New Year – Prayer

Hello,

Today’s New Year’s topic is prayer.  Once again I’m terribly shortcoming in this area of my life.  In my younger adult years, I really struggled accepting that I needed to pray.  I figured that God knew everything that I ever would think about praying for way before I ever even knew about it myself.  On top of that, I had the attitude that God’s will would win out no matter if I prayed for it to happen or not.  So what’s the use of putting in the time to pray if it really had no purpose?  Oh and here’s the kicker, I actually became convinced that God was doing the opposite of what I prayed for.  People would ask me to pray for them.  Of course, I would tell them that I would pray and I even made sure I did (at least once), but in my head I would think, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking.’  Do you remember the Old Testament story in Numbers 22-24 about how Balak, the Moabite King, hired Balaam to curse the Israelite people?  Every time he attempted to curse them, he ended up blessing them instead.  Well, I felt like my prayer life was similar, only in reverse.  When I cried out for God’s blessings on someone, something bad would happen.  I was not the one you’d want on your church’s prayer team!

<aRomans 12:12 plaque (2)

Even in my rebellion, there would be times I would feel guilty for largely abandoning prayer.  I knew that Christians were supposed to pray.  You can’t read the Bible and escape reading about people who prayed – David, Daniel, Paul, and even Jonah (who was a prime example of a rebel) prayed.  Then, of course, there is the Lord’s Prayer.  If God acted completely without regard to prayer, why would Jesus give His disciples (and us) an example of how to pray?  I finally came to the conclusion that, even if the idea of why people should pray is beyond my comprehension, God wants us to pray and I needed to obey Him in this area.

Continue reading

New Year – Body Control




Hello again – glad you’re still with me for week three of my New Year blog posts.  This week I felt like I should talk about taking care of our bodies and keeping them under control.  The trouble is, I have no expertise in this area.  If I wasn’t so new at blogging and had more connections, this would definitely be a time I would have a ‘guest blogger’ take over.  I could learn a lot myself!  Instead of telling you what I’m doing to help my body, let me tell you what I should be doing.

I should be exercising.  During the warmer months, I definitely am better at this.  The trouble is, it is incidental exercise.  My husband and I enjoy bicycling and hiking in parks.  We like to walk around the nearby neighborhoods.  We are having fun doing the activity and exercise is just a by-product.  The trouble comes in when it is too hot, too cold, rainy, or icy.  Then we don’t get outside.  If I were more dedicated to movement for its own sake, I would find a way.  We have a treadmill in the basement, but I have come up with countless excuses why I don’t want to use it – the basement isn’t finished, I have no secure way to keep my iPad in place to distract me, I have almost fallen off multiple times….You get the picture and while you’re getting it, imagine an out-of-shape middle aged woman sitting on her comfy couch motionless (unless you count the hand to mouth movement)!  I must say that it did help when I listened to downloaded podcasts/Ted Talks while I was walking.  If the subject didn’t keep me distracted, balancing my iPad did.  If the topic was too interesting, I’d find myself slowing down until I was in danger of catapulting off the end.  Last year I tried walking outside even when it was icy by using crampons on my shoes.  This is a test of faith when your mind is telling you, “Don’t go there.  You’ll slip!” and you know your metal spikes should hold you upright.

Continue reading

New Year – Menu Planning




Hey everyone, it’s week two of my five week series on New Year’s Resolutions. Last week I wrote about the importance of implementing Bible reading into your daily routine. I’ve decided to mix up the last four weekly posts and not bring them up in any particular order.

This week my subject is menu planning.  Now, I suspect that some of you have the opinion that menu planning is too time consuming, too complex, or maybe too boring.  Your visualization of planning meals is something along this line:

Continue reading

Traveling through the Desert




My son and I have been reading through the book of Joshua together.  This book of the Bible begins is a very captivating way.  The first chapters contain espionage, the miraculous dividing of the Jordan River so that the Israelites could walk through on dry ground, and the conquest of the formidable city of Jericho that began with a march and a shout.  There is even an unexpected heroine – a woman who was formerly a harlot and who later became a pivotal person in the lineage of Jesus.  I love these stories and believe every single word is true, no matter how improbable they sound to the modern reader, because they are taken from the Word of God.

If you’ve never read the book of Joshua, or even if you have, I would encourage you to read it.  I think you will find it riveting…that is, until you reach chapter twelve.  This is where the tone shifts and most of the remainder of the book gets a bit dull.  There are seemingly endless lists of names – names of former kings who ruled over the land of Canaan, names of regions and cities, and names of the tribes of Israel who inherited land there.  At least in the first two categories, I find the names largely unpronounceable.  I muster through them as best I can and suspect I mispronounce them differently each time they are repeated.  And that’s when the thought emerges: these lists are boring, they have nothing to do with me, and I think I will close down the remaining Dry, parched desert groundchapters of this book and start reading somewhere else – anywhere else.  Surely God can’t expect me to get anything out of reading this stuff.

