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Friday, November 7, 2008

How to Make a Good Impression


"Vienna Rolls: Just the thing for the newcomer in the community to take to a church supper. Fame will follow her." --taken from The American Everyday Cookbook, 1955.

Well, too bad I didn't read that a few weeks ago! Here I thought I'd have to go get red and purple streaks put in my hair to make a memorable impression at the new church we recently joined. If only I'd read this recipe note first, I could have saved myself a good $200 or so!!

My mom passed this cookbook down to me just a couple months before I was married in 1998. It belonged to her mother, Betty, who received it from her husband, George, in 1955. This baby has been well-used, believe me!

I got a wild hair (no, no puns here...) tonight to browse through it as I hadn't opened it up for several years. Both my grandmother and my mom had written little notes throughout---births, deaths, divorces...x's by things that were good. On an inconspicuous spot on one of the first few pages, I found a little note: "Betty + George".

I couldn't help but add to the page my own little note for generations to come: "Sarah + Jamie".

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If You Give a Mom a Muffin...


If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee. She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With A Pound Of Hamburger.)
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow. She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny. She'll change the two-year-old.
While she is changing the two-year-old the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.
And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee,
her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

by Kathy Fictorie based on "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Bible Story Hour





This evening I was thinking about how I came to learn the stories of the Bible. I wasn't raised in a church-going home but I went to several different churches with friends throughout childhood. I understood the basics of salvation and the importance of prayer and knowing scripture...but I was completely in the dark about all of the wonderful stories in the Bible.

Eight days after I was married, the associate pastor of the church we went to asked me if I was interested in teaching the preschool/kindergarten class at their Christian school. I was a little taken aback...for one thing, my life wasn't lining up with Christ as it should be---and for another thing, I was only 18 years old!

But, of course, I said yes! I was given the material soon after that and had about 6 weeks to prepare. I was pretty confident in myself and the year started off fine.

However, it didn't take long for me to realize that I could teach these kids lots of facts about math or science or reading or history...but I didn't know Bible basics. What kind of a girl agrees to teach a group of young children in a Christian school, knowing that she doesn't even know one Bible story to tell them???

Lucky for me, my husband had grown up in that same school and had attended church all his life. He knew the Bible front to back and had a strong relationship with the Lord. So we started a new habit.

Every night before bed, I'd ask him to tell me a Bible story. I didn't want some long, drawn-out theological treatise---just a basic story as one would tell it to a young child.

So he'd come up with stories that he remembered from childhood and I'd be fascinated! It was so amazing to hear of all of these great men and women of God! The one I remember him telling the most was the story of Samson. (It just occured to me that there could have been a little bit of a link there between me and Delilah...but surely he wasn't hinting at anything??? :)

I've now read the Bible through several times and have spent lots of time in certain books of the Bible. I've taught young children in several different settings consistently for 11 years now. There's not really a need for my husband to tell me a Bible story before bed...but I think I might ask him tonight...just for old times sake.

Top Secret Family Thanksgiving Recipe...For Your Eyes Only!!


Great 80's Movies Awareness Question: Who is this guy and where do we meet him?

I've decided to share with you a tidbit from my vault of family secrets! Here is a recipe for Date Nut Pudding, a family favorite for four generations now! This is to be eaten with your Thanksgiving meal and placed on your plate right next to your turkey. But don't be confused...you are not to place this next to the turkey that is in between the mashed potatoes and stuffing---the turkey that you cover with the same gravy that you cover the afore mentioned items with. You are instead to place it next to the other turkey that you've placed right next to the cranberry sauce that you place on your fork first before stabbing a hunk of the non-gravied turkey and eating it all with one bite.

Now that we have that straight, lets continue...

Date Nut Pudding
(from the current kitchens of Christy Virgil and Sarah Coller and the former kitchen of Betty Piper)

2 c. chopped dates
1 c. chopped nuts
2 c. miniature marshmallows
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 12 oz. container Cool Whip

Stir them all together well and press down into a 9" square pan. Sprinkle more graham crumbs on top and chill overnight.

