Friday, May 29, 2009

Renewed Sparkle

One of my favorite possessions is a gift I got from my husband, and I wear it every day. Of course there are the occasional mishaps like when I take it off to put lotion on my hands and forget to put it back on, or when my fingers were a little swollen when I was pregnant with Norah, but on the whole, I wear my wedding ring every day.

Recently, I noticed that the prongs were crooked on the main diamond, and so I had been wearing my "fake ring" that I bought from Gottschalks when I was pregnant with Norah. At the time, I purchased it because I had quite the baby face, and I didn't want to walk around pregnant without a wedding ring on!

My real wedding ring was sitting in my jewelry box awaiting for me to take it to get fixed. Well, it was fixed this week.

Yesterday I walked in to Fred Meyer Jewelers, and got my ring back. As I looked at it, I commented to the gal behind the desk how much it sparkled. Rings are always extra shiny after getting them cleaned or inspected at the jewelers!

I was actually distracted by how much it shined on the drive over to meet my mother. Little specks of light shone all over the inside of our van as the May sunshine hit the facets of the diamonds.

It's funny though. When I first began wearing my ring as a single engagement ring, and then as a set, it was so sparkly at first. After time, it has been on my hands as I have washing dishes, taken many showers, changed diapers, vacuumed, dusted, played, and weeded. Of course it has been cleaned to a sparkly shine many times, but I guess what's different about this time is that I was without it for so long. It was kind of dull when I took it in to be repaired, even though I didn't notice it.

I think we're that way sometimes. We get into the daily grind of chores, errands, and the business of each day, that sometimes we don't notice how dull we have become. Maybe time with the Lord slips, or praying throughout the day doesn't happen. Then the Spirit moves. We open up that Bible or seek God's face in prayer.

And the greatest thing happens. We're cleaned up. We're renewed. We're opened up to the instruction of the Word.

Sometimes it takes us seeing that we need fixing. All we have to do is look. We didn't notice before because we were too busy to look. Sometimes we don't want to look because if we did, we would indeed notice that there are areas where we need work.

You know what though? If we allow the Lord to fix the problem, then we'll see that one the other side is something so much better than what we knew before just like my ring that had dulled from the business of life. How long the prong was bent, I will never know. What matters is that I saw it and it was fixed. Now there's a renewed sparkle.

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:6
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Me! Monday: Of Humility and Stuff

Welcome to yet another Not Me! Monday, a blog carnival created by MckMama, where we can laugh at our mistakes and at those of many others. It's a lesson in therapy and humility all in one. So, sit back, relax, and have a laugh at my expense- really, it's okay! So many are doing this. Just go over to MckMama's blog and see what everyone else isn't doing!

Here we go!

I certainly didn't need to use the bathroom so badly this week that I nearly forgot to disrobe all necessary garments before doing what Nature was calling me to do! No, I certainly wouldn't be in such a predicament because I was too busy cleaning the house or meeting the needs of my children- who, by the way, have forever altered my ability to hold it. Nope, not me!

I don't take a little bit of pride in remembering people's birthdays, so when I remembered that this week was the 13th, I surely didn't make a mental note to be sure and wish a certain friend a happy birthday on their Facebook. After posting, said note, I wouldn't delete it promptly after realizing that his birthday is next month on the 13th and hope to gloss over this little faux pas as if it never happened and that the recipient of the accidental birthday greeting would be blissfully ignorant. Not me!

Upon finishing perusing last week's Not Me Mondays, on Wednesday, I didn't have to stop Norah from holding down the toilet knob and stop the gushing water that she was wasting in doing so. And upon walking away from stopping this wasteful action, I did not step on a piece of peanut butter toast and got it stuck to my foot. That couldn't happen because I wasn't in the kitchen, but in the hall. (Besides, that wouldn't happen in the kitchen either... right?) And I would never miss that a stray piece of toast made its way into the hall. Seriously, not me!

Oh, and I positively did not take my husband's glass of water in my hand, bring it to my mouth, smell the scent of the lemon he added to it, and still think that it was my water only to have him say, "That's mine." Uh, yeah. Not me!

Because I don't love certain t.v. shows and have such better things to do with my time, I really, really don't care to check on to see the deleted scenes from the most recent episode of The Office on Friday, practically every Friday. That would be silly. Nope, that's not me!

Finally, I should make sure that you know, I haven't been working on this off and on this past week to make sure that I remember my stupid stunts. Really, I'm just this on top of things on a Monday morning. Really.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Since I Was a Crusader

Tonight was my 10-year high school reunion, and I just can't sleep. My mind keeps thinking of questions I had for different people, like what their siblings are up to or things like that. There are a few folks that I didn't get the chance to speak to much, and that's too bad.

I am also awake because it is quite warm and uncomfortable in our home. That always makes sleeping hard.

So, with these two reasons keeping me awake, I figured I might as well do something, and in doing something, I just got lost looking at old photos.

Now, put together having a nostalgic night with old photos of my children, and what you get is a full heart.

I am so very grateful for the things that have happened in the 10 years since I was a Salem Academy Crusader. I met the greatest love of my life, and married him (who, by the way, was the most handsome husband at the reunion-thankyouverymuch!). I became a mother to two of the most beautiful children, and I have had the honor of serving my family at home and in two churches that God led us to.

I am grateful for every heartache and trial, for God has woven them into a tapestry of joy.

So, tonight's events have left me thankful, thankful for what He has done since I was a Crusader.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Platforms, Pageants, and Purity

Upon reading this, I couldn't help but think about the recent celebrity of Miss California. I'm not sure if I have seen evangelicals run to the support of someone so quickly... well, at least in the recent past.

