Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Matthew 26:14-16/ Mark 14:41-46

4Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
 15And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
 16And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
 41And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
 42Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
 43And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
 44And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.
 45And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.
 46And they laid their hands on him, and took him.

Judas Iscariot is a puzzle to me.  But he was the one that put the crucifixion in motion.   He was the one that must have been the most susceptible to Satan.  Was it just a weak moment?  Did he just want to make everyone happy?  Obviously he did not understand how far the chief priests would take their part of these events.  Judas knew that Christ knew what was at hand; how Judas was betraying him.  The trigger of these events is what, money?  A lot of times betrayal is for money or power.  Someone has the upper hand, and someone else wants to be in charge.

Have you ever watched The Celebrity Apprentice?  I don't normally watch it.  I watched a few season's ago with Gene Simmons and Trace Adkins.  I am watching this season of it now.  This season has a few interestingly strange people on the show.  They are all working for individual charities to raise money, but collectively as a group they must do projects.  It is men versus women.  The first challenge was won by the men.  The second one was won by the women.  After the challenge both teams meet with Donald Trump, his son, Don, Jr., and daughter, Ivanka.  They learn who has won, what the pros and cons of each team were and then the winning team goes to celebrate and watch as the losing team loses a player. 

In many board room scenes, Donald Trump tries hard to make the losers blame someone.  Someone is "thrown under the bus", or the scapegoat.  Sometimes it is the Project Manager. A lot of times it is just the least essential person of the team at that time.  My take on Judas Iscariot is that he was totally essential to the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, but as a part of the disciples, you do not hear much from him.  Was his heart really in to Christ's teachings?  Did he buy into the whole gospel?  Obviously not!  If he had then maybe things would have worked out differently for him.  But, I think that by the end of his life (just a few days later), he understood the depth of what he had started.  He tried to take back his part in the game, but it was too late.  The Sanhedrin didn't need him or the blood money. They accomplished what they set out to do.

Poor Judas!  Really?  Do you feel sorry for him?  I do in a way, but only because he got caught up in the whole money/power thing.  It's sad to think that any of us can and probably have done something to get ahead and hurt others.  The thing about what Judas did was that if Christ hadn't been betrayed, then there would be no crucifixion, no empty grave, no salvation!   Christ Arose.  Christ Arose, Indeed!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Many Unanswered Questions

Matthew 26 : 6 - 13

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

This story never struck me until I was asked to sing a song about this called Alabaster Box.  This story tells us that sometimes it's about an individual, not the masses.  People get so involved in helping the environment, or the cause, that they forget the people. 

I thought I would have a lot of time to say what I want to say about Easter/Resurrection week.  But it has slipped through my fingers because of exhaustion, surgeries, and life.  I see the greater good of everything, but do not make use of my time the way I should.  Christ used this last week of his earthly life to spend it with friends.  In this instance, he went to a dinner with his disciples and used the time to teach us a lesson.  I am not sure the lesson actually got through to the disciples though.  They may have understood later, but they thought Jesus was a strange bird at times.  He talked about helping the poor, yet when he did something like this it may have been confusing to them.

I like this story because he tells them that he is going to die, but he did not make that the point of this story.  He made the point of the story that this woman would be remembered for her part in the story.  He loved her for doing this wonderful thing for him.  But what caused her to actually do this?  Why did this woman have such a strong desired to anoint Christ's body?  Was that something that God put in her heart?  Because surely, no one understood what he was really about to do.  Was she scared that the leaders were really going to kill him?  Was she privy to that information?  I don't think we will ever know.  What we do know is that sometimes the individual act is more important than total cause.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Our Longest Day, Part Deux

At 5:25pm, they wheeled her back for a simple two and a half hour surgery.   I text several people letting them know that they have taken back and surgery will be over soon.  Mike's sister told me to go eat, mostly because it will take a lot of time from the waiting, but I also went because I was told by a good friend that I need to keep my strength up too.  I knew this would be true because I am a terrible nurse.  I can not help but get weak when people tell me of their injuries or surgeries in great detail.  Not a good thing for me.  I was worried about how I strong I would be for Allie.

A nurse showed us the way to the waiting room.  When we got there, the receptionist there said, "I have been waiting for you for a long time.  You must be the Fox family." 

