Monday, August 17, 2009

When You Wish Upon a Star.....

Did anyone see the Perseid Meteor shower last week?

I really wanted to see it for myself but according to internet reports it would be best viewed in a dark sky around 4am and since our suburban neighborhood is fairly well lit and I am "out like a light" by 10:30 I decided to forego the shower-show this year.

My family, however, was a little more adventurous and as I headed to bed they planted themselves on the deck in hopes of catching a glimpse of a falling meteor.

Just as I was about to doze off Quin ran into the room, and with the enthusiasm unique to a 7 yr. old boy, he told me he had not only seen a shooting star but he had made a wish upon it! His wish (also unique to 7 yr. old boys) was that he would have "super powers". I asked which super power he hoped for and he listed 3:

1) Speed

2) Moving things with his mind

3) Super strength

He went back to re-join the family and I turned the light off again to go to sleep. A few minutes later he was back and this time his little lip was quivering. Apparantly his older brother and sisters had informed him that because he had "told what his wish was" it would not come true. His hopes for super powers had been crushed by his (evil) older siblings and this "mother's heart" broke to see him so sad.

I pulled him onto the bed next to me and as we lay there in the dark I told him that he already had super powers. Because he has accepted Jesus as his saviour he now has the power of God living inside of him through the gift of the Holy Spirit. This means that he "can do ALL things through Christ"!

What better power is there than that? And unlike wishes made on a shooting star the power of the Holy Spirit just gets stronger (and shines brighter) when you tell others about it!

I was feeling really good about this lesson (and being able to put a smile back on my son's face) when suddenly I felt more than a little convicted:

--What kind of powers are important to me?--money, material possessions, status....
--Am I "wishing upon a star" (worldliness, others, self efforts...) or am I placing my hope in God alone?
--What kind of witness am I to the power of God in my life?
--Do I share with others where my help (power) comes from?

Quin has spent the last few nights looking up at the sky, just in case he sees another shooting star to wish upon but this morning, as we prayed, he "thanked God for the Holy Spirit and the power it gives him. Now that is what I call an "Aroma of Joy"!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Shark Story!

One thing I love about travelling is the different perceptions people have about places and things unfamiliar to them. For instance....

I have noticed that many people outside the south or midwest are often terrified of tornados. Of course tornados are frightening and potentially devastating but being from Kansas, my experience has been that a tornado warning is really just code for an impromptu party in the basement.

On the other hand you couldn't pay me enough to live in California because I have known since I was a child that any day now there will be a massive earthquake and the whole state will fall off into the ocean!

Thanks to TV, movies, old-wives tales, history books and the evening news everybody knows that ships sink, fires burn, boogie men exist, bad guys wear black, there are snakes on planes and sharks in the ocean.

So the other night when emergency vehicles appeared on the beach, my husband and I watched from our balcony as our girls went down to get the scoop. Nobody around us seemed to know what was happening and my husband suggested we might want to go with them ("just in case it's a dead body") but then we heard a conversation that caused us to run in their direction.

Southern Lady #1: "Do ya think it's a shark?"

Southern Lady #2: (very nonchalantly) "I don't know..... Probly."

Now I have seen Jaws and have spent more than 30 years getting to where I can swim in a swimming pool (much less a lake or the ocean) without hearing "nana nana nanananana" so why were these women walking and chatting like it's a day at the park? Why were they not running for their lives?

As we got onto the beach I heard a policeman make a comment dripping with sarcasm, "Wow, that was the biggest shark I ever saw."
Come to think of it, people in the Jaws movie were pretty non-chalant too as Roy Scheider begged them to listen.

I may be from the plains but it would seem to me that joking about sharks on a beach would be the equivalent of discussing firearms in an airport, but then again I am from Kansas and am just as likely to watch the storm clouds from the deck as to run for cover.

After further investigation it turned out that a woman had seen "something" floating in the water and called authorities who assured us there was nothing to worry about.

Hmmm.....isn't that what they said to Roy?
When a crowd gathered again today the last thing I would have expected to see was a shark washed up on the beach.

