April -- Brought to You By the Letter 'B'

I just finished getting sports, church, and work calendars compiled. If you need me, it looks like (so far), I'll be available between 1 and 4:30 on Sunday, April 23rd. Also, I only have one thing -- and only IN PENCIL!! -- on Thursday the 27th. Between baseball, Bible Bowl, and Big Brothers Big Sisters outdoors activities, we are BOOKED. I can't think of any meals that start with 'B' that I'll be serving -- except Dixie burgers that you buy at the Dixie Little League field. I'm thinking crock-pot, frozen pizzas, drive-thru, and sandwiches!


I'm in A Cult -- Who Knew?

With the unfortunate events of the last week, the Church of Christ churches have received some press. I can't even describe what kind of press. Check out this transcript from Nancy Grace on CNN:

GRACE: I want to go to pastor Tom Rukala, joining us tonight, a special guest, a Baptist minister. I`ve been researching the Church of Christ. I don`t know that much about it. What can you tell me?

PASTOR TOM RUKALA, BAPTIST PASTOR: Well, the Church of Christ is a relatively new church. It was started about 150 years ago by Alexander Campbell (ph). And it`s, unfortunately, a very legalistic sect, and they tend to use methods of intimidation and pressure tactics. They claim that they are the only ones going to heaven, and all other people are condemned to hell. So in case...

GRACE: Uh-oh, I`m in trouble. But I already knew that.


GRACE: Now, wait a minute. What more can you tell me?

RUKALA: Well, they claim that if you`re not baptized by one of their ministers, that you`re doomed to hell, even if you`re a believer in Jesus Christ, which, of course, breaks completely from the traditional Christian view that all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved because we`re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again. For the Church of Christ folks, that`s not enough. You have to be a member of their narrow sect. It`s a very exclusive group. And if you`re not a member of their sect, you`re condemned.

GRACE: You know, Pastor, you keep saying "sect." "Sect." You make it sound like a cult.

RUKALA: It kind of is a borderline cult, unfortunately. I don`t want to make it out to be some kind of Hare Krishna group, but it has cult-like characteristics and...

GRACE: In what sense?

RUKALA: Well, in the sense of the exclusivism, the attitude that they are the only ones who know the truth. The tactics that they use are sometimes just -- not only un-biblical but unethical, and they can be very ungracious, unfortunately.

The sad part is that in certain places that view of the local Church of Christ is right on the money. What makes me very angry is that Reverend Rukala presumes to speak for me.

Oh, and feel free to contact Nancy Grace while remembering 1 Peter 4:11:

"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God."


Abilene Quiz

Did anyone catch the KTXS 6:00 news Monday night? They had a report on the 5 most dangerous intersections in Abilene. I wasn't really surprised by the ones they listed, but I was terribly surprised by one I assumed would be on there that wasn't. What's your vote for most dangerous intersection in Abilene? (non-Abilene-resident bloggers are, of course, welcome to vote! We always love interesting answers!)

How Great The Father's Love

by Sarah Stirman
on heartlight

A Perfect Post

I overheard a young mother recounting her nighttime ritual of laying her head on her pillow and asking herself, "Did I love my family enough today? If something happens to me tonight will they know exactly how much I loved them?"

As an "older and wiser" woman — and more skeptical and a bit jaded, I suppose — my first instinct was to laugh: "Well, of course you didn't love them enough! How silly!" Jesus conceded that though we are imperfect parents (He literally called us "evil"!) we still do the best we know how! (Luke 6:11-13) Chances are, I did NOT love my family enough today or on any day.

Her question, however, haunted me. I continued to turn it over again and again in my mind. The question seemed a bit less daunting and a lot less accusing if I rephrased it: "Could I love my children more, could I love my children better, tomorrow?"

Well, Lord willing, I will be given tomorrow with my family. And yes, I will try to love them more completely tomorrow. However, none of us is promised tomorrow for our families or ourselves.

I have wept with mothers who have kissed tiny foreheads for the last time to send them to "The Land Where There Is No Tomorrow." I have prayed and pleaded with mothers whose children have been precariously close to the edge of "The Land Where There Is No Tomorrow." Those women know what it is to lay their heads down at night and ask, "Did I love them enough ...?"

