Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One more thing...

This was from a writing exercise - if you only had ten minutes to write one last thing with only one minute to prepare...

I’d like to tell you something profound that will change the course of your life, maybe even of human history. But I won’t. I realize that there isn’t one big profound truth, but many smaller Truths that add up to one’s life. Those little Truths present themselves at key times during our journey. What we do with them makes us who we are. We can reject the small truth under the guise of waiting for the BIG TRUTH. In doing so, we will spend our lives on a fruitless chasing after the wind.

Who you are isn’t decided by the Big Deal you made or the Big Fish you landed; it’s determined by the deals you lost and the fish that got away. Your life legacy will be built on the people you helped and the people you discarded. The louder of the two will always weigh in more heavily.

What’s important is often not important, and what is important needs to be a consciously invested in. Life will sweep you away if you don’t learn to steer, if you don’t learn to navigate the currents and even go against them when necessary. Life will take you into dangerous places you never planned on going, if you don’t have a destination staked out, along with a plan to get there.

What do you want out of life? Decide now, even if it changes. Strike out your course, determine your path and WALK. If you don’t, someone else will push you along. You’ll stumble and you’ll fall. You’ll fall on your tookis and you’ll fall for any truth that people feed you. Feed yourself. Know what is real…what will last. Be a discriminate taster of life. Know what will satisfy you, and what will only arouse desires that will destroy you.

You can always change course. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Only fix your eyes on that which is Real. Focus your heart on the one Truth that you can stake your life upon. Then, the world is yours, although by then you will probably have lost your taste for it. You’ll sights will be set on greater things, the dreams that are birthed in your heart.

Hasn’t anyone told you? You are free! You are free to pursue the Truth with reckless abandon. Be alive. Live your life from Truth to Truth to Truth and your path will become amazingly clear.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fashionista - not

I caught myself telling someone yesterday that flip flops were the new barefeet. The moment the words left my mouth, I wondered why did I say that what in the world did it mean, and who am I to be making fashion declarations? Me, who today is decked out in $2.50 worth of clothing (undergarments excluded - I never skimp on pun intended, clever though it may be). The flip flops that I am sporting, which I paid a mighty dollar for last year, are loose and stretched out. So loose in fact, that I walked out of them twice at the mall. Now, my toes hurt from keeping them curled in order to keep my flops from flipping off.

Yet, I drop $3 at Starbucks without a second thought....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Way I See It

I’m writing this in the Fairlane Mall Food Court, sitting across from Starbucks, sucking down my second “BigBucks” coffee of the day (Barry’s pet name for the chain). Twice in one day? Extravagant, I know. I’ve invested $4 in their biz in exchange for the inspiration their coffee provides me.

Todd Olham – whoever that is – is quoted on my coffee cup: “The Way I See It” #106. He says “an open, nonjudgmental mind is the best tool for brewing creativity.” So I sit here in the food court, with an open mind, hoping and praying my brains don’t spill out in the process of opening my mind as wide as I can. And I wait…

And I began thinking, what if someone wanted to put my wisdom on a Starbuck’s coffee cup…What would I say? Would I be quippy or deep? Would I use my cup time to entertain or persuade? Hmmmm…I’ve been thinking about it for days now.

Tonight, I asked Mike what he would put on his cup. After seconds of deep teenage deliberation, he said this: “I would tell people to enjoy their life, because it’s the only one they’ve got.” This from a kid who, when I asked two days ago what he would do with $99,000, he – without hesitation – recited a well-rehearsed list, including but not limited to a new car, car insurance, xbox360, cable tv, big screen tv…and only stopped when he looked at me and noticed my “what-about- the-starving-children-of-Africa” look.

Still, it’s better than my answer, which is not yet ready for my Starbucks cup.

Leap, Leap - SMASH!

Leap, leap – SMASH!
He threw his body against the chain link fence again and again. His tongue hung from the side of his mouth and his eyes were wide in desperation.

