Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Plugging In

 I woke up this morning and wandered into the living room.  It was light out, but the room was dim, so first thing, I plugged the Christmas tree in.  I let the dog out, made coffee, and then retreated to my office to do a little writing and have some quiet time.  When I got in there, my chair was piled with a speaker system recently used at a friend's birthday party.  I wanted to listen to some music while I worked, so before I got started with anything else, I took the speakers and plugged them in.

Recently, I packed for a trip and secretly hoped The Pastor didn't come in the room while I was stuffing things into my bag.  Mr. low-tech just doesn't understand all the technology required for a proper vacation, or what it takes to keep said technology charged up and ready to use.  Besides the laptop and power cord, I obviously need chargers for my iPod, cell phone, digital camera, and camcorder.  Much is required to keep my life running, and rather than the regular amenities, my main concern when choosing a hotel is how many power outlets they have in the rooms.  I require a lot of plugging in.  (And we haven't even discussed electric hair-care products.)

A week or so ago, I noticed that I'd neglected to plug in something very important.  Myself.  I felt drained and tired; dry and alone.  I looked over at my Bible, which hadn't been touched since the Sunday before.  I considered my prayer life, which had consisted of selfish words mumbled as I fell off to sleep each night; and I thought about the mental energy I'd wasted on the wrong things.  I realized that it had been too long since I had properly connected with my power source. Maybe that happens a little more easily during the Christmas season (which is actually very ironic), but either way, I better continually address the issue or I will lose "charge".

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go plug in....

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Longing For Simplicity


















Pinch me--I must be dreaming.  The Pastor has decided he might like to get an iPad.  Following his lead when I decided I might like to get a gun, there's a large part of me that doesn't want to let the grass grow before we run down to the store and make this purchase. But there's another part of me that hesitates.

Maybe it's the imminent pressure of the holiday season or maybe it's just that overwhelming desire to maintain control of life, but lately, I've had a longing for simplicity. There's a battle surrounding all the junk in my life. I've described my technological dilemma before, but let me review.  While I firmly believe that technology, gadgets, the internet, and smartphones serve more to complicate our lives than help them, I remain hopelessly and unabashedly, a gadget lover.

My favorite childhood Christmas memories are of getting something, anything electronic.  When I was little, it was my Frogger watch.  You could actually tell time on it and play Frogger.  How cool is that? (although my teacher made me take it off in class after once forgetting to turn the sound off and thereby revealing that I was playing it.)  As I got older it was various stereos, mini-TV's, Walkmans, video games, etc..  I like to deny it, but I have a proven track record of being a technology junkie.

iPods, netbooks, smartphones, laptops--as I mature (ha), I have to stop and ask myself if I really need them.  Are they enhancing my life or just dividing my attention?  Do they help me organize or just exacerbate my ADD?  These are serious questions that must be given an answer.  I believe I'll think about it and make a decision...right after we buy that iPad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful For What?


I'll admit, sometimes I'm guilty of a cynical attitude.  I know I'm called to be grateful for the things I have, but my circumstances swallow me up and I end up taking a swim in the pool of self pity.  I observe those around me who have more stuff and wonder why I can't afford to have the same things.  I leave the grocery store peeved because there were a few items I really wanted to get that just didn't make the cut this week and will have to wait until next--or maybe not at all.  I wish I had nicer furniture and a faster internet connection. When I see what others have, I'm envious and feel sorry for myself. 

Oh, I'm grateful for what I have, I just wish I had more.  There's a line in the children's book by Dr. Suess, Yertle the Turtle, where King Yertle says, "I'm ruler of all that I see, but I don't see enough.  That's the trouble with me."  He had everything he needed, but still wanted more. 

I just finished reading a book called The Hole In Our Gospel, written by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision.  I hated this book.  It was awful.  You should read it.  I'm not going to go into detail, because my point is not to write a book review.  But, the book is about our call as Christians to help the poor and impoverished of this world.  It's also about how RICH we are. 

A large part of my problem of wanting more and not being thankful for what I have, is that all too often, I'm comparing myself to the wrong people.  I look at those who have more than me and wonder why I don't have what they have, rather than considering those with less than me (which according to the book is 99% of all people in the world!) and being immensley grateful for what I've been entrusted with.  I get bent out of shape because I don't have HD on my TV, when there are 1.2 billion people in our world who don't even have clean water.  Ouch.  That's something I certainly take for granted. 

