Thursday, January 31, 2008

MY Cookie Crisis

It is so not fair.

I was wandering through an artisan-type market filled with stalls peddling wares which didn't particularly catch my eye.

Until I happened upon a bakery.

With the most delectable cookies. Huge. Warm. Brimming with glistening melty gooey chocolate chips.

Forget petting them. I was ready to adopt them! They were calling my name and I was answering! And to top it off, they had Dr. Pepper in a glass bottle. Just like when I was a little girl.

I took my purchase to a cozy seat, and with eager anticipation lifted the cookie to my lips.

And the alarm clock went off!

Before I even took the first bite.

Now I have had some aggravating dreams, but that one took the cake, er, cookie. A chance to enjoy the wondrous sensation of that delectable treat with nary a calorie to count, and it all vanished at the sound of the buzz.

So not only have I become addicted to reading these blogs, but they are invading my dreams and taunting me.

I'm just glad I'm not an Old Tesatament prophet. I really don't want to know what this dream means....

It's a cruel, cruel world.

View blog reactions

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Five of My Favorite Words in the Bible - Part 2

"Even if He does not."

This is where the rubber hits the road, my friends. Like our friends in Daniel 3, most of us as believers have no problem ascribing God His rightful attribute of power. He is mightily able to move mountains, protect from harm, heal diseases, and a host of other miracles. The issue we wrestle with isn't whether or not He CAN.

But where Shad & his buddies received their true victory of faith was in the recognition that, sometimes, to accomplish His greater purpose and glory, He chooses NOT to do those things. And only when we come face to face with that reality will we discover where we have really placed our faith: in Him alone, or in what He gives us. And because our 3 Daniel dudes had their faith firmly anchored in God, they were willing to go into the fire with no guarantee of physical deliverance.

This is why those who hang their hats and their hopes on a prosperity gospel are left scratching their heads and looking pretty hopeless when tragedy strikes.

Even as an outstanding pastor and evangelist, Ron Dunn says he struggled with this too:

The truth is, I felt I deserved better treatment. My position ought to merit some consideration...A few perks of the job?...Hey, I'm a child of God. I've devoted my life to serving Him--He ought to keep that in mind when He starts handing out calamities and catastrophies...I always thought of faith as a buffer, a cushion that would protect me from the sharp edges of life. But when one of those sharp edges penetrated my faith and pierced my flesh--that's when...I made the shattering discovery: You can trust God and still get hurt. And that's when you discover what kind of faith you have, because there is one thing both God and Satan agree on: Faith that depends upon prosperity is not genuine.
I think we particularly struggle with this in the good ol' USA. Because of our material abundance, we equate a life filled with stuff, ease, and answered prayer with His love & goodness. I don't think the folks who meet in underground churches or who face persecution for their beliefs struggle with this to the extent we do.

How many times do we say in a prayer group "The tumor was benign! God is so good." or "God is so good! He protected me from the attempted robbery." or "God is good. My son came home safe from Iraq." or "My baby is healthy. God is so good."

I submit to you that yes, God is indeed good, but that statement is independent of the others. If our circumstances are how we determine God's goodness, then what is left for these folks to hold onto: the dear believer whose body is riddled with cancer?...the precious college girl attacked on her way home from class?...the family burying their fallen soldier...the heartbroken mother with empty arms?

I can't even begin to understand God's plan or purpose. He alone is Sovereign, and His ways are above my ways. But this I have learned:

God is good - even when the tumor is malignant.
God is good - even though my friend's 8-year-old son died of cancer.
God is good - even when your marriage is hurting.
God is good - in the midst of the darkest despair.
God is good.
All the time.

Being utterly convinced of this in the deepest parts of our souls is what enables us to trust Him, even when we don't understand the "why". Knowing that He is Love and is good enables us to trust His greater purpose and sovereign plan, even when we can't see beyond our tears. (And yes, we will still have tears. This does not turn us into stoic stiff-upper-lip types; rather, He weeps with us as He did with Mary & Martha at Lazarus' tomb.)

