Saturday, January 31, 2009

Contentment

Longing for what God has not given, or has not yet given, is not only reasonable and understandable; it can also be constructive as a means to draw us to cling more closely to the One who created us to hunger in this way. But living in a constant state of longing can become woe-is-me and self-centered. Most importantly, if we are constantly harping on what we want but do not have, we are declaring that God has not managed out affairs well, because with or without our longing, God wills us to be content in Him. In fact, our contentment is of far greater importance to God than our marital status.

- Lydia Brownback, "Fine China is for Single Women too"

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Tidbit from the life of Eric Liddell

As he lay dying Eric Liddell's last words were "It's complete surrender."

Complete surrender is not an easy task

It is said that Liddell was "the finest Christian gentleman it has been my pleasure to meet...I never heard him say a bad word about anybody."
Can the same be said of us??

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

REMINDER!

You have until Sunday to get your name and address to us for the chocolate swap
Go HERE for information.

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Desires


"If I find in myself desires
nothing in this world can satisfy,

I can only conclude
I was not made for here."

-C.S. Lewis


Sometimes, when life is hard, and things seem discouraging
Sometimes, when swimming upstream through the fray seems impossible
Sometimes, when this world gets old and my heart just doesn't want to be here
Sometimes, when things are wonderful, but they just don't fill the void
Sometimes, when the turmoil around and within me seems unbearable,

I remember this world is not my hope, because my hope lies above.
I remember this world is not my strength, for I can do all things through Christ.
I remember this world is not my home, I'm just passing through.
I remember this world is not my joy, for I have that in my Savior.
I remember this world is not my peace, for that I have with God through Jesus.



I was not made for here.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Russian New Martyrs

I was thinking about the Russian New Martyrs today. These men and women who suffered and died during the Communist rule from 1918-1991 have a special power. Something in their lives and faith is so rich and so real. Against their stories our trite phrases—“Don’t worry, be happy,” “Everything’s coming up roses,” even the contemporary Christian catch-phrases—seem inadequate.

There is Father Arseny, who suffered for many years but died peacefully after being released. The bishop, whose name I can’t remember, who wrote to his spiritual children with such joy, even while he lived in exile in Siberia, knowing that he would probably never see them again. The Royal Martyrs—Tsaritsa Alexandra who died making the sign of the cross, her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth who was thrown into a mine shaft and who spent her last minutes tending to the wounds of others. They aren’t romantic stories. They aren’t stories with an earthly happy ending. But I look at them and marvel at the depth of faith and love of God which are revealed. I don’t know if I could act as they did. So far I have never had to withstand such persecution. But my faith is tested in my day-to-day life and so often I fall terribly short. And yet something in me yearns to meet the challenge these holy men and women have laid down.

I look at the New Martyrs and I pray simply, “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.”

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake


Not this one:

This one:


now that we have that clear....


I'm sick of winter. Really. So, I have an idea!!! let's pretend it's summer! who's with me?

ok! great!! get out your fork, 'cause I'm making Strawberry Shortcake.



1/3 cup butter flavored Crisco
2 C. Flour
2 Tbsp. Sugar
3 Tsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
3/4 C. Milk

Strawberries
1 Tbsp. sugar

Whipped cream

Wash your strawberries

Chop up strawberries, sprinkle sugar over them and put them in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the crisco until the mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir. Roll dough out on floured surface. Cut into biscuit rounds. I use a jar ring or the top of a glass. NOTE: if you place your shortcakes close together on the baking sheet they will rise better.

Bake @ 450 for 20 minutes. Cool, cut in half and serve with strawberries and whipped cream! YUM!!!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Spring

Spring seems a long time coming right now, particularly after last week which had most of the country gripped in below zero temperatures. For some parts of the country, spring might not seem too far away. But for good old New England that can be cold and snowy up until the end of March and sometimes into April…winter looks never-ending. Signs of spring are nowhere to be found. Trees are still dusted with snow. The backyard is white, with sledding tracks left by the kids. The street goes from a slushy mix of kicked up snow, salt and sand to white with newly fallen snow. It doesn’t look very hopeful.