Yum!

More On God's Will


Tonight we were visiting with friends about the election tomorrow and the fact that Obama could very well be in power over this nation very soon. We're all a little uncomfortable with that for many reasons but that's not the point of this post.

The comment was made that if Obama does take the presidency then we just have to remember that God is in control and it must be his will that Obama be our next president.


I'm not sure I totally agree with that. It kind of goes back to when I lost the baby last fall. Was that God's will? Or was it his will that I carry that baby to term and have it be healthy and strong? Of course, I'd like to believe the latter---but is it true?


I think it is. I think that God's will is much different than what God allows. If we believe the Bible to be literal and true then we know that God had a much different idea about mankind's role when he first created us than what we've become. Since we messed up the original design that he willed, his perfection has required that he bring a consequence for that. Unfortunately, the most terrible consequence is death. But, he has also chosen to allow different circumstances to come about in order to redeem "that which was lost" as they say.


So in my mind, it's not so much that God would want Obama or McCain or whoever else in power...it's not that he would will it...but just that he would allow it---in order to bring about circumstances that will eventually lead to redemption.


For one who takes end time prophecy literally, it's easy to see how an Obama presidency could lead to the redemption of our physical bodies very shortly...but that's an idea for another day!

Raspberry Delay




Quick! What song is going through your head right now? (Sorry...)

I finally thawed out all my frozen raspberries this past Saturday and made some jam. YUM! It was the best I've ever made.

Those berries had been in my freezer since I went on a kick and bought $60 worth of them last MAY!

Just in case you aren't hearing Prince in all his annoyingness wheezing in your brain by now, I'll just post you a little link: http://www.last.fm/music/Prince/_/Raspberry+Beret

Random Candy Awareness Fact: Did you know they now make Sugar Free Chick-O-Sticks? I just snagged one from my son's candy bag. I was so excited to find it but once I saw the Sugar Free label, I lost interest.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

And Heaven and Nature Sing


Last night as I was finishing up a great book, "Embracing Father Christmas" by Robin Jones Gunn, I jotted down a note about a quote that really spoke to me.


On page 94, one of Jones' characters says: "This is the part of Christmas when we can hear heaven and nature sing".

The thought that occurred to me as I read that was that heaven and nature is always singing. They are always making a joyful noise to the Lord. Although we know that nature does not have a soul...and we know that the angelic inhabitants of Heaven are not created in the same way we are...we can't help but recognize the fact that they were all created to worship God. They can't help it!

Did you know that you were created to worship the Lord as well? Just by our very being, we give the Lord glory. How much more glory we could give Him if we'd structure our lives and priorities in such a way as to praise Him even when we can help it!

If I focus on making my life a song to Jesus, pretty soon I will be oozing with Christ-like-ness!

After pondering the character's quote a little longer, I've come to the conclusion that that instance wasn't a time that heaven and nature sang...instead, it was a time when that character took the time to listen and tune in to the praise that is going on around us all---all the time!

Dewey Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Dew


Last night my husband and I were watching the Stargate episode where Sam's new boyfriend is teasing her about quirkiness. He makes a comment that goes something like: "as long as you don't have alphabetized bookshelves...".


My husband looked at me and grinned his "you have weird quirkinesses" smile.


You see, I not only want my bookshelves alphabetized---I want them arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System. This has been a dream of mine ever since I began collecting books in my early childhood.


People keep telling us we need a bigger place because we have a lot of kids. They're all only half way right. Yes, a bigger place is needed...but not for the kids' sake. If we were to have one more bedroom than we have now, it would not be for kids---it would be for my dream library.


All arranged as Dewey would do it.

The Heart of a Reader



You've all heard me sing the praises of BookCrossing, but let me tell you the downsides that I've discovered since joining this online book-sharing community two and a half years ago.


