The thing is, I don't wear makeup, and so the older I get, I guess the more I resembe an ugly old man or a manly woman. GACK. I don't THINK so.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
So, I wrote a poem about it. I’m not going to post it here because I’m thin-skinned about that sort of thing. It was never something that was supposed to be public anyway, as I was led to give it to certain people – which I did.
Last night I shared a bit of my life with a friend, and how someone who labors in the field deeply touched my life and gave me so much encouragement, years ago. She understood what I was talking about and it was nice to be able to discuss something like that with someone who “gets it”. For me, this is one the richest parts of true Christian fellowship, when you can unload your heart in praise for the great things God is doing (or has done) and the person you’re telling gets just as excited as you are. How cool is that? There’s a connection there that we all have with other believers when it comes to this, that really does make them feel like family, even if we’ve just met for the first time. This is something friendships in the world can’t offer, because they are temporary, earth-bound, limited.
My purpose for writing tonight however, wasn’t about that part of Christian fellowship per se. More than anything, it’s a great big burden on my heart to tell people when they’ve said something, written something, or done something that caused me to think, repent, feel loved, or expressed what I could not say (but wanted to), due to either limited knowledge and understanding, or deep grief and emotional trials. I’ve been through some pretty difficult stuff in my 42 years, and God has always been faithful to bring alongside those who minister to me in huge ways, during those times. This is no small matter to me, and I know that when you minister (in a variety of ways, not just pastoring or the textbook definition of ministering) it’s good to hear from time to time that what you’re doing for the Lord, is truly making a difference in someone’s life.
So the thing is this... and it’s really simple stuff:
If someone is currently blessing you or has been a blessing in your walk, take the time to tell them. Call them if you can, or email them, or send a card. Find a nice way to lift their hearts and know that they have indeed blessed you and strengthened you. For all you know, they may be questioning themselves at every turn and wondering what in the world they’re doing, but silently praying and hoping that God is indeed using them somehow, to edify others in the body. For all you know, they might be broken and hurting on the inside, dealing with all sorts of personal situations that make their lives miserable, but suffering silently and serving, instead of putting their own needs first.
It might just be, that a word of encouragement from you, back to them, is just exactly what it was they needed to hear, right at that moment. Like a sudden rain shower on a hot summer day, your words might be the most soothing and refreshing thing they’ve heard all day. We’re supposed to be doing this anyway, edifying the body and encouraging one another in Christ. I wish I saw more of this. I wish I did more of it myself. I’m aiming for that, but I know I still don’t do it as much as I think I should.
However, Tuesday is over so I'm a day behind.
My kids have this funny thing they do when they're little. Everyone's kids do this, so this will seem quite familiar to you. When they're little, they say things that they think are correct, or even clever, that are either quite hilarious or make no sense whatsoever. My almost 4 yr old Ruth used to say, when she was extremely frustrated with one of her older siblings:
"You are a BABY and you are SHUTTING UP!"
I can only assume in her little brain she thought calling someone a baby was the worst thing you could say to someone, and telling them they are shutting up, was as mean as you could get. In our family, because we're so full of baloney this way, sayings like that become a family thing, and you'll hear the adults saying it too, just for fun.
So I wonder, as it pertains to keeping your thoughts to yourself, about a question that seems to come up quite often in blogging.
At what point do you NOT say “this was really bad, I didn’t like it, and here’s why”? Now, you might be talking about a book, a movie, a blog post, a sermon or any number of other things that someone else might read, see, hear, purchase, etc. But the question is, is there ever really a time that you shouldn’t express your opinion of the ‘thing’, and just keep your opinion to yourself?
In the blog world, part of what makes the various blogging communities so interesting and at times so very helpful, is the free exchange of ideas and opinions. If enough people really like or really dislike something and post positive or negative reviews on it, that blogfluence (new word, I just made it up, you like?) determines whether that “thing” flies or dies. It’s just the way it is. That kind of influence to shape what the general public thinks about a thing, is no longer solely in the hands of mainstream media or brilliant marketing minds. In 2007, bloggers have a large voice in that arena as well. Pretty fascinating thought, no? (And quite scary too, if you consider what a responsibility that really is to blog well).
It seems though that among some Christian bloggers, there is a tendency for some folks to not want to see anything negative. For example (and this is ficticious) let’s say Joe Blogger writes a book on the fine art of fresh guava carving for profit. Huge market for that, I know. Let’s also say for example that in reality it’s the DUMBEST book in the history of all dumb books, but because Joe Blogger is popular, charming and clever, the dumb guava book flies off the shelves, to the dismay of many.
