Friday, June 22, 2007

It Is For Every Day...

I have been continuing my reading in the book of Exodus. I found myself in chapter 16 this morning looking at the habits and character flaws of the Israelites. Let's look back at all that had happened.......
*God delivered them from slavery
*demonstrated amazing plagues that could not have happened except by Him.....while protecting them from each one
*split a body of water in half
*drowned their enemy and mortal fear
*provided shade, water, and rest for them

Yet how quickly they said, "whah!!!!! we are going to die out here! My tummy is empty! I'd rather be back in slavery so I won't feel hungry..........whimper....sigh"

Still God was gracious and encouraging...just like a parent with a toddler. He told them that He would provide food for them every day that would rain down from the skies.

When I came to the part where God says that the bread will be provided in the morning......I thought "Why wait? Why not immediately right now? They are hungry."

Then God said, "Daughter, I wanted them to wait so that they would dwell on Me. They were so quick to forget after everything that I had shown them. I wanted them to get up in the morning with an expectation of My goodness and provision, to look forward to spending time with Me. And I made the bread in small flakes for them to gather, so that it would take time for them to gather My provision, time for them to dwell, time for them to concentrate on Me."

Gathering that bread was the Israelite daily devotion. If they didn't do it, they were hungry and lacking all day. Without nourishment, our bodies don't fuction right and it is hard to think clear.

Doing devotions today in the 21st century is that same principle. I struggle and try to do things on my own. How patient God is with me as I quiver my lip and cry that I want it all right now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Its What God Said....

Like most everyone else, it seems I have always known the story of Moses and the Israelites. They were slaves in Egypt, God sent 10 plagues to rescue them, they crossed the Red Sea, and eventually made their way to freedom with God leading the whole way. Books have been written through the years, movies made over and over again filled with high drama, and even cartoons in graphic amination form.
This morning though, as I was reading in my Bible, I ended up in Exodus 14 and found things that I have never clued into before. It is so funny how that happens. God says His Word is new and we can never tire of it. How true that is.

As I was reading, this whole scene was playing out in my mind.
Not only had the Israelites just been released from 400 years of slavery, they had seen the amazing plagues in action as they were protected from every ounce of it, and now they were being led through the desert by an illuminating cloud and a pillar of fire. So, God tells Moses that it is time for this wandering nation to camp and rest a bit. And God says, by the way....tell the Israelites that Pharaoh is going to be coming...but through it all the Egyptians will know that I am The God.
Despite that statement.....those wanderers flipped out when they saw the Egyptians coming. They didn't even stop to think about all of the amazing things that they had just seen...all done for their sakes.
So, under the command of God, Moses raises his hand over the sea and the deep waters are blown back by the east wind. As all of this is going on, God puts a pillar cloud in front of them (to lead in direction) and a pillar cloud behind them (to protect them). This protective cloud pillar gives light to the Israelites and at the same time, robs the Egyptians of light and puts them in darkness. They have been in this spot before and are scared, but Pharaoh pushes forward.
It takes all night for this chain of events to happen. Eventually the nation of people and the cloud pillar have moved forward enough into the DRY sea bed that the Egyptian army follows. When the army is completely in the dry sea bed, God gunks up the wheels of the chariots and sends giant walls of sea water to crash down on them. Keep in mind now that the Israelite nation is STILL crossing the sea bed. I can picture it and it is so amazing. Waters so deep that you can't even swim through it... are on their right, left, and behind them. Yet the people are walking on dry land.....husbands and wives, chldren and elderly, cattle and wagons of property with not a speck of water on them. As they reached the shoreline, it is already riddled with the bodies of dead soldiers. The picture proclaiming yet once again that nothing is TOO big for God to handle.

It is so easy for me to look at those Israelites of old and say.....
"Why were you so quick to forget?"
"You were so ungateful and self centered."
"Couldn't you feel the love and acceptance?"

And yet, how many times have I had events happen in my life that measure on the scale with plagues, rescue, restoration, and devotion........and I look the other way.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Evening Walks

Recently, I started walking for exercise again. Today I did 4 miles on Powell Butte. It is my favorite place to walk because it is close to home, it has acres of breath-taking scenery in the middle of the city hub-bub, and it is of course a killer for toning up a flabby tush.