After saying that it is nice for folks to have a choice in whom they marry in this country, but sharing her personal opinion on same-sex marriage, the evangelical applause was overwhelming. So many were so quick, though, to rally around this young woman for her opinion that marriage should be between a man and woman only.

I'm wondering if some Christians have lost a little perspective. Here is a participant in a scholarship programbeauty pageant, and despite the poor message this sends to younger girls and the world about what true feminine beauty is, we praise it? Besides that, there was no look into her person. Within hours of her statements, racy photos were released, and I'm thinking to myself, "Is this who I want to point out to my daughter as someone that she should be like?!"

And I'll say very quickly that I don't. I'm grateful for Carolyn McCulley's post today reminding men that they have the opportunity to praise women- but not for their beauty on the outside, but what's on the inside. How hard is it to raise our little girls to believe that it's what is on the inside that counts, when we're bombarded with ideal images of women?! It is hard to reconcile in your mind that what's inside holds higher value when we are complimented on beauty more than the purity and substance of our character.

I know that personally, the most precious compliments to me are not the ones where my husband has complimented me on what's on the outside (though welcomed and appreciated). What really stands out to me is if my character is noticed. If that is seen then I have reached far greater riches than looking nice. For my person is glorifying God.

I have a different view on what would be more valuable of Miss Prejean's time and energy, but it's her choice. And I pray that when the lights and publicity fade, and she is left with just who she is before no one else but the Lord, that she can be proud of who she is, not by her own standards, but those of her Creator. Based on the information before me, though, I will not put her on any platform for myself or my daughter to follow. Posing topless and entering beauty pageants are not goals I have for my daughter, no matter how conservative her views on marriage are, and those things are not good for marriage either (Seriously, do we need any more temptations for wandering eyes, and unrealistic views of feminine beauty and sex appeal?). This doesn't exemplify the Biblical femininity that we as believers should embrace and uphold.

Instead, I will strive to put forth the standards of God's word. And I will endeaver to put those at the forefront of my mind for myself as well.

God is glorified...

...when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:2-4

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rim Rock Annie's Quilt

This weekend we had the privilege of meeting several saints at a local church in Bremerton, WA. But there is one saint that we were unable to meet, for she went to be with the Lord a week ago today. The folks we met had heavy hearts, filled with hope over the loss of their dear Annie.

One gentleman handed my husband and I a copy of an autobiography by this departed friend, and we gladly accepted it. It was a short book; a very quick read, but on the pages revealed the life's story of a woman who faced difficult challenges and learned many valuable lessons along her life's journey. Never have I read in such detail some of the personal hardships members of the "Greatest Generation" faced during the Great Depression, and it was a blessing to see the grace of God on her life to overcome the temptations she must have felt to be bitter or angry, allowing those emotions to overwhelm her life and take her captive.

Mrs. Carriere writes, The kaleidoscope of patterns that the Lord has built into the beautiful quilt blocks of my life are according to His plans. The knots He uses are tight, and make a "Comforting Quilt" of my life for others.

That is a beautiful testimony! I am thankful that I was able to read about this lovely person, who I could tell had touched the lives of so many. I look forward to meeting her in glory, as I was a week too late here in time.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me! Monday: The General Mishaps as of Late

Welcome to Not Me! Monday, a fun blog carnival created by MckMama. Head over to her blog and see what others "aren't" doing this week!

Well, since it's been so long since we have had this fun business as usual, you would think that my mind would be full of mishaps... but I'm quite blank today.

In fact, I really haven't been thinking off and on since last night about what in the world I have done that could possibly be silly or funny. That in itself would be ridiculous as I have better things to do with my time and mind. Yeah, not me!

As we prepared for this weekend's trip us to Bremerton, Washington for my husband to fill the pulpit and candidate, I certainly didn't fret over what to wear to church. No. I wouldn't do that. I wasn't concerned about my age, and the idea of being a possible senior pastor's wife at 28. I wasn't concerned at all about what I should wear and if I would offend anyone by simply not wearing pantyhose. Not me!

And of course when we took off on Saturday morning to hit the road, I certainly didn't leave my house at any way in disarray. Not, it was spotless. My son didn't pull out several DVD's, yank out the sleeve cover thingies, and leave them on the floor. I didn't leave a dish soaking. And I certainly wouldn't look over our beds being left unmade. Nope. Not me!

As we dropped our children off at my mother's home, I didn't feel bad at all about leaving them. Especially since they didn't stand pathetically outside the garage waving good-bye to mom and dad. No, not me! I have a heart of stone.... uh...

I didn't eat only mashed potatoes and gravy from Church's Chicken because I felt to car sick. No. That wouldn't be the best healthy food choice. Not me!

Anyway, upon arriving at our hotel in Bremerton, I certainly wasn't car sick still and probably such poor company for my husband, especially since we hardly ever get away alone. No, I always take advantage of those precious times because my feelings never get in the way of having a good time... uh, yeah, not me, really! Because like I said, I wasn't car sick at all!!!

When we saw our room at the hotel, my first thought wasn't, "Goodness! This room is decorated better than my house!" And I certainly didn't take mental notes as tips for home decor. No. Not me!

This morning, when we woke up at home, I certainly wasn't so sleepy that I barely caught my son grabbing a cookie that my mother baked and sent home with us. Knowing that my children spent most of two days with said grandmother probably eating all sorts of sugary and unhealthy foods, I didn't just let Haddon have a cookie as a precursor to breakfast, and certainly not two! Nope. I didn't have one either. Not me!

Whew! That felt good! Join the fun... what did you NOT do this week?