Friday, August 29, 2008

Rockin' up the political scene

Did you listen to Obama last night? We did. Excellent speaker. Good, fierce eye contact.
Honestly, I try hard to be open minded, but any time he brought up abortion rights, I not only cringe but I come very close to needing to leave the room. It is difficult to continue listening to someone who refuses to recognize the rights and person-hood of children, both born and unborn, apparently.
I really don't want to be a one-issue-voter kind of gal but it is like listening to a candidate give a speech encompassing all the issues; gas prices, the war, foreign policy etc. And then he says, " And I think we can all agree on needing to reduce the number of children that we kill. It is an intensely personal decision between a family, their doctor and their God."

Hello-ooo! We shouldn't be allowed to make that kind of choice!

That may sound harsh to you, but that is exactly what I hear when someone on the pro-choice side begins speaking on reproductive rights. It is so difficult to have a sane, reasonable conversation when one of the persons insists on laws allowing for children to be killed. Kind of a conversation ender.
So, rather than be one of those people who shouts at the television, I will walk to the kitchen. Which, unfortunately has a perfect view of the T.V.

Obama's views on reproductive freedom(click here for what he had to say on the Roe v.Wade anniversary in January) could hardly be further from John McCain's VP pick, Governor Sarah Palin.
This makes me H.A.P.P.Y

What do you think about McCain's pick ? How do you feel about the fact that he picked a woman?Do you think it will make any difference in the upcoming election?

Personally, I think it's brilliant. Just brilliant.

Here is what wikipedia says about Governor Sarah Palin:
Family and personal backgroundSarah Louise Heath Palin (IPA: /peɪlɪn/) (born February 11, 1964) is the Governor of Alaska, and the 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States.[1] She will be the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing the Republican Party and the second female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major political party.Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, the daughter of Charles and Sally (Sheeran) Heath.[3] Her family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.[4] Charles Heath was a popular science teacher and coached track.[4] The Heaths were avid outdoors enthusiasts; Sarah and her father would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school, and the family would regularly run 5k and 10k races.[4]Palin was the point guard and captain for the Wasilla High School Warriors, in Wasilla, Alaska, when they won the Alaska small-school basketball championship in 1982; she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" because of her intense play.[4] She played the championship game despite a stress fracture in her ankle, hitting a critical free throw in the last seconds.[4] Palin, who was also the head of the school Fellowship of Christian Athletes, would lead the team in prayer before games.[4]In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, winning a scholarship to help pay her way through college.[4] In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality.Palin holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Idaho where she also minored in politics.Her husband, Todd, is a Native Yup'ik Eskimo.[4] Outside the fishing season, Todd works for BP at an oil field on the North Slope[5] and is a champion snowmobiler, winning the 2000-mile "Iron Dog" race four times.[4] The two eloped shortly after Palin graduated college; when they learned they needed witnesses for the civil ceremony, they recruited two residents from the old-age home down the street.[4] The Palin family lives in Wasilla, about 40 miles (64 km) north of Anchorage.[6]She briefly worked as a sports reporter for local Anchorage television stations while also working as a commercial fisherman with her husband, Todd, her high school sweetheart.[4] One summer when she was working on Todd's fishing boat, the boat collided with a tender while she was holding onto the railing; Palin broke several fingers.[4]On September 11, 2007, the Palins' son Track joined the Army. Eighteen years old at the time, he is the eldest of Palin's five children.[6] Track now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, 7.[7] On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome.[8] She returned to the office three days after giving birth.[9] Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"[9]Details of Palin's personal life have contributed to her political image. She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane.[10][11] Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.[12]

I would eat moose burgers anytime with Governor Palin.
Well done, Senator McCain.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Plan A

Believing GODWelcome to week 16 5 of our Believing God bible study. Linda over at 2nd Cup of Coffee has been graciously hosting this awesome study and is allowing me and you to tag along. What a slogger, that gal.I Ken Lee love her! Go by and say "thanks and howdy" when you have a chance.

What things did God tell you this week? Did you not love the study of the Faith Hall of Famers? Doesn't that ease your mind and heart?

