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Showing posts from 2011

As Christmas Approaches

From 2007: As Christmas approaches, you tend to get excited about many things.   You start thinking of wonderful gifts to give your family and friends.   You anticipate the gifts that others are choosing for you.   Gatherings are planned to celebrate the season with a festive air.   Trees have been put up and decorated with lights, bits of tinsel, Hallmark ornaments, and hand-crafted pieces from second grade.   You have put out your favorite nativity scene and rented all of the classics from Video Hut down the street.   The eggnog is chilling in the refrigerator and Bing is crooning about snow on Christmas from the stereo in the corner.   Your Christmas cards are in the mail with your personal notes to each and every friend and family member, and you have started receiving cards and displaying them for all to see.   Each card that arrives not only contains a nice little sentiment about the holiday season, but it also adds another notch to your belt of self-importance.   You and your

A Heart for the Needs of the Orphan

From June 19, 2009: With the number of orphans worldwide topping the charts at about 130 million, what can we, as God’s children, do to help the situation?   That’s a hard question to examine.   Why?   Facing the truth of the number of children without parents is devastating and heartbreaking.   That’s a truth many of us don’t want to face.   We look around us and can only see that there isn’t room in our homes, our hearts, and our lives for another child to take up residence.   We see that we are older and done with rearing children.   The question that remains is:   What does God’s word say regarding the orphan?   Is there a call on your life to reach out to the orphan?   Let’s take a look at what our “guidebook” says on this matter.   For those that are well-versed in orphan knowledge the following verse is one you know well – “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being pollu

The Importance of Being Earnest

From Feburary 9, 2009: If you’re thinking that this is an article about the much-loved Oscar Wilde play by the same title, you would be wrong.   I hope for your sake that you weren’t hoping for a commentary on the merits and drawbacks of the name Ernest.   No, what I want to write about is the true importance of being earnest.   To be earnest is to be serious in intention, purpose, or effort.   There are other definitions of earnest that you can find in your dictionary (I bet the big green one is particularly interesting, for those of you that have one).   With our definition in mind, the questions to ask yourself follow: Am I earnest?   In my faith?   With my family?   At work?   Wherever I find myself? Let us begin with the general question: Am I earnest?   Do I approach my life with intention and purpose?   Do I plan out my day, my week, my year?   Don’t misunderstand what my intent is with this article.   I am not by any stretch of even the most vivid imagination suggesting that

Relationship

From August 4, 2008: I have found that the word relationship has more meaning than so many words in our language.   It is a word that can be defined in many different ways by many different people.   In 1828, Noah Webster defined relationship as, “The state of being related by kindred, affinity or other alliance.”   The state of being related… Related means “Allied by kindred; connected by blood or alliance, particularly by consanguinity…”   Relationship is about family, according to Mr. Webster, but I also think it’s about something deeper than that.   I think the deeper part is tied into that word alliance.   When you think of an alliance, what picture comes to mind?   I see two people shaking hands forming an agreement or a group of people that are fighting for the same thing.   Several other images come to mind, but you get the idea.   Relationship is about being connected to other people.   How can you become and stay connected to others?   How can you form that alliance?   The

What I learned from a phone book... (Part III)

As Andy approached his high school graduation, it was unclear what he should do with his life.   He prayed regularly, asking God for guidance in this matter.   Arthur was still very much a part of the lives of the Donnellys and suggested that Andy work in the warehouse where he worked.   Andy felt that was the right decision and so began the most wild ride of his life.   Andrew Donnelly began his first day at Riteden Publishers on June 21, 1954.   What a day it was!   He was to be a runner in the warehouse – filling orders, bringing supplies to coworkers, cleaning up messes, etc.   However, on the Friday before he began his job, a man quit a higher position that was much more crucial.   Mr. Riteden asked Andy if he was up to doing the more difficult job.   Andy said that he certainly was up to it.   So began his journey through the ranks of Riteden Publishers.   God saw fit to bless Andy with two new positions and three pay raises in two years.   He was able to help his family move int

What I learned from a phone book... (Part II)

The pages turn freely under your hand as you head toward the end of the white pages.   Underwood, Daniel.   Uze, Paula.   Vacuum World.   Valley Brethren Chapel.   Valley Calvary Baptist.   Valley Chapel of the Woods.   Valley Christian Church… 15 Roper Street .   No!   It makes no sense.   How can this possibly be?   The Donnellys live in the wealthy part of town.   They must be crazy or something to attend church on Roper Street .   Nobody goes to that part of town, not even the criminals.   This phone book thing is really going too far, even for me, but I need to understand what’s happening here.   I can see the Donnellys parking their new Cadillac in the lot at Valley Christian Church.   As they proceed to the entrance, several people call out greetings to them.   People dressed in cast-offs and hand-me-downs.   That shirt on that girl there looks like the one I donated to the Goodwill.   Oh, my head is really starting to hurt now.   As the sanctuary of V.C.C. comes into focus, the

What I learned from a phone book... (Part I)

