Saturday, June 30, 2007

Who's the boss?

Yesterday we got explanations of our salaries for next year. I had a hard time with mine...the words said "you've done a great job," yet my merit was 0.5 units (out of a possible 3). I guess I shouldn't complain--the offical policy is that if you've been on sabbatical, you get no merit raise. It's a bit of a double edged sword, though, because salary reviews are done on a calendar year basis, and sabbaticals are on a school year basis....so that means I've had two years of basically no merit raises. It doesn't seem quite fair--if I took a calendar year sabbatical, it would be very hard for my department (they'd have to find someone for one semester twice to cover for me, or everyone else teach an overload). I've worked very hard since I've been back from sabbatical--I even took students with me on part of my sabbatical, and maintained an active research program during the schoolyear myself. Yet no merit based raise.

I'm to the point of saying, "why bother?" In conversations this spring, I learned I'm busier than my OB and make less money than one of my students is starting at, so why am I doing this? I'd rather be playing with my kids.

Then God reminded me of Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." I'm not doing this job because I get paid for it....I'm doing it because it's what's God's called me and equipped me to do--to share the Gospel and to equip and train students to serve God in the vocations God's called them to.

But with that said, I am going down to three or less days a week for the rest of the summer, and three or four days a week for the fall semester.

Lord, help me remember who I really am working for, and to be faithful in doing what you've called me to do.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

And now, a plug for some other sites...

I posted a week ago that I'm trying an on-line Bible Memory Program. It's great! Me, with the memory of a sieve, has learned two verses...though I plead guilty to not being good about the citations...I wish that was included in the quizzing part! The way it works is that each week you're given a verse. The first day, you re-type it while reading it above. In subsequent days, one word is missing, and you fill it in. On day 6, all the words are blanked out, and day seven is one word missing.

The verses have really met me where I am, too--the first week was "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth" (Job 19:35), and the second was "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:18). This week (which started today) is "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall" (Psalm 55:22).

The other thing I stumbled across is the Forty Day Fast. Read the post below the picture entitled "Please Don't Look Away" and pray about being involved in the Forty Day Fast. Basically a different blogger is fasting each day during a forty day period and blogging about why they're fasting on that day. I know we're supposed to fast in secret, so if you prefer to do that, do it. It just really struck me. We sponsor a Compassion Child that shares a birthday with Henry...I think I'm going to go and look for one for Harmony. And find something bigger to do... and stop complaining about needing a haircut.

Lord, thank you for writing your word upon my heart. My heart breaks for your children. Show us how to really make an impact in the world for You.

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for:
--Our table. It was a wedding gift, and with all the leaves in it, we can sit 12 people, 14 if we squish. It's great to be able to get everyone around a single spot when I have students over.
--Our super-cool folding chairs. They match our regular dining room chairs. We got them from the church across the street when they got new choir chairs. So not only can everyone have a place at the table, they all can sit down on a "real" chair.
--My student researchers, B and M. They're hard workers and bring a lot of life to the lab. I'll miss them next week when they're done!
--My co-workers. Despite our religious, political, social, and age differences, we work well as a team.
--My sourdough starter. It's awesome, and so was the bread I made from it tonight. Thanks to the real Bread of Life and the nourishment he brings!
--That all these things came together tonight, and that we had a good time at dinner :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Love is not an accident


That was Harmony's response to Henry when his sword of the Spirit wasn't showing the Fruit of the Spirit :) Wise beyond her years, as usual...

Love is not an accident. You don't "fall" in love, maybe in lust. But love takes a lot of work. It's not an accident. It takes acts of will to continue to find the good and forgive and forget the quirks, annoyances, and out-and-out wrongs. Some days it's hard to put aside your own desires for what the other wants. But it's worth it!

Thanks for the reminder, Harmony!

When life doesn't work out like you planned part 2

I've been really enjoying and learning from The Preacher's Wife's "I Am So You Don't Have To Be" on-line Bible study--this is the fourth lesson, and definitely one I need right now. It's been following the life of Moses. In college, the literature module of my religion class focused on a comparison between Exodus and Matthew, and that comparison came back in today's lesson. Both Moses and Jesus gave up riches and rank for a greater good. (The difference is Moses did it out of fear, and Jesus did it out of obedience and humility--see Phillipians 2:8).