Leap, leap – SMASH!
He continued down the fence line hell-bent on finding his way back into the urban golf course. What was that little deer doing in inner Detroit anyhow?

Leap, leap – SMASH!
His face and shoulder bloodied from repeated contact against the metal. Up and down the fence line, first one way than the other. The same path. The same result.

Stop! Stop! I yelled at my husband, who like me, was gawking at the deer as we drove by. He continued driving in spite of my frantic pleas. He’ll get killed! His tongue’s hanging out! He needs help!

But he didn’t stop. Not because he didn’t care about the deer, but because he knew there was nothing we could do for it. Indeed, as panicked and frightened as the deer was, it would not only resist help, but perhaps injure us as it lashed out in fearful protection of itself.

Still, I felt totally helpless. And I hate that feeling. I hate being moved to tears with compassion and yet being unable to fix a situation…

I thought about my neighbor caught in the web of drugs who gets plucked out
of danger then runs back into it the first chance they get...
leap, leap – SMASH!

I thought of my friend’s daughter who has run away again,
unable to resist the empty promises of the street...
leap, leap – SMASH!

I thought about the kid who covers lies with more lies like a bandaid to his wounds,
constructing creative walls to keep people out,
then fights to climb over...
leap, leap – SMASH!

…Times so desperate that your heart breaks…Times when you want to reach into the confusion, pluck out the hurting dear who doesn’t know how to reach safety. But your help is refused by those whose eyes are wide with fear, reaching out with one hand while running away.

So you stand back, turn back, can’t bear to watch.
Leap, leap – SMASH!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bragging Mom

My son running track! He runs the 3200 relay, the mile (cut his time by 50secs. yesterday) and the 800 meter run. I hope that if the Lord blesses this kid with children, that his girls will get his long legs!


This is Ginger, perhaps the cutest puppy I have ever seen! We dogsat for her over Easter. She's a Leader Dog pup in training - only 3 months old. She reminded me of the dogs on the Advantix commercial (the summer camp one!) Very, very mischevious, however. During the ten days she was with us she managed to get ahold of and unravel half a pack of garbage bags, a roll of toilet paper and did a very interesting pattern of yarn work around the dining room table legs. We're convinced God made this pup extra adorable, but she is "extra stinker."

Wanting a King

Based on an assignment for my writing class - from Luke 17:20-21...

Now, when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; not will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!" For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to marry, what career path to take, if I should get a dog, or move to Chicago. Honestly, the biggest part of me wishes someone would tell me what to do, leave me no options, draw a straight line from Point A to Point B. I want a king.

I’ve demanded answers from God, then without waiting taken the quicker route of advice from friends and mentors – wise people at that. But, in spite of solid counsel, their advice led me down paths I wasn’t meant to take, and the paths quickly dead-ended. I’ve fought life with my fists, plowed people down with my righteous indignation, guilted others into accepting Christ. But, it never worked when I was king.

Then, wrapped in my pride, I looked at the Israelites and the disciples and shook my head in disbelief: Why didn’t they get it, when Jesus was right next to them? Why couldn’t they see that Jesus had ushered in the kingdom of God? But, my eyes, too, have been dulled and blinded, my heart has been deceived, my hands have been lazy. Many, many times, I have looked for and expected the wrong kind of king.

I looked for a king everywhere. And when I found Jesus, I wasn’t sure He was the kind of king I wanted Him to be. He didn’t gallop into Jerusalem on a white stallion; He ambled in on a donkey. He ushered in a kingdom that would be run by God, not man, and would have to be lived in by faith, not by sight. His kingdom would need to be fought in the heart and for the heart; not fought on the battlefield. The weapon of His kingdom is love in place of the sword. Yet, He is the King above all kings.

