Friday, February 26, 2010


One sign of the economic times must be the pitiful letters that I receive in my spam box several times a week. They always originate from obscure locations on the other side of the globe.

They offer me lotsa money--lotsa, lotsa money. Somehow I have been selected by a number of wealthy dying people to receive their entire estates. The lawyers have stumbled upon my email address at the last possible moment and I can receive the entire fortune for a small fee --mailed promptly to a post office box.

I also have apparently been placed on a list of reliable money handlers. I can make money by simply receiving and forwarding money -- for a small initial fee, of course. (Late breaking news: this morning I leaarned that I won the UK lottery. The UN will release the money to me if I send all of my personal information and of course a small fee.)

Are people really gullible enough to fall for these scams? I suppose if people want to believe something bad enough, or they are desperate enough, they will send in their money to receive-- nothing.

There is one inheritance list that I know I am on. In fact, the inheritance is already in my possession. I draw from the rich resources daily.

I pray that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened in order that
you may know the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
which he exerted in Christ
when he raised him from the dead
and seated him at his right hand
in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority,
power and dominion,
and every title that can be given,
not only in the present age
but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:18-21

This inheritance is eternal and free. No investment or wiring fees required. AND no time limit -- it is timeless.
Visit Spiritual Sundays for more uplifting words.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dining Alone

Our dining room intrigues my son. We recently moved to this house and for the first time, we have a formal dining room.

Occasionally my son likes to make his lunch of peanut butter and jelly and eat in this room with tall ceilings and a chandelier. He puts the sandwich on a nice plate and pours his milk into a stemmed glass. He always picks out a nice placemat. There he sits by himself at the head of the table, eating quietly.

After a few formal lunches alone in the dining room, I asked my son why he chose to eat there.

"Well," he swallowed the peanut butter and washed it down with the milk. "Usually, I have to sit in here with grown-ups, eat terrible food, and not say anything. I just wanted a few good memories in this room."

Tutus, Tights and Treasures

The dress-up box has always been a favorite in our house. I might have a princess, a nurse, a rabbit or any number of characters arrive in costume at the lunch table.

Our third daughter has red hair and looks just like Madeline. She loved to watch the movie wearing her very own Madeline costume that was made by a friend for her birthday.

Often my children would find creative uses for ordinary costume pieces. One daughter put a pair of pink tights on her head and entertained us as a court jester.

Three daughters in a row led to quite a few "pink" outfits in the dress up box. The day my husband came home from work to find our fourth child-- and only boy-- in a pink tutu, we knew more costumes were needed. Fortunately it was just after Halloween and there were lots of costumes on clearance.

It wasn't long before my son began joining the grand ladies at the lunch table dressed as a pirate or a super hero. I sometimes felt as if I was serving food at the back lot of a movie studio.
I realize now that the dress-up box was really a treasure box. My kids travelled through time in their make believe and I now treasure those memories.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I love carved wooden angels. I have several around my house and not just at Christmas time. Some are large--several feet high with trumpets. Others are small relief plaques that are on my wall.

One of my pastors suggested that these angels look nothing like the kind in the Bible. Mine are a bit wimpy--not strong warrior messengers. The ones around my home are more on the cute side.

There is a theme throughout scripture. God often asks His people to remember what He has done. Remember who He is. Just the word remember occurs over 160 times in scriptures.

Usually after significant events in the Old Testament, God commanded His people to set up standing stones. These were large rocks set up so generations to come would see and remember His deeds.

So many of the Old Testament feasts were designed to commemorate God's acts and His future plan for drawing His creation into eternal fellowship with Him. The priests' clothing and each detail of the tabernacle were specifically designed by God. Over and over the theme is to commemorate God.

Jesus shared the last supper with His disciples and throughout He encouraged us to do likewise in remembrance of Him. Of course, communion is celebrated in our churches to remember what Christ did on the cross to buy our salvation.

I was particularly excited, recently, to read God's commands in Leviticus. He asked skillful weavers to weave beautiful designs with rich threads into the curtains surrounding the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

And guess what! God told them to weave pictures of angels into the design. So, when I'm praying for my family, I love to catch a glimpse of one my angels. I am reminded of His messengers unseen who are present to carry out His plans. I'll have a lot of questions when I get to heaven about just how exactly angels play a part in our lives. For now, I am satisfied to see them and remember God's incredible power--ever present in our lives.


For more refreshment visit Spiritual Sundays.

Showcase Home

Selling a home is always work but there are particular challenges when small children live in your home.

One house sale lasted several months. We learned to get the house ready to show with one hour's notice. We had a zone defense. Each child straightened their room and cleaned a bathroom. I vacuumed, mopped, dusted, lit candles, sprayed air freshener and turned on gentle music.

