Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Has it really been that long?

I’ve gotten busy. Well, there’s still my competing tendency for slothfulness. I can always find something to occupy my time away from all those things I should be doing – especially spending time with God. I have constant fodder for prayers of forgiveness, which I’m sure God’s quite tired of me repeating.
I really appreciate the times when God’s voice comes through, crystal clear. I’m not good at stilling myself to listen, so He must have really been shouting on this one.
My oldest two boys are headed on a spring break mission to Mexico in April – which isn’t cheap. After a few weeks of wondering just exactly what God had up his sleeve for funding these little darlings, I realized the teens hadn’t done any fund raising activities for awhile. I thought, “Hmmmm, I wonder who’s working on those Mexico fundraisers.”
Very, very clearly, God answered, “You are.”
Instant panic: “Who? ME!???”
God, confidently: “Yep.”
“Isn’t there anyone else?” Well, sure; He could use somebody else if I had flat out refused to heed Him. It was hard for me to deny He was putting this very strongly upon my heart.
Still trying to weasel out of this, I thought, “I’ve never done any fund raising organization before.”
God, again, very plainly and reassuringly let me know, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve done it millions of times.”
He has done this millions of times! So far, things are progressing right along. He’s provided me with wonderful people willing to assist, make suggestions, and be generous beyond my expectations. (Silly me for having limited expectations in the first place!) We have several more events. While they will be hard work, I’m not concerned about their success. They will go just exactly as God intends them to go. We’ll put out the information and provide the event; God will do the rest.
Before bed, maybe I’ll play just one more game of Rummikub? Ok, ok…prayers instead!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Random thoughts

Teens, what you do today will affect you 20 years from now. I know that's, like, forever from now. But, ya know, try to think outside the moment.

Young adults, it's NOT OK to live off of your parent's hard work. If you don't have a job now, your entire existance ought be dedicated to employment search. Those moments not consumed by job hunting should be filled with cleaning your parent's home, running errands, doing household maintenance. Grow up (and get out)! Really, how do you get out of bed and honestly face yourself in the mirror?

Today's query from a 93-year old: why does God allow wars and other bad stuff to happen? Fallen nature of man and free will. God just happens to know how those two items are going to play out because He doesn't life in the dimension we call "time." With prayer, He can take a bad thing and use it to bring about something good. Doesn't mean the bad thing away or didn't happen.

Family is what you make it. More and more, I'm finding family my spiritual family is just as important to me as my DNA family.

I've stayed up way too late tonight and will definately regret it in the morning!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I’m on an anti-stuff rant today. Which is making me grumpy. Which will give me good prayer fodder in a bit. Yes, I know those are incomplete sentences. Ppbbbpphhhttt! :P
As an only child, someday, there’s going to be a whole lot more stuff to deal with. My mother-in-law was asking me about some of the stuff they have, that the daughters don’t want – what would I like to do with that stuff? Their stuff? I don’t even want all of MY/OUR stuff!
And…stuff takes maintenance! Dusting, storage, sorting, licenses and fees, electricity, repairs – it all creates monetary obligations. God has always given me what I need. How did I allow myself to get so chained to all this stuff? If we didn’t have all this stuff, I could give more of that money back to God for His use and glory.
There’s so much stuff, I hardly know where to begin to de-stuff. It’s not so hard with stuff that is obviously my stuff, but what about the shared stuff? The kids stuff? His stuff? I can’t just unilaterally declare the combined or not my stuff has got to go (even though a whole lot of it really, really does). While I can be prayerful and bout this de-stuffing process, I feel quite trapped by the stuff in which I have no say. It’s getting to the point where I look around my home and feel…hmmmm, I guess not-blessed…that’s about the best I can describe it.
Don’t get me wrong. I like my home very much. It’s warm, comfortable, and filled with a loving family. When I look at the all the stuff God has allowed us to accumulate, I see all the times we chose stuff over God. I see all the times we did what we wanted rather than asking and doing what He wanted. It’s like I can see the blight tarnishing the stuff – because it was not brought into our home with God’s greater glory in mind from the get-go. I’d like to keep the warmth, comfort, and love – because I really am quite not-rugged at heart. But the distracting, non-essential, take my mind away from God stuff – that could go. (That does not include the computer or facebook account!)
I do have to praise God for the Christmas He gave us. I told most of the family I wanted an anti-stuff Christmas. For the most part, everybody was very accommodating to that. Steve and I took the kids to a huge indoor water park, and the boys got things they really needed – rather than several more video games. We had nice family time with the in-laws, too. (I did miss my Calvary family some, but that’s because I like to talk Jesus who also like to talk Jesus! He’s a never-ending subject of fascination, for me.)
Besides prayer, I’m not really sure where I’m going to take this anti-stuff crusade. I’m also at a point where I want to change some of the decorating stuff in the kitchen and dining area to what I’ll call coffee house Christian. That means removing some of the stuff that were gifts from other people, which could end up hurting some feelings. So…what do I do with that stuff to preserve feelings, but also not have it around or ending up just storing it (and store it where, exactly? I’m out of space because of so much stuff!).
Yes, I’ll be taking all this stuff to Jesus in prayer. He did say to lay our burdens down before Him. I’m sure He has a way to organize my life to make it look like a “California Closet!”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good luck with that!

