Monday, July 28, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Somehow, it's not hard to be in tears over the death of someone I never met in person. Through her blog, I learned a lot about Leslie's husband, their son and Leslie. I thought about my son when I saw the cute pictures of their little boy, and I think of him now.... I admired Leslie's husband's faith in God, even when all of this wasn't making sense. I wanted so much for her to get better, so I could read the victory stories and celebrate in front of my computer.... I prayed many times since I started reading their blog.....Well, it looks like God had another plan. I sure don't like how sad it is, why a young mommy would die, but I trust Him....It is pretty wonderful to think about, though, that Leslie is WITH God. She gets to be in front of His lovely face - even embraced by Him, forever and EVER!! WOO! That's amazing. And, she is truly healed - the TRUE victory!
Lord, I pray that you would be glorified through Leslie's life and death. Let your presence be felt very near to her husband and young son. Please strengthen them with your supernatural strength and peace. Comfort their whole family and give them peace that passes all understanding.....
-toilet paper (include a plastic bag for packing out after use)
OK. Does this mean, if I go pee or poop in the woods, I have to pack out my toilet paper I wiped my butt with? And, does it also mean I have to pack out my poop?
It probably just means I have to pack out my toilet paper in a plastic bag, so it won't get wet.
I think we Christians know and believe in the unconditional love of God toward everyone. God loves everyone! The Bible says so: For God so loved the world......BUT - what about the people in the Bible who had God's FAVOR? Why did they have God's favor? If He loves us all, what did they do to get it? Why were they, in reality, a "favorite" of God? Hebrews 11 comes to my mind, as having a whole LIST of them. Even Jesus: "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52)
Well, our high school pastor showed us three characteristics (or things that they did) of those who had God's favor (granted, a good message has three points, making it more likely people will remember the message, so I'm sure there's more to ponder). He pointed out that those people who went from faithfulness to God's favor did three things. They were people of SACRIFICE, people of SERVICE and people with high STANDARDS. Remember, it's not that you would do these things to earn God's love - we already have that. But, these were some of the things that were part of the lives of famous people in the Bible who earned God's FAVOR.
SACRIFICES: When it came to David, in 2 Samuel 24:24-25, David wanted to offer the LORD a burnt offering, but he wanted to make sure it was a true sacrifice on his part. So, he bought an entire threshing floor and offered many offerings there. This action caused God to favor David, and hold back a plague on the land.
SERVING: In Psalm 100:1-2 it says "Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing." We must be willing to serve the Lord to earn His favor, but to do so with the right attitude - a pure heart.
STANDARDS: Have integrity. "The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me."
As I thought after this message, I also thought of Enoch, who was such a favorite, that God just snatched him up to Heaven without experiencing death. Or, David, who God even called "a man after my own heart." Or, Noah who God saved from the flood.
Honestly, and this might sound weird, but I want MORE than God's love. Everybody has that. I want God's FAVOR. I want to be and do the things that will please God SO much, He will find favor with me! I know He loves me and no one can ever take that away, but to REALLY touch His heart by what I do - oh! That's the ultimate joy and treasure to me.
In the past, when I have stepped out in faith to do things God has asked me to do, they have not been easy projects - WAY beyond my abilities. I once coordinated a huge, womens' luncheon - I had never done it before, but I knew I God was wanting me to. Anyway, it was AWESOME. The Lord was amazing how he just weaved everything together like a beautiful tapestry. It was like I was coordinating it, but not really, and it was sort of an out-of-body experience at the end, watching it come together as He weaved it. I obeyed, remained faithful, relied on Him ultimately, and He did the weaving of the event. That night, I went to bed smiling at Him, and I remember FEELING Him smiling back at me. It was like the two of us shared a moment....
It's that SMILE. I want that SMILE on me every DAY! I don't want God's favor, as some people might think, such as "getting" something. I just want His SMILE. His FAVOR. Knowing that I did something that made Him pleased.
I'm wondering on the fly right now as I type this, if we Christians become complacent because we know God loves us, and well, we're OK. We're "saved." But, when I think about wanting God's favor, it changes my whole perspective. I think of it, and I WANT it. It makes me sorrowful for how I fall short, and don't sacrifice my sleep/time and spend time with Him. And, how self-protective I have been when it comes to church (because of my burnout), and not being willing to do my part in service (or in other areas of life). And how my standards are not high enough, and I think things in my heart toward others that I shouldn't.... Now, these aren't condemning thoughts, because I know that "there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus," but these are true sorrowful thoughts, on how I have let Him down - not had His smile on my life. I think it's true conviction - not the kind that makes you feel guilty and defeated, but the kind that brings you to repentance and motivates you to turn around and do things differently......
