Friday, April 30, 2010

We Need You Now

For the past few weeks, God has burdened by heart with the need to pray for this country's repentance. It seems that everywhere I look, I am assaulted by behaviors, thoughts and words that exemplfy just how far we have turned from God. It breaks my heart. And if it breaks my heart, then God's heart must be shattered.

As a nation, we have been showered with blessings. And we have taken them all in as if somehow, we deserve them, we have a right to them. And in so doing, we have become spoiled, ungrateful and rebellious children.

We're foolish if we think that God will allow this to go on forever. Without repentance, He will surely withdraw His blessing, and as a nation, we will deserve everything that comes.

But, I believe that it's not too late to repent. God hears the earnest prayers of His people who fall before Him in repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us that very thing. As believers, we need to pray for this nation, perhaps as we never have before. The enemy is very happy with the direction we are headed. God is not.

This morning as I pulled into the parking lot at work, the following Casting Crowns song began to play on the radio. I turned my car off and just sat there in tears as I listened to the words. And I heard God once again call me to prayer because we need Him now. Please join me.

Monday, April 26, 2010


About a year ago, I took a nutrition class at work. And it changed my life. Truly. Suddenly, I was eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies, adding nuts to my lunch sack for a snack, buying only whole wheat bread ("the whiter the bread, the quicker you're dead!") and most importantly, giving up my favorite yogurt in favor of the "healthier" "cultured in cup" variety even though it didn't taste anywhere near as good as my favorite brand.

I can't remember why the nutritionist said the "cultured in cup" yogurt was better for you. All I know is that it was hard as heck to find. So once I discovered a brand that had the "cultured in cup" blessing written right on the lid, I've stuck with it. And I've even gotten to the place where it actually tastes pretty good to me.

That's why I was a little annoyed when I did my grocery shopping on Friday to discover that a "Sample Lady" had planted herself and her sample table right in front of my yogurt. All I wanted was to grab a container and move on. But this lady was good. And she was offering samples of... yogurt.

I thought maybe I could put her off by asking if her yogurt was "cultured in cup" since that is the kind I always buy. She said she didn't know but she proceded to rattle off that her yogurt had "five live and active cultures including Probiotics." Huh?

Then with a deft sweep of her hand, she motioned to the various flavors of yogurt she had ready to sample on her little table. Pomegranate, vanilla, fig, (really?) honey, low-fat, no-fat. You get the picture. This was not going to be quick.

So I tried a little sample-spoonful of the vanilla. Not impressed. She handed me a spoonful of the low-fat variety (I could be offended here). Really not impressed. Then she wanted me to try the honey flavored. I'm not a fan of honey so I only ate it to be polite. But doggone if it wasn't good!

Still, my own variety was sitting right there in the cooler behind her. I was about to reach for a container when she intercepted me. "It's regularly $5.39 for a container but today it's on sale for $2.99," she said. That was the same price as my brand, and mine was "cultured in cup." So, I continued towards my yogurt. That's when she came in for the kill. "And with this dollar off coupon, it's only $1.99," she said sweetly.

Okay, I don't even know what "cultured in cup" means and I could always write it on the lid with a Sharpee if I had to. Besides, the honey flavor turned out to be pretty good.

So I picked up a container, thanked the sample lady and was walking away when she came up behind me and pointed out the little-sized cups which were $1.25 a piece, but she said she'd give me another coupon which would make one only $.25! What can I say, money talks! I grabbed a little vanilla cup and tossed it in my cart next to the big honey flavored one and headed off to the check stand, coupons in hand.

Today, I ate the vanilla yogurt for lunch (with some healthy blueberries and a little granola mixed in!). And I hate to say it, but it had a hot-dog aftertaste to it. I'm not kidding. Hot dog.

So, unless the honey yogurt comes through for me tomorrow, I'm going to be pretty unhappy that I let the almighty dollar talk me out of my tried and true, "cultured in cup" yogurt. I may not know what that means, but I've been eating it for a year now, and not once have the words "Ball Park Franks"come to mind.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Twenty-nine Years and Counting

Twenty-nine years ago today, I was a young bride about to walk down the aisle to my handsome groom, waiting for me at the altar. Twenty-nine years. That's a long time!

