Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Make a Vow

There's a Paul McCartney song that speaks to me:

"Too Much Rain"
Laugh, when your eyes are burning
Smile, when your heart is filled with pain

Sigh, as you brush away your sorrow
Make a vow, that's it's not going to happen again

It's not right, in one life
Too much rain

You, know the wheels keep turning
Why, do the tears run down your face

We, use to hide away our feelings
But for now, tell yourself it won't happen again

It's not right, in one life
Too much rain

It's too much for anyone, Too hard for anyone
Who wants a happy and peaceful life
You've gotta learn to laugh

 Smile, when your spinning round and round
Sigh, as you think about tomorrow
Make a vow, that your gonna be happy again

It's all right, in your life
No more rain

It's too much for anyone, Too hard for anyone
Who wants a happy and peaceful life
The reason this song speaks to me is because even when I was very small I made vows. Vows to heaven and earth. As I was treading water in an ocean of sadness, hurt, pain, rejection I vowed that I would not always live in it.
I vowed that one day, when I was an adult,  I would open the windows and let the air and light in.
I vowed that one day when I was able to escape that I would make joy and laughter the order of the day instead of sadness and criticism.
I knew from a small girl that I was made for sunny days, for happy days.
I was made to have a great story as Jack Nicholson's character in "Something's Got to Give" says:
"Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad."
I was made for a great story, good times and noodle salad.
I'm living what I vowed and I'm not going to apologize for it or be embarrassed by it.

Love & Truth Quote

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Best Foods To Donate to a Food Bank

I just got home from doing a little grocery shopping and the people were out in force! I guess everyone is already Christmas shopping!
So, the Season of Giving is already upon us and so I asked myself:
What are the foods that food banks need the most?
 I did a little research and found that most places agree that the following items are needed the most:

Canned fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna
Canned chicken and beef
Grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal
Low sodium or no salt added canned vegetables
Canned fruits in natural juice or no sugar added
Dried or canned beans
Canned low sodium soups and stews
Pureed foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin and applesauce
Shelf stable milk
Spices and seasonings
Olive oil and Canola oil
Seeds and nuts
Peanut butter and jelly
Fruit juice
Herb tea
Granola bars
Holiday foods like canned chicken stock, stuffing mix, yams, etc.
Since many food banks serve lots of children, child-friendly sizes are a help.
Items for children are needed, too - diapers, wipes, formula, etc.
Also, pull-top lids on fruits and individual and lunch size containers are helpful.
So, basically, anything you would like to eat. So, don't donate those old cans of hominy - what is hominy anyway?
Remember, the people you are helping have stomachs and tastebuds. Think quality, not just quantity!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Throw Back Thursday: On Christian Pirates

I was reading back through some old Xanga posts from 2005 last night. I didn't realize that I had been blogging off and on for over 10 years!
One of the posts made me laugh out loud. It was from when my son Joel was in high school. In honor of "Throw Back Thursday" here it is:  

Have you ever heard something so funny that if you laughed hard enough to express how funny it is you'd break something? You just have to stop and say, "That is really funny" and then bust out laughing at inappropriate times throughout the day when you think about it. And when people say, "What's so funny?" you just have to wave them off and say, "nothing."

This probably won't be as funny to you as it was to me. But I've been able to laugh about it for a day or so and that's good. Thanks Clint and Joel for the laughter.

Clint said that he and Joel were talking about how they wish there were "Christian Pirates." Just that thought cracks me up. What would they do? They'd have to do just the opposite of real pirates because from what I've heard real pirates are definitely not sanctified and I really doubt they're saved at all because of all the pillaging and stealing and general wrecking of small seaside villages.

Would they commandeer ships and then witness to the crew as they bring food, water and other provisions on board instead of stealing it? Would they pass out Christian literature? Perhaps they'd bring aboard more modest clothing for the lady passengers? "Walking the plank" would probably mean a baptism. The parrot on the shoulder would probably say, "Amen" or "Preach it!" They'd probably gather for worship in some hidden cove of a Caribbean Island.

What was really funny was when Clint told me that Joel asked for prayer in class for "me crew." That IS how a pirate would give a prayer request. His praise report would probably sound like this, "Arrg! I'd like to tank me Heavenly Fadder for all his many blessin's. I got doubloons coming out me ears and me crew of me great ship, "The Pearl of Great Price" has been about witnessin' and we've taken many souls captive for our great Captain, Jesus Christ after we told those scurvy bilge rats to avast ye sinnin' ways!"

Thanks Clint and Joel for a laugh 10 years later!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Let's Put "It Is What It Is" To Rest, Shall We?

I'm getting pretty tired of the catch phrase, "It is what it is." It's really fatalistic and drains all the hope out of life.

It's a statement to end a conversation. It signals that there's no hope, it will always be this way, let's quit trying, leave and go home.

When the Christ follower uses that phrase we're declaring that God has no power to change the situation or the people involved.

Do we know the hearts and minds of the people involved and God's mind on the subject?

Do you really, Jonah?

"It is what it is" declares that WE'VE decided that there's no hope. But has God? Are we leaving room for Him to move? Or for people to change?

The Christ follower lives in hope! We believe that with God nothing is impossible!

In our history with God we know there are moments when God rescued, delivered, stopped the sun, parted the sea, tore down walls, opened blind eyes, raised the dead!

In a moment it all changed!

He did the impossible!

It wasn't what it was!

It was healed, it was mended, it was better, it was healthy, it was great, it was lovely, it was alive again.

Let's put that phrase to rest and quit thinking we know better than God.

Let's have a little hope.

Let's pray for change.

