Saturday, January 30, 2010


I'm not planning on turning this blog into my Top Ten music picks! But lately, God has been grabbing hold of my heart and ministering to my soul through the songs that I hear. Selah's latest song, Unredeemed stops me short every time I hear it. What a precious reminder that God will not waste any of the pain or struggles in our lives. He will redeem them for His purposes!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Sometimes it seems like pain is engulfing everyone I love. The circumstances may be different for each, but the result is the same, unrelenting pain.

Right now, several people who are dear to me are in those circumstances. They are hurting. And life keeps throwing more pain their way.

I try to remind them that, regardless of their situations, God is in control. But sometimes, even as I say that, I hear my own whispered doubt ask, "If He's in control, then why is it hurting so badly?"

I want to be able to give the wise answer that takes away their pain, that eases their suffering and answers their desperate questions. But I can't. All I can do is remind them, and myself, that we only see a fraction...not the whole. And from that fraction, our vision is short-sighted and incomplete.

But God, who is in control, sees the whole picture. And He will use these current threads of pain, to weave a beautiful tapestry, if our lives are surrendered to Him.

So, press on through the pain, because God is in control.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Costco - For the Budget-Minded Bride

I was checking my email before signing on to my blog and I came across the ubiquitous Costco ad. I usually get two or three of these a day, but I couldn't ignore it. So I "enabled the link" and there before me was the usual plethora of items for purchase.

However, tonight I found something I had never seen before. Tonight, I saw... the Costco wedding gown! Really! Nothing says romance like the giant big box store! It made me giggle as I realized that, these days, you can do your whole wedding from Costco and save BIG bucks.

Think about it. Wedding rings? Check. Flowers? Check. Wedding cake? Check. Reception food and drink? Check. And now...ta da...the wedding dress!

The one thing that troubles me a bit is the lack of dressing rooms. I mean, most girls like to at least try on the dress before they buy it. And somehow, trying to pull it on over your shirt and jeans and stand in front of one of those propped-up mirrors just wouldn't work for me if I was a bride-to-be!

Okay, I KNOW that the dresses aren't really at the stores. This is a special event that you sign up for. But I've gotta say, I'm liking this trend. After watching all the episodes of "Say Yes To The Dress" where all of the wedding gowns are at LEAST $2000 (ranging up to $10,000) I had begun to despair at the thought of ever getting a wedding dress for our daughter when it is her turn.

But thanks to Costco, Elizabeth can look forward to wearing a beautiful gown on her special day! And if she'll agree to get her dress there, I promise to buy her all of the frozen cream puffs she can eat at the reception!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's All Relative

I am learning that so often how I react to life is simply relative. It all depends on the context of what else is happening in my life.

Example, I've been dreading the arrival of our credit card bill. It has Christmas purchases on it and so I knew it would be considerably larger than usual. Then last week, I received an email from one of my neighbors warning us that someone had broken into her mailbox. She wasn't sure how many other people's mail might have been stolen, but she wanted us to be aware of it. This happened just about the time that I should have been receiving my credit card bill. Suddenly, the piece of mail that I wanted to see the most, was that credit card bill! And when it arrived safely, I was overjoyed. I'd never have guessed that reaction a week before.

My daughter has been living in St. Petersburg, Russia for the past four and a half months. It's not where I really want her to be. For the past couple of weeks, however, she has been traveling around Europe. Most of the time she was with friends. But I knew that as of Wednesday, she would be heading back to Russia on her own. This involved not only a flight by herself, but most disturbing to me, a 12-hour bus ride back into Russia. Since I knew that this same bus ride out of the country had resulted in a seven-hour delay at the Latvian border due to the discovery of drugs on board, I didn't have much peace about her making that trip alone. But God took care of her. So here I am today, overjoyed that she is in...St. Petersburg!

So you see, it really is all relative. Life might just be a little easier if I can keep that in mind.

FarmVille Addendum

So apparently my last post was not too far off the mark! From what I hear, "Dr. Phil" and I are in the same field, if I might use a little FarmVille rhetoric.