Recently, my daughter included a wonderful quote on love in one of her posts. I think it sums it up perfectly:

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

So, today, as my husband and I celebrate twenty-nine years of marriage, I would add only one thought to that quote. Not only, have our roots entwined together, but they have gone deep. Today, those roots, first planted in shallow soil, are so much deeper and stronger. Their strength has sustained us during the inevitable storms that come in life. And I'm confident that they will continue to do so in the years ahead!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Wedding Weekend

Last weekend, our extended family gathered on the Oregon coast for the wedding of my niece, Rachel, and her fiance, Aaron. Weddings are great. Weddings that burst at the seams with family are even greater. And weddings that include a little vacation get-away are among the best! So suffice it to say, it was a fantastic weekend!

Aside from the obvious joy of witnessing the marriage of two people who love each other, I also had the delight of watching my son perform the ceremony. As I squirmed in my seat, trying to see him as he led the bride and groom in their vows, I admit I was pretty darn proud! That was my boy up there!

Since the wedding was just a small, family affair, we had a wonderful evening of visiting, eating, laughing and posing for pictures. We all felt a bit like the paparazzi were snapping our pictures since EVERYONE had a camera and no one wanted to miss a shot. And I've gotta say, digital cameras rock! Delete, delete, delete!

So, that's my son, David, the "marrying man" on the left, his lovely wife, Monika, yours truly, and my husband, Bud, who looks as if he was just told he's footing the bill for the whole shindig (not yet, Honey!). Don't ask why we're all wearing black to a wedding! Sadly, we are missing our daughter, Elizabeth, in the picture. However, she did "attend" the reception from St. Petersburg, Russia, through the miracle of Skype! Yippee for technology!

So when it comes to wedding weekends, I've gotta say, I'm a big fan!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Difference Between Men and Women

We just got back from a little four-day vacation (more about that to come) and in the process of getting ready to go, I discovered the quintessential difference between men and women: how we pack to go on a vacation. Really, it's as simple as that. Here's the way it is.


Grab a suitcase of some sort, could be a duffel bag, a backpack or a shopping bag. Throw in a couple of changes of clean underwear and socks. Add a shirt, maybe two, depending on how long you're going to be gone. Toss in a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant (if you're lucky), maybe a razor and shaving cream. Zip up the bag, and you're ready to go. Now, if you happen to be going to a wedding (like we were), there might also be a suit and a change of shoes, but they'll just get tossed in the trunk on top of everything else. No big deal.


Find the largest suitcase you can that will fit in the trunk of the car along with any other non-essential items like your spouse's suitcase and the spare tire. Now, figure out the actual number of days that you will be gone. Multiply that number by, three or four, depending on just how big that suitcase was. This will determine how many actual COMPLETE outfits you will be able to pack per day.

For instance, a pair of jeans, a cute top, and comfortable shoes are a good start if there might be some shopping involved. Don't forget a jacket of some sort or a little sweater in case it is chilly.

Now, later in the day, you might want to take a jog or go for a walk. This, of course, requires something a bit more casual and sporty, like shorts and a tank top and running shoes.

When you get back from that little excursion, you'll probably want to dress up a bit in case you go out for a nice dinner....nothing too fancy, just a nice pair of slacks or a skirt, a dressy sweater, cute shoes and some bling.

Then, it will be time to hunker down for the evening. You'll want to be comfortable which will no doubt mean a pair of sweats and a sweat shirt. Oh, and don't forget your slippers...cold feet are the worst! Finally, it's time for bed, so don't forget your PJs!

Remember, you can't count on the weather,(at least not in my part of the country), so you'll need to pack for varying temperatures. Tank tops and shorts for one extreme. Fleece and windbreakers for the other extreme. And then there are all of the weather possibilities in between.

And don't forget the whole shoe issue. I mean, one pair certainly isn't going to do it! You're probably looking at a three pair minimum and quite possibly more. Finally, you'll need all of the toiletries and appliances that help us women look so beautiful. Really, I don't know how anyone can expect to get by with less than two suitcases minimum and we're talking substantial suitcases, here.

