Friday, December 3, 2010

UGH... The Tongue

I have a love hate relationship with my tongue.  Well not really the tongue itself but with the words that it speaks.  I actually feel this way about everybody's  um... tongue you know?  But it's not just what we say to each other but who we say it to.  If I have been offended by a particular person I hope I would go to them and just speak honestly in love.  And... I want people to do that with me as well.  Oh I might be able to "get it out of my system" if I vent to another person.  However, if I never approach the one that offended me, there are two things that can happen ... one, the person will never know and will miss the opportunity to explain if there has been a misunderstanding (we don't always know what a person's intent is) or apologize if there is a need for it; or two, they will hear of the situation from someone else and this causes all sorts of hurt.  It would make them feel like I have been talking behind their back...which would be true.  I don't want to do this, I don't want it done to me, and I don't want it done to those I love either.  The tongue and the words it speaks.... the power to heal or hurt... love or hate.  Today I choose love, and I pray that I make the same choice every day.
Dear Lord,

The book of James tells me all about the tongue. It's such a little member of the body, but it can do so much harm. We can speak words that bless You and words that curse man who is made in Your image. A few words can uplift, encourage, and do positive things in a person's life and a few words can also put down, discourage, and ruin a person's life. Please forgive me for allowing any words to leave my mouth that would harm others and dishonor You. I pray that my words will be honest and positive; that they will inspire and challenge others to greatness. Show me who You want me to encourage through my words today. Please help me to affirm someone close to me today, that they will be blessed and You will be glorified.

In Jesus' name I pray

Amen.

Monday, November 29, 2010

No Puppies for Christmas

Since our girls are attending college in Louisiana we will be traveling there to spend Christmas with them. This means we will be leaving our four little ones at home. No... we do not have four younger children. I am referring to our four precious canines. By the way, I realized I haven’t told you the “rest of the story” about how we got our dogs.
Muff, Jersey, Grace
If you remember, Muff was our first and Grace was our second. Grace is actually the mother and grandmother of our other two dogs.

  • On a side note…Once upon a time, (totally unplanned by us), Grace got pregnant and gave birth to Zooby and Sasha. We were not ready at that time to take on any more dogs and Rodger was careful to make sure everyone knew we weren’t. This being the case, we gave these two wonderful puppies to friends of ours. Zooby now looks just like a male version of Grace except bigger and Sasha looks similar to her grandmother. Incidentally, we actually gave Sasha to the same home her grandmother and aunt (Grace's sister) grew up in.
Zeus

Anyhoo... after this first unplanned set of puppies we decided to plan our next ones.
Now let me introduce you to a special dog named Zeus. We don't own Zeus but we fell in love with him when we met a neighbor and him as they were on one of their daily walks past our home. Zeus met Grace one day and became very interested in her. They later became a couple and before we knew it, we had three little babies. Grace actually had four, but we lost one... it was very sad. We named him Tomorrow. As for the other three, they were Ozzie, Lucy and Hershey. Ozzie and Lucy found very good homes and Hershey became our third doggy family member. Within the next two years we met a wonderful little shiatsu named Skippy, who fell madly in love with Hershey and wah-lah... two months later five new babies; Jersey, Bella, Quincy, Figgy, and Rascal. Bella and Quincy were the girls. Bella went to Skippy's home, Quincy to a friend at church, Figgy to a friend of a friend, Rascal to my mom and after much resistance from Rodger, he said “ if we’re going to have any more dogs, it will be mine, it will be this one, and his name will be Jersey.”
Hershey
Well that's our story. Rodger says we have enough … sometimes I agree and.... well... sometimes I don't—hehe. Grace ended up having one more litter of four... they were adorable; Sammy, Poppy, Janeway, and Tuvoc. I think we’re all done … for now.
Skippy

Jersey

Sammy, Janeway(top), Tuvoc, Poppy-2008
Lucy, Hershey, Ozzie-Oct 2005
Bella, Quincy, Jersey, Figgy, Rascal-2007
Sasha and Zooby-Mar 2005


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Traffic and God...Risk and Faith

You can learn a lot about people in traffic. Take for instance, when you see 20 cars in one line and only 3 cars in another. The reason for the longer line is these people want to make sure they get to make their turn after the light. I often find myself in this longer line. My husband, on the other hand, will be in the shorter line. He wants to get through the light first, then think about making the next turn. No matter which person you might be in this situation, there is a risk either way. 