I thought about this today as we shared Thanksgiving dinner at our church with a small group of friends.  With the cold weather and storms we've had, a pipe broke and we were forced to serve a turkey dinner with no running water.  Let me tell ya, that was a challenge.  I was inconvenienced by the fact that I had to haul some water in a huge jug from my house to the church.  I had to pause and think of those that have to haul water, by hand, every day...and it's not even good water.  Suddenly I feel a little more thankful. 

With Christmas now coming and materialism kicking into high gear, I think I'll try to keep in perspective all that I've been given and recognize the riches that are mine in Christ Jesus. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Trouble With Blogging

 The trouble with blogging is that it's getting hard.  First of all blogs are becoming more sophisticated.  When they first started, a blog was a "web-log".  It was basically a journal--a place for someone to spit out random thoughts and ideas or a share events from daily life, much like I do here.  But over time, blogs have become serious sources of information.  We look to them for how-to info, for news, entertainment, and read them like newspaper columns.  It's getting more and more difficult to have a "blog about nothing".

Secondly, for me, Facebook is killing my blog.  It's far too easy to hop on FB and post a status update with a few words, rather than think it through and turn it into a full blog post.  Micro-blogging, (FB and Twitter) take the creative juices and drain them right out of me.  If I spend too much time on Facebook, I'm left with nothin'.

The last problem is knowledge.  They say knowledge is power, but sometimes it leaves me feeling powerless.  Over my few years of blogging, I've read various information on how to write and build a better blog.  Therein lies the problem.  Possibly it's the same for you.  You start out with a hobby that's actually, well... fun.  Then you begin to learn about it and find out all the things you didn't know.  You realize just how wrong you've been doing it.  Then you're faced with the difficult choice to either continue on in the error of your ways (but having a good time) or change your ways and conform, with all the pleasure sucked out of it.  You can no longer naively go about your business because you've been told what you should be doing. 

Are you a blogger, a writer, a hobbyist of any sort?  Help me answer this question....do you only follow the rules or do you let your free spirit rule?  When you play golf, do you throw an extra ball down and take a mulligan or dutifully count the strokes and take your drop?  I'm beginning to think I need to take the mulligans...or I'm missing the whole point.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Dichotomy of Politics and Baseball


I noticed an interesting and very scary thing this past week.  It started during game 4 of the World Series between the San Fransisco Giants and the Texas Rangers.  During the seventh inning stretch, a beautiful young woman stood up and belted out "God Bless America."  I believe I heard that she was the wife of one of our troops.  She was fantastic and, I thought, better than some of the professionals who sang on other nights.  (If you know who she was or the full story, please enlighten me!)  The thought struck me that even as messed up as our society is, we still publicly sing God Bless America.  I wonder how many people stop and consider what it really means to ask God to bless America.



Then on November 1st, I was taking a final look at the Idaho State Voter's Guide in preparation for casting my vote the next day.  As I looked through the list of issues that the candidates either supported or opposed, I was surprised to see "Protect the right of legislative chaplains to pray according to their convictions, including 'In Jesus' Name'".

How sad!  A few nights before we were singing God Bless America and yet our political candidates are required to declare if they support or oppose allowing Americans to pray in Jesus' name.  It doesn't matter which party you voted for yesterday, like Nehemiah who not only wept, but also repented on behalf of the sins of Israel (Nehemiah 1), if we desire God's forgiveness and blessing on our country, we have some serious repenting to do.  Let's get to it and rebuild the wall.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do















 
I used to live 6 minutes from where I worked.  Now I live 30 minutes from work.  I used to go home just about every day at lunch.  I’d let the dog out, throw the laundry in the dryer, or stir whatever was in the crock-pot.  Then we moved. 

I didn’t do it on purpose, and I certainly didn’t mean to hurt anyone.  We used to be close, literally, but I drifted away.  It was my own fault and I don’t blame anyone but myself.  Our relationship became so damaged that I figured it irreparable.  It was at that point that I made the decision to do the hard, but right thing, and I broke up with my crock-pot.

I just couldn’t maintain a 30 minute distance and have confidence that the crock-pot would do its job when I wasn’t there to supervise it.  You may say that I have trust issues, but I really didn’t have a choice.  Now some time has gone by, and I realize the mistake I’ve made.  I didn’t understand the value of the relationship the crock-pot and I actually had.  I’ve apologized and tried to make up, but the crock-pot is having none of it.  It’s bitter, unforgiving.  Each time I try to use it on low, the food isn’t tender; each time I use it on high, it turns out dry, burnt dishes. 