My husband and I have tangoed around the line of calling it quits on "happily ever after." With our new resolve for our marriage, I am painfully aware of how fragile a marriage can be. I am fully aware of his choice to be here. I am intentional about daily letting him know that I appreciate his choice and all that he is to our family. Thankfully, I have not faced the horrific loss of one of my children. But, I think I have failed to be intentional about letting them know how thankful I am for them, as well.

The old apostle John, near the end of his life, reminded us, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1) My loving Father has LAVISHED His love on me. Surely, that lavished love should run over and splash on my family.

One small thing I am realizing more and more is that as my children grow, the frequent opportunity to touch or hug them is diminishing. I don't lift them in and out of car seats or high chairs any more. I don't help them in and out of the bathtub, wipe their faces, or even brush their hair for them any more. They are no longer at an arm's distance or underfoot all day, so I must be intentional about meaningful touch for my children. I know that my arms ache when my husband is not in town to hug and touch me. My children need touch and love even more!

I also realize that sometimes I really have to try to listen carefully to what my children say. I am frequently guilty of multi-tasking which, I've come to realize, means doing several things poorly at the same time. It really doesn't take very long to sit, look into their eyes, and really hear what they are saying — and sometimes, if I am really listening, I can even hear what they aren't saying. I think about how much it means to me when someone has obviously heard what I said and then later asks me about it. I want my children to know they are valuable enough to get my full attention!

Another thing that I've realized that means a lot to my kids is to simply sit together and hang around together. Of course, the TV should be off for this — although it's also a good idea to know what they're watching and talk to them about it. My kids like for me to talk to them about my day, as well as listen to them about theirs. We dream and scheme, hope and plan.

Meaningful touch, intentional listening, and being together are not huge undertakings. They take a very little amount of time — my kids really like to limit how much time they hang out with me anyway— and they require no money at all! I just have to be intentional about doing those things.

And tonight I will wonder, "Could I love them more tomorrow?"


Missing Duchess

Duchess ran away yesterday afternoon. She LOVES to get out and go explore the neighborhood. We have gotten her to quit digging, but she can't resist an open gate! I won't lie and say it's like one of the kids is gone, but it's definitely like a member of the family. I have felt bad all weekend -- and have missed a waggy tail to greet me and be happy no matter how grouchy I am.

Well, I began this entry as a lament. In the middle of my writing the phone rang. Some nice lady out walking found Duchess. She has evidently been wandering the neighborhood. She's a hunter, not a homer, you know! Maybe we should teach her to hunt for our house! She's happy to be home, but seems pretty ticked that we didn't find her earlier.


GEAUX Tigers!!

I am unashamedly a fair-weather fan, but congrats to my home-state LSU Tigers for making it into the final four! *sigh* I may have to watch some basketball, after all!

Convection, vection, What's Your Function?

Okay, this would probably be more appropriate at the recipe blog, but I seem to have generated a lot of comments lately here and would really appreciate any help and/ or feedback.

I have a convection oven. When I make this pronouncement to people, those who have and appreciate their convection ovens respond exuberantly, "Don't you just LOVE your convection oven?" Well, no -- I don't hate it, either. I just don't use it. All I know is that the convection fan makes a big lump at the back of the oven meaning some of my cookie sheets don't fit in there any more.

Please tell me how/ why to use my convection oven. Keep in mind that currently my oven is most used for frozen pizzas, baked potatoes, and the occasional oven-baked fish or chicken. Most roasts or anything like that I do in the crock-pot.

Can someone give me a great reason to fire up the convection oven?


What Color Green Are You?

I don't think this describes me at all, but after the previous few posts, I find it HILARIOUS that there is a typo in the description of me.

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.

Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.

While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.

Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.


Are You This Dedicated to Your Job?

A youth minister returned to high school for two weeks -- P.E., lunch, homework, and everything -- to see life from the kids' point of view again. Check out Two Weeks Back.

Continued language conversation

Wow -- had no idea how many of us there were that pay attention to the English language! My heart is encouraged. Mel brought up a good point (and David illustrated that I probably missed a hilarious 'Night Court') about people that say "for all intensive purposes". Those people are obviously not even thinking about the words they are saying -- but have just developed a bad habit.

It made me think of another phrase that I have no idea what is correct, so I have quit using it altogether. I grew up saying, "all of a sudden." I hear people saying, "all the sudden." Thinking about the word 'sudden' as an adjective, I'm not sure either one is correct and we should use the word "suddenly" instead. But I continue to ponder and wonder.