I learned that God doesn't write history the way I would. Have you noticed that, too? Maybe I am two dimensional, but I would make the heroes good through and through. Followers of God and justice, strong, truthful, worthy of respect.Look good and shiny and be basically sin-free.

My villains would be rotten. You would be able to tell they were the bad guys just by looking at their shifty eyes, toothless mouths and unwashed hair. They would commit all kinds of wrong doing without remorse or regret. Scary music would play every time they appear from the dark alley.

That's why these Faith Hall of Famers hit me upside the head.

God uses (and loves, redeems and saves) R.E.A.L. people. Ones with warts. And scars.

This is why it is good that I do not write history. (you should all fall on your knees and give thanks right now)

This is why I am the biggest bundle of grateful you will ever meet.

Because I have not been the good and shiny hero in my life.

In fact, most times, I have been a perfectly horrible example of what not do do.

Twenty six years ago today I was vacuuming the new carpet in our church, getting ready to marry Rod later that afternoon. To be honest, I wished it were over and I was just married to this man who had helped rescue me.

No one from my family was coming to this wedding. No mother of the bride to help pick out dresses and flowers. No father to walk me down the aisle and jokingly threaten the groom. I was ashamed and embarrassed. (but,of course I will always be thankful for you guys being there for me, Randy and Nanci.)

Because of my past, (and they didn't even know all of that darkness) I had been told by a well-intentioned person that I was Rod's "plan B and you should just make the best of it. Besides, God loves you anyway, bless your heart."

Heavily burdened, I was heading into my wedding ceremony as a chore to get over with. Hardly a celebration.

But God....

..."showed His great love for us while we (I) were yet sinners."

That verse removes, it erases and eradicates my defeat and resignation and replaces them with an overabundance of joy and everlasting, eternal hope. It makes me celebrate!

I didn't need to clean up first, before I knelt before Him.




So undeserving, but crying out to Him. And He picked me up, twirled me around and rescued me. He blessed me, people.

The words describing the blessing that is my husband and the ways God has chosen to use me, a cracked and broken vessel, are tumbling over each other trying to get out.

Rod has never made me feel like I am his plan B, but has made it clear from the beginning that he has thought I am a treasure. A reward. His biggest blessing in this life. His one and only Plan A.

I will tell you, it took years, but Rod finally convinced me that He. Loved. Me.

He taught me what love is. Honestly, I never knew. Never understood. Rod did, though. He showed me by his excellent example. Love is a (present-active participle) verb, not just an emotion.

Rod is "home" to me. I could be content the rest of my life just spending every day with him, playing Deer Hunter 05, riding quads or laughing at the dogs. There is obviously alot more to our love than those things. But I could fill every blog on Blogspot with the details of my love for him and what he means to me, but you would want to kill yourselves from the sappy boredom of it all. And I try not to make people want to kill themselves.

Psalm 68 says "God sets the lonely in families."
He did, and He does.

All this to say that I am so thankful that God alone writes history and uses broken, imperfect, average people in His-story.

Like me.
Probably like you, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fuzzy Wabbits

I love enjoying God's creation. I am amazed, awestruck and humbled when I see the creatures He has produced. Because I am the anti-craft, can't make anything except maybe glue macaroni on cardboard kinda girl, I really appreciate God's craftiness and supernatural ability with a glue gun, feathers and glitter.

I also don't mind telling you that sometimes I view His creatures and I am scared. Or grossed out. Like Gayle's blog here.

Sometimes I am intrigued. Like these Craigslist bunnies I found yesterday. Who knew?

Enjoy and marvel at His mighty works with me.
And if you get to Heaven before me, maybe ask

Ad # 1:
"I have two boys looking for great homes. Both are about 6 months old. Both are pedigreed. They will make great show/pet bunnys. English lops are large bunnys raging in size from 9-14 pounds. They have enormous ears that look like they would trip over them. Very sweet personalities that are more dog like than a rabbit. They love to play with toys. Rehoming fee of $45-60."

