Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Love Like Mine

It was storming outside.  The rain was coming down hard, and the thunder and lightning were a blessing from God.  The lightning made the church stained glass windows look beautiful, as the scene was set.  It was 6:00 and I was about to get married.  Everything was perfect, the church was full of friends and family, and I was so excited to marry a man who made me happy.

Rewind exactly 10 months:

I worked as a manager for Bath & Body Works.  This particular day I was at the front door greeting people as they came in my store.  That is when he walked in.  He was with two women!  He was very tall, and had a friendly smile.  As part of our product demonstration, I was wearing a sticker that said, “Ask me for a free hand massage.”  When He asked for the hand massage, I did not think much of it, until I noticed his hands were very dry.  To which I said,” We need to get some stronger moisturizer, you have dry hands.”  Then small talk proceeded.  He left the store with his women (mom and grandma) and that is what I thought was the end of it.

When he left, he turned to his grandmother and said, that girl sure was cute!  She said, “Well then quit being a chicken, and go ask her for her number!”  He entered the store, and I noticed him immediately.  I thought, “What is he doing back in here?”  Then I noticed that he has selected one small man product.  When I approached him, I said not very nicely,” What are you doing back?” Then I heard honesty like never before, “This is my lame attempt to find out what you are doing later.”  Laughter erupted, that was only the beginning of the laughter we would share.

Fast Forward to my wedding day:

It was 6:00 and the ceremony was about to start.  I was waiting with my dad in the bride’s room, getting ready to change my name and life forever.  My dad and I shared a brief hug and kiss, brief because I was afraid I would start to cry and not be able to pull myself together before the service.  The ceremony was perfect.  It was traditional, short, and sweet.  As people left the church, the wedding party filed back in to take pictures.  This is where things got a little wild.

It was approximately 6:45 when I began looking for my new husband.  I had completed all the pictures with the bridesmaids.  While we were taking pictures, the groom and groomsmen asked if it was alright for them to change.  I said sure, no problem, I knew they wanted out of the tuxedo pants and into jeans.  At 6:45, I asked where is my husband?  It was then that someone told me, he had left the church with the groomsmen.  WHAT???????  HE LEFT ME AT THE CHURCH??????

OK, well I would love to tell you that I was nice and lady like at this point, but I wasn’t.  I used language no one should ever use.  Language that might make a sailor blush!  At last, we reunited outside the reception hall.  All eye makeup was gone, tears dried and swollen eyed, we walked into the reception together!  Frankly, I do not remember much after that.  We shook hands with guests, danced, missed the meal, and ate just the bite of cake we gave each other.

When I look back now, 9 years later, I feel so blessed.  It occurs to me that the Lord knew what he was doing by giving me, my husband.  I actually find the whole story funny and beautiful all at the same time.  I know the Pastor that married us thought we would not last.  I think the real testimony to our story is that we will and have.  In our first day of marriage, we had to learn something that not everyone can learn nor do well.  We had to learn to forgive, move on, and laugh at it all.  It also showed something more profound than we knew at the time.  Marriage is not about the big fancy dress or the party; it is about the love you share.  Our love was big enough to handle being left at the church!  Every year, we laugh about this, and joke that we celebrate on the 30th instead.  The truth is I would not change anything about that day.  (Well, I might change the language!)  I got exactly what I wanted.  I had a beautiful church wedding.  I married a man whom I love so dearly, now more than ever, but almost equally important he makes me laugh.

9 years later, I am still happy and we are still laughing.  I love you honey!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The WHY in "Why can't we all just get along!"

