Did Jesus Contradict Himself?

Matthew 5:16: "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Matthew 6:1: "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

Is there a difference in "good deeds" and "acts of righteousness"? If so, is there a listing of which is which? Any of you out there with knowledge of the "original greek", feel free to tell me what's going on here!


Random Thoughts for Today

  • Teaching has greatly lowered my Diet Coke standards: three months ago I would REALLY rather not drink it from a can, and NEVER drink any Diet Coke that isn't ice cold. I catch myself guzzling warm Diet Coke from a can like a pathetic addict. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
  • Heard a most unfortunate pronunciation of "Shiite" today on the news. Let's be careful out there.
  • If the entirity of the grocery store where you shop is being re-stocked and re-arranged (like they seem to do every 3 months to keep you wandering the aisles looking for what you need), what are the odds that the one item on an aisle that you need is directly under the belly of a re-stocker? In my case, 100%.
  • My trip to the West Texas Fair and Rodeo 2 weeks ago gave me renewed commitment to do SOMETHING about childhood obesity. It absolutely breaks my heart. Now if I only knew what that something was ...
  • What's the deal with sizes? Who's regulating that, anyway? Kirstie Alley? She's always a size 10, no matter what she weighs? It is ridiculous!


Are You Impulsive?

You Are 32% Impulsive

You're a pretty stable and serious person. You don't take things lightly.
This doesn't mean you can't have fun - you just have fun responsibly.
You definitely have a spontaneous side, but you only let loose when it's appropriate.


"This is it! I have found it!"

Take one exhausted, hungry me.

Put me in a room where you promise that soon you will feed me to my heart's content -- as long as it is fried, laden with grease, or fried AND laden with grease. Fill the room to the ceiling with knick-knacks, gee-gaws, clothing and toys. If it isn't breakable, it makes noise. Add enough people to fill every available pathway, walkway, or breathing space. Mix in my own children to run past the breakable items on their way to make noise with the noise-making toys while complaining of how faint they are with their own hunger. Throw in other people's children to make noise with anything that my children aren't making noise with -- the pens with the cymbals on top, the toy accordion, or the "Chicken Dance" squawking chicken.

Welcome to my own personal hell. You may know it as "Cracker Barrel."


Lectureship 2006

Some pics from the week. They are in completely backwards order because I am too tired to fight with blogger about where my pictures land. Before our Coffee Group presentation we all had our toes done -- and got coffee cups on them. Some of them look more like coffee cups than others, but no one coveted. We're that way. I won't bore you OR quiz you to have you identify whose feet are whose, but I cracked myself up that -- even if I had not been present for that picture -- I think I would have been able to identify all of the feet. Denise, I guess introducing Tammy when it was Denise's day to be our hostess.
Denise, are you already driving? Where are you going? Was there a plane landing in Fulks Theatre?

WHO is that handsome HIP singer from Tuesday night?

I think I must be introducing someone.

Donna's talk was about her shoes -- she will be mortified to know she is on the WORLD wide web in a picture of them, but I think she's looking pretty happenin'!

Denise, just driving her own life. She's lost, but she's in control!

Listening to Tammy -- how do my nails look? :-)
I was "hostess for the day" this day. It's the closest I come to actually having coffee group at my house, is pretending that I do and pouring "coffee" (nasty ol' tap water, according to Denise) into our cute coffee cups.

I can't believe that Lectureship is over, and it was exhausting and SO much fun. I LOVE to encourage women -- one-on-one, in a small group, or large lecture situation -- to have an intimate relationship with our Lord and to remind them of how rich and full a life walking with Him is. I think it's just one example of His love and blessings that He is allowing me to do that while I spend time with godly women who encourage me. Sometimes I can't believe how blessed I am. Girls, I had a great time with you!


It's FRIDAY!!!

After this week, I have certainly earned a Friday. AND what a Friday it was!

