Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hello September!

Can you believe that fall is almost here? The nights are getting cooler and leaves are on the cusp of change - autumn here we come!
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I am currently studying Bible Hermeneutics (the art and science of interpreting the Bible). It is fascinating stuff. We just finished lessons on the history of the Bible. Did you know how many people gave their lives so that we could have access to a Bible that we could easily read? It really makes me appreciate that my Bible is not simply another book - it is my lifeline. I think that I will detail that information here later, it is definitely worth sharing.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our Mini-Vacation

A few weeks ago, my family went on a trip with some friends from church. Our first destination was the Living Word Outdoor Drama in Cambridge, Ohio. The picture below is the set used to tell the story of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount to His crucifixion and resurrection. The entire experience was superb! All of the actors, with the exception of the man portraying Jesus, were volunteers, and the acting was exceptional.

After a night spent at a Holiday Inn Express (just a quick plug for these hotels, I've stayed in three separate hotels in this chain - all of them were high quality!), we set out for Petersburg, Kentucky home of the Creation Museum. The museum and the surrounding grounds contain, of course, the museum, a planetarium, a petting zoo and botanical garden.
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Before we toured the inside of the museum, we walked through the beautiful gardens, across tricky rope bridges all the way to the petting zoo. The animals were super friendly, and tolerated my many attempts at close-up photography.

Once we went inside, our first order of business was to go directly to the 4D theater to watch the film "Men in White". The movie was entertaining, but the real fun was the movement of the seats and the splashes of water that accompanied it. As we started through the many exhibits, this sign caught my eye:

Absolutely amazing to see this posted prominently in a museum!

My daughter posing with the animals in the Garden of Eden

My son enjoying the dinosaurs

I've entitled this photo,"Mr. Clean in the Grand Canyon"

The entire experience was great, but the high point was the planetarium. The star gazer theater show was spectacular. I completely lost myself in the show. Emerging from the theater, I was completely blown away by just how big our God is!

In other news, I have completed my first college course and tomorrow, I begin the second - Bible Hermeneutics I!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sorry

Sorry about the unannounced blog break. I had the best of intentions, yet time just kept slipping away this week. The last bit of summer vacation is upon us and my family has been squeezing it for every bit of summer fun we can.
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A week ago, we visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky and The Living Word drama in Ohio. I'll be posting pictures from those locations soon!
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My first college class is nearly finished, just need to finish the final project. Next class starts on 8/30. Loving these classes, but scheduling homework is a challenge.
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School clothes shopping is 50% finished! Still can't believe it is that time of year already. Where did the summer go?
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Bye for now!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Alice

Today, we said goodbye to a dear friend. Alice's 95th birthday was Tuesday, and in the very early morning of that day, nearly the hour of her birth, God took her home to be with Him for eternity. It was her deepest wish to be with her Lord, and to go on her birthday must have brought her great joy.
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Alice was a diminutive, white haired woman with a huge smile and sparkling eyes. She may have appeared small and a bit frail, but spiritually she was a giant. Whoever coined the term "prayer warrior" must have known her, because the name fit her perfectly. If the church doors were open, she was there. She lived and loved to serve. Her funeral service today was bittersweet. All of us who loved her will miss her, but anyone who spent more than 30 seconds with her knew where her hope and treasure were, and we rejoiced for her because of it.
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Many happy memories were shared today of a woman who completed her race in such a way that she set an example for her many friends.
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Happy Birthday, Alice!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Food that Flopped - and how we laughed about it later

I have not always been a good cook. I flinch writing that just now, but it is unfortunately true. I've always liked to cook, I just wasn't as skilled as I should have been starting out.
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There were many kitchen mishaps in the beginning. Strawberry jam that somehow missed the jell stage and went straight for a crystallized mass melded with the bottom of the pan. Endless meals involving hot dogs (cringe) and packaged macaroni and cheese (blech). But I would have to say that Thanksgiving 1996 was my not so finest moment.
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My ambition has never overshot my ability as much as it did that day.
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It was my first turkey. The instructions seemed easy enough. Never mind the fact that I had never even cooked a whole chicken let alone it's much larger counterpart - details were unimportant. I followed all of the instructions, save those that admonished that the turkey should be well thawed. The bird had been in the refrigerator for 2 whole days, and being a Thanksgiving novice, I though that would be enough.
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At the appointed time, I pulled the pasty poultry from the oven, a bit perplexed that it did not have the same healthy glow as the turkeys did in the advertisements. All the same, I shrugged and put the platter on the table. To this day, I'm surprised the bird didn't hop right off the table and make a run for it when my husband valiantly tried to carve it.
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There have been many other Thanksgiving turkeys since that fateful day in November. But that is the one that everyone remembers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stories from Atlanta

Finally got all of my school work caught up from last week! That was a challenge!
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So much happened in Atlanta last week, it was an amazing experience. As I shared before, Monday was spent in the city, working with the homeless. Coming from a rural area, homelessness like we saw in Atlanta is completely outside of our realm of experience. I was so impressed with the members of our youth group, who gladly chatted with the men and shared the Good News with them.
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Two of our days were spent at an apartment complex outside of the city. Nestled in a suburban area, back a little road, and you were deposited into an entirely different world. You see, this complex is entirely populated by refugees from 19 different countries - the most war torn areas of the world. The children mobbed us! Some of the kids did not speak English, but all of them knew the language of play. Our job was to spend time playing with the children and getting to know them. What a joy that was! It was completely impossible to tire those kids out, and a few of them actually climbed on the bus with us. When we lovingly removed them from the bus, they stood on the back bumper determined that they were not going to lose us. It was heart wrenching leaving that place as the kids ran alongside us, waving and asking us to come back. I'll not easily forget the time we spent there.
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The apartments and their occupants are served by a wonderful man of God, Mr. Bennett. Mr. Bennett is a missionary from Nigeria. His deepest desire is to see souls won for Christ. Talking to him was absolutely amazing! He had such insight into the plight of these refugees and had such love for these kids and their parents.
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More to follow tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mission Atlanta 2010

