Friday, August 31, 2007

Carolina Quiet Love

Walking under the moon at the edge of a Carolina tide,
We held hands but didn't talk, like a cake topper groom and bride.

Never again just us, just the two of us, it's been that way 19 years,
And though I love being Mother, it's multiplied my fears.

Our walk started on the beach, where teens were shooting rockets,
"Are those our kids being bad, taking fireworks out of their pockets?"

"No, " I told my honey, "they're illegal. Let's head the other way."
So we pivoted to the south, dodging shrapnel at the end of day.

Barefoot in the sand, I remembered the way we used to be,
Wide awake till nearly midnight, conversation flowing free.

I kept waiting for him to say something, I wanted a verbal blessing.
To pull me closer and say that on his heart something was pressing.

But he didn't. And I couldn't let the moment pass, being the nag-I mean, go-getter!
So I asked, "Is there something I could do to make our marriage better?"

Oh, boy. Hoof in Mouth Disease again I contracted. He didn't say a word.
"I guess if you said anything, it might be what I wish I hadn't heard?"

He smiled as if to say, "Let's not ruin the occasion, it's just us and the moon,
and the waves and the sand. Vacation will end all too soon."

We reached a place where I wanted to rest, so climbed on the lifeguard stand.
Sat there on my lofty perch, and let go of my lover's hand.

"What's happened to us? What's wrong with me?" Thoughts lapped into my mind.
Why do I hold my wants in such high regard? I wish I weren't the romantic kind!

I really shouldn't dwell on negatives, but speak truth to my soul,
He loves me, provides stuff for me, ultimately seeks the same goal.

We turned back to the north, and walked toward the dunes
Tonight I'd pretend that my heart still played "our tunes."

When we reached the deck that formed a pool-surround,
He surprised me just a little, and turned two comfy chairs around.

Side by side he placed them, facing the foaming sea.
Took my hand in his again, and placed it on his knee.

"What's on your mind?" I asked. (Why can't I just be quiet?)
"Nothing. Just sleepy," he said, welcoming the night.

I paused and after a moment said, "This is the part where
he says something tender to her, to show his loving care."

"I love you," he mumbled, rather perfunctorily, with a knowing grin.
"I love you, too," I said, and played the old "give up, give in."

We held hands a little longer and then he made a move.
Pulled me very close and kissed me slowly, as if to prove
that though he doesn't have the words right now that my soul yearns to hear,
He loves me with a silent tenderness, and loves me more each year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Myrtle Beach Moments

Finally a day of no rain at all. At least not yet, and it's 2:30. Thought I'd jot down some memories of our times together so far. My memory is about as long as my foot these days.

We brought Maggie and Jonathan Grant down with us in the van. Good thing they're skinny! That made seven of us in the van, so no one got to stretch out. But we had a good time, especially playing Psychiatrist and Two Truths and a Lie. I had a brain woopsie on one of my turns. I told three truths and no lies about myself,. It's hard to backpedal after that. And once during STephen's turn, he said,"I've traveled to Kansas, Texas, and California." I blurted out, "When have you been to California?" Duh. Thanks, Mom.

Ben, Allan, and Dan (heretofore known as the B.A.D. boys) drove down in Ben's car. Ben and Allan shared the driving. Poor Ben, he missed work Friday for intestinal problems, and had them all the way down. Poor us--he was still clearing a room in a single poof. "Augh! Ben! That is just WRONG!" Allan would say every time. We went into a shop last night where Joel took a picture of Ben holding up a pair of underwear that says, "World's Largest Source of Natural Gas."

Joel has been videotaping everyone and everything in sight. He takes some pretty decent video once in a while, including this "Mystery Movie" where he is taping his walking feet down the corridor until he spots Allan, who then shrieks and takes off like a redhanded criminal. Then there are other movies that-- how can a mother say this graciously?-- are just plain dumb.
Renee, Maggie and I got massages yesterday at a place called Celestial. (Sarah didn't want one. She doesn't like to be touched.) It was the fastest hour of our vacation thus far. They used this method of relaxation with hot stones on your muscles, and then set the stones into your palms for a few minutes. I have never had that, but it was wonderful. I could've used two hours and loved every minutes of it, but the money only goes so far. The best part was that it unclogged my ear.
I have larnygitis. The kids find it advantageous, as you can well imagine. And humorous. Last night at the putt putt golf place, there was a caged Macaw who wouldn't talk until I said bello to him. He answered right back, "Hello!"
Judging from my voice, he had met his next of kin.
Sarah, Stephen, Maggie, and Jonathan stayed up till one a.m. playing a game called 'Don't Quote Me." I had never seen it, but they had so much fun, that when Renne invited us over to celebrate my birthday, all of us played it. The funniest one U remember was "Like a midget at a urinal, I have to stay on my toes." I forget who said it, but I won't soon forget the image.
Allan brought delicious spaghetti sauce that he made himself from his own veal. He knows I'm a softie toward animals and loves to give me hard time. I didn't even think about it being anyything but being delicious ground beef. Paul asked, "So, are we eating Bessie?"

Allan nodded, "Actually it's veal."

"What!" I blurted out, pretending to hate the bite I just ate, "WE're eating a baby calf that's been cooped up for six month without the light of day?"

"No, two months, really," he said, "But it got to be outside with his mother for those two months." l


Paul was nearly asleep in the sun today beside the pool. He looked so content, so relaxed, my chrome-haired cherub. I sneaked up on him, leaned close, and kissed his sun-ripened cheek. I didn't care that a whole bunch of total strangers observed my affection. He's my husband and sometimes I just can't resist.
Friday :
Not exactly connecting with my adult children. That's disappointing.