Now, along come some honest bloggers and say essentially “Joe might be a great guy, but this was a really dumb book, don’t waste your money”. Well, Joe Blogger's faithful fans get a bee in their collective bonnet and can’t handle the idea that someone critiqued ole Joe and his tropical fruit carving skills.
Joe's fans & friends defend him and his honor and his critics defend their right to find the entire subject ridiculous, and their right to dislike guava carving books.
The next big blog war breaks out and it’s another chapter in Christian blogging history. It's all over in a week or two, but everyone remembers the "guava war" and who said what, and to whom, and the 90 billion comments that resulted.
So I wonder, in cases LIKE this, when – if ever – it’s better to keep your opinions to yourselves, and/or if it’s more beneficial and helpful to say the things that ought to be said, regardless of the perceived tone, or the potential fallout. (In this case the critique ought to have been offered, lest people waste their hard earned money on a dumb book when they could have bought a James White book instead).
While my “for example” was meant to be humorous, there are plenty of real life Christian blogging community examples that I’m sure you can think of that might fit into this scenario. I don’t want to single one of those out, because my question is a general one for consideration and discussion on the topic.
I look forward to your thoughts on this. This is the part where you comment and either vent about this topic, or share your wisdom and give the rest of us something to think about.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Okay this one’s easy and fun. The idea for this actually came to me while I was doing chores this morning. Yep, I blame housework for meme ideas.
Grab 10 coins out of your pocket, purse, couch cushion or wherever it is you keep your loose change. You have to have 10 uniquely dated coins, so if you get a duplicate, pull out another until you have 10 unique dates. See? Easy.
Next, tell your readers a little about YOU, the year that coin was minted.
1961: My mom was thinking just how much she’d love to have a brilliant, beautiful, witty, obedient little girl. Three years later she got me, instead. Sorry mom.
1973: I was 8 years old and living in the white house on the corner with the pear tree in the yard. My biggest worry was walking my bike to the corner gas station to pump a flat tire, or if Dairy Queen was out of pineapple for their amazing pineapple milkshakes.
1974: I was 9 and still living in the same place. This was the year I started keeping a diary, and decided Bobby Baker was the cutest boy in the world. My friend Kaola (pronounced Kay-ah-la) was a Bay City Rollers junkie, and I discovered Fleetwood Mac that summer. For the record, the mid 70’s were hands down the most endearing times of my life.
1978: 14 years old and would enter highschool in the fall. Terrified of the idea, and wished I was back in 1974 all over again. Fleetwood Mac made way for a time of Rush, Journey, James Taylor, Chicago, The Eagles, Kansas, Boston and Bread. Some of those stuck for a few years, others didn’t. I still love many of those.
1986: I would turn 22 at the end of the year, and I was married that year to my late husband Ben, on Valentine’s Day. We also had Jennifer that year. It was one of the very best years of my life. (Even if I did discover metal and become a headbanger. Thankfully, that didn’t last too long and drain bamage was minimal).
1993: Turned 29 that year and we were living back in WA after twice moving to the California desert, and twice moving back. This was the mid-way point of Ben’s battle with cancer and a year before we both got saved.
1998: I turned 34 at the end of that year. I remarried that year to Kev and moved to Canada. Huge life change and genuinely happy again for the first time in a very long time. I laughed more that year, than I ever thought humanly possible.
2002: 38 years old by year’s end and would discover right before Christmas that I was pregnant with baby #7. Moved out of the city and into the country (where we still live now) and lived through driving in my very first whiteout/blizzard. It was very cool, but don’t try this at home. In fact, stay home in a blizzard, and eat pie or cheetos or something else fattening and mood altering.
2004: Turned 40 that year & started a blog. I know, what was I thinking??? I guess this was my mid-life crisis?
2006: 42 years old and still living in the country, still blogging. Oldest two daughters are moved out on their own, and I became a GRANDMA in August. We also found a new home church this year, and we’re still there, loving it more and more all the time.
Now, I rarely tag people on memes (because most people think memes are stupid and a waste of time, and they think you’re a dipstick if you do them) but this time I’m tagging:
• James (because I know he wont do it, and if he does I'll fall out my window in shock)
• Jen (because she cracks me up)
• Nathan (because he’s in Atlanta and I love Georgia)
• Kim (because she tells a story like you were there, and it’s very cool)
• Eddie (because I can and because he already knows I’m a dipstick)
Now wasn't that fun?
Some years ago we lived next door to a couple of foul mouthed sisters. One of the sisters had a daughter the same age as our second oldest, and they liked to play together from time to time. One day the girls had some sort of falling out, and Jennifer came home upset. To her it was a big deal, but in reality it was just one of those "kid things" that really wasn't a big issue. If I recall correctly, I simply encouraged her to give it some time and maybe talk to the girl in the next few days.