Keep in mind, this is a VERY simplified example. We, women, have SO many other scenerios we have to consider if we want to avoid "under-packing." It's truly a burden!

So, you may have wondered what makes men and women different. And now, you know. It's the packing gene. Pretty simple really.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the Ball

For the past six weeks or so, I have spent one lunch hour a week participating in an exercise class. It's called "On The Ball" and is taught by my friend, Jody, who, to say the least, is a high achiever and may derive just bit of pleasure out of pushing us to the limit. Of course, the class involves doing all sorts of torturous exercises using the BIG exercise balls.

Let me just put this out here. I am not athletic. Never have been, never will be. So when I decided to take this class, I knew that I was probably going to look and feel a bit awkward. I mean, come on, a 57-year-old woman trying to perch on her hands and knees on a giant wobbly ball is never going to be graceful. Never. But I'm proud to say, I'm hanging in there.

For an hour every Wednesday, I hang over this ball in all sorts of positions while systematically torturing varying sets of muscles. By the time we're done, I'm dripping with sweat and ready to collapse. Then I dash off to the restroom to change back into my work clothes and try to summon enough energy to get through the rest of the day.
Seeing as how I'm am one of the oldest women in the class, I set a goal for myself to simply try my hardest and not compare myself to my younger, more athletic classmates. It's a noble goal. But not always easy to do.
I must say, that between the hour-long weekly classes and my own "homework" sessions, I am actually seeing an improvement. My muscles no longer scream at me the day after a's just during the sessions. And I am making progress on increasing the number of reps for each exercise.

The bottom line is, I'm not as good as I hope to be, but I'm better than I was when I started. And that's a good enough reason for me to keep at it. I'm pretty sure that I don't have to look too far to see that there is a spiritual application here as well.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3: 12-14

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just Say No!

As I was changing my clothes to go for my walk last night, the doorbell rang. My husband answered the door. I stopped and listened to see if I could figure out who was there, but I couldn't hear anything.

So I grabbed my walking shoes and headed down the stairs, only to find the front door wide open. I stuck my head outside and saw my husband coming up the walk, followed by a man in a bright blue apron, carrying a large bag with him. Not an every day occurrence in my neighborhood, I must say.

While I was curious, I didn't want to get sucked into something that would delay my walk. So I sat down on the stairs to put on my shoes while the men headed into the kitchen. The last thing I saw before heading out the door, was some shiny contraption with long legs sitting on my counter and a bag full of fruits and vegetables. Unusual and a bit unsettling.

You see, he may not know it, but my husband is a soft touch when it comes to door-to-door peddlers. Girl Scout cookies? You bet. Boy Scout Christmas wreaths? Of course. School fund raisers? We can always use a one-ounce package of caramel corn for $10. It's a good cause, right?

So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I left my dear husband alone with "Apron Man" and his fancy tools. I just knew that I'd come home to find the salesman gone but that tool taking up half my counter with its shiny legs. Its official name is The Salad Master. Sounds impressive, huh? And to make matters worse, my husband remembered his parents having one when he was a kid. So that added the whole nostalgia thing to the mix. I just knew we were in trouble!

But, to my surprise and relief, no shiny new kitchen tools were purchased. Instead, "Apron Man' made us a big salad, and offered to fix us a free dinner if only we'd invite some friends over to hear about the lovely selection of pots and pans he was selling. Fortunately, the offer was kindly refused and the salad was eaten with dinner.

So I just want to say, "Kudos to you, Sweetheart!" You stood firm in the face of temptation. However, the next kid that comes peddling magazines at our door will probably leave smiling. It's the little guys that wear you down!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

He Arose!

Low, in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose,
with a might triumph o'er His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah!
Christ arose!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Shelter in the Storm

Today has been WILD! The wind and rain have been constant and only now are they starting to subside a bit. The calendar says April, but it has certainly felt more like November.

It's in times like these, I realize how precious it is to have a place to go that is safe, warm and dry. A shelter from the storm.

Just a reminder, God is our ultimate shelter from the storms of this life. Held in His arms, we are safe. Covered with His mercy, we are forgiven. Wrapped in His love, we are strong enough to go out and be a shelter to others in need.