Saturday, July 29, 2006

Places I've Been

Here is a sampling of some of the places I've been this week; I hope these blogs are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

Number one on my list is a fantastic Tip Of The Week on A Place For The God Hungry. I love suggestions like the one mentioned in this post because it pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Number two on my list is Swank Mom...again...because today is the 2006 Blog-a-thon! Starting at 9:00am this morning SW will be blogging every 30 minutes to benefit La Leche League. Stop by and give her encouragement as she sacrifices her day for a good cause.

Number three on my list depends on YOU - tell me....where have YOU been this week?

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Where have you been this week?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bloggity Tour of Homes

I’ve had many homes in my lifetime … actually fifteen in all. I’ve lived in everything from a 300 square foot apartment that I shared with my husband to a 9,000 square foot villa that I shared with 30 students. I’ve “squatted”, I’ve borrowed, I’ve rented, I’ve bought, and I’ve even lost (our home burned down when I was 12). If I’ve learned anything over the last 3 decades it is that any “place” can be home, as long as it is full of people that you love. Today I am participating in an online Tour of Homes, as hosted by BooMama, because I believe community is important and the community of Christian Women Bloggers is still growing and needs all the support it can get and because I believe that "home" is important. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about what your home looks like, or where you live, but how you live and what you do with your home space. As we aspire to become Proverbs 31 women, there is much to be learned from other women on the same journey.

Finally a tour of our humble abode, as represented by the five photos captured by all of the tour participants. Come on in, kick off your shoes and pour yourself a big ol' glass of sweet ice tea. The first stop on the tour is at my front door ... it isn't much to look at, the peep hole is too high, the lock sticks, and the doorbell doesn't work but it is the gateway to our home and the door is simple, solid and strong - everything you want in a front door.

The second photo on my tour is of the place where I do my blog writing. Working in the ever changing field of technology only feeds my love of "furniture with a history" and I absolutely love my antique writing desk (complete with the Diet DP necessary for late night blogging). Other beloved treasures in this desk include my Bible, the Daily Light, my Book of Love (more on this in a later post), my seashell collection, and my hidden stash of peppermints. The chair that I sit in belonged to my great grandmother and is one of a set (the other chairs are distributed to various family members) it creaks and groans when sat upon but it is so special to me.

The third photo on my tour is of our main living area; the area where our family hangs out. I love this room because every piece of furniture has a story, the walls were finished by our loved ones when I was too pregnant to help remodel and the beautiful shelves were built by my dad. We love the fire place and during the winter this is the coziest room in the house.

The fourth photo on my tour is of our kitchen, the place where our little family is nourished every day. When we first bought our home, this room was not among my favorites, but as I've grown as a cook and as a homemaker this room has become one of my favorites. I love the hodgepodge of furniture and kitchen utensils that are housed in this room and love all of the new kitchen gadgets we discover as we try new recipes.

Last stop on my tour is our little man's room. I love this room because my husband and I picked each item with love and care as we awaited for his arrival. The beautiful quilt on the wall was handsewn by my mother and given to my newborn son on Christmas Day, just two days after his birth. During my pregnancy I spent many an hour rocking in the glider, hand on belly, praying for my little-boy-to-be. This room is my first stop in the morning and there is nothing better than seeing those little peepers looking out at me over the railing.

Thanks for stopping by our humble abode and be sure to leave some love so we know you stopped by (no one likes strangers snooping through their houses!). How do you aspire to become a Proverbs 31 woman?

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls

She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Selected text from Proverbs 31

Your thoughts?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Extraordinary News

This week's edition of Extraordinary News features the story of a homeless man who discovered $21K in U.S. bonds and returned them to the owner. I've pointed to a story similar to this before but the difference between this story and the first is the life situation of the person who discovered the "treasure". What character!

To read this story as reported by ABC news, visit Man Finds $21k In Bonds, Gets $100 Reward.

