Monday, April 30, 2012

Dream Big

I refuse to let this blog stress me, which is why my posting has been rather sporadic lately.  Does anyone else think it was a bad idea for me to decide to write a book at the same time that I am attempting a kitchen remodel… and I am attending at least two track meets a week… and while I have a family of four living in our basement… and in the very month my daughter is graduating from high school? 

Probably. But writing I am, and I plan to present a book proposal to selected editors when I attend a publishing conference at Wheaton College at the end of this month.  My book is about parenting; and because of this fact, I have been thinking a bunch about what I believe about the process.  It’s really hard to encapsulate what you know and then to try to put those beliefs into words.  On Saturday, I sat in a chair, in front of a computer, and I thought and I typed and I organized for 8 hours straight.  I felt like a had taken my brain out of my skull, placed it into a meat grinder, and was turning and churning—ever so slowly--until some semblance of wisdom and creativity emerged.  The process was grueling. This was after weeks of reading, researching, and taking notes.  Following this exhausting venture—where I neither ate nor stood up, I had developed somewhat of a wobbly, beginner-ish looking book proposal which I will now tweak, revise, and probably rewrite.  But, I’m getting somewhere.  I’m pursuing a dream.  I’m taking a risk.  And I’m scared.  But I know God is in control and I am seeking His will on this project.  You could pray for me too, if you think about it.

And that’s my explanation for my inconsistent posting this spring.  I’ve got parenting on the brain—get ready for some awesome posts…coming soon!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I always tell my kids, “Be a child as long as you can…you have to be an adult the rest of your life.”

Now, I say that to them when they are enjoying games in the yard with the neighbors or swinging on their well-loved swing set or going on adventures in the forest…and they know what I mean.  I DO NOT encourage them to be childish in their responsibilities, respect, or emotions.  In those areas, I expect them to be mature at a young age—to be self-governing and self-controlled. But when it comes to play—bring it on!

Play is the work of childhood. If our children are too busy with organized activities and we don’t allow them enough time to freely play, we will stunt certain areas of their development.  It is in this “work” that our children will feel most satisfied.  It is in this “work” that our children will bring the most glory to God.  Children bring glory to their Creator when they play because of this:  We are all created to do SOMETHING; and when we do that SOMETHING that God created us to do, that SOMETHING brings great glory to God.  Bumblebees are created to gather pollen and make honey—by doing this—this SOMETHING that God designed them specifically to do—they bring glory to the One Who made them.  Flowers are created to bloom and provide beauty; when they show off their brilliance in the spring and summer, they are doing the SOMETHING that God created them to do, and they are glorifying the Flower-Creator. Children are designed to play…and play…and play.  It is when children are playing and experiencing the world and marveling at nature that they are most like God—because they are doing the SOMETHING that he created specifically for them.

When we bring glory to our Lord, that is when we are most like Him, because He is ever glorious.

Don’t allow your children to grow up too fast.  They desperately need the experiences of childhood.  Childhood may be the only time in their lives when they know EXACTLY what they are supposed to be doing.  NEVER tell your daughter, “You are too old for that", or belittle your son for enjoying childish routines.  God designed children to need to play and to laugh and to love and to believe they are safe.  These are a child’s most basic needs.  When they are met, a child can be a child.  And in doing this, they can bring glory to their Heavenly Father.


Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Canine cleanliness for dummies

My dog, Neo, is looking a little slimmer because he is eating less and moving more.  Today, though, I thought my wonder dog looked rather filthy so I decided to give him a bath.  Bathing a formerly 136 pound dog is hard work.  Bathing a formerly 136 pound dog is especially arduous when one decides to bathe him in the shower.  And bathing a formerly 136 pound dog in one’s shower makes a massive and disgusting mess. I have decided to spare you the photos.  Actually, I didn’t take any photos because it was the type of experience that makes one gag.  Kind of like this one.

I really wasn’t planning on bathing the beast in my personal shower chamber, but when I went outside to get him with the leash in my hand (we have to tie him to a tree to spray him down since he hates bathing—thus the filthiness), he got so excited thinking that he was going on a walk that he began to jump in circles.  Seeing him in this exuberant state made me feel guilty about tying him to a tree,  and about bathing him with cold water when the temperature was a wee bit chilly.  So, to appease my guilt, and to confirm his happy expectations, I hooked the leash to his collar and we went on a speedy 17 minute walk, just making into the house for his surprise shower before getting hit by lightening.