Lately I find myself speding more and more time up there on that hill. I get lost in it all. Not lost like I can't find my way home, but lost like it feels so good and quiet. I decided to take out my little cell phone while I was walknig tonight and freeze some of the things that made an impression on me. They aren't perfect pictures because it is just my little cell phone, but maybe it is enough to freeze my memories and moments in place.

This little blue jay greets me just outside the parking lot every evening when I go up there. Actually, I truly don't know if it is the same little bird every night, but I choose to think that maybe it is one of the many ways God says hello.

I have been so taken by this lone tree on the path I walk. I have nicknamed it Nathanael because it reminds me of the bible passage John 1:46-50. In that passage, Nathanael meets Jesus for the first time. He is skeptical of this Jesus. But Jesus looks into Nathanael's eyes and says, "Before we even met, I saw you sitting alone under that tree." Nathanael is so blown away. How could this man possibly know what he was doing when he was all alone with no one around?
As I walk by this tree, I get hit with the concept fresh every time that God knew me and saw me too before I ever met him.

This is my favorite path to walk right now. It winds around for what seems like forever as I walk through open meadows and dense forest. It is all so amazing. The fresh smells, the soft sounds, no deadlines, no makes my step feel light and lifts my heart.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Today's number is 24
And no

It's Like a Movie...

Today was one of those days that made for interesting watching. You know what I live your day but view it like you are standing next to yourself....watching it play out like a movie.

We have gone to this professional for years, partly because of the quality of service and partly because I have always felt it my mission to minister to him and show him the REAL JESUS that his sincere religion does not reveal. Both he and his assistant came out at different times to the waiting room where I sat and asked me to be praying for thier personal issues.
She didn't divulge detailed information, but instead took it from the stance that if I pray...God will fill in the blanks.
He didn't really ask for prayer per-say. Instead he talked to me about the current status of his son. Sadly, over the last year his youngest son (age 24) has excelled in a life of compulsively destroying himself. He has always had a drive to achieve and excel to perfection in everything he does, so he has pushed himself greatly in a life of prescription meds and alcohol. He said that currently his son is in his third rehab center and hopes this time will take effect. If not and he kills himself, well he knows he did all he could as a parent. Then he smiled and stated that all of this has caused his wife to learn to deal with stress better. So he figures that even if his son dies, at least having his wife cope with her emotions better is a definate up swing.

Could it really be that easy for him to let go?
Or is he talking himself into a way of thinking? I know I do that on a daily basis.....speak positive out loud so that "myself" can hear it. Then pretty soon I believe it.
All the same, no matter which, I wil lbe praying for that situation too.

Other things that happened in my personal cinema:

I watched as the huge truck backed up in the parking lot...all the way into the rear end of the car next to me. They must have had their stereo turned up becasue they didn't hear my horn blowing as they drove away. I wrote down the license number of the truck and put it in the windshield of the car. I guess in retrospect, I should have left my name and number as well incase the truck person denies it. oops.....

I looked over into the parking lot of the shabby motel and noticed the man standing by the car. He had purpose and determination in his stance as he bent over and plunged the screwdriver into the front tire. He stood up to watch the tire deflate. There was satisfaction but not happiness in his face.
Who was he and why did he do that? He wasn't scared of anyone seeing him or his deed in that lot on Sandy Blvd. Was he just wanting to not go to work today and couldn't lie about having a flat tire? Or was he the motel manager determined that Joe wasn't going to leave again without paying this week's rent?

She bounded up to me at the meeting and said with a smile, "well what did you think of my email?"
Oh the wave of revelation that went over her face as she stated, "Well if YOU didn't get an email from me....then who did I send it to on accident?!"

Answering The Post...

It is fun to answer questions. After all who doesn't like to focus on themselves just a little bit?

