Sunday, March 27, 2011

God's Sovereignty

These days, I have to keep reminding myself that the executives at my workplace may be making decisions about who they will layoff in the next few months, but they are not in control of MY life.  I frequently have to remind myself of that, because it doesn't always feel that way.  That's the funny thing about feelings...they often lie.

It doesn't matter how safe and secure I might feel or how at risk and vulnerable my job seems, God is sovereign and He is in control of what will happen in the days ahead.  He is in control.  No one else.  Just God.

But since my feelings like to mess with what I know to be true, it's wonderful when God brings me a reminder of His faithfulness and power.  He did that for me today when I read this blog by Pastor Ray Noah. If you're like me and sometimes struggle with concerns about what lies ahead, take a moment to read these wonderful words of assurance. 

God is sovereign.  He is in control.  And no decision made behind closed doors has the power to change the path that He has lovingly set before me.  And the best part?  He's promised to walk that entire path with me.  I won't be going it alone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dancing With The Who...And I Don't Mean The Band!

This won't take long. I promise. 

I admit that I used to be a fan of "Dancing with the Stars."  In the early seasons, I even had a couple of friends who faithfully came over to my house to watch with me. I also admit to having actually voted for Mario Lopez in season three.  C'mon, I loved those dimples and the guy can dance!

But for the last several seasons the use of the term "stars" has been pretty questionable.  And when they began advertising for this season, I found myself saying "Who?" with nearly every name they threw out there.
So last night I thought I'd watch just long enough to find out who these people were.  However, when I discovered that one of them was a Disney character...okay, was on the Disney channel, I figured I could move on.  Which I did.

Instead, I spent a lovely hour and a half watching the Masterpiece Theatre's presentation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility."  And for some reason, it didn't bother me a bit that I didn't know who any of the stars were in that show.  Go figure!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Grandma Secret

I experienced the grandma secret first hand today.  For years all of my friends who already have grandchildren have been telling me that being a grandparent is even better than being a parent. 
I figured I'd just have to wait and find out for myself.  And today was the day.

My husband and I did our first official babysitting for Ella.  I had told our son that if he and our daughter-in-law wanted to go on a date, we would be more than willing, yes, even excited to come babysit Ella.  So they took the plunge and left her in our care so they could take in a movie.

When we arrived, they both apologized, saying that Ella had been fussy all morning.  She was in bed, and they were hoping she would go to sleep since she hadn't napped all day.  A little confession here...I was hoping she wouldn't go right to sleep.  Afterall, we hadn't come over just to have our precious girl sleep away the hours in her bedroom, out of sight.

I needn't have worried.  Just as they were getting ready to leave, Ella started crying and my daughter-in-law gave me the nod to go ahead and pick her up.  She didn't have to tell me twice. 

After sending Mom and Dad off to the movies, I settled into a little grandma time.  In a matter of minutes, I had Ella soothed and dozing on my lap.  She would drift off to sleep for a moment and then startle herself awake.  Finally, she settled into a deep sleep, with me mezmerized by every expression on her face. 

That's when I understood the grandma secret. As I sat there with her stretched out on my lap, I took in every detail about her sweet face.  I was bewitched by her mouth with its lower lip outlined with a thin crust of dried milk and her upper lip meeting in delicate matching peaks.  Her eyes would glide behind lightly veined lids as she watched some unknown sleeping scene. I loved how her feathered brows would be drawn down into deep furrows of concentration only to relax again the next moment. And then there would be a soft, stuttering sigh as she settled once more into peacful sleep.

I watched all of this play out over and over again for an hour and a half, and not once did I think that I should get up and try to get a load of clothes done or pay a bill, or start a meal.  Of course, I wasn't at my own house, but even if I had been, those thoughts would never have entered my mind.  Why?  Because I'm the grandma, and I know that those things can wait. I know that they must wait because my time with this precious child is limited.  She will go in and out of my days like a butterfly, here for the moment, then off again before I know it. 