I’m sure in this case, the old relationship saying is true.  “It’s not you…it’s me.” If you have any help for me and my crock-pot, if any recipes or tips; please don’t hesitate.  Post them…um, post-haste, before this relationship is irreconcilably over. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Identity













If your life is anything like mine, you have a myriad of things to do each day and several hats to wear.  Usually the choice of which one wins depends on what's most important or, more likely, most urgent.  

Today I attended the American Christian Writers Conference in Spokane, WA.  I enjoyed a selfish day of what some would describe as frivolous.  I dealt with hyperbole, homonyms, and onomatopoeia.  I discussed submissions, queries, and proposals.  I contemplated words and sentence structure.  The Pastor about passes out having to discuss or even think about these subjects, but for me it was a day of pure fun.

Every day I'm a mom.  I'm a pastor's wife.  I'm an Information Technology Manager, a daughter, and a sister.  But today, while The Pastor was at a men's retreat and our son was with a friend, I got the rare opportunity to be something else I love... a writer.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kick 'Em When They're Up












I came home from our church’s annual women's retreat on a spiritual high.  With renewed commitments and a fervor for deeper time in prayer and the Bible, I was ready to face challenges of all kinds.  I knew life would be different, better.  No sooner had I crossed the threshold of my house than life hit me square between the eyes.  As I came through the door, all the responsibilities I had so conveniently forgotten about while renewing my commitments came flooding back to mind. 

During the following week, all imaginable problems found their way to me.  My resolve slipped quietly away and by Tuesday afternoon I was depressed and despairing at how little power I had to change my circumstances.  Just a few days before, I had given a testimony at the retreat about God’s power in my life; about his ability to take any circumstance and turn it into something beautiful for His glory.

Then I realized what was happening.  Every word I spoke at that retreat was true.  God is all-powerful in my life.  He can redeem each and every situation and take it captive for his good.  And Satan hates that.  He will do everything in his power to stop me from testifying about God’s loving work in my life.  He’s out to lie, kill, and destroy at any cost to cause me to doubt.  He wickedly delights in kicking Christians…especially when they are up.  So I change my way of thinking and look at Satan’s attacks, not as the discouragement he intends them to be, but as confirmation that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Things That Go Fling In The Night












Last night, I took Jack out to do his business before bed.  It was dark out, but the porch and yard lights were on.  The Pastor isn't overly thrilled that we have Jack.  He let me get Jack because he loves me, not because he wanted a dog.  To keep things as peaceful as possible, I've been trying to be diligent about cleaning up after Jack and keeping the possibilities for fight-starters to a minimum.  So last night while I was standing outside, I noticed some doggie doo that needed to be shoveled up.  Like I said, it was dark, but I could see just enough to take care of it.  I carefully scooped it up and went to the area where, for lack of better words, I fling the poop out of the yard and into the surrounding field/woods.

I'm getting rather good at this "flinging" process. I guess there's an art to it and I'm getting lots of practice.  Well, just as I drew the shovel back to give it the ol heave ho, something attacked my foot.  I didn't know if it was a rodent or a snake or what.  I screamed.  I jumped. I was mid-swing with the poop and I have to say, I have no idea where it landed, but it was definitely not in the intended spot.  I put the shovel back and ran in the house, happy I had not been eaten alive by whatever came after me. 

This morning I was in the yard again (I'm out there a lot these days. Who knew a puppy had so much poo in him.)  I wandered over to the scene of the attack last night.  As it turned out, my attacker was still there... A piece of chicken wire.  To top it off, my shovel full of, um, well, you know...it was everywhere.  Oh, poop.



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sticks & Stones...Mostly Stones




















My son loves to throw.  He's 8 and I can clearly remember him pitching and throwing balls before he could walk.  He would crawl down the hallway "herding" as many balls as he could control.  Then he'd sit down at one end and throw them all down to the other end.  After that he would crawl down, retrieve the balls, and do it again. Since then, he's been in trouble, just about continuously, for throwing things.  Anything he gets in his hands, he has to throw.

This weekend we were at the lake, and obviously, one of his favorite things to do is to throw rocks into the water.  He swam for just a few minutes, then began with the rock throwing.  Over and over and over.  I thought his arm must be ready to fall off and I was getting bored watching this.  I figured he must be wearing down, so we began to have throwing contests.

I flippantly found a suitable rock.  He threw first.  Sploosh. Nice job, but watch this.  I threw next.  Mine landed a good 10-15 yards closer in than his.  The competitor in me (if you've ever met her, she's not always pretty), selected another rock...much more carefully this time.  I reasoned that the rocks weren't the same size, so they didn't fly the same.  We threw again.  I lost again.  Okay, this was getting serious.  Game on, Boy.   The selection of my rocks became more precise but the outcome remained unchanged.

