported that there is something called "Black Dog Syndrome". More commonly known as BDS (this is said tongue in cheek), is the trend of humans to not adopt black dogs because they are stereotyped as mean, evil, and (seriously, this was also mentioned in the report) people don't like them because they don't photograph well with their children. Black dogs are 75% more likely to be euthanized in animal shelters than other-colored dogs. (No, I didn't check this out on Snopes)

Might seem silly at first, but on second thought, how sad that man's tendancy toward prejudice and stereotyping occurs so commonly and readily? Think about it.

Image taken from here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

FINDING RELIABLE MEN


I have really enjoyed reading this series on Finding Reliable Men (in the church) and just wanted to pass it along. The first post on the topic is 10/3/2007. Also, this image was taken from this blog. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

THREE KERNELS OF CORN

Saturday I was out doing some yard work. I went to sweep up some old dried grass and when I did, I uncovered three kernels of corn stuck into a small crack in the sidewalk. They were so bright and golden against the contrast of the dried brown grass and the gray of the concrete. I wish I had thought to take a picture. They must have been planted there by a squirrel, storing food away for the winter. I stopped to think about how amazing that was really. And then for some reason I thought, "Trinity...Father, Son, and Spirit."

Later, I was getting some things ready so I could put my mom to bed. I was standing in front of the window and happened to catch the teenager across the street walking out of her house toward a red car in her drive. From her happy face, you could tell that she was excited to be going out with her friends. The smile on my face as I watched them pull out turned to concern. They had backed right into my friend's car which was parked in the street. The police were called, I dished out some mom hugs to the crying teen, and my friend took the officer aside to ask him if at all possible, not to give the girl a ticket. I stopped to think about how amazing that was really. And I thought, "For one who has not been shown much mercy in life, to show mercy to another...now that is a sign of a life transformed by Jesus."

On Sunday, I was watching my friends' kids. They played with this toy and that. I was just enjoying their youthful imaginations and exuberance. Then they started to play with a train set. As I watched this brother and sister, I flashed back to another picture. It was this same little boy playing with a train set. He was in an orphanage. Wearing green overalls...community overalls since none of the children owned their own clothes. He looked so small. And here he was now, in front of me with his own clothes, his own train set, and his very own family that fills his life with love. I stopped to think about how amazing that was really. And I thought, "God, You are truly good!"

I think God can be like those kernels of corn sometimes, revealing Himself to us when we aren't really looking for Him. He has His revelations squirreled away in the nooks and crannies of our lives. And in a moment, we sweep away something ordinary to find divine beauty and wonder. Like a life transformed. Or a life rescued.

Friday, November 02, 2007

FIRST TIME THIS SEASON

Today I had to use this: Because of this:
Images taken from here and here.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

QUOTE OF THE DAY

" My only fear is that Hilary would get into office and that will send us right into the Apocalypse!"
(Overheard as I was walking through our dispatch center)

Image taken from here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ARLENE

I was talking to a friend yesterday who was telling me that she has been praying for someone. She saw this friend yesterday and the friend looked so good, better than she has in a long while. My friend has been studying the scriptures on healing and God's sovereignty and His presence and His power. Our conversation spurred me to think that while I don't understand all there is to know about how God's sovereignty and healing and prayer are intertwined, I would want the people who were praying for me to believe that God could and would heal me.

Will you take some time to petition an Almighty God on Arlene's behalf today? And for my friend's friend as well?


Image taken from here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

THANK YOU PROFESSOR ANDREW WARDLAW, I THINK!

This headline captured my attention this morning "Untidy beds may keep us healthy". Upon further reading, this article from the BBC news went on to say "Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe." Apparently, an unmade bed helps to keep your bed dry, thus preventing dust mites from inhabiting your mattress and pillows.

I, who absolutely hates bugs so much so that I couldn't even post a picture of a dust mite here on my blog, seriously considered not making my bed each morning so as to alleviate any potential breeding grounds for the abhorred dust mite. However, I am a bed maker. Every morning, I must make my bed even if the rest of my room bears a little clutter. And each evening, there is no better feeling than climbing into a fully made bed. I can sleep soundly with dust bunnies covering the floor under my bed, but give me wrinkled sheets and I will toss and turn all the night long.
Much to my delight, my dilemma was solved when Professor Wardlaw, later in the article declared "It is true that mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry ( desert like) conditions. However, most homes in the UK are sufficiently humid for the mites to do well and I find it hard to believe that simply not making your bed would have any impact on the overall humidity." Thank you, Professor Wardlaw because even while I do not reside in the UK, Michigan is famous for its humidity, thus you have resolved my dilemma and put my mind at ease....er, I think!
Image taken from here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