So that's the grandma secret.  When I'm with my grand daughter, I'm allowed to give her all of me and not feel one ounce of guilt.  Let the dishes pile up and dinner be late, Ella gets my time and I won't be rushed.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I was straightening up my desk a bit before leaving work this afternoon.  As I sorted through the stack of paper scraps where I have written down inspirational sayings and Bible verses to help me through my day, I came across one that made me smile...not an easy thing to do these days as layoff preparations are at the forefront of everyone's mind.

It's from a little book called "Everyday Hope" by Debora M. Coty and it goes like this:

"Laughter is to hope as nonstick cooking spray is to a shiny new muffin tin: It keeps the goo from sticking."

Somedays, it feels like we are drowning in goo.  So three cheers for those moments of laughter that keep hope alive!  May they remind us that there is life beyond the goo!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just Hanging Out with Beth Moore!

Last Saturday was really all about weddings for my daughter, Elizabeth.  After having her own bridal shower in the afternoon, Elizabeth hosted the bachelorette party for her best friend, Katie, who is getting married this Sunday.  It was a quick switch from bride-to-be to maid-of-honor, but she pulled it off just fine.  As a matter of fact, the evening turned out to be even more special than she could have planned!

Since the girls for the bachelorette party were coming from different areas, they were all going to meet up at a Starbucks in downtown Tacoma before heading off to the restaurant. At 5:57 p.m. (I just checked my phone) I was blogging when I received a text from Elizabeth that said "We are talking to Beth Moore right now."  I responded back "What?  MY Beth Moore?" I didn't believe her until by phone buzzed again, and there was a picture of Elizabeth and friends with Beth's arm around her!

For those of you who don't know who Beth Moore is, let me explain.  She is one of the most dynamic Bible teachers around.  She has a heart for women's ministry, and has written a ton of wonderful Bible studies that usually include  a video component so you really get to know Beth.  And what a joy that is!  Beth is an absolute on-fire Christian who loves the Lord with all of her heart...and is an absolute hoot!  She is a Southern gal who loves fashion, big hair and all of her "Siestas."   After having done numerous Beth Moore Bible studies over the years, I feel like I know her personally (hence the "MY Beth Moore" comment!).

And on this particular weekend, Beth was holding a Christian women's conference at the Tacoma Dome. After the event, Beth and her gang just happened to be hanging out at Starbucks when they saw Elizabeth and her gang walk in.  When they saw Katie sporting her little bachelorette veil and sash, they had to make their acquaintance!  Check out Beth's account on her blog.  (Be sure and scroll all the way to the end of the post to see the picture of Beth with all the girls.)

I guess I sound a little starstruck here!  But the truth is, in the world of women's ministries, Beth Moore is a rock star in my book!  Not to mention the fact that Beth was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of my daughter and her fabulous friends! I'm pretty sure that Beth would agree with the last statement.  She's just that sweet!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Here's to the Bride-to-Be!

Yesterday was bridal-shower-day at my house!  My daughter-in-law, Monika, hosted an absolutely lovely, fun family shower for my daughter Elizabeth.  While small and intimate, the aunts, cousins and a couple of next generation babies managed to celebrate the upcoming nuptials with plenty of food, and laughter. We even managed to lose our stick-in-the-mud-no-shower-games reputation and became fully involved in a couple of fun games.

Monika and Elizabeth digging in!

Elizabeth with Aunt Martha and Niece Ella :-)

When it was finally time for gifts, Elizabeth did an excellent job of making her way through tissue paper, gift bags and a ribbon here and there.  And the pile of housewares that appeared, had me picturing her setting up her own home.  Soon!

Next step...THE WEDDING!

Elizabeth in veil number one...a story for another day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

In Control

I was having a difficult time in my quiet time yesterday morning.  Life is on edge these days. 

I work for a public agency that needed a tax vote to pass last month in order to continue operating at our current level.  It failed.  And now we face extensive service cuts and layoffs sometime between now and October.  It's a very real possibility that I will lose my job along with the necessary health benefits my family needs.