My friend, Sue, told me that Dr. Phil just had a show on addictions and he did a story on a woman whose life has ceased to exist outside of FarmVille. She no longer cooks meals for her teenage children, barely does any grocery shopping, and no longer does laundry...all because it takes her away from her FarmVille time. Her kids feel abandoned by her. Wow! And I was only sort of kidding when I wrote my post.

After Sue told me about the show, I told her that she had better be careful. I don't want to see her swallowed up by FarmVille. Sue said I have nothing to worry about because...she'still wearing clean underwear. Good to know, if maybe a little bit too much information!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's An Addiction!

I'm sure that some of you who are reading this post are all too familiar with the little picture above. For some of you, the very sight of it gives you a high and your fingers start twitching as you struggle to hold back your desire to harvest those crops!
And then there are those of you who are like me. You've never seen this before because, you too, are a Facebook virgin (that's a story for another time). But while I have never actually seen FarmVille, I have witnessed, first hand, the addictive powers of this insidious little game.
Let me back up a bit. I have a friend at work, let's call her Sue since that is her name, who one day was telling me about this little game she had started playing on her computer. She explained that it was all about a little farm. Someone had "invited" her to be their neighbor (a Facebook thing) and she had accepted and now she had this cute little farm with fences, crops and a few animals.
Sue was explaining how she really wanted to get some more fences and cows when all of the sudden she looked at the clock. In a panic, she told me she had to go because it was almost time for her to harvest her soybeans! Say what? Soybeans?
It has been a sad thing to watch as my dear friend has gone from enjoying a simple little game to complete addiction! No longer is she content with one barn and a few cows. Now she craves multiple barns and herds of bovines! She NEEDS more tractors and "plowers" (her term, not mine) to keep up with her ever growing estate. She is consumed by her desire for the almighty FarmVille Coins! Where will it stop?
The other morning, when Sue arrived at work, she confessed that, the night before, she had been on FarmVille for three full hours and hadn't even noticed the time go by. (Wouldn't you have a "dead end" by then?) But even with that confession, there was a slightly maniacal smile on her face and a glazed look in her eyes. An addiction, I tell you!
If this was simply a story of an addict, it would be heartbreaking enough. But sadly, it goes beyond addiction. Because, Sue has now become...a pusher. You heard me correctly. A pusher. By her own confession, when her son and boyfriend teased her about the time she was spending on her farm, she drew them in.
First she asked them to help her out by harvesting her crops when she couldn't be there (pathetic!). Then, once they had been bitten by the harvesting bug, she suggested that they should start their own farms and "invited" them to be her neighbors! How low can you go?
Like I said, she's an addict AND a pusher, and she needs help! Sure it keeps her out of the casinos, but at what cost? Someone needs to stop this mindless waste of time. Obviously, I can't help...remember that whole Facebook thing. I try to offer support and alternative hobbies like reading a book but all to no avail.
So here's the bottom line. My friend needs help! She's living in the land of make-believe. And from what I'm hearing, she is NOT alone! I just hope that with this whole FarmVille thing, we won't see overalls as part of the Spring fashion lineup!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'd Need a Savior

Sometimes I hear a song that haunts me as it plays over and over again in my head. This song by the group, Among the Thirsty, has done that to me all week.

While the lyrics are true for everyone one of us, they remind me of my own desperate need for Jesus.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help for Haiti

If you have ever doubted that we live in a broken and hurting world, then today, all you need to do is turn on the news to have all doubt erased. Pictures are everywhere of the devastation brought about by the massive earthquake in Haiti. The pain and loss is overwhelming. It's hard to even imagine how help and healing can begin.

If you are able, please help financially by giving to one of the many relief organizations that are already at work in this poorest of poor nation. And just as importantly, be diligent in bringing these devastated people before our Heavenly Father. For He alone can bring true hope and healing out of this brokenness.

"The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

His Vision

It was Vision Sunday at church this week. Our pastor shared with us the vision that God has given him for our congregation in the coming year. It is a vision for relationship with God and service to His people.

