Thursday, January 29, 2009

You May Be Right, I May Be Crazy

This morning I will pack up the kids, dig my van out of the snow, and drive a good 4 plus hours to my parents house in Ye Olde Plymouth, Indiana, place of my childhood. Alone. Frank's got to go to Chicago (Hi, Helen!) for work today and tomorrow and we'll meet back up tomorrow evening. Then we are off to lovely Fort Wayne, Indiana for a wedding on Saturday. And we guest lead worship for a church on Sunday. So I will be one traveling, busy chica for a few days! I'm sure at one or many points my sanity will be stretched a little, so prayers are appreciated...but on the other hand, at least I'm getting out of the house! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


My friend Kathy was kind enough to order me a Snuggie in exchange for a video of a silly dance routine in said Snuggie. We all know how much I wanted one. This was a deal I was glad to make. Free snuggie in exchange for universal embarrassment? Of course!

Unfortunately, customer service for the Snuggie people is less that top notch...I know! Surprise! First the Snuggie people tried to trick Kathy into ordering 4 Snuggies instead of two (buy one get one free...she pushed the button for two, they thought that meant 4 and charged her accordingly...yeah....). Then they were back ordered. Apparently the demand for Snuggies is great indeed. Then they sent her a confirmation of it being shipped, only there was no street listed on the address... If anyone would bother to open a phonebook or use a computer, they would see that there is only one Sabelhuas in Sullivan, Indiana...but something tells me that it just won't happen. So my Snuggie is probably sitting forlornly in the corner of a UPS warehouse somewhere. Alone and scared. Wondering if it will ever complete its destiny.

Meanwhile, I sit with my laptop. Waiting. Hoping. Practicing my dance routine. (I'm hip! I'm with it! Tucka tucka tucka tucka.)
Today would be such a perfect day for the Snuggie. The snow is falling. I could make a cup of tea without chills... Sigh.

Anyway, to quell my longings...have a laugh at the Snuggie's expense. Meet: The Kozee!

* Please note that I take things like the KKK and the occult seriously and they are NOT of God. So for the record, Beth= anti-KKK and anti-casting spells on people. But this video is a joke. So go ahead and laugh, you know you want to... (Forgive me, Eric. It has to be hard to pastor such wierdos.)

** However, I'm lovin' the "potty" humor in this video and enjoy Kool-aid Jammers.

*** I also adore Dance Dance Revolution.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Love the Lord Your God

They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love

Anyone remember that one? I always thought this song meant that people who weren't Christians would be able to identify Christians by the way that they loved others. And that's one good way to see it. But the other day a new meaning jumped up, grabbed me by the shoulders and stared me in the face. Would anyone know that I was a Christian simply because they could see my love FOR GOD?

For the past few weeks, everywhere I go, everything I's all about loving God as my first priority. Our pastor's been speaking a lot on becoming intimate with God. I've heard Marvin Adams from the Wabash Valley IHOP speak a couple of times along the same lines. Crazy Love by Francis Chan was on this very subject. Various blogs from around the country seem to be echoing this theme as well. So I've been pondering this a lot and I'm sure it's no accident that I keep hearing about it for my own good, but I think this message of returning to love God first is becoming a focus of the American church as well.

It seems so basic: Love God. No brainer, right? That's pretty much Christianity 101. Jesus speaks in Mark 12:30-31 saying the most important commandment is this:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."
Jesus is quoting the Old Testament law given to Israel in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. From the very beginning, God made it abundantly clear that loving Him came absolutely first. And we see the cycle in the Old Testament of Israel turning from God, being overtaken by enemies, and finally returning to their first Love and receiving restoration, only to turn from Him again and repeat the cycle. Time and time and time again.

So here I am. My intentions are good. I say I want to love God first, but consistently I do things that put Him in second, third or fourth place. Sometimes I'm just plain putting my desires in front of God. But a lot of times I simply get mixed up and put the second command in front of the first. I'll get so into trying to do, do, do, love, love, love, reach the whole world and help cure the universe of all evil, that I fail to spend time getting to know the One I'm supposed to love the most. Then I wonder why I get so frustrated.