HAPPY DANCE

Things making me do the happy dance today:
1. two couples that I love had their babies this weekend!!!!!
2. one of my friends got to share the gospel with a co-worker in such a simple but awesome way this morning.
3. another of my friends received an unexpected blessing from the Lord today.
4. my daughter gave me the best hug and kiss before we both left for work today.
5. i had so much empty space on my desk when i unlocked my office this morning....haven't seen it this way for a long, long time.
6. i was asked to babysit next Sunday for two of my favorite kids in the whole world.
7. it is a beautiful autumn day...crisp, clear, sunny and brisk. my favorite!
8. reading your blogs!!!!
Image taken from here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

FOR MY FRIEND (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE)


i know you don't need this today....but the pot is always on the stove...and prayers are being said for you (and your family) daily!
image taken from here.

STUMPED BY A FLAG POLE


Image taken from here.

One of my pastors had posted on the concept that if Jesus is the flag, what is the flag pole that you rally around? You can read more here and here.

I have to admit that I have been stumped. I have spent more than a week doing some soul searching, trying to figure out what my answer to this flag pole question is. Today, as I was reading archived posts one of my new favorite blogs (thanks DT), I came across this quote:

"The Church: Central to God’s Plan of Redemption
We must, finally, help our people see that the church is the center of God’s redeeming and self-glorifying plan in heaven and on earth. That’s what we gather from Eph. 1:10, 22-23; 2:14-22; 3:9-11, 20-21. It’s through the church that the evangelism of the world is carried out. The church reveals God’s wisdom and glory. The church proclaims the defeat of the “principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” Through the church, the Lord will gather all things under His feet.

Our people must know that God has not plan of redemption and no plan for spiritual edification and maturity outside the church. They must know that participation in church is about far more than their individual needs. Participation in the church is essential to advancing the plans of God to bring to himself glory, to redeem humanity, and to bring all things to completion. And they must be taught to prize all of that above their individual selves. We must teach them that if it’s God’s glory they wish to pursue, then one of the easiest things they can do is to join, commit to, and love a local church—which is God’s eternal design for them anyway."

For the entire post, go here.

So, what do you think?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I AIN'T NO MOTHER THERESA


I hate to admit that:
  • I plug my nose at the stench of the sick You have given me to care for.
  • I often rant and rage at my circumstances and don't rest in the knowledge of Your goodness.
  • I don't want to live with less....I want more and can be wasteful with what You have provided.
  • I am often resentful and do not exhibit the quiet, steady love that is You.
  • I spend more time feeling sorry for myself than having compassion on the poor, the unfortunate, and the hurting.
  • I exalt myself more than I exalt You.
  • I don't motivate the world to take a second look at You.

I ain't no saint. How is that You still call me beloved?

Search me, O God, and know my heart!Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139: 23,24)

Image taken from here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

ARLENE

This morning I was doing some studying in the Bible and I was led to Psalm 139. As I read the verses, I couldn't help but think of Arlene. Perhaps it was because Wednesdays are dedicated to Arlene. Or perhaps, it was.....well read her post for today and decide for yourself. Either way, joy sprang up in my heart as I thought about how much Arlene's God knows and loves her, knows every cell in her body, every desire in her heart. Won't you rejoice with me and pray for my friend? And by the way....He knows and loves YOU as well!!


Psalm 139:1-18
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.


Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you.


For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WHAT MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SHOULD I PLAY?


Ok, my friend Richard had this meme on his blog. I did it and was a little shocked when my instrument turned out to be an accordion and there were words such as "wacky" used in the description. Not 5 minutes later I had the following instant message conversation....and that is when the accordion "light bulb" clicked on for me!


1:47 PM Melissa: Do you have paper of some sort?
me: what?????
what kind of paper?
this is a rather odd question
lol
1:48 PM is someone being paper trained?
do you need to swat someone?
are you coloring?
you are leaving me in suspense
do you need to throw some gum away
Melissa: Well I am trying to take some notes on 1 corinthians 14 and my notebook is in my car and I don't want to go get it
me: WHAT KIND OF PAPER DO YOU NEED?
HAHAHAHAHAHA
OK,
I SEE
YES
Melissa: cuz I don't want to leave my desk
lol
me: COME IN
Melissa: ok
1:50 PM Thanks :)
Image taken from here.
(Ok, I know that the resemblance is so close that some of you are wondering if that is really me,
but trust me, I don't have an accordion in real life!!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

One of my pastors' blogs really got me thinking about truth and commitment in relationships. (You can read his post here.) I have been thinking about truth/commitment and my relationships quite a bit since and here are some of the thoughts that have been rambling around in my mind.