Of course there are bigger decisions then which lane of traffic you should be in to make for many of us… or all of us I should say. Job decisions… school or college decisions… etc. Maybe they’re not decisions about where to go or what to do but more like decisions just to go or to do. When the priests carried the ark into the Jordan River at flood stage there was a risk they could lose the ark to the Jordan River. However, that is not what happened. 

"And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap" (Josh 3:13). 

God changed the entire environment! He made it possible to walk across without the pressure of wading through the powerful water.  But, He did this  only when the priests took the first step. The step came first, then the miracle.

When there is risk, there is a potential for loss. However, when God leads us to take a risk, He is there whether we succeed or fail. He is there in the success and He is there in the failure. If He leads you to take a risk it may not always succeed in the way you think. In fact, it could even fail. However, the only true failure is when we fail to take the risk when God is leading us to do so. Sometimes the fear of failure is the greater obstacle than the risk itself.

I’m not sure I’ll change which lane I would prefer to be in when it comes to driving but, I do know that when it comes to taking the risk to step out in faith, I don’t want to miss the path God is directing me towards… no matter the outcome.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Red Sea... What does it mean to me?

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life"(Rom 6:4).

When Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, he took them to the edge of the Red Sea. The people saw the sea before them and heard the chariots of the Egyptians behind them. They knew they were trapped… and they lost their faith in God. They thought God was no longer at work in their lives. In panic and despair, they turned on Moses and said, "didn't we tell you, 'leave us alone and let us serve the Egyptians.' Better to live as slaves than to die in the desert!"

They couldn't imagine that God's path to freedom actually led straight into and through the deep waters! The waters of the Red Sea, like baptism, are a symbol of death. When Moses parted the Red Sea, the Israelites walked upon the dry land with walls of water on either side. Just like baptism, they died to their old selves and rose to a new life that led to the Promised Land.

When things aren’t going as smooth as I think they should I too sometimes panic and cry out to God.  But time and time again, He takes me through the depths so I can enter the Promised Land.  Praise God!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

GPS from God

The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth" (Luke 3:5).

I love the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in new cars.   I don’t have one myself but,  my boss does, he showed me how it worked on the way to an office meeting the other day.  A voice came on and told him how far he had to go and when to turn.   However, that day he took a wrong turn and the voice said: "Recalculating route."   
 
The GPS told him he had was off course and that it was recalculating the route based on his wrong turn!  Wow!  It got me thinking… sometimes we can make wrong turns in our spiritual lives.   We think we are going the right direction only to discover it was never God's will to make those choices or go down that road…   the examples are limitless.

This is an amazing, awesome, wonderful thing about God.  He can make our crooked places straight. He has an ability to make whatever blunder you make turn out right.   It may mean there might be some consequences to those decisions, but He will always allow your actions to work together for good for those called according to His purposes if we repent and seek Him fully to make things right.   These lessons can even contribute to greater wisdom in our lives if we learn from our mistakes.

God's omnipotence is always one step ahead of our incompetence.   Praise God!!  Do you think He knew you would make that misstep?   Absolutely.   Do you think your life was planned even with that misstep figured in?   Absolutely.

Isn't it comforting to know you cannot plan God out of the equation no matter how bad you mess up?   He will always turn crooked places into straight places for those who are humble and contrite.  Isn’t He just awesome?!?

Monday, November 1, 2010

A DAUGHTER OF THE KING

I have been a Christ follower for many years… much too long to consider myself “new” at this.  However, I am discovering so many new things about God lately that it … well… it feels new.  I feel like I’m in that “honeymoon” phase that brand new Christians experience when they first meet Christ.  