He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil. This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuce will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.
Isaiah 33:15-16

Your thoughts?


This week I had the opportunity to be a part of our church’s version of vacation Bible school, affectionately called Summer Bible Quest: VBS for the whole family. Up until this year, there had always been a separate SBQ session for the adults that ran simultaneously with the children’s program, and so I’ve never had the opportunity to see the children’s portion. This year, the Children’s Ministers decided to combine the adult and children portions to create one holistic experience for the whole family. My small group was responsible for one of the centers and spent an entire week preparing the room, skit, and craft for the kiddos. Although I wasn’t able to be a part of the center (I had responsibilities in the technology area), I had the opportunity to walk around and visit each of the centers in progress. I was overcome with the magnitude of the productions, the messages, and the teamwork but most of all I was moved by the community. To see so many people from so many different age groups and life situations working in conjunction with each other to convey one common message in the most effective way possible was completely overwhelming.

I’ve thought long and hard about the challenge of raising a man of God in a world that will work against me at every turn. I’ve thought about the relatives, friends and church members who will have an impact on the man he will become. It was just two months ago that my husband and I had the privilege to be a part of the baby dedication ceremony at our church and while I was moved by the verbal commitment to partner with us as we raise him to be a man of God, the full weight of that vow didn’t hit me until tonight. I don't know if I'll get the chance to reap the fruit of the seeds sowed in my son's life, I just pray that the decisions we make will bring forth blessing.

"Remind me of this with every decision.
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I will never know."
Sara Groves, Generations

I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 15:14

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In His Presence

The other day I had lunch with an old friend that I typically only see once or twice a year. As I drove away after the long afternoon, I laughed to myself as I recalled our silly conversations and smiled as I recalled the serious ones. The more I thought about the afternoon, the more I became aware of how peaceful I felt as I recognized how truly special it is to commune with someone who is regularly in the presence of God.

I can’t help but wonder what it was like to commune with Adam after a walk with God, Moses after returning from being in the presence of God or Elijah after being refreshed by God on Mt. Sinai? It occurred to me that although there is tremendous blessing from being with someone who intimately knows God, there is infinitely more blessing from communing with God himself. I am reminded of a song that I consider one of the most beautiful songs ever written when I ask, “How do you commune with God?”

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses,
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
and the Joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing,
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
and the Joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

I'd stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the Joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known...

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness.
Psalm 89:15-16

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Clean Heart, Clean Home

Growing up I shared a room with my little sister and had a really hard time keeping my room clean. My parents tried to implement all kinds of organizational devices to help us (mainly me) learn how to keep things clean, everything from window box/toy chests to floor to ceiling bookcases. It was truly amazing how quickly our room would get “destroyed” and since the majority of the offensive items were mine, I was usually the one charged with clean up. At one point my mom even bought me a book by Joy Wilt Berry about cleaning my room that contained step by step instructions. Step one: take everything on the floor and put it on your bed. Step two: pick one group of items (shoes, books, toys, etc.) and put them away. Sounds great, right? The problem was that once all of the items were piled up on the bed I was so overwhelmed by the massive pile of junk that I shut down and was unable to continue. My mom would have to come in and coach me through each group of items to put away.

I am 27 years old and I am still intimidated by “the pile” and the way with which it has grown with the arrival of my son. Most times I can’t even muster up the energy to pick up around the house, much less get into the nitty gritty and I really have a hard time doing it with a kiddo on my hip. My husband is a very neat person, is home with the baby three days a week and insists that he enjoys the housework and that I shouldn’t worry about it but I feel a great sense of responsibility to keep our house clean and make our home a safe haven…on my own. It is something I struggle with on a regular basis. Sure, it would be easier to let him do it or to hire someone else to do it but I really do feel a sense of accomplishment in doing it myself.

