Friday, December 28, 2012

Why Not Now?




You know you do it. I do....every year. My Christmas dinner hasn't even finished being digested and the vows to start a New Year's diet begin. I've just finished pulling the paper off my last gifts and the promises to have more self discipline as soon as the new year rolls around commence. I will read my Bible and exercise more, yell at my son and worry less. My mind naturally goes there. Whatever failures I've had in the current year will certainly be remedied in the one to come.

I'm fully aware of how silly this is, thinking that the turn of the calendar to January 1st will somehow endow me with superpowers to carry out things I couldn't in the previous 11 months. But, I still fall prey to the thoughts each year. I prepare myself for that magic day when the day will turn and all will be set right in my world.

Of course, it doesn't happen. It never will. I'm not suggesting that giving up is the answer, but rather, I think I'll take some pressure off of January 1 this year. Who says I need a magic day to begin to make the necessary changes in my life? Why not start today? Right now. Why can't I be more patient today? Why don't I eat a little more salad and less sugar today? instead of trying to achieve perfection once the new year arrives, why don't I make some small changes today?

How about it? Will you join me in the quest to take some pressure off of January 1st? Let's think about the things we want to accomplish in 2013 and ask ourselves...why not now?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Don't Miss It! - Black Friday


Don't you hate it when you miss something?  A couple weeks back I was bidding on a pair of shoes on eBay.  They were mint condition $100 loafers and my bid was in the lead for somewhere between $30 and $40.  I was sure they were mine.  Then I got busy.  As the bidding was coming to a close, I was distracted with some other--granted important--things.  I forgot to watch my bid and I missed it.  Someone else beat me for a dollar.  Ouch.

The other day The Pastor was out hunting when a little deer jumped up in front of him.  He fired off a shot, but a strange angle and some extra brush thwarted his effort.  He missed it.  Now, I firmly believe that missing a shot at a smallish deer has no comparison to missing a hundred dollar pair of shoes, but The Pastor was distraught, nonetheless.

I'm sure it hasn't escaped you that this week is Black Friday.  That little detail certainly hasn't slipped by me...the ads and hype inundating me have kept me constantly reminded.  People are making their plans, terrified that they will miss out on a once in a lifetime deal.   My fear is that they're missing out on so much more.

For the past few years, Black Friday sales have started earlier and earlier, but this year we have finally crossed a very important line.  Now, rather than staying up until midnight or setting your alarm clock for 2am, you can wolf down your turkey dinner on Thanksgiving day, and instead of pushing back from the table and taking a nap in your Barcalounger, you can leave your crazy relatives behind and go shopping.  Sounds appealing on some levels, but is it?

Have we become so obsessed that our need for a great bargain requires others to work, rather than spend a holiday with their families?  Are we so consumer driven that we can't even take ONE full day to be thankful for what we have, before running off to acquire more?  Is the $20, $50, or even $100 savings worth it?  What kind of society and people have we become?

I'm all for a good sale as much as the next guy (or girl), and I might even set my alarm for 2am for a super sweet deal, but we have so much to be thankful for in our lives, that when it comes to Thanksgiving Day...let's not miss it.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Going With God

There's a familiar song from church that says, "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord..."  I've been working on some decisions in my life lately that have been difficult to think through.  I can't quite make the logic of them "work out" in my head.  I can't figure out how to get all the pieces to come together neatly to ensure that the plan is sound.  Try as I might, I can't see how it's even possible to do what I think God is calling me to do. 


In the midst of my decision making, that song keeps playing in my head.  Thinking about my trip to India earlier this year and pondering where else the Lord might want me to travel to, I find myself telling Him, I'll go where you want me to go, Lord. But even as I hear the words in my head, I realize that in my single dimension thinking, I'm only considering physical places the Lord might want me to go--a country, a continent, a city.

Today I had to ask myself the hard question of where God might want me to go and where He might want to take me that are not physical places.  Maybe he wants to take me into uncertainty.  Will I go there?  Perhaps He wants to take me to a place of circumstantial or financial hardship.  Will I go there?  Will I follow Him to trouble, suffering, or sorrow?  That's a much more difficult decision to make. 

