Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sleep in the Midst of the Storm

Last night we took Abby  on her very first camping trip.  The temperature seemed to be ideal and rain was not in the forecast.  It was a bit windy when we set up, but we continued to check the weather for storms.  

The night began without incident and Abby went to sleep without any trouble, but then the wind began to blow.  It grew stronger and stronger as the gusts reached nearly 50 mph. I finally put Abby between us and then laid awake praying we would stay safe.  I didn't fear the tent blowing away as there was plenty of weight holding it in place, but the thought of the tent poles cracking and ricocheting into our faces didn't seem like a pleasant prospect. 

For most of us our fears grow significantly worse in the dark.  All I could hear was the wind howling, the rain fly flapping and the poles groaning as they strained under the pressure.  Jeff and I barely got any sleep.  And what about little Abby?  She slept peacefully through nearly all of it, waking only at her usual time for her early morning snack.  She had no fear as her parents were there to protect her. 

Jesus slept through a severe storm one night about two thousand years ago.  He was able to relax enough to sleep as He had nothing to fear.  The weather obeyed Him since He was in control. Mark 4:39 I thought of this story as I lay there praying for safety as I embraced our sleeping six month old.  Our Sovereign God is in control of the weather and I asked Him to calm the storm and keep our tent standing.  Eventually the calm came and we enjoyed a few hours of sleep.  We were safe and the tent had absolutely no damage.  Cabela's makes quality tents, but I'll give God the credit for this one. 

We were the only tent out there last night as everyone else was safely ensconced in their RVs and fifth wheels.  I'm sure the other campers were questioning the sanity of the couple in the tent with a baby.  We did not intentionally "tempt" God, but I'm so thankful He looks out for us when we put ourselves in precarious situations. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Remember the old nursery rhyme that begins with "Mary, Mary quite contrary.  How does your garden grow?"   This quote by John Newton reminded me of that rhyme:
The Lord abhors pride and self-importance. The seeds of these evils are in the hearts of his own children; but rather than suffer
that which He hates to remain in those He loves, He will in mercy pound them as in a mortar, to beat it out of them, or to prevent its growth.
This quote made me begin to consider the garden of my heart.  What seeds are sprouting there?  Are sprouts of envy, hatred, and pride taking root?  Isn't it amazing how no tending is required for weeds to flourish?  So  it is with our hearts.  It takes no effort whatsoever for these "weeds" to multiply and stifle the good spiritual fruit. Perhaps a good dose of spiritual Roundup is needed.   Active ingredients include the Holy Spirit, Prayer, and God's Word.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my *thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24  (*or cares)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Project 64: Pacific Blue

I learned about the Project 64 blog a few weeks after the project began. It's fun and inspiring to see dozens of pictures featuring the color of the week. Having resolved communication issues between laptop and my aged DSLR, here is my feeble attempt at the color: pacific blue.  Below is a photo of my barely-used feather duster.  Hmmm, I wonder what bird was harmed in the making of this cleaning tool? 

Mistake = Frustration

So we purchased a new (to us) vehicle this evening.  Or at least we thought we had.  We had the checks in hand, two of them, when we drove more than 50 miles to pick it up.  Unfortunately the name on the checks was incorrect so they are essentially worthless pieces of paper.  This was a private buyer so glitches can sometimes happen. This one happened when someone (we won't name names here) assumed the female was married to the male.  They appeared to be a couple and they had children so they had to be married, right?  This was most certainly incorrect. 

So the nice timetable we had for registering the vehicle, driving hundreds of miles and camping this weekend seems to be impossible all because a name was wrong.  I wonder why this happened?  God is sovereign so there a reason why it occurred.  From our perspective it is so frustrating as it was human error that could have been prevented with a few pertinent questions. 

James 4:14-15 compares our lives to vapors.  James encourages us to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."  So Lord willing, we will get this messy situation straightened out.  We have a spacious vehicle parked on our driveway, but we can't legally drive it until that time. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hold All Things Loosely

"I have learned to hold all things loosely, so God will not have to pry them out of my hands." - Corrie ten Boom.  

I read this quote when just a teenager and it is one I've pondered since then.  It's so easy to clutch our family, our home, our job, our position too tightly.  Sometimes God takes all that is good away in order to provide us with something better.  We are living on borrowed time and all we "have" belongs to God.  Can I say with Job "The Lord gives and takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord"?

Listen to Corrie Ten Boom's classic book The Hiding Place  by downloading an audio version free from  This offer is good through the end of April.    


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Abstracts

Too windy and cloudy for any high-quality shots.  The colors of spring are marvelous!

