I wrote this great blog last night on transition. I struggled with it because the words weren't flowing. And then I hit that sweet spot and it all flowed out. But then the unthinkable occurred and stupid Mozilla shut down on it's own before I could save all that I had written. I was furious! Aaaagghhhhh!! I lost it and I couldn't remember what I had written. So, here is my meager blog offering for today. Important life lesson: always save what you are writing about every 30 seconds when you are using a crappy laptop.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
It is difficult to live in the moment, staying steadily focused on today only. Entertaining our fears of what tomorrow holds never brings us closer to the heart of our Father. I believe the reason this is so is because He is nowhere to be found in tomorrow. Our thoughts and regrets of yesterday are also void of Him. His name is I Am (Ex 3:14), not "I Was" or "I Will Be". His touch, His grace for this journey, His deep abiding peace...all of this can only be found in today where He dwells. Why do we find it so hard to dwell with Him here and now? Psalm 73:28 says, "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good..." And that nearness can only be experienced today, now. I pray that today you will curl up in this moment, this blip in time, and find Him, knowing His nearness and His unending goodness.
Friday, September 26, 2008
-I find it odd that we go through Charmin at an alarming rate at our house, but this nasty, cheap toilet paper we have now will just never come to an end! In fact, I think it is multiplying like rabbits while we sleep.
-I am reading "The Shack" by William Young. Wow! Only halfway through...more on this when I have finished it.
-Check out Eddie's blog yesterday to learn about a better way to visit the blogs you like to read regularly.
-I miss my sister. I don't know if she reads my blog very often, but I think of her every day and I wish I could walk next door and be at her house. If you live near your family, call one of them and have lunch together today. It is a shame to take others for granted.
-The Office...last night at 9 I was parked in front of the TV. I still don't like Angela.
-We had another computer crap out on us this week at our house. Kinda puts a kink in the whole homeschooling thing. Good thing we are flexible.
-This time of year is the special time when all of the lizards in our yard procreate and their offspring come in our house to kick back and relax. It's as if we sent out engraved invitations and they all said "YES!"
-I do not enjoy finding tiny lizards in my purse. Is nothing sacred??
-My dog gets jealous anytime my husband hugs and kisses me. He whines and jumps on him to get him off of me. This is weird.
-I find that my desire for dark chocolate is in direct proportion to the level of stress in my life. There must be a scientific name for this.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Confession: I sometimes watch Friends reruns. I started watching it from time to time during a period in my life when the church was disappointing me and I was seeing Christians behave in ways that looked nothing like what I saw in Scripture. I have always believed that friends stick by each other through disappointments, failures, and unkind words. You forgive, you overlook faults and bad moods and when necessary, you confront. Yet, when I was struggling and hurting, I was judged and kicked to the curb. It was baffling. So during that time, as I watched the six TV friends relate to each other, I saw more love and long-suffering and forgiveness than I was seeing in some of the Christians in my life. Now that is not to say that Friends is a morally upright show...obviously not. But I did see a portrayal of a community of friends with sticking power. No back door. Abundant grace. Forgiveness. And I wanted that. (And just for the record, Chandler is my favorite TV Friend...sarcasm can be quite endearing)
And then God took us to a different place and surrounded us with true friends, some old and some new, who love and forgive and believe the best of us. Today I am just feeling profoundly thankful for the friends that I have...men and women who I know will always love me and be there when I need them, no matter what. And I love them. I am the richest girl in the world! Take a minute and thank God for the true friends in your life.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I spent yesterday afternoon with Miss Susan, one of my very favorite people, who has been a mother to me over the course of the past nine and a half years. When I have lost my way, stuggling to find God's perspective, she has been there to hold my hand and tell me what I need to hear even when it is hard. She is what Ann of Green Gables called "a kindred spirit and a bosom friend". Had we been born in the same era rather than 45 years apart, she would have been my very best friend. I spend time with her most every week, but this time we weren't just talking...we were dancing together through her memories. We went through all of her books and she told me where this one came from and who gave her that one and what was happening when she read them. She let me have whatever I wanted and while I was thankful to have some really great books to add to my own library, I was more moved by the fact that they are hers. She has held them and read them and written in them and they smell like her and her house. And it was so consoling to just be in the silence of her now empty house, side by side, perusing shelf after shelf of books, she being lost in her memories and I in the wonder of a life lived to please God and God alone.