Jonathan and Stephen were annoyed with the overly energetic Joel in the van last night. JOn says, "Let's play the Quiet Game. ONe, two, three, go!" For the next four minutes, silence reigned supreme. Then Joel blurts out, "This is boring, boring, boring, boring, boring!" We laughed so hard.

The B.A.D. boys want their photo shoot today. I promised I'd take their beloved mug shots on the beach around 5. They are so vain. Gotta have something new on their Facebooks.

Sarah was a bit disappointed that Maggie didn't feel up to hanging out last night. She had a blister on her foot from five hours of shopping with her mom. But Sarah and I spent the day at the pool and got a fair amount of sun and fun.
This resort is more crowded that our last one and so not a lot of room in the pool to really race like we want to. There were two men from upstate New York talking and, as they discovered, live within three miles of each other and both are volunteer firemen.
I've been trying to talk Paul into taking a walk on the beach every night this week. EVery night I've failed. He doesn't like to walk without a destination. I can't impart the value of romance to him. He's gonna have to get it from God, I guess.

Dinner was a letdown last night. Allan hadn't taken time to eat lunch so was ready and pushing for dinner before the rest of us. He said the restaurant T-BonZ sounded good. We went. It wasn't. In fact (and this is another case of foot-in-mouth disease I have chronically) as the waiter leaned over me to refill my water--and honestly I DID NOT SEE HIM BEFORE I STARTED TALKING-- I said, "We should have gone to Texas Roadhouse" The kids groaned, mortified. "Mom! How rude!" I kept apologizing. "I didn't know he was there! But it's true. This food is nothing compare to Texas Roadhouse." Then I chided Allan, "Hey, Connell, I trusted you," I said, "When a Connell recommends a restaurant, I have high expectations.:" He smiled his typical Allan smile, "Sorry, Mrs. Z. I was just hungry."

I'm hoping Sarah and I can exchange pedicures today. My friend Barb sent me a Mary Kay pedicure kit for my b'day and I can't wait to use it (er--have it used on me!)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wanting Beach Photography Advice

We're headed out tomorrow morning for Myrtle Beach!! (Lord willing, we'll pull together and finish our packing and cleaning and errand running and laundry and-- well, you get the picture.)

Speaking of pictures, Sarah suggested having a family photo done while we're there. (Not professionally, but good shots.) Let me set the stage so you can maybe offer tips accordingly, if necessary.

Our friends, the Grants, will be there and they take good pics. Their condo is on the 9th floor 10 minutes from ours. Ours is on the first floor. Any tips or ideas, given those various heights, for picture-taking?

What makes for a good family photo--esp at the beach?

Also, I'd love for you to suggest
  • great scenes and angles,
  • tips for photographing sunrises and sunsets over the water (keep in mind I have little technical knowledge, so need camera settings told to me!)
  • terrifically "scrapbookable vacation shots." Not that I'm against the "here's the kids at the putt-putt," "here's the kids at the ice cream shoppe" kind, but I'd like to know some "wow,never thought of that!" ideas. Artsy images!

    Our condo is oceanfront so I have a balcony to shoot from! (We snagged a deal by booking late in the season. I've never had oceanfront lodging, so this'll be a real treat. Can't wait to have my devotions on the balcony as the sun rises.)

    And to tack on to this:

    Please pray that
    -Ben will feel better. He threw up during the night. He is our second vehicle driver tomorrow.
    -We connect with our grown children even though they'll have friends along.
    -Renee and I get some girl time together, kid-free,hubby-free.
    -Paul and I will have time together. Kid-free, friend-free, time.
    -Logistics will be snagless, or better yet--if not snagless, our attitudes will be good.
    -Good weather.
    -Safety and health (I have a sore throat and cough. Joel's had a wee cold.)
    -God will speak hope and healing to certain aspects of our family life.
    -The kids will be refreshed.
    -Paul gets a lot of relaxation--mind, body, soul.
    - Paul's spirit will be renewed. He has carried some burdens far too long.
    -We'll look for--and seize--opportunities to share the love of Jesus among ourselves and to strangers besides.

    Okay, so there you have it. The light "need advice" paragraph on photos and the serious "need prayer" paragraph about life at the moment.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

While You're Purging

As you know, I love to go up to the GAiN Warehouse with our school every October to pack stuff for the needy around the world. Clothing and shoes are always needed, for every age, every size, every season. GAiN goes to the hottest, poorest countries of Africa, and the coldest, poorest of Asia as well. So when you do the change-of-season switchover, please consider setting your "outgrowns" aside in a box labeled "GAiN." If you can wait till October to deliver them to the school, we'll make sure they get packed in our vans.
Thank you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Got Magazines to Give Away?

I'm not too proud to ask for freebies.

In this case, I'm asking local friends.
I am going to the beach this weekend and
would like to take some magazines with
me. The most intellectual thing I'll take
on vacation in magazine form is Reader's Digest.
I have the latest issue of BH&G and Real Simple
I like just about any shelter magazine, especially
Southern Living.

If you have one, two ,or more you would like to
purge and don't want back, please let me know.
I will ditch them before coming home after enjoying
them in the sun, sand, and salty air. I'm happy to
pick them up from you Thursday or Friday. So,if
you need to declutter, I'd appreciate not having to
buy reading material. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Needing a Lawyer and Prayer

You've read about Andrew from my posts on Russia. He's the 24 year old who is working with Mercy Ministries in Vladimir, and has committed to 3 years (starting about 9 months ago).