Today's passage was Exodus 2:11-15, the passage were Moses sees his people being abused, and he kills an Egyptian. Moses knew he was put in the place he was in to get his people out...but things definitely didn't go the way he intended. The Israelites rejected him, and so did the Pharoah. So he ran.

The line from the Bible study that resonated with me today was "God, I don't understand why not today. But I will trust You for someday." I'm working on that.

1. What is your latest NLIP? (Not Like I Planned?)
A miscarriage in March.
2. How did you react to your NLIP? Are you still upset about it? Happy about it? Baffled by it? Explain.
Initially my reaction was as good as it could be. At first we didn't know if my dates were just way off or if the fetuses were non-viable, though my dates suggested the latter. So we prayed for a miracle. When it didn't happen, I had a month of carrying around death before I finally had a D&C. That was very hard, and I had some degree of closure after that, and I basically dealt with it by being way too busy. I think I'm more mourning the loss of the future than the loss of the babies--I know where they are and that they're in good hands. It's more the loss of the dream, the loss of a family with three kids. I don't know if we'll have more or not, and that's what's so hard.

3. Have you ever attempted to step into an area of ministry and found your desire rejected? Did this cause you to question God and yourself? Perhaps distrust what you perceived to be your calling?

BC (Before Children), I volunteered to help with VBS at our church. When the pastor saw me, his comment was "What are YOU doing HERE?" like I didn't belong. That really stung, and I stopped volunteering there. That was the turning point when I knew we didn't belong there.

4. Do you harbor any bitterness towards any individual or situation which you believe waylaid your best laid plans?

Nope, I more feel sorry for him and his congregation, because he hasn't figured out that the reason that so many people come, get fed, and move on is that there aren't opportunities for people to plug in and use their gifts. I know people fail and it's hard to get past disappointment and open up your leadership to new people, but church is not a spectator sport, you gotta let everybody "play" and use their gifts.

5. Have you had a life experience or trial that left you with a shaken faith because it ended in an NLIP? Please share if you feel free.

I don't know that my faith is shaken, but I'm having a hard time imagining no more babies in our house and my kids only have one sibling.

5. Based on Moses' response of faith to his own rejection, how will you re-evaluate your own experiences or look at future ones differently if a NLIP presents itself?
Well, if you read ahead in Exodus 4, Moses didn't put a whole lot of faith in what God promised him. He had excuses--"who am I?" "but what if they don't believe me?" "Can't you send someone else?" I hope I can learn from his example and not do those things, just trust that if God says to do it, then He will provide the means and the way. Unfortunately we haven't gotten a clear sign whether the miscarriage means two is enough (especially after a prophesy about something in my life being too big and God putting it in a dryer to shrink it to be just right...right when I was starting to outgrow my clothes in the pregnancy) or just not now.

God, I don't understand why not today. But I will trust You for someday.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sleeping like a baby...

Last night I went to bed early (at least for me)--around 11. Unfortunately, I slept like a baby--waking up every couple of hours...
12:30 wake up from bad dream involving Harmony being taken by helicopter to the hospital and me not being on the helicopter
1:11 Henry starts screaming/crying in his sleep
2:45 Cat starts retching on the bed; Patrick makes a great save and gets her to throw up in the trash
4:45 Henry starts crying again--I lay down with him for a while to get him to go back to sleep, then go back to my own bed.

The morning hasn't been much better. The kids crawled in to snuggle. The first thing Henry has to say is tattling on his sister. Harmony sits up to pet the cat, and flops back down...and cracks her head on my occipital ridge...which still hurts, and much crying (by both of us) was involved. I washed my hair with body wash, and spilled the milk when I poured it on Henry's cereal. I'm not sure we could survive a third baby!

Thanks for my memory verse this week, Jesus: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Friday, June 22, 2007

MONSTER cookies!