"I have 2 lionhead bucks available. They are both double mane and purebred. They are very sweet and would make great herd bucks. Their sire is a Best OF Breed winning show rabbit!! They both come with their full pedigrees."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Tile at a Time

(Go visit my sistah, Linda for more on the Beth Moore Believing God bible study)

When we were helping do the installation of our tile floors, and walls in the bathroom, I remember being so frustrated.
After we spread on the grout, my job was to wipe the tile clean and make sure the grout stayed in the lines where it was supposed to.

Well, I would begin by wiping one tile, but I would see this other one, two rows over, that needed my attention. So I would leave the first tile and go clean the new one. My job never seemed to get done because I was always seeing another spot I needed to clean and leave my original tile.

Rod said, "Relax. Just do one tile at a time. Then you'll finish."

Eureka! He is a Rocket Surgeon!

We have used the saying "One tile at a time" for any situation where our focus gets off track.

In week four of our Believing God bible study this week, Beth Moore (does anyone ever call her just Beth?) brought up Enoch as a great example of someone who did "One tile at a time." He focused on walking with God.
One step at a time.
One day at a time.

I love that. It makes me heave a big sigh and just relax.
One tile at a time.

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Phil.3:12-14

PS: Just got a thought provoking email about this week's study from my sistah-in-law, Brenda, who (GASP!) has no blog. So I thought I'd help the girlfriend out and put it here. Enjoy!:

Loved this week. It started off with the "diagram of self esteem", I call it. If any of us still have those issues....see the diagram again! Then the discussion of our sins and rebelliousness...because I relate everything to parenting, of course it is easy to get just a glimpse of how God see us, when we look at our kids. But, my "WOW" from this week had to be reading about Noah on day 3. Maybe it is because I am an animal lover, but I have always been a fan of the story of Noah. When really examining it....reading that he was the ONLY righteous man on the EARTH, that ALL others were filled with EVIL! I was awed. I thought about how many righteous people I know in my neighborhood, city, state and so on. Yet, Noah had no one on earth to encourage him or support him with the iron sharpening iron kinda thing. Sometimes, even with other Christian parents, I feel alone in my decisions to not let my kids watch certain things, say and/or do certain things. So I receive lots of guff (yeah, I'll call it that) from my kids and kids friends parents), even though I KNOW that my decision is the best for them and they will understand later.....hopefully...and they just need to trust me. But, I can probably find a few friends to back me, support me etc. Noah had NO-ONE ,yet remained faithful, to the extent that he undertook a project that would bring constant negative attention on himself....building a boat....not a cloud in the chance. What great faith. God made his first covenant in the BIBLE with Noah. What was so special about Noah..his belief in God...his walk with God...his active participle life? We could all be Noah's.....(I want all the pairs of animals--2 pairs of my favorites :-0 ) It is all about the WALK/FAITH. God already made me a potential Noah. I am keeping me from being a Noah. When I am walking with God, the strength of this World lacks importance, my thoughts do not dwell on my past transgressions/inadequacies and I rest in the middle of my diagram of who God says I am.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hopping on the Olympic train

It dawned on me that we may have been watching the Olympic games a bit too much. They are seeping into our daily conversations and we fall asleep watching them at night.

Last night we woke up out of a deep sleep last night when the dogs began barking. While we tossed and turned trying to get comfortable Rod mumbled, "I was dreaming I was competing at the Olympics."

Being an encouraging sort of wife, as well as 3/4 asleep already, I urged him to fall back to sleep and just pick up where he left off his dream.

To which Rod groggily responded, "Yeah. I just have to get back up on the trampoline..."


Rod chose competitive trampoline jumping for his dream skills?

It's a dream! You could go for the gold in swimming or hurdles or wrestling or even beach volleyball, for goodness sake!

Really? Trampoline jumping?

Okay then. Good luck with that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Remind me why I have big dogs

We were having a lot of this tonight:

So I found myself comforting these. In the bed. MY bed. (well, okay. Just one of them was scared of the thunder, the other one just takes advantage of the situation.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"If you're really God, why aren't you acting like it?"