Long story short: Andrew was vacationing with friends a couple weeks ago in Dagestan (where he had first fallen in love with Russia and felt God call him to full time missions there). D'stan is a politically volatile region of Russia where Muslims are very anti-Christian. On his 10th and last day there, Andrew was ordered to leave Russia and not return for five years. They accused him of illegal use of his visa. This accusation has spiraled into an intense situation. Andrew needs a lawyer fast, one who can clearly articulate Russian law without igniting the flames of more religious persection.

Please pray for our precious brother.

QVH (Quirky Vacation Habits)

Some of the things I love about vacation are not the memories of the where and when, but about the who-does-what-and-why. Certain people have certain habits that have become as much of the "to do" list as packing and leaving a light on.

Ben manages to pack all his stuff in about 14 minutes. He gets in the van and asks if anyone remembered contact solution. Someone has. He's good to go.

Sarah likes to stay up late and pack. She is the most efficient person, but this habit enables her to fall asleep rather than stay awake excited.

Stephen is our camera guy. He makes sure all batteries are charged, all adapters packed, all techy questions answered. He ensures that Molly has been fed, watered, and put out to do bizniss.

Joel just keeps saying, "Can we go now?"

My QVH is also kind of an OCD behavior. I scour my sink to a high shine, getting all the black crud out from under the faucet (even if I've just done it the day before). The blankets have to sit perfectly straight on the backs of sofas, a long list for the dogcare person is set on the table, but I must proofread it and fuss with punctuation. I put a fresh hand towel in every bathroom. I adjust the bed pillows in every room just so. (In case I die on vacation, I'll leave the impression my house always looks this way.) All of this before a typical scheduled (idolized?) departure time of 7 a.m.

I also take a shelter magazine, a Reader's Digest, a spiritually encouraging book, a novel (I read one novel a year and it's on vacation) , a home organization book, a Bible study book, and of course my Bible and journal. This year I am thinking of taking The Excellent Wife because I've been anything but. We'll see. If I'm feeling condemned, I'll leave it home and tuck in The Exemplary Husband instead. I also make sure the bag of "every hundred miles" surprises for the kids is out of sight but easy to get to.

Morning-of: It's 7:04. The kids and Paul sit in the van waiting for me, then Paul comes in and says, "Are you ready yet?" And I say, "As soon as I go to the bathroom again." Then it's 7:07. He makes sure the coffee pot is off and unplugged (which I've already done). We get in the van, make sure our directions are handy, and then Paul prays for a safe and refreshing trip. It's 7:09. Then he closes the garage door, drives up the street, turns around, checks the garage door, listens to the other five of us say, "It's closed. You watched it close, and we watched it close." He says "Just checking!" in his own defense, and then heads for 7-Eleven.

And that's been our set of Quirky Vacation Habits for the past decade. Got any QVHs of your own to share?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Let Them Be Little

Stephen did a great job putting together the following video from Joel's baby days. The song is called "Let Them Be Little" by Billy Dean. Sure makes me nostalgic.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wanting to Date Other Churches

Since our church only has a morning service, I have often thought it'd be a valuable experience to visit other churches in the evening once in awhile. You can get too used to one way of doing things, one way of thinking, one set of lingo, one bookstore, one style of worship, etc. Not that I am thinking of jumping off the SS Chesapeake. By no means, not at all. I love my church and have grown by leaps and bounds there.

But I do miss singing 4-stanza hymns to their original tunes.
I miss hearing about missions and missionaries every week and praying for them as a congregation.
I miss the quiet of a sanctuary when announcements are being given.
I miss a sacred piece of music being played solo during the taking of the offering, while the people meditate.
I miss hearing a choir sometimes. I'm not a choir fanatic, but I do love to hear them occasionally.

Every now and then I wish every woman in the church would wear a dress the same day. No pants, jeans, and definitely not shorts. Call me a legalist, but I have never been okay with showing up in the Lord's house in shorts. Dresses are the one wardrobe piece that set us ladies apart from the men, and I think they are the ultimate in feminine wear. But I am not sure there's a church in America where I'd find every woman in a dress; that's just a daydream.

So all my "longings" are external, except for the praying for missionaries. Definitely not things that one should "marry" a church over, but I think I'll put it on the calendar to at least date other churches in the next six months in the evening. Anyone want to join me? (It's not fun going on a date by yourself!)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hungering for Deeper Relationships

I really want to know: is it just me being self-absorbed, or is face-to-face conversation over tea in someone's home a thing of the past? I'm not talking five-course meal type of hospitality. I'm asking: does non-email, non-cell, non-blog, non-phone, non-text, non-IM talk still matter? Does it still happen?

Lately I've been gathering a list in my head of "Favorite Things of 2007" and "Least Favorite Things" and "Regrets" and "Reminders" to post now so that when I look back in December, it won't be so hard to remember back to the pre-August stuff of life.

On my list of "Favorite Things" would have to be dinners in Russia at people's homes. It's the only time all year I've been invited to someone's home for a meal except by my parents, I think.

But when I examine the reverse, the only other people I've had for meals (besides the kids' friends and my extended family--and--oh, and the 'Welcome Home, Trip' Party), the only ones I can recall having over were foreigners. Much as I loved it, I keep thinking, "What's wrong with this picture?"