But…I know spring will come. I know that it seems like we’ll have to wait forever and that it will never come. But…it will come. Winter won’t last forever.

Still, the signs for spring aren’t here yet. They won’t be for some weeks.

And so, I have two little vases with two little bulbs sitting on a shelf in our frigid, dark hall library. I’m giving a try at wooing a bit of spring into the house by growing crocuses indoors. The bulbs were cheap and who knows if they will grow, but I am hoping and praying that in a few weeks I will see some green shoots

I am anything but a pro at gardening – if anyone is the resident gardener, that would be the marvelous Valerie – but maybe if I keep them watered with both H20, hope and prayer…maybe, just maybe I’ll get my bit of spring in a vase.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Plant Doctor

The plant:


English Ivy.

The problem?




It's dusty.


Very dusty.

Who will volunteer to wash it by hand? Every... single... leaf?

Nobody? Hmm.

The solution?

Act NATURALLY! What washes plants naturally?
Rain.
How can we re-produce rain?
The shower!
Place your dusty houseplant in the shower with low water pressure and very mild water temperature. Let it rise for a couple of minutes, long enough that the dust actually washes off and doesn't just get the leaves wet.


Tah dah! Squeaky-clean and shiny!
For more delicate plants, I'm sure a kitchen-sink sprayer would do the trick.

Note: Never do this with African violets, geraniums, or other fuzzy-leaved plants, or plants with very delicate stems. That would not be pretty.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Unfullfilled Expectations

"The biggest factor of a poor me attitude is unfulfilled expectations."





Yep, that's what I thought too.  I first heard that quote a few years ago.  Of course the minister who spoke it didn't stop there, but continued expounding on it.  I wasn't really listening though; my mind heard that quote and took off.  It is so very true, how many hundreds of thousands of times have we imagined what would happen.  Set forth expectations and ideas of what will happen and how it will happen.  I don't know about you, but 99.999% of the time, it doesn't happen the way I expected.  In every day life it's easy to let things slide, life is life, it's constantly changing, we're used to it.  But what about future plans.  Expectations we've set up as children and teenagers?  What about expectations in love and marriage?  How many of you expected to be married by 20? 21? *raises hand* Yep, I most definitely did.  My parents were married the day before Mom's 19th birthday.  May marked their 27th anniversary.  When I was younger I never even considered the fact that I would still be single at 23.  I expected to be married with 2 or 3 children by now.  That's the way it was with Mom, that's the way it will be with me.  Or, not. 

As a child I had lots of expectations.  I had my life all planned out.  As of last year ago the only one of those expectations has come to pass.  I have a great start on my own violin studio.  I should have every right to be upset, disappointed, discouraged, right?  Of course right!  Sure, I can be discouraged for the rest of my life.  That sounds like fun!! Or, I can choose to lay aside my expectations.  Lay aside the desires, the imaginations of what my life should be or what I want it to be and pick up the fabulous plan that God has in store for me.  After that day, sitting in that meeting and hearing my life laid out so plainly in one sentence I choose the latter.  Little did I know God had plenty in store for me that I never in a million years could every expected.  

Who would think that me, or all people would be a counselor/choir teacher/planner at a week long camp every summer. That me, the non-writer of the family, would have weekly article on a blog for single girls and help edit/compile a monthly magazine for children.  Who would ever think, that because I AM still single I would be able to help and encourage other single girls younger and older that myself.  All of these things are aspects of my life that were never expectations.  But I love and enjoy every single one of them.

So, what do you do about it? Well, for one thing, when I start imagining things, I stop myself, and say it is in God's hands and then pray that everything will be God's will.
Psalm 62:5 says: My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  Let your expectations come from God.  Remember: For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 9:11 And you know what... the one thing that I keep thinking over and over, is that I need to be deeper in God, allow His will to become my will, His thoughts my thoughts, His desires my desires... John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Listening

Yesterday was one of those days when I had my afternoon all figured out. I was off work, so I would stay home, work on some things, and then head to the revival meeting at church that night.

A whole glorious afternoon.

I could accomplish so much.

Then the phone rang.