I don’t know about you, but when I watch the news I just want to scream!  I find that the amount of inaction disgusting!  Everyone seems to be witnessing the downfall of our country, and no one seems to be doing anything.  All you hear is name calling and campaigning.  I wonder, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Reason #1
We can’t get along because of this great notion of diversity.  If you really think about it, some one came up with this fantastic idea, let’s celebrate our differences!  I am sure the intentions were good, but here is the real translation; let’s talk about everything we don’t have in common.  I don’t know about you, but how many friends do you have that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in common with you.  I think celebrating our diversity has back fired.  It has not only pointed out our differences, but it has created this mandate that we have to accept all differences.  This in turn has caused a greater division and resentment, not to mention a total lack of unity.  The creation of celebrating our diversity has left our patriotism in the toilet.  I am not saying that having differences are bad, I am saying that it has made it difficult to disagree peacefully on important issues, for fear of being labeled a racist or bigot.  It seems to me, that as our country was founded, it was by all different types of people, who had a COMMON goal.   This COMMON goal was not to change individual heritage, it was to create a new unified heritage in their citizenship of the United States.  They had a unified pride in country.  My conclusion, there are no results when we focus on our differences, but we can be successful when we focus on a COMMON GOAL.
Reason #2
Stereotypes are a HUGE reason why we can’t get along.  A perfect example is the Republican.  Just by typing that word, what automatically comes to mind?  A rich, white man, with great hair, lots of money, he listens to Rush Limbaugh, and has no desire to help anyone.  How about the Democrat?  Well, for me it is a loud mouth ACTIVIST, someone who will play dirty just to win the rights for a fish; a fish that will put farmers and farmworkers out of work.  As a society, the truth is we stereotype and label people.   It is a cold hard fact.  Right now we are witnessing the largest political division our country has seen since the civil war.  It is down right hatred between Republicans and Democrats.  The hatred in large part is due to the branding or stereotyping of each party.  The media spins each party in a particular direction with no regard to fact or reason.  We then are subject to fitting in a box where there is no gray area; you are either in or out.
Reason #3
Why can’t we all just get along?  We need a change of heart.   In our society, we have wonderful intentions, but no conviction.  Our conviction should come from Jesus, the true barometer of right and wrong.  Instead, we check in with all these false gods to see if we are on the right track.   It is perfectly acceptable to check our sensitivity and poll numbers with the Muslim culture, Hollywood, or the enemy but we never stop to ask Jesus, the King of Kings, if we are on track with Him.  The thing about getting along is, not everyone can be right.  That is why we need understanding that only comes from a meaningful change in heart.  In Church on Sunday the pastor was preaching from the Book of John.  He was discussing the examples Jesus gave Nicodemus about salvation.  His description was about being reborn.  It was interesting because, we know that it is impossible to be physically reborn.  However, it is very possible to be reborn spiritually.  To be reborn spiritually means to have a change of heart, to be changed from the inside out.  Incredible, that the Bible, also called the living word, was alive and describing the solution for our society today.  Imagine if everyone had a change of heart?  We would not be celebrating our differences, but we would be UNITED UNDER GOD, with a COMMON goal, to further His righteousness. 
I wonder if we had a change of heart and if we UNITED UNDER GOD, could we get along?  I believe that with God all things are possible.  The time to change hearts is now.  How will you reach out and change a heart this week?

Friday, June 24, 2011


Lately, I have been thinking so much about the Seasons of life.  The constant of life is change.  Change occurs in individuals and in families.  It brought me to this well known passage in the Bible about Seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

I look at these verses and think I have been in many of these seasons, some a few times.  I have been apart of them, or witnessed them as part of a family.  I think it is interesting that the Lord makes a time for everything.  It is His calculated plan for us to experience each of the seasons He has chosen for us.  I also think that it is interesting that each season is specifically given in God’s perfect timing.  I know that as you are in a season of sadness, it never feels like perfect timing.  The list of seasons and the timing to me is one of those great God mysteries waiting to be unwrapped when you get to heaven.  Let’s face it, you are certainly not aware at the time you open your mouth to say something just how it is going to effect another person.  That is unless you have a chatterbox four year old.  In which case, you should never yell in traffic, “Get out of the way dude!”  I thought it was a smart alternative to what I really wanted to say until we were stuck in traffic and all I heard very loudly for fifteen minutes was, “Get out of the way dude!” 
I love the mystery buried in the example of," A time to keep and a time to throw away."  If you are me, there may never be a true time to throw away, because you might need that empty shoe box that has been sitting on the closet floor for 6 months.  If you are my husband you would likely just throw it away with out any regard to its storage possibilities.  A time to be silent versus a time to speak, now that is a challenge!  I could probably list a million instances of when silence would have been a better option for me.  I was only four when I learned; it is never nice to tell your teacher she is despicable, even if that was daffy ducks favorite line.  That was my first trip to the office.  Then there is a time to tear and a time to mend.  It seems so simple doesn’t it?  Tearing is in fact quite easy, but mending anything literally or metaphorically is difficult.  Sometimes, mending feelings means more than giving a simple, “Oh, I am sorry about that.”
The thing about seasons is that even though you may not want to be in one or another, you are exactly where God wants you to be.  I think seasons are like the metaphor of the potter and the clay or the refiner’s fire.  Each season is just a step in the direction God wants to take you.  He is unfolding the seasons of your life to “uproot” the ungodly ways, and “planting” the seeds to be more Christ like.
I have a dear friend, Elizabeth Byler Younts, who has written a book about the Seasons in the life of her Amish grandmother.  What an interesting read it will be, as we uncover that all of God’s people experience the seasons listed in the verses above.  The only difference in our seasons is our reaction to them.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day

In honor of Father’s day, I am going to introduce you to the fathers in my life.

