Thursday, November 15, 2007


I've always known that God consoles. I've seen him send children to fill the arms of one who is grieving. I've seen him open a person's eyes to the beauty and the blessing around them. I've seen him provide meals, cars, homes, clothes, plane tickets, cars.

But I have never seen anything like this.

My sister lost her husband in a terrible crash that probably claimed his life instantly. It was swift. It was violent. It was final.

I could go on and on describing how my sister found out. Describing the fact that we were in South America when we got the news and how we raced back. We all felt desperate and helpless to reach her as soon as we wish we could.


The body of Christ was in action surrounding my sister and my two beautiful nieces with love and support and any other thing they could possibly need.

I don't have a lot of time to write, as I've become part of that effort. But the outpouring is beautiful. The body of Christ in Franklin, Tn. has shown God's love to my sister, her girls, and my extended family. They have made his love tangible and very present at such a crucial time.
Will blog later.

Meanwhile, Thank you, God.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


So quiet.
So moderate.
Silent, really. Sometimes invisible.
His left hand knew not what his right hand was doing.

He saw God in the little things, and in Nature.

I learned so much from his quiet example: How to take time to do a thing zenfully (which I learned was not equal to Buddahism. It's the enjoyment of the quiet process). He practiced a kind of Zen Christianity.

When our house was hit by three hurricanes, he was there.
When our first child was born on the other side of the world, He was there with my sister.

He didn't do big groups and lots of noise. Neither do I.
He loved his daughters, his nieces and nephews, and his wife.
He dotted every 'I' and crossed every t, and so left things in order for his family.

He will be sorely missed. Jonathan was a quiet friend who showed his care rather than speak it. He liked long walks and contemplation. He could be found at any family gathering quietly befriending a niece or a nephew, passing on his love for nature and his quiet ideas of enjoyment.

What a sad loss. Heaven's gain is our loss, and yet I know he's with the Lord. I know he's marvelling at the Creator who was revealed dimly on earth, but who is author of all things bright and good.

Jonathan, my dear brother and friend. I will miss you. You did such a beautiful job loving your girls quietly and practically. You were a faithful husband and friend. I know you had questions and that you had obstacles that you just couldn't surmount in your short time, but you left a beautiful legacy. Also, Jonathan, I shall miss your quaint ways, your meticulously neat handwriting, and your nearly immoderate moderation.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Jonathan, I do so hope your passing didn't hurt. What a decisive end. I don't think you knew what hit you. We all hope and pray that you didn't feel the crushing pain, my friend.

We're going to see your body today, Jonathan. I know that's not you. But we'll see it, and we'll be there with Diana and Sally. Your church community is actively loving and providing for the needs of Diana, Isi and Lina. We came to help, but they're cooking, they're cleaning, they're running errands and mowing the lawn. Patio furniture and a space heater appeared on your pack patio. You would have liked the new area..

We took a walk as you would have, and stopped to admire a creek, the fall colors and an acorn. Holland took pictures. Isi and Linda followed the path that you cut to the creek. Rest in peace my dear brother and friend enjoy the Lord. I'm so happy you'll see your mother, whom I know you missed, and Mami Loli who's been up there for 20 years.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Can't Wait For the Time Change!

This will be a short post, because I am exhausted. I have no choice but to just stop.

Even painting sounds exhausting today.

I'm pretty sure I should drink fluids, even though I don't feel thirsty. This morning's cup of coffee didn't do it's job. Thank God I'm caught up with laundry and that there will be dinner at church tonight for Reformation Day.

Don't know how this happened, but I know I'm in good company. A good number of people I know haven't been able to fall asleep at a decent hour. Unless I'm confused, I think this time change should help. I think it means that if I can't get to sleep by 1 a.m. , it will be 12 midnight, instead. I think it also means that I can sleep in until 8:30 and wake up and have the clock say it's really 7:30.

That's why I can't wait. I'm out of sync.

YAWN! (excuse me)

Now, if the clock moves in the other direction, my internal clock is in big trouble. But, I know I'm right about the direction because I was taught, "Fall back, Spring forward."