 

However, I do believe that God is not a God of fluff.  You can’t always trust human writers.  Maybe a publisher has told a prospective author that their book cannot be published unless it has so many pages or chapters.  So they throw in extraneous detail.  It would be easy to think that God is doing that in the latter chapters of Joshua or maybe to think that the information was only relevant to another people or another time.  On the contrary, I believe God has given us the whole Bible and expects that we read the whole Bible.  Once I gave a Bible as a gift.  Expecting that it might get tossed aside, I inserted bills of varied amounts within its pages.  I hoped that if it was read, the diligent reader would find the hidden treasure. Continue reading

The Lost Art of Letter Writing




I have a question for you: when was the last time you wrote a letter?  To clarify, signing your name to birthday or Christmas cards doesn’t count as “writing a letter”.  If you are like most of us, your pen has been replaced by a keyboard and you wouldn’t have a clue as to what a first class stamp costs these days.  You can send a series of texts blindfolded and if you are feeling particularly long-winded, you take a deep breath and pound out an email to communicate.

lake house mailboxSo, what’s the big deal?  Why even bother looking for some stationary, an envelope, a pen, and a stamp, when you can just pull your phone out of your pocket and send a tweet?

Here are just a few advantages of writing an old-fashioned letter:

  • It is more personal.  Not only are the words yours, but the style of writing and the form of the individual letters are unique to you.  I love looking at the variety of penmanship on the envelopes that come through my box.  Many times you can guess the age of the writer, just by looking at the way they write each letter.  Older adults are more likely to use cursive than younger people.  In fact, my son can barely read script because it is rarely used among his peers.  I, however, grew up in a time when proper handwriting was taught.  So, others who fall in my age group tend to have a similar form with slight variations learned when we were no longer under the threat of a ruler.
  • Not only is the handwriting more variable, but the card itself allows you to express your style.  I fondly recall people from whom I received frequent letters when I was a child and I can still bring up memories of the kind of paper they usually used.  I had a friend who easily wrote volumes – and she had tiny print!  Being economical, she started writing on onion skin paper.  This paper was durable, but very thin, allowing the writer to send more pages at the same postage rate.  My grandmother would often make her own cards.  She’d cut out pictures or press flowers to use as decorations.  Both the messages she expressed and the time she spent personalizing them made her letters very special to me.
  • Speaking of nostalgia, it is easier to save handwritten communiques.  Think of all the love letters from years past that are in trunks and attics with ribbons tied around them.  I do have special emails that I’ve saved in a folder on my phone, but I know they could be easily wiped out accidentally.
  • Not all communications are positive.  Who hasn’t written something in anger only to regret it later when they have time to cool off?  Both traditional and digital letters can get to a point of no return, but it more likely to happen when you can transmit a text or email in seconds.  A written letter usually has time to retrieve it before the mail carrier comes.stone mailbox
  • Stamps – I dare you to try to find a young child these days that has a stamp collection.  Do you remember writing a secret phrase that was hidden under the stamp on the card you sent to someone special?  Does it really mean you love your electric company if you accidentally place your stamp upside down (or that you’ve just misplaced your reading glasses)?
  • There’s something about opening your mailbox and finding a letter that you can hold in your hands.  I guess it’s like the difference between a book that has pages to turn and the new variety that has pages that need to be swiped.mail truck mailbox

Continue reading

Do you floss?

Floss question




Lay back, close your eyes, and imagine the following scenario with me…

You are in the dentist office. Yes, it’s that time again – your six month’s appointment to get your teeth cleaned. You try to get as comfortable as you can in a chair that is tipped back just far enough that everything in your pockets threatens to slide out. The hygienist starts scraping away at build-up that is attached like cement. Each taste of blood reminds you that you should have been better about your oral care.

Then it comes…the question that seems stuck in time, unable to evolve with advancing technology. “Do you floss?”, she asks, peering down at you with her specialty glasses that magnify everything, including your squirm. Continue reading

Take a Hike!





This Thursday, November 17th, img_1120is National Take a Hike Day.  My husband and I like to hike, although for many years regular exercise was not a part of my life.  Typically, we’d go on vacation and then my usually inert body would be shocked by the sudden increase in forward movement.  In fact, my hiking problems have become quite legendary in our family.  It all started on our honeymoon.  We set out to hike in the beautiful Muir Woods in northern California.  Although I tried to impress my new husband with my physical prowess, in truth I was dragging behind the whole way.  When I returned home, I found a doctor’s report waiting for me that said I was borderline anemic.  Aha, so there was a reason I was so slow…. Continue reading

Changing Your Batteries Could Change Your Life

pexels-clock

Okay, I know that getting a second blog post in one week’s span is totally out of the character of how I run my website.  Normally I wouldn’t do this, with the fear that I’d be flooding your inbox.  However, I thought this subject is just too important to address to wait for almost a whole week.

As you hopefully know, this weekend we are supposed to move our clocks back one hour.  Extra sleep – hooray!  You may also have heard that it is a good time to change your smoke detectorbatteries batteries.  Of course, there is no magic reason why this has to be done when you change your clocks.  It is just a good way to remember.  It is so easy to know it should be done, but you just don’t have the time, don’t have the batteries, and maybe don’t think it is all that important.  So, it gets put off until “next week”, which gets put off until “next month”, which gets put off indefinitely.  So, while there are a few days before our catch-up-on-sleep day,  count up how many smoke detectors you have in your house and then go out to the store (if you need to) and buy some batteries.  We had to pick up eight batteries for our house and I am thankful that my husband is faithful about replacing them right on schedule. 

You see, back in 2004 we had a fire that scared us to the core.  It was an awful week.  My husband’s father died that Monday.  The next day was my husband’s 51st birthday.  We lamely tried to do the birthday traditions, but our hearts were not in it.  The visitation was on Wednesday and being a one day deal, it was long and exhausting.  On top of that I had a cold and felt miserable.  By the time we came home, I could barely move.  I was just plain worn out.  I remember it was all I could do to crawl into my pajamas.  I decided I didn’t even have energy to brush my teeth (did I tell you that I am a dental hygienist?). Continue reading