Well, that night after dinner came a knock on the door. It was either the mother or the aunt, I can't recall for sure because they were identical twins. Both had a mouth like a drunken sailor, and both were loud. Whichever one it was, as soon as I opened the door, she started in. Whatever it was that Jennifer and her kid had the falling out over, she took personally and was as ticked off as ticked off gets. She let me have it with both barrels and every filthy, obscene, profane, insulting word you can think of - directed at my parenting, my character and Jennifer's character. I was actually okay (for the most part) until she began using obscene words to describe my then 12 yr old daughter. That's when anger in me began to build up very quickly. I felt so defensive on behalf of someone I cared deeply for, that I was "that close" to losing my own temper and tempted to give this woman flying lessons (right off my porch). Chalk that up to "mama bear" syndrome.
This is the part where it actually gets sorta comical (although I was not seeing the humor in it at the time). I literally bit my tongue, put my clenched fist behind my back and silently prayed while being assaulted verbally with all kinds of disgusting words. The lady on my porch wanted me to physically fight with her, and she was taunting me, trying to get me to step outside. I just stood in my doorway biting my tongue, tasting the blood in my mouth, and keeping my fist behind my back (I didn't want her to see it and think she was getting to me but it just kept clenching into a fist!) and praying these words:
"Lord, please shut my mouth!"
He was faithful to do just that. Finally, the woman took a breath (or ran out, one or the other) and I simply said something along the lines of "thank you for your opinion" and I closed my door. She screamed and carried on out there on the porch for a few more minutes, hit or kicked the door a couple of times, but I locked the door and went into the other room.
That was one of the hardest confrontations I have ever had as a Christian and I'll likely remember it for the rest of my life (unless I have another one much worse). There was a time that Mouthy Neighbor Lady wouldn't have had 30 seconds to speak before things would have gotten right ugly, right quick - but that was the old me, and not the ambassador of Christ.
I used that example because it's one of those things for me that the Lord is still working on. We all have a weakness or a button that is easily pushed, and there are so many times that for me, that I want so badly to say something, but I know that it's my flesh itching to speak, and not coming from a thoughtful, reasoned, prayed-about reaction. I know that for me, when my flesh wants to speak, it's the best time to shut up. I don't always do it, and I so wish I would.
If you know someone like this - someone who often spouts off and says something that wasn't the most brilliant thing to say, you should add them to your prayer list. For us believers that have this weakness, it's a miserable struggle to have. There are even times when speaking up should indeed take place, but our timing isn't always the best, and if it's done without careful, cautious consideration, we might be doing more harm than good.
Oh, and in case anyone might be wondering if I stuck my foot in my mouth recently, the answer is no. I was just reading something yesterday that made me think of being slow to speak, and wanted to put this reminder out there for others who might also have this weak spot in their lives. Besides, I don't post all the dumb things I do. Only a serious weirdo would do that.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
"I think as a psychologist and health educator, it is more important to educate you in a direction that you might actually stick to. So, I am going to stay mostly on with the sex side because that is the area I know more about. I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior."
|You Are 16% Feminist|
You are definitely not a feminist. In fact, you are every feminist's worst nightmare.
You believe that women belong in the kitchen.... barefoot and pregnant.
To celebrate finally doing something right, I think I'll take my shoes off and bake cookies.
It's sort of funny, but if he was trying to pick THE noisest place in the whole world to sleep, he did a fine job. Between kids that refused to leave him alone all day (for the record, raccoons do not come to "here kitty kitty"), 2 cats and 2 dogs that are as obnoxious as the day is long - this was in fact the worst place he could have picked to have a good day's sleep. Yet, it didn't seem to bother him in the least.
More than likely, he knew no one was coming up the tree to hassle him. Maybe I was on to something when I was a little kid? Maybe the next time I really want to be left alone I'll climb up the closest tree and go all the way to the top, like I did when I was 10.
Nahhh... I'd fall out. My claws aren't nearly as long as Ripley's. Yep, I named him. Blog readers, meet Ripley the Raccoon.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
1. My step brother David passed away earlier this month. My mom and his dad were married after us kids were all grown up and living lives of our own, so I never even had the opportunity to meet him in all those years (he lived in California and I was in WA and here in Canada). Please remember his two sons and his widow in your prayers. I've never lost a parent but my girls have, and I know how painful it is for them. I also know what it's like to be a widow, and how painful that is as well. I do not know the spiritual condition of this family so you might want to add that in your prayers as well.