I believe that God is true to His word and will never leave us or forsake us.  I also believe what Scripture says about the trials that we will face in this life.  As Christians, we shouldn't look to be spared from pain and struggles, rather we should expect them to come to us.  But in the midst of those trials, God has promised to be faithful to us. Some days, these promises are easier for me to step out on than others.

Yesterday, I was battling anxiety about the future.  I prayed for peace-- for some very clear sign that God was still in control of my life and the lives of those I love. 

As I got up to finish getting ready for work, I turned on the morning news and headed into the kitchen to fix breakfast. That's when I heard the alert for "breaking news" and heard what had happened in Japan.

I felt my stomach drop as I tried to take in the tragedy that was unfolding on the television. Complete and utter devastation.  Suddenly I felt the apprehension rise, as in my mind, my town, my home were superimposed over those images of destruction.  I live along the San Andreas fault, and we are always hearing, "It's not a matter of if, but when the big one will hit."

With my mind already in a dark place, this added darkness was almost more than I could bear.  I didn't want to deal any more; I simply wanted to pull the covers over my head and hide out. But I knew that wasn't an option.  I had responsibilities. I had to keep going. So I got in my car and headed to work.

I had only gone a couple of miles when the sun started to come up.  All week long, we had been battered by heavy rain and strong winds, but this morning, the skies were clear. As I headed up the hill, a bright light to my left caught my eye.  I turned my head to look, and there was the most glorious pink and orange sunrise!  Tall fir trees stood in dark silhouette against the color drenched sky. 

And that's when I heard God speak to my heart, telling me,"Laura, I am still in control.  I made the sun rise this morning, just like every morning since the beginning of creation.  And no matter what is going on in your life, or in this world, it is under my control."  With grateful tears stinging my eyes, I turned my face toward the road ahead and kept going.

I know that I will still have moments of fear and apprehension.  I know that this world will continue to spin to its seemingly devastating conclusion just as Scripture has foretold.  But I also know that none of it will happen outside of the Creator's control.  None of it. And having trusted my life to the One who controls it all, I'll keep going "in the midst of everyday trials and triumphs."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Report Card Day!

Today was report card day for me on two fronts.  First, I went to the dentist and second, I had my performance review at work.

Before I go any further with this, let me just explain something about me (this is where my friend, Missy, is gong to laugh).  When I was in school...all the way through school...I was all about getting good grades.  I was a shy kid, so nobody noticed me.  I stunk at sports so nobody noticed me. I was an average musician, so nobody noticed me.  But when it came to my grades, I made it happen.  Not that I'm brilliant or anything, I just worked really, really hard at getting good grades because that's where I found an identity.

Well, today, I realized that I'm still kinda into "good grades," even if it's only from the dentist's office. You see, all my life, I've had to listen to hygienists scrape away at the plaque build-up on my teeth while they quickly swoosh away the blood that flows freely from my injured gums.  It's embarassing and upsetting seeing as how I'm a faithful flosser/brusher.  It's not like I ignore dental hygiene, it's just that my mouth is a breeding place for plaque apparently. 

But during the past few years, I've really taken this problem seriously.  A couple of years ago I went out and bought an electric toothbrush when the hygienist suggested it could help.  Last year I started using those little brushes they make for braces, to massage and work my gums so they wouldn't bleed.  I mean, I'm putting in the time! 

So, when I showed up today for my dental appointment and discovered that I had a new hygienist, I wondered what new gadget she was going to recommend.  But to my surprise and absolute disbelief, she did her little gum test thing and then told me that she wished everyone's mouth was as good as mine.  What?  Did I hear her correctly?  When I confessed that I struggle with plaque, she told me that I was doing a great job!  And when the dentist came in, she gave a glowing report about my mouth to him.  I couldn't believe it!  I floated out of that office with healthy gums, shiny teeth and a giant "A" on my mental dental report card!