There's a quote I've heard and keep written on a 3x5 card.  I realized this morning I haven't seen it in awhile and I think maybe the card has been buried in my desk amongst the papers, receipts, dried up highlighters, and other office supplies that live in my desk drawer.  The quote says, "Anywhere we go with God, is a place of safety."  Anywhere.  That applies whether  I travel to Africa or into the dark land of uncertainty where I don't understand what He is doing.  Anywhere I go with him is safe. As long as He's with me.

So that leads me back to my original dilemma of decision making.   I think I better go dig that card out of my desk drawer, post it on the fridge where it can remind me of God's provision for me, stop wavering, and decide if I'm really willing to "Go where you want me to go, Dear Lord".


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

You Can Run...Well Maybe Not.


A lot of you know...The Pastor has been on crutches.  Chalk it up to a bone problem related to his Diabetes.  I won't get into the gory details, but let's just say that the crutches have been difficult for everyone involved, if you get my drift.

I don't blame The Pastor for getting weary of the crutches, and for the most part, he's been a good patient, "crutching" around as he should.  However, a couple weeks ago, we went out to lunch and tired of lugging them around with him, he left the crutches in the car, though he should have been using them.

He hobbled into the sparsely populated restaurant and before he could make his way to a table to sit down, he ran smack dab into...his foot doctor.  Oops.  The perils of living in a small town.

I've learned the hard way, there are some things you just can't run from.  (Especially when you're on crutches, but that's not my point.)  God tells me he shuts doors no man can open and opens doors no man can shut (Rev 3:8).  Simply put, if God wants to do something, he will do it, and no amount of whining, complaining, or running away on my part will change that. God will accomplish his purpose. 

Lately God is calling me to some tough decisions.  I don't particularly want to make them.  My inclination is to run and hide until the whole situation miraculously works itself out without any effort from me.  But, I'm getting the distinct feeling that's not going to work.  I need to come face to face with the fact that God wants something of me. And if he wants it, one way or another, he will get it.  In the far corners of my heart and mind, I can hear him whispering, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way..."

The doctor has finally told The Pastor he can put down the crutches... and I think maybe it's time I take off my running shoes.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

First....

...Trip to Washington DC.














...Pair of shoes bought at DSW

...Watermelon Sorbet and Cake Batter ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery

...Visit to Georgetown Cupcake (DC Cupcakes)

















...Chic Fil A spicy chicken sandwich and chocolate shake

...11 hour wait time in an airport.













...American Management Association training seminar in DC.

...Trip to American History Museum













...Time I stepped out of my box and invited the instructor to dinner.  (Excellent Thai Food!)

...Stroll around Georgetown University













...Realization that American Airlines has cross-dressing flight attendants.

...Ride on the Metro Train





























...Steak burrito from Chipotle.

....Self Portrait with my bro at the Washington Monument


















...Hands on experience with the Retina Display MacBook Pro at an Apple store in the Pentagon City Mall.  (HUGE!)


 ...Photo of the WWII Monument at night













...View of the White House















Blessed to have a great training class and trip,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Desperate For Therapy


Why is it so often that the things we want to do the most are the things we procrastinate the worst?  I was lamenting to my friend today over lunch that I've been remiss at losing a few pounds that have found their way to my mid-section.  Even though I have small amounts of success eating healthy foods, I know the one thing that needs to be done to get rid of the problem is exercise.  I want to do it.  I think about doing it.  I plan to do it, but I never actually do it.

The same has been true of my writing life. I want to do it.  I think about doing it.  I desperately need the self therapy of doing it, but I won't put my butt in the chair, pull out the laptop and do it.  I'm confused and exasperated by my own actions.  I ask myself the same question over and over--why??

Why don't I exercise, why don't I write more, why don't I study my Bible more or get started on that redesign of my blog I've been mulling over? It's not a lack of motivation--I truly want to do them. At first glance the answer is easy.  I'm too busy.  Isn't that the reason we all have for not doing the things we have good intention of accomplishing?  But if I look closer, and with honesty, I know that's not really it. 

I believe my procrastination boils down to a much larger problem than busyness.  Deep at the root of the problem is not time, but perfectionism.  Perfectionism is an illusion to be chased and when it can't be caught, we give up, or worse yet, we never bother to try in the first place. 