A few days ago I was watching Joey. We're trying to get him interested in using the bathroom like a "big boy." I figured maybe if I let him walk around in his wet and dirty diaper for awhile, he'd get tired of it and want to be changed. He didn't care the least little bit that he was an uncomfortable walking stink bomb! Why can't he just realize that using the bathroom is so much better for him, I thought. Why does he insist on walking around in a stinky mess? It may sound silly to say that God uses potty training, but God spoke to my heart that day. Why do I insist in wallowing in filth? Why do I demand my way all the time? Why don't I realize that God's way is much better and much healthier?

So I'm choosing to love God first. How do I DO that? What does that look like? Here's what I'm learning.

I think it means first asking God for help. Here's one of my favorite quotes from Crazy Love (pg. 104).
"The fact is, I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans...It is a remarkable cycle: Our prayers for more love result in love which naturally causes us to pray more, which results in more love..."

I think it means spending time with God and spending less time with time killers that aren't going to amount to anything when you hold them up to the light of eternity. Not more time at church. Not more time in ministry. More time getting close to God by reading the Bible, praying and worshipping Him. And in the event I find a few minutes of quiet around my house...I need to be still and listen to the Holy Spirit.

I think it means obeying God's commands out of love for Him. This is a hard one. It's really easy for me to try to obey under my own power grumbling because "I know I'm supposed to do this," instead of "I love God so I choose to do this, asking for His help." But I think this is the key difference between a bitter joyless Christian and a free joyful Christian. Anyone who has more insight on this, feel free to comment.

I think it means getting over my aversion to the analogy of Christ as the bridegroom and the church as the bride. This may seem off topic, but when pastors start using terminology like this and using words like "intimacy with God," I get a little squirmy and I tend to block out what comes next. Yes, I love my husband. Yes, I want to love God even more than THAT and I know His love is the only perfect love, but this whole thing seems a little sexual and that weirds me out. When I told Frank that, he had a good spin on it: maybe our culture has made intimacy (especially sexual intimacy) seem very dirty somehow. If I took that image in the purity that it is meant to be, it becomes a lot more beautiful and a lot less uncomfortable. So there's my two cents of random advice via Frank.

I think it means coming to terms with how I tell others about God and Jesus. Again, this is something I know I'm supposed to do and surely it's Biblical and something God wants me to do, but why don't I see amazing results? Why am I still scared or embarrassed to bring God into a conversation? I think some of the answer lies in the fact that deep in my heart, I know that a person who is not a Christian can spot someone who is faking it or even partially faking it. I may really love a person and I may really want them to find a saving knowledge of God, but if they don't see that my words are backed up by MY REAL LOVE for God, why would they even want it? It's like telling someone about a great book and giving it to them, but you've never read it. Maybe Paul puts it better:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

For some reason, again, I always saw this verse as love for other people, not love for God. Why is that?

Ok, this is getting long (surprise, surprise!) but let's take this out of personal application and apply it to the American church. What if all Christians loved God first? What would that look like?

Marvin over at IHOP said that there are over 270 churches in Terre Haute. That's a lot of churches. But our city still seems to be spiritually dead in the water. No hope. No triumph. Or at least very little. The heartaches and desperation of people just seem to increase and overwhelm. I know there's some great churches filled with great people and good ministries. So what in the world are we collectively doing wrong? Could it be we've forgotten to follow the most important commandment? Like Israel, our city has been taken captive...not by a warring nation, but by addictions, despair, hatred, apathy, greed... If all the churches in Terre Haute collectively decided to love God above all, these things would vanish. Wouldn't that be powerful? No longer would churches fight over petty things and be content to stay isolated, scared to work with other churches and ministries. Christians would run, not amble, out of church services wanting to seek out any person who would listen to the fantastic things their loving God had taught them that day. I don't know about you, but I want this picture of an alive and vibrant church to be reality. For Terre Haute. For the whole world.

