Sunday, March 28, 2010


It's a cool, cloudy Sunday afternoon. I'm brewing a cup of coffee. When it's ready, I'm going to curl up on the couch with my book and a blanket.

A strong cup of coffee. A good book. A warm blanket. All together, it spells contentment on a Sunday afternoon. Sweet!

Friday, March 26, 2010


I don't want to write this post. I don't want to put it out here for others to read; to look at me and expect something. This makes me squirm, pull at my collar and avert my eyes. It makes me own my failures, and admit that this is speaking to me.

I know all of this. God keeps reinforcing it through various ways. So I'm telling you, watch this video and read the following words at your own risk. Maybe for you, there will be complete peace. For me, I need to ask for forgiveness and to make a change.

In Mark Batterson's book, Primal A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, he says, "Christianity was never intended to be a noun. And when we turn it into a noun, it becomes a turnoff. Christianity was always intended to be a verb. We've got to act on God ideas. We've got to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We've got to seize opportunities to serve. Talk is cheap and we have cheapened the gospel long enough. At the end of the day, God isn't going to say, 'Well said good and faithful servant.' There is only one recommendation when everything is said and done: 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' God doesn't reward what we know. He doesn't reward what we say. He rewards the expenditure of energy....I wonder if we're so afraid of doing the wrong thing that we never do the right thing."

I admit that for me, this stings. It convicts. I know I need to "expend" some energy on behalf of the Kingdom. I also know it's not going to be easy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From Here to There

Distance from Saint-Petersburg to Seattle
Distance is 7829 kilometers or 4864 miles or 4227 nautical miles

Anyway you say it, it's a long, long ways from here to there. Closing in on two months!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Unexpected Blessing

After doing all of my Saturday chores...and then some...I received an unexpected blessing. As I sat reading, my cell phone rang. It was my daughter-in-law, Monika. She called to ask if I'd like to hang out with her since both of our "boys" were busy watching the University of Washington Huskies play basketball as part of March Madness. It took me about a split second to answer, "Yes!"
We met up at a Starbucks part way between both of our homes. It was a wonderful time of simply talking and sharing our hearts. What a joy to see what God has been teaching both of us over the past months.
After our Starbucks visit we headed over to the mall where I totally lost track of time while we shopped. It was a wonderful afternoon!
It's funny. I've been thinking of writing this post since Christmas. Over these past months, I've thought about how blessed I have been by the family that God has given me. First, He gave me wonderful parents and sisters. Then a loving husband and two remarkable children. And now, for nearly five years, I've had the joy of having a daughter-in-law who has been a perfect fit for our family.
Monika is not an "add-on" to our family. She is one of us (sorry, Monika!). All of our quirky ways haven't scared her off yet. Instead, she has embraced us as her own. I know that this is no small thing for it doesn't always happen that way. I appreciate just how blessed we are.
So today, an unexpected blessing came in the sweet sharing of my afternoon with Monika. I hope she knows just how precious she is to me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday at Last

I found this picture in a magazine. It pretty much shows how I feel by the time I get to Friday! I'm all tuckered out. This week has had its own challenges.

I came back to work on Monday after having an entire weekend to stew about the fact that I had ended up in tears in a meeting of our whole department last Friday. Not good. I can't help it if I score a 30 (as high as you can go) for feelings on the Myers-Briggs Personality test! Anyway, Monday felt very tentative.
Tuesday wasn't half bad, I'm happy to say. Wednesday I took a vacation day so I could attend the memorial service of a friend who had lost her courageous seven-year battle with cancer. Joy and sadness all at once.But she is now with our Heavenly Father and no longer in pain.
Thursday I was back at work. I spent my lunch time attending an hour-long exercise ball class. It's only the second class. And while I had done my homework after the last class, my burning, throbbing muscles apparently hadn't "learned" much. Wasn't sure I was going to be able to walk back to my desk.
Finally, Friday. And those burning, throbbing muscles are now tight, sore muscles. I walk like I'm 100 years old. To top that off, today is National Sleep Day, but I only got about four hours of sleep last night. So weary is the best way to describe me right now.
But, hey! It is Friday. The weekend beckons and it's suppose to get into the upper 60's. I might even try to wash my disgustingly dirty car tomorrow if my screaming muscles will let me move. If not, I'm sure I can manage a good book and a cup of coffee. Yesss...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Little Iron That Could