It used to be that I'd have a few books lying around here and there that needed to be read and that my many bookshelves were lined with books I'd already read or were saving for my kids to someday read. Therefore, I spent a lot of time at the local public library--perusing the shelves, discovering new authors and genres.


I can't tell you the last time I checked out a book from the library---and actually read it.


Since joining BookCrossing, I've been inundated with books of all kinds. I've had so many books pass through my hands that I think they should make up a new Trivial Pursuit game just for me: Book Lover's Edition. I'd be a pro. I'm aware of authors and titles that I'd never have come into contact with before BC.


My many (more) bookshelves are now lined with TBR (to be read) books that I now feel obligated to read. Instead of taking my time enjoying and pondering a book, I often find myself rushing through it just so I can get to the next one...and make room on my shelves for more.


For this next season of my life, I'm challenging myself to stop worrying about quantity read and start focusing more on quality and enjoyment. I think that will make the BC experience, and reading as a whole, much more enjoyable.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue



This morning I was informed that this is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). This new venture excites me for more than one reason. Besides the fact that the acronym sounds like something the Nox would eat for breakfast, I have needed an encouragement just like this to get me writing in my blogs more.


So I figured that since I would be part of this nationwide effort, I'd need some sort of badge to make myself known. I borrowed this cute typewriter lady badge from Dory: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42wallabyway/2989196747/.



When I first saw this picture, it made me wonder about the lady. The badge was obviously made from an old photo found online somewhere. Dory surely discovered this photo that someone had posted for a different reason and took the liberty to alter it to make it her own. I wonder how long this photo has been circulating and in what arenas. Most of all, I wonder who the woman is. Is she still around? What was the original purpose for the photo being taken? Does she know that her image is now circulating all over the internet?


I guess this just goes to show that you never know how you'll make your mark in this world! Some people are remembered for their prized apple pie, some are acknowledged generation after generation for a moving speech they made, and others...others are preserved in green---a testimony forever to the end of the finger wave and the birth of ready wear.



Sci-Fi Awareness Bonus Question: Tell us who the Nox are and in what way to we first come to meet them?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jesus: The One Who Completes Us




Col: 2:8-10
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power" (underlining mine).


How many times do we go looking for someone or something to "complete" us? If we are single we say we need a spouse to complete us. If we are married we say we need children to complete us. After that, we start saying things like, "if only I...was not so overweight, would gain a little weight, didn't have this debt, had a cleaner home, owned my own place," etc. We have this sense that we, in and of ourselves, are not enough. We know that we are lacking so we go on a quest to lose the weight or adopt the newest organizational system or find the perfect spouse.


So why, when we do finally accomplish these things, do we still feel the empty spot? Why do we immediately recognize the next big thing that needs to happen for us to feel complete?


The problem is that while we know that we are lacking---that we, ourselves, are not enough--we are going in the wrong direction to find that fulfillment. Verse 9 says in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead---the Three In One, the Trinity...and we are complete in Him. We have been cheated and lied to by the enemy...and we've bought right in.


The Bible gives us a caution: that we wouldn't be cheated or deceived by the traditions of men or principalities of the world. Have we made the world's deceptions our truths? Have media and magazine covers become our gospel? The funny thing about God is that he knows our hearts. He knows and understands that empty place where we feel the need for completeness. What's more, he knows exactly what we need to fill it. We can find all we need in him.


Even in Christ, however, completion won't come by forgiving our brother or cleaning up our act. Yes, those things are important, and the time for them will come, but it can't come until Christ has our hearts. Completeness and fullness of God must first take place in our hearts as we surrender everything to Him and ask Him to teach us and to work on us in His timing.


Once this surrender to Christ is complete and we are being filled by Him, then we will begin to emulate Him. People will begin to see Christ in us as we forgive our brother and get our act together one step at a time through Christ.