Well, we made it home to Pennsylvania yesterday! I had no Internet access (other than the few hours I camped out at Starbucks), so I have lots of stories from Atlanta ready to go for this week. I'll post them throughout the week. God blessed our youth group abundantly! The whole week was amazing.
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To start off the week, I thought I would post a quick slideshow with some of the pictures from our mission trip.
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Now for a story from Monday:

We navigated the treacherous seven lane highway into Atlanta and reached SafeHouse, a kind of drop in center for the homeless. There, we prepared and served a free pancake and coffee brunch and spent time getting to know our guests. The men that came for the meal were very friendly and loved getting to visit with the teens. After the meal and clean up were complete, we walked to a park in the city to eat our lunch. The kids and leaders were eager to share their lunches with the homeless in the park, but were dismayed to find that there was a fine for doing so. As we talked with the people we met, we shared our hope in Jesus Christ with them. It was so exciting to see some of our kids share their faith for the very first time!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Smorgasbord of Thoughts

Greetings from South Carolina!
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Smorgasbord of thoughts sounds much better than "A Jumble of Things Rattling Around in My Head", doesn't it?
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Today started early and involved a lot of traveling. Around 10 hours on the road and two or so distributed between meals and pit stops.
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Since I have the apparently rare ability to read in a moving vehicle, I put my travel time to good use. I started and finished the book "To Save A Life", which was adapted from the movie soon to be released on DVD. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It's absolutely excellent and here is a trailer for the movie:

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I also am halfway through The Life You Always Wanted by John Ortberg and I am loving it. If only I had not misread the syllabus and started the incorrect book. Unfortunately, Mr. Ortberg's fine book will be laid aside while I catch up on this week's book, Ordering Your Private Life. Rats. Reading instructions was never my strong suit. Oh well, we still have at least two hours driving time tomorrow.
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Excitement is abounding for this week! I just cannot wait to see what God has in store for our gang! We have an awesome God, so I'm expecting an awesome week!
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Please keep us in your prayers as we prepare to share the Word!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Countdown

This week is going to fly by. I just know it.
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In four days, my girl and I will be leaving for Atlanta, Georgia where we will be serving on a mission trip with our youth group. This week will be full of packing and planning and tying up loose ends.
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Also, in six days I officially begin online classes at Lancaster Bible College! My books are all received, I am ready to go!
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Busy, Busy, Busy!
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Have a blessed day, everyone!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

As the deer. . .

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1 NIV
This verse was on my mind as we waded along the creek bed this weekend. It's been hot. Really, really hot. And dry. The creek we enjoyed has been known to spectacularly flood during especially rainy times, but for now, it is very shallow - barely ankle deep in spots. During drier spells, when water sources on higher ground become undependable, creatures draw near to life giving water ways that do not easily give out. Deer are especially beautiful, and are often seen in the evenings as they venture into fields to graze and to streams to drink. Their red brown coats gleam in the setting summer sun as they gracefully weave in and out of the tree line.
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A deer does not need a weather report to tell it that the weather is miserably hot. It probably doesn't read the newspaper either, so it didn't see the headlines bemoaning the low level of our water ways. It knows simply that it needs hydration to live and where to go to find nourishment. Psalm 42:1 describes our very souls panting for God as a deer pants for water. Our souls need God, in fact they were created to be connected to Him. When we neglect to spend time with our Creator, our souls cry out for Him. I'm so thankful that, like the deer, we can go to the Lord and He will meet our needs and give us life!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Free Smiles!

Anyone else like to smile?
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Here are some suggestions sure to make you grin:
  • Go for a creek walk (make sure you pronounce it correctly - crick walk). Scream like a little girl when a lobster size* crayfish bumps your toe. Giggle like an idiot when you reach the bank and notice your audience laughing their heads off.
  • Watch your husband do the same (minus the screaming) when he sees a water snake.
  • Dance with a baby. Make sure you spin and dip!
  • Hang a toddler upside down and tickle his belly. If those chuckles don't make you smile - check your pulse!
  • Watch a crowd of children squeal when the fireworks put on a show.
  • Paint a room your favorite color (GREEN!)
  • Beat the heat by cuddling in the air conditioning with a sweet pup.

Needless to say, it was a very happy weekend!

*This may be a slight exaggeration.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's A Bird, It's A Plane . . .

For the past month or two, eye-catching signs have been popping up all over the place advertising a brand new business.
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Zip Lines.
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Located out of town, near our huge lake, brand new zip lines have been installed and my kids could not wait to try them out. They had to wait a few weeks, but after church we followed the signs and there it was - just what my daredevil children had been anticipating.

The pictures aren't perfect, but they were moving FAST! On the last ride, my girl decided to hang upside down. My heart didn't start beating again until her feet were on solid ground.

My son decided that riding the line in an upright fashion was much more to his liking.

