Thursday, December 21, 2006
It is ALL ABOUT JESUS. From Genesis to Revelation, it is all about Jesus. What a gift to treasure and ponder these few days before we gather together to honor the Treasure-Gift from the Father's own heart to ours. XO
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
1 Peter 5:6-10
1. Humble yourself.
2. Cast your anxiety on Him, on the cross.
3. Be of sober spirit--there's evil on the prowl.
4. Resist--be firm in your faith.
5. Remember that others are experiencing the same things.
6. You will suffer for a little while.
7. Christ Himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen establish you.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I look at the incredible love, tenderness, and compassion Joseph had for Mary. No doubt he loved her, so the news that she was pg must have been heartbreaking. Betrayal. Jealousy. Rage. This is how I would've responded. Divorce her opening and enjoy her humiliation. "God got your pregnant... riiiight..."
But Joseph kept quiet. He did not want her disgrace. He was deliberate about his compassion. He took the time to plan on a secret divorce. In Matthew 1:20, it says, "While Joseph thought about these things..." He was considering them, looking at them. He was human after all. Surely he must've been suffering. But like Jesus, Joseph gave up his rights---out of love for his precious bride. What confidence Joseph must've had in who he was, in himself as a man and in the God who gave him such power, grace, and freedom to act in kindness.
It takes a supernatural love to not crush, to not shame, to not demand what is rightfully yours. He exercised mercy instead. And it must've been his character all along because it's the terrible times that bring out our true nature when everyone can see what we truly believe. Joseph must have been a man of humility and gentleness and that quiet, powerful strength. He must've practiced a life like that in a thousand moments that molded him into the man God chose to help raise His Son. A man with God's heart. He couldn't have been perfect obviously, but the Bible says nothing of any of Joseph's faults.* I find that omission highlights or spotlights what is written of him.
v. 24 says that when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel told him. He took Mary as his wife. I think he did it that same day! He didn't wait! And he kept Mary pure until she gave birth.
All that and self-control to boot.
What a man.
* There's mention of worry or being anxious in Luke 2:48 when 12 yr old Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem while everyone else left town. Jesus had been separated from his parents for 4 days by the time they found him. If worry or anxiety is a sin, a sign of mistrust, then this would be the only mention I see of something other than the golden character I read of Joseph.
Monday, December 04, 2006
I have a friend whose child is making some really bad choices. She knows she's doing things that are bad morally, logically, and spiritually, but she doesn't care. I've come to learn that Pleasure Right Now is ten times denser in weight than Possible Consequences. An ounce of PRN breaks the scale over PC every time. It's like crystal meth--gotta have it, gonna have it, don't care.
Been there, done that.
My friend said she doesn't understand why someone would keep on doing stuff that's not good, stuff that grieves God's heart and flies in the face of His deep and consistent protection and providings. I remember Woody Allen's comment on his relationship with Soon-Yi, "The heart wants what it wants." I can't count the times I've done that, wanted what I wanted because Pleasure was so much more fun or interesting or whatever than doing the right thing.
It's kind of like this computer. I restarted it, then Windows wouldn't initiate. It just stayed in that DOS state, waiting for a new set-up. I found out that when the ipod is plugged in, it causes the computer to stay in that mode, just like when a floppy is in the drive upon restart. When I am of the mindset that I am geared toward enjoying what I want, the only thing that will turn me around is the gift of the revelation of So Great a Love. Until that smacks me heart-center, I will continue to drive this truck off-road. It is that deliverance alone that can pull the ipod out and allow the divine operating system to work. As long as that interceptor is allowed to interrupt Life, I will chase my tail and think I am living and keep on missing the Real thing.