Have you ever wanted to question God like that, especially when you are in the middle of a painful circumstance and it seems like He just isn't hearing your cries for relief? I know I have.
Welcome back to week three of Linda's and my online bible study, "Believing God."

Actually, it is Beth Moore's bible study and we are just wogging/slogging/crogging through it together with you.

A week studying healing, miracles and wonders, huh?

This is certainly something that my Midwestern Catholic school upbringing or traditional nondenominational beliefs have not in any way prepared me for.

What did you think of this week's lessons on healing, miracles and God answering prayers? What about Beth's stories? I can't wait to hear what you all thought about and learned from this week's study.

I loved reading the stories and being amazed and flabbergasted by how God will move. I read a couple out loud to Rod.

I know I was especially moved by the scriptures where it spoke about people asking for their loved ones to be healed. He raised the widow's son from the D.E.A.D. Can you possibly even imagine that?

I have prayed for healing for people many different times. But I without doubt my most heart felt, sobbing on the carpet, desperate prayers have been for my children.

I still don't know how to measure the pain a parent feels when their child walks willingly away from Christ and out into the world. They are walking toward a rushing river of danger and you know it. They are thinking they will be fine, everything will be fine, and you know it won't. They will be hurt and they will be scarred. They may drown.

I know this feeling well. Intimately. It tears your heart into shreds and your words fall on deaf ears.

But my prayers never did.

During some very dark days, when I didn't move from a fetal position on the floor I just begged God to bring my daughter back. I remember asking for forgiveness from Him before I began praying and asking Him why,oh why, did He let her leave? Blaming Him. Knowing He could have stopped her.
Every molecule in my being wept. Pleaded. Cried out to Heaven. Save her. Don't let her get hurt. Be with her tonight when she should be here, but isn't.

Then, months later, when her body was here, but her spirit wasn't.

Oh Lord, this path is too hard for me to walk. Don't make us walk this way. Remember how we adore her, Lord?You know she is our very heart.
Bring her home, bring her home, bring her home.

A few years have passed. Any anger or disappointment is long gone. Good riddance. I can't afford those luxuries. I don't want them anyway. The Lord has completely replaced them with Love and Hope. Good deal, huh?

But our prayers have remained the same.
Remove scales from her precious eyes so she can see.
Let her hear the truth and understand.
Rescue her like you rescued me.
Save her. Save her.

In the last few months God has given me a supernatural peace concerning my kids. It is as though He has allowed me to glimpse them today as He sees them for eternity. What a gift! It is as though he has let me know he has heard my cries and desperation and let me know that he has already answered. It is done.

So I have relaxed. I have faith, a confident belief, that He heard me and is answering. Healing and restoring.

Two days ago I got a phone call from my daughter. We chatted and then she said, "Mom, I wanted to tell you that me and some friends have started a bible study the other night and we're starting to go to a good church on Sundays. It's cool and I'm really excited."
She paused then said, "You know, I just keep feeling the Lord calling to me, over and over. I don't want to keep ignoring Him."

I have no words here. Just know that I am doing the ugly cry as I praise God and give all thanks to my Redeemer.

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! psalm 103:1-5

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My pound of flesh

To help reduce my calorie intake and my general fluffiness, I am avoiding certain carbs, like breads and pasta and the like.

I am eating old fashioned oatmeal or dry cereal for breakfast, and lots of low fat protein, fruits and veggies. I chew on my fingernails or a good book when I get too hungry between meals.

So, last night, I made fish for dinner (in a yummy ginger-garlic marinade, I might add) a salad and for Rod there were a couple giant,whole-wheat rolls.

I first heard the rolls calling my name softly while I was whisking the sauce. I ignored them.
They began to call loudly, until they were competing with the growling in my empty, empty belly.

Before I could slice off my hand with my Ginsu, I had a partial roll in my mouth and down my throat.
Oh, the bliss! The joy! The carbs were dancing their way into my digestive system and everything was celebrating with the bread.

Guilt set in almost instantaneously.

