Friday, January 30, 2009

Random things about me...

What a great day, and it just started. The morning started out as a usual Friday, get the kids up late, feed the beasties, make Steve's coffee, drop the kids off at their Spanish class, study God's word, waste time on Facebook. Good times, and so much to be thankful for. Then I saw my friend Cindy's note on that blasted website, and it made me laugh and cry at the same time. What lives we live! How amazingly different, and similar we are at the same time. Her post was 25 random facts about herself, and as I tried to fill in mine, I couldn't help but crack up to look back at this life I have lived- and to think I probably have more than half of it still to live! Hilarious! God is so amazingly good, and I so often forget. I have been reading about Horatio Spafford, the author of great hymns like "It Is Well With My Soul". When he received the telegram from his wife that normal day saying, "Saved alone.", did he have any idea how to survive? What went through his mind? He lost so much so many times, 4 beautiful little daughters as the ship that carried his wife and children sunk. His namesake, an only son taken by scarlet fever at 4 years old. A nephew who was like a son dying of heat stroke in the Middle East while ministering to a Bedouin tribe. And yet, on his death bed, he was still filled with JOY. The honest, faithful trust Horatio had in his heavenly Father never failed him, even when the world did. Opinions, doctrinal stances, politics, finances- nothing mattered in the view of eternity. Never could Horatio have imagined that the words he penned as he crossed over the spot in the Atlantic where his daughters drowned would bring hope and relief to thousands, or that his daughter, Bertha, decades later, would be singing those very words over young and dying soldiers of all races in Jerusalem.
"Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'"

Thinking about all these things- young Cindy and her memories, my own, and spiritual giants like Horatio- it reminded me why I started this blog. As a personal therapy measure-sure, as a record for my children someday when they remember me-definitely, a way to hear my voice even if I am the only one who ever reads it-possibly. I print these posts out here and there and put them in a binder, and although I can't write like Horatio, I like knowing that someday, somehow, my kids or grandkids might laugh with me at my fickleness, cry with me at life's battles, and grin at knowing ME- just a little better. In light of that, I thought I should post the "notes" from Facebook. By the time my children are adults and read them, I probably will have changed my random facts a thousand times over, and life will have changed me in a million ways- but it will be so great to see them laugh at what their goofy mom thought was interesting.

25 Random Facts posted 1/30/2009

1. My husband has been my friend for 25 years- since I went to his sister's birthday party in 1st grade and had a little fun in the back of their parents van. Long story, but great memory. (Get your mind out of the gutter- we were children!)

2.I have always thought the Northwest was the most beautiful place in the world, but now that I have been around a bit- I think God's world has too much beauty to stick in one place.

3. My Dad and I are both early birds, so throughout my childhood and teen years we would sneak out of the house before the sun rose and go for a nice long jog around Tektronics track (it was a 6 mile chip trail that use to run around the computer campus- where Kohls and Michaels are now on the corner of 164th and Mill Plain) then go have a delicious breakfast before anyone else in our family even woke up. It was the best!

4. My Mom has been trying to teach me how to garden for over 20 years and I still kill almost everything. I have decided it is more due to neglect than anything else- I forget that plants are alive. Shouldn't they just bloom and look pretty always?

5. I rarely watch sitcoms because I find it mind-numbing. But I do enjoy horse training videos and movies if I am crocheting at the same time.

6. I loved swimming the backstroke and IM in high school and competed against other states as a sophomore through VBS. Back when my butt wasn't as big as a small SUV. Those were the glory days. (Chariots of Fire playing in the background, memory gets fuzzy around the edges and everything appears dreamlike)

7. I love to train and ride horses and am currently trying to get my 6 year old mare steady under saddle. It is a terrifying but thrilling experience. I think if I had broken some bones in my life, I wouldn't be as chicken, but I really don't like getting bucked off- especially as I usually land on my head.

8. I REALLY like sour cream and pineapple mixed together. I could live on it if I didn't know better.

9. If I could choose between a "girls night out" and 2 hours alone in the barn- the barn wins hands down every time.

10. I have a problem with guilt- thus the above scenario in reality always has the "girls night out" winning because I would feel too guilty to say no.

11. People tell me I should write a book and I would never in a million years do it. It would be horrifying to have to read it again the week after it is published and say, "What was I thinking? Why did I say that? I take it all back!"

12. Obviously, in view of number 11- I am a fickle pickle and change my mind frequently.

13. I love my job when I am there, being a nurse is extremely rewarding if you aren't too busy whining about how tired you are.