Shame on me for my laziness and selfishness. (It's not all me, my husband isn't usually motivated to do much but veg when he gets home from a stressful day at work, which has been a daily thing for two years. I have easily said, "Okay, he's tired. Don't bother," when really I should have been making more of an effort to boost Paul's spirits as well as extend hospitality to others. I have long had these great and grandiose plans of inviting a mix of Christians and not-yetters around a big, long table and serve it potluck style. Have I done it? No.

That's a major regret. If I only had over Christians, I would say, "Something's wrong with this picture." But I have sorely lacked in doing good even to the household of faith in this regard. How common is this kind of hospitality in the church? In your little corner of the world? When I was in my early 20s, a newlywed and young mom, it was a weekly thing or so to be in a friend's home for lunch.

I have visions of young women nowadays being in and out of each other's homes, changing kids' diapers and talking about life, love, and the pursuit of God over tuna sandwiches and chocolate cake. Is this your reality or a figment of my imagination?

Odds 'n Ends

I need to detox. I feel horrible from bad eating habits. Last night was the clincher. Got so busy making the drum cake, I never ate real dinner (didn't even make it, how terrible is that?). You know how you go from taste-testing the batter, to to the finished baked product, to the frosting, to the finished frosted product, with a side of ice cream. Yeh, it's time for the Daniel Diet again.

Sarah got more good news yesterday. She was whistlin' Dixie coming out of work.

We are going on vacation. Don't know where yet, but either Myrtle Beach or Outer Banks. A week from tomorrow. I am just so looking forward to being with the family. My friend Dayna and I were in tears at care group talking about missing our kids. Yes, they live with us, but once they get a license and a job, we never see them. Sarah is a bit more of a homebody that Dayna's girls, but I was disappointed when Sarah told me she has classes five days a week, not just four.
We sit to down to dinner as a family only about half the week. I was warned, but I still don't like it. So, for us, we don't care much about where we go as that we go, with our grown children.

I need help parenting those grown children.

Drum Cake

Bethany asked for a picture. Sorry, friend, I don't think the cake I made last night is blogworthy, let alone photogenic. The cake itself was really good, but I didn't leave myself enough time to execute my decorating plan. I ended up using Betty Crocker Rich 'n Creamy frosting, which I think is the best-tasting on the market for storebought. I should have made the icing myself the day before. As it turned out, I tinted the chocolate frosting black for the sides (just like Stephen's own drums) and used white on top. I formed aluminum foil into the metal and chrome parts of the rim and sides and hardware. I wrote "Happy 16th, Stephen" on top, and made a 16th note near the lettering. It was just too creamy to work with. And the humidity didn't help.

Stephen wanted it to be a surprise, so at the "reveal" at the party, I lifted the lid off it and said, "Now, Stephen, can you tell what it is?"

"A snare drum?" he asked, with 80% confidence.

"God. Bless. You. Honey. Yes! It's a snare drum."


Let's just say it was also a learning experience. And for the record,I used pretzel rods criss-crossed above the lettering. IF and only if I get up my nerve, I'll post a picture, but it's doubtful.

I was just glad it wasn't reduced to a laughable lump. The humor was on the wall. Sarah hung up a recycled, storebought party sign in the dining room and asked, "Mom, why do you want me to hang up a sign that says, "Appy Birthday" ?"

With her quick thinking, she made a H on a paper party plate and and exclamation point on another plate, so that the "mistake" was hardly noticeable. Good job, girl.

I am so proud of my kids. As for the cakes I've done, once again I sighed and said, "Oh, why do I think I can actually do something creative?"

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What Can I Use for Drum Sticks on this Cake?

Help! I'm making Stephen's b'day cake FOR TONIGHT and have not totally decided how to make drum sticks.

The cake is a large round chocolate (springform pan size) from scratch. I have never tried this recipe (call me brave or stupid) but it comes from a church cookbook where my dad pastored in the 70s! The recipe looks great.

Anyway, with Stephen being an avid drummer, I'm gonna frost it with white on top and black around the sides, resembling one of the drums in his room.

Question: what to use for drum sticks? I have tentatively planned to cut (don't laugh) celery stalks in the form of drum sticks and frost them with creamy peanut butter rather than mess with trying to tint the white icing a tan color. I have also considered straws instead, but they're kinda skinny. Trying to keep it to scale, here, if possible. Any suggestions from you cake gurus?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pack the Backpack Campaign

You locals might have heard about this on WRBS. Once again, the radio station is partnering with PMJ to give homeless school children (there are thousands in Maryland) backpacks filled with school supplies. The campaign ends this Saturday, so hurry up and wait (on the Lord!) for how to give to this campaign. For more info, go to and where the search box is, type in PMJ. It'll pull up more details, including drop-off locations. The closest one I saw to our area is at LifeWay Christian Store in White Marsh.

Here's the list of needed supplies:

Lunch boxes
Colored pencils
Spiral notebooks
Lined paper
New clothing for kids ages 5-17

My guess is that more supplies than backpacks will be donated, so if you are wondering what is most needed, this is my best GUESS, given that "little stuff" is cheap and backpacks aren't. Consider that you probably won't pick the cheapest one for your child; you'll pick something he likes. (Even homeschool kids like to get backpacks for co-op and special classes.) Consider picking up an identical one for a homeless child.