We threw and threw and he beat me repeatedly.  Finally I got one that landed about 2 inches farther out than his.  I decided to quit while I was ahead, but he goaded me into "just one more throw".  I gave in...and lost again. I'm not sure what happened to my little baby throwing balls in the hallway or my throwing arm, but I seem to have lost them both.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Double Trouble














Sometimes, double is good. Double coupon day, double chocolate chip cookies, and double cheeseburgers. But other times, double is a bad thing. The book of James says, "...but when he asks, he must not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." Ouch. James is talking about asking for wisdom here, but I think the principle applies to anything we ask God for.

Tonight I caught myself being double-minded and the Holy Spirit called me on it big time. I was folding sheets and talking with God. I asked him for something that didn't exactly have earth-shattering effects, but would really be helpful and important to me. You know, those types of very practical requests we make of God...like that the check we're expecting shows up in the mail before we have to pay the next bill or that we'd be able to get that sticky lock open.

So I'm matching corners on the sheets and talking with the Lord about this request. But, before I even finished my petition, I turned my thoughts to what I would do if and when it wasn't answered the way I asked. I instantly began to build my contingency plan. I caught myself mid-thought, or rather, as I said before, the Holy Spirit caught me. I was asking God to solve a problem for me and trying to solve it myself in the same breath. Oops. Double-minded. Unstable in all I do. Yikes. I quickly had to ask for forgiveness.

Give some thought to the requests you make of God. Do you ask and then immediately try to solve on your own? Remember, being double-jointed could possibly be a good thing, double-minded, not so much.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Time Flies


















I was starting dinner yesterday afternoon when I remembered that I needed to send an email off before 5:00pm. I glanced at the clock on my stove, which said 4:00pm, saw that I had enough time to finish what I was doing and went back to chopping veggies.

A few minutes later, I set my knife aside and reached for my laptop, but as I did, I noticed the clock on the living room wall read 5:30pm.  Confused, I retraced my steps to see where I'd gone wrong and then I realized....

It wasn't the clock on the stove I had seen...I had preheated my oven to 400 degrees. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

All In The Family


We're having a family reunion this week--The Pastor's family, not mine--so don't get all excited if you're reading this and you didn't get an invitation.  We were originally expecting between 40-60 people for this reunion and because of my propensity for worry, I started in early.  The Pastor informed me that I was freaking out way too early. 

He told me that several people were unable to make it, so the guest list had dropped to only about 30-35 people.  He told me there was nothing to worry about and that we could throw together a spaghetti dinner one night and a BBQ the next day for 30 people with no problem whatsoever.  He will deny this, but his exact words were, "Don't worry. There's nothing to do."  He promised that while I worked this week, he would get things around the house ready.  I believed him. 

So yesterday while I was at work, he spent the day working around the house to prepare for the reunion.  When I came through the door last night, he was eager to show me all he had accomplished.  He told me to follow him outside and led me to...the pig pen.  Yes, my husband is a pig farmer.  We have six pigs, which according to him are some of the most beautiful ones he's ever seen.  The pigs have a pen and a shelter nestled down in the trees near the bottom of our property. 

Anyway, he leads me to the pigpen to show me his achievements.  "Ta-Da!" He's so proud of his work.  He has spread extra straw for the pigs, he has sprinkled some lime around so the pigs won't seem so stinky. (notice, I didn't say they wouldn't be stinky, they just won't seem stinky), and for the grand finale he has painted the pig house to match the paint (including trim color) on our house.  Yay Honey.  I couldn't be more excited.  We have a zillion people coming for dinner and I was so worried that the pig house wouldn't match our house....


 P.S.  The Pastor is a good sport and I warned him that there was no way I couldn't blog about this very true story. But in all fairness, today he's at Costco buying food and working around the house (the people house, that is) to get things ready.  Thanks, Sweetie!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

No Reason

Over lunch the other day, a friend and I were talking about writing.  He told me I needed to remember that not everything we writers write, needs to have a deep meaning.  So here's my "no meaning" thought for the day...

I was in Walmart this afternoon buying greeting cards, and I wonder...why are the sympathy cards located right next to the wedding cards?

Good luck explaining that one,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee




















I love the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning.  It's no secret that, although I'm not a coffee snob, I love my daily dose of java. It's my custom every night before I go to bed to load up my coffee pot and set the timer so the coffee is brewing at the same time or a little before my alarm clock is jolting me out of bed.