I looked at the caller ID. It was a dear friend calling me. I loved talking to them. I wanted to talk to them, but.............they like to talk.

And talk.

And talk.

And talk.

Now again, I love talking to them--I really do!

But in my mind sat the list of things I'd planned to get accomplished--things I NEEDED to do.

If I called them back, the chances of my getting those things done happening would be slim.

But I called them back anyway. And we chatted for 3 hours. It turns out they were going through some tough things. And they needed someone to talk to about it. To listen. To be there for them.

I'm discovering more and more that this is what alot of people truly need.

I'll admit--sometimes my problem-solving nature can want to take over and give the solution. People don't always need that though. Often they just want someone to listen. Just sit and care enough to hear. Not solve their problems. Not tell them what they should do. Just listen. Because they don't always need an answer from me. They need an ear.

There are times when we need to give an answer. There are times when things needs to be said, howbeit lovingly. But I believe if we are hearing the Holy Spirit, He will impress on us when those times are.

More often than not, though, I need to remember that God gave me two ears and one mouth so I can listen twice as much as I talk. Even when it's not convenient. Even when I have things I need to do.

Sometimes, God wants us to use our ears instead of our mouth. Sometimes, it's more encouraging to someone when we listen, instead of telling them what to do.

Sometimes, our just listening enables them to hear God speaking--because we aren't.

I want to be a better listener.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hidden glory

"…one should be able to grasp that it is not a glory immediately revealed in cosmic or human history, but is rather one that appears before, alongside, within, and beyond that history, always present, yet also for now deferred, and so visible to us only “through a glass, darkly.” This glory is not simply the hidden rationality of history, but a contrary history that pervades and that will finally overwhelm the world of our fallenness. It is not the sublime or sacred logic of nature, but what shines through the promise of nature’s loveliness, a beauty of which nature as we know it is only a spectral remnant or a delightful foretaste."

David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Book Review: Gone in a Heartbeat

A little over a year ago teenage girls were shot and killed. Just for going to church.
Gone in a Heartbeat: Our Daughters Died... Our Faith Endures is the story of the Works family written from the viewpoint of parents David and Marie. 

David and Marie share with us their journey beginning with the call of the Lord upon their lives, their dedication to serve Him, the news that they were expecting twins and the circumstances and experiences of their lives that brought them to New Life Church.  They explore in detail the events of that frigid December morning when two of their daughters were tragically taken from them without warning.  They write of the painful healing process and share with us the hope that, in spite of all odds, never dims. 

This book touched me in a very real way.  Maybe it's because more than 10 years ago I actually knew these girls.  Maybe it's because our lives were so similar.  I serve the same God they do. 

I remember getting that phone call from my mom December 9th, 2007.  She told me that "The Works family was walking out of church and they were shot."
My mind couldn't wrap around it.  "WHY?!"

I thought there must be more to the story than that.  Turns out there really isn't.  The were shot at, just for walking out of church.  Just for attending church.  It was a hate crime.

Of course, we're familiar with the persecuted church.  In China.  In the past.  We know that there are people that die for their faith in this day and age.  Christian martyrs.  In other parts of the world.  Not here.  Not in America where our constitution protects freedom of religion.  Right?

But, really, what difference does it make where we live?  What difference does it make what church we go to?  We all made the same commitment to Christ.  We all chose to follow Him.  We gave Him our lives.  We all said "Do what you will, I belong to You." 

Stephanie and Rachel Works are modern day Christian martyrs.  They chose to serve the Lord.  They planned to be missionaries and spread the gospel.  They wanted to do something big for Jesus.  The surrendered their lives.  Literally. 

David and Marie made the same commitment.  And in many ways the sacrifice required of them is much greater.  Their daughters are in the arms of Jesus, where there is no more sorrow, no more pain.  David and Marie are still here on earth, where sorrow and pain are still very real. 

Reading this book opened my eyes in a whole new way to the reality of what it means to serve God. Over a year ago, when I first heard the news of this tragedy, I struggled deeply with the horror of it. I cried and hurt for their parents and sisters. I wondered how anyone could ever recover from such a horrible experience.

