Sunday, January 31, 2010

How did such a thing happen?

So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” Exodus 32: 24 ESV

This was Aaron's answer to Moses' angry question of where the golden calf came from. Of all the things he could have said I wasn't expecting this. "Golly gee, Moses. I had no idea that when I told everyone to bring me gold to put into the fire that a golden calf was going to come out. Wow, who would have thunk it? I sure didn't create this thing." Really.

This is the same man God had just been telling Moses about on the mountain...the same man who was to be set aside as a high priest. Yet, here we see him not taking any responsibility for his sin. He blamed it on the evil people who wanted an idol, not himself who created the idol for them.

How many times do I do this same thing? Sin, then deny my sin. Create nice little idols then wonder where they came from? Blame others for my sin. Act surprised by the outcome of my sin.

We all sin and fall short daily....the question is do we recognize sin for what it is? Are we broken by our sin? Do we think that if we are oblivious to it that it will just go away and we will be fine? Well, it won't just go away. Nope, there will be a consequence and it will likely affect others around us. I discovered that as I read the rest of Chapter 32. About 3000 people died as a result of that sin.

This reminded me that I need to face my sin, even pray that my secret sins will be revealed to me before harming others.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day!

What a fun day this has been! The big winter storm has forced us to stay home for old fashioned family fun and what a blessing it has been. A chance to stop and spend time together...not what we had planned but much needed.

Erin and I were up at 5...making chocolate cupcakes by 6:30. We got out some special pans my mom bought me several years ago and I imagined her smiling down on our crazy cupcake baking before sunrise. She loved cooking and baking on winter days and would have enjoyed the spontaneity of making cupcakes before breakfast-matter of fact she is who I inherited my silly spontaneous gene from!

After that we made eggs, sausage and toast for a hearty get ready to play breakfast, ate and then headed out the door. We spent the morning sledding down the hill in front of our house. Even our little dog enjoyed the sledding. I believe she was laughing and screaming with us as we raced against one another... flying down the hill with snow and ice blowing in our faces as we skid from one side of the road to the other.

Neighbors joined us and we got a few pictures and several more squeals and giggles before heading to their house for homemade cocoa. Great job L on the chocolate brew!

We are looking forward to going back up the hill later this evening for dinner. Three families are getting together for homemade pizzas and salad. What a fun, beautiful day! What a gift that we are forced to take a break from the usual grind and just have fun. What a gift to be such great friends with our neighbors! Hopefully the power will stay on, but if not we'll make the most of it.

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday no matter the weather in your neighborhood!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Blessings This Week

Monday: Able to take the day off work to stay home with Erin and let her have friends over.

Tuesday: A surprise dinner with a friend's family after a long day at work.

Wednesday: Precious quiet time with a friend as our girls played outside-a chance to read poetry and do some editing with her.

Thursday: Loved completely by friends and family through a rough day....a husband who loves me AND can make the pantry light touch free-automatic light when you walk in and timed to go off once you leave!

Friday: Dinner out with my sweet Erin, PJ's on by 6, friends over to spend a nice evening talking and laughing-a great ending to the work week!

Saturday: Breakfast with my friend C, lunch with Erin, an afternoon visit over coffee with friends, girlfriends who find the perfect turquoise table in an antique shop and call me after getting the price down by half then as an extra a lovely turquoise trimmed double boiler with the top half bought by a friend as keepsake from her when she is gone. A long chat with my sister who always loves and understands me-my other half without whom I am incomplete.

Sunday: Thankfulness for a child who is healthy-after spending every hour of the night up with her vomiting it reminded me of how blessed we are to have a very healthy child. It prompted me to pray for really sick children and their parents who carry a load I don't think I would have the strength for.

Hope you take time to reflect on your week of blessings too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lullaby of Dawn

The morning stars

blaze in the

Western sky

As they sing

to me a

a lullaby.

Like a siren

from the deep sea

they call

Until the fiery orb

appears in her

daily ritual.