Today, my scripture reading brought me to John 3:36.

"And anyone who believes in God's Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn't obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God's angry judgement." NLT

Guess those who decide belief and obedience aren't for them...Good luck with that!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Common Frame of Reference

Ever try to talk about Jesus, explain your Christian point of view, or do things the way you do to someone who isn't a Jesus follower?

One of my favorite scenes from Star Trek IV:

McCoy: Perhaps, we could cover a little philosophical ground. Life. [pause] Death. [pause] Life. [pause] Things of that nature.

Spock: I did not have time on Vulcan to review the philosophical disciplines.

McCoy: C'mon, Spock, it's me, McCoy. You really have gone where no man's gone before. Can't you tell me what it felt like?

Spock: It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame-of-reference.

McCoy: You're joking!

Spock: A joke [pause] is a story with a humorous climax.

McCoy: You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?

Spock: Forgive me, Doctor. I am receiving a number of distress calls.

McCoy: I don't doubt it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Magic Eye Dolphins


Remember the “Magic Eye” pictures? The pictures that looked like nothing but squiggly lines and random images? If you stared at the picture in just the right way, viola! A 3-D image emerged.
Jesus is so obvious in my life. How do the unbelievers just not see Him? Ok, so once upon a time, in what my friends like to call their B.C. days (Before Christ – most of us lived those days!), I was right there -- not “seeing” Him, too. Now that I know Him, though, it’s truly flabbergasting and bang-your-head-against-the-wall frustrating trying to communicate with people who just don’t get it. They do not know what they do not know.
While sharing Christmas with my children, husband (who believes in whatever he believes in his own way), my mother-in-law (who is spiritual like Oprah is spiritual) and uncommitted father-in-law, it suddenly dawned on me that the way I see Jesus is rather like those Magic Eye pictures.
About 15 years ago, I saw my very first stereogram picture. Because she likes dolphins, my sister-in-law and her husband had a rather nice picture hanging in their living room consisting of an empty body of water with some illustrated fish and seaweed growing in a border around the edges. The picture had been on their wall for several months. Ken, the husband, says, “There’s supposed to be a hidden picture in there if you stare at it, but we haven’t seen anything.”
Intrigued, I got up to gaze at the picture. I discovered if I stared at the reflection off the glass rather than at the picture itself, several swimming dolphins emerged in the field of empty ocean. It was so cool! Ken, being the succinct person that he is, jokingly told me to carnally exit his home. He found it annoying that I was able to see something in a matter of minutes that they had not been able to seen in months.
I shared my method of staring with my husband, Steve. After a few minutes, his comment was an understated, “Whoa!”
Even more annoyed, Ken decided he’d try looking for the swimming dolphins once again. Armed with the trick of staring at the glass, he was finally able to view the 3-D image of the swimming dolphins. It took Michelle, my sister-in-law, awhile longer, but in the next few days, she too learned to see the images hidden within Magic Eye pictures.
All those months, the dolphins were right there in their living room, yet my in-laws were blind to them. Once revealed, they were awed at the hidden beauty and depth of their picture.  After they knew how to see the dolphins, they could not make their eyes return to the way they were before. When they looked at the picture, it was so easy, so obvious that they couldn’t not see the dolphins.
Seeing Jesus is much like a Magic Eye picture. Once the truth of Jesus is discovered, you can’t make yourself blind again.
Some people are so awed by His grace and mercy that they decided to dedicate their lives staring at and seeking out more stereogram pictures with new hidden images and depths to explore.
