Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter


What an amazing person, God self-limited to human form.

He knew he would die and went to Jerusalem anyway and died.

For us.

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."

We don't deserve that.

And isn't that the point? We don't deserve it. But grace and mercy and forgiveness are free.


All we have to do is accept them, be grateful, share them with others.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Call Out to Heifer International

Several years ago, I gave some Christmas gifts through Heifer International. Of course, ever since, I've received occasional mailings, their Christmas catalog (full of pictures of people with chickens, goats, and, of course, heifers), and about once a year, an email.

In my experience, they're not a high-pressure charity.

So I was surprised when I received a phone call in early March telling me that there was a matching contribution going on for Honduras and would I please give. I explained that we never, ever accept phone solicitations, but if they sent me something in the mail, I would consider it.

The very polite caller replied, "Well, sure, we will be glad to mail you something, but if you don't want phone solicitations, let's take you off the call list first. That way, you'll never get another call from us. Then I'll verify your address and mail the information to your home."


That's the sound of my passing out from the overt use of good manners.

Some of you might remember my post about Discover Magazine's horrible pressure to subscribe for the next three decades. I'm primed to get angry on the phone when people want money or information from me.

But you can bet your booty I'll be giving to Heifer International more in the future. Not only do they do amazing work all over the world in some of the poorest places, but they show a respect for their donors I've never experienced before.

How refreshing!

This post was not solicited in any way by Heifer International or anyone else, and merely reflects my astonishment at such respectful treatment from any phone solicitor. Other solicitors, please take note!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gratitude Journal #181

Today, I am grateful for snow that so far hasn't hampered travel for anyone I know. As you can see in the background of the picture, our roads are clear. But the trees are simply gorgeous!

If you're dealing with snow at its most annoyingly problematic, I'm very sorry and will cheerfully point out the best thing about snow: IT MELTS. Eventually.

Today, I am grateful for Holy Week, for the mixture of the sadness and the celebration. Pastor Suzanne's sermon yesterday touched on this fact of life, how our happiest times are touched by sadness and our saddest times are touched by joy. I think it's good not to get tunnel vision on one or the other.

Today, I am grateful for a new app on my iPhone. It's called Finish, and it was developed by two high-school students who noticed how they and so many of their friends were struggling to get all their studying finished for exams. Finish is an awesome app, and I absolutely fell for the victorious sound it makes when you check a task as finished. Such a stupid little sound, but so motivating! The app even gives you little victory messages as you finish a certain number of tasks. This is technology at its most useful, and I highly recommend you check it out!

And on the subject of iPhones, I had to replace mine because it never hooked up to wifi in my house unless I stood next to the wifi box, which was not helpful as that box is in a corner room in the basement. The new phone works fine, and I'm falling in love with the iPhone all over again. So today, I am also grateful for iPhones.

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Words, Words, Words about Fairy Tales

Yes. Of course.

And perhaps then, you'll be in a better position to slay those dragons.

We all know the dragons of Greed, Power, and Oppression. They hoard gold that is not their own, breathe fire at the small and weak, and protect the chinks in their scales violently. These dragons might seem immortal, but really they just breed easily and are thus quite numerous. We have to keep fighting, keep drawing our sword to make the world fair and equitable, a place where all are equal in opportunity and pursuit of happiness and justice. These dragons can be slain, if enough people step up to fight.  
But what about the dragons inside each one of us? The dragons of self-doubt, self-loathing, fear, anger, worry, stress, self-pity, self-righteousness, pride? These dragons hoard the gold that is our soul; breathe fire at our self-esteem, confidence, and courage; and protect the chinks in their scales viciously.
But they have chinks, and they are vulnerable. Faith, Hope, and Love are our greatest weapons against all dragons...those that dwell outside of us and those that dwell inside of us. For a lot of people, Faith, Hope, and Love look a lot like a cross, that sword-like shape and a powerful weapon of redemption and forgiveness.
Whatever Faith, Hope, and Love look like to you, I hope you will carry them in your hands and your heart and never ever forget that dragons can, indeed, be slain. By you. You can do it.
Are you old enough to start reading fairy tales again? What dragons are you trying to slay?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gratitude Journal #180

Today, I am grateful for continued healing for those whom I love.