Zip lines were definitely a hit with these two and they are already planning more trips this summer. Mom and Dad were content with zip lining as a spectator sport.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

Family hike tonight! Getting rid of cable was the best decision we ever made :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Fought the Shot and the Shot Won

I've been a bit remiss in posting this week. I was out of commission, taken down by a tetanus shot. Not one of my finer moments. My grandma would have called me a prim rose. Being a prim rose is not a good thing in these parts. My tale of woe started on Monday afternoon while on a visit to my doctor (who is quite possibly the coolest doctor on the planet). Due to my upcoming mission trip (less than a month away), it was necessary for me to get my immunizations updated. That meant a combination tetanus/pertussis vaccine. Didn't hurt much at all - until the next morning that is. Throbbing arm and a low grade fever caused much grumbling and whining at my house. I have it on good authority that I might be a wimp. I'm not proud of it, but those are the facts.
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Fascinating, thus far, isn't it?
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After a day of feeling much better and with a exponentially better attitude, we resumed our evening walks. Tonight we hiked a trail through the woods, sadly littered with broken beer bottles. Suddenly, that tetanus shot didn't seem like such a bad idea. There were several trees down across the path, requiring us to climb over or under nature's obstacle course. As an aside, my husband would have you believe that I intentionally maimed him by pushing a dead tree onto his leg. That was NOT my intention. I did yell move - he just didn't react quickly enough. Poor man sustained three scratches down the back of his calf. I thought we were going to have to amputate. Just kidding, hon. You know I love you!
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The trail opened up at the peak of the town graveyard, so we headed home on the meandering path back down the cemetery hill. As we looked at the old gravestones, the number of young people in the older section was sad. I wondered how many of them died of illnesses completely preventable today. Again, the tetanus shot was looking better and better. How fortunate we are!
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So, I will end with the word that has been on my mind all evening - Thankful.


I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.

Psalm 138:2 NIV

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reflecting on a Wonderful Weekend

Our weekend officially started with a walk to the Farmer's Market on Thursday, enjoying fresh strawberries and blueberries on the return walk. Whoopie pies, too!
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Then came our annual family trip to the rodeo. We love the rodeo, we really do. It's a great family outing, and this particular one is also a fundraiser for a small Catholic school in a nearby town. So, it's a win-win situation.
I tried to get pictures of the bronco and bull riding, but everything just happened so fast once they were out of the shoot.
I am sorry I didn't catch this cowboy's name. The back of his vest read, "Rodeo With Jesus" and his chaps were emblazoned with crosses. I was impressed with his bold faith - he knelt in prayer behind the bull pen before climbing into the pen with his bull. He was thrown rather quickly, got up and dashed out of the bull's path, and knelt again in the corner of the arena before standing and accepting his applause.
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We spent a lazy Saturday hiding out from the worst of the heat watching movies together in the AC, but emerged and took an evening walk together before the storms set in. Father's Day was a great day spent with family as well. I live for weekends like this!
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Long live lazy summer weekends!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Evening Ramble

My hubby and I have been enjoying our evening walks immensely. For the past week, we have been choosing increasingly challenging treks. Tonight, was the best of all.
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First, lets take a look at this beauty blooming on the front porch!
We hiked all the way up to the highest point in town. It was steep. It was the hardest walk thus far, but oh, my. It was so, so worth it!

Remember this post? I loved taking in this view of the mountains and valleys stretching off into the distance.

And finally, a picture of me, triumphantly enjoying the splendor of God's creation!

The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3:19

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Favorite Quotes

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
C. S. Lewis

One can give without loving, but cannot love without giving.
Amy Carmichael

When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.
Fanny Crosby

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.
D. L. Moody

Friday, June 11, 2010

Whirlwind Week

What a week this has been!
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Just as my children celebrated their last day of school, my daughter's last day of middle school *sniffle*, I received my book list for my first college course at Lancaster Bible College. In a little over a month, I will officially begin classes. So, while my kids kick back and relax, mom will be hitting the books.
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I'm sorry I didn't keep up with blogging about this week by week, but this was our final week of the Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. Those six weeks flew by! I highly recommend this study, each lesson was better than the last and the messages were challenging, faith strengthening and went straight to the heart. I hope that she writes many, many more Bible studies. We used the DVD that went with the book as well, and each lesson was like visiting with a dear friend.
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On the home front, we are shifting from school schedules to summer schedules and the more relaxed pace is like manna from Heaven. Evenings spent walking through our neighborhood or reading on the front porch while enjoying a breeze, are divine. The garden is planted (on a much more modest scale than last year) and the plum trees are laden with fruit.
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Summer here we come!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Honeymoon Memories

First Monday of every month at Chrysalis
Sixteen years ago next month, my brand new husband and I set off on our honeymoon with a beat up Oldsmobile and limited funds. Our destination was Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, where we would be staying at a beautiful lodge in the woods. In what would be a preview into future family trips, we ran into massive road construction, the car overheated, we got lost and we laughed like maniacs at the entire fiasco! Upon entering the park, we paid for our entrance fee and made our way on Skyline Drive to the lodge. Our accommodations were gorgeous, and well worth the trials it took to get there.
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We spent hours driving around enjoying the wildlife, hiking to see various waterfalls and rock formations and visiting historical spots around the park. The two of us had so much fun simply being together!
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The honeymoon memories we keep coming back to, however, is the food. You see, when we paid our entrance fee, we naively paid for a one-way ticket, not a one week pass, which would have allowed us to come and go from the park as we pleased. We were stuck. The lodge had a restaurant, but after the first morning, the stark realization that our coffers would not hold out long against $15.00 blueberry pancakes, caused a bit of consternation. There were precious few other options. Fortunately, we found a small campground store and stocked up on snack foods to make the money stretch - and we laughed like maniacs about $15.00 blueberry pancakes.
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Such very good memories of our first trip together. And just like all of the trips that have followed, none have been perfect, but all have been memorable!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sometimes, God Speaks Greyhound