You and I may never be asked to make the kind of sacrifice that David and Marie and their two surviving daughters made.  Our lives may not be required of us at the tender ages of 18 and 16, like Stephanie and Rachel.  But, what if we were?  After all, we gave Him our lives, too.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Presidents and Prayer

In just one day, my country will have a new president.

Tomorrow, January 20, 2009, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America.

The IDDBlog has never been a political blog and likely never will be. Why then, am I posting about this today?

Because I think there is something that we Christians need to be doing.

Whatever we think of President Obama's politics or promises in how he will lead this nation, whether we voted for him or not, there is one thing that we all should commit to:

praying for him.

Whatever your political views, pray that God would grant him wisdom. Pray that God would direct him to turn to God to seek wisdom.

Tomorrow, I will be at work during the inauguration.

But I will be praying.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Carl Linnaeus

Today's world is sadly short of role models. Pop culture and political fiascos dominate our society, leaving many people, especially the young, confused and at a loss as to where to turn.  Many, like myself, turn to the past for our heroes.

As most of my fellow IDDiots know, I have a passion for studying and growing flowering plants. Recently my studies have lead me to discover my own personal role model, Carl Linnaeus, famous Swedish botanist of the 18th century.

Meet my hero:

Carl Linnaeus was born  1775 to a Lutheran pastor and his wife. His father was an avid gardener, and passed on this trait to his son.

As a young man Linnaeus studied medicine, through which he gained much knowledge of the plant world. Botany was required study for doctors at that time,  most medicines coming from plant material.  He continued practicing and studying medicine all his life, at one point becoming physician to the Royal Swedish family. However, his greatest, though by no means only, contribution to science was the classification system he developed for plants and animals.  We use this very system today, though it is somewhat modified. We've all seen it; to some it's merely the boring grid in our biology books… you know, stuff about kingdoms and species, who knows what that all means!

Well, this system was very needed and timely when Linnaeus first published it in a small pamphlet in 1735. He lived in an era when waves of men were traveling and exploring the world, bringing vast numbers of plants and animals to Europe that had never before been seen. Often, a scientist or explorer would give the plant whatever name struck him, or a very, VERY descriptive one, such as this whopper: Rosa sylvestris alba cum rubare folio glabro. Loosely translated, this name is "White wild rose with red, smooth leaves".  Sometimes, one plant would receive more than one name because it was 'discovered' multiple times.

See what I mean? Scientists needed help, and Linnaeus was just the man for the job. His system of classification was quickly accepted because it was so workable. More and more plants and animals we being discovered and studied all the time, and this 'tree' system with all its 'branches' was very workable,  new names being added by adding new 'branches'.

Animals and plants were fitted into categories, not put in a continuum. Linnaeus strongly believed that plants and animals were made after their own kind, as the Bible says, not evolved as the theory beginning to gain popularity claimed.  People today often think that the debate between creation and evolution has risen only in very recent times, but Linnaeus himself, over two hundred and fifty years ago, stubbornly insisted that all species were created separately in the beginning, and no new species have formed since creation.

Linnaeus' original work "Systema Naturae" was expanded and reprinted many times during his lifetime. A few years before his death he was made a nobleman and given the name 'von Linne', denoting his nobility. His son, Carl, continued in the studies his father began, and took his position teaching at the university he founded.  Today, his writings are considered some of the finest Swedish literature ever written. There are many more interesting aspect of Linnaeus. He was a poet, and scientist ahead of his time, a philosopher, a Christian who revered his Creator.

My personal favorite fact about this marvelous man is his life's motto, carved into a doorframe in his house.

"Innocue vivito, numen adest"

Live Righteously. The Deity is Present.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Chocolate Swap



One of our lovely readers had a grand idea!! A CHOCOLATE SWAP!! 
So, here's the details:
What: Chocolate Swap
Where: The IDD Blog

Who: Anyone who wants to participate

When: February 14th, 2009

How: If you are interested comment here, then email us your address by February 1st. (Our email address is in the sidebar).  After that we will compile names and addresses and email you the name and address of a fellow  IDDiot. You get to buy chocolate and send it to that person.  Try to have in the mail before Feb 14th.  Then on the 14th (Valentine's Day) we can all enjoy our chocolate together!!! (If you have any allergies let us know in your email so we can send them on to your "Chocolate Santa".)