Monday, November 13, 2006
- having to go to Kelowna
- eBay nonpayments
- doing stuff wrong
- pending expenses
- Kev's temperament (more easily angered)
- my weight
Lord, help me to look at these things and see not truly anxiety causing circumstances, but as opportunities to run to You. I can take every thought captive to Your obedience if I just remember to. THANK YOU that these are not truly big things. Thank You that they are the biggest things in my life right now. I know it won't always be this way, but I won't future trip. I want to stay in the Now-here... it's the only place I experience You, and it's the absolute best place in the universe. XO
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Monday, November 06, 2006
That happens in life. You're minding your own business, doing what you do, then WHACK!!! Someone t-bones you. You didn't make a mistake, you didn't ask for it, but there it is--a mangled, mixed-up mess caused by someone else. You're a victim of someone's attempt to lie, steal, and destroy.
That sounds familiar.
While it's a common occurrence to have bad things happen to us that aren't our fault, the common reaction is to fix our eyes horizontally on the offender or the circumstances. That's where we leap off the path and start doing it all wrong. Tit for tat, eye for an eye--reactions of the flesh. Few of us have acquired the godly habit of seeing with supernatural focus--the vertical factor.
The vertical factor is seeing things as having been allowed for our benefit. It's believing that they happen not in spite of His love for us, but because of it. Absolutely everything that happens in our lives is either caused by God or allowed. That's a BA chunk o' truth to swallow if you've never considered it before, and it's thrown even committed believers into tailspins.
The Psalmist says, "All things are Thy servants." I read that years ago and I'm still working my li'l brain around it.
So Lord, You're telling me that it was OKAY with You that I was victimized? it was OKAY with You that this guy got away with that? it was OKAY with You that my life's a wreck now? That's OKAY with You...?!
[... pause ...]
My Son was victimized. You're my child too...
He didn't get away. I know exactly what to do with him.
You only think your life is a wreck. I'm in the renewal business.
This is not only okay with Me, I'm going to use it in such a grand way that it'll blow your mind!
We have conversations like this all the time. He is verrrry patient with me.
Okay, let's review:
I'm a victim on the horizontal scale. I'm in a grand design on the vertical.
I'm not okay under the circumstances horizontally. I'm a player in a grand design on the vertical.
He's clearly getting away with this on the horizontal. He is soooo not getting away with this on the vertical.
See horizontally, see the earth flat. See vertically, see Heaven on earth.
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Friday, November 03, 2006
But there's a girl on this Christian station who's announcing the news now, and she's just not very good. I start my day with this station, but when I hear her come on, I change the channel. She sounds like someone off the street trying to read a script, mispronouncing names, struggling with the rhythm of the sentence. And it's very distracting. I don't know if it's just me, but I can't hear the content if it's colored by that amateur of degree.
So I'm moved to tell the station that I regard her work as substandard and less than the professional quality I'm used to AND still maintain a sense of saying it in love. I want my words to be void of arrogance. Easy for some--for for me, not so much. Having been on the receiving end of criticism makes a sensible person less prone to invoking the scepter of criticism.
Lord, pleeease let me be truthful but gentle...
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Thursday, November 02, 2006
One of the best ways to find out what your habits are is to have a kid. They imitate like apes, and when you see yourself in that particular habit you find annoying in your child, it's like a fist to the feet. (Have you ever been hit on your feet? It REALLY hurts, and you never forget the circumstances of it, like EVER.)
"I hate that!" That's the first bad habit I picked up on when I heard it coming out of my daughter's mouth. She wasn't even two, and she was blurting out this comment a LOT. Being less like Sherlock and more like Watson, I didn't realize it was MY common statement until days later when I blurted it out. *WHAP!*
Another one was cutting people off, not letting them finish what they're saying because I'm so anxious for them to hear my profound, so very important thoughts. I picked up on this by its very absence in a close friend. I realized that she never, never, EVER interrupted people, but always let them finish their words, no matter how long it took or how very unimportant it seemed to be. Her kindness and patience were like colored flowers in a black and white picture. My interruptions, on the other hand, were like old dried out weeds--nothin' but death and noxious seeds.
While some habits aren't bad, like leaving your keys in the same place or saying thank you and please, others lack the life and encouragement I long to pour into others' lives. I'm thankful for eyes to see and ears to hear. I pray for the courage to bite the bullet when it's appropriate and allow the scalpel to lipo the excess that's unhealthy and unbeautiful for both me and the precious soul next soul I connect with...