The Monster Inside of Me

Have you ever watched the show "Monsters Inside of Me?"  I've opted not to, but have seen brief glimpses of the show's previews.  It's disturbing to consider how humans could have parasites invade their body and wreak havoc.  This thought creeps me out enough to want to avoid seeing specific details. 

I thought of this show today as I was trying to teach Abby (now 6 months old) the meaning of the word "No."  I realized she had no idea what this word meant when I used it on her a few days ago.  I had a four-month-old in my arms and Abby was on the floor playing.   She rolled and scooted her way over to an entertainment system and became fascinated with the cords.  Anything that looks remotely interesting goes into her mouth and I wanted to stop her so I told her "No" in a firm voice.  She had not really heard that word before so she ignored me. I was forced to get up in the middle of feeding the baby and roll Abby back to safety. 

Since then I realized I must teach her what the word means before she's faced with a more serious temptation.  She likes to flip over onto her belly while I'm changing her diaper.  It's cute to see how fast she moves, but I decided I would use "No" on her each time she tries to do this.  I tested the word out several times today and each time it made her mad because I was not allowing her to do what she wanted to do.  The monster inside her has began to rear his ugly head.  Isn't it amazing how early this happens?  It's become fairly obvious that we have a stubborn and selfish child.  Oh, she's adorable and we love her dearly, but she's infected with the monster of a sinful nature, just as we all are. Sinful from birth as Psalm 51:5 tells us. 

The monster of this sinful nature cannot be conquered until Christ's redeems that individual.  Even then we continue to battle it's uprisings against our spiritual nature until we receive our glorified body.  I'm praying for wisdom and the courage to be consistent when it comes to teaching little Abby.  The monster can be defeated through Jesus Christ, the One who crushed Satan's head on the very first Easter. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Blossom

Blossom in Springfield, Missouri.  So encouraging to see spring has arrived somewhere!


If asked to describe the meaning of Easter in one word I would select the word "hope."  Without Christ's resurrection there is no hope of eternal life.  Paul says it best: "if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." I Cor. 15:19  There is no salvation without  the resurrection.  Without salvation there is no hope.

But He lives!  He shocked guards, disciples, and family one Sunday thousands of years ago when He defied Satan and rose from the dead.

Because He lives. . . prophecy was fulfilled; deity was confirmed.
Because He lives. . . redemption is possible.
Because He lives. . . we no longer wander through this world "having no hope and without God" .
Because He lives. . . Satan's power over us has been nullified.
Because He lives . . . death has been defeated and holds no power over us.
Because He lives  . . . this corrupt body will soon be exchanged for a glorified body.  
Because He lives. . . hope has replaced fear.

Now we wait with expectant hearts for Jesus, our Blessed Hope to return.  We have not seen Him face to face, but we know His voice, we have seen His ways, and His grace has transformed us.  Celebrate His resurrection and the hope He offers. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Slow Road

I struggle with patience.  I believe I'm fairly patient with individuals who need extra care such as my little girl, but when it comes to life's circumstances, I hate delay. 

A few years back I was forced to exit off interstate (so to speak) and directed onto a rural country road where "leisurely" describes the pace.    It feels like being stuck behind an oversize load on a winding no-passing zone road.  I'm back here honking and fretting, but none of this makes my travel down the road any easier or even begins to speed up journey.  Do you know where I'm coming from?

Instead I should be enjoying every moment that God gives me as His Sovereign hand is behind all that occurs in my life.

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4

God's GPS

Yesterday we returned from a whirlwind trip through several states. It was a quest to find a new job for Jeff. We knew we wouldn't live in this current location long, but where exactly does God want us? I wish we had a GPS sent from God with turn-by-turn directions. Why did the Israelites have reason to complain when they had the shekinah glory leading the way? But God asks us to walk by faith and the last two and a half years have certainly been a test of my faith.

The trip was not successful in the sense that Jeff did not find a job. We met some wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who went out of their way to help us. The spiritual bond we have in Christ is amazing, isn't it? We enjoyed visiting parts of our country that have blooming flowers and budding trees. We had lots of family time together. And we were able to rule out several possible options.

I told one of my dearest friends this morning that it appears we have come to the fork in the road similar to Abraham and Lot. I am desiring the lush beautiful land of certain states we have explored, but God is going to send us to a land that may initially seem like a dry wasteland, but this location will help us bear an abundance of spiritual fruit. We are seeing God's hand move us in a new direction. Stay tuned for details.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Femiman Phenomenon

I work with youth so I try to keep somewhat abreast of their latest trends, challenges and addictions.  I'm not that old, but I feel so disconnected at times from what these kids are experiencing. 