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IDD Dictionary #4

IDDiot (I-D-D-iot not idiot) - Someone who doesn't date.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quote

"Unless there is an element of risk in your exploits for God,
there is no need for Faith."

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beauty in the world

“Let’s think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world. The alternative is that we stultify, we shut down. Think of those times when you’ve read prose or poetry that is presented in such a way that you have a fleeting sense of being startled by beauty or insight, by a glimpse into someone’s soul.”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Amazing Grace

Our Salvation experience is the oxygen to the life-blood or our relationship with our Savior.
We must remember.
Remember the day you first met Christ.
Remember who you were before He touched you.
Remember who He destined you to be WHEN He touched you.
Thank Him.


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Monday, January 12, 2009

Ordinary Beauty

“Real women have curves.”

“Thin women get all the guys.”

“Gentlemen prefer blondes.”

“Tall women are stately and elegant.”

“A girl shouldn’t be taller than the guy she is in a relationship with.”


The world tells us that if you are not beautiful, you are worthless. It tells one girl to lose weight or she’ll never find a man to love her. It tells another that because she lacks the typical ‘womanly’ figure, that she isn’t a ‘real woman.’ Blondes are ditzy, but they still get the guys – or so says the world.

The world plays with our insecurities and tells us, taunts us that we’ll never be beautiful unless we fix ourselves. Actresses and celebrities on the television, on the covers of magazines at the grocery store, on the internet are held up as examples of feminine ideal: curvaceous, slender and perfect…and airbrushed.

How can an ordinary girl ever measure up?

We are convinced of our ugliness, certain the world sees the flaws that we see. We want to be beautiful, but we just…aren’t.

In the world, there is such a palette, such an array of different people. Tall people. Short people. Women who are slender, women who have curves. Brown hair, black hair, blonde hair, red hair. Skin with different pigments. Girls with freckles, girls with curls. Women with dimples, women with small ankles. Women with thick ankles and no dimples.

There is no one look that defines beauty – God created each and every one of us to be different. To look different. Does that mean that I, with freckles and big feet, am ugly in comparison to my sister with an olive complexion and elfin ears?

In a word, no.

No. No. No.

God created us to grow up into godly women. We may never feel entirely comfortable with how we look. We may never feel like Cinderella at the ball. But…we are, each and every one of us, beautiful.

We are beautiful because we are different. We are beautiful because we are not all the same.

There is a fairy tale by M.M. Kaye that I have loved since I first discovered it on the corner shelf at our library, tucked behind newer, more popular paperback novels. The Ordinary Princess. In this story, Amethyst, the heroine, is born the seventh princess in a royal family. Her older sisters are the ideal of princess beauty: tall, slender, regal, blonde and beautiful. Amethyst is a beautiful baby, and so it is that on her christening, all the fairies bestow wonderful gifts on her: wisdom, grace, charm, wit…

And then a forgotten fairy shows up, with a special gift of her own. “You will be ordinary,” she tells the beautiful princess.

With that one gift, the princess turns from blonde, blue eyed and rosy complexioned, to a very ordinary baby who grows up to be a very ordinary-looking princess: gawky, with mouse-colored hair and freckles. Just plain out ordinary. At the same time, her other gifts stuck around: wisdom, grace, charm, wit and all the rest. Yet, in spite of these, not a prince in the land wants to marry her.

Amy doesn’t mind, however. She is comfortable with herself and doesn’t mind being ordinary. She lives her life, not caring that every prince in the land, upon meeting her, remembers an appointment he needs to attend far away from her. She climbs trees, reads books and lives.

I don’t want to give away any more of the story, but let’s just say it ends quite happily.

Most of us don’t fit into the ideal of the fairy tale princess. But…that’s okay.

We’re not Sleeping Beauty or Rose Red or Snow White.

We're Ordinary Princesses. We don’t stand out. We have our flaws. We…are…ordinary.

In the story, Amy is said to be ordinary and her sisters are said to be beautiful. But from the very moment I first discovered this story up until this very day, I have always thought Amy to be beautiful. She is – but not in a glamorous, princess-like way.