And for This One's for the Girls -- WalMartS drives me NUTS. However, so many people say it that I use it now in my best hillbilly voice as in, "We're goin' inta town to visit the Wal-Marts." And my precious 94 year old grandmother calls it "the Wal-Marts." I figure she's entitled, so I try to cut her a little slack!

And, in doing research because I got called on the carpet, although a definition of "lingual" makes it a perfectly fine word for that point, a more appropriate term for me would be a "linguistic snob".


True Confessions

I am a lingual snob.

I notice misspellings and errant apostrophes, commas, and quotations (any reason there were two set of quotes around "even so" in the slide for "Peace Like a River" Sunday morning?) I don't think any less of the person utilizing the language, I just notice. Sometimes I notice and wonder if they are right, or the way I would do it is right and think to myself to look it up. Sometimes -- like in the first sentence in this paragraph -- I wonder if anything I have written is right. As a general rule, I don't think most of the blatant errors are a lack of intellect or education, but more of a lack of attention or thought. Saying all of this I realize full well all of the other lingual snobs (and you know who you are) will comment to tell me all of the mistakes I have not only in this post, but in the 12 previous.

I saw one recently that I simply can't get out of my head. Mainly because I need the person to explain to me how it makes sense in her head. I wandered onto a message board on the internet recently. A medical student posted that her clothing budget was really helped out because an old roommate gifted her with hammy downs. Yes, that's how she spelled hand-me-downs: hammy downs. No quotes around it to make me think that she knows that it's incorrect, but that's the way her family always writes it. No explanation of why they might be hammy -- do they come wrapped in some type of pork? Four different times she used the phrase "hammy downs." I began to wonder if she had dropped her Sunday lunch and it was hammy down.

This brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:

"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." Robert Wilensky


What Do You Think About?

At dinner last night, Troy and I were talking about a friend who is a fabulous cook (hey, Laura!) as well as hostess. I told Troy that she had mentioned to me that it simply is "her thing" -- she says some nights she lays in bed thinking about what flavors go well together. Obviously, at this moment, I realized she was way out of my league in cullinary skills AND obsessions.

Last night as we were all tucked in I started thinking about that -- and then tried to remember what I usually think about while I try to sleep, since it's not what flavors go together. I think about words and sentences. No kidding. I think about how to write something to get it to say exactly what I want or to use the best language to bring out the humor in the situation. Realizing this is a fascinating insight into what people love to do, I turn to Troy.

"What do you think about while you lay in bed?"

(muffled from deep within his pillow): "sleep"

"What about if you can't sleep?"

"just. . . Roves"

(incredulous) "Roves????!!"

(still mumbling, muttering) "mmmm-hmmmmm"

"As in Karl, and his family??"

"no, as in my mind wanders, roves"

See, then other times, God simply hands me what is funny, and I don't even have to re-word it!

Editor's note -- The comments make me realize that you may perceive that I believe the funny part of this story is that I lay in bed at night and write the next "War and Peace" in my head while my husband's mind wanders and roves -- or at least he doesn't think about anything he's willing to admit to while he's half asleep on a Monday night. The hysterically funny part about this is that I would believe that my husband would lay in bed at night and think about Karl Rove. And I am so darn thankful he doesn't!


Blog Re-Run

Baseball practice starts this week. Now that it looks like baseball practice will be a fixture in our lives, let's go back to one year ago this week. . .

(on heartlight)

I hate baseball!

There you have it. Just as my delay in seeing The Passion of The Christ calls my citizenship in heaven into question, I feel certain that my loathing of America's past-time also calls my United States citizenship into question. But there it is — I hate baseball.

So God, having the fabulous sense of humor I feel any loving Creator should have, sent me a son. A son, who, in his 7th year, wants to play baseball more than anything. Soccer? Nope. Basketball? Nothin' doin'. Baseball? Sign him up!

Sign him up we did. Now we've invested in cleats, hats, socks, belts, and numerous other items that seem to be essential for playing a game of baseball. Now I spend my evenings sitting in the not-yet-warm West Texas wind watching small children learn to "throw a string, not a rainbow." I figure in a one hour Little League game (and I think I'm being optimistic to assume it will only last an hour) that the ball in motion and all subsequent action will total approximately 12 minutes of that game. My son's part in the action may total about 4 minutes. Again, I believe myself to be an optimist.