All of this to say...I'm unsure of how to end this! Maybe just a prayer:

God, I want to love You more and get to know You more. Help me to get rid of the things that get in the way of that. Help me remember that changing the world starts with loving you first. Please be the one motivation and driving force behind all that I do. I pray that each person who reads this would be moved by Your love for them, and would respond by putting You first in their lives. I pray that You would bring a new passion among the churches of our nation and our world for You and You alone. In Your Holy Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

You Might Be a Redneck

I'm developing a very deep and thoughtful post about unity in the church...but for now...

I present my morning for your enjoyment.

7:00 Groggy, but awake, naturally. Realize that I only had one nighttime visitor (Joey) last night and that the baby slept through the night. Silent rejoicing! I stay in comfy bed.

7:30 Frank's alarm goes off. Baby starts crying. Get up to feed baby. Need to change baby. Ew. Poo proves baby has just started eating baby food.

7:45 Groan from Frank. "Uh...the dog got into the trash again. I forgot the trash was still here." He had put the trash by the back door because...ironically....neighborhood dogs get into our trash when we put it outside. Fun. Fun. Especially since the trash contained, in Frank's words, "half a crumbled wall" that came from our latest home improvement project. I start to clean.

7:50 Trashed contained more or less. Open door to take trash out since it's trash day anyway. See that one of the bags of trash already outside has been spread across the yard by neighborhood dogs. Let out a strangled scream. Look up. See ugly big white dog who is responsible for my misery. Yell at dog to "GET! GET! GO HOME!" Run inside. Ask Frank where his pellet gun is. (He has used his pellet gun to scare away roaming dogs before. I know. It doesn't hurt them, but I always thought it was silly until today...) Realize I am over reacting. Go get more trash bags to clean up outside mess.

7:55 Open back door again. See big ugly white dog carrying one of my bags of trash down the alley. Scream "GET YOU STUPID DOG!" and wave my arms wildly, looking fantastically crazy in my purple sheep pajama pants and robe. Dog runs away (smiling). Grumble under my breath. Clean up trash OUTside. As I put the shredded trash bag inside a whole one, I realize the yellow liquid on the outside of the bag is probably dog pee. Commence gagging, but finish clean up, including many, many diapers.

8:05 Wash hands in scalding water and declare to Frank, "We are getting dog proof trash cans. I don't care HOW much they cost!" Frank guards the back door to make sure the dog is gone, loaded pellet gun in hand. (My hero!)

After that things went back to our normal crazy again. I'm not the poster child of responsible pet ownership by any means, but really. I shouldn't have to worry about large dogs eating my children in my own yard. Our town doesn't have a shelter for strays and I'm sure the police have much better things to do with their time. One time our neighbor called the police and complained that our dog barked too much and they actually they came to our maybe not...but I refuse to be a waster their time. Anyway, our county is trying to raise money for a humane shelter in a tanked economy right now. I think I might finally contribute even though I normally put people before animals when I give...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Future

On a day like today, which will be taught in history classes of the future, I wonder what kind of world my kids will inherit as adults. What will be the same? What will be different? What will be better? What will be worse? How in the world do I prepare them for it? How do I make them "as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves"? (Matt. 10:16)

Here we see Baby Jay. So cute! So innocent playing with his daddy's hat! And when I went to look up the song that was most popular the day of his birth (See Sherri's Matter of Fact blog), it was "I Kissed A Girl." A song about a girl who gets drunk and experiments with homosexuality, saying, "Ain't no big deal, it's innocent." Hmmmmm..... I'm not even going to go into what the Bible says about homosexuality. That's not my point with this. What I find most disturbing is that sexuality is treated as no big deal, and is it me, or did the definition of "innocent" just change? And sure, I can keep my kids from listening to radio stations that play songs I don't like, but I can't keep them from the six year old I saw at the youth center last week who had this song on her mp3 player and was singing it at the top of her lungs. It makes me incredibly sad the messages we feed our children about sex in this country. I am pretty sure I am going to have to have a sex talk with my daughter before she goes to kindergarten.

Parenting is a tough job. Lots and lots of prayer is involved.