Don't let perfectionism steal your opportunity to try.  Don't let it rob you of the therapy of doing something you love even if you don't get it exactly right.  We are imperfect beings and that won't change until the day we see Christ face to face.  Don't let that discourage you from the here and now and from doing everything to the Glory of God.

Nike was right...just do it!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Steak and Waffles - Part 2

I must have had food on the brain when starting these last two posts.  Okay, let's be honest, I often have food on the brain, which is why, if I'm not careful, I'll be posting from the Fit Woman Fat Farm.  (Let's hope they have WiFi).

I'm a girl who likes to listen to music and lately I've been listening to a lot of worship and Christian music, but I've found myself disappointed and feeling a little flat that, while I've enjoyed the music, I've failed to have any overwhelming encounter with God as a result of it.  I mean, it always encourages me and often confirms my views and beliefs about God's character.  But, try as I might, lately, I just can't seem to get the spiritual insight and nourishment I'm longing for.

I was thinking about it the other day and realized just how long it had been since I tuned in to a sermon or some good teaching on the radio, rather than the music stations I'd been listening to of late.  And then I realized my problem.  Not enough meat.  I've been drinking a whole bunch of spiritual milk.  It has some nutritional value, but not all that I need.  I'm lacking protein.  I need some meat from the Word.  I've neglected my diet and I think it's time that I made some changes.

As I consider my diet and eating habits, I can't help but think I better have more steak and waffles.




Monday, March 26, 2012

Steak and Waffles - Part 1



I remember a scene from when I my childhood. My mom was overwhelmed and freaking out. People were coming for dinner later that weekend, she had housework, laundry, and shopping to do. I remember calmly telling her it wasn’t that hard to figure out. She had plenty of time, she just needed to plan out her jobs and methodically do them. One thing at a time and she would be fine. I didn't understand what the hard part was.

Not long ago it was me who was doing the freaking out. My son observed my state of panic and said, “Mom, just think about one thing at a time. Be like a waffle.” Apparently he’s heard the “Women are spaghetti, men are waffles” analogy... don't ask me where.

It’s easy when we’re kids and don’t feel the weight of the world on our shoulders, but then again, we were never meant to feel that weight. Not then, and not now.

We are meant to give our load to Christ and do our part, which is to trust him to be faithful with one thing at a time. I only need to worry about what he's asked me to do for now. He is powerful and loving enough to take care of the rest. I am required only to love him and have faith like a child—just like I did when I was young and just like my son reminded me of recently.

It's lunchtime and I'm thinking...waffles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Starbucks Did It To Me Again!



I don't understand how Starbucks can consistently come up with products that are so dang expensive, and yet I am more than willing to continue paying for them.  I suppose it's really not that big of a mystery.  They are delicious!  These Refreshers from Starbucks are my new afternoon guilty pleasure.  Created to compete in the energy drink market, these little guys claim to give a natural energy boost from green coffee extract and ginseng, but don't have any coffee flavor.  They are lightly carbonated and fruity.

I'm not an energy drink consumer, but I don't feel jittery after drinking a Refresher.  I'm not sure I feel any more "energy" than an afternoon cup of coffee or can of Coke.  I don't see these seriously competing with Red Bull, for those who depend on a real jolt, but I do know they taste awesome, and at 60 calories a can, that sure beats the aftertaste of Diet Coke.  You'll pay around $1.98 per can (give or take) for these little beauties, but they've been on sale everywhere because they're new, and I haven't paid more than .88 yet.  However, you can bet I'll be paying full price when the sales are done!  For now, you can go online and download coupons here and other places.

Happy Refreshment!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More From Farmer Pig Pastor


When I stop to consider my life, I continue to be amazed at just how different my expectations were from what my realities are.  I always figured I'd have a typical family...kids, a dog, maybe even a cat if I was feeling really adventuresome in life.  Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever consider that I'd be married to a pig pastor.

It was bad enough when the first pigs entered my life.  But, I consoled myself with the fact that they would soon be bacon and I'd be a lot happier, so I tolerated their existence with high expectations of BLT's and biscuits and sausage gravy.

