Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Double Birthday Wishes

How did my puppy get to be 6 years old???

Yes, today we are celebrating the 6th birthday of the one and only Nali Collie. She has brought so much fun, laughter (some at her expense), simple joy, and has been more of a companion than I would have ever anticipated. In some ways, I feel like the time has flown by since the day I peeked into the dirty cardboard box in the WalMart parking lot and saw that irresistible face, and in other ways I can't remember what it was like not having her around. So today my husband and I are reflecting on all of the memories we have had so far with this big dog, and look forward to many more to come! Happy Birthday, Nali Collie, Nali the Melan-collie, Nurse Nali, Old Man, Lazy Susan, Hershey Kiss, Sugar Bun!

And today we also think of and are praying for my precious niece, Isabelle. I cannot believe she is 10 yrs old today! As I think of her, I think of my brother and where he is at currently. We fervently pray for him and everything he is working toward, working to overcome, and we look forward to the day when we are all able to see Isabelle again. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Your family loves you, and wishes the absolute best for you!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A friend who knows me all too well...

A certain friend sent me an instant message at work today which read, "LOL, I found the perfect costume for your child one day." I replied, "Mine???" to which she replied, "Mmm hmm." And she's so right:

(photo courtesy of Toys R Us)

I can think of a number of costumes I would have no qualms about putting on any future children we may have, but really, a marshmallow Peep? Couldn't be more appropriate considering my ridiculous love affair with all things marshmallow~

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Turning Worry into Worship

How often do you find yourself in the midst of a season wherein you feel like you're just coasting by? You somehow manage to make it through each day, looking back on the day's events as a big blur, and have just enough time leftover to get a bit of sleep before the next morning arrives. I know we have all been there, some more often than we would like to remember, and I can definitely attest to being in such a season at this point in life. While things could be much, much worse, there have been days these past couple of months when I wish I had a coffee i.v. on hand. As I type this, I'm trying to forget that I have an extensive comprehensive exam due for my counseling class on Thursday, two scrapbooks due to a lady at work on Friday, and the seemingly neverending transition I'm in at work shifting from the old position to the new. My efforts to forget it all are futile... And while I'm at it, I will go on and add to the list the minor event of graduation rapidly approaching... Graduation? From seminary? How did we get here??
With my mind in overdrive, I decided this past week that I was going to take a personal day from work. I knew this past week that a day off from everything would be welcomed rest. While home on Thursday, I came across something on a blog I frequent that has resonated with me ever since. The pastor was reflecting on a recent vacation and time away from his busy life, and in his reflections he highlighted the rest which comes from Christ alone:
1) Sleep always helps, but is not the panacea. It is important for me to
have adequate sleep each night in order to function optimally. That said, sleep
alone doesn’t cure a tired soul;
2) Time away from the normal routine allows me to disconnect, but doesn’t
ensure I will connect with the Lord. I can turn off my phone and e-mails to help
quiet my mind. This is necessary and beneficial. It was great for me to simply
engage with my family and not consider all the responsibilities at work. That
said, time away and a vacation means that you will have to face your weary soul
either at your house or on vacation. Your heart goes with you;
3) The rest that revives and rejuvenates is the rest that is promised in
the Gospel. God has promised His children that we can cast our cares on Him
because He cares for us. . . . Vacation and time away has reminded me that
rest is a grace I overlook daily. And, that’s the kind of rest that I truly

Sure, I took the time away from work, emails, phone calls, and anything else in the context of a normal weekday, but just doing that is not enough for real rest. My soul has been tired and in need of rest. One of the greatest dangers in these seasons of "coasting by" is the absence of that rest which only comes from an intimate relationship with and dependence on Christ. I have become increasingly dry in recent weeks, not feasting on the bread of the Word and not drinking of the only water which will never make us thirst. The less my eyes are fixed on the Lord, the more I am ruled by my anxiety and tendency to worry; the more I allow myself to be ruled by such worry, the less I turn to the only Sustainer and Provider.
While at home on Thursday (or was in Saturday? I can't even keep days straight!), my husband was compelled to read a familiar passage from Scripture to me. What a blessing that he sometimes seems to know me better than I know myself... He read from Luke 12:13-34, beginning with the parable of the rich man who insisted on building even larger storehouses for himself than the sufficient ones he already owned. Immediately following the parable, Jesus says to His disciples, His friends,
And He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about
your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For
life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens:
they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God
feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by
being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are
not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell
you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God
so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown
into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do
not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all
the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you
need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give
you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide
yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens
that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where
your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

I needed to hear this text and be reminded of the teaching and truth there. While I am quick to declare such promises to others, professing my belief in such rich promises, my functional belief often says something very different. There is a significant disconnect between what I sincerely believe and what my daily belief looks like. There is a danger in being so familiar with Scripture; when you're a student, it becomes easy to lose sight of the great need to meditate on the Word as often as we are able. We need to be reminded of the truths and very rich promises of Scripture - His Word is our food. May I not pass up the occasion to go to Him in prayer during the dry seasons, acknowledging that I am in need of the rest only He can provide, and that I desire for His truth to be what reigns in my heart. His nearness is our good, and He is faithful to provide and sustain even when we are so prone to "functionally" believe otherwise.