By the way, the next time there is a tornado warning in Kansas I will be in the basement!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Very Own Fan Club...

You would think by now I would be leery of "letting my guard down" and actually getting comfortable on vacation. After all the last time I did that we found ourselves facing a hurricane in Mexico!

Never-the-less that is exactly how I was beginning to feel on Monday. The sun was bright, my hubby and kids were playing in the sand and I was alone in the condo, enjoying my morning cup of coffee and finally writing on my long-neglected blog. Could life get better than this??

And then, as if on cue, someone knocked at the door......

It was "Building Management" and they wanted to know if we were having any water issues. "no, other than the toilet seems to run quite often." He shrugged that off and asked if they could come in and look around?

(now why exactly did I want to be ALONE in the condo?)
Immediately they started looking at the walls. From my view this is what we saw:

(many of the walls are covered in hand painted murals)

But they were looking through a different lens, specifically the lens of an InfaRed Water Detection camera. None of the pretty pictures painted on the walls impressed them at all but what was behind the wall had them very concerned! There was water and if left untreated it could turn to mold and eventually destroy the entire structure.

After discussing it among themselves for a few minutes the man turned to me and said:

"I'm sorry Ma'am but we are going to have to bring in some equipment that will impact your stay. If you can, you might look for somewhere else to move to."

"WHAT? But this is our vacation" I whined.

"You must understand that salvation of this building is our first priority. I am very sorry but we will be in touch."

Apparently the "building manager" trumps the "condo owner" in the heirarchy of decsion making and the comfort of a guest is not their main concern.

Later that afternoon we returned from the beach to find our very own "fan club" waiting for us in our "not-so-perfect" condo.

(a giant de-humidifier & 2 of the 3 very loud fans that must run continually)

It is a good thing we are a family who is no stranger to inconvenience, LOL!

All of this has made me think...... what is hiding inside our walls?

In our culture we tend to focus on outward appearance ("working-out", what we wear, the cars we drive, where we live, spending a fortune on skin-care...) but we are slowly being destroyed by what's inside; bitterness, unforgiveness, greed, lonlieness, insecurity, fear....

Fortunately we have a "building manager" who is able to detect and fix the problem before it is exessive and visible to the naked eye.

If we let Him, God will shine the "infa-red light" of His love on us and not only expose those areas that threaten to destroy us but He also promises to help us repair them. He doesn't promise it will be comfortable but our comfort is not His first priority, our salvation is.

So in the inconvenience of struggling to be heard over the fans I take comfort, once again, in the fact that God is with us and at work in our family....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 2 - Paradise Found....

Day two of our adventure was much less eventful and might have even bordered on ordinary had we not ended up in paradise.

The first order of business was to remove the bat from the car's grill. It is situations like this that make me grateful to be married.
(Seriously there are just a few unwritten vows in marriage: if a kid gets sick I give up my plans for the day and stay home, if the school needs cookies I bake them, if there is a dead bat stuck on the car~ that would fall outside my realm of responsibility...)

Fortunately, "the removal" was done before any of us were even awake. My hubby assured us that he never actually touched the bat with his hands but used a towel to pull it off. GROSS!! We still avoided getting to close to him most of the day and have agreed not to discuss it ever again, LOL!

For the next 5 hours we passed through 3 states and drove by more churches, flea markets and fruit stands than I could count. I would love to have stopped at every one but once again it was a day of compromise and I was allowed one fruit stand.....

As we neared our destination we found a Sam's Club where we stocked up on some essentials for the week. Finding space for groceries was tricky but we worked together and got it all unloaded and into the car. I set the last gallon of milk on the bumper before returning the cart. Apparantly, instead of hearing, "it's on the bumper" my husband heard the words, "it's in the car" so needless to say we ended up a gallon short on milk but at that point we figured "no use crying over spilled milk!"
(and I thought the people that were honking at us were just being friendly!)
Eventually we found our destination
and it was everything we were hoping for.....

Unfortunately however, we may have left Kansas behind but there is no leaving Sponge-Bob behind....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A New Adventure!