Remember Lisa Beamer, the 9/11 widow of "Let's Roll" Todd Beamer? She has said
God’s sovereignty has been made clear to me. When I am tempted to become angry and ask ‘What if?’ and , ‘Why us?’ God says, ‘I knew on September 10, and I could have stopped it, but I have a plan for greater good than you can ever imagine.’ I don’t know God’s plan, and honestly, right now I don’t like it very much. But I trust that He is true to His promise in Romans 8:28: ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.’ My only responsibility is to love God. He’ll work out the rest." Beneath her signature Lisa writes Genesis 50:20, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."
I have walked down some dark roads with dear Christian friends....a couple who buried their only son who died of SIDS when he was almost 2 years old....a friend who lost her 8-year-old son after a struggle with brain cancer....parents whose newly-married daughter was tragically killed by her husband before he shot himself.

Each of these friends would stand before you and bear unshakeable witness today to the fact that God is good and loving. Even though their hearts were broken and life was forever changed. Because in the midst of their pain, like Job, they experienced God as never before. And although they were already believers, they can now say in a new way: "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you." (Job 42:5)

And because of this, though they would not have chosen to walk the hard road, now that they are on the other side, they discovered that God is worth it. Because they discovered that He is sufficient. He is loving. And He is good.

When He protects us from unimaginable heartache.

And even if He does not.

(So much for a "few" comments. I'll be putting up my preachin' soapbox now and go back to regular blogging! Have a great Wednesday!)

View blog reactions

Monday, January 28, 2008

Five of My Favorite Words in the Bible

From the time I was a little girl, I heard the story of God rescuing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace from Daniel 3.

But as an adult studying through the book of Daniel several years ago, a phrase leapt off the page at me that is not emphasized in the children's version. And yet these are 5 of my favorite words in the Bible.

"Even if He does not."

You see, those 3 faithful guys knew their God was perfectly capable of rescuing them from the inferno. They stood right up to King Nebuchadnezzar and said "the God we serve is able to save us from it." (v. 17) They had a strong faith in a mighty God. And yet, they recognized that God was God and might choose to be glorified by their death, but that didn't change their stance one iota. "But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (v. 18) Their faith was in Him, not what they were convinced He was going to do.

If you read my Books meme, you saw that a book that changed my life is Ron Dunn's When Heaven is Silent. He addresses this same issue from the book of Job. Satan comes to God in chapter 1 and basically says that Job serves God because of the blessings he receives from it. ("Does Job fear God for nothing?" v. 9) Hence those blessings are removed to show that Job served God because of Who He Is, not what He does.

Ron Dunn asserts that the point of the book of Job is not "Why do the righteous suffer?" Rather, it is "Why do the righteous serve God?" He asks:

Why do I worship God? It's a fair question. Do I worship God because He is God or because He blesses me with good gifts? What if He stopped "blessing" me?...We tell people that if they tithe God will bless them, He will make the 90 percent go farther than the 100 percent. But what if He doesn't? What if the only thing you had after you tithed was 10 percent less than you had before you tithed? What if the IRS decreed that gifts to the church were no longer deductible?...'Will a person serve God for nothing?'

And part of what must be wrestled with here is how this leads us to view God and His character. Dunn wrestled with it. (This book was written as a result of the sorrow he experienced following his 17-year-old son's death.) Job wrestled with it. Anyone who has suffered a tragedy has wrestled with it. And apparently our 3 guys facing the fiery furnace had wrestled with it.

Thirteen years ago this spring, when I was pregnant with my girl, we had a bit of a scare about Down's. In order to be prepared, I elected to have an amnio to find out definitively. It was a very uncertain and difficult time as we awaited the results. So many well-meaning believers tried to encourage me by telling me many people were praying and therefore everything would be all right.

What I had to get to the point of realizing was this: everything would indeed be "all right", not based on whether I delivered a chromosomally-perfect child, but based on the character and sovereignity of a loving God Who is good.

If He delivers us from our trials and sorrows.

And even if He does not.

(I have a few more comments on this, so come back in the next day or two for Part 2!)