I challenge you today: don't accept the lies and traditions of the world---instead, invite Christ to fill you with His truth and power and find completion in Him.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Freedom's Calling

Several things kept me from being super excited about reading this book. For one thing, I knew that this was the story of a horrible tragedy involving the death of a child and that it took place at Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon. Being how I could drive to this lake, pitch my tent and set up camp faster than I could read through this book, it made me just a little nervous to have this devastating fictional event tied in with one of my favorite vacation spots. Secondly, and an even greater reason, was that I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my own unborn child less than 8 months ago.

However, at the insistance of more than one loving friend, I decided to give it a go. As I read through (the father) Mack's questions for God and struggles with blame, shame and disappointment, I really found myself relating. When it came time for the healing, I wasn't sure I was ready. However, just like he did with Mack, God put me on super-speedy recovery mode and did a work in my heart that has turned around much of my thinking. I'll try not to leave too many spoilers here...but you've been warned!

One emotion that Mack displayed that I could really relate to was his confusion that he might be being punished by God for a past wrong. I have felt a feeling similar to this since losing the baby. I've often thought that it was just too good to be true that all of my children had been born healthy and fine...that it was just "my turn" to have a tragedy happen. I thought that maybe it was my punishment for not losing weight like I'd promised myself so many times I'd do. I kept repeating something that my not-so-well-meaning dad said to me shortly after losing the baby, "maybe this was God's way of telling you that he doesn't want you to have any more kids." What? Who sends these kids anyway?? But that's another topic... How thrilled I was when God spoke to my heart, "just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes," (The Shack, pg. 185). Praise God! I have found that I can forgive God now...and pray that he will forgive me for misunderstanding him and blaming him. Freedom's calling!

One thing that really spoke to me and made me recognize something about myself was when I began to understand that I imagine the worst possible scenarios and then do everything I can to try to avoid them. The problem with this is that I think I have control and really, I don't! I think that if I can plan out my life then I will be sure to make no wrong moves. But as Kent Hovind says, I know the things I know...but what about the things I don't know? This reminded me that before I even became pregnant with the child I lost, I was already planning on losing one. I had a name picked out and a strategy for dealing with the pain and all that. I thought that if I could plan for this then I wouldn't hurt so bad when and if it actually happened. However, since I'd never lost a child before, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and ache that would follow. There was no way I could have prepared for this. I was putting my security in my plans and when my plans failed, I freaked. Thank God for God though, he really came through! He spoke to me the importance of vulnerability and trusting him. Freedom's calling!!

A question that I've always wondered about was answered for me through this book as well. On several encounters with God, Mack is reminded that God chooses to limit himself in order to have relationship with us. I've sometimes wondered why we need to say things out loud or speak words to God that he already knows...but sometimes he chooses to limit himself, chooses to need to hear us...for the sake of relationship.

I'd like to recommend this little book to anyone and everyone. I believe it is one of those "living books" that the Lord will use in a different and personal way for each person who reads it. Please visit: http://theshackbook.com/ for details.


Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young

Several things kept me from being super excited about reading this book. For one thing, I knew that this was the story of a horrible tragedy involving the death of a child and that it took place at Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon. Being how I could drive to this lake, pitch my tent and set up camp faster than I could read through this book, it made me just a little nervous to have this devastating fictional event tied in with one of my favorite vacation spots.

Secondly, and an even greater reason, was that I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my own unborn child less than 8 months ago.

However, at the insistance of more than one loving friend, I decided to give it a go. As I read through (the father) Mack's questions for God and struggles with blame, shame and disappointment, I really found myself relating. When it came time for the healing, I wasn't sure I was ready. However, just like he did with Mack, God put me on super-speedy recovery mode and did a work in my heart that has turned around much of my thinking. I'll try not to leave too many spoilers here...but you've been warned!

One emotion that Mack displayed that I could really relate to was his confusion that he might be being punished by God for a past wrong. I have felt a feeling similar to this since losing the baby. I've often thought that it was just too good to be true that all of my children had been born healthy and fine...that it was just "my turn" to have a tragedy happen. I thought that maybe it was my punishment for not losing weight like I'd promised myself so many times I'd do. I kept repeating something that my not-so-well-meaning dad said to me shortly after losing the baby, "maybe this was God's way of telling you that he doesn't want you to have any more kids." What? Who sends these kids anyway?? But that's another topic...