I have been a working outside the home mom as long as I’ve been a mom.  It wasn’t a choice… it was a necessity.  I would go to work, carrying this … guilt.  The guilt of not being there as much as I thought I should for my children, the guilt of not being the home maker that I thought I should, ect.  I always felt a vague sense of wrong doing, that I was doing something wrong… as a mom.  That feeling didn’t just affect how I felt as a mom but it affected my entire self confidence.  I felt insecure about… my job, my life as a Christian, my marriage, my relationships, etc.  It affected everything. I have been so blessed, and I know it.  But even so I felt like I couldn’t ask for anything or I shouldn’t because I was blessed to be getting the blessings that I have and to ask for anything else was being greedy. Does that make sense?

I know that I, as a parent desire to give good gifts to my children, whether they ask or not.  However, when they ask the only thing that keeps me from saying yes to everything they ask is…well it’s two things actually… 1) Is it a good gift… for them? And 2) Can we afford it?  Yes it’s true sometimes I have said no simply because we could not afford it, and that if we could I would have said yes. Hehe do I sound insane yet?  Here’s my point… Isn’t God a better parent then me?  YES!  Does he have trouble figuring out whether something is good for me or not?  NO! Does He EVER run out of blessings like we run out of money, time, or energy?  Of course NOT!

Why am I afraid to ask my father the king for blessings?  As long as I don’t take the blessings he has bestowed for granted.  As long as I never start feeling that I somehow deserve them.  We all know that none of us deserves anything from God but by the same token don’t we know He gives good gifts anyways?  We should.  

Sometimes God knows a gift or blessing is good but we feel like it isn’t.  But He is never wrong.  What He chooses for us is what is the very best for us regardless of how we feel.  I am 50 years old and I am just now getting this!  Because I’m a daughter of the King, I can ask without fear, trusting my Father to give to me, His child, the very best.  How awesome is that?  This applies to my children as well.  

Don't waste another second… NOW is the time to get to know God better.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This is your mother, get on the path and stay there!

After years of just serving on a worship team, and not doing much else for my church, I find myself with the time…and the energy to be involved in a Bible study class.  I’ve had many opportunities to do this before, and I used to do it a lot when I first became a Christ follower but as my children grew something happened along the way.  

While my children were still at home, I spent most of my time with thoughts of them, what they needed, what they wanted…should they want that… how to keep them living for Christ when I wasn’t breathing down their necks…etc.  It’s not that I didn’t read the bible or pray… because I did…I had too.  It’s more like I didn’t have the energy to share a study with … other people.  It’s like God gave me the opportunity to “control” how my children turned out but … I never really felt like I could control it. And I was consumed with that thought. 

If my children did “good” or behaved “morally” I felt “oh good…I got something right”.  But… if they behaved badly I felt…ugh…guilty… “what am I doing wrong?” At times (many times) I felt like I wasn’t doing the job God gave me, which was to raise holy children.  All my energy was spent doing this monumental duty.  “How do I guide them the right direction?” “How do I keep them from falling off the path?” and when they do fall off the path, “How do I help them get back on?”. Raising holy children.  It’s not something that can be done without God’s help that’s for sure.  On top of that I had a full time job outside the home… more guilt.  I didn’t understand how others could do all that they did…I still don’t, but I knew I couldn’t.  Looking back… I can’t point to any one thing I did that I knew was right… except … pray, pray, pray… and then pray some more.  I prayed for smooth paths, or rough paths. I prayed for hedges of protection from others and … from themselves.  I prayed that when they did something wrong that they would get caught.  And I mean when, because "All have sinned" why would I think my kids were different?  I also prayed for strength to keep wanting them to get caught…which got harder and harder the older they got.  Was it enough?  I pray that it was because now ….I’m done. 

I am proud of my children… they are doing awesome!  I am relieved and terrified to not be in “control” of their future anymore though.  Now their good and their bad is between them and God.  I’m not part of the equation… I still give bits of advice now and then but I’m on the outside of them now.    So consequently… I find myself with a bit more energy.  I have taken up learning the piano …again, and a Sunday Bible study class called Walk With Me.  It’s been along time since I’ve been in a classroom … I hope I can remember how to study.*wink*     

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs... (our dogs and how we got them)

Zeus
I promised in my last blog to tell you how Rodg and I became proud parents of our very own puppy dogs.  Here's the story:

Ever since Gracie became a part of our family we planned on her having puppies.  She was such a cute little thing and every where M brought her elicited a request for a puppy just like Gracie.  Gracie has had several litters but in this blog I will tell you about her second litter.
Ozzie, Lucy, Hershey