Monday, January 19, 2009

If I Don't Number My Thoughts, I Get Confused

As many of you know, our church participated in a media fast last week. There were no hard and fast rules...just that we were going to abstain from secular media for a week. For our family, we decided to simply unplug the tube: no TV, no videos, no Wii. That kind of thing really wasn't too big of a deal for me, but giving up the internet was harder as it's my main source of entertainment. I gave myself a little breathing room to check my email and answer a couple of things on Facebook and participate in the first round of the Stuff Christians Like book club. But other than that, I hid my laptop from myself to help quell temptation. Here's a bit of what went on last week and what I learned.

1. We turn on the TV without even thinking about it. Since we don't have cable/dish/satellite and probably don't watch TV all THAT much I thought(make fun of the local news, Jeopardy, watch reruns of Scrubs, Seinfeld and an occasional House episode...bla bla), we still have it on at some point every day. Case in point was when we came home from church at the start of the fast and after the kids were in bed we automatically sat down on the couch and Frank flipped on the TV. Then it was like, "Oh no! We messed up already!" After that, the TV was unplugged.

2. Our kids spend too much time with media. They are very young to have a media dependency, but when we told Annabelle there would be no Wii for a week, she cried and cried. Yikes. Even worse was that she thought it was for one DAY and the second day it was the crying all over again. It's hard to explain to a 4 year old (even a pretty intuitive and smart one) the reason behind a media fast and in the end it came down to: We obey God and we obey our pastor, so we're doing this whether you like it or not. Plus we will do some fun extra things. (A little bribery, I know, but hey.) What was interesting was that as the week went on, I saw Annabelle and Joey gain more and more contentment with just going and playing together. By Friday, they played together most of the day and I didn't have to do anything extra to keep them occupied and they didn't ask me one time to play on the computer or play Wii.

3. It's good for ME to be creative and "hands on" with my kids (and it's good for them, too!). We did a lot more with play dough, games, art supplies and books this week. It seems like I was pretty good at this when I first started staying home and Baby Jay slept most of the day, but I had gotten to a place where I felt like I HAD to do these things to be a "good" mom and therefore I really resented it sometimes and tended to avoid it. Sometimes it was easier spending hours on the computer and letting the kids play video games on the computer or on the Wii....and then I wouldn't get my house stuff done but I still felt like I should spend quality time with the kids, so I would rush through the stuff they love like reading books or getting the play dough out. When I cut down on the computer time and take time to be a kid and just have fun with them...I still have plenty of time for the house stuff and I get to leave my adult cares behind for awhile.

4. I like to read. Well, ok, I knew this already. But it's been awhile since I read two whole books in one week, and that was nice. One book I read was the story about a ministry called Teen Challenge that was founded in the 1950's in New York City to help youth involved with gangs, drug abuse, etc. It was an incredibly uplifting and encouraging story of a pastor who chose to obey God's calling in his life against some pretty crazy odds. Terre Haute is opening a Teen Challenge house (in the same neighborhood as the youth center) to help young men recovering from addictions, so that is exciting. The other book was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I will devote a post involving that book later, hopefully.

5. Media is good in moderation...and it can strengthen my relationship with God and others when used in the right ways. Perhaps I have used movies and video games to "babysit" my kids a little too much, but at the same time, I am very thankful there's some good stuff out there for my kids in these areas. They really have learned a lot from secular websites like PBS kids and Nick Jr. and we have some fun family times with movies and video games. Frankly, entertaining three little ones without any of this for a week was EXHAUSTING. Sometimes it's my only means of a little peace and time with my Bible during the day! I just need to learn where to draw the line...and I'm glad the Holy Spirit helps in that. I also realized that God has given me some wonderful and true friends through blogging. I really missed them(you!) and they(you!) missed me kind of caught me off guard how deep our friendships have become. When I caught up on my reading yesterday, I laughed a lot and cried a little, but mostly I was humbled. My little fast that I did pretty much because it was on the hearts of others in my church...had an impact beyond myself...because of media. It's wild that God uses media to convict people of the idol of media.