14. I hate my job when I have to see up close the lazy, incompetent, grumpy nurses that might some day be taking care of me. I have a list of the doctors and nurses I would trust to care for me and my family-bottom drawer, nightstand on left side of bed.

15. One of the best experiences in my life has been homeschooling my two kids. I would never have been able to spend this much time with them if we went the traditional route, and I love it.

16. To this day- I still love and adore my husband. Mostly for his body, but I guess I like his mind too. hehehehe

17. My brother tried to drown me once when he got scared in a pool. I punched him. But then I dragged him to the edge. Good sister, yes?

18.I was raised in a Buddhist-Christian home. Yeah, figure that one out.

19. I was a Tupperware lady. It was the best.

20. I use to hate high schoolers because I hated high school. Now I am working with a group of high school girls and I think they rock.

21. I have moved 14 times. And yes, I am hiding from the law. My name is not really Renee. Shhhh.

22. I want to be a doctor but know I won't be willing to sacrifice what it would take to get there.

23. My two big toes look like they have a butt crack on them. (Thanks, Stefanie!)

24. I would wear only flip flops for the rest of my life to show off my butt crack toes- but it's too cold here.

25. I never want to own a house again- ever.

Procrastination is Fun
posted 12/3/2008 (This one was a fill in the blank type- the post gave you the first part of a sentence, and you had to finish it.)

1. I feel younger than I am. Not a good thing.
2. I am way too OCD about most things to find any "fun" in procrastination.
3. I am in love with my horses.
4. I am a Jesus Freak- and so glad to be one!
5. I love the sun on my face.
6. I love reading.
7. I am buying a meat cleaver to keep in the closet for Christmas.
8. I love my husband- no really, I do.
9. I have to clean up horse manure every day for therapy or else I worry about things too much.
10. I have rode go carts across the desert. (Not really- but my personal desert.)
11. I am the person who falls down a lot. Clumsy gene.
12. Most of my friends are irreplacable.
13. I write a blog entry almost everyday- another therapy. Too cheap for counseling.
14. I am extremely fickle.
15. I have been to Vietnam.
16. I live in a remodeled barn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Violinist in the Metro.

"A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"

I loved this story when a friend sent it to me. For some reason, it really struck me at how much we let our pre-conceived ideas affect the way we view, listen, or experience the world- and the people in it. I take for granted too often the fact that my children are beautiful and healthy, that my husband will come home tonight again, that God is on His throne, and all is RIGHT in my world, because He is watching over me. I want to see the beauty that God has laid out before me everyday, and I want to appreciate it. I want to find the balance between loving people through their hurts, yet not letting the ugly in this world weigh me down. Balance, Renee, balance. :) I think this story was just for me- so God could show much I miss. He is GOOD, His world is GOOD, I just need to open my eyes and see past the obvious.

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence; and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace...
He has made everything beautiful in it's time." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thunderstorms in life.

When we lived in Arizona we got to see some of the most spectacular "sky shows" I can imagine. The monsoon season brings with it much needed moisture, but more importantly high pressure systems that cause thunder and lighting like you wouldn't believe. And the whole event is so beautiful because there is nothing blocking your view- you can see for miles, and there is nothing but sky, sky, sky. So when the lightning strikes, and the thunder rumbles, you have a great seat, even if it isn't happening right in your neighborhood. I remember my first experience with a monsoon one day driving to work in Mesa- shopping carts were flying across the road from the wind, power lines were bending and swinging towards the cars, and the lighting was literally striking stuff right next to the road. All I could do was hang my mouth open and try not to hit any of the flying debris. I didn't even have enough mental fortitude to pray- I was just in total shock. It was terrifying to the extreme, but after realizing that is just par for the course in Arizona, thunder storms became one of my favorite things about the desert.
Anyways, besides feeling a little nostalgic, I have been thinking a lot about the "storms of life" and why God allows them. Some storms I think we receive with a fierce heart- ready to take it on, and fight the good fight. But other storms leave us crumpled on the floor and broken, shaking with fear and doubt. What makes up the difference? Is it our perspective- whether or not we believe our place in heaven is secure, that God is sifting all the events of life through His hands and nothing touches us that He doesn't allow? Or does it just depend on how bad the storm hurts?
I don't know, but I want to be more like the former, rather than the latter. I want to look at the storms, grab hold of Jesus' hand and say- "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?" Psalm 27 Whether it is people that are causing it, sickness, or my own sin, I want to look at life like the little girl in the story I have attached- trusting one hundred percent that God is there with me- and He is not going to allow anything to truly harm me. As I made my "therapists" pretty this morning- grooming my horses and watching them enjoy their breakfast, I was reminded yet again- that in the midst of the storm, Jesus is there with us, and He always says, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Matthew 14:27 We just have to be listening and looking for Him.