She is beautiful because she is ordinary.

It’s true. She’s not like the other princesses. She is unique and that – that is beautiful.

Ordinary princesses, don’t listen to the world that tells you a certain body shape or look or color is ideal. God has created us to be different, to be unique and to be beautiful according to His ideal. Crooked teeth, straight teeth, blue eyes or brown…whatever.

Yes, YOU are beautiful. Ordinary princesses are beautiful.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Repentance and Freedom

Eyes of fire probing

I slowly bow

Shivering and shaking

I completely crumble

Fiercely sighing

I find my faults


Struggling softly

I see my sins

Condemning character

I feel the burden

Weighing words

I seek forgiveness


Eyes of fire probing

I slowly bow

Shivering and shaking

I completely crumble

Fiercely sighing

I find His love

Struggling softly

I see His beauty

Finding Freedom

I feel His joy

Weighing words

I praise His goodness

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Introducing....

Valerie!

The IDD Blog Team is proud and happy to welcome Valerie to our team.  Valerie has been posting for a few weeks now, but we're a little late introducing her. :) 

For the most part..."
Unconditional Love
Be Ye Holy
How He Cares For Me

She has become a regular member of our team, and we are very happy to have her!  Please give her a warm welcome!  And look for Valerie's articles on Saturdays!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

When Life Stinks


For some reason, my bedroom is very different from the rest of the house. Not just in decoration, though that's true--Mom didn't choose wildflowers and teacups as her decor--but in the basic creation of the room, it's different. It's usually hotter than the rest of the house--or if the temperature is cold outside, it's colder than the rest of the house in my room.

And for awhile, it stunk.

I don't mean as in it wasn't fair.

I mean it SMELLED.

HORRIBLY.

I couldn't figure out why. I'd cleaned it up and wiped it well. It still stunk.

Then I remembered the mouse trap I had set earlier in the week, because the little fiends were invading my private space. I checked and sure enough, one had succumbed to the clap of metal spring. And was decaying.

In MY room.

I managed to dig up enough courage to pick the trap up and take it out to the pasture so I could dispose of the creature.

The smell soon left my room, and all was well in the world.

Until something else starting stinking a bit. But this was something I could help.

This was my life.

When life stinks, it takes more than just cleaning and wiping to get rid of the problem. We have to dispose of the "mice" in our lives that are causing the smell.

When someone else receives what we want, and a little seed of envy is allowed to grow, there's a mouse in the house.

When we worry and despair about the future, and how our lives will pan out, instead of laying our fears at the foot of the cross and trusting God with everything, there's a mouse in the house.

When we don't view our relationship with God as number one in our lives, and let other things become a fake source of fulfillment and joy, there's a mouse in the house.

When we think God has forgotten us, isn't being fair with His gifts, and owes us, there's a mouse in the house.

When we choose to just not care about doing what God has given us to do right now, because we want to be somewhere else, there's a mouse in the house.

The thing about dead mice is, if you don't deal with them right away, they will stink very quickly. I could clean my room until 2020, but until I dealt with the dead mouse, the smell was still there. Likewise we can fill our lives with every activity, every good thing, but until we deal with what's causing "the smell", it will still stink.

I once heard someone say, "When life stinks, it's time to change your perfume."

I think there is truth in that, but I would say the principle runs deeper--when life stinks, it's time to check for the source.

Perfume might cover it up, but it won't get rid of it.

John 15:4-5 says "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

The Greek for abide means to be held, to live in, to remain as one, to tarry--when we remain and live in Christ, our stinky lives become fragrant--we are no longer living them in our strength, but in His. We are, in essence, one with Him--and He is in control our lives. Living in Christ means realizing that no matter what happens in my life, God loves me, and I know I can trust that His way is always best.

When the seed of envy tries to take root, I can offer it up to Him, knowing I will always have everything I need,and He is good. When fear or despair start to creep inside of me, I can offer them up to Him, knowing He will never leave me nor forsake me.

That's not to say that because we live in Him, life will always be a bowl of cherries (or a "chair of bowlies", as one painting I saw said).