Let's recap, shall we?
  • Field trip that included taking 20 2nd graders (2 were absent) ON A BUS to the local high school.
  • Field trip caused me to miss my conference time -- the only time in the day that I can potty and think.
  • 2 children were crying before we ever left that their stomach hurt and they were going to throw up.
  • Another child has some sort of bowel condition (you don't want details, I promise) and on occasion must go to the restroom every 47 seconds. Today was one of those occasions.
  • Grabbed (actually stole b/c I forgot to find someone to give my quarter to) a sack of PTA popcorn for my lunch so that I could go buy popsicles for science since I was on a field trip in my conference time. Had less time than usual for lunch b/c I had to go BACK to the classroom (feels like a half-mile!) to get a child who was doing who-knows-what but not coming with us to lunch.
  • Lunch at 3:30.
  • One child finally throwing up -- at least having the courtesy to be in the grass between our classroom and the playground.
  • A phone call from a parent (I have GOT to leave the classroom earlier!)
  • Numerous other excitements associated with teaching 2nd grade.
Don't you wish you could trade places with me?

My day also included The Moment. Returning from lunch, I told the kids they could spend a few moments coloring the paper the counselor left for them during their guidance lesson. As I finished speaking, a thought flashed across S's face. S has been a challenge for me -- she's a jack-in-the-box with no volume control (it's all "outside voice"), only hears directions that are given 7 inches from her face, and never puts her name on any work. But she's a cute doodle-bug and ANY thought or emotion that goes through her mind also goes across her face -- happy, sad, frustrated, or angry, it's all there. So a smile passes her face and her hand SHOOTS in the air. I call on her. "Yes?"
"I love you," was the reply -- ever-so-matter-of-fact.
I was so completely blown away that it wasn't until about an hour later that I realized: SHE RAISED HER HAND, TOO!!! Bless her punkin' heart!

Don't you wish you could trade places with me?

Well, ya' can't! I'm enjoying being me entirely too much! Happy weekend to all!


The Weather Today ....

The weather today is SOOOOOO awesome ...

(How awesome IS it? -- what is that from?)

I walked my dog and didn't even wear my heart rate monitor. Just lolly-gagged around praising the Lord for the weather!

I was trying to post more pics from lectureship today, but blogger ... 'nuff said.

My word for the week:


So as we (we, being Coffee Group) are preparing to talk at Fulks Theater, we have to turn off the "house lights" and dim the vomitory lights. That's what it says on the label. This has caused great curiosity among the coffee group, but mostly among me because I can't hear a word like that and NOT get to the bottom of it. says:
vom·i·to·ry (vŏm'ĭ-tôr'ē, -tōr'ē) pronunciation

Inducing vomiting; vomitive.

n., pl. -ries.
  1. Something that induces vomiting.
  2. An aperture through which matter is discharged.
  3. One of the tunnellike passages of an amphitheater or stadium between the seats and the outside wall or passageway.
I think definition number 2 is what makes definition 3 -- you and I are evidently "matter" discharged from an amphitheater or stadium when we leave via the vomitory.

Now you are enlightened, and probably a little grossed out.


Pics of the Day

I wanted to post some pics from Coffee Group today. First, however, I would like to mention that even when we are all 5 TRYING to have our picture made it is VERY difficult to get a good picture of five people. I submit this photo as evidence:

I LOVE this picture of Tammy -- she looks as enraptured and excited as she truly was today. I, on the other hand, look like I'm afraid her coffee cup is going to crawl away, or I may lay my head down and have a nap (this is one of the only pictures with my eyes open, so that must have been a danger).

I must be VERY captivating!

Donna welcomes the crowd, Denise wipes her brow!

I HATE this picture of me, (yes, Denise, with the flaming white-hot passion of 1,000 suns) BUT -- I HAD to let you all see that whether or not I had anything of value to say or not, my nails looked GREAT!

THIS is my favorite picture, because this is what it's all about -- lots and lots of laughter.


Happy Birthday to Me!

So, today I' m 37 and you know what? I think I like 37. I feel pretty good about life all the way around. Not bad. I think for my birthday you need to make a comment and tell me what you like to read most when you stop by "The Cleft of the Rock". I'm not saying it will have any effect on future blogging, but it's always good to know!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday the Coffee Group debuts at ACU lectureship. If you're around, come here us. I promise you a good time! We're at 9:45 in the Fulks Theater.

Just a personal note to some faithful readers/ prayer warriors: Many of you have mentioned that you have been praying for me, personally, as well as all of the Coffee Group as we speak this week. I really want to thank each of you for the prayers and encouraging words. God has given me a peace about this week. Continue to pray that He be glorified!