Joe a neighbor and friend had a Shi-tzu mix male named Zeus.  Zeus was 5 yrs old.  Rodg thought Zeus would make a great baby daddy for Gracie's pups.  So we borrowed Zeus with Joe's permission for a few days during Gracie's special time.  And wah-la 2 mos later we had four little puppies.  Unfortunately one of them didn't make it... but we named him "Tomorrow" and had a little funeral for him.  It was very important for the kids.  The other three were just fine.  Before they were even born we had owners for two of them.  Lucy, the runt, was mostly black with a little brown, and Ozzie, the next to the smallest, he was all brown.  But we had one other little girl puppy that was the biggest of the litter and when she was next to her brother and sister who were very small, she looked even bigger.  No one... and I mean no one wanted her.  All because of her size... umph!  So of course we kept her... what else could we do?  I ask you...huh?  We just didn't have a choice... tee hee.  We named her Hershey.  And you know what?  We got the best one of the bunch!


Well that's it for now... I will return with the third installment of our dogs and how we got them  soon.  Oh, I almost forgot.  My parents are visiting us for a few weeks, and guess what?  They brought two of their dogs!  A little shi-tzu named Rascal (who just happens to be Jersey's brother) and my dad's hunting dog Butters, he's an Irish setter... yes it's true!   We now have SIX critters in our home.  More dogs then people!  Haha, isn't this fun? =]]





Thursday, October 21, 2010

I have FOUR dogs! (our dogs and how we got them)

I actually only have two dogs but... with the girls in college and unable to take their dogs, I now have four.  My oldest daughter (J)'s dog is 17 yrs old his name is Muff and my youngest daughter (M)'s dog is 12, her name is Gracie.  These animals have been a part of our family since they were tiny little babies.  I think it's better for them to stay home with us rather then move half way across the country with my girls.  And, of course, Rodg and I each have our own dogs, Jersey and Hershey. 

Muff
We got Muff for "J" as a Christmas present when she was just a little girl.  Then we decided ...to be fair and get "M" her own dog, so one year shortly after Christmas,(thanks to a wonderful friend of mine) Gracie became a part of our family.  It was just Muff and Grace for a long while.  Oh we had other pets that came and went but they were temporary.  There was Candie the guinea pig, Jack the German Shepperd, Blondie a beautiful dog of what kind I don't know.  There was Princess a poodle that everyone called Pooter, Newby the albino leopard gecko, Squeeze the boa constrictor (yes it's true, I can't believe I actually let this one in my home), Ed the baby chicken and various types of fish.  All this and I only had two daughter's I can't imagine how many different pets would we have had if our children were boys.  Of all those animals though, only Muff and Gracie remained, but don't worry the others all found very good homes.  I will tell you the story of how Hershey and Jersey became a part of our family in a later blog.
Gracie

Now that the girls are away from home and its just us and the dogs, I have a bit more time to spend with them.  They are all helping me adjust to not having anyone to mother.  What a blessing pets are.  I am amazed at how easy it is to make them happy...how easy it is for them to love me... Each night when I get home from work, these animals are so happy it's like I've been away forever.  I literally have to stop, drop my stuff and greet each one of them or else they just can't settle down.  I know they can be trained not to do that but... I kind of ...like it.  It makes me feel special.  After I sit and relax it's not long before they are all laying at my feet.  And if I get up to go to another room, they follow.

Hershey
Each of my little doggies have a unique personality.  You, who have pets know this is true.  Muff is our Pomeranian mix and he  gets so excited to greet you he can't stay still long enough for you to even pet him.  Everyone that sees him thinks he's the youngest because of the way he bounces around.  Gracie...poor little thing is such a lover she can't keep herself from whining ...when she's happy!  And then there's Hershey who thinks she's king of the hill even though she is the second youngest and her under bite is so bad she looks like she's smiling upside down.  And last but certainly not least is our youngest boy Jersey.  Jersey is so lazy he will lay down to eat out of his bowl.  His whole face will be buried out of sight inside his bowl that at times, I think, he's even fallen asleep.  And can that boy eat!  He is the heaviest of our dogs, and really should lose some weight.  Rodg and I will need to get on that.