Because we now have Jack in the house, my first order of business is to jump out of bed and take him outside to take care of his business.  This morning, as I stood on the front porch patiently waiting (by the way, it was freezing!) I realized that I hadn't smelled the coffee as I passed through the kitchen on my way out the door. I scolded myself for forgetting to push the "brew later" button on the coffee maker, which I occasionally do.  The coffee is sitting there, ready to make, but doesn't actually brew.

However, when I came back in the house, I looked across the great-room to the kitchen and the lights were on on the coffee maker, but the pot was empty.  Again, I gave myself a lecture--I must have forgotten to put the water in. Yeesh.  I can't remember ever doing that before, but forty is knocking on my door and maybe these sort of things just start to happen.

I turned off the pot, cooled down the carafe so it didn't crack from the dry heat, and added the water to the pot, happy that I was finally making progress on this coffee thing.  Then, just for good measure, I looked under the lid to make sure the filter hadn't folded over or done anything weird.  I wasn't taking any more chances.  Time was passing and coffee wasn't happening.  It's a good thing I checked because...

I hadn't put any coffee grounds in either.   Here's to a happy Tuesday to everyone.  Hope your morning cup o' joe was easier to achieve than mine was!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lovin' The Light


"Light is sweet and it pleases the eye to see the sun."
~Ecclesiastes 11:7~


I can't let the first days of summer slip by without quoting one of my favorite verses.  I went to bed around 10:30pm last night and there was still the faintest hint of light in the sky.  At 3:30am the dog woke me up to go outside.  (Bogey, not Jack.  Yeesh--he should know better by now)  I stood on the porch in my slippers and looked in amazement.  It was light out!  Awesome.

Enjoy the long days of summer, but if you, like me, cringe at the fact that the days are already beginning to get shorter, remember to keep your eyes on the true light.  The one that shines regardless of what time of year it is. 

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 
~John 8:12~


Walk in the light, my friend,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

This Won't Hurt A Bit

Recently a friend of mine took something called the Ghost Chili Challenge at a local Sushi restaurant. The Ghost Chili, who's real name is Bhut Jolokia, has been named the world's hottest pepper. At Oishii Sushi, Sandpoint's hottest, and I think only, Sushi bar, they have some crazy challenge that if you eat a ginormous sushi roll made with Ghost Chili in 20 minutes or less, you receive a T-shirt and some sort of monetary  compensation that I'm sure isn't worth the pain. At any rate, my friend, I'll call him Cody (cause that's his name), decided to take this challenge. Thanks to wonder of YouTube, last night, I actually got to view his attempt even though it happened back in December.

So they bring out the roll and Cody starts in. He's very calm, cool, and collected as he methodically begins eating the pieces. He doesn't break so much as a sweat, let alone admit the peppers are even hot. Even if the thing was killing him, he was determined not to let it show.  Slowly, one by one he eats away at the pieces. He didn't complete the challenge, but swears it's due to the fact that he was too full because he had already eaten a full dinner before the challenge and not because the peppers were too hot. 

He was cool as a cucumber and if it weren't for the other people at the table who tried the Ghost Chili roll flailing about and carrying on, you'd have never known the thing was even the slightest bit spicy. The other's looked like they were dying, but Cody didn't bat an eye at the whole thing. Here's the kicker, though. He had to call in sick to work the next day because he describes what followed the challenge as, "The worst night of my life." He got hit by the aftermath of the Ghost Chili. Sickness and pain wracked his body and he suffered through the night with things that he didn't describe to me and I definitely didn't ask about.

I thought it was pretty hysterical, but it reminded me of something not quite so funny. We often have the same experience with sin that Cody had with the Ghost Chili. We act nonchalant, like it's no big deal. It doesn't hurt. We don't feel any negative consequences. We're cool and we can handle it. At least that's what we think at first. But then, later, the effects of what we've done start to kick in. They always do. We beg and plead for mercy from God, but even if he's gracious enough to grant it, the damage has been done. We have no choice but to face the consequences. Sin always comes at a price. You may  think you have the sin in your life under control. You're wrong. You may be sure God's not concerned with what you're doing or that it's too small of a thing for him to notice. Don't be so sure. You will have to deal with the aftermath of your sin.