We had some nifty tricks. You could hide things in the washer and dryer because they weren't going with the house. You could put things in the dressers - if they weren't built in. AND if absolutely necessary you could fill laundry baskets and trash bags and stick them in the trunk of a car.

After one hurried trip out the door as the realtor arrived at the front curb, all four kids strapped themselves in the car and we backed out of the drive. I ran through our zone defense list:

floors- check
music - check
lights and candles - check and check
bathrooms - check,check, check
bedrooms - check???

The two youngest who shared a room were very proud to announce at this point that they had gathered all of their toys and stuffed animals off of their floor and put them away.... in the bathtub.

I squealed the brakes. Too late. I looked back over my shoulder to see the realtor and the potential buyer go through the front door.

Maybe -just maybe the buyer had kids who liked "bath toys."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It

Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor
so you will be able to resist the enemy
in the time of evil.
Then after the battle
you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground,
putting on the belt of truth
and the body armor of God's righteousness.
For shoes, put on the peace
that comes from the Good News
so that you will be fully prepared.
In addition to all of these,
hold up the shield of faith
to stop the fiery arrows
of the devil.
Put on salvation as your helmet,
and take the sword of the Spirit,
which is the Word of God------
Ephesians 6:13-17

I don't think I've ever left the house without my makeup carefully applied and my hair in place. What I wear is important to me. My grandmother once pointed out that I always had to have everything that I wear match - from shoes to jewelery to purse. This is true.

However, I often start my day spiritually unarmed. God's armor is a gift offered to us. I can leave it tucked away in my Bible or recesses of my mind. Or, I can consciously take up each piece and be clothed in all that God offers.

Lord, help me step into your armor each day. Make me conscious of all that you offer to protect me against the schemes of the enemy. Thank you that you provide all that I need to live victoriously.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wakeup Call

What is the first sound that you hear each morning? Usually, before I open my eyes, I hear dogs whining. Sometimes, if I am very quiet, I can have the luxury of staying in a warm bed for a few stolen moments before I start the daily routine.

I am the pet feeder. Once the two dogs and three cats hear me, there is no rest or peace in the house until they are satisfied.

I follow the same routine each morning. I let the "alpha" dog out of my son's room. That is our oldest dog--a collie. She goes out briefly and then I feed and water her in her cage. The small cocker then goes outside and back in to be fed and watered in the hallway.

While the dogs eat, I feed the cat that is on the back porch. She has been meowing loudly ever since the first dog went out. Water and cat food are placed on top of the picnic table. Why in this order and on top of the table? So that the collie doesn't eat the cat food.

Next the two cats in the garage are fed. They too have been singing a loud grating chorus until I arrive with their cat food. They do not get along with the porch cat so they are fed separately.

There is still no peace. The cocker is never satisfied. She finishes in the hallway and begins searching the floor for more morsels of food. One morning, recently, she wandered to the back door and discovered the cat food canister. She knocked the lid off and stuck her head in--for another snack. She could get her head in, but not back out.

I arrived in the living room to a loud banging noise as the pup careened off the furniture trying to get out of her "food trough". I wanted to take a picture but feared she might run short of air inside this canister. I jerked the canister off as the cat food went all over the carpet.

What did the puppy do next? She scrambled around, devouring the cat food off of the floor. I collapsed with laughter. I would not even have to sweep this up; the food would be gone before I could get the broom.

My twenty minute pet feeding ritual is over. There is no rest for my ears or time for a cup of coffee until all the animals are satisfied. I don't even get the day off on the weekends.

I began to wonder, do I hunger for God as soon as I wake up, like these pets crave their food? What is the first thing God hears from me each morning?

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Psalms 42:1,2

My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
Isaiah 26:9

O LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you.
Be our strength every morning.
Isaiah 33:2

Lord, I want my first thoughts to be about you each morning. Help me to see that true satisfaction comes from seeking you first and no other. Let me see how much I need you. May I not rest until I am fed from your Word each morning.

For more spiritual refreshment visit Spiritual Sundays.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stuart Little

Curling up together on the couch for a read aloud has always been a favorite pastime in our family. We've sat on the magic reading carpet and let our imaginations take us to the past and the future. We have talked to animals and travelled the world through the pages of our books.

When I had two little girls and one on the way, I read often. I was too tired and too big to get up and do much else.

As I approached my due date, we happened to be reading the classic, Stuart Little. The book is far different than the movie.

One of my favorite parts of the story is when Mrs. Little delivers--not a typical baby--but a mouse. The doctor tells Mr. and Mrs. Little that this happens from time to time, although it is rare.

As I read this part of the story with great emotion, I looked down and saw my youngest daughter staring intently at my swollen belly.

"Now, you KNOW that I am not going to deliver a mouse, right? That is only in the storybook."

My daughter twisted a strand of her hair slowly as she continue to concentrate on my waistline. "Well, it COULD be a mouse!"