A Child's View of Thunderstorms......
A little girl walked to and from school daily. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to the elementary school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school and she feared the electrical storm might harm her child. Full of concern, the mother quickly got into her car and drove along the route to her child's school. As she did, she saw her little girl walking along. At each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up, and smile. Another and another flash of lighting followed quickly and with each, the little girl would look at the streak of light and smile. When the mother's car drew up beside the child, she lowered the window and called to her, 'What are you doing?' The child answered, "I am trying to look pretty because God keeps taking my picture."

Monday, January 26, 2009

A new morning...

I love waking up to blue skies and sunshine- even if it is 20 degrees outside! We got some more snow over the weekend, but now everything is pretty much frozen solid- white and dazzling. Just what I needed.

Our high school girls decided to study Romans for TAG, and as I peruse some of my favorite passages, God just keeps reminding me to put one foot in front of the other, keep working and trying, and He will take care of the rest. My first response is to worry and fret when bad things happen, but that would not be what God would have me do. All through the book of Romans, He keeps reminding me- it's Jesus, only Jesus, who can and will wipe the slate clean, and free us from the troubles of this life. I know I keep screwing things up, and then there is all the other people that I love who struggle every day- between my own sins and their misery, sometimes I get overwhelmed and want to quit. This last week I continually worried for my friend that is going through the worst time in her 40+ years of life, prayed for her children and family, and pleaded with God to make right her world- all the while, not really believing that good could come of all this bad. Silly girl that I am, how can I ever doubt that God will do just as He says? As He has always done? I might not see it yet, but as Will Turner would say- "Keep a weather eye on the horizon..." God's glory WILL be seen.

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness...The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us...If God is for us, who is against us?" Romans 8 (portions of)

Friday, January 23, 2009

My therapist has a fur coat.

One of those days it would have been better not to get out of bed at all. I got some devastating news this morning from a dear friend that causes me to ask- why, Lord, why do you allow these things? I know that it is better to believe without seeing, that faith is the very essence of trust and belief in something bigger than what you can completely understand, but does heartbreak really serve a purpose? Destroyed marriages, crushed children, relationships ruined by unfaithfulness and selfishness- can these things ever end well?
As I moved around thinking about these things, with tears of sadness and outrage, God gave me exactly what I needed- what I call my "therapy". I can't explain it to you in words, but this letter someone wrote to an editor of a magazine says it pretty well.

"When I read 'What Horses Make Us Do' (November Issue 2008 of Horse and Rider) I started thinking about what horses make me NOT do.
'I'm bored' isn't said around our horse.I don't take anti-depressants. I don't sit on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I don't take pills for my nerves. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than drinking coffee in the morning while watching my horses eat their hay. I don't even have to go to the gym to work out.
Point of my story: My horses are my entertainment, physical trainers, and therapists. They give me a sense of self, a sense of worth, and a reason to wear big, gaudy turquoise jewelry. They keep me well- rounded, open- minded, goal- oriented, and pinching pennies. They leave me feeling satisfied and rewarded. They teach me how to budget money and time,and that- just like with riding- when you throw your weight around, things are bound to get unbalanced. " Nikki Davis-London

What I needed most today was to shake off the sadness and sorrow for my friend, and remember that God has a reason and a purpose for everything. Thankfully, He has blessed me with 3 "therapists" just out the back door. I can go and cry into a beautiful mane at any hour, and after a bit, the world gets right side up again, and I feel like I just might be able to make it through. My horses remind me to take a deep breath, try to gain perspective, and when all else fails and hope has disappeared, "keep on, keepin' on"- regardless of what your feelings say. When life is confusing, do what you know is right, and trust that God has given you the tools to muddle through. Pick up that pitchfork and do your duty, the rest God can work out.
Pray with me that all who feel alone in this world, betrayed and hurting today, would receive such a blessing from God,the peace and steadiness that transcends all understanding. God be with you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Right place, right time...