I want to be very honest here - I am NOT a big fan of change. I like to be in control. Experiencing a panic attack was terrifying - I was definitely not in control. It required change, again not a fan. My response to this happening was completely mature and rational. I pouted. And pouted. And pouted. Also, I whined. And cried. I didn't want this. I didn't understand where God was in this. I prayed (but mostly I just whined at God and called it praying).
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One night recently, I was laying on our couch, trying to nap, but mostly just complaining to God, that I just didn't feel very close to Him. It was quite the pity party. No sooner did I pray that, I felt one of the dogs climbing up beside me. I braced myself for Runner's boneless 70 pounds of deadweight to flop down on top of me. When that didn't come, I looked over to see Midnite, ever so gently curling up beside my legs. Just to explain, Midnite does not cuddle. She is affectionate, but she wants at least half the couch or nothing, and you must not touch her or she huffs in exasperation and gets up. But, right there for the first time ever, Midnite voluntarily snuggled down with me.
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Four years ago, we decided to adopt a greyhound. We had visited with some of the already adopted dogs and promptly submitted an application. Shortly thereafter, we were matched with a small female recently retired from racing in Florida. The kids were so excited to go pick up our dog. We went through the fenced in yard and were greeted eagerly by three other dogs, while Midnite slunk in the background. Despite our best efforts, she hid behind the other dogs and spurned our attempts at getting acquainted. There were reservations because of her spookiness and a household with kids, but we decided to go ahead with a two week trial period. During that test run, we discovered to Midnite was terrified of everything and everyone. We walked her with a harness and a collar lest she panic and slip out of one or the other. When she wasn't scared out of her mind, she was depressed, lying in a far corner, curled up in a tiny ball, pretending we didn't exist. She almost didn't stay. Somewhere along the line, she decided that she trusted us. Midnite became the sweetest, quirkiest, smartest dog we could have ever imagined. I had forgotten the skinny, shy, scaredy hound we brought home.
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When Midnite curled up with me as I was grousing at God for seeming far away, I was reminded that not long ago, the pup curled up at my feet was a lot like me. The only difference was, she trusted us. Did I trust Him?
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Yes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Getting Warmer

Eight years ago, when we first moved into our house, I bought two, cheap plastic pots at a "dollar" store for four dollars each. They were the typical terracotta color. This year, I considered buying some new planters, but instead opted to give the spraypaint made for plastic a try. Pretty nifty, huh? Like brand new!

Red pots are pretty, but they needed filling, so off to the greenhouse we went! Gerbera daisies are my favorites, so my containers are very simple - gerbera daisies and sweet potato vine (gotta get that splash of lime green in there somewhere!) They look a little pathetic now, but they'll fill out in no time. A white daisy ready for it's close up.
Not the best picture, but isn't this color outstanding?!
As long as we had the hose out, it seemed a good time for two pups to get a bath. Neither were impressed, but a good shampoo and brushing had to feel good. Midnite thought getting us wet was the best part of the whole thing. Shaky dog shower!
The calendar may not agree, but I think summer is officially here!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Keep Moving Forward!

Since the theme seems very appropriate for this week, I thought I'd share this video of my daughter's indoor percussion team's 2010 show. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Did Anyone Get That License Plate Number?

Can I just say that right now, I am not happy.
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I'm in a bit of a snit actually.
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I feel like I've been broadsided by a big ole truck that I didn't see coming and I'm struggling to peel myself off of the pavement. For some reason, my world became a very scary place overnight. I went from being in the driver's seat to clinging for dear life to the back bumper. I know that soon, I will gradually crawl back up over the car and regain control of the wheel (preferably Chuck Norris style).
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Everything around me carries on as normal. I'm doing my best and praying that God will take care of the rest. I'm so thankful that even when I cry out to Him and don't have the right words to say, He already knows what is going on and He is right here beside me.
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Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Score - Life 157 Me 0

So, this week didn't go so well.
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At all, really.
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Felt ill, went to doctor, got some medicine, slept a lot, felt ill, went to emergency room, got lots of tests, got new medicine and now I feel a bit better. It's going to be something I'll be dealing with for awhile and its no fun, so prayers would be much appreciated. Who knew panic attacks have very little to do with actually being nervous about anything? It's like someone flipped the override switch on the adrenaline factory which is scary and exhausting - like a being roller coaster that you can't get off.
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In the middle of all of the drama and pharmaceuticals, I got to go see Chonda Pierce!!!! At long last!!! I've been waiting since February! She is so much fun and very, very real about her struggles with depression and an extremely difficult childhood. As my mom said, "She makes you laugh and cry all at once." We had a group of about 30 women attending the concert, which made it even more fun. It was an excellent girl's night out and much needed.
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Hope everyone had a better weekend than I did! God is bigger than anything any of us are facing and I know He's got this under control!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Very Disjointed Post

May I introduce you to a new dear friend? I am a big fan of the color lime green (I like green in any shade, but lime is my favorite). I also like painting my nails (too cheap for a full on manicure). Imagine my delight at finding my favorite nail polish available in my favorite color! I don't even care how strange lime green fingernails look, they make me smile. The color is called Grass Slipper and the brand is Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure. I also have a bottle of Fairy Teal, which is, of course, teal. Simple pleasures.