Monday, October 23, 2006
I gathered the letters I’d saved from Uncle Al and put them in chronological order, then tied a green ribbon around them and set them on the raised counter. Pity that the earliest one I have is from 2000, unless there are others in places yet unknown or unremembered. The last is postmarked May. I must not have saved the rest. It’s only in hindsight that I realize how I might have saved them and been comforted and cheered by his words and warmth toward us. But it’s too late. I would’ve loved to have spoken to him one last time, tell him how much I love him and am grateful for his unconditional love for us, to have seen him one last time and gotten one of those enormous hugs. Kev wanted to call him on his birthday, but I didn’t want to. What a fool! Kev doesn’t insist on things like that unless there’s some good reason, a reason he probably didn’t want to share with me at the time and maybe didn’t even recognize.
Too late—two of the saddest words ever put together… Lord, I’ve wasted so much time, left great voids of zero and worthlessness in my path. Help me to love the simple things in life like Uncle Al did and to treasure family and friends and the time You grant us here. He wouldn’t want me to kick myself this way. He’d want me to say a kind word to someone, hug my kids, hold hands with Kev, to be happy and thankful. And perhaps think of him sometime in the warming colors of a fall aspen, cherish family and friends, and to raise a glass to Life…
Lord, my God, thank You for my Uncle Al. He always remembered our birthdays, our anniversary, all the holidays. He sent us real Wisconsin cheese on a regular basis. It was more than the cheese that I loved. It was the tremendous love & joy behind it. Thank You for his life, for his love for us, his love of laughter, and his zest for the simple things in life. Thank You for his consistent encouragement and the power of his generosity and thoughtfulness.
Wow, I couldn’t go on. Had a little unscheduled meltdown right there… The sound of my own sobs even sound unreal.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Day to myself, yea! Water guys just left. Kev keeps calling. I don’t like that, but it’s opportunity to die, right? Make me LIVE, Daddy, really LIVE. I don’t give You the chance to rise up and be LIFE. I manage life all by myself. It’s a barren, lifeless existence, but I stay there, supering my own days. When will I get sick enough of it all to change? The speaker at the youth conference Ryan went to said that sacrifice is giving up something in order to get a reward of greater value later and that you need to get to a point of desperation before you’re willing to sacrifice. Desperation is a pretty scary place to think of going. I keep asking for tenderness from You and to keep things just between You&me. That’s not such a desperate-sounding place.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
- Q. What are you doing today?
- I am:
- capitalizing on the leisure of this day.
o contemplating the sanctuary of that place of Him&me.
o examining my blessings.
o considering how I can bless someone else today.
o wondering at His love for me.
o asking Him to bring me to Life and to see His holiness. I want to be better than I am today. WAY better. But that’s another thread…
o listening to my new Bebo Norman cd.
o waiting for the phone calls & cards that will come (Bettie Boo…?)
o thanking Him for truly wonder-full family & friends.
o learning how to operate my new digital camera.
o rereading my birthday cards.
o reflecting on Kev's love & devotion as similar to my Abba’s.
o wishing him a very good day.
o wanting our water situation and NOW dryer fixed.
o praying for the ones He brings to mind.
o trying not to think of myself selfishly, to live in humility.
o thinking of Paula as she undergoes back surgery & remembering that today is her birthday as well.
o drinking in the faces of my children in their pictures on the stair wall, one current, one when they were little.
o enjoying the quiet, the view, the freedom.
o eager for the thing that will move me into the lane where I am journeying rightly rather than the wrongly way of now.
o letting the dogs come in the house just because.
o playing the good tapes in my mind.
o eating & drinking what sounds good (e.g., chicken salad & a vanilla latté with caramel sauce).
o puzzling over my obstinacy & dull vision.
o psyching up for work tomorrow, followed by 2 days of watching li’l Josiah.
o watching expectantly for God-hugs.
o trusting Kathy’s vacation this week is both fabulous & relaxing
o having fun with fonts by inventing names of businesses with fonts that reflect that industry, in the in between time as I compose this.
o wondering if Tina will call so I can read her this list because for once, I am ready for this question.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
This is my 2-day anniversary.
