Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm a technology junkie. I know there are people younger than me that take that statement to a whole new level, but still...I love all things electronic. At any given time, you'll find a Blackberry and an iPod in my purse; I don't leave home without them. Just in case I need to do a quick file transfer, my flash drive is always in my pocket, and I use a computer for everything I do. I'd rather have internet access than the finest encyclopedia set on earth. I don't even know how to look something up in dictionary or phone book anymore...that's what Google is for. So it's pretty natural that when I have the urge to work on my writing, I grab my Dell laptop. I love it! It's powerful and compact and a very cool shade of red.

Recently, the strangest thing happened to me. It was one of those moments when the mood struck and I just had to get the thoughts out of my head and on to the page. One problem, I didn't have my laptop with me. I panicked. Think, Cari! There must be some alternative! Desperate, I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and a pencil. I wrote like a mad woman. It was incredible. It worked. Words went on the page and I didn't even have to hit "print". The thing that struck me as the most odd, the most fascinating, and in fact, the most scary was...I liked it.

Don't tell the other technology junkies out there, but this paper idea could really catch on.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Runs In The Family

Because I work in the computer field, people assume that I'm mathematically inclined. Let's get one thing out in the open. I can't do math. I don't mean that I'm not that good at it, I mean I can not do it. When the pastor and I went to Uganda on a mission trip, I was somehow assigned to teach third grade math in the orphanage school we worked at. Luckily there was a table at the front of the classroom, so as I asked the kids to do math problems, I hid my hands under the table and counted the answers on my fingers. It was pathetic. I can't figure out my gas mileage. I can't add fractions. I can't keep score or figure my bid when I play pinochle. You get my point.

Apparently, my poor, second-grade son has been blessed with his father's good looks and his mother's ability to do math. His teacher says he's good at it, but he protests that he just doesn't "get" it. This evening when I checked through the papers that came home in his backpack, one of his math papers had quite a bit of "red pen" corrections that caught my eye. I had to stifle a laugh as I reviewed the paper.

The Question: How can you use a hundred chart to find the difference between 18 and 60?

His Answer: You just do.

That's my boy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Signs of Spring?

After two winters in a row of snow almost as deep as the roof of our house, I'm thrilled that so far, our December and January weather has been on the mild side. I'm holding out high hopes of an early spring. Today, I was given even one more reason to believe that my early spring predictions will come true.

In North Idaho, there are a few rules you learn to live by. You don't ask questions, you just believe the truths you're taught. "Don't plant your garden until the snow is off Baldy Mountain"; "Never call it 'Northern Idaho' or you'll be mistaken for a Californian"; and "Avoid the intersection at Boyer and Larch at any cost, unless you have an extra half-hour to kill." The list goes on, but you get the point.

Perhaps one of my favorite North Idaho truths is, "If you smell a skunk, spring is here." When I first moved to Idaho, I had to be educated in all things skunk. I'm from the city (at least comparatively) and didn't realize all the important skunk nuances. I've since learned that skunks hibernate. Now I know that when they disappear for winter, it's a glorious thing. (especially if you own a 5 pound Maltese dog that thinks he can take on every one of them.) But more importantly than the day they disappear, is the day they reappear.

Today I was driving to work and caught a whiff of something familiar. Most people would repulsively scrunch their nose and make a face at the smell. I, on the other hand, breathed it deeply, knowing the good news it brings. Then I noticed the "good news" wasn't going away. I began to get worried that I had hit the thing with my car and was somehow, unbeknownst to me, dragging it along with me. But finally the smell faded and I knew it was nothing more than a beautiful reminder that this was going to be a short winter.

However, once I got the office I found that not everyone shared my joy of the stinky. I work with our youth pastor's wife and as I wandered by her desk, she asked in a disgusted voice, "Did you smell that skunk this morning?" I instantly remembered that I had smelled the skunk just as I was passing Mr. and Mrs. Youth Pastor's house.

"Yep, I sure did!" I answered enthusiastically. "Isn't it great?"

"Not so great," she said. "Both of our dogs got sprayed and The Youth Pastor was outside in the cold and rain, up to his eyeballs in dogs and skunks, while the two kids screamed inside the house."

I didn't figure it was a very encouraging thing to say out loud, but the thought did cross my man's skunk is another man's treasure!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Lord, What Should I Do?

"I wonder what God's will is for me this year." As you stand at the brink of 2010 with a new year ahead, has that question crossed your mind? I've certainly been giving it some thought lately. What does the year hold? What ministries does God want me to participate in? What should I focus on? These and question like them make me stop and wonder how I can know what it is that God really wants from and for me.

The question of God's will for our lives is one that all Christians struggle with at one time or another. We try to act in faith, we pray, we make the best judgments and decisions we can, but at times we still wonder--is this truly what God wants me to do?

Luckily for us, God has spelled out plainly what he wants from us. He tells us the things that please him in verses like Micah 6:8 "He has shown you...what the Lord requires of you. To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." and I Peter 1: 13,16 "Prepare your minds for action; be holy, because I am holy."

But more than that, God has told us how we can know his will for our lives. Romans 12:2 says "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing, and perfect will." He has spelled it right out for us. If we want to know his will for us, we need to live differently than the world does. We need to renew our minds. We need to be transformed. That sounds like a tall order, but God doesn't ask up to do what he hasn't equipped us to do.

As you begin 2010, be mindful of ways you can consciously not conform to the world. Take a close look at how the world does things and make an effort to do them differently. Resist. Go against the norm. Don't be conformed. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Change your thinking, fill your mind with Scripture, learn something new about God, meditate on him and his holy attributes. Renew your mind--if you do, you will know his good, pleasing, and perfect will for you.

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Do I Know You?

The Pastor and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary this week. I'm amazed at how fast it went and also how it seems like just yesterday we were saying our "I do's". The funny thing is that I don't really remember my "I do's". When I'm stressed and the pressure is really on, I don't remember the details of things very well.

On our wedding day we had around 300 people there. I was 18 years old, and being a little controversial to some, was marrying a 35 year old man, who had formerly been my youth pastor. Family had traveled far to attend, differences between the groom and some of his new in-laws were making themselves known. Let's just say the heat in the kitchen was high and I don't remember any of it!

Every now and then, we watch our wedding video and The Pastor tells me the story of our ceremony. It sounds like it was lovely.

After 20 years, it's still a good thing I have him!


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