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Also, because I stubbornly persist in the hope that summer is coming, despite weather that causes me to doubt it, I went shoe shopping for some summer sandals. And I dragged my poor husband along. Poor guy. I really could have used a girlfriend for footwear consultation. Men are just not equipped for the vast array of styles and colors in the women's section of a shoe store. Our conversation went something like this:
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Me: Do you think I should get something flat or something with a heel?
Him: Whatever you want. I don't know.
Me: How about these?
Him: They look the same as the other three pairs you tried on.
Me: (exasperated) No. That pair is black. That pair is tan. This pair is brown. They do not in any way, shape or form look alike.
Him: Which pair is the cheapest?
Me: (rolling eyes,then distracted by another pair of shoes)Ooooooh. This pair is lime green!!
Him: (rolling eyes) The brown ones. I like the brown ones. You should definitely buy the brown ones.
Me: Done. I'll get the brown ones.
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Riveting stuff, I know. It has been a crazy five or six weeks. Good, but crazy. Crazy, but good. So many big projects tackled over the past month, I kind of just feel like staring at a wall for awhile, or just laughing with friends.
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Speaking of laughing with friends - guess what this weekend is?
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Chonda Pierce, of course! No snow is going to interfere this time (even though it feels almost that cold!)


Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Piece of Cake

I can't say it was honestly a piece of cake, but here is the the fruit of my labors for the week:
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Back in November, I was asked if I would possibly consider doing a wedding cake. I do not do wedding cakes. I have a deep and abiding admiration for those who do, but other than a few birthday cakes I'm not a great cake decorator. This posed a challenge, and I hesitated, but agreed to make the cake.
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Several weeks of planning, several days of baking and several hours of decorating have now passed. The cake has been assembled and dismembered today. I'm pleased with the results, and learned some useful lessons along the way, but do not think I will be going into the cake making business anytime soon!
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Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bible Study - Week 2

As I posted last week, we are currently studying Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. Yes, that was a lot of links for one sentence.
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Just like last week, we had a terrific time getting into the Word together. The second session of Becoming More discussed methods for delving deeper into scripture. We also explored the story of King David's anointing in 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
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The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." But Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me." The LORD said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.' Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate." Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, "Do you come in peace?" Samuel replied, "Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD's anointed stands here before the LORD." But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The LORD has not chosen this one either." Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, "Nor has the LORD chosen this one." Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The LORD has not chosen these." So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

1 Samuel 16:13 NIV
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One thing that the book pointed out, that I found absolutely fascinating, was this. Why, if Jesse had been told the next king was going to be one of his sons, did Jesse exclude David from the line up? Was David normally overlooked in his family? Did Jesse just assume that Samuel would pick one of his elder sons? It was quite an interesting discussion. Another point of interest was the fact that after David was anointed as king, he went right back out to his sheep. Not to a palace. Not to a school. Not to a battlefield. Back to being little David, the shepherd boy. Life as usual. Mundane. How would that feel? To our limited human eyes, it seems to make no sense. What kind of preparation is shepherding for ruling a country? The perfect kind of preparation as it would turn out. Just through the everyday task of protecting his sheep, David received all the training he would need to become a Godly ruler.
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We can learn so much from King David. He was called - and then he had to wait. As King, he sought after God, but still messed up. Sometimes he messed up BIG! Still, God called David a man after His own heart. What an amazing God we serve!
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Edited to add -
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I wanted to share a blog that I read often. This family lives in the same town as my family. Last year, they set out on a long journey to adopt 13 year old Chloe. During the adoption proceedings, they discovered that when Chloe left with them for a new life in the United States, she would be leaving her two brothers behind. Here is the post from last year.
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Guess where they are right now? See for yourself!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Overdrawn at the Sleep Bank

So tired. So very, very tired.
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Turns out, it was too much to expect to just bounce back from two days of late nights and early mornings. When I was a teenager, this was not a problem - now, however, my body is telling me in no uncertain terms that I am no longer a teenager. Rest is a good thing and I sorely need some.
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Acquire the Fire was very good this year. The drama, Surrounded, was amazing. I was so glad to have the opportunity to watch the youth touched by God, and especially moved as we watched 700 young people respond to an alter call. Well worth the exhaustion.
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Now that I'm home, my focus is shifting to my big project for this week. Months ago, I agreed to make a wedding cake for a friend this weekend. I do not make wedding cakes, I like to bake, but this is a major undertaking. And yes, I plan on blogging about it as I complete each step. Please bear with me!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Memo to Self

Memo to Self:

RE: Weekend

URGENT!

I am lead to understand that you are going to accompany the youth on an overnight trip to Acquire the Fire. I felt I should remind you of a few things before you leave.
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First of all, you will have a three hour van ride. Please go before you leave if you don't want a repeat of last year's mad dash to a McDonald's rest room. (Also, don't drink a bottle of water on the way there.)
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Second, it will be LOUD. Numb eardrums are just the price you pay for extra enthusiastic worship music. Accept the fact that Sara Groves is probably not going to be on the worship schedule. It's going to be alright.
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Third, a 1:00 a.m. bedtime is going to hurt. Something with caffeine in it is going to be necessary for breakfast. Lots of caffeine.
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Fourth, it is going to be awesome! Enjoy!
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Yours sincerely,
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Me

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bible Study Begins

Tonight was the beginning of our Ladies' Bible Study. This year we are using the book and DVD entitled Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, a six week Bible study by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. While I was looking at book options, this particular book kept popping up as I searched - and for very good reason! Once I received a copy of the book and began to read, it was exactly what I had felt God had been speaking to me about.
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As always, I enjoy gathering together with such a tremendous group of ladies to delve into God's word together. This evening we discussed Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl - In My Heart. This evening's discussion centered on false idols in our lives and what the Bible has to say about our insecurities and failures. Good stuff, all of it! As we explored the false idols in our lives, we studied one of my favorite scenes from the Old Testament. Proof that sarcasm is not a modern invention (not that anyone ever said it was).
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Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
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At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
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1 Kings 18:25-39 NIV

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Isn't that the same result we get when we seek fulfillment from things rather than God? And yet we all do it over and over and over again. We are so fortunate though, that He promises us:
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For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
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Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV
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What more could we possibly ask?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What I Learned from the Song of Solomon

For this month's Marriage Monday, I'm selecting the topic "Talking Turkey When You’re Feeling Like a Chicken". Because a chicken is exactly what I felt like when I started writing this post!