Just today my mother pointed me to a very grown-up “godly wife” version of the Berry book at A Clean Heart. It turns out there is a whole campaign called The Clean Heart, Clean Home Challenge. I love this challenge because it isn’t just about having a clean home but about starting with a clean heart and allowing it to spill over into your home. Check it out and download your own detailed cleaning lists and join the 52-Day Clean Heart, Clean Home Challenge.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Your thoughts?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Places I've Been

Here is a sampling of some of the places I've been this week; I hope these blogs are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

Number one on my list this week is the 2006 Blog-a-thon. On July 29, hundreds of bloggers from around the world will put their endurance to the test for charity, blogging every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight. This is the Sixth Annual International Blogathon, an event that creates a worldwide community for a day, raising tens of thousands of dollars for charity. Bloggers choose the charity and collect sponsorships and I have chosen to sponsor Swank Mom who will be blogging for La Leche League.

Number two on my list is a very poignant post entitled I Just Trust Him by Rocks In My Dryer about having faith like little children.

Number three on my list is a post about something we could all use a reminders on ... using our "filters". Check out the CWO Thursday feature called Do You Need A Tune Up? at Snapshot.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Where have you been this week?

Friday, July 21, 2006


Those of you who know me, know that I can be very sarcastic. I get it honestly; my whole family is sarcastic and love to tease each other about any and everything. There are definitely times when sarcasm is appropriate and times when it is not and during those times when it is not appropriate, I am learning to keep my sarcastic thoughts to myself. It doesn’t always happen that way, but I am a work in progress.

Just the other night while hanging out at my parent’s house, another family member and I had a miscommunication in which a sarcastic comment was made to me and I snapped right back. After the second round, I stopped. The comments continued in my head and it was literally an act of restraint to keep my mouth shut so I left the room in an effort to remove the temptation. I went on about my business and completely forgot about it and then later apologized to my loved one for letting my tongue get the best of me. Later on that evening, my mom pulled me aside and told me how much growth she saw in my restraint but also pointed out that I should be aware that while removing myself from the situation was a good way of handling the temptation, to an outsider it might look like I was pouting. Whoa, wait a second, pouting? Seriously? I felt totally deflated. Here I was feeling mighty proud of myself for the way I handled the situation only to find out that my actions had a completely different appearance than my intentions. Then I had to ask myself, “Was I pouting?” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I WAS pouting because what I thought had been the right course of action was not the BEST course of action. I was more concerned with being the bigger person than I was about doing what was right. I was so caught up in patting myself on the back that I didn’t even recognize my arrogance. Oh, the many ways Satan can trap us.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Mark 14:38

Your thoughts?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Two Steps Backwards

Tonight I watched from a distance as my mom played on the floor with my six-month-old son. Little man has been up on all fours trying to crawl for awhile now but just can’t figure out how to make all of his limbs work together. Despite his best efforts he only moves in one direction, backwards. So to help him work out the logistics, my mom got down on the floor with him, put a bunch of toys out in front of him and then got behind him to help him work through the steps one by one. At first she had him using opposite arms and legs but then she thought that maybe they were supposed to go simultaneously; confused she finally just moved over and crawled on her own (to figure out which one was right) and then went back to help him figure it out. Twenty minutes later he got to try it on his own and crawled…backwards, again.

I can completely relate. Sometimes, despite my best efforts I only seem to be moving backwards, away from where I want to be spiritually. At those moments when I feel frustrated and incapable I have to remind myself to refocus on the one who can perfect me in my weakness.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Your thoughts?

Extraordinary News

This week's edition of Extraordinary news features the story of a pregnant Michigan woman who ran into a burning house to save her paralyzed neighbor. My husband, a firefighter, would probably say that this story is more careless than extraordinary because what she did was incredibly dangerous (even more so pregnant) but it is extraordinary and selfless none-the-less.

To read this story as reported by ABC news, visit Pregnant Woman Saves Neighbor From Fire.