2. I received an email from my mom this morning that my cousin Robin was headed into surgery for cancer. I don't know what kind of cancer or anything else about that. Robin and I spent a lot of time together at my gma's house when we were growing up, but have never stayed in touch after we grew into adulthood. I don't know her spiritual condition either.
3. Robin's younger brother Marc was in an accident with a semi, and his car was completely totalled. Mom said he got out with only minor injuries. Robin and Marc's parents (my aunt & uncle) have a lot on their plate right now with these two situations so I am asking that you pray for them as well.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I will update as soon as I know more.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
On Friday I mowed down the jungle that is supposed to be our badminton court. Before I did that though, I had to pull all the broken limbs out of the tall grass - from the tree that fell during our last ice/wind storm. Getting that out of the way took a while first, and then I mowed.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
That’s what I did yesterday when I came across this particular article that absolutely infuriated me. I wanted nothing more than to write about it at the time, but I had things to do yesterday that prevented me from really investing the time into sitting and writing, so I just set it aside. I tried not to think about it (much) and sort of hoped it would drift out of my thoughts. That didn’t happen, as I haven’t been able to get it off my mind all day today.
The gist of the article was that a 22 yr old woman was arrested and initially charged for having a “fetus” in her freezer. At first report the authorities didn’t seem to know how old this “fetus” was, and were considering charging this young woman with some sort of a charge relating to improper handling of a human corpse. The problem was, the “fetus” (according to the law in the state where this was discovered) couldn’t be legally considered a human being unless it was over a certain amount of weeks old. According to one report:
“Lt. Daniel Herrmann said the abuse of a corpse charge applies only to human beings. Under the law, he said, a fetus is not considered a human being.” – source
“A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.” – American Heritage Dictionary
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Is. 5:20,21)
I wont presume to know what went through the heart and mind of that 22 yr. Old woman who kept her miscarried baby in her freezer. The last I read, she’s still being held on half a million dollars bond, and still facing a charge of abuse of a corpse.
Therefore, I've updated the official rules and will note it here as well:
Friday, May 18, 2007
• Campi has a great post on the impeccability of Christ. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you do that.
Did I mention that its my goal to become the largest, non-corny, non-lame Christian t-shirt retailer online? Well then, now that I've mentioned it, there you have it.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
As with most all our designs, it comes in mens, womens, kids, gift ideas & more.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
So there I was standing at the bus stop. First time ever riding a bus to school, and found it odd that the bus stop was right in front of the grade school I’d just spent my whole educational life, until that day. I stood there that sunny September morning, feeling a mix of various feelings, when a girl I didn’t know came to the bus stop.
The first words out of her mouth were “nice jeans, where did your mom get them, K-Mart?” I had no idea that was an insult, and I cheerfully answered “yes!” I liked my jeans, and I thought she did too – until her and her friends laughed at me. Not the best way in the world to start my Junior High career, but it was that moment in time when first occurred to me that there is something about “fitting in” that human beings desire. I’m sure I didn’t think of it in exactly that way, but that was the day the process of thinking about it in a serious way actually began.
Well, oddly enough almost 30 years later (I feel old just being able to say that), that feeling of fitting in, or not fitting in is pretty much the same feeling it was that sunny morning so many years ago.
Growing up I never really did “fit in” the way other girls did. I wasn’t nearly as interested in playing with dolls as I was jumping my bike over ramps or going crabbing, or having a jellyfish war down on the docks. Either we had the kind in Puget Sound that didn’t sting (I could easily google that, couldn’t I?) or we were too dense to care. No one I ever knew got stung, so I’ll assume it was the former.
All through junior high and high school I never fit in there either. I had friends and acquaintances in all the cliques (more or less) but I was never really part of any clique myself. I was the type that preferred to have one or two close friends (still am) rather than be a part of a group. So when high school was over I just assumed that I’d get a job, make a life, and fit in somewhere, somehow. How silly I was.
So then, what does any of this have to do with practical Christian living, you might be asking? That’s a fine question and I think it just reaffirms that God calls all kinds of people. You might be outgoing or you might be shy. You might be a loner, or introspective, creative, clumsy, phobic, allergic, fat, skinny, black, white, male, female, widowed, divorced, balding, blind, childless, a pet lover, diabetic, young or old or somewhere in between. It doesn’t matter who or what you are, if you’re called to repentance and faith in Christ, God will direct your steps in the place of service He wants you. And here’s an added cool bonus – He’ll even place people around you, that are LIKE you, that you connect with and find great fellowship and friendship with.
