Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wish I Could Get Paid for Doing Nothing!

Paul and I decided it would be wise not to have our phone number listed in the phone book. He gives out his mobile number for business reasons, but we have had people (including an unstable customer) call our home. We would prefer not to deal with this again and also for our address to be less visible.

So today I called the phone company to have our number not listed in next year's phone book. The customer service representative said it costs over two dollars a month not to have your number in the phone book!! If we also want to not be included in directory assistance the total goes up to $4.50! A MONTH!!!

But, hey, it costs the phone company so much to do NOTHING! There's the ink they won't use to publish our number. There's the directing those who call to the recording saying our number is unlisted instead of to the recording with our number. And these must be recurring expenses. Because we will be paying every month! Where else do you pay extra NOT to do something. The grocery store doesn't charge extra if I don't want my milk in a bag. Restaurants don't charge extra if I don't want a side item. (Most even let me substitute something else for no extra charge!) The car wash doesn't charge me extra not to vacuum my car.

We should have the right to decide if we want our number published or unpublished. And we should not have to pay them for that right! If they wanted to charge a small one-time fee for their trouble (I mean, someone probably spends two minutes typing in our request) I wouldn't complain. But to charge me every month for something that doesn't cost them a thing! That's just wrong!

OK, my rant is now over. I can resume normal life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tough Choices

I'm finally feeling better from my sinus infection! I guess a cortisone shot and a Z-pack will do that. Even with those it has taken several days to feel better, and I'm still tired!

This week is a busy one. Dance recital is Saturday. All 4 girls are dancing. Faith is dancing in three numbers (her tap, her ballet, and helping the kindergarteners), Hope is in two (her tap and her ballet), and Joy and Grace are in the preschool number. Rehearsal is Saturday morning and the recital is in the evening.

If that's not enough our church is holding a big ladies' conference with nationally-known speakers on Friday evening and Saturday until mid-afternoon. I'm helping out, so I need to be there as much as possible. So I want to be two places at once! And since I haven't figured out how to duplicate myself, I have to make some tough choices.

My mom is coming down, so I think she and
Paul will be able to handle dress rehearsal without me. I'm sad to miss it, and have struggled some with where I need to be the most. Some of my struggle is with letting go. I sometimes think I'm the only one who can do things for the girls. Or at least I'm the only one who can do it right. Ouch! It hurts to admit that. It's not very pretty. But it's something that I'm asking God to change. And this weekend I get the chance to practice. I'll leave the girls in the capable hands of Paul and my mom and trust them to take care of everything while I serve the ladies at our conference. Because, really, wherever I am, God is in control of it all. And He can do it better than I can!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Extreme Makeover, Allegy Edition

There are so many things I don't know about Heaven. But I do know this: There are no allergies in Heaven! Praise God! I have been dealing with major allergy crud since Friday. I have been stuffy and had a sore throat and a cough. Sometimes I feel OK, and other times I feel lousy. So I've been vacillating about whether to go to the doctor. I don't have time to go until Thursday, so I have some time.

Of course, the week I'm feeling bad is the week we finally are able to get carpet installed. Faith and Hope have had cement floors for TWO MONTHS now! So I guess it's about time. Had we known this weekend that the carpet installers were coming today, we could have painted the final coat of paint (the orange took THREE COATS) on Faith's walls and move ALL THE STUFF out of the girls' rooms. But since I found this out yesterday afternoon, we had to do all that last night!

Oh, and
Paul invited our Sunday School class to our house on Friday for a gathering. (Hey, maybe they can help us organize the girls' rooms! That would be a fun evening, wouldn't it?) Or maybe not. So tonight we get to move everything back. Or actually move the big things back, since I want them to go through their toys and smaller things before we move them back.

