Sunday, January 31, 2010


Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

Grace, it's a name for a girl
It's also a thought that changed the world

And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness in everything

Grace, she's got the walk
Not on a ramp or on chalk
She's got the time to talk
She travels outside of karma, karma
She travels outside of karma

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace, she carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips between her fingertips
She carries a pearl in perfect condition
What once was hurt, what once was friction
What left a mark no longer stains
Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty in everything
Grace finds goodness in everything

- U2

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Interrupted by God

"We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. we may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps - reading the Bible." D. Bonhoeffer, Life Together

What do you think? How can we know an interruption is by God? Are all interruptions by God? It's interesting to think of, especially as a mom to 3 kids, where I know that oftentimes my agenda and plans are interrupted by them, and for good reason. They truly are important and truly are from God.

Still, things must get done and I struggle with knowing if there's a balance and what that is.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do Not Ignore

"Do you wish to honour the body of Christ? Do not ignore him when he is naked? Do not pay him homage in the temple clad in silk, only then to neglect him outside where he is cold and ill-clad? He who said:"This is my body" is the same who said: "You saw me hungry and you gave me no food," and whatever you did to the least of my brothers you did also to me. What good is it if the Eucharistic table is overloaded with golden chalices when your brother is dying of hunger? Start by satisfying his hunger and then with what is left you may adorn the altar as well. -John Chrysostom
(quote from 3rd century)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Habit of Happiness

I was trying to make room in my overcrowded bookcase and thought I'd purge a few books that I did not love or those that I had bought but never gotten around to reading. I have a hard time getting rid of books; to me, every book has value. Of course, this may not be true but even ones that I disagree with at times have been beneficial.

Some books are too "women" oriented and I don't view myself super girly and all that. (I suppose this is one area I'd do well in trying a bit harder at) So, the easiest ways to purge a book is to look and see if it has "women' in the title.

Have you noticed that most books created for women are almost like a "lite" version of the real thing? I'd rather just read the real thing!

Yet I do see the value to addressing women's issues and seeing things more in that realm. Truly, there is a difference between man and women. I know this. It's quite evident yet it bothers me when things are just dumbed down and marketed to women in more digestible, easier to read ways.

Of course, not all books are like that. Some are just truly addressing the things that women go through. Like being a mother. I often forget that is my God given role and it's utterly important.

So, one of the books I almost purged what Elizabeth George's A Woman After God's Own Heart. I daresay if I read this book I just might hate it, but only because I fall so short of it.

As I pondered getting rid of it, I opened it up and my eyes fell on this phrase: Habit of Happiness. And it's a choice. Its work. It's prayer. It's not just a feeling, it's something cultivated and sought after.

Often I think that it's not true happiness if I have to work and will my way to it but perhaps I'm wrong?

I've posted a few days ago about rediscovering joy, about amazing grace and now I'm being stretched to realize a bit more. I think that one of the reasons I struggle with forgiveness/grace is because I expect much. I know we are supposed to give expecting nothing but I find that hard to do! If I search deep enough, my actions, words all have a motive that usually centers around me.

In Elizabeth George's book she writes that a heart that gives is required of us. We are servant and goes on to say that we should have a heart that is giving, generous, expecting nothing in return and a heart of fun.

The bad thing about books like this is that in the end, I'm just trying to go through a checklist, and I fail. I fail so badly! I'm not saying I shouldn't even try; I know I should try and my life will be blessed for doing these things, being a good wife and mother, friend etc. yet sometimes I think I'm missing something. What is the balance of doing things, being obedient and doing things out of love for the Lord?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Amazing Grace

A long time ago, when I was in high school my church chose to do a musical called HiTops for our drama team. In jr.high I was a part of a smaller team but high school's team was much larger. HiTops was set in your average high school except 3 angels were sent to be students and help out. I can't recall all the plot because my scenes primarily were with one other person; I wasn't in many "all cast" scenes. Originally I was cast as the valley girl and I wanted to be the nerd, so my friend and I switched. I'm confident I got the better role because this nerd, named, Grace, "Amazing Grace" was really quite a character! I fell in love with her. Our drama leader wasn't too thrilled with our switching roles but once he saw both of us play the part, he was fine with it. At one point my friend wanted her nerd role back because they cut nearly all her scenes but by then I WAS Grace; there was no replacing me.