Now, for all of you who have never bathed a giant, water-hating dog in your shower before, I would suggest never doing it. Instead, I would encourage you to hire a groomer who loves the aroma of wet dogs and who sends yours back to you smelling sweet (and with bows in their hair).  That way you can avoid scooting his big fat body away from the tile wall to which he has firmly attached himself.  And you can forgo the 2 inch thick pile of dog hair in your shower drain.  And you can avoid the putrid-smelling black water that pours out of that dog hair—before it starts clogging your drain.  And you won’t have to witness the millions of black hairs that fly out of the dog’s back when he does that little shaky thing that dogs do to get dry.

Or you could just simplify your life and buy a stuffed dog because they don’t get fat or need showers.  And if they do get a little dingy, you can just throw them in the washing machine to get them clean.  I didn’t want to do that with Neo because I thought he might get dizzy on the spin cycle.  And no one likes a dizzy dog—especially a wet one.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Hi. I’m still here. just a tad busy. anybody miss me? didn’t think so.

Well, I don’t have anything fascinating or deep to share with you today, but I just wanted to check in and tell you that I am waiting for something fascinating and deep to originate in my mind very soon. Stay tuned.

But…while you’re waiting, I found these questions in my D6 curriculum a few weeks ago.  Think of a particular circumstance, relationship, or decision, you are currently dealing with, good or bad. 
What do you think God may be saying to you about it? Contemplate these promise statements first, then your responses to them. 


If God will never leave me, then…

If God is for me, then…

If God is with me always, then…


Do you really believe God is Who He says He is?

Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5


Monday, April 9, 2012

10 Frogs


                                 Josh frog

A frog on a lily pad…by Josh


My young friend Joshua has gone through some tough stuff in his eleven short years…and he hasn’t had much time to be a little boy…until lately.  Lately, Josh has been swinging, and running, and exploring in the forest—all things every boy is supposed to do.  And just last week, Josh caught some frogs—little tiny frogs—just past their tadpole stage—and he put them in a bucket.  These frogs have given Joshua great amounts of joy. 

Now frogs aren’t really my thing, and I wasn’t really sure why they were such a cause of rejoicing for him, but knowing that this now-little boy was thrilled with them, I tried to listen as he has talked incessantly about his new “pets”. 

But then, last Wednesday night, I figured it out.  As I attended our church’s family program with my little friend (his mom had to work), I found out why these frogs were so precious to him.  As we were instructed by the pastor, we prayed as families (and since I was the “parent sub” for the night, Josh and I held hands and prayed).  First, Pastor Shane asked us to appreciate God for Who He was; I did this, but Josh declined.  Then he asked us to pray for someone else; I did this, but  Josh declined.  Lastly, we were asked to thank God for something He had done for us.  This time, Josh wanted to pray first,  boldly offering up, “Thank you so much, God, for letting me catch those frogs.”  And with tears in my eyes at such innocent, beautiful childish gratefulness, I thanked God for the frogs too, and said a hearty “Amen.”  After we had finished praying, and the pastor began speaking again, Josh whispered to me, “When I used to live at my other house, I prayed that God would let me catch a frog.  Now He did.”  And I told Josh that He had such a good, loving Father, that not only did He answer Josh’s prayer, He answered it x 10. 

Sometimes it takes a child to teach us.

God so desires to give us good things.  He so desires for us to pray to Him with child-like faith—believing He will hear us.  I think He has probably has tears in His eyes when we adore Him as our doting Father, run to Him with our trivial concerns, and wait confidently for Him to answer. 

And answer us He will. 

In abundance. 

Maybe even x 10.

 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:7-10

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just As He Said!

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.

Matthew 28:1-10

Have a joyous Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

His Wounds Have Paid my Ransom

We sang this at church tonight…and I wept.  God has made this wretch—meHis treasure.  How unthinkable that He would die on the cross for me while I stood and scoffed…it was MY sin that left Him there until IT was accomplished.

IT, His acts of suffering, separating from His Father, DYING, made this life—this wretch-turned-treasure life--possible for the entire human race. 

Salvation cost me so little because it cost God so much.  His wounds have paid my ransom…


How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

words by Stuart Townend

Click on the link above to listen to this powerful song.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hooked on Jesus

I just realized it today—the third day of this Holy Week.  As I was sitting in my chair writing in my journal about Lent—normally my favorite season--not affecting me much this year, God spoke.  And He brought to mind a memory.