I admit that my disdain has had to give way to minor dislike as I watch the enthusiasm that my son has for the sport. Minutes waiting for practice to begin (PRACTICE, mind you – we haven't even had a game yet!) are painstaking agony. Minutes at practice fly by all too quickly. The little leaguer gushes with knowledge and excitement after each practice.

Finally, last night I admit my heart thawed totally toward the sport. I commented, in all honesty, "Well, I'm really glad that you seem to like it." His response was nothing less than incredulous: "Like it?!?! Are you kidding?!?! It's the best thing that ever happened to me!!!"

Now, keep in mind that my son's life is not necessarily fraught with hardship — unless you count unloading the dishwasher and feeding the dog difficult manual labor. But, if baseball is the best thing that ever happened to him, then buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don't care if I never get back from the old ball game!

I have laughed to myself at how little it took to change my view of the game — simply the fact that it is the delight of one of the loves of my life. I believe that those of us blessed to be parents are given that task in order to get a tiny glimpse into God's love for us.

Lately, I have been perplexed by the verse "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) What if the desire of my heart involves 6-pack abs and single digit clothing sizes? I have no hard and fast answers (nor hard abs), but I do know that this spring West Texas day was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And I do believe that it tickled God to no end for me to tell Him so. I also believe that as I continue to pour out my heart to God and know Him as the loving parent He is, the desires of my heart will more closely match His. Without a doubt, HE is the best thing that ever happened to me!


Some Favorite Pics

These pictures are old, but they are on my screen saver and make me smile every time I see them. They are from a VERY cold fishing trip that Troy took the kids on -- I guess about 2 years ago now. I remember that I slept in and had a grand morning by myself while they froze and obviously caught some fish. Of course, had I been awake before they left, I would have pointed out to Ashley that she was wearing her brother's jeans, but no matter. The fish didn't seem to notice. I love the looks on both faces, and Riley's snaggle-tooth, little bit grossed out grin. I don't think there are any pictures of the Head Fisherman on this trip, but he's my hero, too, since this is something I would not likely allow our children to experience were it just up to me. I do outdoors under certain conditions which include balmy breezes and no fish.


Recipe Blog Requests

SuperMom and Denise have both asked about the Recipe Blog. By all means, let's fire it up if you have something to post to it! The original "plan" was to simply post something in the comments and I would move it. I would be happy to add any and all folks as administrators that would like to post a recipe. Email me and I'll fix you up! My email is in my profile -- under "email me"! Pretty clever, huh?


Death of SuperWife

I was really struck, like most of us were, by the recent death of Dana Reeve. Too many tragedies for one little family. I grieve for the son, Will, left behind, but I am thankful for the legacy both his mother and father left to him. I saw this account and thought that these personal qualities are VERY rare in our society today, and rarer still among the celebrity crowd:

From Yahoo! News

Reeve made one of her final public appearances at a fund-raising event for the foundation in November and said she was responding well to treatment and that her tumor was shrinking.

"I'm beating the odds and defying every statistic the doctors can throw at me," Reeve said then. "My prognosis looks better all the time."

She said she kept her spirits up by remembering the man she spent years caring for.

"I was married to a man who never gave up," she said. "He taught me so much about courage and about going forward. He really was in this with me."

By his own account, Christopher Reeve admired many of the same qualities in the woman he credited with giving him the will to go on after the devastating riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own.

In his 1998 autobiography, Still Me, the actor wrote that in the days immediately following his accident, both he and his mother were in favor of disconnecting the life-support machines and allowing him to die, but that his wife changed his mind.

"Dana came into the room...I mouthed my first lucid words to her: 'Maybe we should let me go,'" Reeve recalled in the memoir. "She said, 'I'm only going to say this once: I will support whatever you want to do because this is your life. And your decision. But I want you to know that I'll be with you for the long haul, no matter what.'"

"Then she added the words that saved my life: 'You're still you. And I love you.'"

This somewhat goes with an article that is brewing in my brain about, "Have I loved them (my family) enough today?" Stay tuned!


Give and It Will Be Given To You

by Sarah Stirman
on heartlight

I heard a report on Christian radio recently that stated while 2/3 of Christians believe that tithing is a "biblical mandate," churches report that only 5-10% of their members do it. I can't decide if that means that the remaining vast majority — those that believe in the "biblical mandate" but don't tithe — are okay with not following the mandate, or just don't comprehend that their beliefs should be reflected in their actions.