I asked her if we were last and she said that we were.  She told me that her shift ended at 7pm and that when the surgery was over someone would come out to talk to us.  I told her we were going down to eat and she asked for my cell number.  They don't give you beepers there.  It is logical, because almost everyone has a cell number.  So, Michael left and Mom, Dad, Mike, Timm and me went down to the cafeteria for supper.  I ate and was anxious to get back up to that waiting room.  There were several tvs on and one by one, families were called back to recovery and into the little rooms for consultations with doctors.  Soon it was just us and another family.  Soon it was just us.  Soon, the receptionist left and told us that when it was our turn to go back, just go through these doors and follow the fish on the floor.   She also told us that if the phone rang, to answer it.  It would probably be for us anyway.

 At eight, it was 2.5 hours.  I commented on that, and Timm told me to call back there.  I said I would wait a few more minutes.  By this time, Timm and Mom were watching NCIS, Dad was doing a puzzle book, and Mike was watching me.  I was pacing.  I had been standing most of the day and couldn't still.  At 8:15, I finally couldn't take it and called back.  Someone answered and I asked about Allie and what was going on.  The person told me she would find out and call me back.  When she did, she said that the doctor was just taking out the gall bladder and would come talk to us after he closed up.  That satisfied me for a few.  I was texting a few people and that helped too.

At 8:45, a nurse came out and said that the doctor was on his way to see us.  She showed us to a little room.  There was three chairs and all of us packed in.  The doctor came in carrying a specimen cup.  He shook everyone's hand and he sat in one of the three chairs. As told us that Allie did really good and that he wanted us to see this.  This, was her gall bladder and the stones.  He held the cup up and all you saw was white pebbles in pink water.  They covered the bottom and pushed against the sides.  He unscrewed the top and picked up tweezers and pulled out the gall bladder.  He said "This is highly unusual for a child to have so many stones."  The gall bladder looked like a squished tomato and stones were still coming out of it.  Doctor picked around the stones and picked up several that were pea sized, as big as the end of Mike's pinky.  No wonder Allie was in pain a lot of time.  Timm asked if he could keep her gall bladder and the doctor looked at him and said, "No."  The doctor also told us that because it was so infected and full, he had to make an extra incision.  So instead of the regular four small cuts, she has a fifth one.

He said that everything was fine and that he would come see her in the morning.  We all thanked him and he took his leave of us.  We went back out to the waiting room and I was in tears.  I just felt bad that she had to go through all that and that it was that bad for her and I was so tired.  But I also knew that she would feel better and would be strong.  Dad, Mike and I all made necessary calls.  All were glad it was over.  Mom and Dad took charge of Timm.  Mike and I waited for a nurse to let us go back to see Allie. 

Allie was awake in recovery, but kept her eyes closed.  She talked to us a bit and when I started to tell her about her gall bladder, she told me that she didn't want to hear about it.  She just wanted to sleep.  The nurses with her said she was doing great and they showed us her incisions.  I readied myself to look, but it wasn't so bad.  The nurses did what they needed and got her ready to go to her room.  It was a long walk to her room.  We kept pace with the young lady who wheeled her bed, and helped when we could.  But we made it. 

The healing was beginning.

Jeremiah 17:14 

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;

save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Longest Day

This is a series.  It wasn't going to be, but it is longer than I expected and a lot of things I want to say.

Well, that was very eventful.  We went to the hospital Tuesday around 12:15 pm for Allie's 2 pm surgery.  We were standing there registering her and a Nurse Jayne came up and said, "This is my patient."  She took the chart and said, "No it isn't.  My patient's name is Matthew."  She thought it was Timm that was the patient.   Nurse Jayne decided to take Allie on as a patient anyway.  We checked in the pre-surgery area and got Allie settled.  By then, our associate minister, Michael Dawson, was there. They weighed her, measured her, talked to her and then she put on the "fashionable" gown the hospital gives the kids to wear. 

My Aunt Marie and Uncle Bob came for a while (Thank you!) and sat with us, as well as my parents.  We went through all the paperwork and questions that was required and then it was 1:30 pm.  Michael prayed with us.  Then it was 2:10.  When I realized that, I went out the nurses station and asked what the hold up was.  The nurse was really nice and told me she would call the OR and come talk to us. 

The surgery before Allie's was not going very well and the Dr. G could not put a time limit on it.  The nurse said that only when they pressed him about a time did he even attempt to put a time limit on it.  He said maybe another hour.  She told me that if another hour passed, then call her.  She asked if we wanted someone from their Life Child department to come and get a movie for Allie to watch.  That was nice.  They do not have many movies for older children to watch, but she chose a mindless one she had seen several times, and she began to watch.  Mom, Michael and I sat and talked.  