"Ever been at the wrong place at the wrong time? Consider: Patricia Spahic, age 59, who was sitting in the third row during a Pittsburg production of Hamlet in 1989. She was cut on the head when Hamlet's dagger slipped out of his hand and sailed into the audience!
Or Joan Raeburn, age 26, of West harrison, Indiana, who was traveling by car on a rural road near the Ohio state line in 1987. She was the victim of a hit and run pilot, who grazed the roof of her car with his single engine airplane and flew off into the night!
Or the mother who was shot and killed while lying in her bed in her Austin, Texas apartment in 1988. The man downstairs had fired a loaded pistol up through the ceiling by accident.
It's best in this life, uncertain as it is, to be sure that our life insurance is paid up as well as our eternal life ASSURANCE plan- for living in readiness for any uncertainty. " -Robert Strand

"Let us live as people who are prepared to die, and die as people who are prepared to live...(forever)." - James S. Stewart

I read that with chagrin- so often I let petty things get me all twisted around, and forget how finite this lifetime is. There is just enough time to love the unlovable, forgive the hateful, and do good to those who hurt you- and it won't cost you anything in the long run. I want to be in the RIGHT PLACE, at the RIGHT TIME to see God's glory, and His provision in this wretched world. He is working, and moving amongst us- but we are so blind to His presence most of the time.
If I were to be gone this very minute- would I be glad of the last memory people had of me? That is the way I want to live- leave each person with more love and hope than before they talked with me, my family safe and secure in the salvation of Jesus, and the world a little better than I found it. If that were my goal every minute- how exciting life would be! Ugh! If only I could tame this frivolous mind of mine- to keep it's focus on the prize- the pleasure of God- rather than the nit-picky things that seemed so important 10 minutes ago. God help me, and be with us as we move about this world in your name- help us leave it a little better than we found it. Now, I am headed outside to pick up a million tree branches and debris that our windstorm blessed me with- and leave my yard a little better than I found it. Hehehe

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

All I am going to say about that....

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." Winston Churchill

Needless to say, I am extremely concerned about the events of yesterday and what it means for our great country. To have a president who acts more like a rock star than a thoughtful leader is a bit terrifying, but I know and trust God is still God, and He is on His throne- this too will serve His purpose. I will be praying for the new leader of the free world, and trying to bite my tongue when I see him do stupid things- to ensure the respect and dignity the office of President deserves and that it is not tainted by MY disappointment and frustration, but I don't feel any same sense of duty towards the misguided minds that put Obama in that office. Thus, very funny video-

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

May we all hope these fickle pickles have some time to recover over the next 4 years and jump on a different band wagon next election. "Yes, we can." Just wondering if anyone else noticed that ridiculous slogan sounds an awful lot like the Nutty Professor's motto, "Yes, I can" when he is going to lose weight after watching a Richard Simmons aerobics tape. wonder Hollywood loves our new President, they get so much more screen time, and provide so much inspiration. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009


Wow. I am still amazed at how easily God cuts through my pretenses, my ridiculous notions, my bitter, hurt feelings- and brings truth, and light, and LIFE back in to my world. Wow.

