Posted in Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Do Not Be Deceived

TODAY’S FORECAST: Thankful for the talents of others

In lieu of my own blog post today I’m going to share another’s, Jim Bossler’s, that I found right on point. It’s a quick read, but a good prompt for today to take a look at the book of James.  Click here to go to the page.

http://redlikeblood.com/2013/02/28/do-not-be-deceived/

As a side note, if you’ve not read the book, Red Like Blood, Joe Coffey and Bob Bevington write a phenomenal book together about their own life experiences with grace. It’s real-life; drama, romance, sports, and most importantly, God’s abundant love and forgiveness all rolled into one. Happy Thursday everyone!

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Posted in Being a Mom, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

Lego or Larger?

TODAY’S FORECAST: Amazed

This past summer Bob and I took the kids on a trip to Chicago, IL. We visited all the usual tourist “hot spots” such as the skydeck in the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile. Of all the sights we took in though, I think that one of the kids’ favorite attractions was Chicago’s LEGOLAND Discovery Center. DSC05614This mini version of LEGOLAND Florida and California features a Lego jungle expedition, life-size replicas of famous movie and television characters, mini replicas of the Chicago Skyline and other famous world landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.  It also has Lego 3-D movies, rides, a kids recreation area and Lego creation center. There was definitely a lot to see and do during the few hours that we spent there.

I think that as the kids ran excitedly from one display to another, Bob and I were continually amazed at the sheer construction of each of the featured characters and landmarks. It was so remarkable how thousands of tiny Legos had been placed so perfectly together to create the life-size and larger replicas. I tried to imagine how satisfied the builders must have been when they witnessed their finished products and saw the perfect images of  Albert Einstein, Harry Potter, Darth Vader and R2-D2 staring back at them. DSC05658

I wonder if when God finished creating Adam if He felt the same sense of wonder in knowing how perfectly His creation had come together. Did He contemplate how each living cell had been uniquely displayed, how each functioning organ was placed precisely within the skeleton, how intricate were the workings of vessels, veins, muscles, ligaments and tendons? It’s almost a bit sad to me that I can go to a place like a Lego Discovery Center and marvel at the placing of plastic blocks to create perfect characters, but every day I am walking around in a body that I often don’t think twice about or even look at sometimes in disdain.

Today as I reflect on life in my prayers, I want to thank God for the miracle of our being. He made us in His image resulting in an absolutely mesmerizing and complex reflection of self. Psalm 139:14 comes to mind, I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Lord, today I thank you for the miracle of my being. I know that when You crafted me, You did so knowingly and lovingly. You created my DNA that dictated exactly who I am and I celebrate that today. When I think about doing things that are unhealthy or detrimental to this body, let me remember that You, Father created me for a purpose and in Your image. My goal should not be destruction or self-deprecation, but respect and self-esteem for a creation so blessed. Thank you Lord for making me, me. Amen.

Posted in Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Fried Chicken or Chicken Pot-Pie

TODAY’S FORECAST: Debating

This past Sunday, three out of four of us were down with bad colds. It was one of those “out of commission” days. For any of you who have read my blog before, my Bob is used to handling anything when I’m fighting off one infection or another, but when we’re both down and out at the same time, it’s like Scooby Doo says, “Ruh-Roh, we’re in rerious rouble, Raggy!” :-)Miraculously, it was a night that we didn’t have a sporting event to run to or some other commitment with scouts, school, etc., so, thankfully, we didn’t have anywhere to be. The only question that needed answering besides “Where’s the closest tissue box?” was “What are we going to do for dinner?”

At about 5:30 (without any warning whatsoever, I might add), Bob said, “I think I need to go pick up KFC for dinner.”