Some people see the hidden picture, but decide to either ignore the image or just move it out of their lives all together. There are those who look into the picture and don’t like the image or it doesn’t fit their desires or expectations. Maybe there’s an old book of stereogram images around somewhere, but it’s so 90s. Magic Eye pictures can be ignored, but the knowledge of their hidden 3-D images remains.
Some people are satisfied with a picture of empty water, never searching it for anything beyond its most basic appearance. These people never will know the hidden depths, because they choose not to look. There are those that think the picture is good enough on the surface. Searching into the depths requires too much effort for others.
Some people never have the opportunity to view a Magic Eye picture. Whether through cultural and parental choices in upbringing, or missed opportunities from those too timid to share their knowledge of Magic Eye images, some will never know the wonder of a hidden 3-D image of swimming dolphins.
I see the dolphins. I cannot not see the dolphins. I want to see the dolphins and other more exciting and in-depth images beyond dolphins. I would never want to return to eyes that are unable to perceive the dolphins. Without dolphins, the picture is just empty water, cold, lifeless and purposeless.
Do you see the dolphins?

Such a wanna-be!

Over the past couple of years, as I've come to embrace my inner Jesus Freak, outside of church and a few carefully cultivated friends, I'm finding myself more and more estranged. Estranged from whom? People who do not know or have chosen a path apart from Christ. I'm quite perplexed by this. I've spent a great deal of time praying, contemplating, and pondering the differences between me and the people from whom I've become estranged.

It's a self imposed exile. There are lot of fellow Jesus Freak friends and family here in this new life. Since I do still love people from the old neighborhood, there are times I miss them. I wish they could know what I know and understand who I now am and why I have changed.

Why turn to the internet as a wanna-be blogger? An outlet to explain myself, I suppose. What followers will join me on this journey? Not expecting any really. Still, I have a lot of opinions to share. Maybe somebody will find my solution to the U.S. economic crisis useful. Right after listening to God, people are really missing out on the advice that I could be distributing. (God doesn’t normally strike people down with lightening anymore, does He?)

Blogging worked as a way for an acquaintance of mine, Lisa Pietch, to become and author. Another author, Jen Lancaster turned her blog and unemployment experience into a successful career as an author – between temp jobs. In college, the teachers kept saying the only way to hone writing skills was to actually…write… a lot. Although I like to write, and there was a time where I was almost good at it, it’s always been a little…restrained…since my mother found and read a journal of mine when I was a teenager. Not a pleasant memory!

In the past year especially, I made a decision that I cannot hide who I am. I cannot temper my love of Jesus or what I understand the literal word of the Bible to mean because others might be offended, not believe in whom I believe, or not believe in Him the way I believe.

I really believe that my decision not to hide my inner Freak under a rock played a large part in being fired from a job I truly loved last April (the day before my birthday, too). It’s been an interesting ride with my husband, who does not “believe the way I believe.” While it’s acceptable to take the kids off to the church for religious studies, most of my family thinks it’s best to keep it to ourselves as abstract lessons of generally good and moral behavior. Actually really living out what’s taught there is far too controversial and polarizing for nearly all of my related kin – but that’s a topic for another day.

This won’t be a well advertised blog; it’s not for everybody. If you stumbled upon this, and want to join me on this bit of my life’s journey, welcome. Let’s see where God takes us on this blog adventure!