First of all, let's separate sin and scriptural truth right out of this discussion. Aside from those, I think there are a lot of "truths" that we hold on to very tightly--our preferences, our biases, and our prejudices. I don't think withholding these is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sometimes I think it can be the wisest thing to do...to keep quiet on those.


I don't think I can always handle your "truths" either. I don't know if I want you to tell me if I look fat or am having a bad hair day or if the sound of my voice gives you the same feeling that someone scratching their nails on a chalkboard gives you.


Truth and honesty should build up people and relationships and most of all glorify God, and should not be welded as a weapon. I taught at a women's retreat a few years back. The topic for the entire weekend dealt with authenticity. A few months later, I was talking with a woman from that church and she had been dealt a hurtful blow by another woman's remarks. The woman topped off the remarks with this comment, "Well, you know Kathy told us to be authentic." Obviously, nowhere in what I presented was there an encouragement to use authenticity as a means to "take down" another person. If anything, the encouragement was to be introspective and honest with ourselves, our motives, drives, etc.




Timing is important to our "truth" telling. We've all seen this played out a million times in commercials and sitcoms. The wife is standing in front of the mirror, all dressed up for a big night out and asks, "How do I look?" I am a firm believer in "not asking the question if you don't really want the answer", however, I also think that timing is an important ingredient in sharing truth, especially difficult "truths". And being loving....timing and being loving are both important.

I think intimacy has another thing to do with transparency. I am not as transparent with people that I am not as close to. For example, I might use a certain palindrome to tell a sister-friend that her top is too low cut. However, I would most likely not say that to a stranger.



Do I always tell the "truth" in all my relationships? No, I don't think I do. I am blessed with a quite a number of close, intimate friendships. Relationships forged over time. These friends know the best and worst there is to know about me. Not all my information is available to everyone. Nor do I think it should be.



Image taken from here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ARLENE


Mightier than the thunders of many waters,

mightier than the waves of the sea,

the Lord on high is mighty!
(Psalm 93:4)
Lord, You are Mighty. Will You touch Arlene in a mighty way? Will You heal every cell in her body? We bow in Your presence. With all our love, Amen.
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

181

I have 181 emails in my personal email inbox. I need to get moving on clearing these out.

Image taken from here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

WORTHY OF YOUR DOLLAR

I don't often do this....there are so many people who are needy, so many organizations and people who are deserving of your time, attention and resources....but if you have an extra dollar, would you mind considering helping Mallorie?

I heard about Mallorie from my young friend, Abby, who has a missionary's heart and has led a number of missions trips to Africa. Mallorie is a part of the World Race. She has $1,600 left to raise. If you can't spare a dollar, could you spare a minute? To pray for her and her team?

If you can't spare a minute for Mallorie and the lives God has used her to touch...take a moment or two for yourself. I can GUARANTEE that your life will be changed as you read her blog. You won't be comfortable. You won't be able to shake the stories and images from your mind. You won't be able to turn a blind eye. But you WILL "see" in a new way!

Thanks, everyone, for your graciousness with my request.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TRIED THESE AGAIN, AND.....

STILL DO NOT LIKE (Image taken from here.)
NOW I LIKE! (Image taken from here.)



Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LOVING ON ARLENE & HUDSYN

Please send some lovin' my friend Arlene's way by praying for her and her grandbaby.

Much appreciated, truly!!

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. I John 4.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

SPEAKING OF LOVE....

....it seems I have brushed shoulders with love a number of times recently. I was talking to a friend this weekend who was telling me about a lost love. My friend said, "I was really, really in love with this person." I could hear the regret and the loss echoing in my friend's voice. I could almost visualize how my friend's face would light up at the sight of this person, or the little spring in my friend's step this person must have brought. It made me feel very sad for my friend and I wonder-will my friend ever find love like that again? I hope so, oh I hope so.

Another friend of mine is in the beginning throes of a new romance. When I came in to work yesterday I just took a moment to observe. This friend has been literally glowing and I am very sure I have seen my friend floating "on cloud 9"! So, I just took a moment to watch my friend and feel the excitement. I am happy for my friend. I am enjoying my friend's joy.