How thrilled I was when God spoke to my heart, "just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes," (The Shack, pg. 185). Praise God! I have found that I can forgive God now...and pray that he will forgive me for misunderstanding him and blaming him. Freedom's calling!

One thing that really spoke to me and made me recognize something about myself was when I began to understand that I imagine the worst possible scenarios and then do everything I can to try to avoid them. The problem with this is that I think I have control and really, I don't! I think that if I can plan out my life then I will be sure to make no wrong moves. But as Kent Hovind says, I know the things I know...but what about the things I don't know? This reminded me that before I even became pregnant with the child I lost, I was already planning on losing one. I had a name picked out and a strategy for dealing with the pain and all that. I thought that if I could plan for this then I wouldn't hurt so bad when and if it actually happened. However, since I'd never lost a child before, I couldn't begin to imagine the pain and ache that would follow. There was no way I could have prepared for this. I was putting my security in my plans and when my plans failed, I freaked. Thank God for God though, he really came through! He spoke to me the importance of vulnerability and trusting him. Freedom's calling!!

A question that I've always wondered about was answered for me through this book as well. On several encounters with God, Mack is reminded that God chooses to limit himself in order to have relationship with us. I've sometimes wondered why we need to say things out loud or speak words to God that he already knows...but sometimes he chooses to limit himself, chooses to need to hear us...for the sake of relationship.

I'd like to recommend this little book to anyone and everyone. I believe it is one of those "living books" that the Lord will use in a different and personal way for each person who reads it. Please visit: http://theshackbook.com/ for details.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Know, Know, Know Him...

So, tell me: When you read 1 Corinthians 13; you know, "Love is patient, love is kind...", how do you apply it to your own life? Do you immediately get struck with a sense of guilt right there at the beginning? Patient? Yeah, right...not with these kids... Or what about the next phrase, Love is kind...like as in how we should treat our spouses? Other drivers?

When I read through verses, 4-8 of that particular chapter, I always think of how I need to apply these verses to my interactions with my family and others around me.

But tonight, I saw it differently. Tonight, I inserted the name of Jesus...right there in all those places where it says "love". Just change it to Jesus and see what you come up with. More than that, end those phrases with your own name. Like this:

Jesus is patient with Sarah.
Jesus is kind to Sarah.
Jesus does not envy nor does he want Sarah to envy.
Jesus does not boast (although he does dance over Sarah).
Jesus is not proud (though he does take joy in his Creation, Sarah)
Jesus is not rude nor does he want Sarah to be rude.
Jesus is not self-seeking and he wants Sarah to be self-less too.
Jesus is not easily-angered nor does he want Sarah to be easily angered.
Jesus keeps no record of wrongs...even Sarah's wrongs.
Jesus does not delight in evil...nor should Sarah delight in evil.
Jesus rejoices with the truth...he wants Sarah to rejoice with the truth!
Jesus always protects Sarah.
Jesus always trusts God's Word and Promises for Sarah.
Jesus always hopes for Sarah.
Jesus always has and always will persevere for Sarah.
....and, best of all, Jesus will never fail Sarah.

Here's the part I always miss from that passage: verse 10: "but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears." I never get to that part because I stop half way through the litany of love's characteristics. I stop because I am so overcome with my own inadequacy that it shames me and I know I can't ever be all those things that love is.

But wait a minute...when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears! When Jesus covers me and works through me I think I just might be able to be some of those things after all! By God's grace, we all have the ability to posses a clean slate any time we want to! We can make that imperfection disappear by asking Jesus to come with his perfection!

Can it really be that easy? Yes, it can. Because Jesus did the most difficult thing of all. He became sin for us so we could become the righteousness of God. He did the hard stuff so it could really be that easy for us. Let's not take that for granted!