Then, I headed to the office.  Today was PERFORMANCE EVALUATION DAY.  It wasn't a surprise or anything.  My boss and I have been working on it for several weeks and it was on our calendars to meet at 11:30 this morning.  But still, this is a new boss.  You may remember that about six months ago I shared that my boss had been laid off and our work group had been taken over by another group.  So the past months have not been easy, but I have worked hard to develop a good working relationship with my new boss and to move forward.

There really weren't any surprises in my review, since I had basically written it myself, and my boss had simply put it into the official format.  But in a couple of places, she had added her own observations and comments, and they were positive.  That made me feel really good, because I work hard to be a good employee and this has been a really, really difficult year.  For one thing, she said I've shown "tenacity."  Tenacity!  I like that.  No one has ever said that I have tenacity before. No one.  And the rest of her comments were very complimentary as well.

When I walked out of her office I felt appreciated and like we had a better understanding of each other.  It hasn't been easy due to our situation, so it was very positive.  It kind of felt like I had just gotten straight A's!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Peace.  Some days it's hard to find.  Some nights it's even harder to find.  But God has promised us His peace when we turn to Him. 

Tonight it is His peace that I yearn for, because none other will do. Tonight, I will take Him at His word.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."   John 14:27

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why Am I Here?

"Why am I here?"  It's a deep question and one that all of us will ask at some point in our lives. Some try to avoid it... quickly brushing past it, but the truth is, one day each of us will find ourselves standing in front of an open cupboard or refrigerator, with a bewildered look on our face asking "Why am I here?"

I used to think that I knew where I was going in my life.  No more.  These days, I turn up in a room and can't for the life of me figure out why I went in there. I try the old retrace-your-footsteps-trick and sometimes, I when I get back to where I started, inspiration hits and I remember why I went into the other room. Other times, I just get back where I started and can't remember why I was going into that room.

The absolute worst time for this little mind game is when I'm trying to make my grocery list.  I'm a planner. So every Thursday night, I make a weekly menu and from that, I make my grocery list.  A little aside here, but when my kids were still had home, I used to drive them crazy every Thursday asking them "What do you want for dinner this week?"  They hated it and I hated the fact that they never, ever gave me any ideas.

Now, what was I saying?  Oh yeah.  So I make my grocery list from the ingredients that I'll need for the dinners I've planned for that week.  That means I pull out my recipes, that come spilling out of a dilapidated old file folder, in order to figure out what I need to buy.  Do I still have a jar of spaghetti sauce in the cupboard (don't judge me... yes, Prego and I are good friends)?  I think so, but I'd better go check.

And there I am.  Standing in front of the cupboard asking, "Why I am here?" I wait a few seconds... rearrange a couple of items in on the shelf before admitting defeat and heading back to my menu to figure out why I went into the kitchen.  Soup?  Tuna?  Oh, that's right, spaghetti sauce! Then it's back to the kitchen again. 

Some nights it takes me a really long time to finish my grocery list. But the good news is, I'm getting my exercise like the doctors are always harping about!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Dear Paul and Martha,
Can you believe that it's been ten years since we began this wonderful friendship journey?  Who could have imagined that a night spent ferrying a group of senior citizens to the ballgame would have cemented this friendship we have now shared for a decade! But what a joy!

Tonight, I stopped by to give you my love...and a picture of us...while you finished packing up your home in preparation for a new chapter in your lives. And I couldn't help but think of all the wonderful times we have shared over the years.  So much laughter, so much love, so much support.  There have been barbecues and birthdays, movie nights and Valentine dinners

But most important of all there has been fellowship...deep, deep fellowship that has brought comfort in difficult times, joy in happy times, and communion in a shared faith.  And nothing is more treasured than that.

I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way you went from being friends to family. So, that means that once you are settled in your new home in quiet Idaho, we will be claiming the guest room from time to time.  Or would that be the "family room?"

Either way, we aren't saying goodbye, just "see you in a while." And have the coffee brewing when we get there, okay!