So, if there's something you're harboring that you need to get rid of, do it today! Throw off that sin that so easily entangles you, and if someone offers you a sushi roll made with Ghost Chilies, I'd suggest you run the other way.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Jackson Brown

I know.  I spelled it wrong.  It's not Jackson Brown....It's Jackson Browne.  But, it's only Browne if you're talking about the singer.  I'm not. I'm talking about the Springer.  My puppy.  Aka Max, who didn't stay Max very long because when I brought him home he just didn't feel like a Max.  He really felt more like a Jack.  Our whole family liked the name Jackson and since he's a liver and white English Springer Spaniel, I thought the Brown was a nice touch.  Jack is settling in nicely and I think we're still in that honeymoon stage.  You know the one.  It's sort of like when you bring a new baby home and all it really does is eat and sleep so you can take it anywhere or do anything and people compliment you all the time--"What a good baby you have!"  We've had Jack all over town this afternoon and everyone is cooing, "Oh, he's such a wonderfully mellow puppy!"  Yeah.  We'll see about that, but so far, so good.  I'm sure he has some faults and very shortly you'll be seeing posts ranting and raving about this being the stupidest thing I've ever done, but what he may lack in any other area, he totally makes up for in cuteness. I'd love to go on and on about him, but it's been a long day and I expect some interruption to my sleep tonight, so without further ado, I'm pleased to introduce you all to Jackson Brown....




Everyone please add me to your prayer lists!  I think I'm in for a bumpy ride!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Just For Fun

While in Missouri last week, we spent a day at Silver Dollar City, which is a theme park in Branson.  It's affectionately referred to by the locals as "Take Your Dollar City".  We had a fantastic day and The Pastor's cousin graciously gave us free tickets into the park, so they didn't take too many of our dollars at all.  Highlights include riding fun rides, eating some darn good BBQ pulled pork, and listening to a little Bluegrass music. Downsides were the fact that my son purchased the Bluegrass CD and played it for 27 hours straight in the car on the road trip home.  (OK, there's possibly a little hyperbole in that last statement).   There were no bun guys, so it wasn't exactly on the same level as Lambert's, but all in all an awesome day.   Here's a little proof of our good time.  Sharing hats in NOT my cup of tea, so I must have been overcome with family fun and the joy of Southern BBQ.


Blessings,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Carbs


Tonight we went to Lambert's Cafe, Home of The Throwed Rolls, outside of Springfield, Missouri.  I've never eaten any place quite like this.  (Well, at least not since the last time I ate there.)  Lambert's has all the normal southern fare you'd expect--chicken fried steak, liver and onions, chicken and dumplings, country ham, fried chicken and the likes.  You can pretty much feel your arteries start to clog when you come in the front door, and when you first sit down, you grab a brown paper towel from the center of the table and put it in front of you.  The servers come around with a huge bowl of fried okra and spoon it on to the towels.  Next they deliver the 64oz fountain drinks and then the best part--handsome young men come from the kitchen wheeling carts of straight-from-the-oven rolls.  They navigate up and down the aisles yelling, "Hot rolls! Hot rolls!"  If you hold your hand up or even make eye contact, they throw a piping hot biscuit to you.  Fan. tas. tic. What a way to get your carbs for the day.  I took twelve pictures of the bun guys, ordered fried chicken gizzards, and ate what felt like 42 hot dinner rolls.  I tried to buy The Pastor a souvenir T-shirt in the gift shop that said "Hot Buns" across the front of it, but he refused. That's what I call a vacation.

Monday, May 17, 2010

3 Ways To Be A Better Looker














The Pastor often tells me I'm a good looker.  Unfortunately for me, this has nothing to do with my physical appearance, rather my ability to help him find items he has lost.  He doesn't seem to have the "looking" gene and therefore has absolutely not passed it on to our son.  Between the two of them, they would be lost (literally) without me.  When it comes to searching for things, there's definitely an art to it.  But, just because I'm, dare I say, gifted--at finding things in my house, doesn't necessarily mean I'm good at all areas of searching.  For example, I have to ask myself, how diligently do I search for God?  When it comes to my spiritual life, am I a good looker?  Here are three ways for you and I to improve our looking skills when it comes to seeking God.

1. Focus
Going deeper with God requires focus.  If we're going to seek him out, we're going to have to stare hard. When I tell my 8-year old to go and look for something in his room, he stands in the doorway, throws his head back a forth a couple times, scanning the room and then comes back reporting to me that he couldn't find it. No wonder.  We do the same thing with God.  We want to think we've taken time to seek him out and to find his will, but all we've really done is take a quick glance.  We have to focus and gaze intently upon him.  We need to be methodical and intentional in our searching for God.  Finding God's will for our lives and having a close relationship with him doesn't just happen.  It's takes deliberate focus.  How to do that?  Be intentional in your search. Don't settle for a shallow encounter with God.  Go the extra mile. Consider downloading podcasts of your favorite speakers or Bible teachers.  (check out http://www.oneplace.com/ for just about anything you're looking for).  Don't just open your Bible and read a passage to satisfy your checklist of daily Bible reading.  Grab a commentary (or use an online study tools like the ones found at http://www.crosswalk.com/) and see what that scripture is really saying to you. Use the Internet to research and study. Dig deep. Seek.  Learn.  Focus!