Had a hard day on Tue. Struggled and strained and prayed off & on all day. Didn’t want to talk, which probably made it no fun for Kev when we all went to town, but I just didn’t want to talk. Everything I was thinking about and feeling all made me feel bad, and to voice it out loud and hash it out made me want to throw up. So I just kept quiet and mulled things over myself. Sometimes I wouldn’t be thinking of anything, just sort of a brown-out in my brain. By the time evening came, I was ready to go to bed by 10, and with NO sleep aid.
Found out from Joan yesterday that Tue. was a high holy day for Muslims. Her own kids had a real hard day. She herself woke up feeling an oppression and couldn’t figure out why she was so depressed, so concerned, and couldn’t shake the oppression in the air. She & Mike had a big, long talk about things, but she said she must’ve prayed 100 times that day. When she told me this, it was like a personal arrow with a message to my heart. Not only had I come through that day with NO anesthetic, but Kev & I had no fights, none of us were at each other’s throats… y’know, some of the typical stuff that happens on a full moon. My God is ALL-POWERFUL!!! The enemies of our souls at work like a Superbowl event to uproot, confuse, disengage, apathize (my word), and otherwise wimp out, wipe out, and whack out the beloved of the God of Jesus. And to no avail!!! HALLELUJAH!!! Thank You, Jesus!!! Praise You, Abba Father!!!
Today I am still not the happy girl I was five years ago, but that’s all right because I know I don’t belong here. This place is not my home. But I belong to One whose Power and Love are not only bigger than the devil’s greatest plans, but small enough to touch my heart in a personal and tender way. He speaks to me in my love language and bends like a gentle giant to love on me right where I am.
I might be discouraged about my health, but there are better things to dwell on now. Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The New Century Version says, “Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want.”
Daddy, I want You. I want to know You and the power of Your resurrection—and as You will it and supply the grace to endure it—the fellowship of Your sufferings.
I am melancholy most of the time. Please direct my thoughts to someone other than ME. I am mindful that You will ask me one day, “Did you love the ones I gave you?” And I so want to be able to answer, “Yes. You helped me and reminded me and gave me the tools and the grace, so yes, I loved the ones you gave me.”
I think of Anita, who has no regrets looking back on raising her kids. She gave everything and determined to do her best with the ones you gave her.
I think of Sandy & Dan who were just graduating their third and last child from high school last year when You asked them to adopt two 5 & 6 yr old sisters. They said Yes.
I think of Joan who has the thorn of diabetes and is the victim of an unhealthy weight because of it. You asked her to love the ones You put in her path, and Lord, I have seen her do that with such embrace & experienced it from her that I am never mindful of her weight when I’m with her, but instead I enjoy the fragrance of Christ and the grace of being seen for who I will be and not what I am right now.
I think of my Ya-Yas who have been there for me these past 6 or 7 years--I can’t even remember. They’ve seen me at my worst, hoped for my best, lavished me with all their various kindnesses, and refused to let any of us resign as Ya-Yas.
Lord, thank You for Your faithful ones. They provide inspiration and example for me and who knows how many others...
Come to think of it, as I come to know the likes and dislikes of my closest friends, I consider that if they don’t like, say, a lack of eagerness in Christians to tell others about the Gospel, then since I’m that way, they don’t like that about me, and I am diminished in their eyes. That makes me want to hold back, to keep quiet about who I really am because they already don’t like that about me so I try not to give them anything more.
See how much I NEED You to direct my thoughts to someone besides ME?!