Book Tag

Quite a while back, Anne tagged me for a crazy book tag: Grab the book closest to you, turn to page 123, skip down 5 lines and post the next 3 sentences. I looked at it while I read that I had been tagged, but I forgot to actually post it!

At the time, the only book in our office/sewing room/ junk depository (why is there a policeman Mr. Potato Head watching me blog?) was my NIV Study Bible. Page 123 got me to Exodus 25, 5 lines down is verse 8, and I love it, love it, love it as my very own promise:

"Then have them make a sanctuary for me and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. Have them make a chest of acacia wood -- two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high."

No, I'm not really into cubits OR acacia wood, but I take that to mean that God is promising me that He will be in ANY sanctuary I prepare for Him -- and my promise to Him that it will be my heart.

On a lighter note, now the book Couplehood is still in the junk depository, because it will rot here with the rest of the clutter before I think to put it away. So, I was going to see what was on page 123 of that book, since I am quite certain that would be an interesting contrast to Exodus 25:8.
Then I remembered that Couplehood starts on page 145 --Author's Warning before the first chapter:

You will notice in just a second that this book actually begins on page 145. Don't be alarmed -- this is not a mistake. Don't try to get your money back. You didn't miss anything.

It's just that I know when I'm reading. I love being smack in the middle of the book. Pages behind me, pages ahead of me. It's too overwhelming to know there's so much left and you're only on page 8.

This way, you can read the book for two minutes, and if anybody asks you how far along you are you can say, "I'm on 151 -- and it's really flying. It just sails, baby."

You'll feel like you're accomplishing something, and I get credit for writing a bigger book. Everybody wins, and it costs us nothing.

-- P.R.

Do you see why I LOVE this book and it's author?


Geoff and Jamie

Meet Geoff and Jamie. Jamie grew up in the church where our family worshipped in Temple and I taught with her mom in my brief time of teaching in Central Texas. Now Jamie is engaged to the son of our children's minister here in Abilene. You should read the signifigance behind the picture that has become their engagement picture. I think these two crazy kids just may make it.


Another Hero

With all of the special memories of 9/11 going around, I can't ignore another hero who lost her life on this date. She died on 9/11 -- but not in 2001. Linda Stirman quietly succumbed to the cancer that consumed her body early in the morning on 9/11/03. If you knew either of us, you know that my mother-in-law and I rarely saw eye-to-eye. Truthfully, even in her death, the more I learn about her the less I understand what made her tick.

But this I know: her long and loving marriage to Mike produced the good and godly man I chose for my husband, to raise my children with, and to run the race on this earth with. I am enormously grateful for the impact she had on my life and the lives of my family. I have had to watch her husband grieve the loss of a friend and partner, my husband grieve the loss of his mother, and my children grieve the loss of their Mimi. Her loss is one that makes heaven and the saints there that much sweeter.


I'm Just Sayin' ...

Sometimes I think I took this job because feeling like a failure as a wife, mother, school volunteer, church member, friend and citizen was just not enough. I had to pile on feeling like a failure as an employee, teacher, and partner.



September 11, 2001, is forever etched in my brain. Try as I might, though, I can't remember one thing about September 10, 2001. It was a Monday, with no signifigance to me.

Tina Bilcher will probably never forget either date. September 10, 2001, Brian, her husband of barely over a year, called home to tell her he was going to work overtime at his job as a firefighter at Squad 1. He told her he loved her and that he would see her soon. It was the last time Tina heard his voice. Together they had a son named Grant, born August 29, 2001. His name is Grant because God granted Tina and Brian the boy they wanted. He was not yet 2 weeks old when his daddy died evacuating people from the World Trade Center. Reports on his age vary from 36-38, but suffice it to say that Brian was quite young with a beautiful life in his family and a job he loved.

Brian was nicknamed "Tugboat" because of his size. He was an intimidating offensive lineman for the Bravest's football team, loved to play practical jokes and loved to do some wild things for an adrenaline rush -- he even talked Tina into jumping off of a lighthouse with him. She says she did it for love. While all of these things paint a picture of a rough guy with a devil-may-care attitude, Brian was best known for his other side.

Tina likes to refer to him as Captain America: if you were in any trouble, Brian would be there. Friend Larry Mann can even testify to Brian's Captain America side: not a strong swimmer, he was pulled out by the riptide. Captain America, or Brian, came out to get him.

