Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And the winner is...


From random.org

There were 5 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

Timestamp: 2009-03-30 18:56:28 UTC


Monday, March 30, 2009

A few more things I have learned

  1. Ice cream sandwiches cure depression. It may take 5 or 6, depending on your level of depression, but just keep eating. You will obtain euphoria. Euphoria - a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in pathological states as mania. I think Kansas is a pathological state.
  2. The cleaner my bathroom, the dirtier my family. When I scrub my shower, Steve will come home from the gym after running 10 miles and bench pressing 275 lbs. Nate will come home from baseball practice and they will have practiced base running and sliding. In the mud. Ashley will have dyed her hair. Black. Which makes it brittle and fall out. There will be little black hairs, mud and stink in my newly clean bathroom. And, a clean toilet works the digestive system better than fiber. Nuff said.
  3. Never lick a paring knife.
  4. I learned this from my friend Wendy, not from my own personal experience, (but she did really do this, and it worked) you can close a four inch gash on your leg with super glue. Just stick the muscle that is hanging out back in and fill it up. I’m filing this info for future reference. Not sure if I’m filing it under first aid or never try this.
  5. In the absence of a knife, you can cut birthday cake with a cookie. You can then use the cookie as a fork to eat the birthday cake.
  6. A 12 year old should not be left in charge of cooking over an open flame grill.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Am I different?

I like people. I am a very social person. Most of my parent teacher conferences when I was a child went something like this “Patsy is a very bright child, but she talks too much”. I even had a few job evaluations that went that way too. I love to hear people’s stories. When I was at the marathon last weekend, I looked at all the people, over 400, and would have loved to have had the opportunity and time to ask them all why they were there to run. When I’m at church and I see the 1000 people in that service with me and I only know a small portion of them, I am curious to know how long have they been a Christian? What brought them to Newspring? What needs are in their life that I could pray for. I could go on and on and on.
I also am a talker. (Didn’t see that coming, did you). Matthew 12:36 “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” This makes me nervous. Good thing God is omnipresent and will be able to be other places while I’m accounting for my words, because I’m sure I’m going to require a good portion of his time this day. How about Psalm 39:1 “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.” I have to watch this. Not sinning with my tongue. The more words you say, the more chances you have to sin or even just offend someone. I wish I was able to talk into little cartoon bubbles and see my words before they actually were released audibly. Then I could edit them or even delete them. Kind of like I do on facebook. I can’t tell you how many times I see something from Sean Sorenson or Jenny Cummins and I type a biting sarcastic comment, hit post, read it, and then hit delete. Not for Sean or Jenny, they would know I was kidding. But for all the people who know Sean and Jenny and don’t know me that would think I was just an awful person. I do post these sarcastic type comments on my childhood now pastor friend in Indiana, Rick Gering’s page because all of our mutual friends would know me from the same time and place and would be okay with it. I’m not sure how his congregation sees it. They may think I need to be looking for the bears to come out of the woods to maul me like the children who mocked Elisha after Elijah was taken to Heaven. They wouldn’t know that I have the utmost respect for Rick and love him and his wife dearly. Having said that, Please God, don’t call Steve to lead worship in Indiana because I would never be able to overcome my reputation from facebook.
I have this need to be special and be valued. I know who I am in Christ, I really do get that, but there is something inside me that wants people to like me and want to talk to me and be around me. I want people to be interested in me and like me enough to listen to what I say. And I think this is okay, because Jesus was always with crowds of people. I want also to make sure that I never miss an opportunity to tell the people I get to be around and talk to about Jesus and what he has done for me. I wonder how many lost people want someone to listen and really care about them? How many people don’t know Christ and feel alone and abandoned and have no hope, and need us as Christians, no, they NEED ME as a Christian to be the difference in their life.
The song “Point of Difference” by Hillsong United, says it very well.

The tide is turning, This is redemption's hour
In the midst of the world lost for love, You are all we have now
The lost returning, Salvation is all around In the midst of the world broken down,
You are all we have now For You are God and this hope is ours
So Father open the skies, Flood the Earth with your light
This is love, to break a world indifferent
Our hearts are burning, The fire that won't burn out In the midst of a world that's grown cold, You are all we have now
The earth resounding, The anthem of your renown As we lift up our eyes,
And look to your glory Call us out let the world see, You are God and this hope is ours
Open the skies, Flood the Earth with your light This is love to break a world indifferent
As we lift up our eyes, Fill our hearts with your fire In a world the same we'll be the difference, the difference.
Our eyes are open, Every chain now broken, In this world we are different,
Let your love become us, As we live to make you famous
We're in this world but we are different.