Sleepy stars now

wrapped in a

golden throw

The last whispers

of night awaken

the world below.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Cooking God's Way

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 ESV

Last night as I was reading my Bible these verses plucked my strings of interest. I love the mental picture of good measure. I see it like this: God takes the good measure and presses it down kind of like brown sugar so that He can get more of the good stuff in one serving. Then He shakes up the pressed down good stuff with other good stuff to get the best possible mix of goodness-which runs over the top of the heavenly measuring cup. Once the cup is overflowing He pours it right into our laps.

There is only one catch....He uses the same measuring cup and ingredients that you are using. Whatever measure you are using is what is going to be used on you. Wow. This made me think about judging and condemning others...about forgiving and loving others. Do I make a conscious effort with what I'm whipping up in my measuring cup to pour out into others? I stingy with ingredients of goodness? Have I chosen a small cup so that I can hoard the best stuff for myself? Either way, not good choices. Hmmmm.

As I continued to read the next passage that strummed my strings was this:

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6: 43-45 ESV

Out of the abundance of my heart is what my mouth speaks-whatever is the treasure of my heart is what pours into my measuring cup. To me, this includes our unspoken words or actions which often speak the loudest. So, what is the treasure in my heart? Do I harbor a treasure chest full of forgiveness, love, charity, service etc or is it full of envy, anger, jealousy, bitterness? Whatever is filling up my spiritual heart is what naturally pours out until my measuring cup is overflowing. I can't pour out figs if I am full of thorns. If I am serving thorn pie to others I can't expect to be fed fig pudding.

Makes me want to head back into the kitchen for some quiet cooking time with God...pressed down, shaken up until overflowing, poured out...the question is....overflowing with what?

Blessings to you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Week of Blessings

God's blessings always amaze me. Here's just a few of the blessings He has poured over me this last week.

Monday-Sharing a birthday dinner with a super special young lady
Tuesday-Art class at a local coffee shop with L and C-fun, fun, fun
Wednesday-Talking to my sister
Thursday-Maintaining good health in the midst of viruses galore
Friday-Friends who came to our 31 party, a loving husband who takes care of me and E
Saturday-Having breakfast with precious friends while meeting new friends, bumping into an old friend unexpectedly and having a few stolen moments with her over a cup of coffee...buying books from a used book store with a gift certificate (Christmas gift!), warm enough weather to walk outdoors again with a friend and hanging out in PJ's with two giggly girls.

My dad taught me to count my blessings many years ago. He was right...when you count your blessings you realize they outweigh your sorrows every time.

So, blessings to you!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nothing profound to say this morning. I just couldn't stand that bad hair day picture at the top of the blog anymore! Feel free to use the picture as a writing I've got nothing so far.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bad Hair Day

My little one has a funny way of saying things sometimes that makes me laugh yet she somehow captures an emotion so well. This evening she was trying to tell me about someone who looked upset and this is what she said.

"She looked like someone who was having a bad hair day and then got laughed at."

Isn't that a great description? I could totally understand what she was saying!

Hope it gives you a chuckle as you head into your Friday.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two for Tuesday

It just so happens that the two things that got my heart rate up this evening both involve plants....hence a two for Tuesday. Here they are.

I've known the story of Elijah and the broom tree for many years and it amazes me how God speaks different things to me through the same passage of scripture during different seasons of my life. I was helping E with her homework on Elijah and was reminded of how God spoke in a whisper to Elijah...we had a good discussion on the requirement of being still in order to hear God's voice since he doesn't always shout. (The "Be Still" verses in the Bible have been pointed out to me on more than one occasion.) Once we were done I decided to go back and read the scripture just to see if it really points out the whispering and of course it does. However, once I started reading the passage I was struck by something else.