I made a half batch of monster cookies last night for the church hiking trip tomorrow...and the HALF batch was too much for my large mixing bowl--I had to move up to our super large popcorn bowl! I used all four of my large cookie sheets--twice! It made four dozen large and four dozen normal size cookies...only make a full batch if you're expecting a huge crew! I remember my great aunt making these, and using an ice cream scoop to make the cookies--they were dinner plate size. I didn't make mine that big :)

Monster cookies
1 lb butter
2 lbs brown sugar
4 c white sugar
12 eggs
5 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla
1 T corn syrup (I skipped this)
3 lbs peanut butter
18 c quick oatmeal (an entire canister plus 3 more cups!!)
1 lb chocolate chips
1 lb M&M cookies

Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in baking soda, corn syrup, and peanut butter, then the remainder of the ingredients. Drop by large spoonfuls and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

When things don't turn out as you planned

This is lesson 3 from the "I AM so you don't have to be" Bible study.

1. It was stated in the Lesson that God has made you "once, twice, three times a lady." Where are you in this progression? Obviously we have all been physically born, but are you 'twice a lady'? Have you been born again spiritually? This If you have already received this gift, write a brief prayer of thanksgiving or testimony.
Yup :) My second year of grad school I realized that people and things would always fail me, and that I should put my full trust in Jesus. I was attending a mainline church and had never heard of a personal relationship, but was spurred onto one, and "married" Jesus--I even had a ceremony (just in my journal) and a ring to remind me of the commitment. I remember that all of a sudden, things that I had been reading that didn't make any sense, all of a sudden did. It was very powerful.

2. Are you three times a lady? Has God given you a stirring deep within your Spirit to be a 'deliverer'? Do you have a desire or are you already meeting a need in the life of the church, a particular ministry (such as jail ministry, food ministry, etc.) or perhaps individuals who share common issues?

Right now I'm feeling called to care for the people in our small group and do some healing myself.

3. Do you ever get tired of waiting for that opportunity to do something
worthwhile for God? Do you ever feel God is using someone else instead of you?

Yes; no. :) It's hard to be patient when you see what God has for you, but the time is not yet.

4. What do you consider 'worthwhile ministry'? Are you like me and sometimes find yourself mistakenly thinking it has to be Big to be Important?

Loving our neighbors; seeing my students as people with feelings, lives and concerns. I don't think I've got "bigger is better" issues.

5. Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? If yes, what are yours? If no, here's a good one from Ephesians 4 Ministry. Will you take it and come back with a response?

My highest was teaching, followed by shepherding and giving. It fits what previous tests have shown, and the way my life looks right now :)

Thankful Thursday: websites

To be perfectly honest, I'm having a hard time composing 10 things I'm thankful for today. I'm still really dragging from The Waitress incident this weekend. I know I have tons to be thankful for right now, but I'm really having to force myself to do this. So if my list seems trivial, sorry...I'm just happy to have made myself do it. So thank you for making me do it!

1. Biblegateway.com Awesome site for finding Bible Passages, word studies, etc.

2. Bible in a Year I love that everyday God's word comes to me in an e-mail, and in a year I'll have read the whole Bible. I must confess I've missed a few days or sometimes only skimmed it, but it's definitely been a blessing and I love how the connections between the Old and New Testaments show up.

3. A way to learn Bible verses Every day they send you an e-mail. The first day, you type out the entire verse while looking at it. In subsequent days, they give you less and less of the verse with more blank squares, so by the end of the week you have it memorized. I just started this so we'll see how long I last :)

4. Want more in depth Bible study? I love using the Blue Letter Bible. My favorite function is being able to use the Greek/Hebrew and Concordance function.

5. We're using Danielle's Place for our Sunday School, and we've used it at home for Bible time with our kids. It makes learning about God fun for the kids...and us :)

6. Want a recipe? Try All Recipes...I love that there is a place for reviews.

7. Looking for a bargain, and maybe a little drama? Try the Bargain Board at BabyCenter. Pretty soon you'll learn which threads to avoid. Although they're sometimes a challenge to find, sometimes you'll hear about a great deal--I've gotten lots of presents for a song (or shipping :)) because of this site.