Since the first time I heard this song it has been on my heart that I need to be showing the love of Christ and the hope I have in Christ to a broken down, lost for love world. I need to be making every attempt to be this difference.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Satan is reading my blog

Last Wednesday I posted about Philippians 4:1-13. I wrote the post in the morning and uploaded it at lunch time. At 3:00 I got the first phone call. 3:30 I got the second phone call. 5:00 got the third phone call. Contentment? Shattered. I thought at first that God was testing me to see if I could stay contented. But after the third call, I’m pretty sure God was not sitting on his throne in heaven shooting lightening bolts out of his finger at me shouting “TAKE THAT”. God was not testing me. SATAN IS READING MY BLOG. That’s right. He read it and said I’ll show her, and then he hit me in the areas I struggle with the most. I came to this conclusion, because trials and tests sent from God don’t come by way of acts of sin. So if its sin, it is from Satan. I don’t think I’m a special target of Satan, I think he hates us all. I just sometimes feel like I’m getting more attention from him than I can handle.
Of course, it didn’t stop with Wednesday, well into the weekend we were still cleaning up messes, and it will go on for a good while now. Everyday I wait to post this, something else happens, so I’m posting it, hoping it brings relief. I’ll try anything. For those of you who know us, it’s just more of the same, only worse. (Does that make sense?) For those of you who don’t, it just plain isn’t edifying to share. But if you have an extra prayer or two I could certainly use them right now. I have family and kids and life is messy.
Friday night Steve and were in Texas to run a half marathon Saturday morning. We were five hours and two states away, and Steve spent most of Friday night on the phone because of family mess. I told him when we got back to the hotel that I had been looking forward this for two months, but now I just wanted to go home. Saturday morning we went to the LBJ Grasslands trail and ran 13.3 miles (I know a marathon is 13.1, but on this trail it was a little longer, and trust me, that 2 tenths of mile does matter. I ran it, I’m counting it.) And I didn’t think about the mess at home at all while we were running.
God really spoke to me about something through this. I have trained for this for 8 months and for the last 2 months, extremely hard and very seriously. This took time. Hours running and cross training. It took money. I needed the right shoes and clothes, paid registration to run, for a hotel, etc. It took effort. I had to make myself train when it was cold outside or when I was tired, because I knew on race day, I was going to have needed every minute of training. I had to go out and stash bottled water along my running path so it would be there when I needed it. There was pain involved and my blisters have blisters of their own.
When we got to the mile 8 aid station, we were running slower than we had planned. Since Steve needed to be at church by 5, and I felt like I was letting him down (this is ongoing thing in my life, it is solely MY problem, not anything he ever puts on me), so mile 8 to mile 11.5 we ran hard. Hard is not the equivalent of fast, it just indicates increased effort, but it was the fastest 3.5 miles we ran. When we got to the last aid station with 1.8 miles left, it was exciting and exhilarating, and I was exhausted. At the next gate, a lady on a horse cheered us on and the person in front of me asked her how much further, about three quarters of a mile? She said not even that much, maybe a half mile. At that point I thought if the finish line was 10 feet in front of me I still wouldn’t make it. But somehow my mind overpowered my body, and I ran. I RAN ACROSS THE FINISH LINE in 196th place. Know what? It feels like first.
God gave me a thought this morning. Steve has been working with a trainer. He does whatever his trainer says, because he trusts BJ. He has changed his workout and tweaked his eating habits again. I trust Steve. I do what he tells me. I don’t have these pictures to post, because the professional photog took them during the race and I have to order paper copies, (which I did). But this is one I took while I was running, what I saw the majority of the race, Steve's back.