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.

Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the maidens love you!

Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
Song of Solomon 1:2-4
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I was completely unaware of the existence of the Book of the Song of Solomon
until was in my 20's. In all honesty, even after I knew it existed, I had no idea what it was about, until one day, we had a guest speaker in our Sunday School class. This guest speaker was the wife of one of my high school teachers. She was probably around my mother's age, I graduated with her eldest son. Even though at this point, I was an adult, married and the mother of two, albeit young, children, I began to blush when she began to teach from the Song of Solomon, especially what it has to say about sex within marriage.
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Now, up to this point, I will admit, most of what I had heard about sex in church was DO NOT HAVE SEX. EVER. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. EVER. Granted,that was in youth group and completely appropriate advice for that stage in my life.
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Going back to that Sunday School class, until that day, I guess I kind of thought that the Bible taught a "just lie back and think of England" (supposedly Queen Victoria's marriage night advice to one of her daughters) outlook on marital relations. Was I ever surprised to learn the opposite! Not for a moment that I ever felt Queen Victoria-ish or subscribed to that philosophy, but I had the overall assumption that was what God wanted us to feel. Even while I was uncomfortable sitting in a room full of people discussing the subject, I eagerly went home and searched through the pages myself. What a gift God intended us to be to each other!
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Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind!
Blow on my garden,
that its fragrance may spread abroad.
Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.
Song of Solomon 4:16
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Friday, April 30, 2010

An Announcement

Remember this post? And this one?
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Earlier this month, I visited Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, PA. I took some pictures, watched teenagers explore the campus, ate in the dining hall and laughed more than I have in months! I did something else while I was there. I applied.
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This week, I received my acceptance letter. And class schedule. And predicted graduation date.
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I'm a college student, can you believe it? I can't.
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After high school, I completed my Associate Degree, then got married and had kids. I have always wanted to go back and get my Bachelors, but had no idea when I would get another chance.
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I'm enrolled in LBC's Degree Completion Program which will allow me to complete my degree online, and at the end, I will have earned a Bachelor of Science in Bible and Theology.
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I'm excited (and nervous)! My classes will begin in July.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chiaroscuro

My word of the day is:

Chiaroscuro - Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -ros
Etymology: Italian, from chiaro clear, light + oscuro obscure, dark
Date: 1686
1 : pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color 2 a : the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art b : the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character) 3 : a 16th century woodcut technique involving the use of several blocks to
print different tones of the same color; also : a print made by this technique 4 : the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface 5 : the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow
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I'm most certainly not an artist, I picked this word up at an drumline competition last year, where one of the bands used this as the theme of their presentation. Chiaroscuro, as they portrayed it, was the stark contrast between light and darkness.
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This week, that word took on new meaning for me. Darkness and Light are intertwining themes throughout scripture.
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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
John 1:1-5 NIV
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When we accept Jesus, we become lanterns in a world engulfed in darkness. The flame isn't ours, it's borrowed, but it reflects brightly when we actively seek out the source of our light. Recently, I learned an important lesson. Darkness isn't passive. Spiritual darkness is insidious, it creeps into unlit corners and leaps to take advantage of any given opportunity. Christians are charged with being the light of the world, and that doesn't happen if we let ourselves become apathetic in our faith. A dim lamp leaves a lot of room for shadows. For instance, have you ever spent time reading at the end of the day when the sun is setting? At first, you have plenty of light. Then, engrossed in your book, you become oblivious to the fact that you are squinting at the page. Finally, you look up from the page and wonder when it became so dark. Kind of like what happens when we become distracted in our Christian walk? Everything is going fine, then we get wrapped up in other facets of living and soon we wonder when all of the junk crept into our lives.
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Remember Chiaroscuro. The contrast between light and dark. Keep your light shining bright!
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On a side note, E-mom generously invited me to write a guest post, so if you visit Chrysalis, you can read my review of the book One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What God Requires

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8
Today, I am thinking a bit about my favorite Bible verse. In our Sunday school class we are studying William Wilberforce and what it means to be a world changer. The class is inspiring and I do believe that God can use us all to be world changers if we submit to His will. World changing sounds like hard work to me. It seems overwhelming if you think about it. But you know what, Micah 6:8 brings me much peace. God requires us to be just, love mercy and walk humbly by His side.
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You know what?
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Done diligently, it just might change the world!
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Isn't God awesome?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Recipe for Insanity

Last evening would have been the perfect evening for that whole human cloning thing to have worked out.
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I'm not pro-cloning, mind you, but last night it seemed like a good idea.
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Meetings, sewing projects, cake baking and food boothing do not, and should not mix. Mix in a son who needs his hunting pants hemmed NOW and a daughter who needs picked up from babysitting and it becomes a recipe for insanity.
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Fortunately for me, my husband took on the baseball food booth and the daughter pick up. Leaving me with, well, the rest.
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The meeting was easy breezy, the cake mixed up in a jiff, which left the sewing project. What should have been an easy little project turned into a frustrating mess. I purchased a pattern and the fabric to make it with, but apparently this pattern was from the new sewing line Vague (get it? Like Vogue, but, well, vague). The detailed instructions were lost on me, causing me to deviate from the step by step pictures and just make it up as I went along. Fun. Lots of fun. My heart ceased to be in it when the clock struck 11:00.
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My son would like me to point out that his hunting pants are still not hemmed. Apparently there is a gobbler out there who has a date with destiny tomorrow morning. Also, I was informed that hunting is impossible with rolled up pants. Methinks the boy needs to learn to sew.
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So, as I sit here the next morning, the required cake is in the refrigerator, the sewing project is all but completed, my kitchen looks like it has been bombed, and I am bone tired. It's Friday, though and that has to count for something!
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Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself

I was on a book buying hiatus. I really was. I have at least four books in my "to read" pile and was planning on finishing them before I even set foot in a book store. Ah, Barnes and Noble, alas, I find you irresistible.
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I found the Confessions of a Tired Supergirl blog several weeks ago, and just loved Susanna Aughtmon's sense of humor. When I read the description of her new book, it went on my "to read" list. When I found the book at Barnes and Noble, it went with me to the check out.
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My Bangs Look Good and Other Lies I Tell Myself is a book containing some very powerful Biblical truths disputing some very rotten lies we tend to believe about our relationship with God, such as God is Disappointed in Me, I Am Stuck in My Present Circumstances, I Need To Be Good So God Will Love Me, and many more. Each of these lies are dispelled with gentle humor, like a conversation with a girlfriend who just "gets it". The author weaves stories from everyday life with scripture and it packs a powerful punch.
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I really did love this book - it's a keeper!
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As a sidenote, my husband has pointed out to me that I love all of the books I have reviewed on my blog, which in his opinion seems unrealistic. So I want to clarify, I do NOT love every book I read. In fact, recently, there was one particular book on the subject of lies that I wanted very much to like, but just could not. So I made a decision at that point that I would much rather spend time recommending books that I truly enjoyed rather than just reviewing everything I read. Books are sometimes a matter of taste, and what appeals to one person may not appeal to another.
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Happy Reading!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Day at the Symphony

I have a confession to make . . . . .
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sometimes, I am *gulp* . . . . .
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WRONG!
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Hard to believe, right?
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Please tell me it's hard to believe. I need to hear that sometimes.
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Five years ago, my daughter came home from school filled with excitement due to an assembly all of the fourth graders took part in. At this assembly, the elementary band director regaled the youngsters with the wonders of playing an instrument, in a very similar manner, I imagine, as Professor Harold Hill would have.
Or maybe not. I wasn't there. I prefer to imagine it that way, though.
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The result of this sales pitch was an extremely enthusiastic nine year old who would expire on the spot if she was not promised band membership in the immediate future. I was skeptical. I had a very brief and mediocre music career in middle school. My parents purchased the instrument, I practiced it wholeheartedly for about, oh, let's say a month, before merely going through the motions for a couple of years. I tried to negotiate with my daughter. Maybe she could stick with choir. No go. Soccer is good, how about you just keep playing soccer. She insistently pressed the "how to lease an instrument from an over-priced place of business for nearly the same price as a semester at college" pamphlet into my hands. With a deep sigh, I asked, "What do you want to play, if we decide to let you join the band? And I'm not saying that you are going to join the band." The answer to that question was a filibuster on the amazing innumerable qualities of the clarinet. My husband and I held her off for 24 hours with a solid "we'll see".
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At church that Sunday, my husband consulted with a retired band director. When we got into the car and pulled out of the parking lot, he mysteriously turned in the wrong direction. "I have a stop to make.", was his only explanation. In very short order, my daughter was clutching a refurbished b flat clarinet, lovingly restored by that retired band director. Two years later, excelling at the b flat clarinet, my daughter was introduced to the bass clarinet at school. They hit it off splendidly and she now plays bass during concerts and b flat during marching band.
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In fact, she and the bass clarinet make such beautiful music together, that after months of practice, they played in a college symphony yesterday afternoon. My daughter was invited to play as a community member. The music was breathtaking. We were so proud. And I was so glad that five years ago, I was wrong about her playing an instrument.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring All Over the Place

Remember this post from a few weeks ago? Cheerfulness is a Choice
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It was a glorious spring weekend and I really enjoyed my road trip to Lancaster Bible College. One of the stops on our tour was this mural. The funny thing was, it was so beautiful outside that the campus looked exactly like this painting!
While on the tour, this tree begged to have its picture taken and I obliged. Especially since it got all dressed up for the occasion.
My final confirmation that spring has arrived is this:
Little League has officially begun their season. Check out the handsome lad carrying the flag!
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While I am waxing rhapsodic about the season, I thought I should share this verse:

See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."

Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Nicely sums it up, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Need of Organization 101

Or, to be more accurate - Remedial Organization.
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In the next month, I need to re-plan the Chonda Pierce trip, finish planning ladie's Bible study, fundraise for a summer mission trip to Atlanta, survive the end of band season and make a wedding cake.
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I think I need a personal assistant, but at this point, I think the best I could do would be to hope that one of the dogs learns to type or make phone calls soon.
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I am officially declaring tomorrow the day I get organized!
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I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Road Trip




I'm on a short road trip today. Got my sunshine and rainbows today with a side of shoo fly pie!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prescription for a Bad Day

(simply because this picture makes me smile!)

Today knocked me down, kicked me a few times and stole my lunch money. That’s how it felt anyway. The day began dramatically with a clap of thunder and a bit of lightening, but I pulled myself out of bed and got ready for work and had hope that today would be filled with sunshine and rainbows.

That, my friends, did not happen.

Today was filled with uncertainty, irritation and stress. Lots of stress. Not sure- did I mention the stress? By the end of the day I was a mess, just wrung out and used up. Once dinner was in the oven, I had a bit of time to reflect on my somewhat disastrous day (okay, so disastrous might be a tad too dramatic). I tried to figure out where I went wrong today. Where could I have spoke or acted differently that would have changed the today’s course? Was there anything I could have done? Maybe, maybe not. Some days are just those kind of days.