View blog reactions

Saturday, January 26, 2008

So Nice To Be Liked

Wow. I am overwhelmed.

I'm sure most of you have had the feeling of being the "new kid on the block," going into a situation where folks know the ropes and have established relationships with each other and you try to find where you fit in and you really like the people you meet but they all are busy with each other and they know how to do everything and their stuff is so cute and you feel like an outsider and a Plain Jane and you SO want to belong but nobody has time for you and you feel like you're back in junior high and. . . . . .

And yeah, you know it happens at church too. Women can have clique issues wherever they are. Years ago I knew a young wife at my former church who commented in response to the need for inreach/outreach: "I don't have time for the friends I have; I don't need new ones." (Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries has been moderating some great discussion on friendship this week.)

Well, let me just go on record as saying: you blogging gals have totally blown that issue right out of the water (or I could say, out the Microsoft WINDOW! LOL) Here I am, one more blog in this crowded blog world full of incredible Godly women who are full of fun and faith. I wasn't sure I'd even get any comments. Much less have people put me on their sidebar in their favorites!

And now Kelli has given me this awesome award and said such nice things that I wanted to cry! And she was even sick that day and didn't feel much like blogging. Wow--thanks, Kelli.

And earlier this week, Xandra passed along this one to me with her compliments. Thanks!

I love what this award says: "I wanted to let you know another has felt your touch. Do you realize how many people you have touched . . . bouncing about the internet ... traveling out in cyberspace ... landing blog to blog ... uniting new people, creating new friendships and strengthening the bonds of friendships . . . ."

And thanks to all of you for the encouraging comments and visits you bring to my blog and for the laughter, tears, and challenges I receive when I visit yours.

As hard as it is to choose, I do want to pass these awards on to a few folks who are making a difference with their blogs:

Kelly - this woman is encouraging many women to come Out of Egypt and is leading them to a healthier lifestyle. She's sharing her tips on how she lost over 50 pounds and yet ensures the focus is on the relationship with Christ rather than the relationship with the scale.

Chris - this woman has such a heart for God and so many great things to share. She's also one of the writers at the Cafe. She's been out of pocket this week, and I've missed her.


Renee Swope and Lysa TerKeurst - these P31 ministry gals are great inspirations to all of us. But the really incredible thing is their authenticity and their approachability. I can't believe they take the time to visit other blogs with all the things they have on their plates. What fun it would be to go to lunch with them! (And Renee & Lysa, if you read this, don't feel pressured to pass this on; I just wanted you to know you are a light to many of us!)

The Preacher's Wife - we all trip over ourselves to give her awards and read her posts. She was the one who encouraged me to blog and mentioned my little blog in hers to help me get started and introduce me to you. She's a mentor to so many and a sweet, sweet friend.

Lisa Writes - since she's responsible for my turning on my light way too early in the morning, of course this is an appropriate award for her! God's love shines through this gal's blog. And she's a woman who loves many of the same books I do and dark chocolate M&Ms to boot!

Well, I sat down to write a really short one for a Saturday, but alas, to paraphrase Luke 6:45, out of the overflow of the heart, the fingers type!

View blog reactions

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fair Warning

This blog business really ought to come with a warning:

The Surgeon General Has Determined That Reading Blogs Is Dangerous To Your Health. Blog Contents Cause Laughter, Tears, and May Be Responsible For Loss Of Sleep.

Many of you are blessed, as I am, with the writings of Lisa Writes and her spiritual insight. Well, thanks to her and her convicting blogs, yesterday I left my alarm set to the time that I have to get up on the days my girl has her insanely early basketball practices. And it really was worth it. I was feeling nice and spiritual.

Until this morning.

When I WOKE UP. Without the alarm. Just before 5:00 A.M.

Wide awake, I thought, "well, who am I to fight a praying woman and the God of the universe?" and up I got.

It didn't help any that on the other end of the night I was up way too late laughing at The Preacher's Wife latest anecdote.

I so need some coffee. I wonder if Kelli figured out how to get it in an IV . . . .