When I was camping a couple weeks back, I must have seen 10 gray haired couples walking around, hand in hand. As we were leaving, we passed one of these couple and much to my daughter's chagrin, I rolled down the window and shouted, "You two are ADORABLE!" It made me happy to tell them that and from their smiles, I think it made them happy to hear that. Older couples walking hand in hand is one of my favorite things. To see a love that has stood the test of time, the ups and downs of life, the freshness and wonder to get to a place of deep and quiet passion and commitment is just a very beautiful thing.

Another of my favorite loves is the love that has been fought for and regained. This is not a pretty love, but it is a mighty love. There is a strength and determination you see in couples with this kind of love that creates an air of steadiness. I am in awe of this kind of love.

Personally, I don't remember what it was like to be in love. I know I must have been. I was shocked awhile back when I showed someone my wedding picture. The girl that I saw in the photo was so fresh faced and full of the future. I don't remember her. I don't really have a memory of what that love must have been, it is more of a thought really.

Before you feel too sorry for me...I have to say....while romantic love may not have been in God's plan for me, I have been incredibly surrounded by love. I am not just saying this so I don't look like a big loser...lol. I have told my daughter so many times, that if I were to die...I would die happy and fulfilled. God has filled my life with so many people, and so many wonderful relationships, that I feel I am a very rich woman!

Image taken from here.

Monday, October 08, 2007

IF I HAVE NOT LOVE



I have been reading and rereading this chapter of scripture over and over and over.

As a standard to measure myself against, I fall far far short.

As something to achieve, it presents me with a lifelong project.

As a teaching tool, it presents me with something new and fresh each time I take a look at it.

As a guide for life and relationships, it sets me on a true course.

It is a treasure that I do not hunt, but one that searches me out, leaving me exposed yet full of hope, and faith, and well.....LOVE!

Image taken from here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

TAGGED

I was tagged by Richard to post my desktops. Ok, you will learn alot about me from this little exercise. First, I am boring...yes, it is true. No creativity here, as you will see. Second, I am technologically in the stone ages, although I did use a digital camera to take pics of my desktops. Third, I am teachable because I learned how to crop pictures during all this. So, for your viewing pleasure:



This is my office PC. Lots of files on my desktop that I really should organize into folders. And, no background. That is because I have so much on the desktop that you really can't appreciate any pics. In the past, I have had a picture of my friend, Sandy and her two grandchildren. Now, boring boring....nothing. (Yes, that flash is me taking the picture...I know there must be a better way...lol)





This is my new office lap top. Purchased so I can run PowerPoint for the new training program I am helping to write. Not much there. Standard Microsoft provided desktop pic. But it does make me happy and makes me wish I was living in a little cottage near the sea shore, surrounded by flowers. (Again, with the flash...what is wrong w/ me?!!!LOL)








My daughter set this for me on my home screen. One of my favorite scenes from my favorite movie (and book) Pride and Prejudice. I must admit that I am in love w/ Mr. Darcy...all the Mr. Darcy's from every version and my own mental image from reading the book. (No flash....credit goes to Rachel for being more technologically advanced than her mom!)




I am going to tag Max, Pat, Margie, Tina, Tracey, and Sara ...Heck, really I am tagging everybody...just don't have the time to link you all. If you read this, consider yourself tagged. The rule is simple, post a picture of your desktop on your blog. (But as you can see, I am rule breaker...so there is freedom to deviate from the rules for you as well...wink)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

WAX ON, WAX OFF


My shoe selection this week reminds me of the movie, The Karate Kid. Sandals on, sandals off. Shoes w/ socks on, shoes w/ socks off.
I thought for sure that autumn was here in full swing, but today I have these little strappy sandals on because it is 83 degrees out!
I have lived in Michigan my entire life. Why do I continue to let myself be fooled by the weather and seasons????????
Image taken from here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

ARLENE

Last week, we received a phone call that our friend (he is really more of a brother) was having some heart problems and could possibly be facing open heart surgery. We drove back and forth to Kalamazoo a couple of days to be with him and his (our) family. This morning, another call came in that he might have complications. I sent him a text with one word..."Praying".

It got me to thinking about how much it has meant to me when I know I am being prayed for. I mean, it just feels like such a love gift.

I know I don't possess the power to heal...but I know ONE who does.
I know I can't change the course of a river, of a country, or of a life....but I know ONE who can.
I know I don't know much and I certainly don't know the future....but I know know ONE who knows all.
I don't always understand the hard stuff that happens...but I know the ONE I trust.