Written in 2007. Have you ever been so bored that you read the phone book?   And then you started wondering about Bill and Joanne Berkeley.   You started thinking about their gorgeous house at 280 Pleasant Lane .   Your imagination took off as you pictured the two-thousand-square-foot house with the spacious three-car garage and in-ground swimming pool.   Bill and Joanne were spending their Saturday afternoon grilling on the newly stained back deck.   Their three children were with them as they all sat down to eat the picnic feast set before them.   And after enjoying a rousing game of croquet, the five merry Berkeleys make their way into the house where they all contentedly tasted a delicious home-baked apple pie.   As soon as they entered the house, you noticed the interior lush with antique furniture, imported carpets, and top-of-the-line electronics.   But wait…the doorbell is ringing.   Who could that be?   Joanne knows!   The two elegantly dressed people standing at the door

Treasure

Written in 2008. When you think of your treasures, what comes to mind?  The people in your life that fill it with joy?  The photographs now faded with age and wear?  The rock your little boy brought you from the backyard?  The money in the bank?  The car in the garage?  What are your treasures?  For some reason when I was thinking of something to write about the word treasure popped into my head.  Why?  I’m not sure that even I know the answer to that.  I do know that a treasure is something that is cherished, valued, stored up, full of worth.  So that got me to thinking about what each of us treasures.  I think of a picture of a big treasure chest plated in gold and glowing with a lock on the front.  What would each of us put into our chest?  The things listed above or the treasure that the Bible talks about?  We are to store up our treasures in Heaven.  This is a concept that I struggle with.  I’m willing to admit that I am one of those human Christians who has a tendency to treasu

The Bench

Probably written in 2008. On the side of the hill was a small wooden bench that overlooked a beautiful little pond.   Many times the bench had held people in its protective arms.   Some days the rains would come and sometimes the sunshine.   The bench continued to stand guard over the little pond and to welcome a child or a couple or an old gentleman.   With each passing season the bench would grow a little more comfortable in its place and a little more scarred in its wood.   A small child would find a rock and scrape along the bench’s length, leaving behind a streak of chipped stain.   A young couple in the blooming stages of love would sit on the bench’s seat and vow to always love one another.   Then they would carve their initials into the bench’s tender wooden back.   The bench didn’t mind so much.   Love was important, the bench knew that.   Now, as years passed, the bench began to grow a little less spry and a little less inviting, but one person continued to come to the benc

The Butterfly

Written by my husband, Tony, in 2007. I was push mowing the lawn late last summer when I noticed off to my left something flying toward me.   It was a butterfly. The creature seemed to be in some sort of distress, its flying pattern seemed erratic.   I shut off the mower and watched it come to rest just a few feet away from me. As I watched the butterfly slowly moving its wings and resting on the ground, I couldn’t help but communing with God and praising Him for the beauty and wonder of His creation.   I moved closer and tried to catch it when suddenly it began beating its wings furiously.   The butterfly took off and went over the fence into the neighbor’s lawn and landed.   I looked at it. No motion.   Its wings weren’t moving any more, it had come to rest.   It had died. I had witnessed the butterfly’s last flight.   It would fly no more.   It made me sad that this beautiful insect would no longer wing its flight.   What a waste, I thought, fruitless.   What was the point of thi

Through the Storms

Written after our first miscarriage.  I believe it was written in August, 2007. Have you found yourself in the midst of a storm and wondered why you were there?   I have found myself recently in a situation that I never dreamed would occur in my life.   It was something I’ve heard of but never thought that my Heavenly Father would have me experience.   No matter what the horror was for me, I found myself in a storm of great magnitude.   I have joined the ranks of 25% of pregnant women, but the real truth is that I’ve joined every other human being on Earth.   How?   By the very nature of being submersed in a crisis that has enveloped my thoughts, my dreams, my very life.   Isn’t that where so many of us find ourselves on several occasions in life?   Don’t many of us decide that what that other person is going through will “never happen to me?”   What makes us so sure?   We think that because we follow a loving, kind, gracious, merciful God we will be spared from hurts, heartaches, an

Many Hats

Here's another little something, probably from May, 2009: God asks each of us to wear many hats in life.   The hats vary in size, color, build, design, and d├ęcor.   Some hats have pretty bows, some have a flat appearance, others may include a strap for security.   As women we sometimes wear three or four hats at a time, trying to balance them while walking on the tightrope of life.   The hard hat seems to be the best choice on days when we know that tough times may arise, yet we want to wear our feminine finery too.   That hat with the beautiful floral band says, “I’m a woman, and I want others to know it.”   You may be saying to yourself, “Hats?”   Yes, hats.   Hats are those roles in life that we have each and every day as daughters, sisters, mothers, friends, employees, Christians, etc.   Each role is represented by a different hat.   You wake up on any given morning and without knowing it have five hats on the minute you set foot out of bed.   You are a wife, a mother, a daug

The Art of Being Content

Here's a little something I wrote in July, 2009: Have you ever struggled with the following verses when you’ve read through Philippians 4?   “ 10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”   I must say that I have on many occasions.   The reason is because my life is usually fraught with discontent.   I thought that I’d share some thoughts with you on this subject. I looked in my trusty American Dictionary of the English Language that was written by Noah Webster in 1828 and discovered the meaning of con