8. The Fly Lady has helped me move my house from CHAOS to presentable...though Matilde coming every other week probably has more to do with that. It's funny how I feel the need to clean (or at least get rid of the clutter!) before she comes to clean :)

9. Crown Financial Ministries has some great financial calculators and tools, though I must say I don't agree with the "How much Mom makes calculator" because it omits several factors, such as the value of benefits (like health insurance and pension) that increase the worth of Mom's job. It works if you're at a "job" not a profession, but for me it was WAY off, since our family's health insurance is through my job and my employer puts 10% of my income in a pension every year. That increases the financial value of my job. The other thing that bugs me is that women may be called to a profession as a ministry--that's definitely how I feel about mine.

10. We've gotten some good deals on hotels using Priceline, but only because Bidding For Travel has such great advice. You can find out what hotels people have gotten in which zones for how much money, and they have strategies (like how to get free re-bids). Downtown NYC in a 4* hotel for $125 a night? Score!

I'm not sure if I'm thankful for this site or not, but it's a totally addictive game: The Airforce Test. The goal is to keep the red square from being hit by the blue boxes or hitting the walls for as long as possible. Supposedly Air Force people are supposed to do this for 2 minutes...I made it 20 seconds and quit :)

Please don't be offended if your site isn't on here...I'll do blogs and cyber friends another day :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Birthday, Mammaw!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Night Runner

The title sounds like a bad 70s movie--a cross between "Night Rider" and "Blade Runner" :) But it's me...I've been running in the evening, and some days it's been pretty much night--usually after the kids are in bed, so heading out between 9 and 10. I've figured out some routes that are relatively well-lit and well-traveled so they're safe, but shorter than I'd like.

I know lots of people like to get up and go for a run first thing in the morning, but between kids and my not-very-agreeable-in-the-morning stomach, that generally doesn't work for me. It's been too hot to run at noon, and late afternoon is reserved for the kids (though I guess I could go while they're swimming--but that would be an even shorter run!). So late night it is.

One of the best things about running is that God runs with me--it's great prayer time. While the first mile or two are usually unloading of the laundry and to-do lists, around mile 2 or 3 I usually find myself singing praise songs (though only occasionally out loud), and it's just a good worship time.

We talked about joy in our life group this last week, and that would be an example of it :)

Thanks, Lord, for meeting me on the road...not to Emmaus but just around town :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Waitress

Today Patrick and I went to Indy for the day to celebrate our anniversary. We ended up doing exactly what he said he didn't want to do--dinner and a movie. We had dreamed of a trip to Tampa Bay to see a Rush concert or at least a trip to Chicago to do the architectural tour, but neither one happened--things have been too crazy busy at work for both of us. At least we did it on our own terms--we had lunch at Machu Pichhu, a Peruvian restaurant. Then we saw The Waitress at the Art movie theater, I fell apart, we tried shopping, ended up browsing at Barnes and Noble for a couple of hours, had some better-than-average-but not as good as Naked Tchopstick's sushi, browsed at Borders (notice a theme?), then had dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. I'm sure we consumed enough calories for a week!

So I guess I better explain the "I fell apart" in the middle. I'll try not to give away the movie, and if you haven't recently had a miscarriage, it was a very sweet movie. Anyway, the opening scene is the waitress (Jenna) in the bathroom, wishing very hard that the EPT be negative... but it's not. The story goes south from there, with a selfish and abusive husband, several affairs, and some very luscious looking pies.

I've done a very good job the last several months of trying to cope with the miscarriage, but mostly I've gotten busy enough to not have to think about it. The movie was a) the first time in at least a month that I've had enough time to even think about it; b) triggered the "why do people who don't want babies get pregnant and stay that way and those who don't struggle with it" question, and c) the start of period #1 after the miscarriage. A triple whammy of emotions. The bookstore break helped me get out of that groove, but it was all back at church this morning. Sarah preached about grace, and the passage was Ephesians 2:1-10. It brought a whole new aspect to the pain of the miscarriage--yes, we all deserve death, but couldn't they at least be born before they died? I need some better ways to process the and "get over it" or at least be able to not cry through entire movies or church services, but there don't seem to be many resources out there--other than being prayed for after church :)

So it definitely was not the best anniversary celebration. Maybe we'll try again in Sept and really celebrate.