This study we’re doing on Inside Out encourages us to step out of that sin of self-protection and enter into the risk that You have allowed to come to us, for the purpose of exchanging real Life, something he calls Soul Talk. I know Cheryl is the biggest cheerleader of this study. She not only yearns for our time of being together, but the material itself is of such import because it is the message You were trying to speak to her those eight or so years ago (but she ran in fear). Lord, remind me to enter into the risk of what You allow, to be inspired by her return to you. XO
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
Everybody's down with green today. No pinching allowed. In fact, it's even a law at the middle school. Leprechauns must've created the pinching grief since it's the type of mischief that's annoying and inconvenient, but not actually full-on malicious and tragic.
I wish you the wonder and singular happiness of finding a genuine four leaf clover at least once in your life.
Oh, yeah--Go, Zags!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Someone handed me a little potted flower last night. She gave them out to a lot of a people, so it wasn't a gesture with a lot of premeditated consideration behind it, but I was still so blessed. Could be that it massaged my love language--Gifts--but I found a sweetness in receiving the modest plant all the same.
My husband left a short little note for me on the counter. I had to fix the electric fence that was obviously not working since my horse was sticking his entire head and neck through it, so I buzzed out there while they finished getting themselves off to school. I found it when I came back in, a silent testament to a love that sings out to me every single day. I put it inside my Bible.
Joey's coming back next week!!! College kids across America are going home for spring break. It's a common occurrence, nothing monumental, but for my motherheart--it's a sweet, sweet, sweet thang! I can't wait... I miss him so much. I miss his voice, his handsome face, his witty one-liners, the challenging conversations with his dad that I can't contribute to but love overhearing, the sight of him standing with his arms wide open and slightly bowed so I can just step in and be hugged. My son is coming back home. It's only for a week, and he'll be gone for a couple days of it even, but every morning he's here, I know I'll do the same thing I did every morning during Christmas break--wake up to the lovely whisper in my head, "Joey's in the house," smile, and think of what I can do to bless him that day... The sweet nearness of someone whose life you cherish... Thank You.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
My short term memory is becoming a concern, but at least for right now, I'm comforted to know that it is my soul's reflex to run to You. Perhaps in the future it is this reflex that will direct me back to Grace and Truth when my poor little memory has shrunk like a raisin.
Friday, March 10, 2006
His stay in our family came into question when he was one. We put an ad in the paper, and a family almost took him, but declined at the last minute. We even came close to shooting him ourselves when he got our purebred female pregnant so soon after her first litter! It was Joey’s pleas that saved his life. Parker became his dog after that.
I like puppy breath, but he lost his way earlier than most dogs. Bad breath—no, horrible breath—was his hallmark.
His sweetness was utterly endearing though. He truly was the sweetest thing—not a mean bone in his big ol’ body.
He’s buried with his pillow beside a beautiful creek in Newport. Slumbering away these last two years, more and more toward the end, it’s a perfect spot for such a calm—and calming—friend.
This is an excerpt from a poem my dad wrote for us.
I'm sad I have to leave you,
But so glad I was your friend,
You all loved and made me special,
I was happy to the end
My pain became a measure,
telling me it's time to go,
I feel thepain of leaving,
But I know that you do too.
I still find long blonde hairs on the rug from his tail. At first it made me bawl, but now I smile and reflect on the love and devotion he showed me. such unconditional love... We can’t be touched by that without being changed in at least some small way. There’s an eternalness about that kind of love.
d – o - g
G – o – d
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I tell you that your sweet, sweet song makes my heart swell and soar and worship in spirit and truth... May you be blessed in your deeps as I have been.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
"May the Words of My Mouth"
By Tim Hughes
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
Bless Your name, bless Your name, Jesus
And the deeds of the day and the truth in my ways
Speak of You, speak of You, Jesus
For this is what I'm glad to do
It's time to live a life of love that pleases You
And I will give my all to You
Surrender everything I have and follow You
I'll follow You
Lord, will You be my vision, Lord, will You be my guide
Be my hope, be my light and the way
And I'll look not for riches, nor praises on earth
Only You'll be the first of my heart
I will follow
I will follow
I will follow You
/ / \
/ / \
\ \ /
\\ / /
\ \ -//
Happy Valentine's Day, Lord... XO
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Q. Is the determination to follow a certain path given to us as a gift, or is it the result of our own choice?