All in all, the idea of God's favor has changed me. All I know is I WANT it.
If you're interested in hearing the awesome message that got me thinking all these things, go to www.p4square.com, click on "POPULAR," then click on "podcasts." Scroll down to the title "From Faithfulness to Favor," and click on that. If you have iTunes, you can listen to an audio podcast, or you can watch a video download of the message. I guarantee, you will be blessed by it. Let me know if you are! :)
Friday, July 25, 2008
When I was 13, I went to a big slumber party at a friend's house. The girl's parents rented us several movies, one of which was "Risky Business." This movie was rated R, and had graphic sex scenes. I remember feeling sort of trapped watching it, unprepared to know what to do. Plus, the parents in the next room obviously approved of the movie, since they rented it. Anyway, as a sensitive person, that movie left me feeling bad for a long time.
Well, I think I may have found a cool answer to watching today's movies as a Christian. It's called ClearPlay. It's a DVD player with a filter, that filters out bad language, nudity, etc. You receive regular updates via the computer. Check it out at http://www.clearplay.com/.
I have read about parents who let their teens watch movies, in order to open up a discussion about current topics for educational purposes. I know my conscience would not allow me to let me kids watch movies with graphic sex scenes and violence, but I think I could live with them watching movies if it was filtered by something like ClearPlay. I would feel better knowing that the graphic images and language would not be imprinted on their brains, and we could talk about the subject matter.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Amanda has already been reading one of those popular vampire books by Stephanie Meyer. There's three in the series, and Amanda is on the third one, eagerly anticipating the release of the movie next year. Plus, I bought her a ginormous SAT study guide that should keep her plenty busy. Got her covered.
On to Melanie. Melanie wanted to get a book recently released by a guy named Brad Henning, who came and spoke at her school on teen relationships and sex. He's a Christian guy who actually lives in our town. He wrote a book called "Don't Take Love Lying Down." My stipulation for me to buy that book, was for her to read another book on the similar topic that I had been wanting her to read. It's almost impossible to get a teenager to read what you want them to read, but my little plan worked (heh..heh...heh..), and she read the book I wanted her to read! I can't wait to buy this new book for her and see her devour it.
Today, I'm going to take Ben to the library for another free event for kids - a cartoonist! I think we'll pick up some interesting new books to tempt him to read some more. And hey, they give each kid a bookmark, and each time they visit the library, they get a stamp. When they fill the bookmark with stamps they get a prize! Bribery is the BEST.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
I think we get so comfy in our US of A, that we forget (or maybe don't know) about the poverty and suffering in other parts of this globe. Anne's blog reminded me of these things, and has inspired me to think about sponsoring a child.
I hope you will check out her blog each day for the new things she experiences on this mission trip!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
We stayed in a suite hotel that had a decent pool. The kids were dying to swim!
The hotel hot tub made great bubbles for beards.
We're ready for our adventure!!
Melanie, who keeps asking me when she can take driver's ed, will have to settle for Autopia for now.
It only took about 30 seconds for this to happen on the ride home from our first day at Disneyland.
Ben and I riding on one of the Bug's Life rides....
What Joe looked like after the Grizzly River Run! HAHA!
Sigh......What a great time we had......
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Here they are taking their bows in front of a standing ovation!
The camp will end on Saturday, with a wonderful outdoor concert showcasing all of the students - the culmination of all of their hard work during the week. It's always impressive how professional these kids sound!
Last week, Ben asked for a new Super Soaker squirt gun. I told him I would ask his Dad about doing something around the house to earn the money for it. Ben decided he wanted to sell Lemonade. He made $9!