Got the call just a bit ago that my friend is doing well.

Would you mind praying for another friend of mine, Arlene? I know she will appreciate it and I know she is constantly sending out her own love gifts of prayer on the behalf of others.

Monday, October 01, 2007

FALL CAMPING

Every autumn we go camping at Pokagon State Park. There are about seven families. Just for a few days. Nothing spectacular....but such a respite in the middle of busyness. Here is what I am most thankful for:
  • My friend Rob was able to come up for a day after a very scary time in the hospital on Wednesday and Thursday of last week.
  • My daughter and I had a lot of down time together.
  • The Roast Beef panini's Rachel made us all for lunch.
  • The long walk we took one morning, dogs in tow, and the way Maddy hung on my shirt tail most of the way back.
  • A side trip for Rachel to the Gap outlet.
  • Maddy, Ty, and Noah riding horses.
  • Mint double stuffed Oreo cookies.
  • Campfires....lots of them....I can still imagine how they smell.
  • Darryl and Vicki...for having our tent set up when we got there and for blueberry pancakes.
  • Sleeping in.
  • Great weather....not too hot...not too cold.
  • Our "community" dinner.
  • Celebrating Sandy and Vicki's birthdays.
  • Tradition.
  • Jesus...in the middle of it all

Image taken from here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ARLENE

Please pray for my friend, Arlene.

My Refuge and My Fortress (Psalm 91)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say
to the Lord,
“My refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler

and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place

—the Most High, who is my refuge
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love,

I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Image taken from here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

FOUR LITTLE WORDS

I was feeling especially stressed and down-hearted this morning. I stopped by my 7-11 this morning and the afternoon cashier was working. When he finished ringing up my order he said to me, for the first time..."Have a blessed day."

Have a blessed day.

It is amazing what those four little words can do, how they can affect a person.

Have a blessed day, my friends!

Friday, September 21, 2007

QUOTE OF THE DAY

" Lord, spare us the insidious ego deception that we love God when really we love being told that we love God. Forbid that our being thanked is the bottom of our joy, rather than Christ being praised." -- John Piper

Image taken from here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

THE PIT


Last night, while having dinner with some friends, I told this story about an associate pastor who was teaching a class on the "One Anothers" from scripture. I was really excited to take this class because the subject matter looked good and the associate pastor was new to our church so this gave me an opportunity to get to know him better. The class was excellent, he was a very good teacher, and I was really applying the materials....until....the one day he told us what he thought to be a very funny thing.

He told us with a great big smile (perhaps there was also a wink...kind of like you give to someone who knows the inside joke, but I really don't remember if there was an actual wink) "You know that time before services, when all the people are gathered in the vestibule and you get asked about fifty questions from fifty different people??? I call that THE PIT! yuk, yuk!!!!" Um, no one really laughed, you know, seeing we were all "pit" people in the class. And I was very careful after that to never, never, NEVER do anything but say hello and smile when I saw him before services.

So, this morning during my devotional time, when I read this line from Psalm 88, I had to laugh:

I am counted among those who go down to the pit...(Psalm 88:4a)

I guess that makes me a member of the pit crew and I know there is some invisible fire involved somewhere...somehow..... (wink, wink!!)

Image take from here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ARLENE


And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelations 21:6
Please remember to pray for my friend, Arlene.
Image taken from here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

REMEMBERING


This past Saturday, my daughter and I looked through her box of memorabilia. There were pictures, artwork, ribbons, awards, medals, schoolwork, etc. One story she had written in the 2nd grade had us laughing so loud that it brought people from another part of the house to find out what in the world was going on. We noticed things that we hadn't noticed when the items were being packed away like, in her early artwork there was a unique trend to use repetitive color patterns. I had not caught that until I looked at lots of pictures side by side. Other things we had completely forgotten until triggered by entries made in her books. A number of things we knew were also reinforced or confirmed. For example, it has become legend that my daughter would not go to sleep before 11 p.m. even as an infant. There it was...entry after entry..."Baby's bedtime: 11 p.m." "3 year old's bedtime: 11 p.m." "2nd grader's bedtime: 'well, she goes to bed at 8:30 but doesn't fall asleep until after 11!' " Or, the fact that I love my girl and she loves me. There were tons of notes from me to her and from her to me...simple notes..."I love you, Rachel" or "I love you, mommy".
I have a memory book that is sort of like my own book of psalms. It holds things God is speaking to my heart and things from my heart to His. It helps me remember things about our relationship that I would have forgotten unless triggered by some entry. Just this morning, I went to add something to my book and my eye caught a title "God's Answer Continued" from an April entry. I went back to read what my questions had been. They were full of anguish and sorrow. But four months later, as I reread my entry and His answers, I realized that He had answered every one of my questions. Not all right away. Some answers I didn't have clarity on until this morning really, once I connected the dots that He had been laying down for me.
I love revisiting the past with God. It fills me in the present. It gives me hope for the future.
image taken from here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