6. Here's where the rubber meets the road. What did fasting teach me about God, since this whole thing was for Him anyway? Well, it sounds nice to say God's number one in my life, but I have a lot of selfishness to get rid of before that becomes a true statement in my life. Yes, God really is on my mind a lot during the day and that affects most of my decisions, but I still find myself proud of the things I do for Him....and forget to give Him the glory and thanks for even giving me the ability to do anything in the first place. Or my other favorite is to do what God wants, with an ample amount of grumbling and complaining along the way. Honestly, staying away from the computer was hard, especially as the week wore on. Sometimes I wanted to yell, "Hey God and everyone else! Look how good I am today! Yay for me!" Sometimes I wanted to yell, "God, what's the deal? When I spend more time with you I just feel more convicted about...everything...and it takes a lot of work to obey you and I'm really tired right now so I'm going to pout for awhile. This whole thing is a load of crap. I miss my Seinfeld!" So, there's a lot about me in those statements I like to "yell" at God. Not enough God. But anger is usually my pre-cursor to change, so I'll take it as a good thing. Plus I know God loves me anyway and this is a lifelong process. And it wasn't a totally angry week. I had some good times in worship and prayer and reading my Bible aside from the yelling in my head at God. And our corporate worship at church Saturday was full of God's Spirit, and I don't toss out that phrase lightly. The fact that God even lets us GO to such a great church is amazing, let alone that we get to help lead it. I have never before attended a church where everyone just seems to "get" it. That's exciting.

Okay, in the interest of not becoming a hypocrite, I will end now so my kids don't spend the entire day on the Wii and I don't spend the entire day on the computer. :)
Good to be back!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One Giant Snowball of Thoughts in My Brain- Everything Rolled Into One!

Happy Saturday! I can't decide what to write about, so I'll just write a little about everything. Try not to get too's Random Time!

1. Joey's birthday was a success! Despite his lack of enthusiasm for his birthday beforehand, he had a really good day once he figured out that it was a day where he got to pick the activities HE wanted to do and he got things like brownies and a balloon and a even a couple presents. 3 year olds are easy. We played the "Guess Who" game that he got from Aunt Deena and had fun with glue sticks and construction paper. We all watched Peter Pan and he loved that. (I forgot how fun that movie is!) He still claims he's two and tells me "wanna be your wittow(little) boy" every day, but I can understand that. It's hard to grow up sometimes!

2. I visited the Prayer Service for the Wabash Valley International House of Prayer last night at the encouragement of our pastor. The venue is kind of interesting, as it is a prayer chapel in a very old and historic church in Terre Haute, but it has been eclectically decorated with a big modern mural of Jesus on one wall. I dug the old with the new thing. I'm glad Marvin and Sally have come to our neck of the woods to start this ministry. The whole thing gave me a lot of stuff to think about...I think I have a lot to learn about prayer. And the worship was very authentic, not really a style I had ever seen before, but something that was easy to jump into and sing along. I'll probably talk more about this later. Marvin's supposed to speak at our church tonight...

3. Speaking of church, I think we're going to have a media fast for the next week. What's a media fast, you ask? Well...I'm still learning and we'll probably learn more tonight at church...but I think we're all going to stay away from secular media for a week...TV, videos, radio, hard a fast rules or anything. Many people from church work with computers for a living, so you can't really go all hermit or anything. Just a way to spend more time with God and family for a week and look for some guidance for the year. Sounds good to me! Even though I wouldn't consider my blog or others I read "secular media" really, I think I am going to stay away from blogging for the most part since I DO tend to spend quite a bit of time on it.... I might drop in on the SCL Crazy Love conversation if I actually GET the book before Wednesday (procrastinator!) and check my email to make sure there's nothing I need to add to the stuff I pray for. So all that to say- don't worry about me, because I know you would if I suddenly just didn't respond to anything for a week. I'll be back! And our church is not a cult! (Sorry, inside joke.)