While my family participates in tithing our income, I don't particularly care for the word itself. It's just a matter of semantics; but in my mind, today's society has transformed the word "tithing” to mean you are going to separate out what you feel is required to give to God — and that's all.

Tithing, to me, calls to mind a small pile in the corner of what to give to God. "Here, let me section this out, Lord. This little bitty percentage? No, under the mortgage, less than the food budget, less than either car payment — yes, that 5th line is yours. Not bad, huh? Well, now that I've done my part I can check that off until next month.”

Please stop reading for a moment and list all of the things that you have handled better than the Lord — any situation, relationship, or decision that you did better without the Lord's help. Go ahead, I'll wait. I'll be humming the theme song to Jeopardy while you think on that ...

So, how is the list going? Mine is fairly short. Actually, mine is non-existent. The Lord has been faithful and shown me again and again that His way is ALWAYS better. I want to give the Lord complete reign over my life and in every aspect of it. My tithe to the Lord — and I don't just mean my financial tithe — is my reminder that all of my life is given to Him to control.

My family absolutely believes in giving to the Lord's work, but I pray we never stop at just 10 percent. The other 90 percent also came from the Lord. While it may not go to a non-profit institution or be given to church work, it will be used for the Lord's work.

My home is to be used to house and raise the Lord's children he so graciously has "loaned" to me for a time. My house will also be used to welcome His children — believers and non-believers alike — to nourish and care for them. My vehicle is a blessing from the Lord to be used to take me, and anyone else that will fit into it, to do what the Lord has placed on my heart. I pray that all of the resources the Lord has given me that I will, in turn, hand back to Him and say, "What would you have me do with this?”

I want to do more than just "tithe” my time to God. When I rise early in the morning to soak in God's Word and pour out praises and petitions to Him, I don't conclude my time with Him by saying, "Whew! Glad that's all I have to give Him today!” No, I start there to fill my heart with His word, but strive to "pray without ceasing” as I walk with Him throughout my day. Sometimes He has to break into a jog to keep up, but He's always there!

Please don't hear me saying not to tithe! What I'm trying to say is that a tithe should just be the beginning of giving God all that you have. Your tithe is not only obedience to God, but a symbol to yourself that you will also give the Lord the rest of your time, money, talents, and gifts.

Jesus said, "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you." (Luke 6:38)

Do you really want the Lord counting pennies when he gives back to you?


This One You Really Have toThink About

The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, they say, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in this, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not. -- S. T. Coleridge


Ages and Stages

Remember when you would be sitting with a group of friends and someone would pass around gum or mints for everyone, or even cigarettes or a drink, of the alcoholic or carbonated variety, depending on your crowd?

Today at coffee someone got out their ibuprofen and passed it around. We all thought about whether or not we needed it before we passed on it, though. We are definitely in a different stage of life!


Losing It

I am not a loser. Okay, I may be a loser by your definition (I haven't seen Napoleon Dynamite, after all) but I don't generally lose things. Temporarily misplace? All the time. But if I'll sit and think about the last time I saw something instead of frantically opening and then slamming drawers and doors, I can generally think of where the item is. The last two weeks, however, I have lost SO many things it's ridiculous. Maybe it's because Riley had the flu, I was home and got out of a regular routine. I don't know, but a partial list of what I have lost:
  • sunglasses --lost twice, currently atop my head
  • mascara
  • nametag for work -- generally not a big deal, except for today when there is a fancy-schmancy press conference with a political official
  • index card notebook where I keep my scriptures (selected scriptures to memorize -- I keep ALL of my scriptures neatly bound in my Bible, and I currently know where that is)
  • Ashley's LTC registration form
  • Church contribution check -- go figure!

I do have to admit, that I don't think any of these are as bad as Denise, who evidently lost a shirt without knowing it.

Everyone say it with me: "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most!"


Let Me Be a Light

by Sarah Stirman
on heartlight

My new MP3 player goes with me everywhere: work, the gym, a walk in the neighborhood, and frequently the grocery store. I will pause the player while I talk to someone and have been known to then take it off and forget that it's even turned on. Fortunately, I invested in an MP3 player that has an automatic shut-off feature. However, I think I have come to realize that the automatic shut-off feature works like this: when the battery is completely dead, the player will shut itself off. Now I just carry a stash of batteries in my purse and gym bag.