There is a not a picture of me that Steve is not in the same frame. When he is in front of me, what the picture doesn’t show is that he looked over his shoulder to make sure he didn’t get too far ahead. When I’m in front of Steve he is right behind me, close enough to reach out and push me if he had to. If Steve trusts his trainer to get him in shape and take care of him, and I trust Steve to get me in shape, and work out with me and run with me, then I should trust God the same way. He is training me in my spiritual race. And he knows the training program I need. All the trials and tests are part of my spiritual training, so that I can run hard when I fall behind where I should be and I’m able to make up ground at miles 8-11.5, even though I’m exhausted by life. When I get to 12.8 miles with a half mile left, and I feel like there is no way to keep going, not even another 10 feet, kind of like today, I need my training to kick in so I can run across the finish line. God is not setting me up to fail, he isn’t asking me to do anything he hasn’t prepared me for. And if I lag behind him when it gets hard, he doesn’t leave me, he’s looking over his shoulder saying come on, (or even reaching back to pull me up the hill, Steve did literally pull me the last 5 feet up one hill), and sometimes, he might just get right behind me, close enough to push me if needed.
And I saw great results from my training. I lost 13 pounds in the two months of serious training. I am stronger physically, mentally, and even spiritually from this process. I feel like I ran well, and I got to hear the most important person in my life tell me he was proud of me. So as I liken the trials and tests to my pain and suffering, when I think about the rewards from God at the end of the race, hearing him say he is proud of me would really be cool.
Philippians 3:14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
BTW – got my training plan for the marathon.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Thank you all for the comments, and more than that, thanks for reading. I appreciate you all so much, and I wish I could say I started this the first day, but I didn’t. But I do it now. Every time I post on my blog, I pray that God will bring a blessing to every person who reads it. So when you are reading, you know that I prayed for you that day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Giveaway #3

THE BEST ONE YET! Great Harvest Bread Company is a local bakery in Wichita. They make the best bread and cookies. I will be giving away a $10.00 gift card to a lucky winner. If you live out of town, feel free to register and I will spend your $10.00 for you and then overnight the goodies to you. Register in the comments section!
Here's my haul from today. (I just noticed the "Bread of Life" in the background. Steve reads his Bible every morning with his breakfast and always puts his dishes away, but leaves his Bible out. This just doesn't bother me in the least).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Can Do All Things...

Returning to my blog theme, I have discovered myself saying “I can’t” an awful lot lately. How quickly I have forgotten that “I can do all things through Christ…” so I pulled my desk Bible out today, (it’s my NIV study Bible, it’s huge, check out the youtube video “Baby’s Got Book” and it’s kind of like that), and read Philippians 4. To get to verse 13, I had to read verses 1-12. Now there’s the kick in the spiritual pants I needed. Verse one says “stand firm in the Lord”. Ya think that would help? Verse 2 was easy because I don’t know anyone named Euodia or Syntyche. Verse 3 though, is bringing it again. “Help all the fellow workers whose names are in the book of life”. Well that certainly includes the Christians I don’t really make an effort to help, doesn’t it? And this is probably where Euodia and Syntiche come into, it has to be relevant or God wouldn’t have put in Philippians. Verse 4 “rejoice in the Lord always”. Verse 5 “let your gentleness be evident to all” (COME ON! Totally not fair putting this in there. Me? Gentle to all?), and continues “the Lord is near”. Well praise God for that. Verse 6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with THANKSGIVING (my emphasis) present your requests to God”. Prayer and anxiety are opposing forces. Try to stay anxious while you pray, I dare you. Verse 7 “the peace of God…will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.
I truly believe verse 8 is the lens we should view absolutely everything through, and it convicted me of changes that need to be made, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, thing about such things”. Am I the only one saying “ouch”? Our thoughts have so much control over our lives. Verse 9 “whatever you have learned, received, heard or seen from me, PUT IT INTO PRACTICE” (again, my emphasis). We are being told to do what we have learned, received, heard or seen. It’s kind of specific, like the difference in telling your kids to get ready for bed, or telling your kids “put on your pajamas, put your dirty clothes in the laundry, brush your teeth, wash your face, get in bed, turn out the light, and go to sleep”.
Verse 11 and 12 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”. I was hungry one day last week. Really hungry. Wednesday is my roughest day for work, schedule wise, and then I made it harder on myself by working a second job on Wednesday nights for 3 hours. I work 13 hours on Wednesdays (but it’s just for 4 weeks, and 3 are over and the second job is for the best boss I have ever had and the perks this month have been unbelievable, God has definitely blessed me), and I have back to back meetings at 10:15 and 11:30 which mean sometimes I miss lunch, which I did last week. Then I was late getting to my second job, so I grabbed a diet coke and a bag of microwave popcorn. There was no microwave. I don’t know how missed that, but I did. I was the only one there, so I couldn’t leave, and it’s only a 2.5 hour shift anyway. So I went to the car and looked through every pouch, pocket and compartment and under every seat, hoping my son or daughter had left a granola bar or protein bar or a three week old turkey sandwich, anything I could eat. I found one M & M and one Sonic peppermint. Needless to say, the second I left work, I headed straight to Arby’s. (Twofold reason, most importantly, I was hungry, and second, my family will wait for me to work 13 hours and then come home and feed them, so I got Arby’s for everyone, just ate mine in the car on the way home). I could have called any number of people and they would have brought me food. My husband, my mom, a couple different friends, my brother, but I knew in two hours I would get to eat, so it really wasn’t a huge deal, so I don’t think this counts as learning to be content in hunger. Maybe it was the digging under the car seats that shows I was not content.
(Notice I did not say my kids would have brought me something to eat. I think that if my kids fed me as opposed to me feeding them that it would upset the balance of the universe. Cosmic chaos would ensue. No way to recover from this magnitude of opposite world). I have lived through some times where I didn’t know if things were going to get better or get worse. It’s verses like this that keep me going. The heroes of the Bible that understood life is ugly and messy and painful and there will be seasons of want, but I CAN be content in these times too. God is always good, even though life can be pretty bad. Contentment is an internal force, it works its way from the inside out. Could this be the secret Paul was talking about? It’s what’s inside you, not what you have or what you achieve. On the flip side, going without and being an underachiever (in the world’s eyes) doesn’t mean you have to suffer discontentment.
So while I’m not going to tell you the things I’ve been thinking “I Can’t” because many of you would find me just plain pitiful, I am going to make some changes. Because my “Can’t” is going to be Can”. What about you? Have you been saying “I can’t” to something that you should be doing?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Defrag, reboot, and virus protection