However, I knew I was in trouble when The Pastor gussied up the pig house as part of the preparations for a recent family reunion, and I really knew trouble was brewing when he started talking about keeping one of the pigs and having piglets.

This week, that day arrived.  The Pastor is proud farmer to 11 baby pigs.  I have to admit, they are dang cute.  (though it looks like one, the picture above is not actually one of ours.  The heat light in our "Hilton-esque" pig house, makes the pictures all come out a fuzzy, strange hue of red. )

The Pastor has doted over those pigs day and night.  You'd think we just had our own baby when you consider the amount of sleep we haven't been getting, and to top it off, now he's talking about keeping two more mom pigs and expanding the pig house!

Please respond if you have any good bacon recipes.  This city girl is doomed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Switch It Up


I'm officially a switcher.  Don't go gettin' all excited.  I'm talking strictly about my computing life.  After 17 years in the computer industry, I recently bought my first Mac.  A "switcher" is a PC user who has converted to Mac.  I've been using it for a few weeks now and all I can say is, "Wow!"  My only regret is that it's at home and I spend most of my day at work.

I agonized over spending the extra money for a Mac when I could buy a comparable PC for quite a bit less, but now that I've done it, I see the key issue is that they aren't really comparable. The Mac wins, hands down.  Although it has a few quirks that take getting used to, it's very simple to use and that was one of the key selling points.

You see, I told The Pastor that the Mac was for him and in light of the fact that he's not the most techie guy (major understatement), I should get him something easy to use.  Clearly the Mac was the best option and in his best interest. Surely he could see that I was buying thing purely out of love for him.

So far, I'm loving his Mac and he hasn't touched it....
 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Could Have Never Imagined...



Sometime in late 2000 or early 2001, I received a sample CD with a few new artists and songs.  I didn't really love most of it, but there was a relatively new band called Mercy Me with a song called I Can Only Imagine, and I couldn't get enough of it.

At the time I was extremely pregnant with twins and after many years of trying to have a baby and a couple  of emotional miscarriages, I was not one of those women who loved the "experience" of being pregnant.  My goal was to get these kids born, hold them in my arms, and look into their tiny, miraculous faces.

Driving around, I would crank up the stereo in my Jeep Grand Cherokee (because at the time it was probably the nicest sound system I owned) and listen to I Can Only Imagine.  I understand the song is about seeing Jesus, but at the time, I could only imagine what it would be like to see my children face to face and walk beside them.  (well, push them in a stroller, but you get the idea).

Last weekend I went to the Rock and Worship Roadshow, a fantastic concert with an array of bands, the headlining one being Mercy Me.  Ten, plus years ago, I could have never imagined what it would be like to stand in that arena and listen to that song live, and I surely couldn't imagine what it would be like to do it with my son there with me.  I had longed to see his face and now we were worshipping together, side by side.  It was a bittersweet moment, overwhelmingly thankful for the son who was with me and desperately longing to see the daughter that was not.

But one day, I will see her again, and not only her, but even more, Jesus.  What a day that will be.  I can only imagine...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Get Out Of The Groove

I'm pretty sure there's a problem with my brain.  The only consoling thing about it (according to some weekly news program The Pastor saw one night after I was in bed), is that it's a common problem and I'm not alone.  According to the study on the news, when certain thinking and behavioral patterns repeatedly occur, they get entrenched in the brain.  There's actually a "groove" or a pathway and once those thought patterns and behaviors get stuck in the groove, they are extremely hard to get out.  In other words, we have to work extra hard to break the patterns.

I've found myself wrestling with some stinkin' thinkin' lately.  I know it's wrong.  I know Satan likes to attempt to deceive me and I try hard to make an effort to redirect those thoughts.  The problem is, it's hard.  They're in danger of becoming entrenched.  If I let them go on too long, my brain will make them a nice little groove to live in.

I'm not willing to let that happen.  I have a desperate need to renew my mind daily. I need to let the truth of scripture and God's love for me sink in deep.  Though it will take a  conscious effort, for my growth and sanity, I'm getting out of the groove!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whiteboards and Clean Slates




Lately I've been moving offices a lot at work.  I'm starting to get used to it and have stopped flinching each time someone comes in and says, "Pack up!"  Although, I have to admit, I'm reluctant to hang my pictures too quickly.