I have watched her as her own life has taken some painful turns and she always smiles and says, "Darlin', God knows just what He is doing and I know this is all for my good." How many times have I left her home, after being sufficiently hugged and kissed, and wondered when I would ever have the wisdom and grace of this woman? She has taught me that what matters most is not all that we see and do and plan and think. And certainly not the things we accumulate, even wonderful books. What matters most is drawing close to our Father, curling up in His lap and listening, allowing Him to have His way in us. Nothing more. And I want to be just like her when I grow up.
Monday, September 22, 2008
"People cannot discover new lands until they have the courage to lose sight of the shore"--Andre`Gide
Someone said to me recently that she couldn't wait to see where God would throw us next. She said that what she loves about us is that we are "throwable"(this may be a code word for "crazy"...not sure). This is true...we are throwable (certainly crazy) and it seems that God is throwing us back to the great state of Georgia and into the unexpected. We have been in North Florida pastoring a really fantastic church for the past four + years and much to everyone's surprise, He is now taking us into the marketplace. Eddie will be heading up the sales department for the West Georgia Xerox agency, Digital Technology Solutions, which is owned and operated by his sister and brother-in-law in Columbus, Georgia. I will be pouring my energies into getting my writing off the ground, hopefully making it a source of income for me.
I love the breathlessness that comes with following God and chasing dreams. I think He always meant for life to be, at times, adventurous and surprising, like a voyage on a ship in uncharted waters. The explorers of yesterday would have never known the wonder of seeing a strange, new land on the horizon if they had not left the shoreline of the familiar. This certainly doesn't necessarily require a physical move. Sometimes it simply means stepping outside of what is comfortable and well-worn to do something new that pleases God. Most people love pictures of the vastness of a horizon where the sky and the ocean appear to kiss each other but it is another thing entirely to pull your anchor in your own ship and launch out towards the unknown. There is always that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes and goes...it is just part of the process. Someone asked us yesterday what we plan to do if we fail. We told him that we would check our compass and see which direction He was pointing to next. The adventure would continue.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
--It is unwise to give a fifteen-year-old a steroid medication and then assume you can live peacefully under the same roof with the kid. Send them away for the duration of the prescription.
--It is also unwise to let a steroid-filled teenager drive your car, or any car for that matter.
--If you shoot water up your Yorkie's nose while bathing him, he will make a noise something like Arnold the pig from Green Acres for the rest of the day. I am unclear as to why.
--It is questionable judgment for a parent to leave two teenage boys alone in the Halloween costume department of a store with a digital camera.
--What is it with my youngest son's "Garden-of-Eden-I-hate-to -wear-clothes" fixation?? Are all third-born children exhibitionists?
--I saw a jacket in the teenage boys clothing dept. of a store that had a faded argyle pattern with a skull over it. WHAT???? Is that some sort of retro-preppy-emo-death thing?? I can only assume that I am now an old person.
--In an effort to economize and trim the grocery bill, I have been trying cheaper brands of toilet paper. I would like to point out that the stressful events listed above would have been handled in a more graceful fashion if the lady of the house had her beloved CHARMIN instead of the John Wayne toilet paper that is rough and tough and won't take any crap off anyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
--If my blatant and sometimes crass opinions are offensive to you then you should probably avoid my blog on Fridays as this is when I am most likely to let it all hang out. I like to think of it as a literary "dress-down" Friday thing.