Right now, though, I think I'll 'fall back' and see if a little more sleep will help.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Enjoyment Part II

I feel so fortunate, so blessed, so content. And for me, that's a really big deal!

I've had a myriad of limitations, illnesses, frustrations, beliefs and challenges in life that ,thus far, have made feeling glad, feeling pleasure, illusive and difficult for me. But, I feel it now, and I'm like one reborn.

The feeling is fantastic. It's a blend of gratitude and wonder and fulfillment. Aren't those lofty things? Yes, they are. They're miraculous and God-given. The feeling takes me by surprise at times, and I miss it when it isn't present. I can't recall when I've ever been so glad. It's like I'm surrounded with blessings, internal and external, too numerous to count!

I can only give examples. This morning, I'm still recovering from a cold that hit me hard last week. But, I feel quite a bit better than I did, I even enjoyed my EmergenC powder in hot water in a tea cup. I'm playing background music softly, a wonderful instrumental CD called Prayer Songs, given to me by some friends a few years back.

The wonders never cease.I found a website that teaches languages for free: and began a French course with them, today. I've always, always wanted to learn French, but lacked the kind of opportunity suited to me. Not anymore. It's free! I love it already.

This morning I ate chicken salad on a toasted croissant. The chicken salad was done excellently by me, not mushy, not dry. Exactly how I like it). With my petite breakfast sandwich, I had a cup of my favorite Colombian coffee. Then I contributed to WorldMagBlog, probably the best and only blog of it's kind. I made myself a tall Pelligrino and pomegranate juice with lime, and am now typing away at this blog, doing what I love. It feels fantastic.

I know enjoyment is a gift. I haven't always felt this way and have had trouble believing anyone- ever- felt this way. But, then I read Ecclesiastes -an old testament book of the Bible. In it, Solomon says that the ability to enjoy your work and the fruits of your labor is a gift from God. Well!! You'd better believe I asked for it! I knew I lacked it and so asked God for it for me, for my husband and for my children. I know the drudgery of not having that ability. Life is quite different when you've been given the ability to enjoy. Of course, it didn't come immediately, there was a definite process and progression. But, I have it now.

I'm painting almost daily.

I love painting and enjoy learning and practicing and creating. My easel is currently in my dining room, not too far from my washer and dryer, so I can paint, wash my hands, and tend to the laundry: another job I truly enjoy. (I have a friend who knows: that is also a miracle.)

I could go on and on. God is that good. But, I'll stop in order to tie this up. I know I don't deserve any of this abundant goodness lavished on me. I know it's all gift after gift. I've prayed for you, readers of my blog, that God would give you the gift of enjoyment. Try reading Ecclesiastes. It may not seem very uplifting at first, but it discusses futility and the blessing of enjoyment.

I will say, there was some 'positioning' and obeying I had to do along the way. I had to say no to quite a few things. But, how worth it. I feel God all around me and in me. I'm glad of heart. What intense and deep elation. May you receive it as well.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


From the Westminster Confession Shorter Catechism:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Lofty thought.

Enjoy God. How do I do that?
Glorify God? Well, that's a separate question.

This morning, admist plenty of stress (believe me), I found myself enjoying God.

Everyone was out of the house. I had done the dishes. It was time for breakfast.

So, I got my especially-baked-for-me-by-my-husband, healthy muffin and put it on a pretty-ish, small yellow plate. I took my Yoplait yogurt out of it's container and put it in a small, antique, green, glass bowl. And I put a delicate spoon by it's side.

I enjoyed the preparations. Sometimes I eat on the run, and I don't enjoy that very much.

I served myself my Colombian coffee in a green cup on a blue saucer because color matters. My table has an Indian red table cloth on it, and I loved the contrast. Trust me, it was lovely and inviting and exactly to my liking. I had soft, instrumental music in the background.

I was communing with God, doing what I enjoy.

He did and does the same kind of thing I was doing this morning.
He created the universe. He designed each and every tree and was lavish in all the details. He decided strawberries would be red, lemons would be yellow and blueberries would be blue. He looked on all he had done and said, "It is good."