I'm a visual thinker and learner, and therefore I rely heavily on my whiteboard.  Because all offices have a whiteboard, it's too much trouble to move them around, so each time I'm required to relocate, I have to take a picture of my board to take my precious ideas and scribbles with me.  (Lord knows, they're not worth anything to anyone else.)

Whiteboards represent a lot of effort. Sometimes good and productive, and sometimes just brainstorming and junk. The nice thing is that whether your thoughts are good or bad, you always have the opportunity to easily wipe the slate clean. When I unpacked in my new space, I noticed my new whiteboard was full.  I grabbed the board cleaner and eraser, and prepared to make short work of the ideas left behind.  I felt a little bad about wiping away the representation of so much effort, but as I did, I had this strange feeling of thankfulness.

The couple days previous to my office move had not been great.  Some of it was my fault and some of it was not.  My attitude was a tad stinky, but at the same time, I felt justified because life was coming at me faster than I could handle.  While I set to work erasing and cleaning that board--and preparing to fill it with new and fresh ideas, it felt good to wipe the slate clean, and not only that to ponder the whiteboard of my life.

At the moment, it was filled with not-so-productive thoughts and feelings, but I'm thankful that each and every day, God grabs the whiteboard cleaner and gives us a good scrubbing.  His mercies are new every morning.  It doesn't matter how many terrible ideas I've had (and carried out), I'm always given the chance for a clean start. My mess ups, failures, plans I thought were good but ended up not so much...he wipes them clean and allows me to start fresh. No condemnation. Just a clean slate.

Every day, no matter what the previous one was like, we have a new opportunity.  We have the chance to change our hearts, minds, and attitudes and do something for God. So grab your markers and lets get to work!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Pushing The Envelope


Yesterday as I drove to work I could feel a thin film of ice covering the roadway.  Each time I rounded a corner, I goosed it a little, letting my back tires slide around the corner in a slight fishtail.  I've been driving in the snow for a long time and The Pastor always keeps my car fitted with fantastic studded tires.  Armed with this knowledge and the comfort of how far I can push the envelope, it doesn't bother me to slide around a bit. I know my limits and my own comfort level.

The same is true in my kayak.  I know just how far I can wobble without tipping it over.  I know when to stop leaning and when to straighten up--quickly.  I've done it a million times.  I'm aware of the edge and have the sense to stop when I should.

Stop when I should... how I wish I could do the same with my everyday life!  Instead, I push the envelope too far.  I take on too many things--responsibilities and worries that aren't mine and that I have no business owning. Trying to achieve things that God has not called me to, and attempting perfection where I should consider myself lucky to even attain competency.  

One time I got overly confident on the ice.  It led me to have to apologize to the driver I rear-ended.  Another time, my friend and I made an agreement to purposefully tip our kayaks over (in shallow water) to see how far we really could push it.  I chickened out and she tipped hers alone.  I laughed--and then had to apologize.

Pushing the envelope in life leads me to the same place with God.  It drives me to apology and repentance. It makes me realize my dependency on God and that I am certainly not the one in control.  Maybe one day I'll be smart enough to recognize I'm doing it and stop before it's too late.

Join me in asking God exactly what he wants from each of us and purposing to do it without sliding too far or tipping over.

No apology needed!

Monday, January 30, 2012

1000 Words...Maybe More.


The sights of India. So many colors and sounds.  I can't believe how much I miss it already!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Incredible India


When you make a life changing trip across the globe, it's hard to come home and write a few trite words that sum up your experience.  My first order of business is to profoundly thank those who prayed for me and the rest of our team.  There's nothing in the world like the power of prayer...especially when you're half way around the world.  Secondly, a huge thank you to those who supported me financially.  Your gifts, made this trip possible and gave you an active part in the ministries we participated in.  Lastly, I make the promise of stories, posts, and pictures to come...just as soon as I can sort through them!  (remember the days when you could use the excuse "My pictures are still being developed"?) 

In the mean time, I challenge you to ponder the softness of your bed and pillow tonight, the purity of every drop of water you drink, the dry roof over your head, and the freedom you have each and every day to proclaim your love for Jesus Christ.  There are many, many who are not so privileged...

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