Hello Blog Friends,

Let me set the scene here by telling you this is my first post in a long time and I am writing to you from a Drury dining room in Jackson Mississippi on my way to the beach in Florida. No I am not running away from home, I am actually on a long-awaited (and much needed) vacation!!
My hope for this trip has been to relax and enjoy some "down-time" with my husband and 3 youngest children (a more "normal sized' family than the brood we are used to) and maybe find the time and inspiration to do a little blogging.

Together we raised enough money in a garage sale to cover the condo and gas money so we wouldn't have to stress over funds but unfortunately "relaxed" is not an easy or natural state for any of us. So Saturday night my husband was in a bit of a self induced panic as he was loading the car and he accidently locked it with the keys inside. Fortunately his wife (that would be me) had renewed the AAA membership so there was no need for bent clothes hangers and a crow bar.

Our plan was to leave early on Saturday morning but we got delayed by about 45 minutes as we launched an all out search for my husband's missing eyeglasses. I suggested we pretend it was Easter morning and we were trying to find that last elusive egg but nobody was buying it. Tense is not a strong enough word to describe the atmosphere at that point! Eventually of course we found the eyeglasses, right where he had set them down, and we piled in the car, pulled out of the driveway and began our adventure.....

It wasn't long before I remembered that there are two ways to take a road trip.

1) Head straight to your destination and do not be detoured!

2) Enjoy the ride and stop to smell the roses!

I am a #2 type of traveller but I am married to a #1 type of traveller.

Our first conflict came when we had to decide where to eat. He wanted a quick, franchise burger and I wanted a local culture experience. In the end we compromised; we went a few miles out of our way to eat at the world famous, Lambert's Cafe (home of the throwed rolls) but when the wait was too long we ended up eating burgers at the Pancake & Waffle house.

It was when we stopped for lunch that we discovered a problem with our Suburban. We were going to have it checked at a nearby Chevy dealership in Springfield, MO. but we "just happened" to be sitting in front of a man who is a parts & service manager for Porsche. He overheard us talking and he offered to check the car and was able to diagnose and fix it right there in the parking lot.

What are the odds of that? God's timing is perfect and he used a misplaced pair of glasses & an off-the-beaten-path restaurant to put us exactly where we would find help before we even knew it was needed!

Of course our drama didn't end there but continued when several hours later we ran out of gas on a remote highway in Mississippi.

On a positive note that gave the girls and I a chance to do a little reading.

Before AAA could arrive (for the second time in a 24 hour period) a kind Samaritan and his family came to our rescue. Come to find out he is a Christian and asked if he could pray with us so we formed a little circle and prayed on the side of the highway.

Our family sure does give God plenty of opportunity to show His glory in our lives! LOL!

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful except for while driving on a pitch black Mississippi highway we heard an "extra loud" bug hit the front of the car. When we finally reached our destination we got out to investigate and found a bat lodged in the grill.

Again though this experience divided the genders. The girls and I were totally embarrassed to be driving a car with a "dead bat" grill ornament but John and Quin are now calling our car the "Batmobile"!

I can hardly wait to see what today brings....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sampler Wisdom

"Today is the first day of the rest of your life"

I remember embroidering those words on a fabric sampler when I was a young girl and I also remember being totally confused by that message. TODAY? REALLY?

Maybe I am simple-minded but I have always thought it would make much more sense to say

"Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life"

After all, today has already been partially lived, today is filled with mistakes and not nearly as productive as I anticipated it would be when I woke up. Now tomorrow, that's another story!

I just know that tomorrow would make a great beginning to the rest of my life! I will be energetic and productive; I will be kind and considerate; the path to success will show itself and I will follow it to a bright and happy future! Yes, tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of my life but today is just another day, filled with regrets and failure to live up to my own expectations. A lot like yesterday....and the day before......and the day before that....

Oh don't get me wrong there have been moments in those days when everything was going along great! The laundry was done, the family was fed, the dog had been walked, the birthday treats for school had been baked, even my hair was working for me!