He communed with his creation, in the making of it, and in the enjoyment of it.
I communed with God today by planning and enjoying the lavish little details; by taking time to give expression to my need for beauty.

Some of the details of how God reached me this morning, through his word, through his people, through his provisions, through the spontaneous gift from friends who enjoy me, remain treasured in my heart and not expressed in writing for now.

But, my point is this: that just by setting the table to my liking, I experienced some of God's character, pleasure, approval, and a touch of how he is when he's creating.
It's important to enjoy small things, the preparations, because God is gloriously revealed in them as well as in the large and extraordinary.

It's not a waste of time to do an ordinary thing in an extraordinary way. Our creator does it all the time! God is revealed through beauty. All of this from not eating out of a yogurt container! The more I know him, the more I love God.

Monday, September 24, 2007

One of my birds flew from my nest today

We just got our daughter off to YWAM this morning, so did two friends drop off their sons from Atlanta.

Also this morning, I heard the Keith Green song, "Asleep in the Light".
Not that this was hard, but it brought tears to my eyes.
Keith Green, I understand, was partially responsible for beginning YWAM. He helped cast the vision, I believe.

Back to the song. Have any of you heard it? It's about caring about the lost vs. being complacent as a believer. There's a pretty large group of youngsters about to care for the lost, lonely, hurting. The song never fails to challenge me and to break my heart.

Please pray for these young people.

Some of them have come from 1/2 way around the world--first time away from home.
My daughter shares a room with 5 other girls. Iron will sharpen iron. Hopefully lovingly.

I believe God had me hear that song. I'll see if I can look up and post the lyrics.

here they are:

Asleep in the Light

by Keith Green

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don't you care, don't you care
Are you gonna let them drown?

How can you be do numb,
Not to care if they come?
You close your eyes
And pretend the jobs done.

Oh bless me Lord, bless me lord
You know its all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear

But he cries, he weeps, he bleeds
And he cares for your needs.
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in.
Oh can't you see its such a sin

'Cause he brings people to your door
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"God bless you, be at peace."
And all heaven just weeps,
'cause Jesus came to you door.
You've left him out on the streets.

Open up open up,
And give yourself away.
You see the need, you hear the cries,
So how can you delay?

Gods calling and you're the one.
But like Jonah you run.
He's told you to speak,
But you keep holding it in.
Oh cant you see its such a sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark.
That the church just cant fight,
cause its asleep in the light.
How can you be so dead
When you've been so well fed?
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you cant even get out of bed.

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on get out of your bed!

How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come?
You close your eyes,
And pretend the jobs done.
You close your eyes,
And pretend the jobs done.

Don't close your eyes.
Don't pretend the jobs done.
Come away, come away, come away with me my love...
Come away, come away, come away with me my love...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Last Week

My daughter's last week at home. Then she goes to YWAM.

It's the end of an era. Bittersweet. Melancholy.
Necessary to her personal growth, at this juncture. Exciting, in a way.

I can tell you this:
My husband absolutely delights in her, so I'm concerned about how he'll take this.

She helps keep me the house straight after hurricane younger brother hits (1 year younger). Now I'll have to, clean up a lot more, get after him a lot more!

Our family time will feel completely different.
Erma Bombeck once said that to be a mother meant having your heart walk around outside of you for the rest of your life.
Boy, did she nail that one. Looks like my heart is going on a world tour. God bless and protect her.
God bless our last week of this precious era. In Jesus' name.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fred's Friend

Today, I officially became a "Friend of Fred's" for the Fred Thompson campaign. Politics are interesting, but I have to confess, I don't 'live' in them, the way that a football fan loves football and lives in a football world.

So, if I'm not all that political, why did I become a friend of Fred's?

I like him and he seems trustworthy and solid.

Likability is largely underrated and it's too bad because the trait of likability has tremendous merit. It doesn't belong to just anybody. Likability is like a fruit from a tree. A bad tree can't bear good fruit, so it is with the intangible goodness in Fred that I want to see modeled for my children.