View blog reactions

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Homework and Hearts of Stone

My boy was asking me some questions about college this morning as we left for school. He's a high-schooler now, and although there's still plenty of time to make the big decisions, unfamiliarity breeds major contempt in his mind, so the wheels are starting to turn. (Translation: he's already starting to worry!)

Anyway, the gist of his questions had to do with do you have A days and B days, how many classes, how much homework.

After I explained the concept of the college schedule being measured in class hours, I tried to explain the difference between going to school to learn and going to school to make grades on assignments.

Poor fella - with a dad who's an engineer and a mom who jokingly calls myself a "recovering Pharisee" he inherited literalism and legalism in spades! Just tell him the rules so he can follow them, but don't be giving him vague goals! I tried to explain that the profs don't tell you to go home and do (fill in the blank) but you go home and do it because you better know the material by the end of the course. It's the difference between doing homework and studying. (A concept that schools today don't help the kids differentiate between, but that's another post for another day!) The difference between being outwardly focused (homework) and being inwardly focused (knowledge).

And isn't that the struggle of us all as we go through our lives? (Well, at least mine!) As our Ladies Bible Study continues to work our way through the Old Testament, sometimes it's like looking in a mirror. I would have made a great Israelite.

Prophet after prophet comes to them:

Amos warns them that "playing church" is useless, that God hates their religious feasts and assemblies, and that though they bring Him burnt offerings, grain offerings, and fellowship offerings, God will not accept them. (Amos 5:21-22) He scolds them for their complacency, for living the "good life", eating fancy food, using fine lotions, having their luxurious furniture and playing their musical instruments (Amos 6:1-6) as well as their disregard for and injustice to the poor. (Amos 1:6-8)

Through Jeremiah, God says that "Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense" (Jer. 3:10) He lists the sins they commit and says they then "come and stand before Me in this house, which bears My Name, and say, 'We are safe'. . . " (Jer. 7:9-10)

Joel tells them to "rend your hearts and not your garments" (Joel 2:13)

And to Ezekiel, God says the people are "saying to each other 'Come and hear the word of the Lord.' My people come to you as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain." (Ezekiel 33:30-31)

Ouch, my toes are hurting big time!

How easy it is to get on automatic pilot - to play church, to let our outward actions look like we have it all together while inside our hearts are not softened and changed.

Anyone else have the contentious family car rides to church and then you step out with the heavenly smile on your face? (Or is that just my family?!) Or critical thoughts toward that woman who had the nerve to wear THAT to church on Sunday? Toward those kids who really need to behave & whose parents ought to crack down on them? Or a judgmental attitude toward that sleazily-dressed girl working in the coffee shop with all her piercings and her weird hair as we stop to pick up our latte on the way to Bible Study?

Or is it just me?

Sometimes we just want to do the homework to pass the course. We don't really want to learn.

Forgive me, Lord, when I'm concerned more with deeds than desire, facade than faith, display than devotion.

But oh, thank you Lord for your grace - and your promise to remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26) Change my heart and fill it with You.

View blog reactions

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Heart Failure on Sunday

Our family received this really fun game for Christmas. The basic premise is a race against the variable-interval timer to call out words that fit the subject-of-the-round and be the one to have the last word spoken when the timer dings.

So my girl and I were playing this afternoon. My sweet, innocent, totally-not-into-boys, modest-minded, adores-Vicki-Courtney, 12-year-old. The letter was M. The subject card she put down for both of us was "Activities for a Date."

She looked all-too-briefly puzzled at the subject but then without missing a beat said "Making out".

"WHAAAAAT????!!!!" I gasped. " Try MOVIE!"

"Well, that's all I could think of!"

Fortunately, the timer buzzed, and I had the last word.

Sweetheart, let me tell you: Mom ALWAYS has the Last Word, and you aren't dating until you're at least 37.

View blog reactions

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Language of the Latte

Wandering through the blog word, I love to see what sites my favorite bloggers frequent, and that led me to Do You Weary Like I Do? She had this fun, oh-so-scientific-I'm-sure, link that told me all about myself according to how I order my latte. Pretty entertaining, but I don't think I'll be trading in my Bible for the coffee version of tea leaves any time soon!