At 3:45, the nurse came in and told us that the OR called and the doctor was still working on the patient before us and could not leave them.  Of course, we understood, how could you ask the surgeon to just leave the middle of what they are doing?  We didn't know the problems of the family or child before us, all we could do was pray for them.  By then, Allie had not had anything to eat or drink since 9:59 that morning.  She complained of a headache.  I went and told a nurse.  She said she would see about getting something to help.  Several nurses came in and talked to us and told us that she may be getting dehydrated and asked Allie if they could start an IV.  Allie told them she didn't care what they did, but to stop the headache!  I stood at the top of the gurney as they stuck her in the hand and got that started.  She was so brave about it and hardly said "Ouch!"  Those nurses kept talking to her about shopping, vacations, and dogs.  Allie was pretty grumpy, but once the fluids started, she started back to her old self.

By this time, Michael went out to the waiting room to talk to Mike, Timm and my Dad.  (Marie and Bob had left.)  I had not eaten since before 11 and I sent Timm and my Dad down to get me a Diet Coke and some cookies or something.  Allie was okay, but I wasn't leaving until they took her to the OR.  Timm came back with the food and I went out to the waiting room to snack and try and get Michael to leave.  He wouldn't because he would rather sit there and fight traffic.  Good call, I think.  LOL  So we talked in the waiting room and Mike and Mom were back with Allie, as was Timm.  Then Timm came running out and said the anethesiologist was there to talk to her.  YAY!  I go running back and meet Dr. Kibblebeck.  He tells Allie that they are cleaning up the room and that they will be putting meds into her IV and she will go to sleep and not remember anything.  He had her try out her jokes for Dr. G on him and he likes them.  Then he shakes our hands and leaves.  that was between 4:30 and 5:00.

So a few minutes later, the nurse comes in and says they are getting close to taking her.  I am happy by then because this has turned into a long, long day.  Waiting is not a strong suit of ours.  We all were basically forced to stay in an area and wait for Allie's turn.  We wait in traffic, for test results, for other people.  But why doesn't it bother me to wait for Christ's return? 

I hope it is because there is so much work to be done, but I am afraid it is because of the distractions of the world too.  Allie and Timm use to watch a cartoon called "Jimmy Neutron".  This friend of Jimmy's sings this song, "Waiting and sitting.  Sitting and waiting."  that is totally what we were doing on Tuesday.  Not fun, but we knew what we were doing and why.  Do we know what we are doing here for Christ?  I hope you do, but if you don't, I pray you find out soon.

Hebrews 9:28  " Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

Don't tarry, Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stormy Calmness

Today we are in the eye of the storm. Many instances in the Bible, a story has a storm in it.  Jonah was running away from his calling and God had a storm come up on the ship.  Jonah knew that the storm was for him.  He convinced the sailors to throw him overboard and all was calm.  Jesus was asleep in the boat and his followers became frightened because of a storm.  They woke Jesus up and he calmed the storm.  Paul was on a ship that a storm blew in on and the men on that boat became shipwrecked. 

Right now, I am calm.  The house is quiet, except for the washer and tv.  The sky looks gray and the cement is wet.  It is a good day to hide under the covers and sleep.  But that will not be happening.  There is a few errands to run, packing to do and keeping Allie happy (that is a full time job today, I think).

Last night, Allie and I were talking about when and what she was allowed to eat.  She asked, "When is the last time I can eat food?"

I replied, "Six A.M.  Some people told me they would wake up just to eat."

She looked at me and said, "Forget that!"

That's what I thought.  She is allowed to have clear liquids and jello until ten A.M.  She is fine with that.  Until she smells real food.  Then all bets are off.

But God will be here with us all day.  He will call out to us, "PEACE!"  I hope that whether we hear Him or not, his calming effect will seep into our minds, hearts, and nerves.  When I get so nervous I can't remember my own address and phone number, I always remember Psalm 23.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down in the green pastures,
He leadeth me beside the still waters,
He restoreth my soul.
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of death,
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

You prepareth a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The highlighted section is what I always remember.  I love that God leads me beside quiet waters.  I use to love going into my grandparents woods and down to the creek.  I didn't do it very often, but there were these huge trees and it was quiet and shadowy and the creek was hardly a little trickle of water.  But it made me feel calm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Hate Worry Lines!