But inevitably "today" carries with it an OOOPS or two........I forget to pick up my daughter from a brownie meeting, my patience wears thin and I blow up at my husband, I manage to drop and break one of my favorite dishes or I sabotage my diet with a huge bowl of ice cream; it could be the roof leaks or my car has a transmission failure....

Is this how I want the rest of my life to look? Surely I could do better than this.....or can I? Will tomorrow look any different from today? From yesterday or the day before?

The details may change regularly but the one thing all of these days (and the challenges they present) have in common is me. The same is true of tomorrow and all the days in my future. Good, bad or ugly this is my life and today is where it is being lived.

The reality is none of us will ever be perfect nor will any of us live a perfect life so instead of striving for perfection let's embrace our circumstances and stop waiting for tomorrow to begin living.
--Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Psalm 118:24

If your joy in life is missing and you are not happy with how you have been living then what better time to make some changes? Remember, "Today is where the change occurs in order for you to live a changed tomorrow!"
--Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:12

--I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 15: 11

If you lack direction and don't know where to turn, stop right now and ask for directions, otherwise you may find you are even more lost tomorrow.
--In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Finally, we need to remember that we are never promised tomorrow. Today may be all we get, in which case we had better make the most of it!
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14

So today really is "The first day of the rest of my life" and that means I choose to stop waiting for tomorrow and start living today!!

Who would have known that a sampler could hold so much wisdom (and who would have guessed it would take me so long to figure it out?)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who Asked You?

I still remember where I was when I heard it; the question that has the potential to alter one's entire view of life. The question that is so simple, and yet at the same time, so difficult to get out. The question that demands an answer and determines your destiny.

"When you die will you go to heaven?"

Looking back I am certain this question, and all of the circumstances surrounding it, were carefully planned and put into action by none other than God Himself. After all it is God who draws us to Himself, He only uses people as His mouthpiece.

I had attended church regularly as a little girl, but not so much after my parent's divorce.

And then, during the year I was 12 years old, my relationship with my mother had become so filled with tension that I moved in with my Grandparents. Directly behind them lived a Pastor, his wife and 3 sons. Not surprisingly that family was everything mine wasn't, including filled with laughter, fun and faith.

One evening as the Pastor's wife and I were chatting she asked the question:

"Will you go to heaven when you die?"

"I think so." Was my uncertain reply.

"Do you want to be sure?"

(OK who doesn't want to be sure? Of course I wanted to be sure!!!)

"Then you just ask Jesus into your heart through prayer. Do you want to do that now?"

That was all there was to it. She prayed, I prayed, and Jesus took up residence in my heart. How do I know?

Because my life was never the same after that day. No, it wasn't (and still isn't) perfect, but I began to know a hope and a future that I had never known before. Reading my bible, even if I didn't understand it, filled me with excitement.

Unfortunately there were many times over the years when I chose my own paths over godly ones. In fact I have chosen to go down some very dark alleys of rebellion, for which I have endured costly consequences, and yet I know that I was never alone. God allowed me to choose the path but He never left my side and throughout it all He never stopped calling me back to Himself.

A short time later the Pastor's family moved away and I haven't seen or heard from them since. But sometimes I wonder......

--Does she have any idea that the seed she planted over 30 years ago has been tended and cared for and harvested in a big way?

--Does she know that because she was bold enough to ask the question, the man I married has come to a saving faith in Jesus?
--Does she realize that my mother has re-confirmed her faith after attending church with our family?

--Does she know that my children, the next generation, will be spending eternity in heaven?

I guess if I don't get a chance to tell her all of these things here on earth I will definitely be relating them to her in heaven! Will you be there? Do you want to know for sure? If you have already made that decision then let me ask you this:

Who asked you?

Who have you asked?

Easter Sunday was especially meaningful to my family this year as we celebrated the baptism of my two youngest children. Does life get any better than knowing that each of your children has confirmed their heavenly destiny through public confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and submitting to the cleansing of Christian Baptism?

I am so glad that "once upon a time" someone had the courage to ask....

Monday, March 23, 2009

"What's On My Mind Monday".....