Friday, June 15, 2007

It's official...

I'm a cookie snob.

My last few batches have been stiffer than I like, not enough "spread" to them. I've finally figured out it's my flour. My parents AND my brother both gave me 25 lb bags of Dakota Maid bread flour (they drove it down from MN, not available here!) because it makes much better bread than regular bread flour. It has a lot more protein (and gluten, the main protein in flour) so it provides a better bread structure. But since I have all this flour, I've been using it for everything...not any more. I think it's impacting my cookie quality, so I'll be buying some all-purpose flour.

Guess my food science days are coming back to me...

More about the bread of life later, right now Harmony wants a story :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thankful Thursday--Anniversary Edition

Today is our tenth anniversary. Patrick, I love you! Here are ten reasons I'm thankful for you:

1. Your honesty.

2. Your ability to see potential. You are a visionary, and can see opportunities others completely miss.

3. You are an awesome Dad. You love our kids for who they are, and use humor and gentleness to help them grow. May Long Hair Larry, Beau Enero (say it fast!), and Billy Jo Snicklefritz stories keep coming!

4. You are compassionate. It is visible how God has given you this spiritual gift.

5. You are a gifted musician, and you use your talents to lead others in worship.

6. You wash the dishes, even though I'm the one who usually dirties them.

7. You've expanded my world to include Rush, sushi, and stereoviews.

8. You are willing to literally give the shirt off your back to someone who needs it.

9. You are a great fashion expert and personal shopper for me!

10. That you love me even when I'm past tired, cranky, and otherwise unattractive.


Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Waiting Place...

Dr. Suess described it in "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" The waiting place is where everyone is just waiting...
"Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting."

Sometimes it feels like we spend a disproportionate amount of time waiting. I know several people who are waiting right now--waiting for healing, a job, a baby, direction, a big date, a change in life that God has shown them that hasn't happened yet.

It is so hard to wait! Especially when we know that we've clearly heard from God, and we're just waiting for it to be fulfilled--and it's an exciting time. Or sometimes the waiting is scary, like when my grandpa was in hospice or when we knew that the fetuses inside me weren't viable, but weren't going anywhere either.

One thing that encourages me when I'm in a waiting time is Noah. Ok, trivia time: how long was Noah in the ark? I'll post the answer in the comments section >:) Noah knew what God had promised him, but he had to endure ridicule from neighbors, the trauma of watching almost the entire world perish, and the wondering of when they were going to be able to get out of the boat before the promise was fulfilled.

Psalms can be helpful, too, when you're waiting. Go to Biblegateway.com and search for wait, and click on the "more results" towards the bottom of the page. Then read the Psalms that talk about waiting. I think I read one of them every day while waiting for the miscarriage to happen, and every day God showed me a new way to wait--laying out your requests in prayer; trusting, hoping, persisting; being patient.

And if you're looking for a fun movie to bide your time while you're waiting, check out the Princess Bride: Inigo has been searching for the six (well, eleven)fingered man for 30 years; Westley gets upset with Buttercup for not waiting for him (despite her belief that he's dead); and the 30 minute wait for full potency (don't want to give it away, so you'll have to watch the movie for that one!)



Thanks, Lord, that you are over and above all things, and that you are bigger than time. Help us to wait patiently and seek you out in all things.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Random (nerdy) questions

So we are the body of Christ. Are we as individuals entire organs, like a nose or an eye, or are we cells (which weren't even conceived of when the Bible was written)? Like, are some of us epithelial cells, which line pretty much every tissue and can function almost everywhere, while others are rods or cones (the cells in your eyes that act as light receptors) that must be placed in an eyeball (and in contact with a neuron that connects to a brain cell, and in contact with vitrous humor with a clear cornea in front of that) to be useful?