We look to the right and to the left trying to match up what we see by how we think the kingdom of God should look. But the kingdom as we imagine is filtered through our wordly standards and weak eyesight. We settle for far less than the kingdom God meant for us to live in. Instead, the Spirit of God desires to manifests Himself in us and through us. This is the kingdom of God within us: He takes our broken heart and makes it whole; He tends to the scraped knees and elbows; He unscrambles the mind. The oil of His presence makes it easier to slip through life without the burden of permanence. His power empowers our engines to serve and then serve some more. This is the work of the true King.

The kingdom of God is within you, if you are born again in Jesus Christ. It is not a kingdom that needs to be forced or walled in. It is not a kingdom to hold tightly to your chest, but to hold with open and outstretched hands. The kingdom of God will leak out when you let it; the fruit of God’s work within you will overflow when you open your mouth. He alone is the King that rules with a heart of righteousness, peace and joy, and with His eye set lovingly on you.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Seeing over the Wall

Barry and I saw "Akeelah and the Bee" last weekend. Fabulous, feel-good movie that I highly recommend. It was refreshing to see a movie with a message, minus the sex and swearing.

The plot may be predictable for some - most movies are - but the message about seeing over the wall is awesome. In short, the story is something like this: girl has tough life, girl discovers her unique gift, girl is challenged to use gift, girl fights doing so, girl eventually triumphs over obstacles and rallies those around her in the process.

The movie reminded me of something that Barry and I often talk about - that you have to boost others up to see over the walls in their lives in order for people to see the possibilities. So many people around us do not choose to live differently (although their drug addictions and baby outside of wedlock existence isn't what they want for themselves or their children), because they don't know what life otherwise is like. So, generation after generation, this behavior - alcoholism, poverty, fatherless children - perpetuates.

We have all built our comfortable little compounds in which we feel safe, in which life is relatively predictable. And for some, life is just not good. Life behind their wall may be the life that generations before have lived in poverty and self-destructive behaviors. Or life behind the wall may look a little more presentable with professional careers, but it still isn't the life you envisioned for yourself.

Have you seen the scenery on the other side, the possibilities of what you could be and do? There is no one else on earth like you right this minute. You have skills, talents and life experience that makes you completely unique...and we need you. This world needs you. Challenge yourself to challenge yourself today.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fight the Good Fight

This weekend Barry and I went to Bay City, Michigan to celebrate our anniversary and to enjoy a little rest and relaxation. We stayed at the most wonderful bed and breakfast. Simply walking in the place, our shoulders melted in relaxation. The B&B, Angel's Lair, is run by a couple with a very interesting story! In part, they have spent over five years renovating an old home to be used for a place of rest and healing for couples as a ministry. And they began this project for God, before committing their lives to God! How does that work? A long story that you'll have to ask them - and it's well worth the time! Their hard work and persistance has and continues to pay off. Not only is the home beautiful in presence and atmosphere, but it is beautiful in that people's lives have changed during their stay, especially the area of marriage healing and restoration.

Talking with Dan and Linda this weekend about all they have endured and continue to battle to develop this ministry, reminded me of what so many are going through right now. Those that are struggling are doing so not to build up their own "kingdom," but are trying to fulfill God's destiny in their lives. To those that are fighting the good fight, I say keep the faith! I pray "for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health - that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul!" (3 John 2).

And some encouraging words from one who has already been where you are going...

"If you want a thing bad enough to go out and fight for it,
to work day and night for it,
to give up your time, your peace and your sleep for it …
if all that you dream and scheme is about it,
and life seems useless and worthless without it …

if you gladly sweat for it and fret for it and plan for it and lose
all your terror of the opposition for it …

if you simply go after that thing that you want with all your capacity,
strength and sagacity, faith, hope and confidence and stern pertinacity …

if neither cold, poverty, famine nor gout, sickness nor pain, of body and brain, can keep you away from that thing that you want …
if dogged and grim you beseech & beset it, with the help of
GOD you WILL get it!"
-Les Brown
(quoting Berton Braley)