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

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Just a few weeks ago I watched my youngest sister graduate from high school; I was immensely proud of her and felt a sense of nostalgia from the whole experience. I remember high school like it yesterday (yes, I know it wasn’t that long ago but 10 years feels like a long time to me). In many ways, my classmates felt like extended family because I had been there for 13 years and essentially grown up with them. As my senior year approached I began to feel very sad at the prospect of ending that era of my life. I began my senior year with a serious attitude problem and a general disregard for anything celebratory about graduating or moving on. About halfway through the year things started to get really bad as friends began to turn on each other and the classroom bickering was at an all time high (keep in mind that most of us had attended school together since we were very, very young). I was consumed with how unhappy I was and how I couldn’t wait to get away and go off to college and be on my own. By the time second semester came around, I was so sick of the childishness that I just wanted out and wanted to get as far away from my classmates as possible. If they were going to ACU or Harding, I wanted to be on the opposite side of the country and ultimately ended up applying and being accepted into Pepperdine. By the time graduation came around I was beyond ready to be done with high school.

This past year I watched my sister go through the exact same situation with her classmates, and was reminded of the stress and tension major change can have on our lives. I talked with my mom about my sister and the stress she seemed to be under and my mom reminded me that it was God’s way of making change bearable; he was taking the comfortable and making it uncomfortable so that a change that seemed impossible only a few months before now seemed desirable. I love the quote by the once famous actress, Ruby Dee, “God, Make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear.” I am reminded of Jonah and his resistance to God’s will and wonder how has God made something uncomfortable to move you out of a comfortable situation?

"In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.

You hurled me into the deep,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.

"When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the LORD."

Jonah 2:1,3,7,9

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stuck In A Moment

About ten years ago, my siblings and I discovered something very interesting about my dad; he is unable to let a song go unfinished. You see, I come from a family of singers; at any given time you can easily find any one of us humming, singing, or harmonizing with anything from another person to a kitchen appliance. I am not kidding. It is not uncommon to be in a room as someone walks through singing a tune and while we are often inclined to jump in and join in the singing, many times we don’t even notice. My dad however, is unable to ignore the song and as soon as the person leaves he sings the rest of the line. We caught on to this and begin intentionally singing phrases and then walking out or just stopping altogether to see if he would finish the line. It became so comical that we began betting how long it would take for him to finish; we now spice up the half-sung song game by finding really annoying songs to get stuck in his head (our most successful attempt lasted three days). I really enjoyed this game up until about six months ago when really random songs popped into the back of my mind and made their way to my humming and/or singing. It took a while for me to notice but it occurred to me that my youngest sister was pulling the half-sung song trick on ME! It is true, I am my father’s daughter and I apparently am unable to leave a song unfinished. It gets worse. About two weeks ago, I was rocking my son to sleep and I started humming and then began singing the following line:

Oh, for a home with God, a place in his courts to rest;
Sure in a safe abode with Jesus and the blest;
Rest for a weary soul once redeemed by the Savior's love
Where I'll be pure and whole and live with my God above

That’s it. That is all I could remember and I had no idea where it came from so I sang it over and over again until he fell asleep. Later that afternoon as I was cleaning, it popped into my head again and I sang those same four lines over and over again. After a few days I felt like the song had taken up residence in my brain. While sitting in a staff meeting I tapped out the beat, while lying in bed I hummed and directed with my pointer finger, while taking a shower I sang, and on and on and on. This morning before church as it crept into my head again I became determined to figure out the rest of the song or at least the name of it. I searched and searched in the hymnal to no avail so I asked family members who also went straight to the hymnal without success. Finally this afternoon I “googled” the song and discovered everything I was missing; “Walking Alone At Eve”. You’d think the song would vacate my brain now…and you’d be wrong.