Let me tell you about Grace; Grace was an angel and a really good angel, but when I was sent to earth I wasn't accustomed to it and was quite a klutz. I was tripping over everything, trying to get used to such a strange environment..... and I was lonely. I tried to make friends, but nothing seemed to be working. Sadly, I turned to put my books in my locker and one of my books dropped onto the head of the most handsome human I'd ever met. It was nerd love at first sight, and we gazed into each others eyes and burst out into a love song. He was just like me: A bit klutzy, trying to fit in and really sweet. We even held hands, er, pinky fingers.

I wore a plaid skirt, black leggings, plaid HiTops, a green striped shirt and nerd glasses. My hair was up in pigtails and I twirled them when I was nervous, which basically was all the time. My laugh was unmistakable and a bit like a machine gun. I was just a classic, hopeless nerd.

Can I say I loved being Grace?

Though I was "Amazing Grace" I failed to show much grace to my fellow cast members. Because my scenes only included my fellow nerd love interest, Norman J. PItts, and we were nerds and fairly accomplished actors and figured out our lines, stage directions easily. The dance moves that took others so long to learn was easy for us: We were nerds so there was a lot of leeway in how bad we performed our dance steps! Because of this, I was required to attend rehearsals but week after week I just sat in the pew watching my friends go through their lines/choreography over and over again.

I say all this because even though I played the role of Grace I struggle with this concept of grace. I'm strangely drawn to truth, expect much of myself and others. I know that grace is important and a huge component of the Christian faith. It's interesting because one of my favorite musicals in Les Miserables and the part where the bishop gives Valjean the silver instead of sending him back to jail for his wrongdoing brings me to tears every time. Grace is so sweet and yet I struggle with it greatly.

What about you? Does grace come easily for you?

Last year I was loaned a wonderful book by Philip Yancey called What's So Amazing About Grace? . I think this is a book I need to read annually.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wild Mustard

The forecast is dreary: Wet and windy weather for the next week, if not longer. Although the news predicts torrential rain, in my experience around here the rain is punctuated by clearing. Today was the first day of the storm but by the early afternoon it did indeed lighten up.

Normally I'm pretty protective of my camera yet that doesn't stop me from taking it to hostile places and situations: the beach, the rain, etc, especially these days because I secretly would LOVE to upgrade to a Canon 5d.

Still, I waited until the rain eased up a bit before piling the kids in the car and ransacked Katie's closet for a fun dress to wear. I chose an apron dress that is funky and fun, especially with frog rainboots. It was a hard decision: Ladybug rainboots or frogs? I let her choose. Looking back I think the ladybug ones would've been a better choice.

I loaded the car up with a chair, doll, and bear and a few other props and soon we were at the field. It's a beautiful field sandwiched between a newly constructed building and another construction site. I've seen it for months now, watching the vibrant yellow mustard flowers grow amid what looks like remnants of an old orchard. I keep thinking that it's just a matter of time before this field is razed.

Of course, as soon as we arrived my boys pointed out that it was raining. It was but not too bad. I grabbed the chair and my camera, then started trudging through the field. It was VERY muddy! Such a beautiful setting, with even, overcast lighting with an occasional ray of sun. Within 30 minutes I had filled my CF card with over 300 photos, then realized that my kids were so very muddy! I was happy though because the photos seemed really fun and I couldn't wait to get home to play with them.

I wish now I'd have been able to take more photos! It was just a beautiful, perfect day. I'm going back tomorrow. Truly, I am so smitten by vast fields of mustard flowers. I look forward to the spring every year just so I can enjoy the photo opportunity in such wonderful flowers.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Proverbs 17

Proverbs 17

1 Better a dry crust eaten in peace
than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.

2 A wise servant will rule over the master’s disgraceful son
and will share the inheritance of the master’s children.

3 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.

4 Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip;
liars pay close attention to slander.

5 Those who mock the poor insult their Maker;
those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished.

6 Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged;
parents[a] are the pride of their children.

7 Eloquent words are not fitting for a fool;
even less are lies fitting for a ruler.

8 A bribe is like a lucky charm;
whoever gives one will prosper!

9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
but dwelling on it separates close friends.

10 A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding
than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.

11 Evil people are eager for rebellion,
but they will be severely punished.

12 It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.

13 If you repay good with evil,
evil will never leave your house.

14 Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate,
so stop before a dispute breaks out.

15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
both are detestable to the Lord.

16 It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool,
since he has no heart for learning.

17 A friend is always loyal,
and a brother is born to help in time of need.

18 It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt
or put up security for a friend.

19 Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin;
anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster.