The first thing I notice about people.....I think it is all a matter of perception. I watch peoples' behavior because even when I walk up to someone for the very first time of ever meeting them....that first encounter says alot.
Do they smile?
Can they look me in the eye?
Do they mumble or speak with assurance?
You can learn so much about a person's strengths and weakness just by watching how they carry themselves. I think it is a big reason why I like to sit back and watch people in a crowd. In turn, I take what I have learned and apply it to my own life.
Did my smile express sincerity?
Am I remembering that I am never alone but that God is with me all the time?
Do I reflect confidence and an open heart?

You asked some really good questions.
A. Do you walk with your head, pelvis, or chest leading?
You know, I had to get up and walk aroun d the room a few times to figure this out. My girls think I am so strange. haa haa I would have to say...chest.

B. Boots or shoes?
I think boots because I love to hike.

C. Do you prefer things being BIG or small?
In relation to what? pillows....big
dark chocolate...small
encounters with rough people....small

D. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Because of the superpower, you also got a major weakness too - what would that be? Force of good? Or evil?
Hmmm very thought provoking......I don't think I'd want to fly. Could I disappear? Naw that would be like cheating all of the time. To be endowed with wisdom like that isn't a superpower. That is just a wonderful blessing. How about being able to soothe anyone and anything by my voice. Down side?.....I lose my voice twice a year like clockwork.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

And the Winning Question Is.....

you know those'd be lying if you said you have never received one.
It asks for details on those little or not so little known things about the person who did the sending can "learn" you better.

Well, I just received one from a dear friend from high school. Some of the questions are silly and some are rather interesting. I wonder though, who sits down and actually creates these emails that span the globe several times over again? Are they unable to get away from their computer? Are they surrounded by mounds of Hot Pocket boxes and that weekly delivery is their only source of living breathing contact?
Some of the questions are so odd. the original list was 46 questions long. Here are just a handful of them with my answers.

oh boy, anyone who knows me knows that is a loaded question. It is so funny when I get asked that and must spend more than one sentence explaining my answer. I usually get, "What?! You don't look old enough to have a 27 year old! You must hold your age well." That of course is a compliment but I always end up feeling like I cheated or something after I am finished explaining.

NOOOOOO...giggle giggle

Okay this is one of THOSE questions...does it matter and who cares? (I guess #7 is still having it's affect on me)


(This is set up to be one of those introspective phsychology questions) I just ventured over to the Crayola Database to view their colors. Wow there is actually a history on color crayons. It brought back memories. How many times my Mom and Dad would tease me about their special color being Chartreus. I always thought it was a made up name when my Dad would say something was Lavender-Yellow. There are some really interesting names there..... Tickle Me Pink, Razzmatazz, Inch Worm...I find myself wanting to choose a color simply by it's name instead of what it actually represents.

spring and summer mornings

Ha Ha! NO! I love answering THAT question. It was so cool to go into DMV a couple of years ago and have them take OFF the vision correction stipulation on my license.

hugs definately

Interestingly enough, I just finished reading a junior high level book titled The Giver. Even though my goal was to screen review it for teaching purposes, I found it to be a great book for presenting the quandary of Utopia and Dystopia. It is a thought provoking book that opens the reader's mind without the needless item content that some other books of the same catagory have.

nature and my wind chimes

Goody....being an MK makes this question fun......Japan or Madrid, Spain


Okay, really I have been thinking numbers....just not sharing them.
and YES I did.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Matriarch.........every family has at least one. As I was visiting with my family last night, I started thinking about one in my own tree that has left an unquestionable mark on the people around her.

Born in the back woods of Louisiana, my Grandmother Davis graced everyone around her with the ability to have an amazing amount of patience. She raised 6 strapping boys on her farm house in the woods. Her husband passed away when their youngest was only 12 years old. Even still, she made sure each boy was firmly grounded in the importance of respect and the southern methodist way of life. Later on, when other friends were sitting on their front porches and discussing "times gone by" with a glass of sun-brewed iced tea, she spent her time raising 3 grandchildren and running a store front to make ends meet. She was on the church commitee, sang in the church choir, never swore, and never condemmed or gave up on anyone. She possessed the wisdom and insight to see beyond a person's circumstance and speak into their future character. It never failed, being around Grandmother Davis just brought out the best in everyone. Without fear or threats on behavior, each person would become more agreeable, more compassioned, and more respectful.
All of her days and even beyond that, she inspired everyone who knew her. How hard it was to let her go when her body was tired. But how could we not? To her very last day, she did everything she could for people. Then she lay down on her her bed, smiled, and breathed into the arms of her Savior and Source of Strength as she went to sleep for the last time.