As I think about the mess and the trouble that painting three rooms and putting new carpet and floors in has been, I think about the improvements God is making in my life. Sometimes I have to get rid of some things. Sometimes He moves everything around. Sometimes when I let God fix one part of me I realize how much another part of my life needs attention. (The new floors made me notice my dirty walls more than ever!) And one day, my home and my life will be beautiful and orderly inside and out! Until then, I must continue to patiently submit to the changes, even when they are inconvenient and I have three rooms of furniture and stuff in my living room and dining room. May my life and my home both be a reflection of His glory!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Take Up Your Cross

A couple of days ago I read a familiar Bible verse and it struck me in a way it never has before. God likes to shake me up like that sometimes. I was doing my read the Bible through in a year plan. (Which I do faithfully for a few days, forget a day or three, and then play catch-up for a couple of days!) I was reading Luke 14, and when I read verse 27 I began thinking about what Jesus' followers' reaction must have been. "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." ~Luke 14:27

We see this verse from the other side of the Cross than they did. When we hear about the Cross, we immediately think of Jesus. How He died for our sins. How we are to imitate Him. But Jesus' followers didn't know any of this. To them the cross was a painful, humiliating, shameful way for criminals to die. I'm sure NO ONE wanted to have anything to do with a cross! In researching this verse I read what The Bible Knowledge Commentary had to say: "When the Roman Empire crucified a criminal or captive, the victim was often forced to carry his cross part of the way to the crucifixion site. Carrying his cross through the heart of the city was supposed to be a tacit admission that the Roman Empire was correct in the sentence of death imposed on him, an admission that the Rome was right and he was wrong."

That is what Jesus calls us to do. To admit to ourselves and to others that Jesus is right and our flesh is wrong! To risk pain and humiliation and discomfort to follow Him! And according to Luke 9:23 we are to take up our cross daily. Daily because our flesh will reassert itself daily and needs denying daily!

So while we see in the Cross the beauty of God's redemptive plan, Jesus' disciples saw only ugliness, pain, humiliation, and shame. Yet Jesus called them to that. He calls us to that . To go somewhere that seems ugly, painful, humiliating, and (in the eyes of the world and the eyes of our flesh) shameful! I know I can only do this if I am relying on His power! In my own strength I will always choose the safe, the easy, the popular. May I choose His power to walk His way!

Father, fill me with Your power to choose Your way. Even when it is painful. Even when it is embarrassing to my flesh. Even when I can't see Your plan.

By the way it is rather difficult to write some cool God-stuff with the Veggie Tales Boyz in the Sink CD playing in the background! It's so funny I get distracted!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

He Is Risen!

Jesus is risen! He was risen Easter Sunday when it was cold and rainy. He was risen yesterday when my allergies flared up and I felt lousy. He is risen today when my children are tired and grumpy. As a Christian, I should celebrate Jesus' resurrection every day! Because every day His resurrection power is available to me! Because every day I can celebrate God's gift of salvation! Because He is worthy of my praise and celebration every day!

So even though the day we call Easter was so cold I had to wear a coat and boots to church... even though I spilled water on myself at church... even though my allergies were causing me pain... even though Jack was so exhausted that he took a three hour nap... even though the day didn't turn out as I had hoped, I did not miss Easter. Easter is today. And tomorrow. And every day of my life. And Easter doesn't end then. Easter will be celebrated throughout all eternity.

"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"
Rev. 5:12

He is risen! He is worthy!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Pre-Easter Musings

Last night Hope told me that she thought we should be especially kind to each other this weekend because people were so unkind to Jesus when the weekend of His crucifixion. While I had had grand plans of a deeply meaningful discussion of the events of Good Friday, we really had only had a short conversation or 2 about it. But she got it anyway! I am often amazed by the spiritual insight of my children!

