Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Prayer .... Fun?!!!

      Opening my email this morning the subject line of a new email immediately jumped out at me. Turn Prayer Time into Monstrous Fun! It fairly shouted at me, and I recoiled in my chair.
      It was from a homeschooling newsletter I subscribe to. I hovered over the delete button, but then decided to read the email first. They were sharing books about little monsters who pray, to get your children excited about praying and how much fun it can be.
      Reading the newsletter didn't make me feel any better about the subject line. How have we become a nation of "Christians" who need and seek entertainment ALL.THE.TIME. A generation who is all about feelings and fun.
      When I teach/taught our children to pray, fun was the last thing that entered my mind. No, I didn't and won't approach it with the mindset of what can I get out of this, let's have fun. No, no, no!
     Our heavenly Father deserves much more than that. I don't approach Him to have fun, and there is no way I'll be teaching that to our children.
    I want a relationship with Him. I want to worship Him. Talk to Him about anything and everything. Pour out my praises, present my requests and pleas. Feel the joy in His presence and awe at the wonder He saved us.  .... But fun ... no, never! It's so much greater and better than fun!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MLM and Dr. Suess

     Our youngest loves Dr. Seuss. When ever we go to the library he will head straight to the shelf that holds the Dr. Seuss books and he'll select a few to bring home. His favorite is a 3-in-1 book, and he'll check it out every single time it's there. I've read it to him so often that I basically have it memorized.

    As I was sitting there the other night, reading it to him once again, my thoughts ventured off the pages I was reading and connected the message of the story to life.

    I've addressed MLM (multi level marketing) before, but as I was reading about King Looie Katz for the 100th time and I couldn't help but connect it to those involved in the MLM community. The way to make a living is to sign people up. Yes some people make a great living doing this, but what about the people that sign up much later, after most of their friends have already heard about it and either signed up, or made up their minds it's not for them.


In the MLM scene I definitely identify most with the small cat at the end of the line, the cat who has had enough, the cat who refuses to go walking all over Katzenstein keeping other cats' tails from dragging on the ground.

 
The story goes on with all the cats realizing that they should each take care of their own tails instead of getting their friends to carry them around.
 
I don't see that happening with all my MLM obsessed friends, but it's a pleasant thought. Maybe someday.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hills and Valleys

    So far 2017 has been an intense year, but in the midst of everything I have found my faith strengthened. I've been working on letting go, and letting God. I'm still very much a work in progress, but I can see I've come some distance this year, and for that I'm grateful.
    A friend, knowing some of the things we've been facing recommended this song and I have really been enjoying it. Truly God is with us whether we're living on a mountain top or going through the valley, and a Christian life has it's fair share of both. Right now I feel caught in a whirlwind of both, which is a strange sensation.
    If I focus on only my immediate family I'm on a mountain, but life somehow reaches out and includes so much more. Close friends have lost their children in tragic accidents, siblings going through divorce, my little brother in rehab after being arrested, and that's only touching the tip of the iceberg.
     So I cling to God, hug my babies, cherish the time with my husband, and listen to good music.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When the Heart is Full

     Sometimes my heart is full and yet I find it is a struggle to find the words to utter what is in there.   
     How do I find the words to describe the feelings I have of watching my children grow, spreading their wings, and experiencing new things? It's such a mixture of happiness, sadness, nostalgia, excitement, and fear.
    How do I find the words to describe what I've felt as for the first time in my life I've had to navigate the scary world of court dates, bail bondsmen, and everything the underbelly of America has to offer?
    How do I find the words to describe what I feel when you see broken dreams and promises scattered across your path?
     How do I find the words to describe what it means to have a strong Godly husband next to me? His love and support mean the world to me!
      How do I find the words to describe everything that has been going on in my life?
     
      So thankful that His mercies are new every morning. God is good all the time!

    