Friday, June 8, 2007

It's Just That Easy....

Could I compete in a major decathlon on all knowledge important to the 21st century era of computers and technology? No way. But I do know my way around my home and work computers enough to complete the daily tasks needs in office work and organizing. So, when it was time to refill my printer ink cartridges yesterday, the task was no formidable opponent for me.

I personally enjoy doing things like this. I think it is so easy to fill those absorbing sponges with ink and make sure everything is in alignment....thereby saving money and finding a way around those amazing price issues of buying new cartridges.

As I was completing this task, I flashed back to a memory of a couple of years ago. A co-worker from school was asking my advice on cutting costs for all of the printing that we find ourselves doing as teachers. Shocked that I was in the presence of someone who knew less about computers than myself, I was very glad to share with her the ease of these universal refill kits. I assured her that each kit comes with complete instructions and should be no problem at all. I even threw out the disclaimer that if I can do it...anyone can.

Poor Sweetie...she came into work the next day with a bag of universal ink kits for me and said, "Here you can get better use out of these than I can. I couldn't get things to work right so I bought new cartridges last night."
Oh I felt so bad for her. It was interesting though and really opened my eyes to communication and how people perceive things and follow directions differently.

See, as I asked her questions, I found that she had gone thru a whole bottle of the cleaning fluid that is in each kit. It is there for cleaning out the syringe and needle between colors. I am so glad she didn't notice my eyes pop out of my head when she said she had flushed out the entire cartridge with the whole bottle of cleaning fluid before filling it with ink.
She was so frustrated, I didn't have the heart to tell her the fluid was for the needle and NOT the cartridge and she had spent $100 needlessly.

Perceptions in following directions.....we all view things differently.
I guess that is why there are all of those odd warning disclaimers on products.
"Do not use the iron while taking a bath."
"Do not spray face with bug killer."
"This toddler's toy kitchen kitchen set contains non-edible parts."
"Do not leave the driver's seat while cruise control is engaged."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

She said ...

Cindy said, "Hey, tell her hi for me. As a matter of fact, tell EVERYONE hi for me."

So on behalf of Cindy at Super Cuts in Gresham, "HI!"

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

How Do YOU Parent....

I received an email from my husband's nephew and his wife yesterday. They are thinking about having their teen nephew move in with them to give him a chance at opportunities that he has otherwise missed out on. They very much want him to have a chance to stay out of a life of hardships and make something of himself.
So, they asked me....How did you do it with yours?

What a humbling question. Really, whether we are looking at it from a parenting, step parenting, or foster parenting perspective......we try our best, but the bottom line is that each child ultimately chooses their future. We can equip and provide opportunities, but they have to choose to step into those opportunities.

Here is sort of a break down of my advice to them:

1)As Mom and Dad you must be unified. You have to walk into this like-minded and in 100% agreement. This like-mindedness includes being able to have down time to talk things thru as they happen.....develop strategies..."football huddle" . In being like-minded, you have to respect each others differences.
For you, you need to understand that (the nephew) is your husband's blood relative and that carries a lot of heart and devotion. At the same time, your husband has to appreciate that because you are not pulled by "the blood tie" you can look at things more objectively at times when Jason can be too wrapped up in heart.
If the situation becomes a division of responsibilities, like: "fine this is your thing. You take care of (nephew) and I will take care of the boys.", in the long run it will submarine your marriage.
If you were to split your responsibilities in half, the boys could resent you or your husband spending all of your time with (nephew).
(nephew) could play you against each other if you aren't in the same frame of mind.
You or your husband could become resentful that all of the attention is going to (nephew) instead of your family.