I am not sure if she was disappointed when she came to the hospital soon afterward, and held her baby sister for the first time. Her new sister was not a mouse.

Monday, February 8, 2010


During college, I met my husband at a Bible Study, the first week of my freshman year. Our dorms were located near each other and after our first date the night we met, we kept the sidewalk worn out as we found reasons to meet to talk or study.

We had a favorite tree to sit under outside my dorm to just be together. We were practically a permanent fixture attached to the tree roots each evening. When we visit the campus today, our children can point out the tree. They usually say, "There is your tree!"

When Valentines Day rolled around one year at college, I wanted to do something to catch my sweetie' attention. As an Elementary Education major I had access to large roles of construction paper and poster board which we used for bulletin boards. I worked late one night to make a huge Valentine card. I then had to make a custom sized red envelope.

It caught his attention and that of all of his dorm buddies as well. My husband returned from class to find a red envelope leaning outside his dorm room. It covered half of the door and had hearts and kisses all over it.

I have never made a homemade Valentine card for him since then. He has given me candy, potted plants, jewelery or more traditional items most Valentines Days since then. We've eaten out and gone to movies to celebrate. One Valentines evening was spent in the hospital for the delivery of our third daughter--a red head.

We have now been married over twenty eight years. We weathered four children, graduate school and medical school. We still have that huge valentine card, saved from the college days. It is stored under our bed and we stumble across it occasionally and have a laugh. It seems to take us right back in time. Those days don't seem so long agoo because we are still smitten.

One thing we have learned over the years. The verse inscribed inside our wedding bands is true:

Two are better than one...
If one falls down, the other helps him up...
If two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:8-12

Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy Valentines Day -- from God

Tears slipped down the cheeks of the young woman sitting across from me at the coffee shop. She dabbed her eyes with the napkin that she twisted around her finger. She shook her head and finally blurted out, "He just isn't sensitive to my needs!"

The newlywed was hurt by a recent argument with her husband. It wasn't a major rift but it reminded me of the early days of my marriage.

I often put my young husband to such a high standard that he was doomed to failure. He had to be Brad Pitt, Mr. Darcey and Jason Bourne all in one well dressed package. Okay, to be honest, it was Pierce Brosnan, Patrick Swayze and Cary Grant. The other stars were just little tykes in the 80's.

I hoped that my young friend at the coffee shop would learn sooner than I had, years into my marriage, that perfect husbands exist only in Hollywood. What we desire of the men in our lives is just too tall an order for one mere human.

Whether we have an imperfect spouse or no husband, there is One who yearns for us every hour of every day. It has been in those times that I have been disappointed or abandoned by that guy in my life that I ran to the Lord. Without a need--I wouldn't have even sought Him.

Valentines often finds women feeling quite empty. TV and internet ads reveal all that we are supposedly missing whether we are in a serious relationship or not. Either we are mad that a certain someone did not read our minds..or...there is no certain someone texting or calling.

But there is One who will not disappoint. Here are a few of His Valentines--written to you:

He will rejoice over you with great gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will exult over you by singing a happy song.
Zephaniah 3:17

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you.
Jeremiah 31:3

Isaiah reveals God -- a truly perfect husband:

For your Creator will be your husband.
The Lord Almighty is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
For the Lord has called you back from your grief
as though you were a young wife
abandoned by her husband...
Isaiah 54:5,6

For more spiritual refreshment visit Spiritual Sundays.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

See No Evil

Would you rather have children who look good or children who understand grace and their own frailty when it comes to sin? You might answer "both"--but we can't often have both.

My pastor once told me about a prayer that he prayed for his children. He asked God not to let his children get away with secret sin. That is bold for a southern pastor. I always admired him for caring more about his children being right before God than looking good before his congregation. God faithfully answered this pastor's prayers--and it wasn't always pretty.

In Matthew 23:5, Jesus criticized the Pharisees for doing all of their good deeds for men to see. I can parent that way as well.

I always know when the appearance becomes too important.

-I reprimand my children for how a deed looks to others rather than what it looks like to God.

-I am more embarrassed before friends than grieved before God over a wrong deed by my children.

-I tend to boast of my children's spiritual deeds before other parents.

The longer I am a parent, the more I realize that teaching my children how to make things right with others and especially God after they sin, is an important life lesson. Imagine our grownup children in marriages or jobs where they don't know how to "make things right". I would say simply looking good won't get them far in life.

I challenge us all to pray a dangerous prayer over our children:

Lord, please guard my children in the way that they walk. Protect them from evil but more importantly protect them from being conquered by secret sin. Bring it to light that they will be free.

And after you pray this brave prayer, don't be surprised when God answers and His light reveals yuck. It really is a gift from God. And we have the opportunity to model a gracious heavenly Father as we help our children with their struggles.