Thursday, June 5, 2008

Revenge on the Raccoon



Wanna hear about my scary dream last night? Ok, but first let me fill you in on some back story from real life.


A couple of days ago, I was standing at the sink looking out the window, when I spotted an odd-looking cat climbing up the neighbors tree---about 12 feet from my window. As I studied the strange cat, I realized it was not a feline at all, but a raccoon (though my daughter tells me that a raccoon is actually part of the cat family...don't know about that one...). So, inquisitive one that I'm usually not, I grabbed the camera and headed outside to try and snap a shot of this creature. He alluded me, of course, by hiding in the uppermost branches of the tree. Still, I was able to watch him for awhile before the strain on my neck became to much and I retired inside.


I mentioned to my husband that day that I thought I knew what our cat had recently gotten into a fight with (he--the cat--is still healing from an encounter that ripped off the left side of his bottom lip). I told him about the raccoon and we both had a laugh.


Last night I told him--my husband--that I was too afraid to go check on the cat (who resides in our laundry room) because I was scared that the raccoon might be in there. My husband, being 2 hours away at the time and unable to come to my rescue, said 'don't worry about it--the cat--' and that was the end of the conversation.

So...my dream. Last night I dreamed that I was driving alone in my Suburban up a steep hill that I recognized as being in Granite, Oregon. All at once, a raccoon leaped on to the car and began scrambling around to find a way inside. At first, I was just mildly irritated at this annoying little critter but when it insisted on bashing it's furry little fist into my windshield, I became furious.
I figured my only course of action was to try to destroy this overgrown rodent. I slammed on the brakes and began backing down the hill at a super-speedy pace. When I stopped at the bottom of the hill, the raccoon was nowhere to be found. I figured he must have fallen off and since I couldn't see him anywhere, he was surely under the car. I backed around to the right a little ways, put it in drive, closed my eyes and gunned it.
I didn't feel a thing as I raced right over this troublesome faux-feline but when I stopped the car and looked behind me, there he lay, still and serene.
I got out of the car and went over to assess the damage. But when I looked down at the ferocious beast, I realized that he was only a cork-filled knick-knack whose plastic was now cracked all over from my careless racing around this former Oregon boom town.



Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prophecy: Mystery or Matter of Fact?

So, would you agree that we are living in the end times? How do you know? Did your pastor say that one Sunday? Did you read about it on the cover of the Weekly World News? Did you see this book on the shelf at some book store and say, "well, we must be 'cause this book thinks we might be!"

I am currently reading LaHaye & Jenkins' book, Are We Living in the End Times?. Apparently, this book is going to educate me on the many prophecies that have been fulfilled regarding Christ's Second Coming. I'm excited. (About the book and the Rapture... :) Why is prophecy so well-clothed in mystery and mysticism? Why do so many Christians shy away from or negate the legitimacy of prophecy? The authors of this book seem to think that it is a fear that has grown out of ignorance. This makes sense to me. We humans are afraid of what we don't understand. Many of us do not understand prophecy. However, prophecy makes up roughly a third of the text of the Bible. We oughta be more afraid of the fact that we are choosing to ignore that huge of a portion of God's Word---for want of understanding.

We have a responsibility to understand prophecy. Why did God allow these things to be written? What do you think? I think it's because he wants to make it so totally clear that he is real and out there and coming for us...he wants us to be ready---and to make sure everyone else is ready as well. Is prophecy mysterious? Should it be examined with care? Well, I think that depends. If you are a Christian, you know that the Word of God is infallible. There is not one error in the Bible. So, can we faithfully trust the prophecy in the Bible? Yes. There is nothing mystical or mysterious about it. The prophecies of the Bible are simply God telling us what he is going to do before he does it. What's so weird about that?