--Today is "Talk Like A Pirate Day". (I know you don't believe me...go Google it and see) AARRRRGH! Have a happy weekend, Matey!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This is Piper Simpson, the newborn baby daughter of two former students of ours. She is having heart surgery tomorrow to repair a defect. Please pray for her and for her parents, Aaron and Lauren. Pray for her heart to be whole, her breathing to be normal and her ears to hear. We are all "fearfully and wonderfully made" and the God who fashions us in the secret place can heal and restore this tiny, beautiful baby girl.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I shamelessly stole this from Anne Jackson's blog who also stole it...I like to call it "research". Anyway, it is worth stealing.
LeaderMan: Wants a platform on which to say something
Servant Leader: Has something to say
LeaderMan: You almost feel you know his family, because he’s your Leader
Servant Leader: You allow him to influence you, because you know his family
LeaderMan: Wants you to know he’s a Leader
Servant Leader: You’re not sure he knows he’s a leader
LeaderMan: Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church
Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path
LeaderMan: A great speaker, but self-described as, “Not really a people person.”
Servant Leader: Makes himself a people person
LeaderMan: Helps you find where God is leading you in his organization
Servant Leader: Helps you find where God is leading you
LeaderMan: Gets together with you to talk about his vision
Servant Leader: Just gets together with you
LeaderMan: Resents “sheep stealing”
Servant Leader: Doesn’t get the “stealing” part, since he doesn’t own anyone to begin with
LeaderMan: Wants the right people on the bus
Servant Leader: Wants to find the right bus for you, and sit next to you on it
LeaderMan: Shows you a flow chart
Servant Leader: Shows you his whole heart
LeaderMan: A visionary who knows what the future looks like
Servant Leader: Knows what your kitchen looks like
LeaderMan: If it’s worth doing, it worth doing with excellence
Servant Leader: Not exactly sure how to even calculate “worth doing”
LeaderMan: Talks about confronting one another in love
Servant Leader: Actually confronts you in love
LeaderMan: Impressed by success and successful people
Servant Leader: Impressed by faithfulness
LeaderMan: Invests time in you, if you are “key people”
Servant Leader: Wastes time with you
LeaderMan: Reveals sins of his past
Servant Leader: Reveals sins of his present
LeaderMan: Gives you things to do
Servant Leader: Gives you freedom
LeaderMan: Leads because of official position
Servant Leader: Leads in spite of position
LeaderMan: Deep down, threatened by other Leaders
Servant Leader: Has nothing to lose
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
It is hard when your obedience to God is costly to others. It is one thing to walk out the consequences yourself but it is another thing entirely when you see what it costs others. It hurts and it causes you to question yourself. Did I really hear Him? Am I crazy? No. You are not crazy. It just hurts and there is nothing you can do but walk in obedience and trust the rest to Him. Oswald Chambers said this: "If we obey God, He will look after those who have been pressed into the consequences of our obedience. We have simply to obey and to leave all consequences to Him."
But most of us are not good at leaving things to Him. He is teaching me to leave it with Him, to count the cost and to trust. Is He teaching you this same thing?
Monday, September 15, 2008
My computer crashed on Friday morning as we were beginning an FDM board meeting (perfect timing!). A virus. Where would little ole' me pick up a virus?? This is bad for me. I have come to regard my laptop as an additional appendage and I had no idea what to do without it. Crossway Church's resident youth pastor and computer specialist, Brian Nelson, worked his magic, but we still had to wipe it completely and reinstall everything. And by everything, I do mean everything. And by we, I mean Eddie as I know nothing about this great little machine other than how to use it, and sometimes this is questionable.
I said all of this to say that my fantastic husband spent Saturday, Sunday and today working on my laptop so that I could quickly get back to my writing. He even missed most of the Georgia/South Carolina game on Saturday (fortunately it was replayed tonight) so that he could take care of me. They just don't make men like Eddie Taylor. He is a man like no other. And I thank God that he is mine!
Friday, September 12, 2008
I'm all over the road in my head this week:
--When I am out walking around somewhere in public, I sometimes imagine theme music playing like I am in a movie. I always wanted to be a famous actress.
--It is not a good idea to drink Sonny's tea for dinner if you are used to water. Can you say INSOMNIA??? It is 1 a.m. and I have never felt so ALIVE!!!!!