2.  Limit Distractions
We live in a crazy, busy, and loud society.  If you're truly interested in seeking God and hearing what he has to say to you, you're going to have to turn off some of the noise to hear him.  I know it's weird, but I notice that when I'm driving around looking for something, I instinctively turn my radio down.  Strange.  I don't know why, but for some reason, the presence of loud music impedes my ability to read house numbers.  I'll guess it might be the same for you.  Turn off your TV for awhile (it won't kill you).  Try driving in silence once in awhile.  Instead of listening to the radio, listen to what God has to say to you.  Ask him to reveal himself to you and know he'll be faithful to do it.  We'll never be able to hear him clearly if we don't silence the noise and clamor.  The next time you take a walk, consider doing it sans iPod.  What a great opportunity to have a conversation with the God of the universe.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying your iPod, your TV, or your car stereo are evil.  As a matter of fact, I'm fans of all three.  But at times we need to show enough discretion to limit our distractions for the good of something better--our relationship with Christ. He's waiting to reveal himself to us, if only we'll give him a chance. 

3.  Be Persistent
The key to discovery is persistent and consistent looking. When a gold miner finds a fleck of Gold, he doesn't shout "Eureka, I've found it!" and then go home.  He keeps digging...looking for more.  Just a tiny bit isn't enough to satisfy.  So it is with God.  If you want to be a seeker of Christ, you can't be satisfied with a tiny bit of him.  It's impossible for a really good looker to say, "Gee, I found some of God on Sunday at church. That should do me for awhile.".  If you're serious about knowing God, be persistent.  Don't settle for a small taste.  The Bible tells us to not be weary in doing well because we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9).  We can't get weary in our search and we shouldn't be ready to settle for a morsel when there's a feast waiting for us. 

We know that God has promised that, to those who search for him with all our hearts, he will be found. (Jer 29:13)  Let's consider the ways we can seek out Christ, and just maybe, in the end, we'll not only be better lookers, but we'll be great finders, as well.

Blessings,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Technology Test!

Every now and then, the geek in me has to perform some technology tests on Married To The Pastor.  Unfortunately, today is that day!  Sorry for the junk post and please forgive me enough to come back and read my real post tomorrow.

For the purpose of this test, I need two paragraphs in my blog and so, here I am...typing a whole bunch of nothing that you really don't care about, just so I can have a second paragraph.  Check back tomorrow for some thoughts on getting rid of the garbage in our lives.

Blessings,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sold!

Thanks, everyone! My laptop has a new, happy owner. (Well, I hope she's happy!)

As I was reloading the laptop with Windows 7 and getting it all spiffed back up, I had to laugh at my human nature. I put all the whiz-bang multimedia software on and was playing with the remote control, when it dawned on me... Wow, this is a really cool computer. Too bad I'm getting rid of it!

Isn't that just like us? In matters big and small, I for one, have no idea what I really want in life. I was listening to Beth Moore speak last night about the heart, and she quoted St. Augustine, who described God as "interior intimo meo" which is latin and means, "Closer to me than I am to myself."

How cool is that? Isn't it awesome that we serve a God that knows us better than we know ourselves? I, for one, am so happy that not only am I not required to completely understand myself, but I can trust that God does and that he'll do what's best for me. In the meantime, I'm free to worship him and make the best choices I can.

That makes me feel so good, I think I'll start shopping for a new computer. I know exactly what I want...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Laptop For Sale



Hi, Friends,

I have an almost brand new, fantastic HP laptop for sale. If you know anyone who's interested, please let me know. You can check it out HERE.

Thanks!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ready For a Change?

When I first started my blog, Married To The Pastor, I had no idea what blogging was all about. In one of my very first posts, I even posed the question of whether or not I thought blogging was something I could even endorse. But I went ahead and started writing and did the only thing I knew how to do...write from my heart.

Now, I've been at this for awhile, and over time I've learned all the things I should and shouldn't do regarding blogging and I've been working at other forms of writing. I've taken an intensive writing course, I've read books and articles about blogging, and I've read other blogs that tell me how to be a better writer and blogger.

I don't regret any of these things, but I've noticed that rather than help my blogging, in some ways, my learning has hindered it. I no longer pop on my computer at 9:50pm and spew out my feelings on to the screen because I know that in order to do it "properly" I need more time than that. I'm more cautious about what and how I write. I don't post as often because I don't want to do it if I can't do it completely correctly. I'm guarded. I'm careful.