I woke up from a restless night sleep, not wanting to really get up, but knowing that this day had to start.  I got up, and did all the things I do in the quiet of the morning. My morning was going along fine until "WHAM!"  my stomach started bothering me.  Not a big deal, I took the magic medicine the doctor prescribed me knowing soon that I would feel better.  But that isn't the case.  I have to admit, that without me realizing it, worry is taking over me.  I really haven't tried to let it seep in.

I know that Allie will be fine.  I know that the surgeon, his staff and everyone else that will take care of her will do an excellent job.  But this is my daughter.  She is going through something that I have not had to go through.  They are taking a piece of her out of her.  I know that you can live with out it.  I know that this surgery is one of the easiest ones to recover from.  But I am still apprehensive.  Even though I didn't realize it when I woke up this morning, my body is in worry mode.   I am not even sure what I am worried about?  Am I worried that something will go wrong?  Am I worried about Allie's reaction to anything and everything in the hospital?  Am I worried about her in general?  Yes is the answer to all those questions.

John 14:1 says ""Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me."

I keep hearing the second verse to "His Eye Is On The Sparrow".

Verse 2:
"Let not your heart be troubled,"
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth
But one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

I just hope that I can let the nagging feeling leave me and the peace and assurance that God gives us cover me like a warm quilt.  I want to show my daughter that I am not worried.  She told me yesterday that she wants everyone to quit making a big deal over her.  She doesn't want anyone to worry.  Well, I am sorry, but that will never happen as long as I am breathing.  I will pray for her every day and whether she likes it or not, I will do what I can for her. I guess though, I should not let her see me like this.  She is so ready for all of this to go away.  Me too!  So pray for our peace of mind. 

I hate worrying.  I try not to do it often, but sometimes there is just too much for me to bear.  So I lay it at the cross and ask Christ to take it.  He knows that we are worried and He knows that Allie will be okay.  I just need to trust Him more.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You are Peculiar

The luck 'o the Irish to ya!  I have just a smidgen of Irish in me from my paternal grandmother and a lot of blarney in me from my maternal and paternal grandfathers.    I couldn't go with out wishing you a Happy St. Patrick's Day. For those of you who can, wear your green, tell someone to kiss you because you are Irish, and have some  corned beef and hash.

Celebrating our heritage is a good thing.  Knowing where you have come from is imporrtant.   You need to know what you ancestors went through, the good and bad, to learn from.  You may make the same mistakes, you may not.  In the movie, Forrest Gump, there is a part where we go through this history of Lt. Dan.  His ancestors died in every major war that the U.S.A. had fought in.  He was furious when Forrest saved him from death during the movie because he thought his destiny and duty was to die the same way.  I always thought that was interesting.  Kinda like the if everyone else jumps off a bridge, would you do it too?

God gives us a way out to not be like our ancestors or the world.  I feel more than "the luck 'o the Irish" when I think of God giving not only his chosen people of the Old Testament, the Israelites/Jews salvation, but when he opened it up to the Gentiles.  Thank goodness for that, or most of us wouldn't even be considered. Acts 10:45 says, "The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles."

God showed Peter in Acts that his love and saving grace is for all men, not just a race.  So we should celebrate our Christianity not only on Easter and Christmas, or even every Sunday, but every day.  We sometimes sing a praise song that says "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;" - 1 Peter 2:9.  I love that we are called peculiar people.  I take on offense to that.  I am peculiar, set apart, and strange.  I call it unique!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It Only Takes a Moment

How quickly the direction of life changes.  One minute you are flying along, doing laundry and dishes, the next you are running to doctors and practices.  We all know that in an instant, lives change.  The musical, "Hello Dolly", has a scene where a young man is talking about how long it takes to fall in love.  He says that an instant is not it, and a minute is too long.  An older lady looks at him and says, "A moment."  Cornelius brightens and says "Yes, a moment."  That is how long it has taken for each of my children's lives to change.

Most of you know that Allie is having gall bladder surgery next Tuesday.  So we are doing all we can to prepare her for this.  After supper last night, she came out of her room sniffling.  I looked at Mike and got up to see what was going on.  Last night she was feeling scared and down.  She wouldn't even hang out with her BFF.  I sat on her bed and asked her what she was feeling.  She told me she didn't know.  She didn't know why she was crying.  I told her that it was okay for her to cry.  I told her I expected her to run the gamut of emotions for the next 7 days.  She can cry, be angry, yell, and act goofy.  It is all perfectly natural for these things to run through her.  I let her cry until she was done.  I suggested we go to my room and watch a movie.  After a while, she decided that is a good idea.  So she picked, of all things Finding Nemo.