What Your Latte Says About You
You don't treat yourself very often. You find that indulging doesn't jibe with your very disciplined life. You can be quite silly at times, but you know when to buckle down and be serious. You have a good deal of energy, but you pace yourself. You never burn out too fast. You're totally addicted to caffeine... but you like to pretend like you aren't! You are responsible, mature, and truly an adult. You're occasionally playful, but you find it hard to be carefree. You are deep and thoughtful, but you are never withdrawn.

View blog reactions

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Onslaught

They're coming.

Like the Biblical plague of locusts, brown and green, they are about to descend on us all. For some, as soon as this weekend they will be everywhere you look and walk. The noise will build as the cacophony of their species rises in unity of purpose and speech.

"Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?"

Sigh. Strategically placed in the moment that the fresh motivation of the New Year's resolution might be starting to fade, these are not encouraging words.

Since my daughter is no longer in Girl Scouts, fortunately we're out of the business of selling the things. At least the aroma in my living room isn't tormenting me and cases aren't lining the wall. And I do not have to freeze to death and try to manipulate stiff fingers to count money in frigid temperatures at a booth tomorrow.

But having experienced those "delights" firsthand, it does make it a little harder to just walk right by a hopeful little girl. Especially if it's a quiet booth and she doesn't seem to be selling much. And if she's little - the cute factor of a young gap-toothed Brownie is a definite advantage!

And then there's my man. He's a pushover for these little girls, especially since his girl used to be one of them.

So consider yourself warned. Soon they'll be among us. Prepare for action.

And stay out of my Thin Mints.

View blog reactions

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Books - My First Meme!

Ah, the wondrous power of words! Since I was a child, I've loved to have my nose in a book. And one of the pleasures of kids in piano lessons and other "mom sits and waits" activities is taking a book along!

Lisa at Lisa Writes and Chris at Come to the Table have both been doing a Book Meme this week. They've invited the rest of us to participate, so here's my list.


The Bible

When Heaven is Silent by Ron Dunn - this is the absolutely best book I've ever read on God's sovereignty and goodness. Now only available from the website his wife has maintained since his death.

Your Girl by Vicki Courtney - Vicki has great insight and wisdom in raising our girls. The examples she gave which included conversations which her son also gave great insight into raising boys, as did her follow-up book Your Boy.

A Woman's Heart by Beth Moore - this Bible Study made me fall in love with the Old Testament and the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. All my life I'd been taught that Christ fulfilled the law. This study demonstrates it in vivid detail.


As a kid, I read books over and over. Practically memorized Little Women and the Little House series.

Haven't read too many books more than once as an adult -- too many I haven't read the first time. But I suspect I'll be reading these again because they were so outstanding: A Walk in the Park by Barbara Andrews, When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin, Healing Stones by Nancy Rue, The Note by Angela Hunt


The Bible - that's a given
When Heaven is Silent - because if I were on a desert island I'd definitely need it!!
Anything by Angela Hunt, Charles Martin, or Nancy Rue


Doesn't She Look Natural? by Angela Hunt (only because I have a medically-warped sense of humor and I went to my uncle's funeral about the time I read this!)
The Purse-Driven Life by Anita Renfroe - 'nuf said


A Walk in the Park by Barbara Andrews
When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin


How To Think Up Witty Answers To Questions Like This


To each his (or her!) own, so I'll leave this blank. . . . although there's plenty of sleaze and false doctrine out there.


The Bible! (in a year)
Mere Chrisitanity by C.S. Lewis
Maggie by Charles Martin (The sequel to The Dead Don't Dance)
Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild


Logged on and Tuned Out by Vicki Courtney
Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore
Desiring God by John Piper
What's So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
Pascal's Wager by Nancy Rue
Pride & Prejudice (Can't believe I'm this old and have never read it. I can hear the resounding gasps all the way through the computer screen!)

There you have it. Tag, you're it if you wanna play! Let me know if you post a list - it's always fun to see what others like.