If you would like to do this but can't get to a drop-off location, let me know. Maybe one of us will be going to LifeWay this Saturday.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Small World

This made my day: I just sold one of Ben's old books on ebay. The customer's address? Havey Hall at Seton Hill in Greensburg, PA! I lived on 5th Admin (the fifth floor of the main bldg you see in the picture, but on the back side of it) and my good friend Theresa lived in Havey. We stayed close for years. I told the eBay customer I wish I'd noticed the mailing address before I sent the invoice; I'd have offered a Seton Hill discount. Boy, while I feel old at the thought that I started there 24 years ago--on my birthday, no less, I also feel young just remembering that beautiful campus and joie de vivre of freshman year. It hurt to leave my baby sister, but the
independence was something I craved and appreciated. I made some big moral mistakes there, which Jesus long since forgave and redeemed. (So much less mature in the Lord than my daughter at that age).I think if I'd not been so homesick, I would have graduated from Seton Hill, but glad the Lord brought me out of there. I had sown my wild oats and He was kind enough to guide me to rich, satisfying pasture. I met Paul upon returning to Maryland, and ...well, that's a post I think I've already written!

How Do I Get My Sidebar Back?

Even before I changed templates, my sidebar links all vanished. We haven't been able to figure out how to retrieve them. Can one of you computer gurus help?

Thanks, BTW, for the compliments on the new blog look. I like the cascading flowers, too, but not the way they hang down into some of the text. Is there a way to remedy that?

Monday, August 13, 2007

I Want to Go Back to School

My mom told me when my kids were little that I would want to go back to school someday. I flatly denied it. I had had 17 years of it and felt full from the experience. Happy to have done it.Glad to have gotten a degree in a subject area I love. Grateful for the opportunity and support my parents gave me. Matured by the chance to live with other people for four years--two years in a Catholic women's college (Seton Hill in PA) and two in my own apartment(s) while going to Towson.

For years I was content to learn things my kids would need, so it wasn't much of a challenge in the early years to stay ahead of them academically. I loved homeschooling for the ongoing privilege of keeping my mind sharp (which is debatable, but sounds good on paper) as well as for the chance to be with my children 24/7.

But now that two of them are in college, I want to go back to school myself. I want to take classes I never thought were "worthy" of spending money on, namely art. I don't know where that notion came from. I never thought of myself as an artist, that's probably why. And does an English major need to take a painting class, really? But I so wanted to carry of those big leather portfolios and head off to the distant hillside at the convent-turned-college, and just sketch the landscape.
It seemed so frivolous compared to writing papers on Shakespearean tragedies. It also looked like wonderful therapy. I felt if I couldn't see myself using art to pay back school debt, why go into debt for an art class? Then again, why did I take tap dance? (Probably because I could dance better than I could draw, so it was a pride issue.)

I also would love to take a photography class, a cooking class, an interior design class, a gerontology class, a class on teaching English as a second language, an early childhood ed class, a water aerobics class (with a fat, private female swimming instructor in a secluded outdoor pool far from civilization). I would like to study Judaism without going overboard on it. Take a medical terminology class and a real estate class to go into business with my hubby. (I would love to match people with a home they love while Paul crunches numbers to make it happen for them.) I'd also love to take a sewing class and improve my skills there.

And at the same time, take a Bible study class that digs into Hebrew, Greek and ancient customs for a fuller understanding of topics that I might otherwise skim over.

I fill with excitement every time I'm at the HCC campus. I long to be a student again. Can anyone relate?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Readers' Digest Version of the Next Post

1. We (a 5-person team of GAiN missionaries) visited two elderly ladies in Russia who showed us how to make rugs. Their names were Nina and Valentina.
2. Dima , our 29 year old interpreter, videotaped that portion of our visit.
3. I presented each of them a gospel apron and explained the colors.
4. They each wanted to be prayed for, but neither accepted Christ at that time.
5. I felt the pleasure of God.
6. We gave Nina a large print Bible in her language.
7. 100 good deeds don't balance out one bad one on God's scale.
8. Please pray for Nina and Valentina. They have grown up with the heavy doses of legalism from the Russian Orthodox church.

VIDEO on post below.

There. I do know how to condense. For the longer version, please scroll down to the next post!

Nina and Valentina, Is it Okay to Kill Dima?

Midway through our week long missions trip to Vladimir, we had the privilege of being assigned to different homes in which to visit poor people. Our team (Sarah, Faith, Megan, and Dima) went to the home of an elderly lady named Nina. She happened to have a friend visiting that day, a lady named Valentina. (I told her what a pretty name and that I have a son born on Valentine's Day, so I won't forget her name.)

Nina's apartment was a bit larger than most, and boasted two large wall tapestries. These are like huge rugs on the walls. She had made these herself and I was ga-ga. Valentina also knew this art form (very popular in Russia). By way of getting acquainted--and because I genuinely admire skilled needlework--I asked if she was currently working on one she could show me. She was delighted to do it, and showed us all just how much dexterity it takes and how calloused one's fingers become in the process. It reminded me of latch hook but much classier. (Video at bottom of this post shows us at Nina's apartment as she demonstrates.)

Nina was in obvious discomfort. She was quite obese, and her countenance was anything but joyful. She was fanning herself with a sheet of paper, and nearly knocked over her mug of coffee that--no kidding--held about the capacity of beach ball. She was full of health complaints and finally asked her if we could pray for her. Yes, she said, a little taken aback. I asked permission for us to lay hands on her and she heartily granted it.