I have been in a bit of a funk, not wanting to blog due to the fact that it would be too easy to let my fingers do the walking, without thinking of the hurt the lack of "filter" would cause. I have always needed a bigger filter between my brain and my mouth, and I would say the same is true of the filter between my brain and my fingers. Drat this modern technology, even there you can't get away from my opinionated, "advicitis". At least you have the option not to read, whereas with my mouth, I have been know to speak so loudly and in rapid succession, the state of Texas can hear my thoughts.
This last week I have felt betrayed and hurt, frustrated at my own inadequacies, and pretty much just sick of the struggle in general, the struggle to live a life worthy of the name I claim, a life that makes a difference in this place. There are so many hurting people, and so few willing and able to help, it is overwhelming. And the way we treat each other is so horrible, the mean- spirited hurtfulness, the gossip, the grudges we love instead of the forgiveness and reconciliation we should run towards. Not to mention- why do other women seem so much more capable at trusting God's plan, and not getting hung up in the troubles of others?
I have just been letting despair have it's way with me, and this morning was no different. I walked around all morning surveying the damage the windstorm here in the Gorge is wrecking on our property- a total of 3 huge trees have been blow down, about 6 large limbs, and small branches and debris everywhere. No, EVERYWHERE. I finished my moping and lamenting outside, and turned myself to the inside- logging on to Facebook to check up on my daughter. You see, I have this amazingly bright, funny, beautiful, computer savvy 12 year old daughter who has been begging to be allowed to join facebook or myspace so she can connect with the cyber world. Well, as we all now know "Myspace is the new booty call", and facebook has a few more safety devices, I finally broke down and let her make one this last weekend- not sure why. Mostly I want her to feel trusted, and not to keep a count of what she ISN'T allowed, and rather what she is. So, Facebook seemed more realistic than letting her drive my car.
Anyways, I went on to see what she has been up to- and low and behold, I spent the next hour looking at old photos she has uploaded, reading her heart- felt captions, and being totally stunned at what a fantastic kid God has given me, in spite of my failings. Without even knowing it, Jasmine gave me exactly what I needed- some perspective. Instead of being wrapped up in all the things that are wrong right now, her pictures reminded me not only of all the things that are RIGHT, but that time and memories are so fickle and all things have a season...this too shall pass. To realize that precious baby that I dearly protected and loved; that little girl that was in crisis in my womb, with the cord around her neck twice; that darling child God protected by waking me up at 4:15 am thinking it might be bad Taco Bell, PUSHING me to hurry to the hospital even though my due date had not yet arrived, and in an emergency birth with no doctor present- that amazing person who arrived in my arms at 5:01 am; my Jasmine has grown in to an intelligent young lady so fast, and I feel like it was a blink. That is perspective. This child that I live in breathe for, taught me a lesson today and she wasn't even awake yet. She reminded me that God is God, and He is still on His throne, whether I think things are going well or not. That my King allows the good and the bad, so I might trust Him more, and love Him better.
If I didn't put so much stock in the things of this world, and the feelings of this short life, I truly don't think despair would settle so easily. As an American, I have been programmed to believe the world revolves around me, and my feelings are so much more important than anything else that might be taking place- oh, there's a war in the Middle East, eh, my toast burning is much more crucial. Starving children in Africa, bleh- I am too sad about breaking a nail to eat. People in Slovenia who have never heard the name Jesus- that isn't nearly as important as my personal need to feel satisfied in life. How disgusting are we to forget what a huge world we live in- and how MUCH we have to be thankful for? Whether I feel like it or not- I should be standing on my roof, shouting God's praises- even if there are tears of sadness in my eyes at the same moment. Oh, God is so loving and good, why do I ever doubt it? Why do I see the ugly, and think in my heart that God has abandoned us? Why can't I remember that he "disciplines those He loves", that He "instructs sinners in His ways", that He has made a "narrow gate" for us to walk through, and just because it isn't easy, doesn't mean it isn't worth it! Ahhh, thank you God, for the slap in the face. I am so sorry for being a whiner, and forgetting your nature- that you are refining us, and though it hurts, and it's hard- I want to be beautiful in your sight, so whack and mold, shave and heat away whatever parts of me are not like Jesus, and help me to be patient through the process.
I had determined to cut all outside ties this week, tired of the falseness of friends, the hard work of relationships. Trying to stay connected to people over this last year has been tough, mostly because it hurts too much to be involved in lives and know that they don't want to do anything to change it. I have alternated between giving up, and giving in- giving up fighting for the relationships, or giving in on my convictions so that I would make others happy. After "listening" to my daughter, I realized that not only for God's glory, but SHE deserves better from me. If nothing else, I can pass on to her a legacy of love, and hope, and perseverance. I do know what I believe, and what is worth fighting for, even if I sometimes let my stupid feelings get the better of me. To know God, is to know hope- even if we forget it sometimes. :) Each day is fresh, with a chance to shine for all that is lovely and good, and to hope for an eternity where sisters are always sisters, love and happiness are in an abundance rather than an thinly spread, and Jesus Christ is SEEN and HEARD every minute. Hallelujah!

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:2-5

Saturday, January 17, 2009


"I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14

As long as there is hope, better days are guaranteed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My motto for today...

I can't even begin to write how sucky this life can be. Tomorrow is a new day, and it can't come soon enough.
So- here's my new life motto- I am going to drink a six pack everyday and mind my own business.

"It is far less sinful to take a little wine for refreshment than to meddle in other people's affairs!" Marilla Cuthbert to Rachael Lynde in Anne of Green Gables

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Right Horse

This is a hilarious little sketch I have read before, but received again and thought I would post it for posterity. It started with the whole New Years Resolution, weight-loss thing, and Dr. Phil (idiot) told a woman who wanted to get a horse for exercise, "that's great for the horse, but what does it do for you?" This writer decided to explain what the "right horse" can do for anyone's waistline. I have added a picture of my "right horse". Mandy was quite the nightmare, but lots of fun at times. If I hadn't moved, I would be a size 6 by now from chasing her around!Hehehe Not to mention trying to maneuver that beast would have made the Thigh Master look like child's play. She was the only horse I have ever wished that I had spurs for!