One co-worker referred to Brian as the glue that held them all together. John Alborn said, "He would push people to be the best they could be." Tina affirmed that. "My husband always expects for us to believe in ourselves ... and always believe in being the best," she said. "I will not let him down."

Brian was laid to rest on June 5, 2002 -- the day after his 2nd wedding anniversary.

For a list of other bloggers participating in honoring the 2,996 of 9/11, go here.


Morning Glory!

First, a question for the day: Where is Paul Reiser now? What's he up to these days? Mad About You is still one of my all-time favorite TV shows and Paul Reiser is no small part of that. He's one of my favorite comedians. My brother also had a good friend through high school named Paul Reiser (but he pronounced his last name "Reece-er"). I would love to digress and tell the story of how my dad met that Paul Reiser's then-girlfriend-now-wife while Dad was standing in his undies in our hall, but that's for another time (maybe he was actually in some work-out shorts?) Not that Paul Reiser -- I know where he is now.

Paul Reiser wrote a book entitled Couplehood that my wonderful husband, knowing how much I loved Paul Reiser AND how much I love to laugh, gave me one Christmas early in our marriage. He also wrote something really sweet in it that I won't share here but I really needed to re-read right now in the height of life's craziness as well as a busy season for him at work. I laughed all the way through the book, being a relative newlywed and understanding all that he was talking about. Parts of it really stuck in my brain.

A week or so ago people were (again) making fun of me for my constant applying of lipstick. Moving to the desert has not helped this habit. My lips are constantly dry and I may as well put some color on them while I moisturize, right? Someone teasingly asked me if I sleep in lipstick. Well ... I hate my lips to be dry!! So, yes, I do! One friend rolled her eyes and asked, "Oh, do you wake up all fresh and put together?" And I wanted to quote the entirety of the following from Couplehood:

It's The Face. Something scientific happens to your face when you sleep. You go to bed normal, you wake up -- you have no face. The features have gone away while you slept. I think it has to do with the earth's rotation. As the earth revolves, facial features move with it, so that while you sleep, your face is in Europe. Because there are only a finite number of faces, and if the Europeans go to work with no face, it looks bad for them. So this way everybody gets a shot.

I think it's all nature's way of keeping us humble. At night, you're thinking of your problems, you're thinking of yourself. "How come this didn't work out? How come I live the life I do?"

You wake up, you look in the mirror, and you go, "That's why! I have no facial features and a T-shirt with orange juice stains from 1983." It gives you perspective.


Random Throughts

First, a confession: I have never read through the entire Bible. I believe with all my heart that the Lord will welcome me home when the time comes in spite of that fact, but I think I'm missing out on knowing Him as well as I could while I'm here! Hope springs eternal, though, and I am on a schedule AGAIN to read through the Bible in a year. I altered this plan so that it started on September first (yes, I know it already includes September 1st, but that would have put me starting in the middle of John, Numbers, and 1 Chronicles, which would have driven me crazy). More confessing -- I am already a day and a half behind. Hope springs eternal!! I'll catch up! Serenity now!!

So, my Bible reading brings up lots of thoughts -- I just love to walk through those moments. Some of these I have wondered about before, some just came to me:

  • Wouldn't you love to see what Eve looked like the moment God finished forming her? I just think of how much we (being "modern woman" -- whoever she is) have allowed media and society to influence what we believe "the perfect woman's body" should be. I wish I had a photograph of what God considers to be the perfect female body -- the one He made in the garden. I feel certain it is a far cry from the image I have in my head of "the perfect body", that I spend so much time, energy and money trying to achieve.
  • What's the deal with circumcision? I've never really questioned it before, but so much of what God requires of his people make perfect sense "in nature" or for health reasons, and I just don't get the deal with circumcision. Why require a covenant of only the men? Why such a PERSONAL covenant? Abraham was 99 years old when God tossed out circumcision as a covenant. (Gen. 17) Wouldn't you have liked to have been a fly on the wall for THAT conversation: "You want me to do WHAT????" In Joshua 5, God tells Joshua to circumcise all of the Israelites that were still wandering with him (Joshua 5:4-8) Yes, the Lord told Joshua to MAKE flint knives in the desert and circumcise all the men. I have to assume that since no deaths due to infection or blood loss are recorded, we can consider that God's Divine Providence.
  • When I was a sewing person ("back in the day") I LOVED, and still do, that the first recorded construction of garments is by the Lord Himself. He had just gotten finished chewing out Adam and Eve and telling them the consequences of their disobedience, but Genesis 3:21 says, "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." I love that -- He was completely ticked at them, but took care of their dignity, not just their physical needs. Another sewing friend, Patty, pointed out that this was also the first blood sacrifice for the atonement of sins -- the Lord sacrificed an animal so that Adam and Eve could be covered. (When I read Gen. 3:21 to my family to proclaim how much I loved it, Ashley understood that God made the clothes from THEIR OWN skin -- no, that's what I would do as a parent if I were that angry, but God is merciful! :-)

