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Showing posts from July, 2009

To Judge or Not

An acquaintance of mine recently posted a note on facebook about morality, good and evil, and grace. Her point was that what is determined "moral" by society changes, but God intended for His creation to be good. Even though wickedness exists, He offers redemption through love. Since He is the Creator, He is the Judge. As mere humans, we are to love and not judge.

I agree that society's mores, or the current accepted moral attitudes, change. Yes, at various times in history, Christians were slave owners. People of many religions have engaged in "holy wars," seeking to eliminate those who believe differently. What has been deemed right by religious leadership has not always been right in God's eyes.

As politically correct as so many try to be, the fact is that we all judge. We all have our own ideas of right and wrong and decide whether the behavior of other people match those ideas. The problem is not that human beings judge another person's be…

Deep Thoughts

The hum of the dehumidifier
The whir of the computer's fan
The tap-tap-tap of the keyboard

If all people were to disappear
From the planet forever
I would not know it
Here it is quiet. Here it is still.

The sandals, still warm
The dirty kitchen towel
The 2-liter of diet soda

If all the treasure of the world
Were hidden in my house
I would not know it
Here it is cluttered. Here it is full.

Empty iced coffee cup
Empty cup of yogurt
Empty box of candy

If all the food and drink
Were here for me to consume
I would not know it
Here I am content. Here I am full.

Bundle of wood
Thermostat turned off
Temperature of 71.

If all the cool breezes
Were to blow into the room
I would not know it
Here it is comfortable. Here I am cool.

Mind full of dreams
Heart full of desires
Body trying to keep up

If God were to send the answer
To all my prayers today
Would I know it?
Here it is safe. Here I am.

So Weird

Thanks to Chuck Shepherd and his website www.newsoftheweird.com for a lot of laughs today. This was my favorite story:

Kendrick Pitts, 20, and his brother Marquise, 19, were arrested in May in the ladies' room of a small office building in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where they were hiding in stalls after being chased by police investigating a stolen truck. Their ruse failed when they tried, using falsetto voices, to persuade the cops that the only people present were women. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 5-5-09]

Doesn't that sound like a scene out of a Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler movie? I can just see two gangly young man crouched on top of toilet seats, answering in squeaky voices, "No, officer, no one here but us girls. Heehee."

I found out today that I can't think and write. I tried to write one name on my white board at work and wrote down the name of the person I needed to call. I even typed a word I heard on the TV instead of the word I intended to write. Ye…

Changing Course

I've been in a funk. I've felt helpless to change some situations in my life. When depression attacks, it is insidious. First you feel out of control. Then you feel that since you can't change your situation, there's nothing to look forward to. You begin to feel you really don't matter, and that nothing else does either. You stop caring about the people and activities around you. You long to curl up into a ball forever.

Today, something snapped me out. There was a voice inside my head that asked me if I really wanted the people who are making my life miserable to win. Would I want them to know how much power they are wielding over me? They don't own me. I'm not trapped. Who says I can't make my own choices, choose my own destiny? There's a way. I just have to stop feeling sorry for myself and take action.

Besides that, what on earth do I have to feel sorry for? I live in a fantastic country. I have friends and family who genuinely care…

Doughnuts

Legend has it that Hanson Gregory, a native of Camden, Maine, conceived the idea of the ring doughnut at the tender age of 16 while aboard a trading ship.  Young Hanson didn’t like the way the fried cakes served on the ship were wonderful on the edges but soggy and greasy in the middle.  At first he took a strip of dough and tried to make it into a circle.  Then, using the lid to a tin of pepper, he punched a hole in a glob of dough.  After frying it up, he found it to be the finest he’d ever tasted.He shared his inspiration with his dear mother, and she began to send them to Rockland, where the idea continued to spread to bakeries far and wide.Thank you Mr. Gregory, for brightening up office break rooms and Sunday school classes and giving us something to dunk in our coffee.Thank you for tender yeast doughnuts covered in a light glaze.  Thank you for cake donuts that melt in your mouth.  Thank you for making room in the middle to put custard and cream and jelly.  Thank you for a plac…

Pearls of Wisdom

I am always amazed at how much a book like the Bible that was written millenia ago can have application to today. I was reading in Proverbs 12, and the first verse has the word "stupid" in it. If my kids knew that the word "stupid" was in the Bible, they prbably wouldn't understand why I tell them not to use it. I suppose it's not really a bad word, it's just that it's usually used to describe a sibling, which gets on my nerves. What's even more ironic is the context: "...he who hates correction is stupid." I'm not sure I'll convince them to love discipline, but it helps to have the Bible back you up.

In just one chapter, I found so many pearls that speak to me today. "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown." To me that says that marriage matters, and what you do and say affects your spouse and family. It's not all about me.

"...Men with warped minds are despised." Sometimes I get s…

Rainy Day

I love being outside just after it rains, when it's cool and all the humidity has dissipated. The sunlight is pale and flickers between lacy white clouds. Everything is beautiful and fresh, washed clean by the rain.