"Allow me to explain.... With the right horse, you begin your fitness program by walking out to the pasture. As you stride briskly, you carry the halter and lead rope behind you, pushed up high on your back so the lead doesn't drag. The purpose of this is to tone your chest and upper-arm muscles (because you're not fooling your horse, for he knows what you carry). As you approach to within a few feet of him, he'll walk slowly away from you, but at a pace just so you can't reach him, then stop. This will be repeated several times in succession, until you're ready to jog. At that point, because you own just the right horse, he will trot, then gallop around the pasture. If you're at the advanced level of fitness, you may continue chasing after him for maximum aerobic benefits, or just stop and start throwing rocks at him to give your rotator cuffs a workout. (Make sure you switch throwing arms. Not only is this a benefit to you, your horse will think it hilarious). Beginners may prefer to toss the halter and lead on the ground, bend forward from the waist, and engage in heavy breathing and chanting (that's what we'll call it, anyway -- chanting) as the horse continues to circle the field. For those of you that have experience with this exercise, you may choose to throw the halter and lead, walk briskly, bend, pick up, repeat. When the horse determines you've had enough of this warm-up session, he'll allow you to catch him.

Now comes the total upper-body workout of grooming. The right horse, of course, will be caked in dried mud. The cement-like consistency of it will require work-to-exhaustion effort of your biceps and triceps. NOTE: This exercise has added value, the dried mud will stick to your face with perspiration, instant facial! Next comes the bending, stretching, and toning of hoof-picking. Bend over, pick up the horse's left front foot, then be prepared to jump back as he stomps it back down to the ground, narrowly missing your foot. (Keep your knees bent as you jump, to protect your lower back.) Reach down and pick up the foot again, hopping about with the horse to maintain your grip as you attempt to pick what seems to be dirt mixed with Super Glue from the hoof. Eventually the horse may stand still; you may be chanting by this time. Repeat the entire circuit 3 more times with the remaining feet.

Once you can stand erect again, it's time for the insect repellent exercise. True, with this one, your horse may actually get more of a workout than you do, but you certainly get more of the repellent. It goes like this: Squirt!-circle- circle. Squirt!-circle- circle. Squirt!-circle- circle--- and so on, until you're completely misted with repellent and chanting 'whoa you sonofab... whoa'. To receive maximum benefit from this exercise, make sure you are at the beginning of a deep inhalation during the 'squirt' cycle and exhale after the last chanting 'whoa'.

With the right horse, saddling up provides both aerobic and strength building benefits. The trick is to keep your feet moving as you heft the saddle blanket over and over (and over), trying to keep it in place on a moving target. The blanket exercise warms you up for the saddle exercise, for which the routine is the same, only the weight is much greater -- perfect for buffing those hard-to-tone shoulder muscles.

Now comes the mounting exercise. With the right horse, it's left leg up, hop-hop-hop, left leg down, heavy breathing. Left leg up, hop-hop-hop, left leg down, heavy breathing. For balance, go around to the other side and continue the exercise (right leg up, hop-hop-hop, heavy breathing, right leg down, heavy breathing, etc.). When your heart rate begins to exceed your target range, look for a bucket. Bend over, pick it up, place it upside-down next to t he horse, wait for the horse to move away, then bend over, pick it up again, place it next to the horse, and so on. NOTE: This is a cooling down routine, not to be confused with the warm up pasture routine. When the horse deems you've had enough of these repetitions, he'll stand still and allow you to actually mount.

At this point, of course, you'll be too exhausted to ride and your facial mask will be dropping off in chunks. It’s best not to overdo it, so dismount, grab a glass of wine, and head in to recover in a bubble bath."

Author unknown

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It is in the genes!

I think I have finally found the cause of my easy addiction to all things fiction- my genetic make up. Hehehe Ahhhh, isn't it wonderful to be able to blame something for my failings? Whether it be over eating, alcoholism, homosexuality, inability to commit, or ADHD- if we can blame it on our parents, it makes it all ok, right? (gag with me if you have heard those pathetic excuses for lack of self control a time or two)