I have never been one who was particularly talented at scripture memory but a few years ago, a very dear friend and mentor of mine loaned me some scripture memory cds to help me develop the discipline of scripture memory. The cds took scripture and set them to music in a repetitive manner to aid in scripture memorization. I took one of the cds and listened to it while on a long drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco and while this particular set wasn’t very well made, it has been 7 years since I listened to that cd and I still recall every single scripture that I learned during the trip. For now, I choose to see this “affliction” of song as a blessing but will be visiting Forever Grateful Music and Scriptures To Go to purchase some more scripture memory cds to begin work on the next song that will be stuck in my head.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11

Your thoughts?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Places I've Been

As I continue to explore the blogosphere, I am encouraged and blessed by those on the same journey as I am. Here is a sampling of some of the places I've been this week; I hope these blogs are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

Number one on my list is my mother's brand new blog, Accentuate the Positive. I've always loved the way my mom told stories and am so excited that she is finally sharing her gift with the world. Be sure to leave her some love!

Number two on my list was an article at Christian Women Online entitled, Love, Learning and Touch by Ann Voskamp. As a mother of a little boy at the beginning of his journey to become a man of God, this article realllllly hit home. Check it out.

Number three on my list is a series of pictures, as posted on Wind Scraps, called God is Amazing. I've never seen this collection of pictures before but they really shed some light on just how big God is.

Number four on my list is a really great reflection on Paula's Walk about the impact the people in your life can have on your walk with God called Who's In Your Front Row.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Where have you been this week?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Inside Out

A few nights ago, my husband and I attended an antique auction with some friends and family members. Although this is a weekly event for our little family, it is a rare occasion that we actually purchase something. For the most part, we like the atmosphere, the excitement of the bid and the camaraderie of spending time with people we like. As auctions go, the price of an item is usually determined by the number of people interested in it or sometimes the number of antique dealers in the audience as they tend to drive the price up. On this particular night there were very few people in the audience and seemingly no dealers. We watched in awe as pieces that would normally sell for $800 or $900 were sold for $100 or $200. We had admired a couple of pieces at the beginning but didn’t bid when they came up to the block because we really didn’t need any more furniture. Towards the end of the night, when the crowd was even more vacant than before, a 9ft mirrored armoire came up on the block for auction. It was very pretty but the mirror was distorted and one of the panels appeared to be loose and very crooked. The auctioneer tried to start the bidding at $100 but no one was interested. The initial bid continued to drop until at $20 my husband said, “I have to do this,” and he bid. Hearing that someone had taken the bait, another audience member also bid, bringing the price up to $30 to which my husband bid again. The other bidder looked at the armoire, made a face, and shook her head no and I understood; it looked like it needed a lot of work, but for $40 it was a steal. We got the armoire home, unpacked it and took a good look at it for the first time, literally. My dad opened the door and said, “Oh look, the mirror is just held in place by a panel. You could easily replace this with a $10 mirror and it will look good as new.” My husband walked over and looked at the panel and noticed that it was not damaged, it had just slipped out of the groove during shipping, a small adjustment later and the armoire looked perfect and once placed in its spot in the living room was the focal point of the room.

That night as I lay in bed I started thinking about the armoire and how undesirable it had seemed from afar and how the outside appearance had almost kept me from realizing its full worth. I realized that sometimes, like the armoire, I am quick to judge people, relationships, and opportunities and as a result I never fully appreciate their value. Just like the old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” I think I need to be reminded to see other people as my heavenly Father sees them: from the inside out. But more importantly, I need to remember that my inside is more important than my outside. I wonder how different I would be if I spent as much time working on my character and my relationship with God as I did primping and pruning my outward appearance?

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
Samuel 16:7

Your thoughts?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I can only remember two times in my life when I've slept the sleep of the dead, so to speak.

The first was on a flight from New York to Africa by way of London for a mission trip. Our coordinator had recommended taking melatonin supplements to ease jet lag and help establish new sleep patterns by regulating sleep-wake cycles. What she meant was, if you want an herbal method for inducing a 12 hour coma, try melatonin. Let's just say that my team mates were not thrilled about having to drag me from one plane to another.