20 The crooked heart will not prosper;
the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.

21 It is painful to be the parent of a fool;
there is no joy for the father of a rebel.

22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

23 The wicked take secret bribes
to pervert the course of justice.

24 Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

25 Foolish children bring grief to their father
and bitterness to the one who gave them birth.

26 It is wrong to punish the godly for being good
or to flog leaders for being honest.

27 A truly wise person uses few words;
a person with understanding is even-tempered.

28 Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What is Poverty?

Perhaps you are like me. You want to help but hear warnings about not giving to the homeless guy on the street corner because they'll just buy alcohol. Or drugs. Yet to do nothing seems wrong too. Perhaps you want to give but be assured that it's being used in the best possible way. Perhaps it's easy in the area I live in to think that those that are homeless or poor are "deserving' of their plight and it's best to send money overseas to the people that are truly poor and don't deserve the poverty they were born in.

I've been faced with many questions this week as I pray for my church family in Togo, Africa, visiting our Compassion International sponsor children. They finally were able to send a tweet and a blog from there and it sounds like they are having an amazing time. You can read my pastor's blog HERE and in the next few days I'm sure my friend MAXINE will also post on her blog as well. I'm excited to read their accounts of what God is doing in the country of Togo.

When I'm faced with many questions I tend to want to ask someone that I think has all the answers. Unfortunately, I can be very annoying by asking my questions. I also read books on the subject but the books generally just fuel more questions! Which in turn makes me more annoying as I search and ask for answers to my questions.

In my search on what is poverty and what I can do about it, I have just started reading a book called When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself. I'm only on the second chapter but it's been very insightful and, like I said, fuels me with more questions (so far) than answers.

I could go and address this but instead I want to ask you a few questions that the book posed at the end of chapter 1.

* Why did Jesus come to earth?

* What is the primary task of the church?

* What do you think is poverty?

I'd love to hear your answers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Enough is Enough?

Have you been praying?

This week I've had so much to pray for. Of course, I have been praying for my church friends that are currently in Togo, West Africa. I hope you've also been praying for them. I've heard not a peep from them: not a single tweet, Facebook update, or blog post so I'm assuming that all is well and they either have little or no internet access or are just incredibly busy. I've also been praying for the people of Haiti, friends in my church, surgeries, illness, difficulties, etc. This may sound like I'm a "prayer warrior" but I assure you I'm not! Just a normal, everyday Christian.

I think too much; I know I do. I've a million thoughts and questions in my head but the biggest right now is how our sponsor child, Ayoko, is enjoying my friend's visit.

Before they went, my kids and I filled up a pretty sizable "goodie bag" with all sorts of things: bubbles, candy, 2 baby dolls, stickers, balls, hair clips clothes, coloring books, crayons, a magna-doodle, toothpaste and toothbrush, books..... all sorts of things. Katie was the most enthusiastic; drawing picture after picture for her newest best friend. We also tucked away a photo album filled with my 3 kids photos, drawings and notes. It was truly a highlight for them as they carefully wrote out what they wanted to say to Ayoko.

There's a part of me that would love to know if she smiled at the bag that was so lovingly prepared by my kids. If she loved the baby dolls as much as Katie enjoyed selecting them and packaging. them. There's a part of me that wishes I could be a part of it all.

Of course, I'm thrilled that my family sponsors a child in Africa and delights so much in both receiving and writing to her. It has impacted my family and my life, and I hope it is impacting hers as well. I'm sure it is. I do struggle with questions about short term mission trips and it's why I am happy that my church is planning on having a long term relationship with our sponsor children in Togo.

Sometimes I wonder if sending money once a month is "enough"..... enough of a sacrifice, enough of an impact. Yet I so wonder if visiting them for a week also is "enough."

I've no answer in this regard but I do think that doing nothing is way worse than struggling with the questions of what is "enough." So, while I wrestle with my own thoughts on poverty, I'm happy to be involved by sponsoring a child through Compassion International and I encourage you to do so also. Today I've added a Compassion International banner to the right side of my blog. I encourage you to click on it and begin your own journey and delight in sponsoring a child or two.

My friends come back from Togo on Sunday. Please continue to pray for them, pray for Togo..... for the other places in the world that needs your prayers, support and compassion.