Fred reminds me of Ronald Reagan. He displays his same affection for people, deference to elders, to those who deserve our respect. I like the way he treats women, and I like the way he treats men. I like the respectful way he treats opponents: graciousness without compromise.

He possesses the civility I'd very much like to see restored in the political arena.

He's well-spoken and can think on his feet. All of these traits combined make him a good representative for our country both domestically and internationally. And the next president is going to have to be good in both arenas.

He has small children.
And there's something about raising small children that makes you a better person: you think about the future, and how your actions impact generations to follow. You're living beyond yourself, sacrificing for their good. You care more. I'd love to see a young family in the White House again.

Like I said, I'm not political. But, I think Fred is worth supporting in order to insure a better future for the next generation. I like the values he embodies, and the style in which he embodies them. He's got more of what's been missing in Washington.

So, I'm posting a link. He'll need prayers, money, encouragement, helpers.

Here's how to donate funds. Every little bit helps:

Donate to Fred's Campaign

Also, here's his campaign website where you can learn more:

Friends of Fred's

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Summer of Transition

Some of my children's friends are already married, already parents. Within a month, both of my kids will be legally able to vote. I watch my daughter unknowingly turn heads when she's out in public. I watch my son assemble a bunch of bookshelves, and handle himself like a man. He's already deep into his college major, while in high school. Our daughter is about to move out and spend a year serving and traveling.

Excuse me, but when did this happen? Didn't I just get them out of diapers and teach them to read? Wasn't it yesterday that they were running down the stairs in their pajamas, with the sole aim of getting up on my lap? Didn't Holland just accidentally throw her retainer in the trash at the mall? When did all the toys on the floor disappear?

I'm not sure when all of that passed. How could it happen right under my nose, yet catch me by surprise?

In a recent conversation with a college friend who is expecting twins, we observed the obvious, "Children enter your life, and completely change it." She could say this with great conviction as she has built a wonderful law practice and is now beginning her family.

But, children also change your life tremendously when they leave your home. We're about to let one go for a while: our daughter. So far, we've all had our moments. So far, they haven't happened all at once.

My last moment involved a piano and the sheet music to Butterfly Kisses.
I am going to miss her. But, I would not rob her of this opportunity to go learn and mature.

I can't imagine life without her. She's been around 19 years. Almost 20, if you count the pregnancy.

I'm going to miss her and I wonder what it's going to be like.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wow, God!

A couple of days ago, I was getting dressed for the day, when I thought, "This is the 20th year since college graduation. It's too bad, God, that we all lost touch with all of the NROTC guys. You'd think that this day and age with the internet, someone would have the savvy to get us all reunited. Can you help us all get reunited?"
I've prayed that prayer before. This is group of people who never wanted to lose track of each other.

For the last twenty years, we've all been getting married, raising children, building businesses, fighting wars, serving in the military, getting ahead, staying afloat, moving around, and just doing. College feels like it was only yesterday.

This morning, I slept in a little. We've been getting up at 4:45 to get to the gym by 5:00 am. Today was a day off, so believe me, I slept in. Until 7:30. Though I was grateful for the rest, I knew I'd miss our morning routine, especially the prayer.

So, we prayed quickly, right after Michael got dressed, while I was still in bed. Among other prayers I thought to say, "God, would you surprise me in a wonderful, unexpected way today?"

I actually forgot I had prayed that, and set about cleaning and doing laundry, etc.
At about 8:30 this morning, I checked my e-mails, and there was an anonymous post to my blog. Someone who was looking for Michael, from the NROTC unit from Boston.
It was our friend, Shawn.

Long story short, after 20 years, thanks to a few good men, God, and the internet, we're all in touch again. The e-mails are flowing, we're going to the reunion, and the phones are ringing. What a great group of people! Talk about happiness! This is a group of people who really enjoy each other, and shared some great years together in College. It looked as though we'd never get reunited.