I remember the first time I heard the saying “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those that He calls.” Sure it’s corny, but I really liked it. It was comforting to me because as a person who doesn’t usually “fit in” it gave me a bit of hope that He might be able to use me too. Somehow.
Not only have the last 13 years of Christian living shown me that this is indeed true, but I've been surprised more than a few times to find out just how God did use me, usually in ways that I had no idea He was doing it. It's always a very humbling feeling to learn that somewhere among all the oddball things I say/write/create/do, that somewhere in there someone is blessed by something I did. It's a good feeling too, to know that you brought some amount of goodness and encouragement to someone who needed it, and God was 100% glorified in it.
I'll probably never fit in, in the worldly sense - and that's perfectly okay with me. As long as I keep fitting in (by His grace) in His ways, I'm happy.
I finally reach my hand around behind me to scratch this insane itch, and what happens? You guessed it, it moved! Like hyper-itches always do, the second you scratch them they jump and skitter to another location and then you have to scratch there too. They never really go away, they just settle down to a tolerable level so you can get back to what you were doing. But... they always come back, sooner or later.
I couldn’t help but think about how Christian fellowship and discussion is exactly the same way as that pesky-moving-hyper-itch. Among believers there are certain hot-button topics that are sure to skitter all over the map as soon as they come up. Mode of baptism, modesty in dress, Calvinism, post-modernism, emergentism(?), female leadership, music, entertainment, parenting and the list could go on for a country mile. (I have no idea how long a country mile is, but I can only assume it’s longer than a city mile). These topics (and others) seem to have a life-cycle of their own and return to the table ever so often for more itching and scratching. In and of itself, that’s a GOOD thing, because even though they’ve been discussed countless times before (and often by the very same people many times) there’s always that possibility that someone new to the discussion is present, and may hear something they’ve never heard before, or in the case of blogging, read something they’ve never read before.
Once upon a time I used to spend pretty much all my free time (which doesn’t amount to much) in Christian chats. I still chat in #prosapologian when I can, but I don’t spend the amount of time I used to, for various reasons. Life has a way of getting in the way of quality chat time. However, #pros is the ONLY place I do chat, when I can, because the channel is run with professionalism, grace, and a healthy sense of humor. I appreciate that.
Christian chat rooms (in many ways) are much like Christian blogs. Someone brings up a topic, and whoever else present and interested, comments on the topic, which is then responded to, and more comments after that, and so on. See, very much like blogging. The one obvious difference however is that it’s live, and often people are speaking over each other in the text and it’s not always so easy to follow the flow of the discussion. Blogging has the advantage of the blogger or reader to read one point at a time and follow that flow.
In all the years I spent in Christian chats, one of the things I learned is that there is no such thing as a dead horse, when it comes to a topic of discussion that is of interest to a believer. If someone brings it up, that means they have questions that deserve honest and Biblical answers. They might not even be legit questions (chat troll-bait is common) but the one thing I always tried to keep in mind, is that no matter the motive (legit or trolling), there might be someone there just sitting quietly and reading, that has never had the opportunity to be a part of a conversation about that particular topic. I was once in a situation like that when I was first learning what the doctrines of grace are. I was truly blessed to be surrounded by believers online that were patient and gracious to answer all my stupid questions that they’d all heard a thousand times before.
In a funny way, I was that ever-annoying, hyper-itch that always returns. Of course I didn’t mean to be annoying, my questions were real and my interest was genuine – but I was among people who’d heard the same arguments and questions countless times before, and they could have easily just logged off and ignored me, weary from the discussion. They didn’t, and they blessed me more than they’ll probably ever know.
This isn’t really directed at anyone or any particular topic. It’s just a reminder that while there is a time to wipe the dust of your blogging sandals, there’s also a place for grace and longsuffering with those same topics when they come up again and again. We all have blog readers who almost never comment, until that one day when they finally do and say “you know, I’ve been reading for a long time and never commented until now...” or they email you and say the same thing. They exist, they’re reading and considering all you have to say, so what you say ought to really matter.
The verse in 1Peter 3:15 tells us that we’re to be prepared ALWAYS to give an answer to EVERY man, for the reason for the hope we have and to do it with meekness and fear. How convicting is that? I know I don’t always respond to questions that way, but I know I always should.
Just thinking outloud about this tonight. No grand finale zinger-conclusion to this post. It’s just something we would all do well to keep in mind.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Designing this graphic today had nothing at all to do with the blogtroversy sparked once again by daring to suggest that Christian women dress modestly. I wasn't the one who sparked this round of blogtroversy however, that would be Mr. Dan Phillips over yonder at the FirePit.