--I hate the devil and all of the sickness he brings to people that I love. I wish he would just go to hell.
--I think one of the afflictions in the church today is busyness. Good things that we choose to do can sometimes be the enemy of the God things. I think saying "no" can be music to the Lord's ears.
--I am pretty sure that Andrew Zimmern (the bizarre foods dude) must have been dropped on his head as an infant. There is just no other explanation.
--The new Facebook layout is positively yucky. Why did they not consult with me before messing everything up??
--I met an important deadline this week and accomplished something that I didn't think I could. I love that feeling.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Zig Ziglar once said, "What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination." Many of us get so caught up in the goal that we miss completely the beauty of the process. The funny thing about that is that the process seldom looks very beautiful up close. It is only in the rear view mirror that we catch a glimpse of how great it really was. I want to fall in love with the process and embrace it for what it is rather than dash through it wanting desperately to see what I get at the end of the race. I don't want to look back on anything and scratch my head trying to remember what happened. All of this "becoming" happens on the road-not at the end of the road. God, help me to see the beauty of the process because it is not what I get that matters at the end of it all, but whether I look more like You.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tonight (actually it was Monday night), over a noisy game of Monopoly with my family, I was asked the following question:
Unidentified son: "What happens when you get sleep acnea?"
Me: (through uncontrollable gales of laughter) "Sleep acnea is when your face breaks out in huge zits and they are so big that they somehow cover your nostrils and obstruct your breathing which is very dangerous."
Another unidentified son: (gasping for breath through his laughter) "It is sleep APNEA, genius!"
I love game night with my family!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Have you ever noticed the level of noise pollution in many restaurants? Music blares from speakers all over the building while two or three televisions hanging throughout the restaurant are set to different stations, further contributing to the cacophony. (How in the world are we expected to watch the TV when Olivia Newton-John is singing Xanadu loudly over the sound system?). Mix all of that with the normal din of dozens of conversations and you are talking chaos. And it is like that in many public places.
Now, obviously I am not suggesting some sort of noise revolt. Tried it. Failed. Seriously, what I am talking about is being intentional about making time for quiet in your life. Because there is so much more noise all around us than ever before, we have to make time to quiet ourselves and tune in to the condition of our own souls. The times that I find myself most out of sorts are when I have lost sight of this and I have allowed the noise to drown out the deep cries of my own heart. It is then that I run back to the quiet so that I can hear. God will never yell above the noise in our lives so we must position ourselves in the seat of silence in order that we don't miss what He wants to say. And it is so worth the effort. When was the last time you shut out the world and just listened?
Monday, September 8, 2008
I had a yummy hamburger this weekend with bacon on it and it was so good that I thought I would give you all a little solute to bacon. Jim Gaffigan is my very favorite comedian these days. Check it out. Less than five minutes. My apologies to all of my Jewish friends.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Here are my yummy thoughts for the week:
--If you drop a pyrex mixing bowl onto a ceramic tile floor, it shatters into a kajillion pieces.
--If you drop a dirty pyrex mixing bowl coated in mayonnaise and cream of chicken soup onto a ceramic tile floor, it, and your heart, shatter into a kajillion pieces.
--Brooms cannot sweep up tiny shards of glass coated in mayonnaise and cream of chicken soup.
--Great quote: "Lion chasers are humble enough to let God call the shots and brave enough to follow where He leads." --Mark Batterson
--I am going to have to agree with my son, Jacob. Algebra sucks. Algebra 2? The same but even louder. This is not open for debate.
--I was supposed to spend this weekend with my sister, who lives in South Carolina, pretending together that Saturday is just another day and not the 1 year mark of our mothers' death. Tropical storm Hanna has ruined this. I hate Hanna.