Jersey
Rodger takes the 'kids" on a walk each day... or tries to.  They love it.  He also is the one that feeds them.  He's been able to teach a couple of them some tricks.  Gracie will spin around on her hind legs three times when Rodg says "three"...it's like a little dance.  Jersey will sit up and beg.  Rodger's trying to teach Hersey to lift her upper lip to the command "smile" but that's taking a while.  He doesn't make Muff do anything because of his advanced age but still that dog will leap and run and jump so much he makes himself cough.  They all know what "Let's get the bowls", "lets go to the kitchen" , "It's time for a snack" and "do you want to go bye bye"mean.  And when we sing "Hershey baby" to the tune of "Santa Baby" Hershey knows it's her turn to eat.



At any rate that's my current pet family.  I've attached some pictures.   I hope you enjoy them.  I've also attached a video of Jersey begging for food that I KNOW you'll enjoy.  That's it for now.  Talk to you soon.

  video

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Have An Empty Nest

I have an empty nest. Though 5 years apart in age my two girls have left the state to go to college with each other together. Our house has NEVER been this empty. It has never been just Rodger and me... even after we were first married.

We spent our wedding night in the hospital because Rodger had a kidney stone attack on the day of the wedding.  He bravely made it through the ceremony but we ended up taking the limo to the hospital.  The next week was spent at a friends house and then we soon ended up moving in with my parents in Washington state.  My oldest daughter was born while we were there.  When she was a year old we moved back to California and lived with my brother and his wife for a bit.    A short while later we moved next door to Rodger's mom and a little while after that she moved in with us. Then our youngest was born.

Rodger and I have never lived alone with just each other before...now.

When the kids were young, Rodger and I took a weekend trip to the Redwoods.  We camped out in a borrowed tent trailer and took a day trip from the campground to the coast.  It was just us... I told Rodger then that I felt like... well... like a kid.  We did silly things... like chase little hermit crabs that were stranded in shallow tide pools. We weren't mean to them...we just kind of made them run around.  We looked for shells and skipped rocks.  We went to Glass Beach and sat for hours, playing with the smooth glass beads on the beach or digging in the sand to find long buried treasures that were more junk then treasure.   When we walked along the trails back at the Redwoods we stopped and read each and every tourist info sign at each of the points of interest without hurrying.  It was cold and we didn't worry about catching a cold. We skipped meals or ate really late... laid around in bed when we first woke up instead of getting up and starting the day. We weren't concerned with nutrition or vitamins,  or about staying up too late or anything... that a responsible PARENT person would be.  Do you know what I mean?  
 
During that short weekend years ago we experienced the together time...the getting to know each other as a married couple time... that we had missed when we first got married.   It's not like we forgot about our kids, or wished we weren't parents.. Not at all!   But it was different... we were revealing other layers of ourselves to each other. Persona's of ourselves that we almost forgot were there. Those aspects of our personality we had covered up with the "parent" personality.

We love our girls. They are all grown up.  They're doing great. They are both happy and... busy.  I was sure we would be talking or Skyping with them everyday... but it's not happening like I thought.  And... it's OK.   Now Rodg and I are back in that place again ...except this time we have more then a weekend.  I wonder what surprises await us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Empty Mayonnaise Jar

I received this charming story in an email from my aunt.  I don't know who wrote it but it struck a cord in my heart.  I've since learned that it's been circulated in emails and blogs for years.  So I decided to post it.  Mostly because true or not it's such a great story... but also because it has inspired me to look at life a little different then I have in the past.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


A professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

The Moral of the Story
The professor waited for the laughter to subside…

“Now”, said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things… God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions. Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your home, your car.”

“The sand is everything else… The small stuff.” If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with those you love...play with your children. Take your partner to dinner. Play another 18. Take time to get medical checkups.  There will always be time to clean the house or fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities, the rest is just sand.

One student asked, “What about the coffee?" The professor responded, “No matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend"

Remember… Every day is a gift, and the quality of your life is your gift to yourself.

Now doesn't that make you want to go out and have a cup of coffee with a friend? Remember don't sweat the small stuff... It's just sand.




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