I'll keep you posted as I ponder more of His word ...


Lamentations of the Father

by Ian Frazier


Laws When at Table

  • And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.
  • Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.
  • When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you.
  • Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.
  • And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why.
  • And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why.
  • Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.


Feelin' Crafty

Ashley has been invited to one of the most ... creative birthday parties I have heard of yet. I assume this family is as busy as the rest of us and need to squeeze in a party for their daughter. So, Wednesday morning at 7, Ashley will ride her bike to Megan's house and have a birthday breakfast with her, then the entire party will ride their bikes to school together. That's a new one, but not a bad idea (other than the fact that it requires you to be prepared for LOTS of pre-teen girls at 7 a.m. --- eeek).
And have I mentioned that I have a new job? Oh, several times? Really? Because payroll hasn't seemed to figure it out. See, I've been working for a month, and have almost another month to go (oh, I am SUCH an exaggerater -- it's only another 3 and 1/2 weeks now) before I see a check. Many teachers know this and have been through it -- but it makes for a LEAN first two months of teaching. So when Ashley got an invitation to a birthday party, I threw my brain into creative mode to see what would be a)desirable by an 11-year-old somewhat sporty girl and b) ULTRA CHEAP. They don't mesh, generally. However, I kind of went with the breakfast theme. So, I looked around, had plenty of fabric on hand (Troy can attest to what an embarassing understatement that is) and threw together just about the cutest little pillowcase you have ever seen:

I orginally planned to include a few multi-colored Sharpies so that all of her friends can sign her pillowcase, but it is SO cute, I kind of hate for anyone to WRITE on it (but I already spilled the beans to Ashley, so I think she's counting on it). I used this site for instructions, and the fabric is stuff I bought years ago to make an outfit for Ashley that she wouldn't be caught dead in now. The instructions said to allow an hour, and it took a little less than that. Riley has a party Saturday morning -- do you think a boy would like a more subdued pillowcase -- if all of his buddies sign it? I doubt it, with the fabric I have on hand.


So Long, Summer

It's 66* and raining. I could cry, I'm that happy. AND I just put gasoline in my car for $2.28/ gallon. Life is SWEET.

Last week it was 103* at 5 p.m. and I have no idea what gas was running -- over $2.50, I think. Things are looking up!

This weekend I will clean out all of the ice-chests that are in the garage and store them in the attic. I have already washed and stored the beach towels and kick boards, and need to find a home for our pool bag. It's time to gather up the final remnants of library books floating in the house and return them. *sigh* So long, summer -- you went too fast (that is almost precisely what Riley said when Shadow went on to his great reward)

The four of us took a super-quick (less than 24-hours) trip to Temple just to get away for a bit and catch up with some friends. This morning in worship I was struck by how many people WEREN'T there -- not due to moves (though there are plenty of faces not there for that reason) but due to death. I saw widows and widowers who had a spouse at their side when I was a member at that church (5 years ago). I also was really struck by the toll that age has taken on all of us -- the older folks who can't get around as well, or who seem a little more lost than they once were, and those of us just battling age as it "marches across our faces". Noticing all of us aging in conjunction with the many that have gone on to heaven just made me think again of how wonderful heaven will be. And the saints that are already there call to mind the "great cloud of witnesses." Those folks are cheering me on! When I picture that, I have renewed strength to run the race with perseverance!!

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. (Hebrews 12:1,2 NIV)

Go outside, dance in the rain, and run the race knowing the great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on!
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