4. I went to the BMV this morning and renewed my license. It came to my attention that my license had expired in August and I didn't even realize it. Oops. I believe I made fun of Frank for this very same thing before, so it was time to eat a big plate of crow. Yummers. Then I put off going for awhile because I am NOT dragging three kids in there on a week day...that's a catastrophe of such epic proportions I can't even go there in my mind. But today was THE day. I prepared myself with a book, some chocolate, and everything else I could think of that they might want or need to prove that I was road worthy. I was pleasantly surprised to find no lines and I walked right up to the counter. We've moved since my last license was issued, so I had to prove my legal address. I had a recent bill to do this, but alas, it only had my husband's name on it and not my own. So I had to come back home and find something with MY name on it. Sigh. It's never that easy. I went back to a short wait, had to do the eye test again, and the lady asked me some lovely questions involving my current weight vs. the weight listed on my license. Then it was picture time. I always forget about the stupid picture. I took the worst picture ever. Even worse than the one when I was pregnant. The lady (approximately 118 years old) made me take off my glasses for the picture...that along with having no make-up on, my hair back, and a gray t-shirt on resulted in a picture that makes me look like a slightly hostile 12 year old elfin boy. Maybe I can get Frank to scan it and I'll post it sometime...good times.

5. This is getting long, so I'd better wrap up, but Baby Jay has been teething and sickly, so pray for him and pray for our patience because it's hard to explain to a 5 month old that his universe has not fallen apart and will get better soon.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of Skittles, Dragons, and Chicken Wings...Yes, These Are a Few of My Weirdest Things

I have been tagged by Helen at Random Musings to share 7 weird things about myself. Hold on tight. It might be a scary ride.

1. I categorize my food and systematically eat the categories. For example, if I have vegetable soup, I will eat all the carrots, all the peas, all the corn, etc. and leave my favorite parts for last(usually the beef). Or if I'm eating Skittles, I separate the colors and eat whatever I have the most of first, so that I have a nice balance at the end.

2. I used to play Dungeons and Dragons among other role playing games. Crown me the Queen of the Nerds. But hey, it was a lot more interesting to me than partying on the weekends...

3. I forget to drink anything with meals on a consistent basis. My kids have to remind me that they need something to drink with their meal.

4. I studied in Spain, and I have been in Central America on a missions trip, but I have never been to Mexico or Canada.

5. My little toe on my right foot is useless. It's there, but it kind of turns inward and doesn't move at all. You know how you can spread your toes out? Yeah...I can't do that.

6. I always get really upset and stressed out before going on trips or to a big event. Always. But once I'm on my way, everything is peachy. Just learn to ride out the storm, baby.

7. Just tonight I had a revelation about chicken wings. There's always two kinds. One with two bones that seemed like a wing to me, and the other looks like a little drumstick. The drumstick one always confused me...I thought it was just a miniature chicken leg or something; I never understood why it was included in wings...and then tonight...A HA!! Light bulb! There's TWO parts to a chicken wing! So they're BOTH the wing!! I'm gonna sleep better tonight. It's all about the little things...

Time Warp

I know time will just go faster and faster as my kids get older...but I really can't believe Joey is 3 today! So I'm going to spend some time in Imagination Land with him and I'll report back later. Because at some point he's going to think playing pretend with his mommy isn't so fun anymore...until maybe someday he has his own kids and it becomes fun again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fast = Slow

Our church is entering a time of fasting and prayer. I am not an expert faster. I did a 40 Hour Famine with my youth group in high school and it was more fun than hardship. I probably concentrated more on the youth group guys than God during those 40 hours...

I've learned more about fasting as an adult, but it seems every time a corporate fasting opportunity arises, I am pregnant or nursing a baby. So I have always opted out with a rock solid excuse. Very convenient for one who is way too dependent on food. Ask Frank. I am one angry girl if I'm hungry. I have a hard time waiting to eat. So this time, I am nursing once again, and it would be really easy to not participate. But when I think of the sacrifice Jesus was for me, surely I can give up something that would cause me to lean on God a little bit more in daily life. But what?

So I prayed one of those scary prayers saying...God...I want to please you...I want to depend more on you and think about you more each day...if you want me to give something up instead of fasting...let me know...(and then I secretly hoped God would tell me that I didn't have to give anything up.)

For a couple of days nothing really came to mind. And then today...I got this thought...what about giving
I tried to argue. God are you sure??? Coffee? Does it have to be the coffee? I love coffee. Why does it have to be the coffee?? It was a short argument.