Since I couldn't think of anything too profound to write about today
I figured I would share a few thoughts of randomness:

This is a picture of the shower in my bedroom.

Actually it is a picture of where my shower used to be. A few weeks ago as I was enjoying a nice, steamy shower I heard a loud crash. Upon further investigation it turned out the tiles had fallen right off of the shower wall onto the floor.

Fortunately my bathtub remains unaffected (so far) and we are blessed with 3 other bathrooms that have showers in them.
To be honest this is a project my husband and I have been wanting to tackle since we moved in 6 years ago, but being the procrastinators we are we waited until the walls were literally crumbling down around us before we did anything about it, lol.

Fortunately my husband is quite the handy man and he is convinced he can do this job by himself. The rest of us aren't so sure....

Yesterday I asked Quin,
"Do you think it will take Daddy days, weeks or months to fix the shower?"

He answered with a straight face,

Oh heavens, I hope not!!

I do have to say though that the man I married is not only a good handyman he is also an awesome Dad to our children. Last month he took all of our daughters to the annual Daddy/Daughter dance at church and from what I hear no other Dad could (or would) dance like
my hubby!

Of course he was the only Dad dancing in tennis shoes (due to a bad case of gout).

Whatever the case I am just glad he had some shoes on because this is what his toenails look like.....

When you see a man with toenails painted like this it usually means one of two things:

1) He is a patient Father of little girls

2) Well I just don't even want to go there.....

On the other hand my toes were not much more attractive after I acted on the brilliant idea of giving myself a "black french manicure".
Thinking it would be a very cool and trendy look, I discovered that it only makes me look like I have ultra dirty toenails. Perhaps it would be trendier in the Fall~~ like at Halloween!

Well that is about all of the randomness I can generate for now. I guess it just goes to prove that life is not always deep and sometimes what is on my mind is just plain shallow, LOL!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Word Is GREAT!

It never ceases to amaze me how God chooses to speak to us individually.

What might be an obvious "word from God" to one person may not even make sense in our own vocabulary.

Have you ever been excited by your own personal revelation only to have those you share it with smile and nod politely?
Or after hearing a sermon that seemed specially tailored to your circumstances you discover the person sitting next to you heard a completely different message?

Personally I think this is one of the mysteries of God and a demonstration of His "Living and Active word." What else could survive the test of time and still be so revealing and relevant thousands of years after it was written? God's desire is to speak to us in a personal way, right where we are at. If only we will have ears to hear and eyes to see.

I was reminded of this over the weekend when my husband got his own "message from God" in a place he would be sure to see it.

Each year he chooses a "word for the year". It is supposed to be a word that keeps him focused on the LORD and one he can apply to his life daily. One year he chose "JOY" (an interesting choice for a guy who is often known as "grumpy"!). Needless to say that was a challenging year.

This year however his word is "GREAT". His philosophy is that he can say it when he is happy but he can also say it when he is frustrated (oh great!). I have to say that so far it has worked pretty well for him. Especially when it comes to the ups and downs of sports, which are a huge part of his life.

Then over the weekend his beloved Missouri Tigers basketball team won the Big XII conference championship so he was actually experiencing some "great joy".

And can you guess what the headline was on the next mornings Sports page?

That's right, it was "GRRREAT!"

And it didn't go unnoticed by my husband who proudly held up the paper and said, "Isn't God amazing? It's my word!"

Thank you God for giving my husband a personal message in a language he would understand, and thank you too for giving him ears to hear and eyes to see. I pray that we would always be receptive to hearing from you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I started this blogging thing just over a year ago and I am still blown away by how much it has changed my life! Of course my friends and family think I have lost my mind (not that I was all that sane to begin with, lol).

It was strange enough last year when I travelled with a woman I had never met before to a conference in North Carolina and then shared a hotel room with two women I didn't know except for what I had read on their blogs. The funny thing is that none of these women, or many of the other women at the conference, felt like strangers. In a strange way it seemed like I had known them forever. I felt like I came away from that weekend having met lots of long-lost "sisters".

