Friday, July 31, 2009

Praising His Name

Our annual children's camp was last week and on the second to last day I found myself sitting behind one of the cabins.  Just me and nature.  We were having a a scavenger hunt and I was one of the "clue-holders".  The children had to find me.  Well, considering the fact that I was going to camp and am always quite busy I, of course, didn't bring along any busy work.  I wasn't expecting to have down time.  So I grabbed my Bible, notebook, cell phone, an Austen book that one of my sisters had brought, a chair, and some bug spray and I took off to my assigned cabin hiding spot.  I sent a few texts, and wasn't really in an Austen mood so I picked up my notebook and started paging through it. It contains a conglomeration of poems, paragraphs from books, notes from church, songs, and random scribblings and thoughts.  Lots of thoughts were running through my head when I turned the page and my eyes fell on these words.

I worship you with singing
I worship you with all of my heart
I worship you I cannot be silent
Lord I will praise your name

For you alone are more than worthy
You are great and you dwell in my praise
I lift you up that you receive glory
I worship you in this place

You see, one of my jobs at camp is choir.  I spend a couple hours every morning teaching the children songs in 2 part harmony, tricks to reading music, and I hope a love for music and a desire to serve and worship God when they sing.  After I read the words it was mostly all I could think about between groups.  You see, that is the cry of my heart, to love God so much to let him be such a part of my life that I cannot be silent.  That everything that I do would praise and worship his name.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Faith

Note: The IDD Blog does not necessarily endorse Rabindranath Tagore or his works--but this quote has alot of truth in it.




"Faith is the bird.....







That feels the light....





And sings when the
dawn is still dark..."














~ Rabindranath Tagore (Indian Poet)

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy Campers

Every year my church hosts a 4 day Bible Camp for Kids.  It's a time of fun, and learning about God's word.  It's the best week of the whole summer. :)
We sing!
We learn
We have relay races
Running, jumping, twisting, etc.  (or, "what to do with 70 campers when it rains all day") :)
We learn about Jesus in interesting ways.  Chemistry for example.  :)  If you look close, you can see Jesus blood vanquishing the darkness. :)
We laugh and make friends
We meet interesting characters.  Like, The Woman at the Well :)
We have a LOT of fun!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cultivating SIbling Relations

You have the Opportunity to make the best friends of your life.  Your siblings will always know you better than your friends because they see you day in and day out, good days and bad.  They are the people you don't put a good face on for.  Your friends will come and go, but your family will be there every day of your life.  Don't waste the opportunity.    Below is a list of tips to help you make the most of your friendships with siblings, along with some of my personal experiences and findings.  If you have any ideas I'd LOVE to hear them!

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Rule #1 in cultivating ANY relationship.  Ask yourself "Would I like it if my brother said this to me?"  "What could my sister do that would totally make my day?"  And then DO it!

  • Learn to cook
It has long been my philosophy that the way to ANYONE'S heart is through their stomach.  It's something of a family joke.  I have fond memories of my 3 year old brother coming running into the kitchen the minute he heard me start to cook and then climbing up on a chair to watch the entire process saying "yum, yum" the whole time.  Now that's devotion.  :)  The sweet thing is that that same brother (who is now 15) has developed a similar interest in the kitchen... er, FOOD and we now bond over cooking together.  :) 

Feeding people is one of my favorite ways to take care of them.  And everyone LOVES the hand that feeds them.  :)

Plus, you will have the wonderful advantage of being able to make them they're favorite food when they've had a rough day (or week... or month).  There's a lot of truth in the phrase "Comfort Food."  (In Katie's case this is Chocolate Chip Pancakes, just FYI) :)

  • Give them privacy

Growing up in a big family privacy was a treat.  I CRAVED my privacy.  I was jealously protective of it.  We need to realize that our other siblings feel the same way. 