2) I have learned that it is a fine line to walk in mothering and fathering these big guys. For our guy, he lacked so much nurturing as a child that he craved it like crazy from me. He craved the hugs and wanted to drown in my devotion every day. But at the same time, at this age...mentally they are instinctually geared to pull away from their "mom" influence because it is time to be a man. They find themselves torn between wanting the attention and pushing away from the attention and they confuse themselves. You have to be sure you don't ride their rollercoaster. Don't take it personally. Label attitudes and emotions for what they are and remember to look at the bigger picture instead of just that moment.

3) A major thing with parenting is being able to let them fall and make their own choices. As parents we need to be able to do this with our own children as well, but especially with those that God puts on our hearts later in these teen guys. Because he has been without consistent positive influences, making choices and learning and growing from those choices in a positive way. Discipline and consequences for actions can't be "because I am mad at you" but instead very calmly be "a result of choices made".

4) Along with that ability to let them learn from their decisions, you have to be able to let them go. This is the hardest thing. For some people, they don't get how good they have it until it is gone. If (nephew) doesn't want to receive direction, if (nephew) expects your attention simply because you are family and wants to milk both have to be strong enough to let go. Again this comes with being like-minded.
My guy got to a point where I had to say, "I love you and that will not change. You are a part of our family and your picture stays on our wall. you are not obliterated from our lives, but you are bringing yourself to destruction. If you want this for yourself, with a broken heart I will let you...but not at the sacrifice of my family."

You asked me about house rules:
We had some basic things like letting us know where he was every day. I would stress that it is not like a prison thing. It is a respect thing. When I am not home, you like to know where I am and when I will be home. It is mutual respect that people have no matter what age they are.
Because of our other children at long term visiting in each others rooms.
Speak positive and put downs.
Make sure everyone in the house gets at least one hug from you each day.
If you see something that needs to be it. Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.

We always tried to make the rules a matter of life living. Obedience is something we need our whole lives. If it is not family, it is our boss, our neighborhood, government. Respect and rules will be there our whole lives.

I know...It is alot of words. How else does one sum up the highs and lows of parenting?
Do I dare to insinuate that I have the corner market on all knowledge pertaining to raising kids and I got it all right?...absolutely not.
I simply dare to say that this is my personal experience.
Take it or leave it.

Monday, June 4, 2007

It's Part of the Job....

I just had a phone conversation with one of my staff. I found it to be one of those conversations that make me smile and giggle in irony. It went like this:

Him: "Hey I just wanted to make sure that my wife and I didn't miss out on the special game day that you would like for us to teach. Is that day coming up anytime soon and will you be communicating with us so we don't miss it?"

Me: "Yes I was actually just formulating your lesson plan and getting ready to call you. Don't worry, you didn't miss out on teaching. Remember those papers I gave to you during our training night? Well they had all the dates you would be teaching listed for the whole year. That way you could put them on your calendar and know what is coming up. Would you like for me to email you that date list?"

Him: "Yeah, I remember those papers but I lost them. Actually I am really bad about checking my email. Do you think it would be possible for you to print it up and physically hand it to me? That would work out best for me."

Did you catch the cute irony there?
Of course I will re-print those papers and and never mention it. That is all part of grace. I am quite sure I have made people gigle too.

Friday, June 1, 2007

It's So Heavy

A friend wrote a note yesterday encouraging us all to have a unique outlook on life. My brother and sister-in-law would call it "an attitude of positivity". The goal was to treat every circumstance and happening as if it was changing the course of regular life forever.

I loved the challenge, challenges are a driving factor for me, so I got up with that goal in mind.
Many great things have happened today: I saw a butterfly, God gave me breath, my girls are my joy, I have cherished friends.
But, as it happens with life, it takes so many good things to tip the scales of the bad. I hate that BAD gets such an easy front row seat.

Father God, right now my heart breaks. I know you made us all different and individual, but I just don't understand shallowness, I don't comprehend lack of compassion and self drive, I can't fathom such a small awareness of responsibility. Help me to focus on the good and let the groaning of the weight of sin come from the agony of the world and not my mouth. My mouth was made for giving You praise and adoration.