Let's have a little faith in an Almighty God.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Man Who Swam Out Too Far

I just got back from a few days at the beach. I love the beach. Beach = freedom to me. Free from the usual clothes that weigh you down. Free from furniture. You can lay flat on the sand and it's not weird. Free from the ground. You can float - suspended in the water. Free from the normal sounds you hear everyday. You can even go underwater and hear nothing but the turning of the earth. Free to breathe. Free from "have-to." I can walk or sit or float for hours. Free from buildings and trees and anything that gets in the way of looking as far as you want to. You can actually see where the earth curves. Isn't that fabulous?! I think a lot of people love the beach like I do.
One afternoon, I sat on the sand in a groovy peaceful quiet state of mind and body. I watched as a man and his son began to swim out. They were talking and laughing and going under the water like ducks in a giant pond. They swam and bobbed, their heads becoming smaller and smaller dots on the surface of the water. After a while I realized that I didn't think I had ever seen anyone swim that far out in the ocean. Of course, I had nothing to compare their little dot heads to, no reference to gain perspective. At times, their dot heads would disappear completely and I would frantically search the horizon. I mean, this is an impressive shark attack summer after all. Then I saw their dot heads again.
After a while, a leathery tanned couple walked by and asked "Are those people out there?"  pointing to the horizon in the direction of the 2 dot heads.
I told them, "Yes."
"They're too far out!" The woman declared emphatically.
"They sure are!" The man agreed and took out his cell phone and called the Beach Patrol as he paced nervously waving his arms in disbelief at this man's unabashed behavior.
In a short, information-filled conversation I discovered that the tan couple had just moved to the island from the city and I'm sure they were not going to let anyone drown or get shark-bit on their island, not on their watch! So they started the commotion.
They found the man's pre-teen daughter, the boy's sister, and worked her into a frenzy so much so that she was going to swim out and save her father until the tanned man stopped her and saved her life to the tune of , "Oh, no, you're not little missy!" She was in tears reaching out to the little dot heads.
A group of round, half-naked, sunburned city dwellers gathered pointing and wagging their heads disappointed that one of their kind would do such a thing. A couple of women comforted the pre-teen girl. The small children sang and danced excited by the commotion that the tan man created who now stood tall and proud like a ringmaster in a circus.
Eventually, the man and his son got back to shore and they didn't look very tired or afraid. They seemed a bit confused as to why they were being reprimanded by the uniformed beach patrol. The onlookers showed their disappointment by their frowns and comments. The pre-teen girl dried her tears.
Now, some of you will think the tanned couple did a heroic thing, saving the man and his son from their foolish behavior. Others will be angry that someone dared to step in and pass judgment and hinder them from their adventure.  There are a lot of factors here: the man taking his young son so far out, the rules (which I didn't see posted) and just common sense that of course come into play. But I'm not trying to determine right and wrong here, I just think it's interesting that there are those reactions to the man who swam too far out.
When anyone gets "too far out" people react the same. They will panic and rush to save the person from their foolish ways. Others will just watch to see what happens and still others will cheer them on and get angry with the people who stop the adventure.
Think about artists and pioneers and inventors and mystics and lovers and haters. When they get too far out, people react. It's dangerous to go too far out, you might get hurt or die or you might change the world. When is it worth the risk? When should someone step in and stop the madness? When do we step aside and let them take the risk?
It makes me think about when Jesus taught about counting the cost of following Him. He said, "those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples." He was calling us to go "too far." When we decide to take a chance and take a risk we have people who try to save us from our madness. They tell us we're "too Christian" or cry and worry that we will endanger ourselves and others. Then there are those who just hang back and watch and see but don't commit on the same level we do. Then there are our brothers and sisters who cheer us on in the adventure. They're good cheerleaders but you can't be really close because you're still a bit too dangerous for them.
Finally, there are our "sons," those rare few who think just like us, who swim out into the deep beside us. They're partners in the adventure! They will have seen the dolphins, too. They will have experienced the height of the waves, too. They will have experienced the vastness of the ocean and the tininess of themselves, too.
Keep those people close. They are very rare and precious.

Monday, June 29, 2015


I was reminded of Jesus, the skandalon, the stumbling block, the trigger of the trap. It was one of those moments when you know something, but then hear it again and know it applies to your life right now. You know it intimately. 

I am just very aware at this moment that Jesus really is the trigger. We can talk generally about love and goodness and God and compassion and faith and forgiveness and prayer and meditation with everyone. Even God is seen as a beneficial addition to our lives when we hear that belief in a higher power is helpful in healing and dealing with stress. 

But when we bring up Jesus, there's a problem. He's the One that divides us. He's the One who of His own admission says He "did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." ~Matthew 10:35-36

Jesus is so difficult! When I read of how He lived His life, I love how He pulled ALL people to Himself. He didn't show favoritism, He didn't exclude people from His love and compassion. But then He goes off and says something like, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." ~John 6:53 

People run away as fast as they can. Jesus even asks those guys closest to Him, "You do not want to leave, too, do you?" 

I imagine the disciples wished at that moment that Jesus wouldn't be so controversial, so divisive - He's forcing them to make a decision, take sides.  

Why do we hate to be forced to choose? In love and war we decide, we choose. Why is it so hard when it comes to God? 

For people in love and war, it is not a hard decision. There is only what their hearts know to be true: "I can't not love." " I can't not fight." 

For those of us who have met Jesus, had an experience like John, only in the spiritual: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." ~1 John 1:1  We admit, like Peter, that there's no decision, there's only what we know in our hearts and our spirits and our souls and our minds: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." ~John 6:68 

Only those who do not know Jesus this way have a choice. For the rest of us, we love the Skandalon. 

Jesus calls us to love the difficult in Him - the mystery, the unknown, to be satisfied with being unsatisfied, to have Him now but not totally, take the risk that's not a risk, the tension of being in this world but not of it. 

It's not easy, but we can't not love, can't not follow.