  • Listen
One sure fire method of making people not like you is to ignore them when they're talking.  Have you ever had this happen?  You're talking to someone and before you're done they've either lost interest and walked away, or turned to someone and started talking.  It's happened to me.  And, it didn't make me super excited about starting another conversation with that person, either.  Be available.  Listen.  Take what they have to say seriously.  Or, humorously, if they're telling a joke. :)  (This is especially useful with little brothers.  If they tell a joke, LAUGH.  Even if you totally didn't get the punch line, because they told it in the wrong place, or forgot it altogether, or ONLY told you the punch line and forgot the rest of the joke.) :)

  • Share
While I am a firm believer in the sanctity of personal space and respecting other people's belonging, I also believe that there's a trust and comradery that grows out of sharing.  By this I do NOT mean that you should look at your siblings belongings as your own.  My personal pet peeve is people borrowing my books.  Without ASKING.  Oh boy.  I'm completely willing to lend my books to siblings.  But, I prefer them to ask first.  :)  So, maybe I'm still working on the sharing thing.  :) 

  • Find common ground and build on it
You must have SOMETHING in common.  You have the same genes!  You probably have a LOT more in common with your siblings than you think you do.  Find something, no matter how small it may seem and make the most of it.  My sisters and I enjoy doing many things together, but we haven't always been that way.  We've learned from spending oodles of time together what similar interests we have.  And we make sure to make time to do things together that we all enjoy. 

  • Depend on them
Learn their strengths and show them you depend on them.  I live with two of my sisters in the bottom floor of a house.  And I'll be the first to admit that they have strengths I do NOT.  For instance, I'm completely thumbs when it comes to doing anything "handy."  Stephanie and Katie have installed light switches, hung curtain rods, fixed windows and doors and I don't know what all...  They're my "little" sisters, but I've come to terms with the fact that they are always going to be bigger and stronger and better at that kind of thing than I am.  My 15 year old brother knows more about computers than I do, even though I've been using a computer since before he was born... 

  •  Ask for their help
This goes right along with 'Depend on Them.'  I love feeling useful.  Most people do. 
 
  • Laugh together
Have inside jokes.  It's totally ok. 

  • Remember the good times and try to forget the bad
If you live with someone for most of your life, you're GOING to have little squabbles.  It's bound to happen.  The trick is to let the hurts go.  Concentrate on the good things, instead of holding onto grudges. 

  • Don't hold grudges
Don't hold grudges.  It's so important.  If your sibling said something that hurt you, let them know that it hurt.  And if they apologize, accept it and let it go at that.  There's nothing worse than a squabble in which someone brings up a 10 year old grievance. 

In my line of work (flower shop) I deal with a lot of families who have recently lost loved ones.  One thing I've noticed is that grief brings out the best or the worst in a family.  Some families come into the shop to order flowers and can't stop fighting.  Others rally together and console each other.  Do your best to make your family one that sticks together in tough situations and grows closer because of them.


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Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer


Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
- Edith Wharton

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Friday, July 17, 2009

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am Persuaded...

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 
 
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 8:35-39                

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Remembering our heros

I now this probably seems a week late to you.  But it's perfect timing for me.  You see right now just a few blocks away stands the Vietnam Moving Wall. A half-size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall that stands in Washington D.C.  There are 58,228 names inscribed on the wall.  58,228 men and women who died or are POW and MIA's of Vietnam.  Men and women who weren't just soldiers, but were civilians, were brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers.  I heard a story last night about a man who was a financial officer in Vietnam, he died when the "accounting office" was attacked.  He wasn't on the front lines, he was a office worker, who gathered the staff and fought back, giving his life for his country and for our freedom.  It's not just about the soldiers, it's about the civilians too. I was looking at a quiz a few days ago, and one of the questions was what is most important to you.  The options were things like education, security, adventure, love, freedom, etc.  My answer, my freedom, because it is important.  Where would we be without freedom?  Where would we be without the men and women that fight, have fought, and have given their lives for our country and the freedom they have helped secure for other countries?  It doesn't matter what you think about war or the current state of politics.  All that matters is that we honor and remember them.
Did you know that out of all of those names there are only 8 women.  I looked them up, most of them were nurses, nurses who died helping hurt men. One of the woman's story really struck me, First Lieutenant Sarah Lane.  She was a nurse, who died when a rocket struck the hospital.  She was 25 years old.   After her death the hospital she worked at in Denver renamed the recovery room she worked in after her.  She was only 25.  Anyway... standing at the wall, walking past all the names really humbles you....  Makes you think.... The main thing I came away thinking, never forgot, never... remember those that have fallen, remember those that still fight.  Honor the veterans, respect and pray for those that stand up for freedom and put their lives on the line for our country.  Remember.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