So maybe various churches are the organs, and individuals are the cells in that organ?

Just me being a geeky Christian...let me know what you think...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

How does your garden grow?

Yesterday Patrick got a whole bunch of vegetable plants free from a greenhouse--I have a feeling we'll be eating lots of peppers, broccoli, eggplant and cabbage this fall!

Today in church, Tony continued the series on "Words Christians Use but Don't Always Understand", and discussed Baptism in the Spirit. It's a controversial topic in the church and even among my friends in various denominations, so I don't want to get into it here. But the take home message was, Christians are leaky; we need to be filled with the Spirit more than just once, because we lose it through the cracks. It would be nice if someone else picks it up along the way, but I have a feeling it's more like the Second Law of Thermodynamics: you always lose something (that's for you, Jonell :)).

So what do those two topics have to do with each other? Well, I was thinking about water for our souls when I was watering the new plants. One thought in gardening and tree growing is to water less often, but with more water, so that the plants grow deep roots. Another thought today was if we need to be (re)filled with the Spirit on a regular basis, why doesn't it seem to happen as often as I'd like? I have a feeling that my gardening analogy works here...by watering less often, it encourages us to dig deep into God's word, to really put down roots and be grounded in who he is. When we get frequent "water" it's tempting to be shallow, but then how will we stand when the storm or drought comes?

So I'd agree with Paul in his prayer for the Ephesians: "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Thanks, Lord, that you fill us with your Spirit and empower us to be bold for you. Help us to dig deeply into knowing and loving you.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Will you marry me?

This was the question Henry asked Harmony on Thursday night...and Harmony has asked Henry it several times since then!

The activity that precipitated that question was Henry letting Harmony go last at prayer time. I don't know why it's the coveted slot; everybody starts with a "1, 2, 3" and everybody says "Amen". But they always fight over who gets to go last. But Thursday night, after a long discussion about what it means to love someone like Jesus loves them, Henry decided the order was "Mommy, Henry, Daddy, Harmony," which was met with much applause from Harmony...then Henry gave her a big hug and said "Will you marry me?"

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Friday, June 8, 2007

Beautiful to God

These are my answers to Lesson Two of the I Am study at the preachers-wife's blog (sorry this isn't a link, I'm on Patrick's mac and the shortcuts I'm used to aren't there!)
http://thepreachers-wife.blogspot.com/2007/01/i-am-study-lesson-two-lovely-in-sight.html
It's an interesting study, and it keeps mirroring what I've been reading in my personal studies, so it's definitely being used by God! For example, I had just read about how Saul was selected to be king, and that was one of the passages suggested. So if you're looking for a little direction in your quiet time, try it!

What is your initial response when anyone suggests you are beautiful?
Yah, right. Maybe 10 years ago, but not now. I've got at least 10 lbs to lose to get in the middle of healthy range...pretty average for a Hoosier. I'm pretty average in every way, and considering how little time I spend in maintenance (like, I haven't had a haircut since Christmas break, and I'm prone to use the kid's shampoo), it's not surprising that I'm below average in the outward appearance category. Inside, I'm pretty average--the only beauty there is where Christ is--where it's me, it's ugly. It doesn't help that I seem to be surrounded by beautiful (both exterior and interior) people at church, so I'm definitely average or below.

Do you find you engage in a lot of negative 'self-talk'? How much of your thought life does this form of thinking consume?
No, I'm usually too busy for it, and I know there are more important issues than how I look.