I was changing out the battery yet again and laughing at the not-very-handy automatic shut-off feature when I realized that humans have basically the same feature: we know it's time to take a break, go on "pause," only when we are forced to slow down due to illness, injury, or complete emotional exhaustion.

I am nursing a sprained ankle. I gave my ankle precisely 72 hours of tip-top care and rest and then said, "That's enough! It's time to get back to work!" That didn't work very well, so I set off as fast as my crutches could carry me — back to the break-neck speed of life in my home. Then my 8 year-old came down with the flu. Neither he nor I have done a very good job of staying home and resting. Even when we are forced to slow down, we don't do it very well.

In a recent Bible class, we discussed the following question: "What activities keep you from drawing near to God?" We settled on this answer: all of them put together! Involved in this discussion were people active in church and our community. We spend our days and evenings in meeting after meeting, interspersed with other wonderful activities and ministries. In the middle of it all, we can scarcely remember why we do it. I confessed that the hectic schedule and running through life is a tug and temptation to keep up with the world that is stronger for me than many other temptations.

It certainly isn't how Jesus conducted his ministry. John 6 gives us a snapshot in time when Jesus was at the top of his game: people were flocking to him to be healed and hear what he had to say. Thousands were gathered when he fed them all from a little boy's sack lunch. The divine leftovers were enough to fill a basket for each disciple to hold and feel the weight of his abundant blessings. People noticed and declared: "He must truly be the Prophet that is coming into the world.” (John 6:14 ERV) What Jesus did next completely baffles me: "Jesus knew that the people wanted him to become king. The people planned to come get Jesus and make him their king. So Jesus left and went into the hills alone." (John 6:15)

He knew he would be useless to all without time with his Father.There were thousands of people around him. Dozens, if not hundreds of them, needed a physical ailment healed. All needed to hear his words. But Jesus knew his task on this earth, and he knew who had sent him. He knew he would be useless to all without time with his Father.

Jesus told us, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16 NASB) What if I'm not plugged into my power source, or have so little power I look like a flashlight on its last drop of battery power? I MUST fiercely protect my time to recharge and spend time with my God so that I may be His light so that others may see Him in me.

In order to do that, I will have to look a lot different from the people around me — even the people at my church. My children may not play every sport available. I will have to sacrifice my pride of being sure that no one else will organize the fellowship meal as well as I would. I may have to humbly admit that fewer activities — even the activities that I suggested and/or planned — at my church and more real time with the Lord is what will allow me to be His light. I will finally have to realize that truly knowing Him, not continually DOING, will lead me to be His light.

Maybe then I will "withdraw to a mountain by myself" before I completely run out of power!


Springtime in Texas!

It's time to:

  • Get out the summer clothes, but don't put away the winter clothes
  • Make sure there are batteries in a radio for tornado season
  • Put blankets and lawn chairs in the back of the car for baseball season
  • Keep a brush in the car, in your purse, and in your desk at work for "skirt alert" windy days!
  • Stock up on allergy medicine
  • Start brushing the dog -- or vacuuming her! -- to alleviate shedding
  • Make sure all of the crayons are out of the car before they melt into the upholstery
  • Get a pedicure!

I'm sure I've left something off -- what would you add?


A Verse for Sarah Today, and tomorrow, and the next day. . .

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
As a dream comes when there are many cares,
so the speech of a fool when there are many words.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3


Blog Re-Run

(I smelled this smell over the weekend and was reminded of this story. Still makes me laugh. . .)

I don't know what category this story fits into, but it still cracks me up. Well, I say that as if it cracked me up at the time. It did not. This is from the "diaper days" as I so lovingly (not-so-much) refer to those toddler years.

The church we attended at the time had 3-4 potluck luncheons a year. Wonderful, right? Not so much. They also requested that you bring _3_ dishes of food to feed 12-18 people each. So I would get up between 5 and 6 a.m. to finish up and get all of those dishes cooked and up to church so that they could be served stone cold AND (always my favorite part) I would return home with 3 dishes of food, each with about 2 spoonfuls taken from them. Can you tell I'm still bitter? I am. Actually what brought this story to mind was reading a recent bulletin of theirs -- they're still pulling it off. God love 'em! :-) So I was always looking for different things to take that would be easy -- I was frequently tempted, but never did bring a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter.