I thought several things when she picked this movie.  First, it was one of her childhood favorites and she should pick something light and fun to watch.  Next, as we started watching it, this movie shows of how lives change in a moment, how we go through scary things, and how we fight to get back.  All of these are wonderful qualities in a movie.  We laughed at the goofy fish, Dorey, who couldn't remember anything, but could talk to whales, could read, and was so optimistic about life.  She was laughing by the middle of the story.

Timm, also has had a "moment" to change his path.  He has been talking about doing track for the past month or so.  But an ankle injury has blocked that, and he just hasn't seemed really into it.   During my last hour or work, Mike text me and told me that he didn't think that Timm wanted to do track and was upset that he seemed to be making excuses.  When I got home, Timm started telling me about how in band, the director asked the boys of the band if any of them would be interested doing a bit for the high school musical.  He said if  he did this he couldn't do track.  I looked him in the eyes and asked him which was more important to him.  He looked at his dad and said, "Dad, there's your answer."  He wants to act and do plays and band.  We have no problem with this.  In fact, I am secretly thrilled.  I love going to plays and band concerts, so this is going to be fun for me.  The musical is The Music Man.  Timm will be in the little boy band that we see at the end.

The Psalmist tells us in chapter 30, verse 5,

For his anger lasts only a moment,
       but his favor lasts a lifetime;
       weeping may remain for a night,
       but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Remember the moments of your life.  Remember the life changes the brought you to where you are now.  That brought you to Christ.  Moments are not always wonderful things, but usually they are life changing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Comfort as a Friend

2 Corinthians 1:3 - 7

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Comfort is something I keep thinking about.  I want to comfort Allie in her time of pain and ease her mind as to her upcoming surgery.  I want to comfort my friend in her sorrow of her mother's passing.    To both I feel helpless, though.  I don't know what I can do to help, except just be there for them, listen to them, and help out when needed.  I know that I am not the only one around them that wants to help and feels like this. 

When I was at my friend's house, she had her husband and a friend there already.  Others came before us, and others came after us.  She knows who she needs for what and who she can count out to help out.  I don't know exactly how she is feeling, because I have never lost my mother.  But I know that someday it will happen and my friend will be there by my side, along with a lot of other loving, caring friends.  In times like these, you need to have that perspective.  There are some things that just are more important than others. 

With Allie, I just have to be there.  I can do more for her because a) I am with her a lot more and b) I am her mother.  I don't know what pain she is feeling and she has my mother, her aunt, and several of you to talk to about it.  But, I know that I am the one she turns to when she needs something, when she is crying, when a decision needs to be made.  As her parents, we are the ones doing a lot of comforting. 

But comfort is also something that both my friend and my daughter know Christ does for you.  During your darkest, neediest moments, He is there with His arms around you, holding you up and letting you cry on His shoulder.  He is there, in the dark, listening to your unspoken fears and questions.  He is the one giving you peace of mind.  And some day, you will thank him for it.  Not today or next week, but sometime in the future.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Where does He Get That From?

How do you solve a problem like Timm?  How do you keep a teenage boy from getting a bigger than life attitude?  How do you teach a kid just coming into his prime, self-control?  That is the question of the day.

Self-control is one of those things that is a learned trait.  Some people have learned early in life how not to act too quickly on certain urges.  Timm has an oral problem.  He lacks self-control in the classroom (and anywhere else for that matter) by talking and passing notes.  He seems to have been getting away with it, and the teacher should have not let him get away with anything.  I am not blaming the teacher for Timm's actions, but he didn't help the situation. So we need to figure out how to rectify this problem.

1 Corithians 10:13. The only temptation that hast come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But, when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it.

Hebrews 2:18. And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself suffered and was

There is a way out of temptation. Not only is there a way out, we can help others when they go through similar temptations or even trials. We have an obligation to help our fellow man in their time of need. But we need to let them ask for the advice. But in my son's case...We will give our advice freely and often cuz that is what our parenting calls us to do.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Am Free

 There are 26 days until Resurrection Sunday.  So that means there are 18 weekdays of Lifting You Up that I can do on the events that surrounded the Resurrection.  Here is the first one.

This morning, as I do every morning, I drive to work listening to the Easter cantata.  I realized today that I know the first three songs really well.  The rest of the songs, well either the driving gets intense and I do not concentrate very well, or my mind wanders.  Who knows?

