Friday, March 27, 2009


I laughed when I checked the weather report today on Yahoo. There it was bold as brass: the high temps, the low ones and the short description of the contents of the day (meterologically speaking) Blizzard. I guess I always associate that term with a bygone era, like the Little House on the Prairie books. Clearly, here in Colorado Springs, it is still an effective description! Truly, it is a little wild to see the snow blowing in a straight line. It is not really piling up on the ground because the wind is blowing too hard. It is definitely making a mess of things, though. I went to toss a bag of trash and I had to change my clothes because in the 6 seconds I was outside I was covered in snow.

I normally will profess to hate the snow, but I have decided perhaps I don't hate it, just strongly dislike. Usually I am angry because I have to cancel plans, or I have to deal with tracking around in it. I don't like to be cold, and I especially don't like to be cold and wet! But this week is Spring Break (poor kids!) so all my usual activities were cancelled already. I stocked up on necessities on Wednesday; so we have just been nice and cozy in our little house. It has actually been really pleasant. I made soup last night and we were all relaxed knowing there is nothing on our agenda. I will be honest and say that I wouldn't enjoy this all the time, or even more than once or twice a year. But, I know it is almost April and there aren't too many more weeks it will do this. Also, we needed a break so a weather-related cancellation wasn't unwelcome! So, as long as the sun shines tomorrow "let it snow, let it snow" today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Shirtless Wonder

I had an interesting life experience on Sunday. I had gone to lunch with my friend, Kristan, after church. (Of course, we had the kids but that doesn't really figure into the story much.)We had lunch and then we wandered over to Target because, for the life of me, I can't remember a time when I don't have something that I need from Target! We were not in there for very long before I had gotten everything I "needed" and we headed to the check-out. I, of course, picked the longer of the two lines that was available and so we were standing there chatting while we waited. Kristan commented to me that it seemed no was subscribing to social standards for attire anymore. She then mentioned a woman she had seen early with a gigantic hole in her jeans (I, too, had seen someone earlier with a significant gap in her pants) and then nodded towards a guy in the next lane to further prove her point. He had on no shirt!

Now, I don't think Target has a "No shoes, no shirt, no service" sign posted, but you just figure everyone functions under that assumption. Well, not this person! And I mean, it is not like we are at the gas station, and it was a nice day, but only about 65 degrees. So, because I always have to know the most about what is going on, I leaned over a little to figure out what he was buying. Shirts. Okay, so he does realize he is violating societal norms! Well, I continue with my purchase and am loading my cart when I realize all is not going so smoothly with Shirtless Guy. He has opened the package of shirts (a four pack of tank-tops) and was about to put one on, when the cashier says to him, " ummm, it was $9.73..." . The way he left his sentence hanging made me think that the guy didn't have enough cash. So for almost a whole minute everyone in both check-out lanes just stands there. Altogether, there was probably about 12 people, including the group of 4 teenage guys standing in Shirtless Guy's lane, who of course are heartlessly gawking.

Well, I quickly realized that this uncomfortable situation needed a speedy resolution. I assumed that the man probably needed the $0.73 and I had cash (believe me, that is a miracle in and of itself!) so I stepped over and asked the cashier, "How much does he need?" with my wallet in hand. This is where it gets tricky. The cashier eyes me and replies incredously, "He needs $9.73!" That is when I discovered that Shirtless Guy's debit card had been declined. He, for obvious reasons, is not making eye contact with me. I kind of felt like everyone else was waiting for me to say something and dismiss myself. Instead, and I know this had to have been the Lord, I pulled out the cash and paid for the guy's shirts. As I am paying, he mumbles, "Thank you" to me. The cashier hands me my change, obviously confused. I turned to leave feeling that I could do no further good (or harm, as the case may be) and as he walks past me, the guy (now clothed and in his right mind), again says, "Thanks, mam".

I would love to say that I took this opportunity to share the Gospel, or at least mumbled back, "God made me do it.". But alas, I did not do anything of the sort. I just smiled and told him he was welcome. After we left the store I pondered the meaning of the situation. Why had God placed me there? Why did I do what I did? Did I do the right thing? Why didn't the guy know he didn't have any money? Why, most importantly, did the guy not have on a shirt?! I thought, perhaps, this had happened so that I could minister to the guy. But then I realized something. I think it happened so that the Lord could minister to me. I don't know whether or not the guy was "worthy" of me buying him a shirt. More than likely, he just didn't know how to balance a check-book. Who knows why he needed a shirt. But no matter the reason he couldn't cover his debt.He needed someone else to pay the price for him. Sound familiar?