So have you heard of the word "femiman?"  I guess it was coined several years ago and it's fairly obvious who it refers to.  According to the Urban Dictionary it's "one who is born a male yet is constantly mistaken for a woman." 

How often have you seen the femiman squished into his skinny jeans?  Ewww.  What are they thinking?  And why do the girls find them attractive? Do they think the femiman will be more sensitive and thoughtful? Give me a masculine man who doesn't mind raising his voice or his blood pressure, as needed.  And yes, this is the type of man I married.  I would much rather be upset that I can't persuade a stubborn man to change than fret because he refuses to be a leader. 

Now Levi has added fuel to the femiman phenomenon by offering the ex-girlfriend jeans. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Final Chapter

I'm a Hospice volunteer.  I love what I do because I don't fear death.  I've held the hands and prayed with individuals as they pass into eternity. I enjoy bringing a little comfort to those facing their final days and months. 

Yesterday Abby and I visited a new patient.  I had delayed the initial visit as I had been sick for a few weeks and didn't want to expose my patient to my sinus infection.  We visited *Keith, but he seemed very sleepy and didn't respond to my introduction and comments.  It's a challenge to carry on a one-sided conversation, but I do the best I can.  After several minutes of chatting with/to him, I prayed for him and then left.

A few hours later, he passed away.  He was actively dying and I didn't know it.  

How many times have I been oblivious to those around me who are spiritually dead and physically dying? This the most dangerous combination there can be. I must not pass up the opportunities I have to share Christ with those I meet.  How selfish and indifferent of me to refuse to share life with those facing death.

*Not his real name. 

"No" to the Good. "Yes" to the Best.

I said "No" to something I wanted very much.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  After discussing the potential challenges this decision might create, Jeff and I agreed it was best to wait.

I said "No" to something good so that I would be able to say "Yes" to a better option in the future.  Have you ever had to do this?  Or have you settled for the good when you should have held out for the best?  It's tempting to do that isn't it?  Perhaps you want a spouse, or a job, a new home, or a child NOW!  Don't settle for second-best.  Consider the story of Esau and his desire for instant gratification.   He gave up his inheritance just to satisfy his hunger pangs. 

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4

Monday, April 4, 2011


I was snacking on some toffee covered nuts and suddenly crunched down and then realized I had damaged my tooth.  I chipped just the slightest bit off the tip of my eye tooth.  No one else would probably notice this damage, but it's really bothered me.  I have excellent teeth and have never had a cavity.  I'm used to having the hygienists and dentists comment on my "beautiful teeth."  Now I have a blemish and my teeth are flawed.

I guess what's really bothered me is that this minor incident has made me feel quite old.  I feel like the decline into old age has started.  I rolled right into age 30 without any hesitation.  It seemed to slip right by and it was a happy time as I was expecting little Abby.  But now this.  And this small chip is but a precursor of the decay that will affect every part of my body.

Charles H. Spurgeon is one of my favorite writers.  He has some insightful words about facing decay and inevitably death:  Life is but death's vestibule and our pilgrimage on earth is but a journey to the grave... There is a land where death knells are never tolled, where winding sheet are never woven, where graves are never dug. Blest land beyond the skies! To reach it we must die. 

I'll continue to hide those pesky gray hairs and apply cream to fight the crow's feet, but I'll never be able to prevent my body from decaying.  But I guess it's not a big deal.  I'll trade this model in for an upgraded version soon enough. 

(Photo courtesy of

Friday, April 1, 2011

Squandering a Gift

As a full-time mother I'm unable to generate much income.  With a lot of  time and effort I can sometimes make up to five dollars a day writing reviews or posting bargains online.  This is a mere pittance compared to what I could make per hour at previous jobs.  I'm very frugal and go out of my way to save our family money.  This frugality can sometimes lead me to become somewhat stingy and attached to my few dollars. 

I have a friend who indicated they needed some items as times are difficult for them.  So I purchased a few small things they said they needed.  Unfortunately they wasted these items and never used a few of them;  essentially acted as if they didn't really care that I given these gifts to them. I fumed inside when I saw this response. How dare they squander my money?  Don't they realize how hard I have to work to make a few dollars in order to give them something special?

Hmm.  I wonder if this is the way God feels?   Have I been squandering grace and taking for granted the sacrifice that was made for me?   I am reminded of Hebrews 10:29 that refers to those who have trampled the Son of God underfoot.  These are serious words. 
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