I let my brother load his IPOD at my house. He had some weird setting on it that allowed him to load like a billion songs, they all showed in my ITUNES library, but they could only be listened to on his IPOD. We couldn’t listen to them on ITUNES, and we couldn’t download them to any of our IPOD’s. Should be harmless enough, right? Well, Cox Security does this thing that I was not aware of. They scan your computer. And they found one song that was a file sharing violation. They shut off my internet. This really ticked me off. One stinking song that we couldn’t and wouldn’t listen to. No notification via phone call or e-mail, just shut it off with a pop up notice to let me know. So I fixed the violation, clicked the button to reconnect, and guess what? Their automated fix didn’t reconnect my internet. So 70 minutes later, after talking to customer service, the automated system, two tech services guys, two supervisors, suffering 36 hours without internet, two dropped calls, being talked down to by two tech services guys (YES, I do know where the command prompt key is, and I do know how to type the word config, and I do know what it means when they talk about releasing my IP address), my internet was back up.
I don’t like the idea that someone is watching what I do and I’m not aware of it. I didn’t do anything illegal, I didn’t have a song on my computer that we could listen to that was illegal, and my brother does own the CD that the song was recorded on. The appearance to this security scan was that I had done something illegal. Actually, I had just done a favor for my brother. My choices, as I see them, are to get rid of the internet, or accept that someone has access to everything on my computer. I will be cleaning up files, and saving some files to disks, but does that really matter? Once they are saved to my hard drive, can I ever really get them off? There really isn’t much on my computer for someone to hack into. (I have had my purse stolen, so all my information has been compromised, as well as my information was on a company laptop that was stolen from an employee so I’m doubly in trouble).
Then when I read Proverbs 15 this morning, verse 3 really spoke to me. “The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.” Someone is watching everything I do. External and internal. This concerns me more than the computer. I may fool some of the people with my external actions, but I don’t ever fool God because he “scans my hard drive”. I need to “defrag” and “reboot” and definitely utilize my virus protector (is it sacrilegious to call God my “virus protector”)?