One time I had the fabulous idea to bake potatoes to take (12-18 potatoes, of course). What could be easier, right? I got them all prepped the day before, woke up and turned on the oven. We had a little cooler to take them in -- maybe they would even still be warm! All went well -- until THE SMELL. "WHAT is that smell?!?" The kids were marveling, "MMMMMM, it's baked potatoes! Yummy!" But something was definitely not right. I finally realized that in our little tiny kitchen Troy had fed the dog and put the Rubbermaid pitcher of dog food down on an oven burner. Not just any oven burner-- the one where the oven vented air approximately 200* hotter than the oven was actually cooking. When we realized what it was, Troy jerked up the pitcher. Or, what was left of it. The bottom had, of course, completely liquified and dog food spewed all over the kitchen -- including back down into the oven vent. Yes, we were smelling grilled dog food along with melted plastic. The dog food was charred and stuck to the burner, and the plastic was still so melty and ooey-gooey that it was EVERYWHERE. Just one of those wonderful moments of meditation and quiet we all like to have on our way to church. We cleaned up the best we could, took our potatoes to church and had our luncheon. That afternoon, when I came home with 11 potatoes, the smell was still awful. But the kids were ruined, "Yum! It still smells like baked potatoes!"

Oh, but that's not all. Don't you love that God has such a fabulous sense of humor. Only a funny God like ours would have put a dog food processing plant between our house and Troy's work. So on the best of days when the dog food plant was really cranked up and we happened to be going to see Daddy or whatever we could drive by and smell that fabulous char-broiled dog food smell AND the kids never failed to say, "I smell baked potatoes!"

In my more clever moments, I may be able to make some sort of analogy about Satan leading us to believe the world has yummy, fluffy baked potatoes to offer when it's really just burned dog food. But not tonight.

It's All About ME!!

I answered a recent questionaire about what personality trait I can't stand in other people by saying I can't stand it when people act as if they are the center of the universe. So, as is His way, the Lord handed me a mirror.

I'm a horrible counselor/ therapist. When people are discussing really difficult things, I REALLY don't know what to say. And, more than anything, I don't want them to feel uncomfortable or, worse, that I think they're awful for whatever it is they are confiding in me about. So I generally end up telling a story -- of course, about myself. It's my (very long-winded) way of saying, "yeah, I know what you mean. That has been a struggle for me, as well." But, of course, it shifts the conversation to me. I have been made painfully aware of this recently.

So, to anyone that I may have prayed with in the last few days, or anyone that may think that I consider myself the center of the universe, I apologize. And, to my cord of three -- please kick me under the table, or glare at me from across the prayer room when I start to do it again!


The Chikins R Here! The Chikins R Here!

Glory be! The new Chick-Fil-A opened this week about half a mile from my house! Jee-hosaphat, you would think that Abilene had never seen a chicken sandwich. I say that, because the two times I went there on the 2nd day it opened were both crazy! :-)
I only ate there ONCE -- Riley and I were grocery shopping, and a Chick-Fil-A cow and some employees were in the grocery story parking lot handing out stuffed cows and coupons.

Never one to turn down a free sandwich, we settled on Chick-Fil-A for lunch. The power of suggestion. Then, on our date night, that turned into "do-a-puzzle-with-the-flu-dude-while-Troy-cleans-out-the-fish-tank" night, I picked up Chick-Fil-A for Troy. By Friday night, they had hired 2 police officers to direct traffic around the building. Just nutty.

I will confess that the opening of Chick-Fil-A is almost as exciting as when Jason's Deli opened here. Now if we could just get a Macaroni Grill. . . .


Flu Week

When my brain is functioning again, I will write about the Armageddon scene that was the pediatrician's office on Monday afternoon. Yikes. AND the pharmacy was exactly the same way. If you know any health care workers -- feed them chocolate during flu season! Riley has the flu, which means that I have heard the theme to "Sponge Bob" approximately 58 times this week, and caught glimpses of the Lindsey Lohan version of "Parent Trap" about 27 times. Those that know me know that I limit my kids to 30 min. of TV per day, so a guilty pleasure when you're sick is to be able to park in front of the TV until your brains leak out your ears.

Since I am unable to string 2 sentences together coherently, head over to "This One's For the Girls" and take her movie quote quiz. I notice in the comments that several of them must be from Napoleon Dynamite, which I haven't seen. Yes, there are still 6 people in America that haven't seen that movie. Anyway, I recognize about half of them. See if you can do any better! There's a prize! :-)
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