(the photo is my darling niece; she's half Cameroonian. I took this photo during Thanksgiving. Isn't she beautiful?)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Many of my friends know this: I love the internet, love my mac, love all this stuff. I enjoy reading blogs, discovering new points of view, new books to read, things to contemplate on. I know it's a bit of a waste of time yet I just love it. There's so much insight, things to glean from the internet and in some ways I also enjoy writing out my own thoughts.

Lately though, I've not been very happy with my own thoughts. Yet still I persist in writing.

I truly read too much; too many books, blogs, magazines, even cereal boxes. I'm not sure it's a good thing because I know that there are other responsibilities that I ignore so I can read a book instead. (it's not a good thing)

Yet most people think it's so good and wonderful that I read so much. (not so much the constantly being online, of course, but what's really the difference?)

How about you? Do you enjoy something that seems to others as a good indulgence but perhaps it's not so wonderful?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Coded Messages

I've finally embarked on reading The Fellowship of the Ring, volume one in J.R.R.Tolkien's Lord of the Rings "trilogy" that isn't really a trilogy. (yes, I read the forward by the author) Even the forward was fascinating reading and I was impressed by the brilliance of writing and the mind behind this story as I realized what an imagination he has! To create a whole world, even language, for the pleasure and amusement of others. Actually, the language he created was for his own personal pleasure. It's really fascinating.

Yes, I'm in awe. I read a different book a few weeks ago called Why Johnny Can't Preach. In it, he cites a huge reason why most pastors cannot preach is because they, and many in our society, can't read text. He then went on to explain the differences of reading for information and reading a text; uncovering the style of writing, basically, getting the most out of a book. I personally call this "feasting". Some books are meant to "feast", meaning glean such enjoyment out of it you just can't get enough, so you re-read it and find you see things missed and delight in the brilliance of the author. Though I hadn't read it, I was convinced LOTR (Lord of the Rings) was like that: Meant to delight in.

I can't yet comment much on the book, as I'm only in the first bit. I've been warned that it won't be until the 3rd or 4th chapter where I am utterly and completely drawn in. Already, I'm enjoying it (but amazed at the immense world Tolkien has created)

I've always loved to read, but don't consider myself "truly" creative. The other day I received a facebook message from an old friend who said I was "always so creative." Was I? I'm not sure.

I do admit I have always been strange. I enjoyed so much growing up. I had so many interests. I collected rocks and had a rock collection. I grew plants. I loved experiments. I started secret clubs and wrote a "theme song" for it. I tried to create my own code, but it's not really fun to create a code if no one else is dedicated in learning it, but I was fascinated by codes and cyphers, reading books on the subject.

I think that's why I'm fascinated already by Tolkien, since he created his own language; not a code but a complete language, and did it for his own pleasure. Wow.

It's a long story but in high school I was part of a drama team that was rehearsing to do a musical. I was a little angel nerd, and all my scenes were with another nerd. (love story of the nerds!) My fellow nerd was a guy who was older than me, out of high school. Our scenes were fun and effortless. We learned our lines quickly, and since we were nerds had a lot of leeway on how we should act. We both enjoyed our roles and it showed. Subsequently, our scenes were considered unnecessary to rehearse for the whole group. The more difficult scenes were with more people or ones with more choreography, and as such they were rehearsed constantly, which left me sitting in a pew (we had real pews back then) bored and complaining to my youth pastor. (some things never change!)

In response to my complaints, my pastor took a tithe card, and jotted on the back a short note in code, and handed it back to me. He thought it would keep me busy. It certainly did! I worked on it during rehearsal, during evening church service, and through many of my classes at school the first half of the week. It turned out to be a simple substitution of characters for letters, but with a confusing twist that took me a little longer to catch on. Of course, I did figure it out and promptly wrote my youth pastor a note back in his own code. I continued to write in code, later also inviting a friend to join in with me, so I wrote quite a bit in code to either Alicia or Pastor Rick. Alicia and I especially wrote in code, all the time, and now and then I'd write a note to Pastor Rick who said that we'd developed our own "dialect" of his code. All I know is it was fun.

Fast forward to today: I still write fluent code, only I have no one to write in code too. In fact, it simply at times annoys my husband, as to keep up my "skill" I at times will write my notes in church in code. (I know I am very strange!) I guess it excludes rather than includes. Still, I enjoy this little exercise of writing in code. I think I've been writing in this code for 23 years. I need to ask Alicia if she can still write it.

Sometimes I feel like I'm still a kid, haven't quite grown up yet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Labors of Righteousness

Proverbs 10

1 The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise child[a] brings joy to a father;
a foolish child brings grief to a mother.