I’m way more afraid of God watching then I am afraid of Cox. (But I’m still ticked about Cox).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I am not an artist

I shared that I find myself funny, and I really made myself laugh. I was in a painfully long boring training session. When it starts with the instructor giving the website where I can find the training information, I usually shut down right then. Why do I need you to read it to me? Just give me the web address and let me read it myself. Better yet, I’ll make a note of it, and if I ever need to do this, I will look at it then.
I can do two things at once. It is a gift. I can read and watch TV and know what’s going on in the book and on TV. I can type a paper and watch TV, and not make any typos. I can read and listen to my IPOD and climb on the stair master (without falling off). So listening and doodling comes easy. EXCEPT I CAN’T DOODLE. I am no artist. But I drew this little picture, didn’t have a goal in mind, just boredom and it was just the castle, because I can almost draw a square building. ALMOST. But then class dragged on (and onnnnnnnn) and this developed.

Then when I really looked at it, it made me giggle, right there in the boring training class. Good thing I was sitting at the back of the room, alone. My alligator in my moat is wearing glasses. My dragon is going into the castle, and breathing fire at it, not guarding it from the inside. My prince is slicing his own hand open with his sword, he looks like an alien, not a prince wearing armor, and I’m pretty sure that’s a donkey with extremely tiny legs and hooves with a saddle with tiny little stirrups. And the alien prince is standing in the moat. And maybe carrying the donkey. There are a total of two midget soldiers fighting for each side, and the princess has a mouth that in what must be a Freudian slip is modeled after mine. And does her head look like it is growing out of the turret? If I lived a fairy tale life, this would be my fairy tale. No Cinderella story for me, I’d never lose a pretty shoe, and if I was Snow White, I would have swallowed the poison apple.
I have a theory regarding my lack of artistic ability. My brother, who is 18 months older than me, did this scratchboard picture.

You use an exacto blade and scratch your picture into the black scratch board, and then fill in the scratches with paint. I think my parents depleted all the good artist genes on him, and didn’t have time to replenish new ones before I was conceived. If my theory is plausible, it’s a good reason to wait a couple years to have second and third children. It explains the phenomenon that we have all seen with families that have one extremely talented child and then the one with “a great personality” or “he makes me laugh” or “he has a lot of friends”. THAT ONE WOULD BE ME!!! I find great comfort in the idea that I am created in Christ’s image, and that “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” Jeremiah 1:5
I joke that I swim in the shallow end of the gene pool, but truthfully, I have learned to love myself and the way God made me. There are a lot of things I wish I was better at. There are a lot of things I wish I could do. On facebook I saw a status that “I am tired of mediocrity”. I wanted to respond, “Really? I’m pretty thrilled when I attain mediocrity.” But I knew people would take it wrong. I am not putting myself down, and I don’t aim for mediocrity, I just know that if I do my best, my very best, and 3 out of 6 people do it better than me that makes me mediocre. But it doesn’t mean I didn’t do my best, and if I do my best and I’m mid-range I can live with that.
Two examples: I have shared that I love to run. My husband and my son can run circles around me. They both run faster and can run further. (Heads I run faster, tails I run further, or just run with Steve and do both). But that never takes away my feeling of accomplishment, and being 3rd best before I even leave my front door? Not a problem for me. I love to sing, and again, 3rd best before I leave my house, as my oldest daughter and my husband are both very talented in this area. There have been times in my life where I have been intimidated because I couldn’t measure up. It’s taken a long time to embrace that God has made me with the gifts and talents he wants me to have. (And the flaws that he uses to refine me and expects me to overcome). I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live with the pressure of being really good at something.

I will just embrace the fact that my best quality is that I can make myself laugh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Random thoughts