The second time was right after an emergency c-section to deliver my son. The anesthesiologist leaned down and said, "I'm just going to give you a little something to help you relax" and 2 hours later I woke up with no idea where I was and more rested than I have felt in 27 years.

I wouldn't say that I am an insomniac, per se, I can sleep...just not well and not for long. I usually get about 4-6 hours of sleep a night which is land marked by shifting, turning and adjusting about every 20 minutes. As I lay in bed last night, hours after my husband and son had fallen asleep, I looked over at the video monitor that shows my son sleeping in his room. For a solid hour I watched him toss and turn, grunt and groan, completely unable to rest peacefully. I suddenly felt very sad for him for of all the things he could have inherited from me, this particular affliction would be at the bottom of my list. It is sad but I've always thought of sleeplessness as an affliction until I heard a sermon by my good friend and co-worker, Tim Spivey, a few years ago called "When God Has Something To Say." In his sermon, a running dialog from a night of insomnia, he mentions that his dad once told him "If you can't sleep, pay attention because the Lord is trying to tell you something." Now, when I have one of those restless nights, instead of getting frustrated or annoyed because my husband is two hours into a deep sleep, I listen.

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings
Psalm 63:6-7

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Extraordinary News

This week's edition of Extraordinary News features the story of Kyle MacDonald, a young Montreal man, who used the power of the internet to trade up a paper clip to a house. I love this story because it is all about a dream, determination, and community.

Just think, if a man with a computer can accomplish something of this magnitude, what can we as a body of Christians accomplish with God on our side? To read this story, as reported by ABC News, visit Man Trading Up From Paper Clip To House.

"Nothing is impossible with God."
Luke 1:37

Your thoughts?

Not A Word

A couple of days ago I attended a large party with a number of friends and family members. While eating dinner, a couple of the girls at my table began talking about a mutual friend of ours who was not present. Upset about something that friend had done, these girls griped, complained, and made fun of him for about 10 minutes. I knew that some of the things they were saying were not true, yet I said nothing. The more they talked, the more worked up they got over something that never actually happened. How do I know? Unlike them, I was actually with our friend that night and knew the truth, and still I said nothing to defend our friend. Instead, I played quietly with my son and pretended like I was listening knowing that their irritation was unjust and yet I was too afraid to say anything for fear the tables would turn on me.

Looking back, I know I should have stood up for my friend and stopped the gossip and the slander in its tracks but even now, several days later, I am not sure how I could have done that without making matters worse. Have you ever been in a situation like this? How did it turn out?

He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.
Proverbs 10:18

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Five Years Down...

Today my husband and I celebrate 5 years of marriage. Like many couples, five years allows for a lot of wonderful memories, some plain-old memories, and a handful of memories that we’d like to forget.

One of my favorite memories happened in Las Vegas on our honeymoon. With barely two dimes to rub together, we decided one afternoon to make a quick stop at Arby’s before heading out to the Hoover Dam. We waited patiently at the drive through for the attendant to let us know he was ready to take our order. We waited, and waited, and waited until finally my husband said, “Is anyone there?” The attendant replied, “Uhhh yeah. Hold on” We looked at each other kind of puzzled but continued waiting. A few minutes later the attendant said, “Yeah, what do you want?” After we ordered, he said, “Ok” and that was it. We thought he was kind of unprofessional and a little short with us but we pulled up to the window. Then, we waited and waited some more. My husband leaned forward to look into the window and said, “I don’t see anyone.” I looked at my watch: 12:15. We sat and waited some more. A few minutes later we heard a siren; as it got closer we realized that a fire engine was pulling into the Arby’s parking lot. Confused, we began to look around and noticed that smoke was billowing out of the top of the building – Arby’s was on fire! We pulled forward and saw that the entire staff of employees was gathered in front of the building and boy did we feel dense! What ever possessed the employee to go ahead and take our order is beyond me, and still makes me laugh to this day but it drives home a pretty good point. To the two of us wrapped up in our post-wedding bliss we couldn’t see what was obvious to everyone around us. We were so caught up in ourselves that we couldn’t see what was plain before us.