Has it ever occurred to you that you are a City Girl? How do you plan to use this knowledge?
I grew up a country girl. I've visited the Big Apple and other large cities, and they just make me appreciate my country roots. Planting, sowing, weeding, and harvesting are dirty work, so I'd rather be a country mouse than a city mouse. When I think City Girl, I think high maintenance, more concerned with appearances than heart and soul issues. But I do think God can shine through a country girl like myself too :)

In what ways has your view of Godly beauty changed as a result of these Scriptures?
I don't know that it's changed my views as much as reminded me that what God looks at is the inside, not the outside. It also wants to make me careful to present a balanced view of beauty to my little girl.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thankful Thursday

This week's theme is summer thankfulness:
22. Fireflies
23. Air conditioning
24. Cold watermelon
25. Swimming pools
26. Sun screen :)
27. Bug spray
28. Orange push-up pops
29. Fireworks
30. Fair food--I think I'll be having an elephant ear tomorrow :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Breaking down the walls

Do you have some walls in your life? Barriers between you and God, between you and others, or within yourself? Yesterday I witnessed a couple in other people's lives, and Patrick pointed one out in me.

Sometimes walls are healthy--they keep out bad weather, and keep the kids and the cat inside. But sometimes they get in the way--imagine a wall in the middle of your kitchen. While it might help my diet, it would make getting dinner tough. But I might get used to it, and even like it...

I had the opportunity to pray with some sisters last night about a couple of walls, and both of them mentioned that these were things they'd been around the block before. That made me think about one of the kid's lessons at church recently--they talked about patience, and used the walls of Jericho as an example (Joshua 6). Although God told Joshua that Jericho's was his, the people had to march around the city once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day. So they went around the block 13 times!

But why didn't God just strike down Jericho? Why make them do all this pomp and circumstance? I think the answer is obedience and trust. They did it because they trusted God (and Joshua), and lived it out by walking (quietly) in obedience.

Maybe that's why sometimes it feels like we've been around this block before--because we have. But God still wants us to walk in obedience, and for us to trust him. Easier said than done, I know. But sisters, I'll keep walking around that wall with you (and around my own walls, too), and trust that God will move that wall in His time and in His way. And I'm ready to yell and blow my trumpet when the time comes!

Lord, we love you, and want to follow, trust and obey you. Help us break down the walls that are interferring with our relationships and every day functioning so that we can serve you better and be witness to your goodness and glory.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Chocolate, you are NOT my god!

Somedays I need to just say that. Over the last couple of months, I have noticed my moments of frustration--with the kids, with my husband, with my house, with my job, with me, with, well you name it, have resulted in a trip through the kitchen to find some chocolate. It's not that I don't pray about those things, but chocolate is a "quick fix".

Chocolate, you are not my god! You cannot make my problems better, though you do make things better for a moment!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Letters of recommendation

I spent almost the entire day today in a committee meeting, proofreading and editing recommendation letters for students who want to enter pre-health professions. I don't know this group of students as well as I've known past groups; I was on sabbatical when most of them took the introductory course that I teach, and I no longer teach in the sophomore level class. But it was interesting how much I learned about them just from what other professors wrote about them.

Since I spent so much time reading these letters, I thought I'd look at one of the letters of recommendation in the Bible---Philemon. In this letter, Paul is asking Philemon to take back Onesimus, not as a slave but as a brother. Although this is a short book, it brings me back to my inductive Bible study days with Carol--this short book would take us at least a month! I loved those studies--after opening in prayer, she'd basically say, "so what did the Lord show you this week?" It was very empowering, and I love how she gently encouraged us to grow. But I'll save my inductive study for later!

What hit me from this passage tonight was verses 15b-16a...that you might have him back for good— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. To me that echoed John 15:15, where Jesus says to his disciples (that's us :)) "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. " In both cases, the word is "doulos" for slave/servant.

So what does it mean that God calls us to be his friends, not just his servants? I struggle with wrapping my brain around this. How could the king of the universe want me as a friend? I don't even have that many earthly friends--and most of the people I call friends would probably call me acquaintances at best (note to self: this negative self talk is not of God, but is definitely how I feel right now). He says one of the reasons he calls us friends is because we know what he knows. What's cool is the word for "know" is also translated as "see"--so we've seen what he's seen. How cool is that? Aren't the people you call friends the ones who know everything about you, who have seen things with you and about you?

Lord, I want to know others and be known, to see them and be seen. And more than that, I want to know you and see what You see. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear...and hands and arms to do your will.