I just looked at him. KFC? As in Kentucky Fried Chicken? Who would want such a thing when they are sick with a cold.? No offense to you KFC lovers out there, but this is the LAST thing I’d choose to have for dinner when I’m not feeling good. Not to mention that after my husband had a heart attack at age 36, greasy and fried are not my first choices for him for the late evening meal. Then again, he was sick, he rarely ever asks for anything and he had this look in his eye that said, “I NEED fried chicken,” so yep, KFC it was. The kids and Bob opted for crunchy, greasy fried chicken. I, on the other hand, opted for their chicken pot-pie (which I have to admit is actually quite delicious as far as comfort food goes).

As we enjoyed our KFC feast, it later got me thinking that God is a little bit of fried chicken and chicken pot-pie. Okay, I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. In the Old Testament, we hear about God and His wrath in stories like Noah where He destroyed the entire earth with a devastating flood and Sodom and Gomorrah, where He rained fire and sulfur from the heavens to destroy everything there. In the New Testament we hear about how Jesus’ rage was evident when he was throwing the moneychangers out of the temple and chastising the Pharisees.  There’s a lot of edgy, hot,”crispy” anger going on there, a little like the fried chicken, if you will.

Then we hear of God’s abundant love in stories such as the sparing of Isaac’s life in the story of Abraham, the restoration of Joseph, the deliverance of the Israelites into the promised land, the protection of Esther, and ultimately in the gift and sacrifice of His Son. In the New Testament we hear of Jesus and his deep love for Lazarus, his understanding for the woman at the well, the healing of the possessed boy and multiple others. Again, there is His ultimate display of love, dying for us on the cross. In these stories there’s a lot of mushy, comforting, goodness, much like a chicken pot-pie.

So you ask, which is He? Fried Chicken or Chicken Pot-Pie? Well, honestly, I believe He’s a little bit of both. Many Christians, like me at our recent dinner encounter, choose often to focus only on the “chicken pot-pie” side and show our aversion for the “hot and crispy fried chicken” side. I believe God is not only a God of love and mercy but a God of judgement. God detests evil, and His wrath is a very valid response to that. In the gift of His Son, wrath met mercy at the cross for all of us, bearing fruit to an indescribable, never-ending love. Fried Chicken or Chicken-Pot-Pie? Yes, please!

Posted in Being a Friend, Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

Cleaning Our Hearts

TODAY ‘S FORECAST: Humbled

Our cleaning lady, Tina, was here today. Oh how I love “Tina days!” 🙂 With my more recent health challenges, Tina is a necessity in our lives rather than a “nice-to-have.” She is an essential part of keeping our household running smoothly and germ free. After the six plus years she’s been cleaning for us, she has become much more to us than our cleaning lady, she’s become a good friend. Bob and I attended her and her husband’s wedding. We have shared trials and tribulations as well as celebrations and joy regarding our kids. When I was in the hospital, Tina and her hubby brought me flowers. When my health really started to hit a bad point, she cleaned our house for free for several months. She is very dear to me and I have great respect for her for the obstacles she’s overcome in her life. We also have a mutual respect that’s built on honesty and tact.

Never in the time that Tina has cleaned for us have I ever thought less of her because of her occupation. Even over the years of getting to know her and learning that she has had a very different life than mine, I have never thought of her as “just the cleaning lady.” There is way more to her than that. She knows it, I know it, but not all the people she encounters in her profession do. Just from the little she’s said about her other cleaning engagements (and it’s very little because she is very discreet about her clients), it’s obvious that some have treated her quite poorly. I think of the Cinderella story sometimes where the wicked stepmother and stepsisters are shouting constant demands, “Do this, clean this, iron this, hem this, scrub this, etc.” It made me so sad in realizing that there are people who actually treat Tina and people in all sorts of service professions with this kind of disrespect. Then I looked back at my own life today and realized that while I may not have treated Tina that way, there are probably instances in my life where I’ve said something equally unkind to someone providing a service to me that may have undermined their self-esteem or made them feel less than who they really were. Gulp.