Even though the rain is inevitable and necessary, it is glorious to bask in the light and stillness that follows. In fact, without the rain, the sun wouldn't seem as important or as lovely as it does when it radiates heat and light from between the dissipating clouds.

In life, the rain, clouds, and storms are inevitable, too. It goes against everything in my perfectionistic nature to believe that bad things will happen, but it's true. I long for some idyllic world of constant peace and joy. And yet, in the words of Eurythmics, "Here comes the rain again."

Even Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble," (John 16:33) so who am I to get frustrated and disappointed when things don't go the way I think they should? As a human …

True to You

"You've got to take care of you." The wise words of a friend echoed through my head all day. When I first thought about it, I was a bit defensive. "I take care of myself," I thought. I eat, sometimes, and sleep, when I can, and..." I didn't have a very convincing argument.

I'm coming to realize that I've put myself in last place for too long. I'm a chronic people pleaser. I think I most often used the word "no" in the sentence, "no problem." It's not only that, but I really want to change the world. I want to give my time and energy to all the good causes out there. As I've said "yes" to more and more, at times I've found myself with a Herculean schedule that gives me no sense of accomplishment or goodwill, but a growing sense of resentment and apathy.

Life is all about balance and boundaries; it seems I just choose to learn the hard way. I could never live in a world where my main focu…

Greed be Gone

I'm done with greed. I'm done with millionaires embezzling more money and retailers complaining because people aren't buying more stuff. It's horrible that it took something like a recession to bring some people to their senses about what really matters in the world: not money, power, or prestige, but friends, family, and simple pleasures.

I heard a snippet of something on the radio about Jim Baker and his realization that the majority of folks in prison were there because they got greedy. The drug dealers didn't want to get high, they wanted money for better cars and more things. The embezzlers, the swindlers, the thieves, just wanted more money, more stuff. It's probably safe to say that some of the murderers were motivated by something related to money or things.

Did they ask themselves if it was worth it? Did they stop to think, I'm risking jail time for a nicer car? A bucket of bolts with a shiny new paint job and more horsepower? Really?

As …

Cheer Up

Today is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day.  I have been unable to locate the origin of the holiday, or find out which president may have bestowed such an honor on a day in mid-July.  I’m hoping it isn’t a ruse by the greeting card companies of the world to sell more cards and stationery.I imagine more people are lonely than would seem to be, or that would even admit it.  I always think of the old widow, sitting at home alone, no family or friends to call on her.  I don’t actually know anyone like that, but it’s a very compelling picture.I also tend to think of a lonely person as someone who is more introverted and has fewer friends.  Actually, introverted people tend to like alone time, and may be less likely to feel lonely than someone who really enjoys having people around all the time.  When the party’s over, then what?  Can you feel lonely in a room full of people?  Absolutely.  A lonely person is longing for a companion, a connection, someone to walk beside.  Even though I work i…

Laugh it Up

“We love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
We love to laugh
So ev'rybody can hear
The more you laugh
The more you fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more we're a merrier we!”Mary Poppins’ Uncle Albert laughed so much he ended up on the ceiling.  His laughter really brought the house down, or at least it seemed like it.  When you think about it, what makes us laugh is really complicated.  Everyone’s sense of humor is a little different.  Some people enjoy sophisticated, intellectual, dry humor.  Others like silly, slapstick, goofy humor.  Sometimes your sense of humor may change with your mood.  I love puns and plays on words.  Check out this one from www.ahajokes.com:A farmer was milking his cow. He was just starting to get a good rhythm going when a bug flew into the barn and started circling his head. Suddenly, the bug flew into the cow's ear. The farmer didn't think much about it, until the bug squirted out into his bucket. It …

ID please

Identity theft is scary.  In the 1995 movie, “The Net,” Sandra Bullock’s character’s identity is taken over.  A computer hacker has made it impossible to use her credit cards, and has given her a new identity complete with a police record.Although I hope I never have to deal with it, I cannot imagine the huge headache it would be to prove to people that I am who I say I am.  I wonder how many people allow their identities to be “stolen” in different ways.  I was watching “The Cosby Show” today and Denise was commending Sandra and Elvin for dropping out of graduate school to follow their own dreams.  She was proud of them for not trying to become carbon copies of her parents.I’m never one to commend or encourage quitting.  I do think it’s a good idea for someone to follow his or her own path.  It’s something that the Bible reminds parents, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Psalm 22:6).I believe who we are is a combination of what is g…

On With the Show!