2 Tainted wealth has no lasting value,
but right living can save your life.

3 The Lord will not let the godly go hungry,
but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked.

4 Lazy people are soon poor;
hard workers get rich.

5 A wise youth harvests in the summer,
but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.

6 The godly are showered with blessings;
the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.

7 We have happy memories of the godly,
but the name of a wicked person rots away.

8 The wise are glad to be instructed,
but babbling fools fall flat on their faces.

9 People with integrity walk safely,
but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.

10 People who wink at wrong cause trouble,
but a bold reproof promotes peace.[b]

11 The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain;
the words of the wicked conceal violent intentions.

12 Hatred stirs up quarrels,
but love makes up for all offenses.

13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding,
but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.

14 Wise people treasure knowledge,
but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.

15 The wealth of the rich is their fortress;
the poverty of the poor is their destruction.

16 The earnings of the godly enhance their lives,
but evil people squander their money on sin.

17 People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life,
but those who ignore correction will go astray.

18 Hiding hatred makes you a liar;
slandering others makes you a fool.

19 Too much talk leads to sin.
Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

20 The words of the godly are like sterling silver;
the heart of a fool is worthless.

21 The words of the godly encourage many,
but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.

22 The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.

23 Doing wrong is fun for a fool,
but living wisely brings pleasure to the sensible.

24 The fears of the wicked will be fulfilled;
the hopes of the godly will be granted.

25 When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,
but the godly have a lasting foundation.

26 Lazy people irritate their employers,
like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.

27 Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life,
but the years of the wicked are cut short.

28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness,
but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity,
but it destroys the wicked.

30 The godly will never be disturbed,
but the wicked will be removed from the land.

31 The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice,
but the tongue that deceives will be cut off.

32 The lips of the godly speak helpful words,
but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.


I have come to the conclusion that I write better on other's blog comment page than I do on my own blog. I wonder why that is? Do I like to disagree with others? But I don't always disagree with others; sometimes (rarely) I actually agree with them. So, why is it that my comments on another's blog are better?

I've no idea. Perhaps I like their topic more. Perhaps I put more thought into it. Perhaps I like to be slightly more controversial. Whatever it is, It just seems I'm more articulate, often more open, on someone else's blog than my own.

One may think it's because I'm fairly anonymous on another's blog but I also comment on 2 blogs of people that "know" me somewhat and are read by people that know me. So, I'm not sure that explains it.

It's a mystery.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Proverbs 9

1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved its seven columns.
2 She has prepared a great banquet,
mixed the wines, and set the table.
3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5 “Come, eat my food,
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
learn to use good judgment.”

7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.

10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

11 Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

Folly Calls for a Hearing

13 The woman named Folly is brash.
She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
14 She sits in her doorway
on the heights overlooking the city.
15 She calls out to men going by
who are minding their own business.
16 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
17 “Stolen water is refreshing;
food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there.
Her guests are in the depths of the grave.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Allowance for Change

It hit me today that, though I really don't like it when people dismiss me as a certain way (like being difficult), I do the same to others. In my mind, even though I try not to do it, I label them. I get an impression that they are one way and close my mind to the possibility that perhaps there is much more to them than I realize but I won't know it until I spend time with them.

But I don't pursue spending time with them because I don't think they will like me or we have anything in common. It's true that I'm strange. I can't deny it! Sometimes I do think it's kindness that keeps me from "making" people get to know me, as I've alrady determined that they won't like me.

I know that I'm changing. It's a slow change, it's painful at times yet joyful and exuberant other times. Sometimes it's all this at once. It bothers me that perhaps people won't allow me to change. In their estimation I'll always be the way I started, the way that I've disappointed them or the reasons they dismissed me. Sometimes it even takes me a while to realize I'm changing, and sometimes I even resist my own change. I'm scared of it

Sometimes I almost think I enjoy thinking I'm so strange that others can't possibly be like me. Perhaps I like being different and unique, or perhaps I just don't want to be hurt or disappointed. Actually, perhaps this is constantly changing: my reasons, desires, wants.

Regardless of me, it has come to my attention that I've been guilty of pegging someone as one way when perhaps there is much more dimension to them that I've not allowed myself to see. Perhaps I'm looking for ways to alienate myself instead of finding common grounds with others? Just a thought.