View blog reactions

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Digging My Own Cistern

Our ladies are going through the whole Bible getting the "big picture" this year. We began in the fall and are just about to finish up the Old Testament and begin the New. At times it's been like drinking out of a fire hose, but it's been great to read the Psalms in context with their specific events, get the placement of the prophetic books lined up with the events in the historical books, etc.

I always love doing Old Testament studies. So many people have the impression of the God of the Old Testament being the angry judgmental God, as opposed to the grace and mercy He demonstrates in the New Testament. But oh, how much mercy & grace He continually pours out on the wayward Israelites! Over and over they turn away from Him until they are in a fix, then they run complaining to Him and He rescues them. (Sounds a lot like me!) After awhile (as in a few centuries!) though, He gets a "little" weary (read: fed up, grieved, heartbroken) of this:

They say to wood, 'You are my father,' and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!' Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! Jeremiah 2:27-28

And as I think about what a poor substitute a man-made idol is for the incomparable God of the universe, this verse pricked my heart:

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13

From what I've read, the cisterns of that day were dug in the limestone rock, and they would smear plaster on it in an attempt to keep the water from seeping out. What a visual: ignoring a bubbling spring of fresh, clear water and instead choosing to sweat and dig and have only trickling, leaking water for your efforts.

Yet I realized, so many times I do just that. My best effort can only devise a poor substitute for what God abundantly provides. Mere drops compared to Living Water. Crumbs instead of the Bread of Life.

I dig my own cistern by serving the god of my own self-sufficiency instead of Him.

Yet even as He is unleashing His judgment on them for their continued hard-heartedness and idol worship, as they are being taken into captivity by the Babylonians, He tells Jeremiah regarding the remnant of Judah:

My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:6-7

Sounds an awful lot like mercy and grace to me.

Depth of mercy! Can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?

I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.
For the rest of the lyrics & tune of this wonderful old hymn by Charles Wesley, click here.

View blog reactions

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Passing It On. . . .

Well, how fun is this!! Denise from Tucked Inside My Heart has honored me with this cool award that Xandra started! I love the description of the award:

So here's to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog.

What an exciting surprise and honor! Thanks, Denise!

Now to pass it on. I'm still pretty new in the blog business, so I haven't gotten much of a chance to explore a whole lot. And I know some of these have already gotten this award. But that just reinforces the fact that they are awesome gals, and I love to go hang out at their blog!

1. The Preacher's Wife - This is a given, and I know everyone on the planet has given her this award. But she absolutely sets the bar for blogging. She has a heart for God that shines through all she writes. And a "funner" blog you'll never read. She will make you laugh and then zero in on the spiritual application without missing a beat. And besides, she's the one who encouraged me to start blogging! Thanks, Lisa!

2. Xandra at Heart of Service - She's the one who started this award business, and she ranks right up there with the best. Plus she lives in this great state of Texas. And she. too, is an insatiable reader. And she likes to cook. I do believe we must be twins. The only hesitation I had about giving her this award is because SHE won the Virtue Alert Drawing for voting on the book cover of Vicki's new book. Hmmpff.

3. Kelli at Ponderings of a Pastor's Wife - She's another one who's authentic, has a heart for God, loves to read, etc. etc. etc. I love to bump into her out in blog-space and read her comments on everyone else's blogs as well. And her blog just got a beautiful makeover. Sigh. But coveting is a sin, so I'm going to act my mature age (as I've been told!) and give her this award with my blessing.

4. Mel's World with Melissa Mashburn - Melissa appears to have more energy in her little finger than I do in my entire being. Her blog is as effective as a double-shot of espresso. I knew I would connect with her when I saw that she, too, put Mary Poppins as one of her favorite movies. She's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

5. Lisa at Lisa Writes - I know she's gotten this award already because I "met" her through the Preacher's Wife. She's got lots of wisdom and she's lots of fun. I especially like the description on her profile that she's "an ordinary woman living an ordinary life desiring to make much of an extraordinary God."