The first song in the cantata is called I Am Free.  It is a popular, well played Christian radio song that I first heard when Allie went to 79er's week of camp.  It is an upbeat, happy song that reminds us that we can are free from the sins and free from the world.  We do not have to be the sad, serious, stern Christians that are stereo-types.  We should be happy that we have a weight lifted from us.  We are no longer slaves with shackles around our hands and feet and necks.  Have you ever seen a dog that has gotten off it's leash?  What does it do?  My dog, Josie Belle, takes off running!  She is free and she knows it!  The last thing she wants is to come back to be and be put on that leash.  But because she disobeys by running away, getting into things she shouldn't, she has to be put back on that leash.  God expects the same from us that I expect from Josie Belle.  He gives us the freedom, but we have a responsibility to follow him and do his will.  He gives us the free will to make our own choices.  I usually do not give my dog that choice.  I know what mischief she gets into, so I have to set boundaries for her.

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Galations 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Here is an excerpt from the song I Am Free by Jon Egan.

I Am Free

I am free to dance
(I am free to dance)
I am free to run
(I am free to run)
I am free to live for you
(I am free to live for you)
I am free
(I am free)
Yes, I am free
(I am free)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Doing What is Right

Today, a co-worker brought in her beautiful new child.  He is a month old and everyone is just oohing and aahing over this little sleeping prince.  He has his whole life lying before him.  His parents are there to train him up and he has much potential to be everything they want him to be. 

Remember when your child was just a month old?  They were still curled up in a ball, not wanting to stretch or just starting to let their legs snake out and their arms (with tiny hands in fists) start to make their way up past the ears.  They were becoming more secure in their environment.  This is the beginning of learning their limits.  And as us seasoned parents find out, this never ceases.  Every day there is a new limit.  Whether it be for them to crawl down the hallway or scoot down the stairs, everyday they are learning new things and teaching us new things.

Do we stretch our limits with God?  I believe we stretch His patience.  Everyday we mess something up and need forgiveness.  We learn something, whether it be desirable or undesirable.  We find that we can do more and go beyond the boundaries of yesterday.  Each of us just have to figure out if those are the right boundaries.  Are they God-approved?  I hope so.  

Deuteronomy 12:28

Be careful to obey all these regulations I am giving you, so that it may always go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and right in the eyes of the LORD your God.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Renew In the Lord

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  People ask me, a lot, how do I just do everything I do.  I usually just smile and say, "I don't do much."  But apparently, a lot of you think I do.  Here's a run down of my day.  Just kidding, no one wants to see what I do every minute of the day.  Let's just say that some days are more productive than others. 

I also have a lot of help.  My parents run the kids to practices and home when Mike is working.  Mike does a lot of the running.  I just make sure everyone knows where they are suppose to be when.  I try and be on time for what I am needing to be.  I am not always as prepared as I would like to be though.  Allie and Timm are starting to take on more cooking efforts and they both do a lot of cleaning (well, they try).  I try my best not to complain about any of it too much.  I appreciate all they all do.

The Bible tells us that if we come to God, he will give us rest.  Psalms 23 says "He maketh me lie down in green pastures.  He restoreth my soul."  I am not so good at lying down.  But I know that every once in a while I need some restoring.  I stayed up late every night of the Olympics.  Most nights it was after midnight.  Last week, I could barely keep my eyes open to 9:30 pm.  So last week, I didn't feel like I got a lot done.  I was tired and the minute I would sit on the couch, I was nodding off.  My body was restoring itself. 

I also read.  I read the Bible, as well as fiction.  Reading the Bible makes me wait upon the Lord.  He brings me to the place I need to be and then I take it in.  I restore my spiritual self on his word and then I fly with the eagles.  Maybe not as high, but I can soar and not tire.  I always think that that is how it was for the Israelites in the beginning of their journey to the Promise Land.  They could run and walk, and never tire.  How awesome.  When do you feel that the Lord is renewing your strength?

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Rememberance of You

One year ago on February 25, my mother told me that Daddy had cancer.  One year ago yesterday, I laid in bed with my husband and cried.  One year ago tomorrow, I stood on stage at church, and broke down into tears.  One year ago tomorrow, I thought my world might stop.  The past 12 months have been the hardest I have ever faced; and I was mainly like you, a by-stander.  I watched as my Dad bravely told all of you at church that he has cancer and that he will be likely out of commission for quite a while.  I did what I could to understand how horrible this was and how no matter what, God was there with us. 