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mrs. Pepper Enchanted

     In the movie, Ella Enchanted, a fairy places a spell on baby Ella, and until the spell is broken she is doomed to obey every command she is given.
     Of course her wicked stepsisters take advantage of this, and tell her to give her the necklace her mother gave her, plus lots of other horrible things, and she does them even though she doesn't want to.
     I can relate to Ella way too well. When I am in the presence of a stronger personality (most of the population, it seems), especially one of these people who automatically tells everyone else what to do, it's like I'm under a spell and I have to do what they say.
     It is awful. And I get furious at myself. But I have no idea how to break the spell.
     When my pastor's wife calls and tells me what parts our children will be playing at the Christmas pageant, I find myself accepting their parts even though we had decided we won't be participating.
      I round the corner at the grocery store and meet the sample lady. She offers me a green seedless grape and even though I don't like them, I find myself reaching out to accept it, and then eat it, and when she tells me they're only .99 a pound this week I put a pack of them into the cart. As I unpack the groceries I could kick myself for buying them, and they languish in the fridge where I force myself to eat a few every day, but the majority of them will spoil before I get them eaten.
     A real estate agent contacted us today about another farm he found that he thought we would be interested in. He was oh, so persuasive and once again I was under that spell. Honestly, it was like something was compelling me to drop everything and go and I had no choice. Finally by a great mental effort I forced myself back to reality, yanked my mouth open, and explained that I can't possibly set up an appointment without discussing it with Mr. Pepper first.
    Maybe there's hope for me yet. Every time I manage to say 'no' feels like a victory.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spelling

     Facebook can be such an interesting place to hang out some days. I really enjoy being able to keep in touch with family, friends, and classmates. Living in today's crazy busy world it's nice being able to stay in touch and seeing glimpses of each others lives.
     I'm a very literal person though, and when I read status updates, I envision what I read. Therefore when something is misspelled I will see a picture in my mind of the thing I read, even when I know that the writer meant something completely different.
     Today someone made this comment.
     He was a real roll model in my life and taught me so many things. The way he taught me to not waist money was grate.
    In my mind I immediately pictured some guy in a lame commercial trying to sell bread rolls while informing a young man not to fold paper money in a way that would make it look like a dress. The grate topped the scene.
     My poor head hasn't been the same since.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The House

     Mr. Pepper has been offered a new job that he is seriously considering. If he takes it we will be relocating. The past weeks have been spent poring over real estate listings and combing the internet for something that fits our family's needs. It's turning out to be more of a challenge than we had anticipated, but we finally found one that piqued our interest. An almost three hundred acre farm ... considered as bare land. There are buildings there, but they're so tumbledown that they would have to be torn down.
     Yesterday Mr. Pepper took off from work so we could go see it.
     There was a lot to love about the land, and the two mile long driveway, and the quiet. It was so quiet it almost felt loud, but I'm sure I could learn to love that quite easily. The amazing views were an added bonus.
     The buildings though were every bit as bad as the realtor had warned us they would be. Most of them looking as if it would take only one or two more gusts of wind to bring them down completely. The house was the best of the buildings, but it was crooked and leaning, several boards were missing on the upstairs wall and you could see inside. It must have been abandoned years ago, I thought, but then I noticed a thin wisp of smoke coming from the chimney and a woman stepped out on the porch and hollered for us to come in.
     The realtor led the way down the muddy hillside to the house. "Come on in," the woman said. "Uncle Earl would like to meet you. He lives here alone and doesn't get to see a lot of people."
     I hoped the house would be able to hold our combined weight as we walked up on the rotting, sagging porch. When she opened the door I could have cried at what I saw inside.
    The room was dark and tiny, a dry sink along one wall, a tiny table pushed up against another wall where 96 year old Uncle Earl was sitting smiling widely at us revealing his three remaining teeth. He was happy to see us and visited for a while. Beside him was an ancient wood stove, on the wall behind it was an ancient clock so covered in dust and grime you could barely see its face. He had some battered old pots and pans hanging on the wall (think Little House on the Prairie) The walls had been painted a weird green probably a good seventy years ago. The floor had 1920's or earlier linoleum that was basically worn through and the entire floor slanted toward the middle of the house. The niece led us to the next room. His bedroom. An old lumpy twin size bed was pushed up against the wall, across the room was his long deceased wife's twin size bed. The pictures on the walls, looked like they should be in a museum, the furniture again was ancient probably the furniture they brought into the house back in 1842 when the house had been built. It didn't look as if anything had been cleaned since the day his wife died twenty some years ago. She led us upstairs to see two little bedrooms, still made up like his wife had them, but now buried under years of accumulated dirt and dust. This side of the house held two bedrooms upstairs. The other side had another stair way leading to three more bedrooms, one of which had part of the outside wall missing. This must have been an absolutely gorgeous home back in its prime, but now it was the saddest thing I had ever seen.
   Uncle Earl too stubborn to move sits at his table all day with nothing to do. Clinging desperately to the past and what used to be. Refusing to embrace anything new. He doesn't have an indoor bathroom, no running water, no TV. Nothing at all really.

   As sad as I felt for "Uncle Earl" living like he is, I couldn't help but think of the spiritual picture it paints of someone who holds onto the past, and can't let go of grudges or wrongdoings. The image of a "heart house" so overburdened by unforgiveness is sobering.

   Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit in me. Psalms 51:10