Sometimes in life and in ministry it is easy to get caught up in ourselves or in our own life situation and miss the big things: ministry opportunities, spiritual growth, outreach moments, etc. How different would your life look if you were truly “on guard”?

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Luke 12:40
Your thoughts?

The Least Of These

Shortly after my husband and I began dating, his roommate was hospitalized for a short period of time. One night a group of people from school made a trip up to the hospital to visit his roommate and take him communion. Since Travis and I had just begun dating, I really didn’t know any of his friends and was very nervous about the trip. Once at the hospital, I could tell my presence there was not only a surprise but also very uncomfortable for both his friends and his roommate. I felt very much out of place and just as I began wishing that I hadn’t come, Travis’ friend Novita pulled me aside and began making conversation then stuck by my side for the rest of the visit. Her gesture may seem small to many but to me it meant a lot

This past weekend at my friend’s wedding, I found myself in a similar situation and after my friend left for her honeymoon I found myself in a room full of people I didn’t know with only a handful of people I knew from school. As I packed up all of my gear to head home, Novita and her new husband came over to me and invited me to come hang out with a group of people from school and spend some time catching up. I could tell my presence there was awkward at first but everyone was really nice and receptive and I ended up having a really great time.

That night I thought a lot about the day and even more about Novita and the kindness that she had shown me over the years. The first time she reached out to me meant so much to me but the fact that she did it again, almost 7 years later spoke volumes to me about her and the kind of person that she is and made me think a lot about the person that I am. Am I the kind of person who can see outside of herself and realize the needs of those around me or am I too self-involved to even see other people?

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
Matthew 25:40

Your thoughts?

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Have you ever told an amazing story only to be “one-upped” by someone else’s story only seconds later? How about offering a solution to someone only to be corrected by a know-it-all?

Recently, I received one of those emails full of personal questions that you answer and send to your friends to fill out. This particular one asked a series of questions about the sender to test my knowledge of that person. After filling it out, I sent out my own blank version to a number of my friends from over the years. The results were pretty comical, especially the variance on my middle name, but I actually learned something surprising from the results. One of the questions was “person’s most annoying habit?” and four different people from different periods of my life said that my most annoying habit was correcting other people’s grammar. I was shocked. I know I am a bit freakish about grammar (especially the misuse of IRREGARDLESS – it is NOT a word) but obviously my problem is a lot bigger than I thought it was.

In the week following that email I stopped myself from correcting grammar more than 10 times! Contemplating my need for correct grammar, I realized the issue was less about grammar and more about needing to feel important, different, and even intelligent. I believe every human being excels in SOME area of their lives but what compels us to need to be the best or to become egotistical? A good friend of mine recently said that he didn’t mind people with big egos as long as they had the stuff to back it up; I couldn’t disagree more. The people I respect most are those who have every right to have a big ego yet are clothed with humility.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2
Your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Extraordinary News

This week's edition of Extraordinary News features the story of an elderly man who discovered an unpaid ticket that had been overlooked for over 50 years and made the effort to make the debt good.

To read this story, as reported by the Boston Globe, visit Man Pays Ticket More Than 50 Years Later.

Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making.
Proverbs 16:11

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Friendly Skies

This past weekend, my infant son and I took a trip to San Jose, California to attend the wedding of a very dear friend. I've traveled with my son many times before but never alone and never with so many obstacles as I did on this trip.

We left our house 3 ½ hours early to allow for traffic and a long line at the security checkpoint; there is no way to move through that process quickly with an infant and a stroller. Nevertheless, we made it to the gate two hours early. After waiting patiently, we were allowed to pre-board with first class.