Things I’ve Learned

1. The heater in my car does not double as a hair dryer. No matter how hot and how high I run the fan, it does not dry my hair by the time I get to work.
2. Wet hair freezes on the ¼ mile walk to my office building. Crunchy frozen hair is really cool. Closest I will ever get to dreads.
3. A squirrel cannot run and carry a full piece of bread in his mouth. He trips over the bread. We have a “pet” squirrel. He eats from our hands. He will try to climb your leg to get food. He also likes peanuts, rice cakes, and ritz crackers.
4. My twelve year old daughter’s friends idolizing my son and flirting with him and him picking on them doesn’t bother me. My twelve year old girl idolizing my son’s eighteen year old friend who picks on her and pays attention to her, really bothers me. If that’s a double standard, I’m okay with it.
5. I have never been a fan of grounding my kids, but I’m starting to think it may be the only way to get my teenagers to spend time with me. I have recently even volunteered to help with homework, just for some face time.
6. Pick up lines and the whole act of hitting on someone is hilarious when you are watching it from the next treadmill. I witnessed this at the Y the other night when some old geezer (translated, my age) hit on the 21 (translated, looked about 16) year old girl on the treadmill next to me. She was adorable, he was pitiful, and I somehow managed to hold my laughter.
7. My high school friends can still make me laugh till I snort pop out my nose, twenty-five years later.
8. Not everyone thinks I’m funny. I was somehow shocked and saddened by this, because I think I’m hilarious. My future is looking like “crazy old lady” will be me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ahhh Choo! Spring is near.

With the 70 degree days last week, time change, thunderstorms and the beginning of baseball season (YAY!!) spring is definitely near. I saw these dresses on line, they sell under the "young essence" label and I want both of them for this spring. However, they are priced way out of my budget unless I sell a kidney. I hear you can move them on EBAY. Most likely, you won't see me wearing these, but aren't they cute? Happy almost spring!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sticky Friends

I was at the high school three times this week, twice for baseball team meetings and once to take baseball fundraiser money to the office. On the baseball team, there are a few boys who are not as well liked as some. That’s going to happen anywhere you have a large group of kids. As I was sitting in the Phys Ed room waiting for the meeting to start, (I was a little nervous, the blackboard said “test today” and I wasn’t prepared) I noticed all the boys were mostly with their parents. There were a few sitting with friends. My son, in a rare instance, actually was sitting with me and Steve. I had turned my chair around to talk to a friend, and when I got whacked on the head with a chair by a team mate trying to squeeze in next to my son, I made room for him. One of my son’s very best friends in the world is his cousin. Jeff forced his way in between me and Nate so they could sit together. I am always grateful that my son has this relationship with his cousin. They played in the crib together, literally shared a playpen at Grandma’s house. I have a picture of Nate sitting on the floor in the waiting room at St. Francis hospital the day Jeffrey was born. They are 6 months apart. Love each other. Spend lots of time together. Would walk through fire for each other, and always, always, always have each others backs. I love that. Proverbs 18:24 (from the Amplified) “The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Nate is the one on the left in every picture except the two baseball pictures.

The day I went to the office, it was lunch time. The halls were full of kids. The cafeteria was full of kids. The parking lot was full of kids. The office was crazy. I felt small (physically) and I don’t usually feel small. (And I wasn’t wearing heels, so I felt short as well). I WAS OUTNUMBERED! How do teachers do it? And Youth Pastors? You guys have my respect. The kids were clumped together here and there, but the odd kid was sitting alone eating or with their nose in a book. That doesn’t necessarily mean they were lonely, but I wondered.
The mom in me always feels sorry for the kid with no friends, the kid no one likes, even though I don’t necessarily always want my kid to befriend them. In fact, all of my kids have had friendships that I have ended (or attempted too, my children are not always obedient, and sometimes they are even sneaky).
What’s that old Beatles song “One is the loneliest number”? This doesn’t mean that a single individual is lonely, any more than it means someone who is married and has 5 kids never experiences loneliness. You can be lonely in a room full of people, and you can feel totally loved and fulfilled when you are all by yourself. I recently felt lonely, which is kind of weird because I have an outstanding husband and 5 kids, 3 still at home. My parents live in town, as well as a sister, two brothers, a sister-in-law (who is a very dear friend as well). I work outside the home, so I have contact with lots of people, and I have been blessed with several good friends. And these friends made a difference. One went out for dinner with me, and treated me to Gelato (yummmmm) and then we browsed Lucinda’s in Old Town. We tried on shoes and looked at dresses and pretty clothes and she gave me fashion advice (you CANNOT wear a wifebeater under this jacket). We read all the magnets and greeting cards and looked at the unique gifts for unique people (I don't know anyone unique enough to give these gifts). One went to Starbucks with me and then swimsuit shopping with me, you really need a friend for swimsuit shopping. Someone has to laugh at you when you try on the swimsuit over your black patterned tights, and she bought the suit I liked best. (NOTE TO SELF: check wardrobe. Black tights under a swimsuit and a wife beater under a vintage Victorian style jacket may indicate other underlying fashion issues that need to be addressed). Both of these women showed me that they cared. And it mattered. More than I can say. I have thank you cards to write, but I don’t know how to express what it really meant to me. It was more than dinner and Gelato, (which might be better to experience alone, cause then you can sample more flavors and maybe have seconds). It was more than the suit. It was caring enough to spend time with me and lift me up. It was noticing that I was down, and showing me that I was worth investing in. Another friend sent me an e-mail that simply said, “I miss you”. This is priceless. All three of these acts changed my attitude. I have friends that stick. I want to be a sticky friend too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mark 6:56 “And all who touched him were healed”