PRAYING FOR THE ENEMY

Yesterday, I had someone declare themselves to be my enemy. This is a rare position for me to be in. My first reaction was emotional. I felt wronged, and except for a few who I know would stand by me, very much alone. During the night I tossed and turned, until I remembered God's Word.....

Love Your Enemies (Luke 6)
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.


So, I began to pray for my enemy. Not for how my enemy had wronged me. But for my enemy's life. For my enemy's family. For the difficulties that my enemy is facing. I prayed long and I prayed hard.

I prayed as lovingly as I could for my enemy, not because I am good. I am not. I am less than good. I prayed because God is good. God is holy. God is righteous. And I love Him.

Today, I still struggle with unrest. Today, I am reminded that my response will teach those around me what I believe and not what I may preach. Today, I still feel that "aloneness" in the pit of my stomach. Today, I still have much to learn and change, much that still needs the redemptive power of a Mighty God.

But today, I continue to submit to One who is safe. One who sees the outcome, no matter how difficult that may be for me, who I know to be trustworthy. Today, I continue to pray for my enemy, as lovingly as I know how.



“When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” -- Jim Elliot (Martyr...it would be worth your time to Google him if you don't know anything about his life.)

Image taken from here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

OBEDIENCE



I asked, well probably more like ordered, my daughter to water my flowers this morning. See what God blessed her with for her obedience? The cutest little baby cottontail hopped right out from underneath some of the flowers she was watering! It made her day!

And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams." I Samuel 15:22

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ARLENE

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!
(Psalm 84)

Please remember to pray for Arlene and family.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

REMEMBERING 9/11

I didn't think I would still be so affected. It has been a number of years. But on my drive into work this morning, against the gray sky, I saw planes landing and planes taking off. Planes in the distance and low flying planes right overhead. And on the radio I heard the names of victims being read off...slowly and clearly...one by one. I sobbed.

My thoughts went back to the last verse of the Psalm I read this morning...."that they may know that you alone,whose name is the Lord,are the Most High over all the earth." (Psalm 83:18)

Whatever grief, whatever fear, whatever loss of innocence, however we, as a nation, as a people, as individuals, have been marked and changed....may it be that we know....THAT WE KNOW...that YOU ALONE, whose name is LORD, are the MOST HIGH over ALL the earth! Grant us this truth, through Your grace and Your Holy Spirit! Amen.

Monday, September 10, 2007

WHERE'S WALDO?

Whew! We are in the 2nd week of the largest team project my company has ever been involved in. Things are a bit slower for me this week so I decided to look through my emails...the ones that I have been skimming and neglecting to answer for the past several months. How could I have missed this one, sent to me by my sweet friend, Becky. Becky took this on a recent vacation. Can you figure out why she sent this to me????


Love you, Becky! I FINALLY got it!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

MY KID


I must say, my daughter is one of my favorite people on earth. I love her creativity. I love when she laughs. I love how she sticks one foot out from under the covers when she sleeps. I love her sense of compassion. I love when she sits at the piano and plays for hours. I love her heart for God. I love our walks together. I love our late night talks. I love that she marches to the beat of a different drummer. I even love it when she rolls her eyes at me cuz I am being...well... a mom.
I am thankful. I am blessed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

YOU ARE KEEPING ME COMPANY

It is almost 9 p.m. I am still at work. Waiting until I can go home. Going home time is usually 5:30 or 6 p.m. In between working on problems, I have been reading your blogs. Some funny stuff. Some serious stuff. Some friends I know very well, others I have never met. But you all have shared something of yourself...a daughter's first day of school, an upcoming fundraising walk, an anniversary, plans to start a water aerobics class, insights on life and culture, prayer requests, spiritual stuff, hopes, dreams, new babies, trivial stuff, important stuff. I have enjoyed this time with you as I wait to get back to my daughter and "real life".

THANK YOU FOR KEEPING ME COMPANY!!!