This is just a post to say, "Thanks God. Thanks an awful lot. That was unexpected and wonderful. We can't wait to see them. Please bless the reunion, and everybody's comings and goings. Please make it possible for people to be found and to make it to Boston this summer. "
In Jesus' name.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Some Things in Life are Too Easy to Miss
This story pained me on a number of different levels.
I feel pain for the people, for the beautiful musician, and just for us all.
I know there are a number of explanantions as to why the following happened, but I still experience it as a sort of cultural tragedy.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this article.
At first, I was just struck with the beauty of the music, but that settled into a kind of sadness.
I wish we weren't in such a rush.
I think it's sad that we don't have time for beauty.

The Brazilian shoe shine lady in the article said that a thing like this would never happen in Brazil. I think it wouldn't happen in most countries. I know we're into productivity in this country, and yes, I know that context does matters, but this is sad.
If there was one thing I could change about our culture, I would slow us down and have us 'live' more and be less harried.
In a slower paced world, we'd recognize this kind of treasure, and we'd take it in. We, ourselves, would produce more beauty.
Sigh. I truly am saddened by our driven, harried
state that has rendered us senseless to beauty.
We're WAY out of balance. (And I am rarely dogmatic).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Paradoxical freedom

My friend Carla and I were having another one of our "so this is life and truth" discussions, and I decided I would blog about it.

We were both raised in the 1970's and early 80's, and like almost everybody, we unquestioningly ingested some of our culture's values, some good, some anti biblical. Those particular teachings can be very costly. So I am attempting to write, in the current vernacular, something that the Bible teaches.

"They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters, if you do what is right and don't give way to fear."
1 Peter 3:5-6

I guess many women in this day and age struggle with dismissing this verse as being antiquated, and think,"For then, certainly not for modern times." We aren't going to find encouragement to be submissive to your husband out in the world. It's become almost a hidden truth.

The first and most obvious objections to submission would be, "I don't want to be controlled. I am my own person."
Or, "He doesn't have the wisdom to lead me." I could think of more objections, but, my point is that I understand that this is a hard and counter-intuitive concept.

But, if you will allow me to put it in a nutshell, so as to make it more understandable in this day and age, I'll teach it like this:

What do we women crave? Security, peace, freedom from fear, our husband's admiration. The world teaches that we should go our own way, even in marriage, and that rob us of all , of the aforementioned desires.

How can following an imperfect man, who can lead me where I don't want to go, be God's plan for me? I mean, why did God bother giving me a personality, if it was going to boil down to this? (For the record, I am not talking about an abusive, dangerous man. In those circumstances seek help, shelter, wisdom.)

God knows what we need, and he knows how to give it to us. But, first we must realize that His ways are higher than our ways, that he often works in unexpected ways, and that His wisdom always sounds like foolishness to our natural minds. Those things alone explain our dilemma!

So, what does it look like, what happens when we take God up on that particular verse?

Well, first of all, submission begins with some sort of conflict of interest or disagreement.
I mean, otherwise there is agreement and therefore no need to submit. We're already doing as we wish.
So suppose your authority figure wants something you don't. What of your hopes, dreams, and desires? God said we'd be Sarah's daughters if we didn't give way to fear.
So, we can rest on the fact that the Word acknowledges that we'd face fear at this juncture. Of course, we cannot imagine how God could create harmony and work a thing out for our good, when all we can see is the fact that we're walking a road we certainly would not have chosen.

That's where many of us drop off. And that, friends, is giving way to fear: the fear that God can't or won't work it out or that we don't matter to God --that he's somehow forgotten us.

This is a difficult subject to distill, but in the movie, Braveheart, William Wallace modeled the needed attitude best, "The Almighty already knows I want those things." What spectacular trust! What faith in God's ability to do anything, and work anything out, even when we don't see a way.

We can say the same thing! When we're following our husband's leadership, and it perplexes us, of course we can speak up! Submitting doesn't mean you can't share your ideas. It means that in God's established order for the household, the husband has the last word. If you've shared your concerns with God and with your husband (after all, you are in a relationship), how can you be sure that this isn't the road to fulfilling those desires? God often uses the unexpected. (See Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. See fishermen becoming fishers of men. See his incarnation coming in the form of a lowly infant.)