Today, I am grateful for a sunny forecast this week.

Today, I am grateful for laughter, friends, and furry dogs.

Today, I am grateful that Family Fun Night is over. It's an event our elementary school PTO sponsors every year that our younger son starts anticipating in the fall and asking about. I do not like Family Fun Night. It's crazy to put 1,000 or so kids and parents into a building with bouncy houses, ring toss, cake walks, and cotton candy for two hours. It looks like this:

Waiting in line for 20 minutes to spend 30 seconds running through a bouncy house looks like this:

Or like this, if you're the older brother who came against his will:

I'm grateful it's over for another year. I'm grateful for the volunteers who make Family Fun Night possible. I'm grateful that after an hour, Jack announced, "I'm all funned out." And we left. So very grateful.

Today, I'm grateful for love and hugs, and the fact that we live in a world where Family Fun Night is possible.

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Laughed So Hard I...

Okay. I must share this link with you. MUST. Because it's totally funny, and the author actually wrote out loud what I thought when I read What to Expect When You're Expecting for the first time, and I so wish I'd written it because OHMYGODIT'STRUE!!!!!!!

But don't just read the post. Read the comments. If you've ever been pregnant, you'll relate. If you want to be pregnant, it will cure you absolutely and completely of that feeling for all time. If you've never been pregnant and don't want to be, it will confirm that you did, indeed, make the right decision.

I'm just glad I'm through the whole childbirthing experience, and ten years after the emergency C-section, I can actually laugh about it.

But not too hard or I'll have to change my undies.

Who's with me?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Gratitude Journal #179

Today, I am grateful that my uncle is home from the hospital, and his recovery is going well.

Today, I am grateful for a prelude to spring...and the opportunity for George and the boys to clean the garage. They did a great job, and walking into the garage now is a joy rather than a dirty obstacle course.

Today, I am grateful for itemized deductions, tax refunds, bank accounts, and George's new job.

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach a lesson in confidentiality tomorrow night to a group of Stephen Minister students who don't need the lesson at all, but we will all be reminded that words created the universe, and words still have the power to build up or tear down.

Today, I am grateful for words that build up. And The Word that created.

Today, I am grateful for this line I picked up from Ann Voskamp's blog this morning:

"Lent’s not about making anybody acceptable to a Savior — but about making everybody aware of why they need a Savior."

Yes, yes, yes.

What are you grateful for today? Please share!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Words, Words, Words about Love

I saw this on Pinterest this morning and wanted to share.

If love has to be earned, is it love? Are any of us "worthy" of love, or does loving make us worthy?

Things to ponder on a Sunday evening....

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gratitude Journal #178

Today, I am grateful for my one remaining quilted coaster I bought from Etsy a while back. Daisy ate the other three.

Today, I am grateful for sunshine and blue skies. It didn't last all day, but still. It was uplifting this morning!

Today, I am extremely grateful for the surgeon who fixed my uncle last night.

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Words, Words, Words about Counting

"We’re never abandoned. I don’t have to have it all figured out. I don’t have to know where I’m going. I don’t have to know what’s up ahead. My Father numbers my hairs and I can count on Him." Ann Voskamp

Ann's words hit me like a bolt from heaven. Her words often do.

We're never abandoned. A parent may ditch us, or a spouse, or a friend. But God doesn't leave us. Not ever. We may leave Him, but look at how many times He came back to help Israel in the Old Testament, how He sent us Jesus, Himself limited to human form, to save us. Me. You. The whole wide world of sinners.

I don't have to have it all figured out. Well, that's good, because I can't even figure out how to fill out a form I need to fill out and mail immediately. All seems like a tall order.

I don't have to know where I'm going. And I'm starting to enjoy that.

My Father numbers my hairs and I can count on Him. I can count on Him. I can count on Him. This is why when I pray, it's always to Our Father. A Father who never abandons me, who cares so much He knows how many hairs are on my head. I can count on Him.

You can, too.