We settled in with 30 minutes to spare before our takeoff time; an hour and a half later we finally moved on to the tarmac only to back up and return to the gate to sit another 30 minutes. It appeared that one crew member was a no show, eight standby customers needed their luggage transferred, a disabled woman needed a temporary wheelchair because hers wouldn’t fit down the aisle, and finally a sick person wanted off of the plane and wouldn’t leave without his luggage.

I’ll admit I was anxious; I had held off feeding my son for more than an hour, planning to feed him during takeoff to help his ears pop. As the minutes ticked on I became more and more agitated. Looking around at my fellow passengers, I was amazed at how vocal and rude people were and how even the flight attendants seemed to be working with their last nerve; tempers and attitudes on that plane were out of control and at one point I actually thought I might witness a case of air rage. As we taxied down the runway I looked around at the other passengers, at the couple in front of me who had given three angry notes to the flight attendant to pass to the captain, the man behind me who had been griping on the phone to someone in a very loud voice for the past half hour and at the woman across from me who was already drunk and talking loudly about the flight attendants to no one in particular. I looked down at my son, the little boy without a carry-on or checked baggage allowance, without a seat or even a boarding pass, a non-passenger who was two and a half hours past his dinner time, yet cooing and playing quietly with his link-a-doos, happy and content just to have the extra time playing with mommy. A non-existent passenger by the books yet the most patient of them all and I realized how much Jesus was actually saying:

"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:2-4

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 03, 2006


A recent episode of Oprah featured “The 20 hamburgers you must have before you die.” Intrigued by this, my husband and I began to figure out how to work in these hamburgers as we travel. I am not married to the list, and I have my own personal favorites that didn’t make the list such as In and Out or Jakks, but it is a lot of fun trying the best of the best. I recently made a quick stop at Jakks for their famous cheeseburger and as I was driving away, mouth watering, unwrapped the thin paper with glee and took a gigantic bite. About 3 chews in it hit me…my mouth is on fire!!! Spewing and spitting, I clawed for my drink and gulped desperately as the pain only seemed to increase. After the pain subsided several minutes later, I opened up the burger to find out what was causing the blaze in my mouth and found my nemesis: JalapeƱos. Ok, so I am a lightweight when it comes to spicy food, but there is nothing worse than gearing up for one thing and being blindsided by something painful and unpleasant.

Working in ministry is sometimes a two headed beast; occasionally, as I am preparing for worship or looking forward to Christian fellowship, I am blindsided by someone’s thoughtless critique of my ministry or a hurtful comment about someone or something regarding the church body. Absorbing criticism, whether just or unjust, is always difficult and in those moments I feel frustrated and discouraged and confess that many times I have been so distracted by the “jalapeƱo” that I wasn’t able to enjoy the “burger” if you know what I mean. I really have two choices when someone in our church body displays a more human than godly side or dumps their anxiety on me; I can let it burn me up and keep me from enjoying my ministry or I can choose to spend some time praying for that person and hand the problem over to the Lord. May I never seek to rely on my own strength but on the strength of my Heavenly Father whose power is immeasurable.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-8

Your thoughts?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

This Little Light Of Mine

I remember a night 17 years ago when my brother, sisters and I were home with a babysitter during a particularly bad storm. Shortly after we had been put to bed the storm knocked out the power on our block and blew the skylight off the roof. The babysitter, still a teenager at the time and equally as scared as us, grabbed all 4 of us and huddled us in corner in the den. My dad, ever the amateur weather man, had felt uncomfortable about the impending storm and left briefly in the middle of a movie with my mom to come check on us. He found us all huddled in the dark, silent, scared out of our wits and unsure what to do. No one said a word as he hurried to find a flashlight and some candles to give us light and calm our fears. We sat there in silence as he amassed the candles; he lit the match and we all watched as the flame burst to life and from the back of the room we heard the sweet little singing voice of my 2-year-old sister, “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear daddy. Happy Birthday to you.” Oh the difference a little light can make. How has God’s light in your life changed your perspective?

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

Your thoughts?