Rather, it means that despite the difficulties, we can still choose joy, because He is enough.

Truly--He is enough.

I've often wondered what went through the mind of that little rodent under my bed the last few seconds of his life in the trap.
It's definitely not a romantic way to die like plum pudding.

Especially for a mouse.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christ is born

Today my family and I, since we follow the Julian or Old Calendar, celebrate the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and birth. On January 6th, while most of the world is asleep, we get dressed and go out in the cold to church. There we celebrate the midnight Liturgy.

Because we observe the Nativity on January 7th our commemoration is free from the commercialism that surrounds December 25th. We are free to worship the new-born King rather than be assaulted by Santas or elves. There is a special quietness to the day which western Christmas lacks.

For most people, January 7th is just another day. But for a few it is much more than that. It is one of the Days, one of the moments when earth and heaven rejoice together. And we cry together, “Christ is Born! Glorify Him!”


Troparion and Kontakion (hymns) for Nativity

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone upon the world as a light of wisdom, for by it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness and to know Thee, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. Angels and shepherds glorify Him; the wise men journey with a star. For to us is born a young Child, the pre-eternal God.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dr. Jak's "How-To-Keep-Your-Legs-Warm-When-You-Live-In-Frigid-Temperatures"

The answer is simple:
LEG WARMERS!
Leg Warmers have long been used by ballerinas, but now even the klutziest of us can wear them.  
 Here are my two top reasons to wear leg warmers:
1. They keep your legs warm
2. They are SO cute! 
You can wear them many ways.
With a skirt.
Over skinny leg jeans.
Over Leggings or tights.
With heels or flats.
I even wear them under my jeans or long skirts just for extra warmth.  
You can buy them at most clothing stores.  I got a pair at Target and I liked them so much that I started knitting my own.  
Get some!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Behind the Scenes

Happy January 2009!

The year has barely begun and stretches before us all fresh and new. Can you believe that it’s already 2009? It feels not long ago that it was 2000 and I was wearing braces.

It was at about this time last year that the IDDBlog and IDD Forum team started discussing a germ of an idea: a blog for single women who are committed to courtship/dating-with-a-purpose. The blog didn’t debut until the spring, but the ideas and thoughts began in the winter.

Sometimes things take time to come to completion. All of the blog staff have other commitments that sometimes come before the blog: full-time and part-time jobs, school, ministries and just plain out boring every day stuff like laundry, house-cleaning and cooking. It wasn’t until several months after our first discussion that the blog actually debuted. It took time – expensive and sometimes hard to find stuff, that – and work, discussion and prayer.

While the comparison is very weak, just hear me out. The blog staff and I were the creators of the blog. While most of you readers weren’t aware of it, we were busy getting things ready for the blog, even before it appeared anywhere on the internet. Articles were complied and templates tweaked.

God is not just a creator, but He is the Creator. And one of the things that He is creating is the story of our lives. Sometimes parts of our stories are being created and we just don’t know it. Like the blog a year ago, God might be working and putting things into place that we don’t know about, that we won’t ever know fully until His timing is right.

There are things going on behind the scenes. Sometimes life looks boring and quiet and humdrum – as if nothing will ever change and as if God wants us where we are forever. Sometimes life is hard, painful and full of difficult decisions.

Sometimes it is difficult to see the end of it all, to see any sort of plan that God is creating. The thing is, we can’t always see things from the beginning. We can’t always tell what God is working out for us – until life has progressed a little longer, until the point when God decides to let us in on the next part of the story He is writing.

Characters in stories don’t know how it will all turn out in the end…but, we as readers, are given the special pleasure of watching the story unfold in front of our eyes. Without knowing it, we, as readers, get to see the groundwork as it’s being laid.

The thing is, as characters in this beautiful story that God is writing for each and every one of us, we don’t necessarily see the groundwork for what it is. It’s just life for some of us. Parts are hidden, other parts don’t stand out. And other parts are just plain hard.

But…they’re all there. All the puzzle pieces, each and every single one that will become clearer and clearer one day.