It’s funny, though, as I sit here this evening writing this post, dreading what might be round two tomorrow, an old Sunday school song has lodged itself between my ears. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice, which is, of course, taken from Philippians 4:4. Having this particular song stuck on repeat prompted me to take a closer look at this particular verse, and the verses surrounding it.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 NIV

Wow. As it turns out, the early Christians were apparently pretty familiar with bad days. I’m sure that their opinion of a bad day and my opinion of a bad day were vastly different. I’ve been known to pitch a fit if I put a hole in my nylons. They were risking persecution, imprisonment and even death. Paul was very familiar with those dangers. He spent time before his conversion being the persecutor and after, being the persecuted. Yet, as he closes his letter to his brothers and sisters in Christ, he gives them some very solid advice. Rejoice. God has your back. God is big. Huge. Immense. Unfathomable. And He has it all under control. Rejoice.

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Knight in Shining Armor

This is my favorite picture of my husband. It was taken a few years ago, while we were on vacation in Williamsburg, Virginia. He loves old ships and had such a good time looking around the docks at Jamestown. When I look at this picture, it makes me think of how fortunate I am to have so many good memories with him.
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We played together on the playground in elementary school. I was the only guest (his age, anyway) at his 6th birthday party. Sometimes we were placed in the same classroom, sometimes we were not. It was probably easier for the teacher when we were not together.
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In high school, we ate lunch together nearly every day. We stood together before school every morning, too. Our senior year, we even had the same gym class, and that's where the memory I wanted to share with you comes from.
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Now, just so you know, our gym classes were rarely co-ed. Boys met on one side of the gym and girls on the other. A barrier was pulled across so that we were not distracted by the other class. But, one day in late spring, for some unknown reason, our gym teachers decided to merge the classes. I should probably state for the record as well, I hate running. I am unable to chew gum and walk at the same time, and running and breathing simultaneously is a skill I just do not have. Normally, our school required all of us to run 1 mile every year. This was usually scheduled in the fall or early spring when the weather was cool. I dreaded the mile run every single year I was in school. Somehow, though, I managed to get through it. That day in late spring however, the weather was unseasonably warm, the sun was blazing down, and I had last period gym class. I was completely unprepared for the phys. ed teachers to announce that we had a special guest (an army recruiter) and that we would be joining with the boys on a mile run that afternoon. I panicked. I tried hard to negotiate. Nothing worked and I soon found myself jogging at the back of the pack of slender and athletic teenagers. For a chubby chick in high school this was maximum humiliation. It was no surprise when the teachers began yelling at me halfway through to try harder. It was no surprise that I was so miserable I was trying desperately not to cry. What was a surprise was watching one of the guys turn around and run back towards me. My best friend slowed to a walk and put his arm around me and asked if I was okay. His teacher began to yell at him to run. The yelling was ignored. He linked his arm with mine and began to walk with me back to the gym, all the while telling me it was okay, not to worry about it and that I was probably not going to be recruited into the military any time soon. It was the first and only time I ever left a class without permission, his too.
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I know that it might seem strange, but of all our shared high school memories, that is my favorite. He rescued me. Plain and simple. He saw that I was struggling. He saw that I was miserable. He saw that I was not doing well. But that's not why he led me off that field that day. He knew I was crumbling beneath the snickers and the snide comments of a few of the other teens. He knew that I wanted to be disappear. He knew I did not know how to get out of that situation, so he did it for me.
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All these years later, he is still as just as awesome as he was that day.
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I am so blessed!

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Consider the Cross



Tonight I took part in a Good Friday service which was a joint venture between three area churches.
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Our church features a wooden cross hung on the wall directly behind the pulpit. On Ash Wednesday, the cross was draped with purple, today it was changed to black and Sunday it will be covered in victorious white. I imagine our church is not uncommon in this observation.
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As we prepared to go to this evening's service, I thought about the cross. A lot. Growing up, I always felt confused about Easter. Christmas was easy to revel in. Babies are blessings. Baby Jesus brought such joy to the world, God sent His son to save us from our sins! Rejoicing at Christmas seemed natural. Easter, for me at least, was harder. I remember, as a child, sitting in a service at Easter, and hearing the crucifixion account described very graphically. I was horrified. Somehow, up until that point, I had managed to trick myself into believing that Jesus, being the Son of God, was somehow exempt from feeling pain and suffering. That delusion ended dramatically that day.
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For a very long time after that particular service, I alternated between feeling overwhelming guilt and shame when I thought about the cross or trying very hard to avoid dwelling on the subject altogether. I'm not proud of the way I felt, but I'm just being real. The guilt was terrible. I felt so ashamed of the fact my Savior had to go through such a horrible death for little, insignificant me, who despite all He did for me, still couldn't get her act together. Completely missing the fact, by the way, that there was nothing I could ever do to earn what Jesus did for me that day on Calvary. I got that He loved me, I was just missing the fact that He LOVES me!
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It took time for me to grasp the fact that what He did for us was a gift. Gifts aren't earned - they are given. This gift wasn't given begrudgingly, or with strings attached. This gift was given with great love and unmeasurable grace.
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Think of it this way. If I scraped together every available resource I had to buy someone I love a gift, would I want them to feel guilty every time they looked at it? No. Would I want them to feel unworthy? No. Would I want them to avoid the gift every time they thought about it? NO!
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I would want them to take joy it that gift. I would want them cling to that gift. I would want them to think of my love for them every time they saw it, thought about it or used it. And if I, flawed as I am, feel that way, how much more so must Jesus feel that way about us?
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I hope, as Easter quickly approaches, you take some time to consider His gift to us that day long ago on the cross.