After praying for Nina, Valentina boldly asked for prayer for herself. It was kind of cute, actually. She had quite the joyful personality, a hearty laugh, and more reserved about her complaints. Her requests were more spiritual than physical, and she, too, wanted us to lay hands on her. So we did.

"I brought a gift for each of you," I then said, as prayer stopped. "Gospel aprons. Would you like one?" Da! Da! Spaceeba! Sitting next to Valentina, I explained that this was no ordinary apron. The colors represented some very good news. If they forgot , each pocket contained an index card with the explanation for that color. In Russian! They beamed.

I spread the apron across my lap in a chair beside Valentina. Dima was sitting catty corner to us on the floor, interpreting.

"The first color is black, " I said, "which represents the darkness of sin. We have all sinned before a holy God" They nodded.

I continued with each of the following explanations:

red--blood . Jesus' s blood was sinless, the only blood worthy to be shed in payment for our guilt. That was God's design, His plan, not man's.

white-- clean , pure, holy. We can be forgiven and washed clean by God Himself if we believe that Jesus was crucified ,bled, and died for our sin, that it was a once-for-all-and we can't add our good works to it, and that he was raised again in three days from the grave. Well, the good works really jumped at them. They said they were good people and kept the Ten Commandments and on and on. They didn't believe at first when I told them that (the Bible says) if you are guilty of one sin, you're guilty of all. "But I haven't done anything really really bad," one said.

So I used an analogy of good vs. bad deeds that I've often heard our pastor use.

"Okay, let me put it this way. Suppose one day I get so angry at this gorgeous, handsome, young interpreter here that I pull out a gun and kill him. Then I go down the street and see an orphanage on fire, and immediately run in and rescue 100 children from the flames. When I go to court for the murder of Dima, I say to the judge, "But look at the good I've done. Why, that very day I saved 100 orphans from death. Doesn't that count in my favor , I mean after all, I only caused one death."

They understood and were solemn.

blue--Holy Spirit (to remember blue's association. think the SKY through which Jesus ascended after 40 days following his bodily resurrection, and then sent his promised Holy Spirit). Of all the concepts, Valentina had the hardest time understanding the Holy Spirit. She understood God the Father, God the Son, but God the Holy Spirit? Is that the mother? And I said sort of, in the role He plays, very much so. I pointed to four of us gals in the room who were teachers or studying to be teachers. I said, "The Holy Spirit teaches us things we need to understand. Look at Megan, Sarah, Faith, me. Teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher. The Holy Spririt is also our comforter. When we're sick, scared, confused, grieving, He comforts much like a mother. He also convicts us of sin." She understood much better.

green- growth. As the Spirit teaches, comforts, and convicts you, you will grow. As you obey Him, you grow. As you fellowship with other believers, you grow.

yellow - gold streets of Heaven. This is our promise from Jesus that He has gone to prepare a place for us to live forever with him when we die. This earth is not our final home.

I'm telling you, as I was sharing this, I wanted so badly for it to make sense. To be real and alive and clear. So I paused and let Dima explain all along the way in Russian. I loved watching the ladies' eyes light up when they understood, or furrow when they were confused so that I could go over it again. Going over it again using different wording is such a good exercise. Oh, if there were a way to express my passion better! Like Eric Liddell the great "Chariots of Fire" runner/missionary said, "When I run, I feel the pleasure of God," I was thinking, "When I share the gospel, I feel the pleasure of God." A few times I got choked up with gratitude for the gift of salvation and the sense that maybe I would witness a new birth before my eyes. (The second part didn't happen.) A holy hush and a holy rush at the same time filled the room!!!

Valentina was most stumped by the fact that I said you can pray anywhere anytime for salvation. In your kitchen, on the bus, in the market, in your bathroom. They chuckled about the last one but I said it's true. "You mean I don't have to be in church to pray this?""No. you don't."

'I don't have to go to church to believe in God?"

"No," I said, "But after you accept Jesus, you will WANT to be around other believers. You will want to be baptized. You will want to read your Bible."

A Bible? Nina hadn't read one for years. Didn't know if she could even find her copy. So we presented her with a new one and she was so thrilled that was in LARGE PRINT. (So was I! What a letdown that would've been if she couldn't read the print even if she could read the language! It made me note to myself: always give large print Bibles to people over 40.) I was bummed that we didn't have a copy to give Valentina, but this visit had been a last-minute plan when our original plans to go to a boarding school had been nixed by the school that morning.
I trust Valentina will share Nina's Bible and that both of them will come to know Christ. They are very steeped in the tradition of Russian Orthodoxy, so please pray that God will free them from long-held false doctrine and will teach them truth the power of His Holy Spirit.

(Afterwards, Megan said, "So, Dima, when Zo called you gorgeous and handsome, did you interpret that word for word? He nodded, "I just go with it, I just translate.") :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Surpise! I'm Teaching Art and I Just Found Out!

By way of a *little* misunderstanding, I will not be the helper for an art class. Instead, I will be the teacher. Yup. Apparently there was an asterisk next to each teacher's name in an email that went out to all the homeschool co-op moms. Obviously I didn't pay attention to the asterisk. If this asterisk was explained at the bottom, I missed it completely. I had said I only wanted to be a helper this year, that my hubby didn't want me to spend hours and hours outside of class like I did last time on co-op stuff.