Fast forward to August of last summer when I invited one of those new sisters to spend the night at my house along with a few of her children. I still giggle at my teenage son's reaction. "Dad, did you know Mom is inviting a woman she met on the internet to sleep over?" Of course Dad didn't try to tell me "NO" but he did look just a little concerned about the whole thing.

Early in January she came back to visit and support me after my Dad died. By then she was no longer a stranger and everyone was excited to see our "family friend".

So when a "family friend" says, "Hey do you want to go to Dallas? An old friend invited me to visit and offered us a place to stay!" don't you think it would be rude to say no and make her go by herself?

~~No, a good friend immediately searches the internet and books a trip to Dallas with you.
~~A bad friend would be one that invites you to visit and then makes other plans, leaving you with a non-refundable plane ticket and no where to stay in a strange city.

So that is how Lelia and I found ourselves headed to Texas for a weekend adventure. Of course the whole trip almost didn't happen when I took the "super scenic route" to the airport. But because Jesus was with us we made it in the nick of time!

By the end of the weekend we had shopped, rested, worshipped, prayed, eaten and laughed until we cried. We may have made the original plan but God determined our itinerary:

~~We met another "online sister" when Liz joined us for lunch and dinner.

~~We just happened to run into a celebrity at dinner.
~~We chatted on the phone with Missy who was in Dallas visiting a friend (who could forget what happened the last time we saw Missy? LOL).

~~We got to visit a well known church and hear an amazing (and timely) message on Sunday morning.

~~We deepened our friendship and encouraged one another in our faith and purpose.

~~We recieved confirmation that we believe God is calling us into ministry together.

~~We were able to pinpoint areas of our lives we need to improve (time management, organizational skills, decision making, map reading (lol)).

Looking at this list reminds me that what we planned as a "girls getaway" turned into something much bigger.
But isn't that how God operates when we trust Him with our plans?

Proverbs 16:9 says: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps"
I know I can honestly say that I was blessed beyond measure as I let the Lord determine my steps to Dallas!
If you want to read more about our adventure click here to visit Lelia.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Save the Drama

Confession Time: "I am a recovering Soap Addict"

Not the pretty, good smelling, get-you-clean kind of soap but the kind that are on every afternoon while the kids are down for naps kind of Soaps.

It started innocently enough. My grandmother was a "Young and Restless" fan and since I spent a lot of time at her house growing up I too learned all about Mr. and Mrs. Chandler, the Brooks sisters and of course Snapper (David Hasselhoff before he hit the beach on Baywatch).

In fact I will never hear the theme song for Y&R without thinking of my beloved Nana.
By high school I was hooked on "my own" soaps;

--I cried when Jenny died in that jet-ski accident on "All My Children"
--I was disgusted by Dorian and her antics on "One Life to Live"
--I celebrated when Luke and Laura finally married on "General Hospital"
(I really knew I was in trouble when I found myself wanting to pray for some of these characters, lol).

Yes, I was a soap opera junkie!
The funny thing was that all of that drama seemed to somehow rub off into my own life.

HMMM? I wonder:

Why is my husband working late?... Could he be cheating on me?

What did my mother mean by that comment?....
And is she REALLY my mother?

Is my sister plotting revenge against me for some unknown reason?....OK that is very possible but you get the picture!

Why is it that as women we are drawn to drama like a moth to a flame?
Drama is what keeps us watching.
It makes the plot interesting and keeps us from getting bored.
Drama is also contagious.
It spreads quickly and if left unchecked drama can lead to destruction;
destruction of marriages,friendships, families and eventually destruction of self.

Today not only are the same soap operas I used to watch on the air (along with a parental block option) but reality shows are all the rage. Not surprisingly there has been much in the way of negative fall-out for those who have chosen to share their lives (and drama) with the public.

Fortunately I am in a long-term remission from my soap addiction. Every now and then I catch a glimse of a character I recognize (funny how they all look just like they did 20 years ago) but I have no idea what is happening in Pine Valley, Llanview or Port Charles and honestly I don't want to know. I am a mother of 5 daughters and that is more than enough drama for me to handle. I am too busy living reality to spend time watching it on TV!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is a Big Mac?