We all have a debt we can't cover. It is called sin. The Lord doesn't ask us why we have mishandled our spiritual "finances". Some of us owe $9.73 and some of us owe $10 million. Regardless of the amount, none of us can pay. We are standing in the check-out of life, dumbfounded that what we have won't fill the bill. We don't know where to turn, and then comes our Savior, wallet in hand. Now, I am definitely NOT saying that I am comparable to Jesus. I just realized that He had paid my debt without question, and with His life! He didn't ask me to reimburse Him, He didn't ask for my thanks. He did it because He loves me. That is the real difference between these stories. I don't love that guy, I don't even know him. I did it because Someone loved me enough to lay down His life for me. Enough that I want to give to others.

I know that is all kind of crazy. I am really beginning to see that everything in my life is an opportunity for the Lord to teach me. But I am not thankful enough for my precious salvation. I want to work every day to say "Thank You". I can't repay Him, but I can tell Him I honor His sacrifice. Nothing says it better than that great old song:

"Jesus paid it all,
all to Him I owe,
sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blind to the Benefits

We are studying the Gospel of John in PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel). When we reached chapter 9 this week I was very interested by these verses:

"As He went along, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:1-3 (NIV)

I have had many posts about the "bad" things that have happened: my trash can went missing, my car wouldn't start, my son won't sleep, my daughter is sassy. I try to be positive, to look at the bright side. Yet, I still classify these things as negative. I still pat myself on the back for coming through these "tragedies" (it shows you how good my life really is, if I classify these things as tragedies!). Why do I succumb to the world's mindset, that these things are "bad", the result of some one's sin? What if I changed my perspective and said, "My car broke down so that I could see the love of my friends, the integrity of the mechanics and have an opportunity to have specific instances of answered prayer"? Doesn't that take it from something "bad" to something good?

This man probably had been pitied all his life. He couldn't see. His parents were probably plagued with guilt, "What did we do wrong? If only we had...". Perhaps even the man himself spent his time trying to be "perfect" in order to rid himself of the curse of blindness. But this wasn't there to make him or his parents question themselves. It wasn't a curse, or a personal affront. It was all part of a perfect plan. I really need to stop taking things so personally. The Lord is working in my life; if He wasn't I would be dead. :) He doesn't allow these things to happen to frustrate me, make me cry, or cause me desperation. He allows (and sometimes causes) these things to happen so that the work of God might be displayed in my life. That makes these growing things!

I challenge you to not survive the "bad" things but to grow through the unexpected things. I challenge myself, too. I have to resist the urge to classify circumstances, to categorize everything as a positive or a negative. "It's all good" would be an appropriate slogan. These testings of my faith are working to produce perseverance. "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:4 (NIV) NOT LACKING ANYTHING! That is a promise I would like to claim. I still have children that don't obey, a car that no one knows what is wrong with, and a $50 fee paid for a trash can I didn't lose. But those are opportunities for growth. I hope I can be wise enough to take them. I don't want to be "blind" and lose the benefits these things have for me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Holiday Spirit!

I recently realized that I love celebrating the little "nothing" holidays as much as I enjoy some of the big ones. I really like St.Patrick's day. I was really disappointed because I have one of those little flag posts (like the ones all the old people have!) on my front step and I couldn't find a St. Patty's flag for it. I have taken to changing my front door decoration for every holiday, too. I also bought the kids shirts for tomorrow. We don't want anyone to get pinched! I like that they are little enough to not mind wearing them. I don't really know what my fascination is; I think part of it this year is that every holiday that comes (and goes) puts us a little closer to Joel coming home! I also love that it gives me a chance to change things around in my house. I don't put out a ton of stuff but I have a few requirements: a place mat for the table, a dish for candy, a wooden sign for the front door and a flag (if I can find one). Oh and we always have static clings in our windows! Josie's job is to put those up;she loves "window stickers". I would make a good preschool teacher in that regard. It also makes me happy to change the background on my blog, I really liked the options they had for St. Patrick's day. Anyway, I will definitely make a great old lady because I will have my dorky sweatshirts and goofy yard signs for every "day" including Flag Day! So, if you want to get in the holiday spirit (whatever the occasion) you are always welcome to my house!