Ephesians 4:29 says, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen and Romans 15:2 says, Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Both of those verses speak of building people up, not tearing people down. They don’t say that the exception is if you are in position A, you have the right to admonish the person in position B. It just doesn’t work that way. We’re supposed to be kind to everyone, period. In Colossians 3:12 it says, Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Again, there is no exception included in this guidance.

This weekend I would challenge all of you to put on kindness, especially to people who are in a position of serving you in some way. Maybe it’s the young girl at the pizza counter who is not counting the change as fast as you’d like. Maybe it’s the waiter at your favorite restaurant or the janitor at your church. Perhaps it’s the lady at the fast-food drive-in taking your order, your home health aid or nurse, your masseuse, your hair stylist, the guy packing your groceries or even your own cleaning lady. Really think about the words you speak. Are they words that will build up or tear down?

Try to be kind. I’ll do the same. We’ll all learn together, right? 🙂 God bless and easy breathing!

 

Posted in Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Love Notes for Kids

TODAY’S FORECAST: In love with my kids 🙂

One of my best friends puts a joke in her kids’ lunches every day. I think that is so cute. Her kids love jokes, she loves her kids and putting jokes in their lunch is the perfect way to tell them, “Hey, I’m thinking of you, knew you’d love this, and by the way, I love you.” Brilliant.

I’m also a firm believer in writing “love notes” to my kids. Today, it was in the form of a letter that I wrote to Meghan after she asked some tough questions last evening about the state of my health and whether or not I was “ever going to get better.” Heart-breaking, but I’ll leave that for another post. Today, I wrote the letter and set it on her bed so that she’ll see it when she comes home from school. Not only do I hope that it will re-emphasize the important points of our conversation last evening, but also that it will reaffirm that no matter what happens, she will always have my love and God’s. A letter is a tangible memoir for my girl who sentimentally keeps everything; and it’s special because it’s private, something between just her and I.post it note

I can write a letter like that to Meghan, but with Jacob, being seven and much like his Daddy, he wants to get straight to the point in the briefest way possible. He’s definitely my post-it-note kid. I write my love notes to him on a post-it and stick it up on his dresser, on his closet door, on his pillow or in his lunch. It might be just an “I love you, Jake! Love, Mom” or it may contain a brief memory bible verse about something he’s struggling with and an encouraging note telling him, “I know you’ll do better next time, buddy!”

The thing is, you can express all kinds of sentiments in written love notes to your kids. Tell them a joke to make them laugh, give them a conversation starter for the dinner table or for a 1:1 chat, thank them for a job well done, compliment them, wish them luck, tell them that you’re sorry (it’s good for them to recognize that you also can make mistakes), tell them that you love them, tell them how Jesus loves them and share His word. Do it in a letter, a post-it, a paper airplane, a piece of tape on a baggie in their lunch. Heck, you could do it in shaving cream on their bathroom mirror! Anything outside their “norm” will get their attention and let them know that you’re thinking of them and they will be grateful that you took the time to make them feel extra special.

Oh did I mention this works for spouses too? 😉

Okay, a challenge for all of you. Tomorrow, write a love note to someone who is close to you. While you’re writing it, remember that God wrote us the ultimate “love note” when He gave us the gift of His Son. God bless and easy breathing!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16~

Posted in Being a Mom, Being a Wife, Dealing with Trials, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized

“Long Way Home”

TODAY’S FORECAST: Encouraged

Today as Bob and Jacob were home with the start of bad colds and feeling much less than 100%, and our new heater started blinking some undetectable code of yellow lights at us and refused to come on, I began to feel a little discouraged. Questions such as, “Are we EVER going to get over this stretch of sickness in our house?” and “Did we really need one more thing with the heat going on the fritz in such cold weather?” started to plague my mind. Then as I was making lunch this afternoon I heard one of my favorite songs playing on the local Christian radio station. It’s by Steven Curtis Chapman and I’ve included both the video link and the lyrics for you below. Maybe in your own life situations this song will be a source of encouragement as it was to me today. It’s a good reminder that though the journey sometimes may be tougher than we anticipated, it’s the destination we need to keep in mind and to remember that we’re not alone in getting there. Sometimes God speaks to us in wonderful and unique ways, even through song. God Bless and Easy Breathing!