Abstaining from coffee it is. Probably until February. I almost laughed as I went to read my Bible today. I've been going through Romans and here's the passage for today:

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In the great scope of God's mercy, giving up coffee for less than a month is such a stupid and ridiculously small thing to do...but yet it will be difficult for me AND my body to stick to! Thus the point of a fast, right? But I have to think that obeying in the small stuff will lead to obeying when it comes to big stuff. I want to experience God's good, pleasing and perfect will. I want to worship through sacrifice. So bubbye to beautiful brewing beans for now.

(I share this not to brag or try to make you give up's just so that if I am short with you or a little slow...well...I might need your grace a little more than usual. Plus it can't hurt the accountability factor if my friends and family are in on this....)

Monday, January 5, 2009


Music tends to run rampant in my head on my "thinking" days. Here's another good one. It's by OneRepublic. They're not a "Christian" band, but judging by their album notes, they are a band made of Christians. That's cool with me. (Like they care what I think...ahem...but the entire album is extremely good) Anyway, I'm sure many people see this as a human relationship song...but to is a good picture of me and God. And the sweet thing is that I don't have to do any running to God. The moment I catch myself running away and turn around, God is running toward ME. Click on the little play button to hear the song.

Luke 15:20-24 NIV

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.[b]'

22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate."


We say good-bye
I turn my back
Run away, run away
So predictable
Not far from here
You see me crack
Like a bone, like a bone
I'm so breakable

And I take everything from you
But you'll take anything
Won't you

Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don't you wait for me
Don't you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me

I'm on the road
To who knows where
Look ahead, not behind
I keep saying
There's no place to go
Where you're not there
On your rope, I hold tight
But it's freeing

And I take everything from you
But you'll take anything
Won't you?

Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don't you wait for me
Don't you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me

Everybody wants to be right
But only if it's not at daylight
I keep trying to find my way back
My way back

Run away, run away
Like a prodigal
Don't you wait for me
Don't you wait for me
So ashamed, so ashamed
But I need you so
And you wait for me
And you wait for me

From you

Thoughts and a Song

I'm having one of those days when my mind is full. Lot of random thoughts all mixed up and wanting more attention and clamoring for me to write about them....but again...already lunch time. How does that happen? So I'd better take care of the things God has given me to take care of today. That would be the kids, of course, plus I should probably buy some food and pay some bills. Man can't live on bread alone, and that's about all we have right now...

In the meantime, here's an awesome video and song by Brandon Heath called "Give Me Your Eyes." I'd embed it, but it won't let me. Even the link isn't working. No instant gratification today. You must copy and paste. I promise it's worth the effort.

(The Guy in a Band Hair Brigade tried to get to him...but I think he put up a fight. He has almost normal hair. Almost.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Post Holiday Recovery Program

We. Are. Home. As of midnight-thirty last night.

Our family had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I loved seeing everyone and the random fun we had...especially when that includes beating my spouse at ping pong. More about our holiday adventures later, perhaps. However, I think that a couple extra days should be built into every holiday or vacation to help everyone recover. Let me describe the scene this morning at my house....

1. Anna and Joey are still wearing their clothes from yesterday because they slept during the travels home last night and I wasn't about to wake them up to change them into pajamas. I'm too lazy to change them into "today" clothes until we get ready for church this evening. Anna is being surprisingly helpful this morning. Joey is alternating between running around aimlessly and being clingy.

2. Baby Jay got a change of clothes but only because he pukes a lot. He is resentful about being stowed in his bouncy car after a solid week of being held by doting friends and relatives. And he's teething.

3. Frank is playing video games. Work will come far too quickly on Monday...and we're guest leading worship for a church tomorrow. Seize the day! Or at least the morning, right?

4. I am curled up on the couch in a cocoon of blankets (Snuggie where ARE you???), feeling sickly due to gluttony and not enough sleep. Note to self: when offered a choice of three desserts, never choose all three.

5. The dog seems to have weathered the holidays better than the rest of us. She is napping beside me as usual. Proof that ignorance really IS bliss.

P.S. I have now noticed it's past time for lunch. Frank has volunteered to try to patch something together....sure to be delectable...but not before serenading us with a touching song about fish skin. Yum.