Yesterday, I discovered something weird about myself. I love my iron. Don't get me wrong, I don't love ironing. In fact, I use my dryer for that purpose as often as possible. But something happened that made me realize how much my iron means to me. Let me back up just a bit.

I first got my iron when I was 18 years old and heading off to college. It's a good old HEAVY duty GE with a shiny silver body and black handle. It reminds me of the iron my mother had when I was growing up.

During my years in college, it spent most of the time sitting on a shelf with the other girls' irons in the, believe it or not, ironing room! It saw very little action from me. But during its college days, it apparently had a little run in with another iron because there's a dent near the "nose" on one side (I'm not really sure if there's such a thing as a nose on an iron, but you get my drift).

Anyway, this iron has been in my life for a very long time. I'd already had it for ten years by the time I met my husband. And I used it to iron his Marine Corps fatigues with their jillion and one pleated pockets when we were first married. It's moved from home to home with us over the years.

I have tried newer models but have always come back to my old friend. It has "heft" to it that you just can't find in those fancy-shmancy newer ones. It may be your basic, stripped down model, but it gets the job done.

Yesterday, I was ironing a skirt and decided to fill up the water reservoir so I could get some steam. I pushed in the little red button, poured in the water, and pushed the button once again to release it. But horror of horrors, it didn't pop out all the way like it should. It kind of rattled a bit but no steam. I tried it over and over again, each time feeling sadder and sadder as I realized that this 39-year relationship was coming to an end.

As I finished ironing my skirt...minus any steam, I thought about how silly I was to feel sad about an iron. It had certainly served me well and I knew that I would never have another one that lasted as long. (But then, I'll probably not last that long either!) Then, all of a sudden, the red button popped all of the way out and my little friend started pumping out steam to beat the band! It was healed!

I haven't tried pushing in the red button again, so I don't know what will happen when I do. Hopefully, it will steam like it always has. But one thing I know for sure, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let There Be Light!

Recently, my husband installed new light fixtures in our kitchen. For the 13 years that we have lived in this house, we have sliced and diced, boiled and fried in a very dimly lit kitchen. The two single-bulb light fixtures just didn't do the job.

So we upgraded to a cool new track system that really lights up the place! And I love it! Well, I love most of it. You see, with all of this new light, we actually discovered that there were some less-than-sparkling surfaces in our kitchen. Aah...horror!

Once the lights went up, the sponges came out. Now, I spend LOTS more time wiping down the stove top, back splash, counter tops, tea kettle...all things that I used to think were clean.

So, I'll be honest here. Once or twice, I've kind of missed the old dim lighting. It was a whole lot less work living in a slightly dirty kitchen, especially since we didn't know that's what we were doing.

But when I start thinking like that, all I have to do is look up at those fantastic new lights. They make the kitchen so much brighter and more cheerful than it was before. There's just no going back!

This sounds a bit like how we live our lives at times. We go along thinking that we're doing okay. Then God shines His light into our lives and we realize just how dirty we really were. And even though His light changes us for the better, we still have those days where the ease of that old dirty, grimy life seems appealing.

When those times come, re-focus your gaze. Look to the Light. Because, there really is no going back.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Being Transformers

"We cannot remove the conditions under which our work is to be done, but we can transform them. They are the elements out of which we must build the temples wherein we serve." ~Brooke Foss Wescott

Sometimes it's hard to be an agent of change; the one who refuses to go along with the crowd when the crowd is taking us down. When low morale and negativity threaten to swallow us up, it's difficult to remember that we have a choice. We can choose to be that one candle that brightens a dark place.