 

http://youtu.be/l1p-QfgkLow

“Long Way Home” by Steven Curtis Chapman

I set out on a great adventure
The day my Father started leading me home
He said there’s gonna be some mountains to climb
And some valleys we’re gonna go through
But I had no way of knowing
Just how hard this journey could be
Cause the valleys are deeper
And the mountains are steeper than I ever would have dreamed
But I know we’re gonna make it
And I know we’re gonna get there soon
And I know sometimes it feels like we’re going the wrong way
But it’s just the long way home
I got some rocks in my shoes
Fears I wish I could lose
That make the mountains so hard to climb
And my heart gets so heavy with the weight of the world sometimes
There’s a bag of regrets,
My should’ve beens, and not yets
I keep on dragging around
And I can hardly wait for the day I get to lay them all down
I know that day is coming
I know its gonna be here soon
And I won’t turn back even if the whole world says I’m going the wrong way
Cause its just the long way home
When we can’t take another step
The Father will pick us up and carry us in His arms
And even on the best days,
He says to remember we’re not home yet
So don’t get too comfortable
Cause really all we are is just pilgrims passing through
Well, I know we’re gonna make it
And I know we’re gonna get there soon
So I keep on singing and believing
What all of my songs say
Cause our God has made a promise
And I know that everything He says is true
And I know wherever we go He will never leave us
Cause He’s gonna lead us home
Every single step of the long way home
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
(We’re just taking the long way home)
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
(We’re just taking the long way home)
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
(We’re just taking the long way home)
(Keep going, we’re gonna make it)
(I know, we’re gonna make it)
It’s just a long way home
Posted in Being a Mom, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Womanhood

A Lesson in Macaroni and Cheese

TODAY’S FORECAST: Cheesy 🙂

MacnCheese

President’s Day has created a long weekend for our kids as they have both today and Monday off of school. With the kids enjoying a day off, we had some neighbor friends join us for lunch. We decided on Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and a dish of applesauce; fancy, I know. You have to love the simplicity of an American “classic.” :-).  When lunch was ready, I got everyone upstairs, hands washed and to the table. As they began to eat, Meghan pulled a cheesy noodle out of her bowl onto her spoon and said, “Look everyone, this noodle is perfect, it looks exactly like it does on the outside of the box.”

She was right of course, and it made me think about our collective surprise as a group, that the real product could look exactly like what was pictured on the box. It suddenly made me appreciate what a rarity that little macaroni noodle was. I mean, how often do we see what is advertised on packaging or through the media really being all that it’s cracked up to be? This too got me thinking about Jesus. He is the “real deal” through and though. He makes no false promises, no misleading advertisement. He loves us unconditionally; so much so, that he laid down his life on a cross for us to give us that security and personal redemption. He loves us and gives us free will to do our part, making a choice for Him. He does not promise the road will be easy or pain-free, but He does promise that He will always love us. Romans 8:38-39 says neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ. Not unlike the little macaroni noodle Meghan found on her spoon, Jesus is the genuine article and He promises nothing but his love and grace if we trust in him.

So the next time you are fixing a box of America’s “low-budget wonder” for you or your family, let it remind you that like Kraft Macaroni & Cheese spells “authentic,” Jesus’ authenticity is proven time and time again in our lives.

Lord, as we come to you today, let us remember that You are the “real” deal. Your love and grace are indescribable. When we read Your Word, we get a taste of the “advertising” done on Your behalf, but when we come into relationship with You, we find that words cannot even describe the depths of Your compassion and goodness. We thank you for your faithfulness and love. Help us to never doubt your ability to work in our lives. We ask this in Your Holy Name. Amen