6. Kelli at Love Well - Actually, I'm not sure that anyone who can look this good immediately after having a baby, and fit her entire labor and delivery between breakfast and dinner even deserves an award! I mean, what more could she want? And take her laptop to the wireless hospital and surf the blog world in the process?! But since she lives in the cold, cold, cold, northern part of the USA (a place where I would absolutely freeeeeeze to death) and her kids even eat snow for breakfast, I will take pity on her and give her this much-deserved award (even though it's her second go-round as well).

7. CWO Internet Cafe - These devotions are great. I look forward to reading them each morning, and I loving visiting each of the team members' individual blogs after I read their contribution. They have great hearts and a wonderful way of communicating God's truths.

8. Vicki Courtney's Virtue Alert - Lastly but absolutely not least, Vicki and her ministry have had an impact on me and my daughter that I cannot even begin to describe. My girl adored the events they sponsored, and as a large result of their influence, she is completely disinterested in the sleaze the world offers. She's only 12, so I'm not naive enough to think the battle is permanently won, and Vicki's blog keeps me updated and aware of what's out there. My tendency would be to bury my head in the sand without it. Vicki is a wonderful blessing.

So there you have it. I know it's more than 5, but I'll just consider it my Daily 8 for '08. As a nurse, I know how important it is to get that daily dose in, so I sure don't miss it!

Thanks to all you girls for blessing my heart, challenging my walk, and giving me a smile each day!

View blog reactions

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Great Read

Attention all you readers out there! And even those who aren't! I have just finished a phenomenal book that is hot off the press - just came out last week, in fact. It is an incredible, powerful, and convicting story of grace, forgiveness, and second chances, beginning with accepting God's forgiveness for ourselves.

This is one of those books I had a hard time putting down: I couldn't decide if I wanted to read slower to make it last, or faster to find out what happened next!

You may be familiar with the authors: Nancy Rue, while she has written several fiction books for adults, is much-loved among pre-teen girls for her Lily and Sophie's World series. Stephen Arterburn is the founder of New Life Ministries, the founder of Women of Faith conferences, and author of the Every Man series.

Grab a copy of this compelling book for yourself; use the questions in the back to discuss with your book group or friends. It contains much to ponder.

Healing Stones: A Sullivan Crisp Novel
by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn

Demetria Costanas has decided she must end her five-month affair with fellow professor Zach Archer. But when she goes to tell him that it is over, someone photographs them together and delivers the pictures both to the president of their university and to her husband.

With her life spiraling out of control, Demetria begins to meet with psychologist Sullivan Crisp at the insistance of a friend. Sully is an unusual psychologist who believes more in "game show theology"--a method of using popular game shows to help his clients reach the truth they need to find--than in preaching platitudes and following the expected model. But as Sully helps her sort through all the issues in her life, she comes to a new and better premise--a realization that God loves her and wants her to have an abundant life.

View blog reactions

Monday, January 7, 2008


Pure indulgence. That is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of the environment my girl and I were in this weekend.

We had a wonderful time on our trip. My daughter adored the American Girl Boutique and Bistro. I think we were in the store 4 times before the weekend was over! But that is why we went, after all! And the folks there were wonderful. We had dessert there Saturday night. Got off to a bumpy start as the hostess we had talked to that afternoon was apparently on break and they had a miscommunication regarding our promised seating. But wow, they went above and beyond to make it right. My girl's milkshake was complimentary, the server treated us like royalty, they gave her a goodie bag with a free book and some treats, and at the end the chef came out and chatted with us and gave her another book! Oh, and did I mention the dessert was to-die-for?

The chef had trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and that fondue was made from the most delectable Belgian chocolate that I have ever placed on my tongue. Bliss in a bowl.

The store itself was such fun. She got her doll's hair done in the salon. Too cute.

As for the rest of our time, she ice-skated around this enormous Christmas tree, and we enjoyed wandering through the mall and just being together.