One time when Cole was just a little boy—probably 5 or so—he was watching TV when a “Hooked on Phonics” commercial came into view.  After he listened to their pitch, he turned around and yelled toward the kitchen, “Hey Mom, only one phone call and I could be reading in 4 weeks!”

What makes this memory funny is that Cole really believed that if I made one phone call and we spent the required 20 minutes a day on this program, he would immediately become a speedy reader. And God, being the gentle, loving Father that He is, made me laugh at that remembrance before I grieved over my neglect of Him (God, not Cole) lately.  Here’s my side of our conversation:

I just realized what I have been doing to You and why I haven’t been receiving much revelation from You.  I have been trying to spend the least amount of time with you that I can and still stay connected.  I have been acting like you are a “Hooked on Phonics” program or one of those “only 6 minutes a day” fitness programs that we both know don’t work.  I have been treating You as just another project to check off my list and feel good about.  No wonder I feel as if our relationship has gotten surfacey of late.  It’s because I have not allowed you to be first and foremost in my life.  I have not spent time—lots of precious time--investing in Who you are; learning how valuable You are.  And because of that, You have not been able to change me into who You want me to be.  No wonder this Lenten season has not been powerful to me.  I have acted as if I have no time for You.  I have treated You as an intrusion and not the King that You are.  Forgive me Lord Jesus for not believing that I really need You.

And God’s side of the conversation pretty much went like this:

Yep. You’re right.  You make time for what you think is important.  I am God and there is no other.

Sometimes, I talk a lot more than He does.

But even when He is a God of few words, they’re always right words.  And I need to listen…‘cause being hooked on Jesus takes a whole lot more than 20 minutes a day.

It takes my whole life.

I am God, and there is no other;
   I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
   from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
   and I will do all that I please.

Isaiah 46:9-10

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Dirt on Mr. Bubbles

One time, when they first came out, I bought one of those shower cleaner thingies like this.  It made grand promises like “you’ve got a cleaning partner that takes care of the tough stuff for you.” I wanted a cleaning partner. And I wanted him to do the tough stuff (I mean, I like playing the tough woman role and all, but when it comes to moldy 1” tiles, I gladly surrender), so I wholeheartedly welcomed Mr. Scrubbing Bubbles into my shower (with my husband’s permission, of course).  I was sure Mr. Bubbles would save me hours and hours of drudgery.  The first time I used the wonder machine, I was so excited that I pushed the little purple button, raced out of the shower, and pressed my face against the outside of the glass door—waiting for my partner to perform a cleaning miracle.

Guess what?  Mr. Bubbles did not live up to his claims.  When he was supposedly “taking care of the tough stuff”, what he was actually doing was spitting out enough spritzer to cover approximately 1/8 of my ginormous shower.  He was not a very good partner.  I could barely tell the difference between the 1/8 of the shower he tackled and the 7/8’s that he ignored.  I gave Mr. Bubbles a few more chances to prove himself over the coming weeks because the package said that he would be my partner for 30 days, but after his month of dismal failure, I threw him in the trash in anger.  I decided to terminate our relationship (with my husband’s permission, of course).  My expectations for leisurely mornings in a sparkling shower had been dashed to pieces like a million 1” ceramic tiles. 

And it was all Mr. Bubbles’ fault.  Or was it?

Actually, I have to take the blame.  I believed that Mr. Bubbles was who he said he was.  He wasn’t.

I believed that he could solve all my cleaning woes.  He couldn’t.

I expected Mr. Bubbles to make my difficult tasks more pleasant.  He didn’t.

In a nutshell, I was duped.  I believed that if I got Mr. Bubbles, my life would be easy and carefree.  He would work.  I would rest and sit in my polka-dotted chair reading Jane Austen.  I expected Mr. B to make my life better, but he really didn’t help me at all.

(This is where I use this ridiculous lesson learned to segue into more eternal matters…things more important than clean showers and bogus Bubble partners—humor me and keep on reading…)

That’s what happens when we look for hope and fulfillment in any thing other than Jesus—we become disappointed and disillusioned and disgusted.  We believe the world when it says, “Look at this! It will make you happy and healthy and wise.”  But this fails to deliver.  every time.  Oh, it might look like it’s working--just like Mr. Bubbles looked like he was working when he spun and spit in my shower—but after the newness wears off and your desperation stays on, you will be looking for something—or Someone—more faithful. 

It’s true.

So, as you contemplate this Holy Week and the One who made it Holy, delight yourself in the Lord—not the world--and He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4)—Mr. Bubbles can’t do that.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 6:33