God's Waiting Room

Waiting rooms are not my ideal place.

In fact they are about as far from it as you can get.

I'm not sure whether it's the anticipated doctor visit or just the over abundance of Forbes Magazine that graces the tables. Either way, I don't like waiting rooms.

Not one bit.

In all honesty, waiting on anything is not my idea of fun. But I get through it. I survive. I keep going and going. I might not be very happy about it, but I'll make it through.

Far too often, this is how I feel about being in God's Waiting Room. I'm not talking merely about the marriage one. I mean any one of His waiting rooms--whether it's waiting on direction for life goals or purpose, waiting on someone to change, waiting on school, waiting on Him to provide--waiting on anything.

It doesn't stop. There is always something else we will have to wait on.

Something else we struggle to survive. To just get through.

The problem with that approach is, we're taking on a burden we don't need to take on. Waiting is hard, yes--it comes back to trusting the Lord and believing He is good--but I believe God has far more in store for us than just "surviving".

He wants us to thrive while we wait.

One of my favorite songs is While I'm Waiting by John Waller. I first heard it on the movie Fireproof (which is a great movie--go watch it if you haven't already), and felt the pang of God's conviction searing right through me.



I wasn't worshiping as I should've been. I wasn't serving Him as I should've been. I wasn't running the race as I should've been.

I wasn't actively waiting. I was passively waiting.

I was surviving.

There's a saying I once heard--God wants to change YOU more than He wants to change your circumstances. The Waiting Room is hard. It's painful. It's not easy.

Sometimes it lasts for a few months. Sometimes it lasts for years.

But the end result is that God changes us through waiting. He builds our spiritual muscles up in one waiting room, so He can take us to the next one, and build them up more. He isn't in a hurry to accomplish His work in us--He will take the time He needs to do it.

Because He loves us. And He knows that ultimately, when we come to place where He's all that we have, we'll find He's all that we need.
Which we learn, many times, in His Waiting Room.

Don't despair in God's Waiting room. Keep running. Keep serving. Keep worshiping. Keep thriving.

He's right there with you while you're waiting.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Lost

The book I am reading is old, faded and reeks of the musty second-hand store in which I bought it. I can smell the dimness of the lights, the dust and the clothes that, in spite of being washed, still have the scent of their previous owners. I can see the yellowy dime romance novels that surrounded this one treasure, the creases in their spines odd next to the lurch of the binding of the one in my hands. The second-hand shop is not my favorite of places to linger. There are still strains of cigarette smoke and the young man with tattoos stares disconcertingly.

But I am home now. Someone is playing Bach on the piano downstairs and the crickets are chirping as dusk falls. A cool breeze pushes a page past my fingers as I reach for my ice water. Still, I can see the place where I bought this book, feel the sweat dripping down my back and hear the traffic in the street outside. The fan is humming above my head and I can feel my hair frizzing in the afternoon heat. It is all so clear, even as I read the words…

Until…

Until a line snatches away the fa├žade and the view is clear, oh, so clear. I can see it, truly see it now. I’m no longer in my bedroom, but rather on a boat sailing to unknown lands. I can see the sea stretching on and on, the waves pulling us forward to that thin line that meets the sky. I can hear the wind in the sails and waves smacking together in a splotchy wet sound. I’m off again…

I do so love a good book.

- written in 2006

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Quote from John Newton

"I know 2 things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior." ~John Newton (Author of Amazing Grace)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
then when we've first begun.

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