What a joy it is to know that God has a vision for not only His church, but for each of His children. How amazing to think that He trusts me enough to allow me to be a part of His vision for the world.

"Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and and Thou with me Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


For Christmas this year, we bought our son a GPS. Not the kind that chats with you in the car and keeps you from getting lost (I didn't know there was any other kind). But rather the kind that allows you to wander off into the wilderness and still find your way home by dinner time.

Before Christmas, my husband told me that, once David had his GPS, it would be fun for the whole family to all go geocaching together. Huh?

According to Wikipedia, geocaching is a "game of high-tech hide and seek" where you use a GPS to find specific locations where someone has "cached" a logbook and often items for trading like toys or "trinkets of little value." Didn't we do this kind of thing back in elementary school just minus the expensive GPS? I think we drew maps instead and crinkled up the paper to make it look old.

Anyway, apparently this new sport is worldwide with over 100 countries boasting their own geocaches. It could be fun.

Actually, I think I might be pretty good at it. It doesn't require me to run faster than anyone else or have exceptional eye/hand coordination. Those are both in my favor.

There is that whole technology thing. But if we go in a group, I can be the one who carries the little trinkets and let someone else do the "GPS-ing." Oh, and the snacks...I'll carry the snacks.

Of course, as in any other sport, I'd need to get the right equipment. I'm pretty sure that would include a new pair of walking shoes, probably a nice water-proof jacket, a warm scarf and gloves. It is winter afterall.

Why not give it a try? If I get bored, I can always just wait for the rest of them in the car. Remember, I've got the snacks...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sisters' Shopping Spree!

Yesterday, my sister, Martha, and I did a little post-Christmas shopping. I had a great time, but then I always do when we get together. When you grow up sharing a bedroom, there's a certain bond that develops, and in our case, it's a wonderful one!

We started out at Nordstroms. My budget usually takes me to Ross, but once in a while it's fun to stretch the shopping boundaries!

We had fun trying on every pair of reading glasses in the store. Every single pair...including the ones that made us look like Harry Potter! We were stalked and accosted by a cosmetics salesperson who apparently felt that we were in desperate need of her services.

Putting aside our injured egos, we headed not to the cosmetics, but to the shoe department and then on to the sales racks. We took armloads of clothes into the dressing room and laughed as we tried them all on. It was delightful!

But the best part was not the shopping. The best part was simply having the entire afternoon with my sister. Martha and I know each other in ways that no one else does. We have years of tears and laughter that bind us together with a special love. Having a sister is truly a blessing. And I am specially blessed, because I have four of them! For that, I can only say, "Thank you, God!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Devotions for 2010

I went to the Christian bookstore today to pick out a new devotional book to use in my morning quiet times. Every year I usually have two or three books that I read in addition to my Scripture reading.

For the past four years, I have included Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest" and I'm amazed how each year, God has revealed new things to me.

As I was digging through the huge bins of books on sale, I was praying for God to show me what book I should include this year. It was a struggle. I couldn't find many devotionals.

So I sat on a bench next to one of the bins and started reading the introduction to a book by John MacArthur that I had decided to buy. I happened to glance back in the bin and there is was. Right in front of me. Another book by John MacArthur. This one a small devotional book entitled "Truth for Today; A Daily Touch of God's Grace." My search was over.

Now, I am excited to see what lessons God has for me in my morning quiet time. I'm sure they will be as challenging and uplifting as those from this past year.

As I head into the vast unknown of 2010, I want to share a final quote from a wonderful devotional book that I used in 2009 called "Joy and Strength," which was compiled by Mary Wilder Tileston. It is a quote from George MacDonald and it gives me peace when I begin to stress over what God has for me in the future.

"What God may hereafter require of you, you must not give yourself the least trouble about. Everything He gives you to do, you must do as well as ever you can, and that is the best possible preparation for what He may want you to do next. If people would but do what they have to do, they would always find themselves ready for what came next."

2010, here I come!