The first is my Heavenly Father.  I know him as many things including: Savior, Creator, and Father.  He is the very definition of fatherly love.
1Corinthians 13:4-8
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails......

Is it too much too say I love this? While these verses are often used for weddings, it is the best definition of parental love, in this case fatherly love, as well.  My heavenly father is not only the author of love, but also my protector and my provider.  He is the beginning and the end, and knows everything there is to know about me.  I am secure and confident because of my relationship with my Heavenly father.

Then there is my earthly dad.  It would be an understatement to say that I am in fact, a daddy’s girl.  I am sure I have been since the time I was a toddler and made a word specifically for my daddy.  My daddy was terrwonderful.  That is both terrific and wonderful.  The thing about my dad, is that as an adult I can respect him in a new light.  I see that his love for my brother, sister and I was rooted in his faith.  If I look at the verses above I can see how he tried to love us like these verses.  He was the Spiritual head of our household.  He talked about patience, faithfulness, and being responsible to us on a regular basis.  He was an excellent example, and a wonderful dad.  Thank you for being the right amount of love and discipline, love you dad!

My husband is such a wonderful man, and I love him more today than ever before.  He work hard everyday to provide a good life for me and our daughter.  The majority of his workdays last about 14 hrs, but even though he is tired, he almost never misses bedtime stories or time with his girls.  He is quiet about his Faith, but it is strong. I know that he prays for us, and makes sacrifices for us that are often unnoticed and unspoken.  He may be the best example of verse 5, a love that is not self-seeking.  He is a great father. I am privileged to be able to share parenting with a man that always hopes, always protects, always trusts, and always rejoices in our accomplishments.  Thank you for all that you do for us, love you!

As part of my marriage, I was given my father-in-law.  He is about the nicest man ever!  It is hard to imagine him ever being mean to anyone.  I think the best way to describe him is steadfast and faithful.   If there is one thing for sure about him, it is that you can count on him.  If you ask him to be at HEB at 6am wearing a banana suit, he would be there ready and willing to do whatever you need him to do.  He is not a man of many words, but he doesn’t need them, because his actions are loud enough.  Faithful, loving, and willing he is a wonderful father and father-in-law.

I believe that there is something special in a father’s love.  The fathers in my life are all good examples of faithful loving men.  I am grateful to the Lord, to have these extraordinary men in my life.  My dad, husband and father-in-law each offer pieces of the verses above; together they complete the definition for me, and my daughter.  God Bless each of you and I love you all so very much!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Truth does not exist with Political Correctness

I keep thinking about Sunday school this week.  We are in the book of Jeremiah.  I have never read this book before, so I am interested.  A little background info: Jeremiah is a prophet, given the word of the Lord to warn Jerusalem and Judah that they need to get their act together.  As part of our discussion in Sunday school, we talked about the similarities of today’s society and that of Jerusalem and Judah.  Here are a couple of my highlights:

Jeremiah 6: 14-16

14 They tried to heal my people's serious injuries
       as if they were small wounds.
    They said, 'It's all right, it's all right.'
       But really, it is not all right.
 15 They should be ashamed of the terrible way they act,
       but they are not ashamed at all.
       They don't even know how to blush about their sins. So they will fall, along with everyone else. They will be thrown to the ground when I punish them," says the Lord.
 16 This is what the Lord says:
    "Stand where the roads cross and look.
       Ask where the old way is,
    where the good way is, and walk on it.
       If you do, you will find rest for yourselves.
       But they have said, 'We will not walk on the good way.'

I think this passage is fascinating.  I mean just read it!  It is like the total problem with our world today.  Verse 14 describes that they tried to heal their own wounds, and pretended that everything was okay, when it clearly was not.  A good example may be the TARP and bailout money that our government said would fix everything!  It was clearly not the right answer.  I could probably write a whole blog on verse 15.  There are many things that people should be ashamed of, yet we put it on TV and call it reality!  I mean seriously, Jerry Springer makes millions off people who should be ashamed of their behavior.  Don’t even get me started on our elected officials and their behavior, or shall we just call it Weinerism?

