An excellent post by a fellow blogger. Are you as sensitive to the truth?

Revelations In Writing

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” – 2 Timothy 4:2

I am meant to be a reflection of my Redeemer in all things and at all times.  My speech must be seasoned by His Word, so that as I love others, I might do so with great patience and care.  If I am to correct, it must be paired with kindness; if I am to rebuke, it must be in love by the authority of the Author of our faith; and as I encourage, the words of exhortation ought to be spoken in truth and contribute to the deepening of another’s faith.
To preach the Word, I must know the Word.  To know the Word, I have to spend time studying it, and be ever listening to the still small voice of His Spirit…

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Are you distracted by your food?

My husband and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary last week. A few days after the actual date, we went out for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I know…cheesy. But seriously, they have an awesome dinner menu and I really wanted some great cheesecake, since finding good pies is a bit of a challenge without Tippins around anymore.

My husband, sweet man that he is, dropped me off at the door and went to park the car. For those of you reading this blog from or familiar with the St. Louis area, you will understand that parking at The Galleria can be troublesome, and that evening was no exception.

I was seated immediately (awesome) and began looking over the menu. Ahem, it was more like a paperback novel, to be honest. I chose something from the Skinnylicious menu before my husband came in…so I was all set to order when the server appeared to take our order. She rattled off the specials, and I instantly changed my mind and decided on the Pecan-crusted Catfish with mashed potatoes and succotash.

My husband, notorious for NOT being quick about things like ordering at a drive through window, or any restaurant for that matter, was still trying to figure out how the menu worked. He asked questions about the soups offered on the specials of the day. Not just what kinds, but the quantity served. Cup? Bowl? Pot? Not really, he didn’t mention the pot.

He asked his go to #1 choice–do they serve Lasagna. Nope. I could have told him that–I had already checked for him. He then asked for his go to #2 choice–the Chinese Chicken Salad. SCORE!!! I could have, and probably should have, ordered for him. Time is money, especially in the restaurant business.

We talked for a little while as we awaited our dinner. As we are in the middle of a kitchen re-vamp, there was no shortage of topics needing our attention. It was pleasant and we just enjoyed our time. Then the food arrived.

My catfish was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Delicious. Absolutely delicious. My husband’s salad was ENORMOUS. It looked like a huge bowl with the salad wearing a top hat of crispy rice noodles. Sort of like this:

double the height of the noodles on top and it will be just about right

I was eating my dinner, thoroughly enjoying each bite. Finally, I asked my husband how his salad compared to the many other Chinese Chicken Salads he has eaten over the years. Even after all the years we’ve been married, his answer surprised me.

“Well, I don’t really know. I’m so distracted by these THINGS on top of it.”

Ok, seriously, he’s DISTRACTED by the contents of his salad so he can’t tell if he likes it more than, equal to, or less than the thousands of others he’s had? Wow. Just wow. I guess in HIS mind, the noodles added nothing of value to the salad, so just for the sake of presentation, they were not worth it.

If you look at the salad in the same way you might look at the Gospel, it makes tremendous sense. The simplicity of the Gospel is its beauty–it needs nothing else to make it more attractive or valuable. The truth of Jesus coming to die on the cross as full payment for the sins of all who would take His gift of salvation is beautiful. Complete. It stands alone without the need for anything we could even hope to add to it.

So, quirky as my husband may be, he gave me plenty of food for thought…(I couldn’t resist.) 🙂

Ephesians 2:4-10

J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

4-10 But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved—and has lifted us right out of the old life to take our place with him in Christ in the Heavens. Thus he shows for all time the tremendous generosity of the grace and kindness he has expressed towards us in Christ Jesus. It was nothing you could or did achieve—it was God’s gift to you. No one can pride himself upon earning the love of God. The fact is that what we are we owe to the hand of God upon us. We are born afresh in Christ, and born to do those good deeds which God planned for us to do.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Nana!

So it’s likely to be an interesting day when it starts with a conversation like this:

“Vida, do not hit,” said in my kind but stern voice.