Sometimes it feels like nothing you do or say makes a difference in your world.  Sometimes it feels like no one knows you exist.  Sometimes it feels like you’ve accomplished nothing in your life.  Sometimes it feels like you’re just a cog in a giant machine.  You ask yourself, “why am I here?”I heard a song on the radio today ”Something to Say” by Matthew West, that seemed to answer that question.You’ve got something to say
If you’re living, if you’re breathing
You’ve got something to say
You know if you’re heart is beating
You’ve got something to say
And no one can say it like you do
God is love and love speaks through
You got it, you got it
You’ve got something to sayDo you believe that we live in a world where every human being has a designated role, a part to play on the grand stage of life?  If you’ve ever been in a dramatic production, you know that every member of the cast is vital to the ongoing action of the play.  I didn…

Why I Like Chocolate

The rich sweetness of chocolate is my answer to everything.  It’s for celebration, for consolation, for pain relief (physical or emotional), for PMS, for dessert, for appetizer, for snack, for love, for encouragement, for excitement, for relaxation, for pleasure, and for fun.One of my favorite books as a child was “Chocolate Fever” by Robert Kimmel Smith.  It is a classic.  In the book, Henry loves chocolate so much he eats it on everything and at every meal.  When he breaks out into brown, chocolate smelling spots, his doctor calls it “Chocolate Fever.”  The medical community is so fascinated with his case he has to run away to avoid their constant attention.I like Henry’s style, although I have yet to eat chocolate on mashed potatoes or noodles.   I like it best plain- a Hershey’s Dark or other fancy bar.  I also like it wrapped around nuts or caramel or more chocolate and nestled in a heart-shaped box.  However, the chocolates with the fruity nougat fluff I could do without.  Choco…

Rites of Passage

Do you remember your first lost tooth?  Do you remember wiggling and wiggling it, maybe before it was even loose?  Did you ever go to extreme measures, like pliers or a string tied to doorknob?  My son’s first tooth is loose.  He’s in no hurry for it to come out, although he played with it all through the church service this morning.  He first noticed it while dining out a week ago.  He complained of a sore tooth while biting into a slice of pizza.  “Is it loose?” I asked.  He wiggled it, and sure enough, it could bend to a 45 degree angle.  At 6 1/2 years old, it had been a long time coming.    His older sister was adorable.  She put her arm around him, and with a knowing smile, asked to see and touch the premier tooth.  Apparently, her cousin reacted the same way when his younger sister had her first loose tooth.  She’s only 5 1/2, but lost her third tooth today.  It was barely hanging on to begin with, and again, it was a slice of pizza that did the trick.  As my kids grow older, t…

Independence

Fireworks have marked celebrations for centuries.  First there’s the zoom of them shooting into the air, the brilliant explosion of light and color, and then the big BOOM as the sound catches up.  A fireworks display always reminds me of that line in the National Anthem: “and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air…”  It reminds me that on the other side of the world, there are folks who may be viewing fireworks that aren’t pretty or exciting, but a matter of life and death.  Throughout the history of our country, men and women have voluntarily put their lives on the line in the fight for freedom.  Their families, too, have paid the price for independence, for unity, for democracy.  The national anthem was written by Frances Scott Key, who was detained by the British during the war of 1812.  As they attacked Fort McHenry, he sought a glimpse of their emblem of freedom, the American flag.  After witnessing the battle throughout the night, he and his companions knew that if the…

Roller Coaster 11

“Chelsea, this is Wendy.  Wendy, Chelsea.”  Chelsea flashed a genuine smile and nodded.  “Hi!” she said.  So, where do you know Jason from?”  “My dad’s in the hospital,” she replied, suddenly feeling vulnerable.  Why was she telling a stranger about her problems?“I’m sorry,” Chelsea answered sympathetically.  “Hope everything goes okay.”  Wendy nodded silently and took her seat.  She was grateful for the music that was beginning, signaling the beginning of the service.  As the service began, Wendy tried to follow the songs, prayers, and other elements of the service.  Jason was there to point at a hymn number or cue her to pass the offering plate.  The pastor was a good storyteller, and she listened as he described the scene of Lazarus’ funeral in exquisite detail.  His point about life in the midst of death resonated with her.  It made her think how her dad would want her to live, even though he was facing death.After the service ended, she allowed Jason to introduce her to his paren…

God's Plan

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" -Jeremiah 29:11

I've had this verse on a plaque that I received from a good friend about 9 years ago. I keep it in my office on my desk. I usually find a lot of comfort in it.

It seems that I've spent most of my adult life trying to figure out these plans God has for me. Whatever I’m doing, after a time I start to ask questions. The problem is pretty much summed up by The Clash: "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" The dilemma dips into that whole philosophical question regarding providence and freewill: "Is life like a line already drawn, or is the line yet to be drawn?"

My take is that the line is yet to be drawn, but that God, seeing the big picture, already knows what it looks like, and knows how to get you from point A to point B, if you are willing to trust in Him. On the other hand, I al…

Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is seems so necessary today. I watch TV, write, listen to my kids, text... all at the same time. At work I'll be on the phone while I check my email and fill out paperwork. I'll drive, listen to music, talk on the phone, and go over my next appointment while in the car. How did we ever survive without the ability to do so many things at the same time? How did we ever communicate without ready access to phones, email, fax, social networks, texting, and IM?

Having a few days to myself, I've realized that I get a lot more done if I focus on one thing at a time. I write twice as fast when I turn the TV off. Granted, my mom probably told me that 20 years ago when I tried to start my homework in front of the TV at 9:30 at night. Household tasks are much more rewarding when you start and complete them the same day. I had also forgotten the joy of a good mystery novel, read without someone asking where something is or if I can help with something.

I think we…