One year ago, I found out how brave and strong my Mom is.  I found out how determined she was to keep Dad going.  I found out how supportive my husband really is and how much he loves me and my parents.  I found out how young and scared my son was.  I found out how amazing my daughter is.  I found out how supportive each of you were through all this.  I found out what friendship really means.  I found out what faith really means.

Out of all that, this devotion was born.  Today, reliving a lot of those thoughts, I am crying.  I can't help it.  God has brought us all together, through this journey.  We are on the other side or maybe we are just think we are on the other side, but really just in the middle.  We won't know for a long time.  But today, I thank God for each of you and for the support and love you have shown my parents and my family.   I have learned that you should not go through something like this alone.  So, we have a family going through similar things.  Please remember them in your prayers.  Send them a little note.  (If you don't know who it is and want to know, email me.)  Support them like you supported us. 

I hope this devotion didn't make you cry like it did me.  But I praise God that I can do this devotion for you.
See Dad, I told you it was going to be hard.

Philemon 1: 4-7
 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy thoughts

Yesterday I took the morning off to take Allie to the Chiropractor.  Taking Allie to the doctor is more comic relief to me than anything.  As Dr. Matt told her to put on the clothes to do the x-rays and new patient exam, he told her that there was going to be a Fashion Runway Show and the clothes were the top of the line.  Allie rolled her eyes and mumbled something about not being very fashionable.  Dr. Matt left the room and she started changing.  When she was done, she was dressed in blue cloth shorts that were way to big, but had an adjustable velcro waist band, and an extra-large top that hung to her knees.  She sat in the chair and looked at me and stated, "I am dressed like a prisoner, and prisoner's are better dressed than this!"  Oh she cracks me up.

When Dr. Matt told us she had a possible gall stone, she said later, that her mind heard the word stone and immediately went to, "I have a kidney stone?"  Bless her heart.  She is still in pain from her back, more than her side, and Dr. Matt is working on that for us.  He told her no running in gym and don't exert too much.  Okay, have you looked at Allie?  Does it look like she wants to run or exert her self?

In gym, they are learning Badmitton.  She came home yesterday and complained that the shuttlecock (a.k.a. the birdie) is hard to see.  I told her that it is a 2 inch item.  She said, "I know.  But it's white."  What does that mean?    Apparently she has no hand-eye coordination for little things.  I think she needs more time with Timm's video games or my parent's Wii.  I told her to just swing, but try not to hit anyone too hard.

Last night at Praise Team practice, we had a really good time.  Okay, I had a good time.   Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, and we sang a good songs.  Praise team practice and choir practice almost always lifts my spirits.  I like singing and being with those people.  It seems to lift me up and because we are singing of God's love and because we are all there with the same torture each other with our witty banter.  Just kidding.  We do have a great time as a choir and we are having so much fun (well most of us) learning the Easter cantata.  We encourage everyone to join us in singing (there is still time) and if you don't feel you can sing, come out and join us on Sunday evening, April 4th for this cantata.  I think you will like the uplifting message and a few little surprises.

Psalm 5:11  
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
       let them ever sing for joy.
       Spread your protection over them,
       that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Psalm 47:6
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
       sing praises to our King, sing praises.

Psalm 57:9
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
       I will sing of you among the peoples.

Romans 15:11
And again,
   "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
      and sing praises to him, all you peoples."

Ephesians 5:19
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stop it!

Last night, we had Timm's birthday party.  It was going to be a quiet affair with just grandparents and aunt and uncle a few couple of friends.  14 people later and we had a good party.  There were meatballs, ribs, potato salad, veggies, chips, and ice cream cake.  Yummy!

The funniest person there was my great-niece.  Her name is Ainsley and she is two.  She loves to eat.  Timm requested (from my mom) that Barbecue Meatballs be made.  So Ainsley tried them.  She said, "I love meatballs!"  She said that several times.  Her grandmother had a couple of meatballs on her plate and Ainsley wanted a bite.  Before grandmother put the first piece of meat in her mouth, she was asking for more!  My Dad and Mom got so tickled at her.  Ainsley is such a joy.  Ainsley's grandpa was explaining that the girl can eat and eat, but when her mom tells her it's enough, Ainsley is okay with that.  She doesn't cause a ruckus, she just accepts what her mom says.

Okay, there is definitely a sermon there.  When your parent told or tells you when to quit, do you listen?  It is always for your own good, isn't it?  It is for your best interest, isn't it?  God tells us to do what is right, and tells us to stop doing certain things.  Have you as a child of God stopped?  It is so hard to stop.  But so once you stop and realize how miserable you were, it makes all the difference, doesn't it?