Thankfully it's kindergarten art and not high school chemistry that got sprung on me. And it's not like I have to be good at art; I have to be patient with five-year-olds. Considering I will have my own child in the class (need I say more?) this is asking quite a bit! Also considering that art is Joel's gift (he draws the great webslinging Spider-Man in leaping positions, squatting positions, and always with detailed muscle structure) I know I will have to lower my expectations. For the record, Joel applied my make-up in the photo above. We were --ahem--admiring--his work together. I tried to convince him not to give me extra eyebrows, but he used his creative license.

I had also requested not to be the teacher in Joel's class,if at all possible, since I wanted him to answer to three teachers other than me for a change. Good news is, if he disobeys, Mama's class will be equipped with paint sticks that can easily serve double duty.

But regardless of the suprises, I am flexible--like a tennis shoe, not a rubber band-- and I do love art, and I do love to teach. I just have never taught art before and I wasn't expecting to have to plan art lessons this summer. Now it's mid-August and I have a week to come up with at least 12 weeks of plans, as well as a supplies list for 24 weeks.

I told my husband on the phone and he was okay. (But then again, he never comes unglued at work, so things might be different when he gets home and finds me knee-deep in blue tempera paint.) He was silent, then asked a battery of questions: What's expected? How many kids? Do you have to run all over town buying them? Do you have to plan the lessons yourself or will they hand you curriculum? He knows how I am, pouring myself into something once I commit to it if I love it. He knows co-op mornings can mean rooting through laundry baskets for socks that not only match his pants, but match each other. And then have oatmeal for dinner. With a little bit better time management this year--and the mere fact that I won't be grading high school English papers and planning SAT vocabulary games after care group, I should do better on the meals. (As for the socks, Sarah says we have a bunch that need e-harmony.)

So I guess this is a prayer request and a plea for creative help. My basic plan comes from someone in the co-op who knows what she's doing cuz she's done it for years. I'll be teaching foundational concepts--line, color, shape, texture. It's not a craft class, it's an art class, but not much art history (though I know I can't help but introduce my favorite painters) .

I have a lot of freedom in what resources to use, so if you can recommend good books at the kindergarten level--lessons that can be completed in under an hour INCLUDING clean up AND when you and your helpers are chatty women, please comment.

I am coming out of my panic mode and into my planning mode right now. Again, I need to present a semi-syllabus by next Friday. By God's grace, it will happen and it will be fun.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

8/8: Happy 16th, Stephen !!!

Dear Stephen,
Every August 8th and many times in between I get to reminisce about the wonderful day you were born. You joked around even in the womb, leading me to the hospital with false labor three times before the fourth and REAL time. You goofball. Then you surprised us by being born a boy and not a girl; it was like God's way of telling us early on that you would bring many laughs our way in your lifetime. That is certainly the case.

I thought I'd take the time to tell you 16 things I love about you, in no particular order.

1. Your smile. From the moment you were born, you have lit up a room with it.
2. Your sense of humor. Every day your quick wit delights me. The way you remember and tell jokes and your off-the-cuff comedy just keeps me rollin'.
3. Your passion for God. Many people have told me it's remarkable.
4. Your gentle spirit. Children and handicapped people are especially trusting of you because of it.
5. Your leadership skills. You take initiative. You set a great example. Teachers, pastors, and the principal of the school have taken notice and have appointed you leader of your upcoming senior class.
6. Your humility. You are quick to apologize and ask forgiveness when you've wronged someone.
7. Your desire to see others come to know the Lord--or know Him better. I've seen you in action street witnessing at White Marsh, I've heard good things about your boldness and sensitivity on the Boston e-team with your class, I've seen you attend the recent evangelism meeting at church and get excited about a possible teen Alpha.
8. Your computer skills. Where would I be without your help? And you don't complain. You could make me feel like an idiot for opening so many Windows at one sitting, or deleting stuff because my fingers fly and I have no clue what I did wrong until whole documents vanish. You always manage to find them. Your grandparents can't thank you enough for routinely bailing them out of computer snafus.
9. Your work ethic. I have seen so much growth in this area. This past week you answered the call to help total strangers move into their new home. They had no other help but you and Andy. In the heat and humidity you lugged boxes, furniture, and junk up and down their stairs ten hours over two days. You are a steady worker like your dad. You like precision but aren't a proud perfectionist.
10. Your musical ability. I have always enjoyed your piano playing, particularly the Charlie Brown theme song. I really never thought I'd say this, but I do enjoy listening to you play drums, too (and watching you when you are so zoned out with the iPod in your ears you don't even notice I'm there in your doorway). You truly worship with sticks in hand. I look forward to the day you are keeping the beat with the church band on Sundays.
11. Your athleticism. You enjoy a variety of sports but basketball is your first choice. It's a pleasure to watch you dribble, pass, shoot, and plan out the plays. Certainly is a testimony of how God healed your knee after your terrible skateboarding accident three years ago.
12. Your discernment. You've been given the gift of being able to get to the real issue in any conflict, disregarding the surface things that are being said that are irrelevant or only fuel for the proverbial fires our family occasionally start with our words to each other. Thank you for staying even-keeled and wise, able to silence a room with your uncanny gift of choosing the right scripture at the right time.
13. Your purity. I have never heard you disrespect a girl. You don't linger looking at girls, or talk about your sisters in Christ as anything other than that. It bothers you when other guys do. Sure it's normal and natural, but you try to live a holy and blameless life without being a loner or a snob.
14. Your chivalry. You are truly a gentleman. I can count on you to open my car door, hold other doors open, carry in groceries, pump the gas, use good table manners, and other small but very important graces that mean a lot to every woman and set the example for every man.
15. Your devotion to Christ. You aren't just passionate outwardly, you get away to a quiet place where no one but God sees you and commune with Him. Daily you are reading the Bible. I enjoy our conversations about confusing passages or hard saying of Jesus. I just asked you the other day if you've ever considered being a pastor and you said, "I've thought about it." You have the makings of a good one!!! Wouldn't it do Pappaw's heart good to see a 3rd-generation pastor in the family??
16. Your planning for the future. In the yearbook the question asked of every junior and senior was, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" You answered, "A father. Nothing else really matters." I love that you are already thinking in terms of tomorrow while living your life today with gusto for God, not wasting your youth, but investing it here and now in wholesome pursuits.