Well, tonight is different. For some reason, I have the urge to just blog. Not really about anything in particular, but to just share my feelings and hope someone out there can relate. Maybe it's because I've been thinking a lot this weekend about Hebrews 12:1-2 and "throwing off everything that hinders". There have been some things lately that I've decided I want to make an effort to "throw off". They are self-imposed standards that keep me shackled. They inhibit me and steal the joy out of life. They bring tension and anxiety where God intended pleasure and satisfaction.

Maybe you too, have something in your life that's hindering you. It could be a relationship or a habit; a fear or a worry. Maybe, like me, you over think things or put too much undue pressure on yourself. Either way, I invite you to join me in getting rid of that thing which is weighing you down and keeping you from running the race set before you! I'm ready. Are you?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Save Me From Myself




There have been times in my life when I desperately wanted something and didn't get it. Usually, whatever I wanted was not the best thing for me even though I was sure it was the undeniable answer to all my problems.

I seem to find myself in that same situation now. I irrationally want something that I know I can't have and wouldn't be a great idea, but the desire still stalks me. At times, I'm able to put aside the thought for awhile, but it lurks in the shadows and just when I think I've put the whole thing behind me, it jumps out to taunt me.

Luckily for me, God has a way of saving me from myself and from my selfish desires. Looking back on my circumstances, I am beyond thankful that I didn't get those things I was so sure I needed. He has rescued me from my own stupid desires time and time again.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I can trust him. Some of the things I've wanted just took a long, long time to receive (like having kids), and some things were never right for me.

And so, for this decision, I will leave it in his hands, trusting that he will do what is best for me in his perfect love. He'll also do what's best for you. If you have a cry of your heart that seems to be going unanswered, know that there is always hope and also know that somehow, some way, God may be saving you...from yourself.

Blessings,

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good Intentions



















I tried.  I really did.  I had every intention of working.  I took my laptop and my notes and settled in at Starbucks.  I'm usually quite productive when I write there.  There's just enough background noise, music, and commotion that it serves as "white noise" for me.  The only time I have a problem is if someone sits too close to me and begins to talk loud enough that it dominates the rest of the white noise. That's exactly what happened on this particular day--with one exception--the culprits didn't sit right next to me, but across the room.

I'd guess one to be about 70 and one to be around 80....years, not pounds.  Mr. Seventy wore a sweatshirt and work pants.  His hair was grey and he spoke up so that his friend, Mr. Eighty, could hear him.  Mr. Eighty was as much of a good ol' boy as you can get.  He was quite obviously hard of hearing and he also wore work pants, but topped them off with red suspenders, a plaid flannel shirt, and a ball cap with a perfectly flat brim pushed back on his head and slightly crooked. 

Mr. Eighty loudly started their conversation on an expected topic--the weather.  Concentrate, I told myself.  Ignore them.  Mr. Seventy chimed in that he agreed that this mild winter we've had has been terrible and we would have been better off to have a couple feet of snow.  That got my attention.  Come on, Cari.  Keep your mind on your work.  I took a sip of my latte and tried to get some more words on the page.  Mr. Seventy said that when he was snowboarding earlier that day, he noticed the snowpack on the mountain was low.  Snowboarding??  That guy is a snowboarder?  I tried to get back to my writing, but I could hear every word they were saying over the din.  I drank more latte.

I was resolved to get some work done, but the conversation wore on.  They discussed lost loved ones, Mr. Seventy apparently lived alone and Mr. Eighty must have been a recent widower.  Mr. Seventy told him how to cook pot roast and they talked about what they ate for breakfast and how to boil eggs. I felt bad for Mr. Eighty and imagined what it must be like to suddenly be on your own.  I was not getting ANY writing done. Tune them out!  I told myself.  But myself couldn't or wouldn't do it.

Then, I knew I was in trouble.  Mr. Eighty commented that his back had been hurting.  Mr. Seventy said that when he was skiing the other day his knee was aching.  It went down hill from there (no skiing pun intended).  Then they moved on to macular degeneration and I knew the direction it was heading.  I began gulping my latte and gathering my stuff before I had to listen to anything about hemorrhoids, bladder control, or worse.  I finished my latte and am pretty sure I escaped just in time.   

Now I had time on my hands, writing to do and no suitable place to do it.  So I did the only thing I could, given my circumstances.  I threw my laptop and spiral notebook into the back of my car and went shopping.  What's a girl to do?

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