What about prophecies that we read about online or in the magazine aisle? What about prophecies that come from someone in the church or a guest at a religious function? This is where we need to use our discernment and take them before the Lord. Does the person giving the prophecy have a good track record? Does this prophecy line up with what God has already spoken in his word and in my life? Does the prophecy come to pass? If we ask the Lord, he will tell us clearly what to hold on to and what to dismiss.

Here's a challenge: find out what the good book has to say about future events. Take some responsibility for understanding the times and how they line up with what God has spoken in his word. Personally, I'm really excited to begin this study.

Planting Imperfections: Cultivating Imperfectionism


This morning I realized why in the 10 years that I've been married I've never had a garden. Each spring, I look out into the spot where my imaginary garden grows and consider the weeds. Then I reconsider the gardening idea.

I've had several potted flowers and plants sitting in my driveway for a couple weeks now. I have a big bowl of various seed packets sitting in my laundry room. This morning, I did something completely out of character.

I looked out onto my weedy yard. I surveyed the garden spot that my husband cleared for me last week; still there, muddy and bare. Then, instead of reconsidering, I grabbed my seed bowl and headed outside.

I planted seeds all over that muddy garden spot; marking their new homes with colored popsicle sticks. I went out to that weed-filled corner of the yard and stuck raspberry bushes in the ground, right amongst the weeds.

The way I figure, if I'm trying to change this habit of perfectionism that always leads me to procrastination, I'm going to have to do things differently. In the case of today, backwards.

I can weed and level and beautify some other day. Today was about cultivating imperfectionism!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

God's Will: Thinking about Jen Hatmaker's "Tune In"



Tonight, while going through this book for our Bible study tomorrow, Tune In by Jen Hatmaker, I began to ponder the phrase, "God's Will". I started to wonder if Bible women ever just begged and pleaded with the Lord to show them His will? Although I'm sure it's possible, it's just hard for me to imagine Esther or Mary or Miriam as being unsure of the Lord's will for their life. It seems to me that they just kinda took it one day at a time and continued to do the last thing God told them to do until they heard differently.

So, I am wondering, when I ask God to show me his will, am I using the right phraseology? When I really think about it, it seems that what I mean to say is, God, do I really have a purpose? Do I want validation from the Lord? What would I do/think/say if he told me, "Sarah, I want you to get up in the morning and do the exact same thing you've been doing for the last 10 years. That's it." Would I be satisfied with this?

No, I want God to answer with something big. I want him to validate me---to whisper sweet nothings and give me a GRAND PLAN!! I want to be big...(yes, I'm on a diet...you know what I mean...). I want to do something amazing, profound, notable, worth remembering...I want accolades and applause and back pats and praise. 

Wait. Isn't that what the Lord is supposed to be receiving?

What if my daily grind is actually blessing the Lord? Maybe the every day in and outs of my life are exactly His plan for me. Could it be that His will for my life is that I get up and do the exact same thing I've been doing for the last 10 years? That doesn't sound big and amazing and notable. But it needs to be done. And God has put me here at this time to do it. And...if it weren't me doing it, who would I choose to fill that place?

A Call For Intercession: Bad Girls of the Bible

I just finished reading Liz Curtis Higgs', Bad Girls of the Bible, and while I always find her work to be funny and fascinating, a particular idea really stood up and spoke to me during this particular adventure. While making the case for the 'badness' of Lot's wife, Higgs brings up two points about God's grace. The first, she says, is that it stretches further than we can imagine. The second is that God is withholding fire and brimstone even now, for the sake of us here on earth. This gives us an opportunity, she says, to let others know about the judgment that awaits them, as well as the grace.

This got me thinking: 'Lord, do you mean that just like Abraham, who begged for mercy for the people of Sodom, I can also plead with you to withhold your judgment so that more and more of your people can escape it?' This is intercession! As much as we Christians may want to be in Heaven with the Lord---no more sin, no more death, no more carmel pecan clusters to mess with our diets---we can only get there one of two ways. Either the Lord comes back to get us or we die and find ourselves in a new just-the-right-size body bowing at His feet. In either case, there is now at least one less person on Earth to share the good news.