What is a Big Mac?

My kids love to ask that question every time we go to McDonalds and I always respond with,

"Two all beef patties,
special sauce,
on a sesame seed bun!"

For some reason this old jingle causes my little ones to break out in giggles and my teenagers to roll their eyes and frantically look around in embarrassment to make sure no one overheard me. I have no idea when I first memorized the detailed description of a Big Mac but for some reason it is permenantly tatooed on my brain.

Recently the thought occurred to me, "how much useless trivia are we storing in our memory banks?" We can rattle off things like advertising slogans, TV theme songs (think of The Flinstones & The Brady Bunch), stories and poems we have read or quotes from famous movies. So why is it so easy to remember the lyrics to my favorite songs and yet so hard to remember scripture?

Although I know that memorizing scripture is important for spiritual health, growth and well-being I have to be honest and admit that it is not easy or natural for me.

In fact many people might question the need for committing scripture to memory in a culture where the word of God is readily available in a variety of formats and translations. We can read the bible in book form, listen to it on CD, watch it on DVD or pull it up on the internet. A quick look at Bible Gateway gave me access to over 20 translations in English alone! We truly are a blessed people.

However it is possible that someday there may be a time we don't have access to our bibles. In such case we need to already have buried the words of the Lord deep into our hearts.


Because it is in those words we will find the strength to stand strong in the face of fear:

"Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident." Psalm 27:3

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Knowing God's word brings us peace in the midst of our trouble and anxiety:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God; and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4: 7-8

Having the word of God committed to our memory also allows us to fight the enemy and experience victory over sin:

"How can a young man keep his way pure: By living according to your Word. I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119: 9, 11

We may not have the opportunity to reach for our bibles as we are experiencing an attack or facing temptation but if we are prepared with the sword of the Spirit we will be armed and ready to fight back.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any doouble-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Another practical reason for memorizing scripture is to aid us in discerning the will of God in our lives as the Holy Spirit brings to mind words we already know:

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

In order to be effective Christ followers it is important that we are able to recall the word of the Lord in order to comfort and encourage those around us. ~Many times I have been able to offer a timely scripture to my hurting child just like I might apply a band-aid to their skinned knee.~

On the other hand knowing God's word is essential for our witness to others:

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15

And that hope is the final reason we need to have scripture seared into our memory:

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5

Hope for today, hope for a future and best of all hope to overcome. Jesus described that hope in John 16:33:

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Know You Mean Well but Let Me Help You Get That Foot Out of Your Mouth....

"Honey does this make me look fat?"

How is a man supposed to answer that question? It is a trap I'm sure many men have found themselves in at one time or another.

I think you can actually tell a man's "female knowledge quotient" (FKQ) by the way he answers this loaded question. FKQ does not necessarily equal "relationship experience", but knowing how to handle this question is all about how many women you have personally offended (or seen offended) by the answer.

Growing up with one brother and no sisters left my husband somewhat clueless when it came to the mind of a woman. Over the years he has been known to say things like:

"You could have a great body if you worked out" or "are you sure you want to eat that?" and I love the classic "be careful" (usually accompanied by a wink) as I am about to indulge in some calorie laden bliss.

The only reason I am not a widow today is because when he made these comments he wasn't being cruel but (in a twisted way) he believed he was truly thinking of my best interest. In fact, he claims he was giving me a compliment and providing friendly support. Hard to understand I know but I try to give him the benefeit of the doubt.

I remember Christmas of 1996 very well because I had just found out I was expecting our 5th baby. About a week before Christmas my dear husband placed a large wrapped gift under the tree for me. I was so excited to see such a big box. Ususally he doesn't even shop until Christmas Eve so I knew this had to be special.

A few days later I was shopping at Walmart and I saw a box that was similar in shape and size to the gift under the tree. But surely there was no way my dear husband would have bought his newly pregnant wife an AB Roller! Funny how when I mentioned my crazy thought to him (and how insulting it would be) the gift under the tree mysteriously disappeared.