The reply caught me off guard. “Rock, paper, scissors, Nana!” said the crazy but adorable little curly top.

I have been parenting and raising mine and others’ children for a very long time. But this was definitely a first for me. Was I supposed to make a choice? Hmmmm, what might those choices look like to a crazy granddaughter like mine?

Rock. Hit him with a rock?

Paper. I got nothing.

Scissors. Cut him? Cut his hair? Cut her own hair? Cut paper? I don’t know. It was only about 7:45 AM when this discussion ensued. I have to admit, I am still confused.

But she DID quit hitting, so I guess I won that battle? I’m not quite sure yet.

I guess time will tell…yes, tell a crazy story about a crazy little girl with curly hair and big brown eyes and a button nose.

DIY Bleach Pen T Shirt Design

For the days I get carried away with my cleaning…

The Renegade Seamstress

I seem to have an endless supply of thrift store t shirts hanging around just begging for a refashion.

So today I tried a new technique.

Bleach pen drawing.

And it worked!!!

If your t shirt is too large, first take it in like this:

 

 

Now you’re ready for the fun part:

Let the bleach sit on the shirt until it has bleached as much as you’d like then rinse it with cold water.

Wash and dry as usual in the washing machine.

For less than fifty cents, I’ve got a new summer shirt!

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Racing to Win–Remembering Paul

1 Corinthians 9:23-25 (English Standard Version)

23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Yesterday I wrote about races in the context of marriage. But honestly, throughout the day, I watched a very real race, with a very real finish line.

A family from our church has two sons–both boys battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy–Paul, age 19 and Andrew, almost 18. To say that these boys and their parents have been inspirational would be a vast understatement.

Paul, Jane, Phil and Andrew Marler

As a mother, I don’t know how I would be if I knew that my child was sick, suffering and dying. That almost from birth my child would suffer. To be a mother with two children, both sharing the same terrible diagnosis, could break me. To carry that burden for so many years, the decisions to be made…I just don’t think that I am that strong.

Jane and Phil, parents of these two very special boys, have not only inspired me, but they have ministered to so many through the years. Most recently, I have seen the impact this family has had in the life of my daughter, Stephanie. Through the forging of their friendship, I have seen my sweet daughter through a different set of eyes. Her passion and compassion have been used by the Lord in and through the pain of this dear family, finding creative and truly useful ways of helping them throughout these last several months. While I know that her compassion and efforts have been a blessing to the family, their lives have moved her forward in her own race in life.

Andrew, Stephanie and Paul at Paul’s high school graduation, May 25, 2012

Yesterday, Paul crossed the finish line in his life race. His body could no longer fight the effects of the disease. He said he was ready to leave this world behind, all of the pain and suffering he had known, in exchange for a new, glorified body in the presence of the Lord Jesus. His condition, while it had been deteriorating steadily, took a sudden and definite turn during the afternoon, and he was translated into the presence of his Savior.

Psalm 116:14-16
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 I shall pay my vows to the Lord,
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones.
16 O Lord, surely I am Your servant,
I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.

Paul’s bonds were loosed. No longer was he chained to a body that failed him. No longer chained to a wheelchair. He was truly free to enter into that perfect rest that can only be found in Christ’s presence.

For Phil, Jane and Andrew, along with their family and friends, it is a most bittersweet time. The joy that we had in Paul’s presence is replaced by memories, and that for us is sorrowful. But remembering Paul’s faithful witness for the Lord Jesus all through his suffering, the many lives he influenced…the reality of his presence now in Glory with the One he served and loved…In this, we find that there is sweetness and joy and hope and peace. Paul finished his race. Gracefully and completely. He has heard the Lord’s “Well Done…”

How are you running YOUR race? Are you running for that imperishable reward? Keep running, do not falter. Cross the finish line faithfully!

links:
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/bones/muscular_dystrophy.html

Races

Psalm 34:3

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

This verse is inscribed inside our wedding bands. From the beginning of our lives together, my husband and I wanted to be reminded of our purpose in marriage–to glorify and magnify the Lord through our married life. Interestingly, this same verse is inscribed in my parents’ wedding rings, as well. The verse is a timeless reminder for me as a wife, and for me as a Christian. My journey through life is not as a soloist, but as a member of a group–Us.