Some Christians have sort of sequestered themselves away from THE (big bad)WORLD in order to fulfill what they believe the Bible is teaching when it warns us to be in the world but not of it. Do we really just want to buckle up and sit back for a long, boring ride to Heaven? Couldn't we take a lesson from Abraham here and plead with God for just one more day? A day to spend praying for my lost and lied-to brother. For a friend's mother who can't seem to find her way. A day to spend on the phone with a sick father-in-law who has been too stubborn to yield to God. Maybe God is waiting to allow that last 50 or 45 or 30 or 20 or even 10 souls to become his.

God is not the big-bad-boogey-man up in Heaven cackling and stirring his tribulation pot. He's a just and holy and loving God, drying the grieving tears of his son Jesus as the Lord mourns for those who've already made their devastating choice. Jesus is interceding for us even now---urging us to be of good courage, to finish the fight and to finish strong. Let's all take up the challenge to intercede on behalf of those we know and those we don't know who need the Lord to save them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Untitled and Extremely Informal Update


I've had this little blog for a few months now and really haven't posted a whole lot. Let me just be honest here...
I'm one of those types that Flylady describes: the procrastinating perfectionist. Usually, when faced with a task of any size or description, I analyze it to see if it's doable. My definition of doable is, 'something that can be completed perfectly without distraction'.
The problem with my definition is that it leaves no room for growth or error. And, it makes task-completion impossible for me! We all know about my many distractions: kids, husband, homeschool, college, life... So, I've made a little commitment to myself. I am going to try really hard to stop being so perfectionist-minded and start creating some short-term goals.
What does this have to do with my blog, you ask? Well, I haven't come on here to write lately because I really didn't feel I had the perfect thing to say that was just going to completely bless the socks off of everyone! ;)
So, I'm changing the way I view my blog. This blog is for me. Ok, really, it's for you, reader...but I'm goona take charge here a little more! I'll decide what I write and when, ok?? :) No more catering to the masses!! If I just wanna write a little dork thing that is not at all profound, I will! I might even spell it wrong!!!!! If I don't want to title my blog posts---I won't!
Ok, now that we're clear, stay tuned to enjoy some life updates, book reviews and silly photos!
This is the line that usually is filled with a funny or thought-provoking end-quote. Today this space is being guest-hosted by my good friend, spiteful rebellion. :)
HA!! I'm totally cracking myself up today...!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sherri Sand Blog Tour--Leave It To Chance


I just finished reading this great new book and found it very inspiring. Among the many different directions this novel took me, the most intriguing was Sierra's battle with debilitating fear. It is sad and thought-provoking to consider how many opportunities we've all let pass us by because of the bondage of fear.
This story has caused me to reevaluate my lack of motivation in many areas; but mostly as pertains to my writing. I have a hunger to write but my fear of rejection has been holding me back. I've been thinking today, What have I got to lose? I mean, I don't have a published book right at this very moment...so if I never have a published book, I will not have lost anything. My worth and skill as a writer is not defined by a publisher's response. Am I digressing?? Oh yes, back to Sherri! :)
I was also really inspired by the interview with Sherri in the back of the novel. These thoughts from her on perseverance spoke most clearly to me:
Q: How do you find time to write? Any tips for someone who is working full time?
A: Set a word count goal. I try to write 1000 words a day, five days a week. If finding the extra time is difficult, start with 300 words a day. At that pace, you’d complete a full length novel (80,000 words) in one year. But the most important factor in writing is to turn the editor in your head off. Writer’s block comes from trying to create and edit at the same time. Don’t wait for the perfect idea to come floating along. Start writing now. Write anything. You want to create the habit so the ideas will come. The fear of failure keeps us from giving feet to our dreams-true failure comes from not trying at all.

Meet Sherri at her website: http://www.sherrisand.com/ and read about her first novel,
Leave It to Chance at:
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