For some of us, it might be love stories, whether it’s about falling more and more in love with our Lord and Savior each day of our lives, or a more earthly romance with the men God wants us to marry. For others, it might be the stories of our lives, the next chapter, involving jobs, school, relationships and our walk with God.

Wherever we are, we can’t see the whole picture, we don’t know the whole story. But…we can trust the Person behind the scenes, the One guiding us as we walk out our lives, as we live out our stories. It might look messy at times, it might look hard or bleak at times…but it’s a story and the most amazing Author on earth is writing it.

Let’s live out our stories to the fullest this year. Let’s trust God the fullest this year and prepare to be amazed by how He directs us in our lives.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Quote of the Day

Christian perfection is the perfection of a relationship with God that shows itself to be true even amid the seemingly unimportant aspects of human life.  God's purpose is not to perfect me to make me a trophy in His showcase; He is getting me to the place where He can use me.  Let Him do what He wants.
~Oswald Chamber - My Utmost For His Highest

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Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions With a Little Help From a 2 Year Old

It all started on Christmas Eve when we were at my grandparent's house celebrating Grandpa's 70th birthday.  Sarah, who is 2,  hadn't gotten her nap yet and by 3:30 she was quite beside herself.  She was tired and wound up; not the best combination.  I finally scooped her up and took off to Grandma and Grandpa's room to lay her down for a nap.  She didn't want to be alone so I laid down next to her and told her that I would sing to her for a few minutes and then she needed to sleep.  She loves to sing; I think music might be one of her favorite pastimes :-)  She immediately asked for he favorite song "I Hear the Sound of the Army of the Lord. I said no that's not a
sleeping song.  So, she started into "Give me that old time religion, give me that old time religion give me that old time religion, it's good enough for me."  Needless to say I was quite shocked.  Not only did my 2 year old baby sister know "Give Me That Old Time Religion", but she was singing it with such conviction.  Now it's very possible, knowing how dramatic she can be, that she was just being herself.  But it made me think; "Do I have that old time religion?  Am I walking as Enoch walked with God?" "Do I walk every day with the cross and what Jesus did for me before his eyes; using is as the goal I live my life striving for?"

    Then it went farther: I've been thinking lately about how I to strengthen my relationship with God and spend more time reading my Bible and praying.  I've been noticing a lack in my walk with God.  I've been trying to come up with more ways I can make time to read my Bible, concentrating during the day on things of God not natural things.  Well... I wasn't getting very far, and then with the "Old Time Religion" song I knew that I needed to do some serious spiritual overhauling and make sure that I was on the right path with God. 
      
          On Sunday I was listening to the message when certain things aren't sticking out to me.
1) Exodus 33:17-18 
And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that there hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
- Share your heart with God and he will begin to share his heart with you.
2) Philippians 3:7-10a
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.
And be found in him, not having, mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him.
That I may know him...  that's what I want. I know God, so... what do I do?  Well... the answer is right in the verses. 1) Ask God to show me His glory.  And then I need to share my heart with him, talk to him like I talk to my sisters. 2) Count all things but loss and know more about God, get into His word and know who He is and what He has for me. 

So... about that New Year's Resolution.  I'm not a big resolution person but this year I decided that since I had some things that I've been meaning to do anyway I could do them as my New Year's Resolutions and I am going to make sure that I keep them. So, as of yesterday I am working on my relationship with God, big time.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Committed.............to Whom?


I have a secret to share with you.

Ready?

Promise you won't tell?

Okay, here it is:

*whispers* I'm not committed to courtship.

Before you all faint or wonder about me, allow me to state that I'm not committed to dating either.

Or betrothal.

Or even, in actuality, dating with a purpose.

I promise I haven't lost it. My head, as much as it ever was, is still screwed on straight.

But I'm not committed to courtship. Because I don't belong to methods. I belong to God.

I'm committed to waiting on Him, trusting in Him, and being guided by Him to the right person at the right time. I'm committed to leaving my love life in His capable hands to direct and lead.

Courtship, or dating with a purpose, is the practical outworking of this commitment to waiting on God in my life. I "practice" courtship or dating with a purpose, you might say. But I don't trust in it.

I'm waiting on God.

I'm committed to Him.

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