I Corinthians 13:11 - 13

 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Test for a Blessing

I was reading online today that the Postal Service is going to request that they go to a five-day delivery service instead of six days.  I applaud this effort.  In the article I read, the powers that be believe this will help reduce costs because in 2020 there will be less snail mail and more email.  The Postmaster General stated that "we can't freeze wages.  We can't freeze fuel costs." *  Well, why not?  Every other company I know has either froze wages or cut them.  The government can't do that?  No wonder there is debt everywhere?  If our government can't follow suit like the businesses, then who can we look to to help us manage our assets?

A man at work asked me to make sure the bills he put in the outgoing mail gets mailed.  "I hate bills," he stated.

"So do I," I said back.  "How do you get out of them?"

Another person said, "Don't pay them."

"Yeah, but then you get all kinds of nasty mail and phone calls, " I replied.

Mike has always said that maybe we should start a group to learn how to manage our own finances.  Our board tells us that we are a giving church, and we proved that in February.  Our last treasurer, Robert Wright, Sr., was always astounded at how no matter what, there seemed to be enough money to pay the bills.  God always has been there with us.  God tells us to test him in this.

Malachi 3:10

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

Bring the whole tithe in and I will pour out so much blessing, you will not have enough room for it.  Test me.  I want to see him do that for all of us.  I feel like I don't have enough room as it is, but to have the Lord keep blessing and amazing will that be?

I challenge you to test God in this way.  Let me know what happens.  In a few months, we will see what kind of blessings have come about.

* article dated 3/2/10

Monday, March 1, 2010

He's No Baby, Is He?

Today, is our son's 13th birthday.  He is a handsome, fun-loving young man.  He has always brought surprises to my life.  Like the time he potty-trained himself.  Or the time he and a friend poured oil all over my beautiful, white car.  There has not been a dull moment with Timm since the day he was born.

The day he was born, was a cold, rainy Saturday.  I woke up at 5:15 AM very uncomfortable.  I went out to the couch and realized that what I might be feeling was contractions (I never had them with Allie).  Mike came out shortly afterward and I told him that I think he should get a watch.  We tested them and they were like 6 minutes apart.  So Mike called the Doctor and he asked the standard questions because he wasn't my regular doctor, he was the one on call.  So Mike told him that we were having contractions and that he was due today.  So the doctor said, yes, come on in.  

Allie and Jaci were with us, so Mike called Mom.  It took Mom a minute to realize that this was "The Call", so we got dressed and she came right over.  The girls slept right through it. 

Mom finally got there and we left.  We drove from Monroe up to Kettering.  Mike took back roads because he knew "every fire and police station in between our house the hospital."  I was having some major pains and told Mike tearfully, "This better not be a false alarm!"   We got there around 7:00 am and they put us in a room and I immediately requested an epidural.  So the guy came in and gave me the meds and I felt much better.  The doctor came in, popped my water and things progressed quickly.  Mom and Dad brought the girls up to see us.  They all went down for lunch and at 12:30 pm, Timothy Alan came into the world at a whopping 10 pounds, 9 ounces and 21 inches long.  He was beautiful and looked just like his Daddy (he still does).   

The doctor told me he got bragging rights for delivering the biggest baby in the nursery.  Mom got in to the elevator once, and there were two women talking about the big baby in the nursery.  She told them that she was his grandma.  He apparently was the talk of the floor that day.  See, surprise!  

He has a very special relationship with his grandparents.  He is protective of his grandmother, always telling her that he is going to be the one to take care of her when he is older.  When she had her hip surgery , he made me take him to the hospital everyday to see her.  He just wanted to make sure she was okay.  

The relationship with his grandfather is also special.   When we told him that Dad had cancer, he took it in and within a week, started asking questions and even needed to spend a day with Dad.  He wants my father to teach him to drive (HELP US!), and they are all the best of friends.  Dad teaches him all the "bad" things that I have to correct in both of them and then go to a separate room and giggle about it.  Don't you just hate that?

Everyone seems to really love Timm at church.  He tries to help out when he can, he loves to give certain people a hard time and talk football with others.  He is growing in the Lord and though he gets on my last nerve some times, he's my son and he and I will always have this special relationship and I thank the Lord everyday for him.

This verse in Philemon 1:  4-7 reminds me of Timm. 
 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.  I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.