We can choose to stubbornly hold that candle high even in the middle of dark, discouraging conditions. And eventually, others will notice. We can transform the darkness. It's happened before.

"I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Faux Spring

Considering the weather that much of the country has had to deal with this winter, some folks might think I'm mean to write this post. But honestly, it's just gratitude. Gratitude from a person who absolutely dreads/hates/freaks-out-at snow and ice. And after our snowy, icy winter last year, we caught a break this year. God bless El Nino!

We have had an absolutely incredible winter with mild temperatures and early blooming trees and flowers. In fact, on our way to church on Sunday, I told by husband how thankful I was that I hadn't had to worry about snow or ice this winter. His reply was a simple, "It's not over yet!"

The man's a prophet, an absolute prophet. My drive home from work on Monday was through a curtain of thick swirling snowflakes! Fortunately, nothing stuck. And while it was rather frigid on Tuesday morning (27 degrees) it had cleared up, and once again, the sun found its way out.

So we've been having a faux spring with pink and white fluffy trees and bright yellow daffodils. It's been wonderful. And I've purposed to live in the moment. Next year, the cold, lousy, wet weather will probably be the norm. But this year, it's been springtime in the Northwest right in the middle of winter!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Do you remember how when you were a kid you could hardly wait to grow up? It was going to be so great! You could stay up as late as you wanted. Nobody could tell you what to do. You'd never have to do math again if you didn't want to. Right.

So, you grew up. But not everything turned out quite like you had expected. For one thing, there are still people who tell you what to do. And for another, math is still lurking out there! But perhaps most unexpected is the fact that there is still a lot of growing to do.

Over the years, I have gone through periods when I have relished the experiences that have led to growth in my life. Sometimes those experiences have been painful and scarring. Other times they have been pure joy. But almost always, they have stretched and prodded me to a new place. A better, more complete version of the person I was before.

Of course, there have also been times when I've just wanted to be left alone to languish a while in the routine, sameness of my daily life. Growth can be exhausting and occasionally we need to allow ourselves a little respite. It helps to recharge the batteries in preparation for that next great growth spurt.

In his devotional, Truth for Today, John MacArthur sums up the growth process for Christians when he says, "The growth process will end on the day that we see Jesus Christ and become like Him." Now that's something to look forward to.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blank. Totally Blank

It's time to write another blog but my mind is blank. Empty. Totally void of anything at all.

Things have been a little stressful lately. So, in protest, my mind refuses to conjure up a single thing to write.

Just didn't want you to think that I had died or anything.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Six Months and Counting

When I looked at the date today, I was amazed to realize that it was six months ago this morning that my husband, daughter and I made a pre-dawn trip to the airport to put Elizabeth on a plane to St Petersburg, Russia where she was going to teach for nine months.

In some ways, it seems like years ago that we made that difficult trip. You can take a peek at all the emotions that filled that day here. But in other ways, I'm amazed at how quickly the time has gone. We are now down to only three months before we make another trip to the airport to pick her up! I can hardly wait!

From my experience, God has been extremely gracious to me during these past six month. For the most part, He has given me peace in letting go and trusting Elizabeth into His care.

And during the times when anxiety has threatened to grab hold, He has whispered assurances and comforted me in the knowledge that He is in control. He IS in control. I can't say that often enough! HE IS IN CONTROL. What a precious promise that is!

So, as I look ahead to the next three months, an old Imperials song comes to mind. The chorus goes something like this:

"He didn't bring us this far to leave us.
He didn't teach us to swim to let us drown.
He didn't build His home in us to move away.
He didn't lift us up, to let us down."

It's just another way of saying, He is in control for the rest of this journey.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Getting a Little Concerned

When did I start looking at the events of my life as"good blog ideas" and "bad blog ideas" ? My co-workers have even begun pointing out which things I might want to blog about.

When is it considered an obsession instead of a simple hobby?

Hmm...let me give that a little more thought and I'll get back to you. Hey, that's a great idea for a....