"A blend of both" doesn't do it for me. (That's always my husband's answer--a blend of every factor.) One friend said the bottom line of my lack of determination is that I fear my own unwillingness to change. At the time it sounded reasonable. Not anymore.
As I look back, healthy changes in my behavior have resulted from a profound revelation that rocked me to my deeps. The resulting change or adjustment in belief was catalyst for behavior change. We do what we believe, and believe me, that speaks way louder than just saying what we believe.
Since God is ultimate guardian of my circumstances, He has allowed and disallowed in accordance with His plan for my life. I can rearrange the deck chairs all I want, but this ship is on a course set by the Captain. (Most days I’m glad of that.) The experiences that moved me toward healthy change were His arrangement, brought about for His glory to be seen through my life. I am compelled by His love. The joy and fulfillment that arise from these epic moments aren’t something I choose—they just come. If I want to want a totally surrendered life, I need motivation and vision, the kind that come from a deeps-rocking epiphany. I believe that God gifted William Wallace with a deeps-rooted determination to do what was right. Along with that gift came a Niagara of courage, strength, and heart—enough to change mere men into warriors and free an entire country.
I want the country of my own soul freed, and I cannot make myself decide to be free. I need help. I need the gift of a revelation, the kind that can only come from the One whose other worldly Love transcends my humanness, surpasses the strength of my flesh, and empowers my soul to live life as He meant me to—free, unself-conscious, with joy spilling up and over into other needy lives.
That’s the way it seems to me today. If my friend who has the tendency to overinfluence me has another go at it, I could be writing an addendum later.
Maybe I might pray as well for a spiritual spine of steel instead of the aluminum foil I have now...
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
I just found out that someone I've been friends with for two years spent a lot of time wondering if I liked her. It all made sense when I heard that because she's called to apologize on several occasions for comments she made to me that might have been gossip, and since gossiping is not an admirable or godly trait, she called to say she was sorry. The last time she did that she added, "... because I didn't want you to not like me." I was so taken aback by that because I knew that if I were to let go and gush about how deeply I respect and admire and enjoy her, she'd probably wave me off and walk away in unbelief.
I don't think her insecurity came from something I said or did. I think that came about on her part. But she's so cute, fit, talented, educated--she's an engineer, a substitute teacher, a home schooler, and a consistent volunteer at a soup kitchen. I always thought of her as humble, selfless, hard-working, and of such golden character. If she knew how highly I thought of her, perhaps she might have one less insecurity in her life.
Now that I think of it, I remember one author (I think it's Hannah Whitall Smith) saying that the enemy of our souls doesn't care what we occupy ourselves with as long as it's not Christ. It can be a seemingly valuable ministry, the unplanned pregnancy of a daughter, a preoccupation with personal finances, or frequent thoughts of how well or how poorly we come across to others. Makes no difference to him--it all misses the mark, and that's his joy.
John the Baptist comes to mind. He doesn't seem like someone who struggled with insecurity. In fact, he seems like one of the most settled people I've ever heard of. He dressed like a caveman, ate honey & hoppers (and yuck--I don't care HOW sweet they are), and was all for the crowds switching allegiance from him to his cousin. Look at where his focus always was. And check out what Jesus said about him (Matt. 11:11)!
I want to be completely insecure about my flesh and as equally secure about the One on whom I am totally dependent. Focus our focus, Lord.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
This an explanation for my blog name:
Civil = Sufficiently observing or befitting accepted social usages; not rude, as in a civil reply.
Caterwaul = To cry or screech like a cat in heat; to make a shrill, discordant sound; to have a noisy argument.
There are a lot of discussions and even heated arguments in the committee in my head, so this name is a stab at finding a fitting description of those conversations. Let there be words, questions, emotions, honesty, and discord in the name of finding some answers, but let us not be rude or brutal. Everyone's fighting a battle--why be mean...