No really, I found the other day that my mother and I actually have something in common, and it was such a neat surprise. My parents surprised us a few nights ago with coming to dinner, and it was so fun to see them here. They rarely come to our house, hardly more than they visited us in AZ, which was once. So when they called and said they would like to come over, we were glad. While visiting, some how books became a topic, and I found out that my MOTHER doesn't like to read anymore because she feels guilty that she is neglecting her other duties. How hilarious is that? I never would have thought it, all my life I have never seen her pick up a book for other than work purposes. But she said once she starts a book, she finds it nearly impossible to put it down, and as a girl, she would hid in closets, under the stairs, wherever- to read and read uninterrupted. Her mom would get so angry because she thought she was sneaking out, or hiding from doing chores. Sounds familiar- now I know why she was so indulgent of my love of books when I was growing up, she never complained TOO much when I would ride my bike up to the summer book mobile- come home with about 15 novels, and disappear for the next few days. My mom would even try to read in closets with out a light, so that no one would see it and come looking for her. It was so funny to picture her like that, a romantic, imaginative girl- knowing she had business to attend to, but unable to tear herself away from interesting characters.
It was a nice memory to share, and I loved the glimpse at my mother it gave me. There are moments where I can see that fun-loving spirit peek out from her, and if it weren't for the worries of life, she might have managed to keep some of the "story-loving little girl" more present in her. This idea has made me determined to stop over-analyzing and stressing about so much, and work on taking each moment, for what ever it is worth- and living IN it. I love my mom, and know that she has taught me many things growing up, and even today, she is a reminder to be generous, to love your family, work hard for your children, and now- to go read some books and enjoy them! I never want to lose my sense of humor, or have worrying be my trademark. There has to be some lightness, and frivolous behavior, once in awhile! For all that we complain, I don't know very many people who have any right to blame their parents for their problems as adults. As a mother, I know we all do the very best we can- and your psychiatrist can take care of the rest. :)

I love this photo- on a snorkeling trip to Phu Quoc, my mom wanted to participate in our fun in the sun, but didn't want to jeopardize her complexion with a tan. So she hitched her skirt up, put Jordan's shirt on her head, and waded into the sea with us!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Being ready...

It is amazing to me how much we can handle, if we choose to be willing and ready anytime God calls. Most days go along in this ridiculously monotonous stream of duties and chores (in honor of NACHO- "kitchen duty, dead guy duty, maybe it's time I find another duty!"), but what if- what if we had our eyes and ears open for the missed opportunities God provides? I watched this video of Chris Tomlin talking about a band of average guys, willingly doing an extraordinary thing, and it just inspired my heart to stop whining and start watching. Watching today for the chances God gives me to be his hands and his heart, even in the littlest things.
If you are a Christian, you know that strip clubs and prostitution are not a part of your average day, but here these godly men were willing to stand in the very evilest of places, and sing praises to God for two hours- albeit with their eyes closed, I am sure. :) How awesome. I don't know that I could even stand in a garbage dump for two hours having a conversation with someone, much less in a place with more distractions than simply a bad odor. How many times has my legalistic Christian point of view caused me to turn my nose up at the thought or the actions of someone who doesn't know Jesus? How many times have I self-righteously determined that they are WRONG, and continued on my way, not thinking to stop and show them the compassion and love God has shown me time and again? And how many times have I been so busy worrying and complaining about the petty struggles in my life that I didn't even NOTICE the need of someone else? Oh, forgive me, Lord. As a believer, we have soooo much- so much that matters. Even when the bills are stacked to the ceiling, the job is lost, the marriage in shambles, or the kids indifferent to a parent's love- even then, we are more wealthy than Bill Gates because of the heritage we have in Jesus. How can I not share that, be more willing and ready to put everything else aside when the opportunity arises?
What an amazing song, what an amazing truth. Now I have to actually leave the safety of my room, and live it. God help me....:)
I hope you have a chance today to "sing God's heart" to someone- to a child who is misbehaving, to a husband who has forgotten to love you, to a sister who has wounded you, to a supervisor who is trying to drive you to drink, to a stranger who could use a hand- let me know how God reveals the "brothel" he asks you to serve in today. I would love to praise Him with you.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My professor doesn't have a brain.

This was so cool. One of my high school girls sent me this, and it really encouraged me. Kids can be sometimes better at critical thinking than our renowned observational scientists who try to pretend their science can answer all the questions in the world. That is like asking a cardiac surgeon to preform brain surgery. No matter how talented the doctor, a brain cannot be understood from only studying the anatomy of the heart; as the Creator of the Universe cannot be fully understood from studying only one aspect of His world through what we can only see with our eyes.

"The science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, 'Let me explain the problem science has with religion.' The atheist professor pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'

'Yes sir,' the student says.

'So you believe in God?'


'Is God good?'

'Sure! God's good.'

'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'


'Are you good or evil?'

'The Bible says I'm evil.'

The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible!' He considers for a moment.

'Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?'

'Yes sir, I would.'

'So you're good...!'

'I wouldn't say that.'

'But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't.'

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. 'He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?'

The student remains silent.

'No, you can't, can you?' the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

'Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?'