I don't remember what I got for christmas that year but I do remember that after the baby was born and I was trying to get back in shape I bought an AB Roller for myself.

My husband may be slow but he is not stupid and I think he has finally come to the conclusion that if he keeps his mouth shut he cannot put his foot in it. I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Now who will answer the "fat question" for me?

DISCLAIMER: (I do want to make it clear that I don't think I am really FAT but I also don't want to make a fool of myself by choosing clothes that don't fit right. Is there anything worse than thinking you look great and then seeing a picture of yourself only to realize you look ridiculous? And besides 70+ months of pregnancy has left me a little hyper-sensitive when it comes to my battle with bulges!!)

So who can I ask, "Honey does this make me look fat?"

--I could ask my little girls who don't yet know what "Fat" is and I certainly don't want to set off any eating disorders.

--I could ask my teenage daughter who is rail thin and thinks she looks fat so I am sure I must look like a double wide trailer in her eyes!

--I could ask my teenage son who has grown up with 5 sisters and has more "female knowledge" than most men twice his age (this kid is smooooth!)

Anyway, as I was packing to go on the cruise with my husband last month I came up with a great solution. I couldn't decide between 3 dresses to take for "formal night" so I tried all of them on and had my girls take my picture. Now I could see for myself whether or not I looked fat.......

Much to my surprise all 3 of them looked pretty good and since none of us could agree on which one we liked best I decided to take my two favorites.

SO there you have it, another use for your digital camera. Never again will the men in your life have to answer the dreaded "does it make me look fat" question.

Of course these pictures did make me realize a couple of other things:
1) how badly my bathroom needs a makeover.
2) I need to look for more opportunities to dress up (perhaps more vacations????)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The "Celebrity House Warming Party"....

Now where was I???

Oh yes, my daughter was having a party......
After moving in to her new place she and her roomies had spent weeks preparing the house and deciding who to invite. Now the "big night" had finally arrived.
Lauren (left) has known Andrea (right) since 2nd grade. Nathan is a friend of both of them! Can somebody cue the Three's Company theme song???

Unfortunately I had spent the better part of that day battling a headache and upset stomach. By 8:30 I was feeling better but by then I was tired, weak and ready for a good night's rest. I was in my jammies and ready to read myself to sleep. You know one of the advantages of age is that you are no longer expected to "Dance the Night Away" just because it's the weekend.

Of course no one has told my daughter that. She was calling every hour to see if I was well enough to come and make an appearance. Finally I was so riddled with guilt that I couldn't take it any longer.

But before we could go we had to come up with costumes because this was a celebrity look alike party! Who could we be? We enlisted the help of our (at home on a Saturday night because she is grounded) 16 yr. old daughter and this is what she came up with..........

In case you don't immediately recognize us let me give you another hint......

Still don't know?

It's the Kardashian's and Bruce Jenner of course!! (Actually the only thing about me that resembles Kris Kardashian is my initials, KK)

What? You've never heard of them?

Well neither had I until I had teenage girls. Just another one of those blessings you sometimes forget to count, HA!

Seriously, why would I need reality TV?....

---Here I am, barely recovered from the stomach flu and dressed as some woman I have never heard of, with a husband who is waaay too excited about being Bruce Jenner!

Oh, and did I mention that we were twice as old as anyone else at that party? One girl was wearing a tiara so I asked if she was Princess Diana. She gave me a blank look and said, "she must have been before my time". I felt a little better when she told me she was Audrey Hepburn and I could say, "she was before my time!"

Finally, after an hour of being introduced to my daughter's new friends and reconnecting with the ones I remember from her middle school years, my husband and I had enough of being the only "Mr. and Mrs." at the party. It was kind of like when you take your baby out and people gawk over it for awhile but eventually lose interest and move on --- the novelty of the "old people" had worn off.

By 10:30, when I was finally back in my jammies and turning out the lights, I found myself thanking God for giving me such a special relationship with this beautiful woman who has turned out to be not only my daughter but also my friend!