How can we keep from giving way to fear? One way that works for me is to realize, that in times of following in submission, I have to look beyond my husband's back and unto whatever the Lord is doing through these circumstances. God is already working in that situation, and we can have confidence in him by remembering what Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Remember that marriage is an earthly depiction of God's image and that Jesus, himself, submits to the Father. A great picture of this is in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus dreaded and despised what laid right ahead of him in his execution. He pleaded with the Father that that cup be removed from him, but he also knew the wisdom of submission and the utter trustworthiness of God, so he said, "Nevertheless, not my, but thy will be done."

Where would we be now if Jesus would have given way to fear? The word says he was tempted in every way, so it's a safe bet that he was tempted to fear. Jesus' trust of the Father, led to death at the moment, but ultimately to a resurrection and gloriously, to our redemption.

My point is, We may feel a petite death when we're going against the grain of our personal preferences. But, God can move in unimaginable ways. He can bring a thing about, and he can purify our desires. Obedience can lead to life and freedom and into knowing God better. I'm learning to look beyond the authority figure, to the one who placed him in authority. I can also now say that I'm grateful for the challenges of faith presented to me thus far. They can be hard to live through, but they bear such priceless fruit.

One neat outcome? You get to see God work in a way that you couldn't have forseen. Your trust in him increases, and then the next disagreement doesn't seem quite as frightening. You'll know to look beyond the immediate and even become excited about what God could be doing in that circumstance.

The paradox? The very fearful circumstance becomes the vehicle that helps increase our sense of security. Our husbands appreciate our respect and our quiet trust in God and it becomes a means of building them up, as well.

I share this because it's freedom. And because I really haven't heard much relatable teaching on this subject.

Be blessed.

We can't do it in our own strength, but we don't have to. God helps us through.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Young Adult or Old Child?

My children are young adults.
It took me, and it took them a while to realize it.
But, I am very gratified to see them grow/grown, and I do enjoy their increasing maturity.

My friend Carla and I talk fairly often about our growing children.
Often, moms are the last to know that their children have grown up.
We remember the baby days and toddler years and tree climbing as if it were yesterday. It might even have been yesterday. Our lives have been wrapped up in our little ones' lives all these years. so naturally we're reluctant to let go.

Being the parent of adult children takes some adjustments. It takes acceptance and it means releasing them into God's hands. Young adults still require mentoring, but they cannot be treated as children. As one wise mom said: "God and I have a deal: I won't take all the credit and I won't take all the blame."

Of course, the young person has some responsibility to make this a smooth transition.
First, they must decide that they're really not a kid anymore, and be willing to embrace the new weight of responsibility and accountability. They must realize that their parents have been raising them from an egg, and that parents need understanding, too.

But, I think the most essential change is that both parent and child need to go to God with each other. In other words, both need to trust God more. An adult child feels affection and gratitude towards his parents, if all has gone right. But, at times will feel challenged trying to honor and respect them. At those times, they need to remember that they are treating their parents gently, out of love for God; and that God is pleased with that sacrifice of pride.

Conversely, parents need to still mentor, but go from being their child's external conscience to being their prayer warrior and sideline coach/cheerleader. When both parent and offspring understand the unique challenges inherent to the other in this transition, then it becomes easier to help things along and give grace where needed.

Both parent and offspring need to conclude: my child is no longer a child, but an adult or "I am not an old child. I am a young adult." Once that is established in the heart and the mind, the new phase has begun!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Growing in Freedom, part 1

I'm going to take the next few days to share some thoughts on adulthood and freedom with some of my younger readers. Older readers are free to read as well, and I welcome comments. But, I do moderate them, so they won't appear immediately after you post them.

I'm going to share a little from my life.

At 19 I went to Boston University, right after my stint in the Army.
At that time in my life, I was revelling in my freedom and loving the fact that I was free to make my own choices. Perhaps it was the military service, or maybe it was my early degree from the School of Hard Knocks and Bad Choices, but I had reached a point where I only wanted God's plan for my life. He must had given me the discernment or wisdom to realize that His was the path to true freedom.