June 21, 1980

When we live life unto ourselves, there is no Us. It is merely Me. I. Mine. That can be a very lonely place. When we are not joined together with others for the purpose of magnifying the Lord, we lose our sense of purpose and community. God’s design was not for Adam to be a solo act. Eve was specially prepared to meet the needs of community for Adam. Eve came along prior to the fall of sin. She was Good.

I believe that marriages live and breathe life when the focus is squarely placed on the Lord Jesus and His role within the marriage. He unifies the focus–when both the husband and wife are looking at Jesus with the mindset of bringing glory to God, it is impossible to be at odds with one another. It is extraordinarily difficult to be angry or impatient with someone when you are both praising, glorifying and honoring the Lord. Yet, when one takes the eyes off of the central focus, trouble very quickly ensues.

Hebrews 12:1-2

English Standard Version (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Neither the verse in Psalms nor the verses in Hebrews  are intended for just the married crowd. These verses ought to be life verses for those who claim a relationship through Jesus Christ. We are reminded that we are running a long race, that there is a heavenly audience of witnesses watching how we run…Do we falter? Are we dragging a load of sin along with us on the track? What is our goal?

I hate running. If I had known earlier in life that the tightness in my chest was asthma, I might not hate running, but…I hate it. It scares me a little because I can’t breathe. BUT, God has fully equipped each one of His children for the race that they are running…and He wants us to finish the race He has set before us. Like Peter walking on the water, we can finish that race when our gaze is on the Lord Jesus.

I am feeling very sentimental today…Nathan and I are celebrating 32 years of marriage. Songs run through my head that were played or sung, images are burned into my memory of that day. I am so very thankful for a husband whose focus has been shared. Who continues to run this same race, not leaving me in the dust nor dragging me along, but who runs side by side, step by step, as we both race for the finish line. I am overwhelmed by the great love God shared when he blessed me with this man. So undeserved, but such a wonderful gift.

Do you run your race with endurance? Keep running. Don’t stall out. Keep your focus and gain the reward!

Still so happy together

What did you say?

This is one of those days when I wonder if voices should be granted to babies and toddlers. You know…when the only thing coming out of their mouths requires correction? Shhhhh….Hush….Quiet….Whisper….

Sigh…these little people do NOT have little voices. They are GREAT, BIG, LOUD, SHOUTING voices. Especially when other little people are STILL SLEEPING! Vesuvius doesn’t know the meaning of “quiet” or “shhh”…he does everything full bore and loud. Bam Bam usually responds a little better to redirection, but TODAY? Not. Even sensitive Bam Bam is following in the footsteps of that blasting volcano. (Who is 6 months younger, I might add.)

Can you imagine how quiet the world would be if no one spoke unless it was the right thing to say at precisely the right time, with perfect inflection, at the perfect decibel level? If there was never the sound of angry voices? Or impatient voices? No temper tantrums? Would there be wars? Arguments? Hurt feelings? Anger? What would that really sound like? Would we enjoy it?

In part, I can imagine…you know, the sound of the mosquitoes humming softly below the bird songs? When it is quiet enough to hear the cooing of the doves? The rustling of the leaves, the sound of the water gurgling in the creek? Today, I would most definitely enjoy the perfect balance of sweet voices intermingled with birds and bugs and dogs…in fact, if the voices of these little people were not so demanding and such constant reminders of the sin nature that accompanies the birth of each new life…sigh…

But today, I hear the cries of impatience, screams of selfishness, bellows of bad tempers…today, if I wore a hearing aid, I think I would throw it away. I could be like the old geezer on the porch shouting, “What’d ya say?”

And now, I must go. My very presence is being unceremoniously beckoned by a shriek. But I am going with that same gentle reminder for myself…are my words sweet? Am I speaking with just the right inflection? Am I bellowing and impatient sounding? I hope not. I wouldn’t want anyone to throw away their hearing aid because of the sounds coming out of my mouth…