For those of you that have done Beth Moore's Daniel study, I did feel a bit like I was in Babylon, however. While we certainly have upscale stores here, I don't hang out in them. We ventured into one jewelry store where the most prominent feature by the door was the armed security guard. Looked in the case at one ornate diamond necklace and my girl could see that the tag indicated it was 43 total carats. The salespeople were all busy with "real customers", so I couldn't even find out how many years' salary it would have cost. (We'd already seen the apparently "slummy" Tiffany's down the way with their "mere" $13,000 solitaire earrings!)

At another store we glanced at the tag of a prominently displayed purse: $2,350. As in two thousand. For a purse. (And what would you put in it after you spent all your money to buy it?!) And in my girl's words "it's not even pretty."

The funniest thing, though, was that with all this opulence, they also actually had a Payless Shoes in the mall. Walked in and there on display were the shoes that Beth Moore bought and blogged about! I had to laugh.

Now lest I step on any toes, I absolutely realize that there are Godly people out there with great wealth, and that money itself is not evil. But while I can certainly have my moments of wanting what I can't afford, for this day, I was happy to leave the upper crust and come home.

Although I wouldn't have minded if the maid had come in to do my bed this morning.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

1 Timothy 6:6-11

View blog reactions

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Me and My Gal

Fiddlesticks. Just as I'm getting the hang of this blog-thing and actually have had a few nice gals drop by, I'm heading out for the weekend. But I'm so excited about this little trip.

For Christmas we gave our daughter a "gift certificate" for a mother-daughter weekend which includes visiting the new Boutique & Bistro of a certain doll store. She still has a bit of little girl in her, so now's our chance. So she and I are headed for a weekend at the mall in North Texas. She's got her grandparents' Christmas money to spend and I've got birthday money I've been saving for such a time as this.

And even better to my heart than the mall is the hotel. With maid service. And, although I dearly love my husband, I do sleep better without his apnea machine roaring like a wind tunnel next to me. (Although the machine is an improvement over the snoring. . . .)

I figure I better grab this opportunity while my girl still wants to be seen with me. She still thinks I'm pretty cool most of the time, and I'm gonna hang onto that as long as I can.

So please save my chair while I'm gone. I'll be wanting to share a cup with you when I get back.

View blog reactions

Be sure to stop by the Cafe and enter this great drawing!

View blog reactions

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Simple Resolution

I have a very important resolution for the new year. Or maybe it's a goal. A hope. A desperate wish.

That is for no one to tell me I am old. Especially those to whom I am paying big bucks to provide me with quality service.

Last year (how can 2 days make 2007 seem so distant?) I had a small growth on my forehead right at my hairline. When it began to change, I did a good job of not panicking, but being a nurse, I prudently hightailed it to my dermatologist, for whom I've always had the highest regard and respect. Until now.

He quickly reassured me it was nothing but a seborrheic keratosis, a harmless growth that would never be cancer but just a nuisance, and he promptly froze it off. He then handed me the brochure about these delightful growths and walked out of the room. (He was a wise man to leave.)

To begin with, the man on the front of brochure appeared to be the resurrected Methuselah. But that was not the worst of it. Inside, it claimed that these are very commonplace and are often referred to as BARNACLES OF OLD AGE.

Yep, me and the ancient wrecks on the ocean floor now have a common bond.

I'd like to meet the person who wrote that brochure and thought that either aspect of the description was flattering! In spite of my gratitude for the non-cancerous diagnosis, I still left the office feeling like I had one foot in the grave.

Not many weeks after that, another non-gentle man who was providing service to an item of mine commented about how much my granddaughter will be delighted to inherit it. My daughter is 12.

Yes, I know I COULD have a grandchild at this age in my life, but I do like to think I don't look like it.

So if you see me this year, especially if I'm pushing my 81-year-old mom in her wheelchair, please don't ask me if I'm her sister. I'll love you forever for it.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 43:5

View blog reactions

Diving In

Well, I have officially taken the plunge! There's a whole 'nother world out there that I had no idea existed. But I can see it's full of wonderful Godly women who are striving to please Him and make a difference in their world. And who are full of fun and laughter and life.

Hopefully I can figure out how to make my site pretty and put some of those buttons from CWO on here. If not, I'll just muddle along and see what God has planned for me.

View blog reactions