I'm faced with this today because the past few weeks I've seen a different side to a friend. It's always been there perhaps but I did not see it. Was it shown to me and I did not want to see it? Is it new? I've no idea but it's making me realize I do exactly what I dislike others doing to me: Not allowing change from initial perception to what very well may be reality that was already there, or just the fact that things, people, change and grow. We learn constantly, change constantly. I'm one that doesn't care for change but I think perhaps change, and allowance for change, is an incredible gifts in many ways.

Have you changed? Do you allow for change in others? In yourself?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pray With Me!

My friends and church are going to Togo, West Africa tomorrow and will be there for 9 days. They're braver than I, as even before setting foot on the airplane they've done so much work and endured much sacrifice already! Those that really know me know my extreme dislike and fear of needles, and this group has had many vaccinations, so already I am in extreme awe of them. Plus, the sacrifice of their families, as I know some of the team members are leaving their husbands, kids, taking time off their jobs, to go and love the people of Togo. It's not just THEIR sacrifice; it's a sacrifice and a support of their families too.

My friend Maxine is going and I love her heart for others and "the least of these." I can't think of a more appropriate, more loving person to go! Her love for others in evident in all things, from the way she talks to a small child, to the homeless man in front of the supermarket. You can read about her heart and her trip on her BLOG , Stories With Little Margo. She hopes to blog as much as she can during this trip, as does my pastor and perhaps even others. I'll have to find out.

I'm just so excited for them. Initially I wasn't but as I began putting a gift together for the child I sponsor through Compassion International that they'll be delivering and as I heard more about the trip and how the intention is to be more than just a short term, touristy type of mission but a true relationship with this group of people, I am now much more excited.

Please join me in praying for the next 9 days. Not just for their protection and for them, but that they'll be a true loving impact with this group that are the least of these. I know that their life will be changed as well as the lives of those they come in contact with...... Sharing God's love in action. Love that is on the move. Love that truly changes people.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lessons for Daily Life - Proverbs 6

I've embarked on a 31 day challenge: To read a single chapter from Proverbs a day. So, on January 1st I read chapter one, and today I've read chapter 6. It's not too late to join in! I'm doing this with a bunch of others on a blog I frequent and it's been interesting. I wrote on the blog before it began that I was skeptical. I suppose I'm still a bit skeptical but now I'm more hopeful. I really want this to impact my life. The one thing it has done for me is to realize that my pursuit of knowledge and wisdom is actually a good thing to strive for. Sometimes I think others find that rather annoying about me and that I'm too focused on "books" and "concepts" than on living it out and real life. They still may be right, I don't know but I can easily tell you this: I truly know and understand so little.

Proverbs 6

Lessons for Daily Life

1 My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt
or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger—
2 if you have trapped yourself by your agreement
and are caught by what you said—
3 follow my advice and save yourself,
for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy.
Now swallow your pride;
go and beg to have your name erased.
4 Don’t put it off; do it now!
Don’t rest until you do.
5 Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter,
like a bird fleeing from a net.
6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
Learn from their ways and become wise!
7 Though they have no prince
or governor or ruler to make them work,
8 they labor hard all summer,
gathering food for the winter.
9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

12 What are worthless and wicked people like?
They are constant liars,
13 signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye,
a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
14 Their perverted hearts plot evil,
and they constantly stir up trouble.
15 But they will be destroyed suddenly,
broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.

16 There are six things the Lord hates—
no, seven things he detests:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill the innocent,
18 a heart that plots evil,
feet that race to do wrong,
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
a person who sows discord in a family.

20 My son, obey your father’s commands,
and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21 Keep their words always in your heart.
Tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
When you sleep, they will protect you.
When you wake up, they will advise you.
23 For their command is a lamp
and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
is the way to life.
24 It will keep you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman.
25 Don’t lust for her beauty.
Don’t let her coy glances seduce you.
26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty,
but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
27 Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
and not have his clothes catch on fire?
28 Can he walk on hot coals
and not blister his feet?
29 So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife.
He who embraces her will not go unpunished.

30 Excuses might be found for a thief
who steals because he is starving.
31 But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole,
even if he has to sell everything in his house.
32 But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool,
for he destroys himself.
33 He will be wounded and disgraced.
His shame will never be erased.
34 For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation,
nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Lord Is Good

Psalm 34

Taste and See That the LORD Is Good

1I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
3Oh,magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
9Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and(Y) pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

We Live

“We Live in Deeds, Not Years; In Thoughts, Not Breaths”
by Philip James Bailey (1816-1902)

We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things—God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.