I'm going to keep this short and then expound a little in the next few days. But, I knew I had entered adulthood at that time. I knew because of what I did and didn't want out of life. I knew because of the deeper questions of choices and destiny with which I was wrestling. I tend to be a bit of a noncomformist, naturally. I was probably born that way. But this was different. Like never before, I had absolutely no interest in running with the herd and following the crowd. I was perfectly content to swim upstream and stay focused on my goals. The herd was just peropheral scenery. I had learned to want what God wanted for me and I knew it was what was best. I certainly wasn't being contrary, just focused.

In those days, I filled my journal with thoughts and tomes about freedom. I don't think I wrote anything earth-shatterlingly profound or noteworthy, but I was taken with the concept. I was tasting true freedom and I knew that "free" was something I always wanted to be. I also knew that freedom wasn't cheap. Staying free had to be a deliberate choice. Bad choices impeded freedom, and so did any lies or misconceptions I was laboring under.

It was a dynamic time of learning truth and clinging to it. I thought it was fun because I knew it would lead to a great life.

One thing I love/loved about God was that He was absolutely willing to lead me into freedom. People think God is all about rules and taking our freedom. But that's totally wrong. He's all about freedom: getting us out of all sorts of bondage and giving us the truth. The Word says, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free".

That's it for now. Keep checking in.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pink Tuesday and blooming crocus.

I'm so glad yesterday is over! Some yesterdays are like that. One thing I love about God is that His mercies are new every morning! I love it that He allows U-turns, and that He's perfect. . . but not perfectionistic. How happy and blessed I am to be His daughter.

Speaking of daughters, I just had a wonderful conversation with a daughter in the faith. She is quite a mature and lovely young woman. I don't think she'll wrestle long with the question, "Am I a woman or a girl?" because I think I'm beginning to see the beginnings of a truly wonderful work that God is doing in her life. It's a work that will require maturity. As someone who has known her most of her life, I feel joyous and excited.

Some in this next generation of young adult believers will be called upon to live lives that are essentially and radically different than what the world lives. Last year, the census bureau discovered that there are now more unmarried adults than there are married adults in the US. Also, I've heard older adults sternly counsel the younger ones to wait until they are 26 to marry. That definitely has it's pros and cons, but it can said, in all fairness, that readiness for marriage has much more to do with maturity than with chronological age.

This gal is bright, intelligent and promising, and beautiful. And she's God's. She will hear, and has heard many divergent voices of how to spend her life, her youth, and her many different expressions of beauty. We all know the options : career, school, military service, missions, an active dating life, marriage. But, in her case --and I'm so proud of her for this-- she wants what God wants. Whatever that may be.

That's great. A lot of people say that. But, in some cases it can be quite costly. Take Mary, when she was a young virgin. She said "Be it unto me as thou hast said" and behold! She was left to explain to her parent's and relatives that she was pregnant, via divine overshadowing, with a holy child.

Other girls around her were, no doubt, also sold out to God, and wanted his plan for their lives. But her calling was radically different, and came a little sooner than she expected. Still, after one or two questions to the angel, she consented.

Now, my children, and my young friend may not have a calling as radical as a virgin birth. But, going counter-culture at a young age can be about as daunting. One thing that helped my daughter in the faith was a talk bolstering her up as a young woman vs. an old child. Too many young people have this struggle: 'When am I an adult?'

She has long reached the age of reasoning and accountability. She might find herself in a courtship in the near future as she has captured the imagination and notice of a remarkable young, godly, twenty- something man. Courtship at her age is counter culture. But this seems very right and very peacable to her.

What an interesting prospect. I do counsel young people who are considering a relationship with the member of the opposite sex to look, look, look and pray before they leap. But sometimes, like a crocus as a heralder of Spring, we get to see a wonderful early work of the Lord that was hidden, but bloomed early.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Most Depressing Day of the Year

Well, it's Blue Monday, what experts have termed the third Monday in January because they figured that this was the most depressing day of the year. By the third week in January, we will have faced up to our credit card debts accrued over the holidays, and we will have come face to face with our failure to carry out our New Year Resolutions. (I don't do those normally.)