Today we woke up to COLD! We had a big Easter festival at church and I wore a jacket, a scarf, and gloves! And I was still cold! The girls still had fun, but they were definitely ready for the finale of the Easter egg "hunt" (actually, it's more of a "gather" than a "hunt," since the eggs are just strewn over the grass). They gathered lots of eggs and, of course, now have way too much candy!
Paul's sister and brother-in-law and their daughter came to the festival then to our house for lunch. We had a nice visit, and the girls even went out to play badminton in the cold. Right after lunch, Paul went outside to see something and noticed it was SLEETING!! In our neck of the woods, sleet is rare enough in winter, but I've never heard of it in April! I guess I'll be wearing a coat over my cute new dress!

Now I'm going to get ready for the Lord's Supper service at our church. I always find this to be such a meaningful time. It's beautiful and reverent and such a perfect time to reflect on Jesus death and resurrection. Faith and Hope will be participating in the Lord's Supper. I love having 2 daughters who know Jesus! I hope Joy and Grace will be quiet (as much as 4 year olds can) so we can meditate on Jesus.

In Remembrance,


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Madame President

Yesterday we had the election of officers for our 4-H club. Because we had more available offices than qualifying members, we knew Faith would get an office. She decided she wanted to be president. When I asked her why she said it was because she liked to talk in front of people.

She comes by it naturally. Both
Paul and I think public speaking is fun. He gave the message at evening church a few weeks ago and did a great job! I have gotten to facilitate a few Bible studies at church and my favorite part was the time when I got to give my opening remarks.

Although two other kids also ran for president, Faith did win the election. She looks forward to leading our meetings next year. She'll do a great job! Because she not only inherited our fondness for public speaking, she also has a quality neither of us naturally possess: organization. (But I'm relying on God's power to enable me to create and maintain order in my home.) Isn't God good! He uses our strengths to glorify Himself. And He gives us His strength to compensate for our weaknesses!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Resurrection Power


This is my entry for the Carnival of Beauty. Since I'm new to the world of blogging, I don't know how to insert the cool Carnival of Beauty button. Hey, I figured it out! Go see Lindsey at for more wonderful entries.

Life with four children means that all the meaningful reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus that I would like to do gets compressed by
gifts and new dresses and eggs --hunting them, playing with them, dying them. As well as by the ordinary lessons, meetings, homeschooling, playing, and arguing of everyday life.

But the Resurrection is the most important thing in the life of believers. Sometimes I only think of the resurrection in terms of the future -- when I die I will go to live in Heaven. But the Resurrection is for now. For every day. For every hour. For every breath. Paul writes in Phil. 3:10, "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection." He prays for the Ephesian believers to know "His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 19-20).

In Col. 1:29 Paul says, "To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy (or power), which so powerfully works in me." God wants to empower us with His resurrection power! Not just for the "big" things. Not just for the "church" things. For everything! God wants to give me His Resurrection power to be patient with my children. God wants to fill me with His Resurrection power to organize my home. God wants to empower me with His Resurrection power for whatever I do.

Isn't it great to know we have the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead at work in us! No matter how hard the task, no matter how seemingly insurmountable the obstacle, if God has called us to do something, He gives us His Resurrection power to accomplish it. God used that power to lift me out of the pit I had tried to climb out of by myself for years. For that I am especially grateful this Easter season.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The New Dress

I got to go shopping this weekend. For clothes. For me. All by myself! (Look, Ma, no kids!) And I actually found a couple of things that fit and that I liked. I wore one of my new dresses to church yesterday and was feeling great about it until a twinge of guilt came on. After all, I didn't need that dress (or that really cute pair of shoes!). I had other dresses and other shoes in my closet. Was I just wasteful? Immediately, I felt God's Spirit whisper to me that He created us all to enjoy beauty and variety. Just look at the beautiful spring flowers! Not one variety, but so many! And each season has its own beauty. Our world is ever-changing. We are ever-changing. So it's OK if my wardrobe changes, too. (Of course only if I am not going overboard and it's OK with Jack!)

Thank You, Father, for the gift of newness. New seasons. New flowers. Even new clothes. But most especially for new life in Christ!