P.S. Just in case you didn't know the tradition of wearing green on St.Patrick's was to show that you were Catholic. Good Protestants are supposed to wear orange-hence my multi-colored clover!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy Land!

Jocelyn has decided that she is missing out on a major American milestone: a visit to Disneyland. She has a friend who has been multiple times (with souvenirs to show for it!) and we lunched today with a friend who will soon be going to Disneyworld. Jocelyn refers to both collectively as "Bisyland". I have been trying to explain to her: 1. that I never visited either growing up and have become a (mostly) successful adult 2. We do not (choose) to have the money to go now and (most importantly) 3. that is not even in my top 10 places to take a family vacation. I have tried all three tracks unsuccessfully. Today, when she asked again, I replied with a version of #2. She countered with, "My dad has money and I have cash!" She then proceeds to produce $3 from her pocket. Well, more "cash" than I have! I have chosen not to reveal her longing to her father because we would probably promptly schedule a trip!He has been very generous with her lately due to his longing for his best girl (Jocelyn, not me!). Unfortunately for Jocelyn, since I am very anti-establishment, the closest she will get right now is television commercials and our hectic schedule. Our calendar lately could be appropriately christened "Busy Land"! So until they are older (much older!)and we are far wealthier, the Magic Kingdom will have to wait...

Friday, March 6, 2009


The truck is in the shop, it has been there since Wednesday. I am definitely getting cabin fever, which is ridiculous. I have left my house both on Wednesday (to go to my friend Kim's) and on Thursday (to go to Awana) but I have not gone anywhere random just because "I feel like it". I didn't realize how dependent I am on that privelege! Don't get me wrong, I am most appreciative to all the people who have given me rides, I am sure I will need more before this is all over. But, one of the prized things about being an adult is going where you want, when you want (at least most of the time). There have been high winds here so we went outside yesterday but couldn't stay out very long and we didn't even try today. I might have gone out walking despite that, but I don't even have a stroller! You would think that I would be working hard being productive around the house but today I have just been a slug.

Jocelyn thinks she is dying because we haven't been anywhere in her mind. I am also suffering fast-food withdrawal. I looove to eat out and the last time I did that was Sunday! That was a very, very long time ago. I defy all the people who say this should make me grateful for my transportation. I have always been very thankful to have a (paid for!) vehicle. I don't even complain (that often) that it only has two doors. I know this will make me more grateful, but I wasn't ungrateful. Anyway, I suppose it is good every now and then to be dependent on the charity of others. I think if nothing else it will make me more aware of others' needs and more anxious to help them. It has also made me realize that no matter how much time I have I still will waste it! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All the Time

Today has been interesting, although lately that seems to be more normal than "normal"! My major frustration has been that our truck has decided not to start (again) but I have decided not to fixate on that. The Lord has used that situation to reveal something much bigger to me. I arrived home (my great friend Susan did not leave me in distress!) and was writing a quick email to Joel in hopes that he would call me. After I sent that I was flipping through my emails and not really paying any attention to them. But I have to tell you first what my email devotional was about. It was entitled "Goodness Under Pressure" and I honestly didn't think too much about it when I read it this morning. However, there was a line in it that said,

"It may be different for you. God's goodness under pressure may show up in a job offer that you weren't expecting. It may be as simple as someone buying you dinner or offering to baby-sit so you can have some time to yourself. Whatever the form, it's His goodness showering you with care in your time of distress. Acknowledging these acts of kindness, which flow from God's heart, builds our character and our faith. Before we know it, our life shines with the brilliance of a diamond that draws others to our God. And that, my friend, is a good thing."

So, because God is perfect, He reminded me of this when I went back to my email because I had gotten one I needed to reply to. My friend from LIFE group (Sunday School) had sent me an email where she said this: "Myself and other ladies in the class would like to provide babysitting services [for you]".

When I went back to reply the full impact of what she had said hit me. What are the odds? That is almost exactly what was in my devotional. And on today, when I am despairing over something that I have no control over? It can only be God. There is no other explanation in my mind, except for His pretty obvious reminder that He is in control. That He is building my faith, and hopefully, also molding my character. He knew that I needed a reminder, even in something seemingly completely unrelated, that He is in charge. I am so humbled, but grateful that He is the God of all things. God is good all the time- I just need to remember that all the time!


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