It's a little strange to live out the year's most depressing day. Ironically, it's grey and overcast and drizzling rain here in Central Florida. How does one commemorate a "holiday" such as Blue Monday? Should we be sad? Reach out to a depressed person? (Not a bad idea.) Fight the blues? Embrace them?

I guess we could have some fun with it and do up a blue table, with blue plates, salad with blue cheese, play the blues, and have blue jello for dessert. (I think I will.) I'll even do place cards on blue paper, written with a blue marker.

Why not?
Red, White and Blue is for Independence Day
Red and Pink is for Valentines Day.
Green is for St. Patricks Day.
Red and Green is traditional for Christmas.
Blue alone doesn't have a holiday to grace.

Should this be?
Is this fair?

I, for one, will do my part in granting this poor color equal time.
It might lead to a prayer time for someone we know who needs a boost.
Maybe God will give us an idea of who to invite for dinner.
Who knows?

The good news is that we get 2007's most depressing day out of the way early. The other remaining 343 days are bound to be better -- according to the experts.
The day is almost half done!

Here's to a happier tommorow!

By the way, one of our goldfish died. It turns out that he wasn't cute and chubby like we thought when we purchased him, but bloated and very ill.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hello 2007!

Dear Readers,
THANK YOU for not giving up on me while I was busy being a holiday hostess! I'm still at it and I'm going to miss my crowd. We're having such fun. The holidays, to me, are what tax season is to a CPA. It's my 'high season'. I'll have to be careful not to fall into a slump of despondency once it's all over. Fortunately, I have a friend who wants to fly out to see me in mid-January.

One thing I have enjoyed most is the interaction between generations. I kept thinking, "One generation serves the other." (I know this is biblical. . . a concordance will give you the reference.)
We cooked for each other, cleaned for each other. We stopped and listened and spoke to each other and our lives are all the richer for these interaction.

A snapshot memory I have is the younger generation's first act of the New Year. They sat around our little fire pit by the pool, talking in a circle. We'd peek out at them every so often, because they made such a nice picture. At midnight, they led out the happiest, most robust cheer and held up their champagne glasses of sparkling grape juice. But, before they did that. They opened the New Year asking God for His blessing. What an encouragement those seven young people are to us. We love them so dearly. . .

I feel that I have been surrounded by all sorts of love in this past week. There is thoughtfulness and fellowship all around me; the last two remaning slices of my friend, Susan's, apple cake, dishes on the drying rack that I didn't wash, games waiting to be played once again, the dustpan (not put away after the last use). Our kitchen now boasts two new goldfish in a one gallon aquarium that our daughter gave her Daddy for Christmas. He loves it. There's so much to be thankful for.

In a few moments, they will all return from their errands. They're travelling en masse.

But, I promised a cyber friend a recipe. He ordinarily hates spinach, but is willing to give this hors d'eurve recipe a try.

(Jim U, I got this recipe from a friend I made when my husband was stationed in Okinawa, Japan with the USMC. They were a hit at the get-togethers)

Patrice's Spinach Puff
(this recipe can be halved, but I've never done it, because they freeze so well.)

2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, cooked in microwave, and squeezed dry.
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 8oz pkg Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing
1 C of melted butter (2 sticks)
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 T garlic salt
1 T black pepper
1/2 t thyme
6 eggs, beaten

Mix all ingredients together (you'll probably have to use your hands to work all of the ingredients together evenly).
Shape into 1" balls.
Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*to freeze:
Do not bake.
Lay wax paper on baking sheet.
Roll balls and space evenly.
Put tray in freezer and freeze.
Transfer into a gallon freezer zip lock bag.

To bake:
Take desired amount out of freezer, placed on ungreased cookie sheet and allow to thaw a little.
Bake according to instructions.

Bon appetit, jim U!

More later.
Love to all.