--People who say that they don't believe in soul mates say so because they still haven't met theirs.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This coming Saturday marks one year since I lost my mother to cancer. Loss is such a strange thing for with it comes sorrow and longing and they are both insatiable companions. The one consolation is that they are not constant companions. They show up in the most unexpected places and at such inconvenient times, like that friend that everyone has who possesses no tact and never knows when it's time to go home. But as time goes by there are longer and longer seasons of feeling like your normal self. In fact some of the "normal" times are so long you allow yourself to believe that it is all over and everything is okay again. And then you hear a song she used to sing, see her favorite movie, get a whiff of a fragrance that makes you think she is right there, or you see someone in the grocery store that looks just like her from behind and when she turns around, your heart plummets to your stomach because you realize it is not her. It will never be her.
Off and on during the past twelve months I have dreamed that I am in a familiar place and I am searching for her. No one I ask can tell me where she is and the more I look, the emptier I feel. And then I awaken to the unavoidable and sometimes suffocating truth that, from time to time, I will always feel this sense of loss. The irony is that while she was sick and living under my roof, I let myself believe that because of the pain of my past with her, I would miss her but I wouldn't need her. I haven't needed her my entire adult life. But I did need her and the needs she met in me went unrecognized until she was no longer there to meet them.
The loss of a parent is a vacuous feeling, a void that can never be filled. Even so, there is comfort in Psalm 68, that he is a father to the fatherless (and a mother to the motherless) and that He daily bears our burdens. No chasm of sorrow and loss is too great for Him. He holds my hand and walks with me through the messy inevitabilities of this life. And He performs this intensely intimate miracle for all who dare to ask Him. Sorrow and suffering are not purposeless realities of life...they serve to bring to pass something deep within us that I don't think we will truly understand until we cross over into eternity. And I'm okay with that.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Today is my 25th birthday!! On September 3, 1983, at the tender age of fifteen, I went down to the altar at a Petra concert and prayed with Greg Volz to receive Christ, snot-crying like a little baby and dang glad I wasn't going to be empty anymore. And it has been a "saddle up my horse, what's gonna happen next?, You want me to do what?" adventure ever since! Wow!
I passed by a classic car show not long ago and was shocked to see that some of the cars on the lot were cars that my friends drove in high school. What??!! Eddie was good enough to enlighten me with the revelation knowledge that a car becomes "classic" when it reaches 25 years old. So, I guess that makes me a "classic Christian" today. When I was fifteen I would imagine what I would be like at the place I am now and I remember thinking how wise I would probably be when I got to be old and forty. Silly me. I don't feel so very wise. With each passing year I just grow more thankful that He loves me and more keenly aware of how desperately I need God. Hmmmm. I guess that is wisdom.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I have said it before and I will say it again, you gotta get you some sons! It takes true ingenuity to find multiple uses for the common leaf blower, but as you can see, my middle son, David, has risen to the occasion. Move over Vidal Sassoon!
Monday, September 1, 2008
I love the quiet comfort of my house early in the morning before everyone else wakes up. The luxury of having unhurried and uninterrupted moments with God is like a gift box in your lap wrapped in really expensive paper that is way outside your budget with the kind of bow that you could never have tied yourself and so you just want to sit and hold it a while and not rush through the process of getting to what is inside.
In recent weeks I felt the Lord pulling me back to the classic book, Hinds' Feet on High Places, which I have read at least eight times over the past eighteen years but which never fails to speak something of great value to my heart. I have been working through it slowly during my devotional time, savoring it like an expensive meal in a fine restaurant. The other day I read this passage: "Will you bear this too, Much-Afraid? Will you suffer yourself to lose or to be deprived of all you have gained on this journey to the High Places? Will you go down this path into the Valley of Loss, just because it is the way I have chosen for you? Will you still trust and still love Me?"
What is my answer to that question? There are turns in the path with Him where He brings you to a place that overlooks the Valley of Loss and you must consider if you really are willing to follow Him into something that appears crazy and that places all that you have gained so far onto the altar of sacrifice. Many in the audience of your life might even judge you and ridicule you for taking such a direction and, as for applause...well, there will be none of that. Will I allow Him to break the reverie of my daily living to pose such a question to me? Will you?