'Er...yes,' the student says.

'Is Satan good?'

The student doesn't hesitate on this one. 'No.'

'Then where does Satan come from?'

The student falters. 'From God'

'That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'


'So who created evil?' The professor continued, 'If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.'

Again, the student has no answer. 'Is there sickness? Immorality ? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?'

The student squirms on his feet. 'Yes.'

'So who created them?'

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. 'Who created them?' There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. 'Tell me,' he continues onto another student. 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?'

The student's voice betrays him and cracks. 'Yes, professor, I do.'

The old man stops pacing. 'Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?'

'No sir. I've never seen Him.'

'Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?'

'No, sir, I have not.'

'Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?'

'No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't.'

'Yet you still believe in him?'


'According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?'

'Nothing,' the student replies. 'I only have my faith.'

'Yes, faith,' the professor repeats. 'And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.'

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat?'

'Yes,' the professor replies. 'There's heat.'

'And is there such a thing as cold?'

'Yes, son, there's cold too.'

'No sir, there isn't.'

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. 'You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat, or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can reach up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.'

'Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold; Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.'

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

'What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?'

'Yes,' the professor replies without hesitation 'What is night if it isn't darkness?'

'You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word.'

'In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?'

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. 'So what point are you making, young man?'

'Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.'

The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. 'Flawed ? Can you explain how?'

'You are working on the premise of duality,' the student explains. 'You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.'

'It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.'

'Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?'

'If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.'

'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

'Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?'

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

'To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.'

The student looks around the room. 'Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?' The class breaks out into laughter.

'Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched, or smelt the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain; with all due respect, sir.'

'So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?'

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. 'I guess you'll have to take them on faith.'

'Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,' the student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?'

Now uncertain, the professor responds, 'Of course, there is. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.'

To this the student replied, 'Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.'

The professor sat down."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Treasure each moment...

I am not a big fan of forwarded messages, but this one struck me, maybe due to the time of year. As one year ends and a new one dawns, I can't help but realize how short our time here really is. Most of the time I think, "Thank God we only have to spend one lifetime on this forlorn planet", dreaming of heaven and what kind of place God truly created me for, but at these seasons- when the passage of time is marked with reflection, I can't help but wish for a few extra moments to love my family, relish relationships, and be God's hands to THIS world.
Help me, Lord, to not squander the time I have.

"To realize the value of a sister/brother:
Ask someone who doesn't have one.

To realize the value of ten years:
Ask a newly divorced couple.

To realize the value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize The value of one year:
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.

To realize the value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

To realize the value of one month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of one minute:
Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize the value of one-second:
Ask a person who has survived an accident.

To realize the value of a friend or family member:
Lose One.

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have."

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions.

I spent much of New Year's goofing off, hanging with the fam, enjoying some yummy munchies, and playing Sing Star at Stef's house (way too fun, if God had blessed me with a better set of pipes I would have been an AWESOME rock star!),but throughout the day I kept thinking about "New Year's Resolutions". I have never made them, mostly because I knew I would quickly fail at keeping them, and then spend the rest of the year kicking myself and calling myself a loser. But for some reason, I wanted to make one this year. My dilemma? What would I "resolve", and why? I can certainly think of a million and a half things I need to do differently, or change about myself, but which ONE is worthy of being a "resolution"? I also have never understood why people make resolutions, and despite my friends attempts to explain it with football and money analogies, I still am not sure the purpose it serves- or is it a different motivation for each individual? The Bible says, "The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps." in Proverbs 16:9, not that this is a license to disregard any pro-active movements on our parts towards what we believe is God's will for us, but it makes me feel like the future is something that is always changing and shifting, since I have no idea what God might have me doing in the next year, much less the next hour. In light of that knowledge, how successful can a New Year's Resolution be, unless you have the 411 on God's mind?
So I wonder, are resolutions at the New Year an off-shoot of an old superstition that was based on "luck" and trying to will things into existence, or are resolutions a reminder for us to live intentionally, to set an attainable goal and work towards achieving it, a vocalized choice we have committed to during a "mountain-high experience" such as holidays often bring. (The first kiss I remember was on New Years, and I thought that life couldn't get any better. How silly my 7 year old mind was. Yeah, long story.)
Anyways, you see my problem. I have no reason to believe there is a purpose in making a resolution, and I have not thought of anything to "resolve", yet I WANT to make one. I suppose I am at an impasse with my desires and my stupid mind that won't just let me BE. So, seeing that it is no longer midnight, and in fact, an hour after...Hello, January 1, 2009...and as for a resolution, maybe next year.