When Elijah was sitting under the broom tree, so exhausted in every way he was begging to die, God sent an angel to feed him. The second time He sent the angel, the angel told Elijah, "Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you." The... Journey... Is... Too... Great... For... You.
The biggest burden lifted from my shoulders. Isn't God amazing? He knows when the journey is too great for us. He knows when we are so exhausted that we can't take another single thing or we'd just as soon die. He sends his angels, He provides, He sustains. We have only to cry out to Him. The next verse says that Elijah went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to his next stopping place. So, when I feel like I can't go on I'll sit beneath a broom tree (maybe a pine will work) and cry out to Him. He will nourish my soul. (1 Kings 19)

The next thing has absolutely nothing to do with spirituality. It is a book that finally arrived called Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart. The subtitle is The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother and other Botanical Atrocities. Ooohhhh-I'm so excited about this book. It is full of wonderful sketches and information on over 200 plants with deadly properties. Maybe I should have been a botanist. I am comforted by the fact that I also loved the book by Michael Pollan-The Botany of Desire...yes, it is the plants, not the homicide potential that gets my heart pounding.

Hmmm, maybe the message of the day is....desperate times call for a broom tree not a strychnine tree!

Cheers to broom trees,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Goals for 2010

I have been thinking a lot about goals for the point that my brain has been on overload, which I don't think is the goal. Through a series of events over the last few days I have whittled my goal list down to a much more manageable one.

It started with an article a friend gave me about overloading our prefrontal cortex and how this actually makes us less likely to achieve goals. Yes, this article came even as my prefrontal cortex was weighted down with lofty goals for the upcoming year. It left me pondering how to set goals (which I need to do or I'll list about aimlessly) without going crazy. I thought I could make one goal for each month-that would make it less taxing on my tired brain.

This just didn't rest easy in my spirit though. If my goal list has already overwhelmed me then something just isn't quite right....the purpose of my goal setting already thwarted. Well, I got my answer at church today.

As we were singing the song Savior, the lyrics struck a chord (must have been a prefrontal cortex chord) in my mind and in my heart. Here, hum over these words....

You’re my Savior, Restorer, Rebuilder, Rewarder, My Refuge, Redeemer, Defender, My Healer, Savior.

That is when it hit me. God centered life is The Goal.

The goal to find balance-He is my restorer, rebuilder, rewarder, refuge, redeemer, defender, healer, savior.

The goal to budget and pay down debt-He is my restorer, rebuilder, rewarder, refuge, redeemer, defender, healer, savior.

The goal to keep joy in my heart-He is my restorer, rebuilder, rewarder, refuge, redeemer, defender, healer, savior.

It went from there. Any goal I've come up with is possible through Him. If my main goal is to keep God at the center of my life everything else will fall into place. Beautifully. Peacefully. Totally in His control.

Finally, a plan for 2010 I can live with. Whew.

Here's to a God centered year!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward

You shall not go out in haste,
and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 52:12 ESV

The end of another year, the crossing of another finish line...the start of new marathon called 2010. As I reflect on the last year, I end up lumping 2 years together like a pair of twins-individuals yet bound by commonalities. So for me the end of 2009 really seems like the end of the elder twin 2008 and the baby twin 2009.

God is the God of our future but he is also the God of our yesterdays. I have been remembering the last 2 years of yesterdays in terms of spiritual and emotional growth. While difficult, I have to remember that God had already gone before me, and now is my rear guard-I can rest those memories in His capable, grace filled loving hands. I am thankful that the past 2 years have not been wasted, that they have rescued me from my shallow securities, strengthened my muscles for races yet to come.

I am trying to avoid going into the new year hastily, wiping sweat from my brow running across the finish line with no consideration for the race I have run, only running blindly in an escape from yesterday. I do not want to go into 2010 with forgetful delight or impulsive thoughtlessness. I am praying that I am filled with the peace of Him who has already dipped his fingertips into my future, cupped palm ready to carry me forward.

I don't know what 2010 holds. It may be better than the twin years, but it could be worse. What I do know is that with God nothing is wasted, the growth necessary...I can live 2010 in misery holding on to pain, or I can move forward with spiritual muscles strengthened as I rest in Him. I look forward with anticipation of what God has in store for this year. You?

This is my challenge to each of you-rest your memories in God's embrace as you reflect on the growth He has offered you through challenges....look forward not comforted by shallow securities, but in the peace that He is already at the finish line of 2010 with arms open wide.

God's peace to you in 2010!