The answer is all in verse 16.  "Look back, and find the good way."   I am going to dare to say the Holy way. If we follow the good way we can find rest, and maybe even prosperity?  The problem with actually walking in the “Good” way is that it is not politically correct.  I mean let us face it, when a Christian speaks out for the Truth of God’s word, we “radical”, or “intolerant.”  After all, political correctness does not allow anyone to be wrong or bad!

As a Christian, I love the discipline in God's love.  I know that may sound odd, but I love that God wants me to be better.  I relish in the fact that He is asking me to be improved.  God believes I can be great, if I trust and believe in Him.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to be in the middle of a trial, but I like the result of a lesson learned.

 I will tell you what I hate.  I hate that society wants to “dumb us down.”  It says that Faithfulness, Honesty, and Fear of the Lord are irrelevant.  It applauds the mediocrity of drug use, promiscuity, and profanity.  It creates loopholes to avoid consequences and conviction of spirit.  Imagine, if we were all responsible for our own actions, if we all looked for the good way, what would our Country look like?  What would our local communities and schools look like? 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Family Language

 Today I have a bad attitude.  Everything is on my nerves.  I have the patience of an ant.  Instead of saying what is bothering me, I begin to use my special family language.

First, my husband comes home from work, and I commence with an evil glare.  The look that tells him he has no chance at saying anything right.  I ask him,” What do you want for dinner?”  At this point he knows there is no right answers but says sweetly,” what ever you want darling!”  My answer with the dirty look ready to fire, “You can never answer a question can you?” There you have it, I have created a no win situation.

Why do I really have this bad attitude?  Well, for starters, I am sure that I have gained three pounds.  Yep, a whole three pounds!  When you are my height, which is NOT tall, three pounds might as well be around twenty, because that is how it feels.  Then on top of that, the evil mirror makes all my clothes look larger in the belly region.  I have no doubt that the three pounds stems from ALL the left over birthday cake and ice cream I ate.  I have NO WILL POWER when it comes to cake.  I should probably include chocolate here as well.

Then if you happen to have read my blog from yesterday, my question is, why?  It might have been the most boring thing ever written.  It was so bad that it has bothered me all day.  I mean really, I should have not only waited, but also never even begun that one!  I realize I will have a few bad ones here and there, but this one seems to be extremely painful for me.  Not even, my loving aunt had a nice word to say about it.  As far as family language: no words are code for no good! 

While I am complaining, yesterday my blood sugar was 300 all day.  For those of you who don’t speak diabetes, that is NOT good.  I miscalculated the carbs I ate at lunch.  It threw my whole day off, rendering me tired; which is what high blood sugar does to me.  It makes me tired and irritable.  The weird thing is that when it came time for bed, I had a hard time sleeping.  At that point, I was worried about my blood sugar, and the crummy blog I had actually just posted. Oy vey…what was I thinking!

To wrap up my day, I think I may have disappointed my mother-in-law.  A little background info here; my mother-in-law is the sweetest, most thoughtful, and most self-sacrificing person I know.  Granted there are times that we have mother-in-law moments.  We refer to those as SUEGRA moments.  Suegra is the Spanish word for mother-in-law.  She thinks it is the ugliest sounding word and is convinced that it really means EVIL mother-in-law!  Another piece of information you need to know is that I work for my mother-in-law.  Yes, I know it sounds a little crazy.  BUT WAIT there is more, I also live directly across the street from her!  Today, my boss AKA my mother-in-law and I were discussing my work schedule.  I was less than enthusiastic about working on Friday, and I think that it bothered her because; she has been very gracious with my schedule this summer.  That is to say, I have not worked much.

Add all these things together and you get the reason for family language.  Family language defined as dirty looks, short tempers, and the picking of unnecessary fights.  This is the result of a bad attitude.  Family is the place where you should feel safe, a place of love and support, but I find that sometimes family is where you let it all go.  The total stranger can often get more courtesy than is extended between family.  I am not saying that any of this is right, what I am saying is, is that sometimes it is easier to be nice to a stranger, than to admit to yourself or your family that you are wrong.