The mailman gave him a dollar and didn't even take any lemonade. One gal took Ben's last glass (which ended up only being a half a glass) and gave him a dollar, too. I told Ben that it was probably because he was so cute that he did so well, so the next time I have to sell something, I'm going to have him do it!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The author, Anne Jackson, has a great blog that I read everyday. She is a real, honest, transparent Christian who writes beautifully. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog and be inspired, as well as challenged!! You can also click on the link located on my sidebar, entitled "Flower Dust," to see her personal blog.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
I realized that I am in a new stage in life. It's sort of a lonely and weird stage, actually. When I was younger with little ones, it was so easy to get together with other moms or families with young kids, and hang out while the kids played. Or, getting all the kids together for little birthday parties and connecting with other moms. It was such an outlet for me socially, and for the kids, too. Now, I have teenagers. Granted, I still have Ben, who is seven, but it's just different now. Teenagers are busy with their own social life and activities, and they don't exactly want to go play on the playground at the park, or have adults around for their birthday parties! I guess this social phase isn't so easy and automatic. I'll have to be more strategic in getting in social time with women friends. Joe and I have talked about doing this with other families at church, too. It's like it's more about us as individuals again, rather than including kids in the mix. It will take an adjustment, but isn't that what phases in life are all about....
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Here's what my kitty does when it's hot. She finds her strategic place where she can get the coolest, and stretches out as long as possible:
Last week, we had a lot of fun going on.
I tracked down a bunch of free, community events for kids and we've begun to take advantage of those. First, I took Ben to a "bug show" at the local library. A guy came with this personal bug collection (dead ones and live ones). He taught a little, and then let the kids explore and observe the bugs. The fun part was when he brought around live bugs for kids to see and touch up close! There were African stick bugs, scorpions and a giant millipede! I even touched the stick bug. As Ben and I were looking at all the butterflies, I commented to him that isn't it cool that God could have created just one kind of butterfly, but He didn't. He made all of these cool colors for us to enjoy! I love sliding in those teachable moments about the coolness of our God.
As the 4th of July neared, my 14-year-old brother came into town and initially stayed with my sister. We picked him up to spend a couple of days at our house, before my mom and her husband came over to celebrate the 4th with us. Joe and I hosted a BBQ with everybody, which was really fun (I made my Strawberry Spinach Salad!). Then, we all hopped in the truck and went down to the Orting fireworks show. It's an impressive show, and we sat especially close to where they light them off, so we had to sit back in our chairs with our heads back to see the fireworks. Some of them were so LOUD, it took our breath away! My mom and her husband spent the night with us that night.
The next morning, the adults went down to an awesome nursery in Sumner, called Windmill Gardens. We spent a couple of hours there, enjoying the display gardens, and picking out some specialty plants. My mom's husband picked out some mini-trees for his model train display. My mom and I also found a tea shop at the nursery, and we bought some Rooibos tea. I have never had Rooibos tea, and it is delicious!
My brother, Joe, spent another night with us after that. On Sunday, I got up before all the kids, and finished reading my Bible when I started thinking about wanting to do something fun. Ben got up and we started talking about what we could do. Then, we heard a knock-knock on our front door. There stood my neighbor with Mariners tickets!! I woke up all the kids, and we all hurried to get ready, and head down to Safeco field for the game. It ended up being the third longest game in Mariners history - 15 innings!!
Ben, Amanda, Joe and Melanie
Ben made this little banner, and whenever the cameras would pan the audience, he would jump up and hold up his sign. Every. time. Sadly, he never made it up on the screen. Dang it!
Yesterday, my kitty got spayed. The minute we got home, though, she started licking fervently on her incision. I had to hurry back to the vet to get her a cone collar to stop the licking.
This is Macy on drugs. I just about peed my pants laughing so hard after I took this.....
Macy the cone-head.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Well, I thought the deals were fairly good on most things. They were missing some items that I typically buy, and the produce wasn't so hot. However, I seemed to pack my cart to the brim and overflowing, anyway.
Then, I realized I had to bag my own groceries.
I am not fast at this, which made the two ladies behind me annoyed. I just tried to keep going and not worry about them. Then, they kept trying to push my cart into me, and almost squished my toes, which were exposed in flip-flops. Then, they were like: "Can you move your cart?" Then, they took a hold of my cart and tried to move it (which there was nowhere for it to go in the first place), while I'm trying to bag my tons of stuff.
While I wanted to clock her and spew profanity, my self-control kicked in. I pasted on a smile and said in a very sing-songy, kindergarten-teacher-like voice: "I'm still trying to bag my groceries, and I'm doing the best I can."
They managed just fine to get past me with their cart, but as they were walking past, one of the ladies thought it necessary to give me some unsolicited advice: "I usually put my cart at the end when I bag."
Oooohoooo......She was so lucky I possessed one of the fruit of the Spirit at that moment.....I never made eye contact with her, nor did I respond to her comment. I just went right on bagging.
I also vowed to never shop at WinCo again.