After dinner, I set out to rectify my great wrong by wogging a few miles. Actually, I had to walk fast, as my dinner hadn't completely digested and and my knees kinda hurt,too.

Then this morning, still wrestling with the guilt of having eaten bread, I got up and wogged a few more miles, determined to put my carb eating episode behind me.

I came home. I walked over and hopped on the scale.

I had gained a pound.

Oh, bread I curse you.
Rolls, you are the devil.

(** note, please do not take anything I write here seriously. Bread is good, especially 100% whole wheat. But yes, I did gain a stinkin' pound.)

If you need me, I'll be standing on the scale until that pound comes off.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new.

Does that mean Rod and I have to move out?
No, it does not, my silly friends. It simply means the kitchen counters are finished.
Here are the BEFORE pictures, complete with the dreaded '90s teal counter tops. Which you'll notice, we sawed through in order to put in the tile floors AND the dishwasher.
It's a looong story. Do yourself a favor and don't ask.

After pictures:

I am much happier in warmer colored rooms, I decided. Cool colors are not my thing. Unless it is pistashio ice cream. Then I like it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The FaithTest

Last week's Believing God bible study was good. This week's is better. Please go visit Lidna at 2nd Cup of Coffee to get started. Then come back and visit me here. (That was for my reader Brenda. Oh, and Cindy. I didn't forget you.)

But this week, my blog cannot contain the words to describe how God is growing me.
It all started on Day Two with the faith test. Brenda called me(from her hotel balcony overlooking the gorgeous San Diego beach, no less!) to talk to me about it, and I hadn't done it yet. So I got right on it.
At first, I thought it was a test with trick questions because the questions were so easy for me to answer. Unflinchingly yes. I believed these things without question.
Then I reached # 7. "I believe the Jesus Christ of the Gospels is ___________ today. "
a) Just as powerful and active
b)very powerful and active
c)more watchful than active
d)more distant and less likely to intervene with action.

Knowing the "correct" answer was a),I really wanted to check that. But I wondered how honest that was. I have heard and read lots of stories that I believe are God working today. But do I believe d) more than I believe a)? Why?

I worked my way, more carefully now and stopped short when I reached # 18
"I_______________ pray generic prayers because I don't want to be disappointed by God. "
d)most commonly

I remembered the previous week when I had prayed with an inmate for the judge to look favorably on her case the next day and for her to be released. After I prayed as she still gripped my hands and she stared straight into my eyes and asked me,

"Do you really believe God will answer that prayer?"

I held her gaze for a moment before my eyes slid away and I gave the truthful answer of " I believe that God will do what is best for you because He loves you. It might not always look the way we want it to."

That is the truth and I believe it. But is that a chink in my armor she found? Do I believe that God will listen and answer this time, or is it just sometimes? Or are prayers answered that are mostly far away, or with missionaries or people in the persecuted church? Not here, not now,with me and a single mom inmate, wanting to go home to her son.
Where is my belief? Is there more for me? For us?
What did you learn from this test of faith?
Are you praying with me that God will remove any obstacles of unbelief from us each day?

As I went through my week and the bible study, God has worked on my heart, encouraging me, showing me that there is more, so much more than what I have been expecting. He is not distant, but close by. He is waiting to answer my prayer of
"More, God. I want more, please."

Early this morning, before the sun came up, I began to wake up by hearing the Lord whispering to me, calling me, inviting me to ask Him again to remove the scales from my eyes, to ask Him to show me more, teach me more, let me love Him more. I woke up with tears on my face.

For the Lord is God,
and he created the heavens and earth
and put everything in place.
He made the world to be lived in,
not to be a place of empty chaos.
“I am the Lord,” he says,
“and there is no other.
I publicly proclaim bold promises.
I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner.
I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me
if I could not be found.
I, the Lord, speak only what is true
and declare only what is right. Isa.45:18-19

Saturday, August 2, 2008

And the winner is....

Mindy over at Mindy Says...!
Yesterday was her 15 year anniversary of wedded bliss to her man so it was a great day for her to win a new bible and a sweet treat.
Thanks for playing along, everyone!