Because of my bad attitude, I am reminded of Jesus’ command to Love one another.  All the mess of daily life, He has offered the perfect advice.  He has given the perfect example, and perfect forgiveness.  Now if only, I can remember to give Love instead of dirty looks when after 9 years of marriage I trip over the boots my husband has taken off in the same spot for 9 years.  LORD help me!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


This morning I woke up around 3:30am.  At which point I could not fall back asleep.  So I laid there praying about various things, mainly, please God, let me go back to sleep!  Then I started thinking about my little blog.  I was thinking how I have wanted to focus on the things God wants me to focus on.  I want to write Christian issues truthfully by His standards, but also realistically how I may or may not be living them.  My thoughts drifted to waiting.  After my first blog, I felt like I should wait on the Lord to give me a topic.  At 3:30 in the morning, this is what came to me; I am waiting on the Lord, but I have not asked him for guidance.  Therefore, what exactly am I waiting for?  The last two weeks have been busy.  That is code for; I have not regularly read or prayed.  It occurred to me, that I have not consulted HIM on what my next topic should be.  

As I lay awake, I kept thinking what an interesting topic WAITING is.   Maybe waiting is what my topic should be.  Waiting can be tricky because it involves listening.    If you are familiar with my mindset then you know I am not an excellent listener.  If I am to wait on the Lord, this implies a few things on my part.  One it implies that I have asked the Lord for something.  Secondly, it also implies that I am listening for an answer.  Both of the implications I am afraid to say I have failed for this week.  On the other hand, I also think waiting is tricky because it can be an excuse.  Sometimes, you can be caught waiting, and it is for nothing other than fear of doing.  Or sometimes you can be waiting when the Lord is clearly telling you to go somewhere you do not want to go, so you ignore the “voice in your head.”

This morning Mackenzi said to me, “Mommy, waiting is hard!”  I laughed to myself because I thought,” Aha, confirmation that this is the topic?”  After all, in the middle of the night I had pondered the skills of waiting.  So much like a “Casual Christian”, I have decided to “Google” my way through what the word says about waiting.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Psalm 130:5 wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word, I put my hope. 

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!

Lamentations 3:24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Micah 7:7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
My pastor once said that if you want to hear the voice of God, read His word and you will hear him.  I admit that I have not been faithful about that recently.    Although the combination of the verses taken out of their context and used in my own context of waiting I can conclude a few things.
First, when asked, the Lord hears our questions.  Second, the Lord is gracious and compassionate in his timing of the answer.  Thirdly, there is hope in His word/ His answer.  The Lord will often provide an answer that seems not to be an answer at all, but it always works out for the best. 
Lastly, and most importantly, the Lord is enough.  I love the phrase,” The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait on him.”  I love the courage of the phrase, the act of completely relying on Him for everything.   Now if I can just be more consistent in my waiting on the Lord, and making him my portion.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Confessions of a Neurotic Woman

I have a few things to get off my chest.  First, I would love to be skinny!  I mean how nice would it be to go into any store and pick up any old outfit and look great.  I however, am not thin, nor tall, and if I am committing to my title here, confessing that I am doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to become thin.

Secondly, I wanted to be CEO of a fortune 500 company when I was a kid.  Yep, that is right.  I was planning on taking over the world. Confession 2, I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to become a CEO.  That is right, my major is Speech Communications with a minor in Ag Development.  I can hear all three of my dedicated followers saying, what? Seriously?  (BTW, thank you for following me!)  Yep, I have always said that my major was: teaching a cow to talk.  What do you do with that?  I will tell you, it is NOT become CEO of a major Fortune 500 company. 

Confession 3: I over analyze EVERYTHING.  As I sit here to write this blog, I am sure I will read it over and over again.  Contemplating, is it funny?  What is my point?  Where am I going?  What does this all mean?  It means that I make decisions. Then I consider each decision I did not make.  This leads to the conclusion that my original decision was absolutely terrible.  At which point, most days, I just say oh well and accept the decision may end in a craving for chocolate.

Confession 4:  I am really trying to find my place in God's plan.  My silly rants and admissions of faults I am hoping are a pathway to discovering God's plan for me.  You see, I have always thought God has great plans for me.  He has been refining me, testing me, and pushing me; I think I have finally connected with Him.  It took a few trials, a few broken hearts, a few lost friendships, and a few reluctant and tearful letting go and letting God to get where I am.  I don't want to miss out on His calling me because I am afraid.  If I need to confess my faults, or divulge a few mistakes to be cleared for service in His plan, then I pray I am no Jonah.  The last thing I want is to be thrown up on a beach smelling like whale puke!

Last Confession:  I am not a very good listener.  I can talk, but I need to listen.  If I am to discover what God has planned for me, then I better get started listening!

Proverbs 18:13
To answer before listening—
   that is folly and shame. 

My last thought here is that I do not want my last two confessions to be like my first two.  I don't want to say that I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to achieve them.  Now is a good time to learn from those mistakes and say it is time to do ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING to seek God's will and listen for His call.