I love Bible stories. I grew up attending Sunday school, and went to Christian school for many years. I love to read the stories turned into novels. I love to read books about the characters in the Bible, Charles Swindoll’s series of books on people from the Bible are some of my favorites. Many times I wish the stories in the Bible were developed more. I grew up with David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, and Moses and the Ten Commandments, but the Bible stories of my childhood included the grislier ones also. I learned about Jael and the tent peg through the temple of Sisera. Ehud and Eglon, the left handed soldier that killed the fat ruler. The bears coming out of the woods and mauling the children after Elijah was taken to heaven.
But what I have always loved best are the stories of Jesus. All of them are so fantastic, unbelievable, really. He walked on water. He turned water to wine. (MacGyver couldn’t do that). He took 5 loaves and 2 fishes and turned it to a feast with leftovers. (Paula Lee has yet to make that happen). He ascended into Heaven without the help of a spaceship, (Star Trek anyone?) he defeated Satan with only the Word of God (Keanu Reeves movies The Devil’s Advocate and Constantine, Keanu fought much harder than Jesus did. Personally, I think Jesus is the ultimate fighter, and could have taken Satan in combat too, and that day is coming). He loved children. He didn’t judge loose women and tax collectors. Sinners that were looking for repentance? He gave it. He showed mercy and compassion, and that is hard. WHAT A MAN. When you read the Gospels, the stories of Jesus’ life on earth, how can you not fall in love with him over and over again?
I thought of this Wednesday night when I was at Dillon’s on my way home and saw the people with the ashes on their forehead, signifying Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I have never observed Lent. Never fasted from anything during Lent. I understand the concept, and I know why it’s celebrated, (and even respect people’s participation in it) but I was raised Baptist, and we never did. What would I give up for 40 days to commemorate the sacrifice Jesus made? I would never make light of this, because I know how important what Jesus did for me was, my eternity rests on it, but this is a lot of why I don’t commemorate Lent with fasting. I have shared before that I was a bad girl, a rebellious girl. The shame and guilt that I have over being that girl and her actions is a heavy weight sometimes. There are days where Satan really drags me down with my past and who I was and what I did. I know I caused Jesus to feel this same guilt and shame and the weight of MY sin. This weight is more than I can stand up under without returning over and over to prayer and Scriptures. But Jesus didn’t have that when he felt my shame. He had no one to lean on, no where to go, and he also had all of your guilt and shame at the same time too. I can’t give up anything that would show how important this gift of eternal life was, what his suffering did for me and means to me. I don’t have anything worth that much. He set me free. Really free. And the best way for me to show what His sacrifice meant to me is not keep what he did for me to myself. Not making my life a life of sacrifice and “what are you giving up for Jesus” and giving the idea that I’m losing something by following him. I don’t feel like I give up anything to follow Christ. I gave Him everything I have a long time ago, and got so much more in return.
Back to my Bible stories, I love the stories where Jesus healed people. We have TV shows like House, ER and Gray’s Anatomy where the doctors diagnose and heal diseases and illnesses, they perform surgeries that border on miraculous. They even talk about playing God, or even being God. But even on the TV shows, none of them heal everyone, they can’t. And none of them heal just by touching, or even better, just by being touched. And this is with some of the best writers in show business. Even they know that’s too much. He brought people back to life. Not just after they had been dead for 30 seconds on an operating table, but after they had been buried long enough that they were starting to stink. Jesus does heal the physical ailments of our body. But most importantly, he heals the inside. He makes lives that are broken and diseased whole.

When I touched Him, I was healed.