Thank you, Stephen, for modeling Christ to our family, to our neighbors, to our church, to the dark world. Your name means "crowned one." You have been crowned with grace and gifts and I will be the first to say you are keenly aware of that and take God's blessings seriously. Even your sense of humor!

I love you. I couldn't have asked for a better second son. You are a bright spot in my day every day. I will miss you (and your drums) when you move out on your own someday, but look forward to many great years under this roof. May God protect you, keep you, and make His face shine upon you.

Happy birthday.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Giddy-up, Horsie! Another Answer to Prayer!

We found and bought a car tonight for Sarah's use. This was truly a God thing. After coming home from Sarah's One-Stop at HCC, I checked Craig's List (MD, northern VA, and DC) and found nothing worthwhile in the way of a car to call about. Then I checked email. My husband was sending me an email AS I WAS WRITING to him (so romantic, isn't it? I'll takes it howevers I can gets it.) . It was a link to Craig's List in Delaware. Funny, I hadn't thought about searching there. I tend to think "3 hours to Delaware" because of the beach. This was 50 minutes.

The link was for a 1995 white Lexus with high miles in good shape for just $3300. That's some 1400-1500 under KBB value! The guy needed to sell in order to have all the cash he wanted for settlement on a house this Friday. Come to find out he and his wife are believers and he leads worship and has a recording studio (having recorded the likes of Jacqui Velasquez (sp?) and other Christian artists. His personality and infectious laugh reminded me of our pastor Arie.

So I tell him we're very interested and I'll bring the money IF and only if the 4:00 person he was showing it to didn't buy it. We've had 2 disappointments like that recently. He tells me everything right and wrong with the car, and the rights far outweigh the wrongs. I ran the list by Paul on the phone, and --wonder of wonders--he says, "go up there. Get it if you like it and if you trust the people."

You must understand. This is not the husband I married 20 years ago. He used to research a pair of running shoes for weeks before buying one 50 miles away to save five bucks. Then he'd have buyer's remorse if he saw the same pair advertised the next day for six bucks less.
Today he sends me a link from work and tells me to go up to Delaware within the hour to buy a car. Not with him. Without him! This is so not Paul, but you know what? It made me feel really good that he trusted me with that amount of money and car sense. Thanks, honey (if you read this!). Of course on the way up there he calls with his myriad other concerns. "Back out of his driveway and check for oil spots. If you're not sure what the fluid is, taste it." (He's telling Sarah this on the cell phone while I drive.) I hear her say, "I'm not gonna TASTE it!" I say, "Tell dad if you die you'll know it wasn't just condensation."

We get lost about five miles from the guy's house, thanks to mapquest not knowing there's a detour in Newark. Anyway, we finally arrive as Paul dictates new turn-by-turn directions.
The guy is waiting with a big smile. The car is nice. Not too nice to be uppity, but not too banged up to make us feel we wasted a lot of gas. Just right.

However, there is one little thing the guy forgot to mention on the phone or in the ad. It's little for a tall person, but not for shorty me. The problem is that the driver's seat motor will adjust the seat in every direction except forward. Yeh. Translated: I can't reach the pedal! Sarah is secretly loving this defect, I'm sure of it. So I couldn't test drive it, and she got to.

It's got 192K miles, but these cars are workhorses. And speaking of horses, you should have been on the test drive with us. I have never had to tell Sarah so many times in two miles to slow down. I felt the same mix of wonderful delight and sheer terror that I felt on the bare back of a galloping horse on a Kansas dirt path when I was nine.

I loved the ride.

I told the guy we'd buy it if my hubby approved of the seat defect. Paul said it was okay. It's a great car otherwise. A few rips in the leather, stains on the carpet, but hey! It's 12 years old and is for getting a kid back and forth safely to college without going into debt for transportation! I did ask the guy (I guess I should call him Sean since that is his name) if he'd knock a hundred bucks off for the seat problem, but he said he's at his lowest. I handed him the check, accepted the title and key, and blessed him and his new wife on their new home and marriage and wished him well at settlement. He was grinning from east to west.

We go back tomorrow after getting tags from the MVA. (He thought I said "NBA" and wondered what on earth???)

It's the quickest, most expensive transaction I've ever made all by myself and I'm happy about it. I just hope I've done right by my trusting mate.

Anyone wanna ride in the old new car? I told Sarah she should name it after a Preakness winner, it's so fast and smooth. Got any suggestions???? (She wants a girly name since it's "her" car. I put "her" in quotes because it is OUR car with her having liberal access.) Now the only prayer requests are: make sure MVA is cool with everything and that Sarah stays out of traffic court.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Want to Make a Friendship Quilt Block?

I'm going again (Lord willing) to the GAIN warehouse in October to pack and make gospel aprons and bead bracelets and hang out with some of the team we went to Vladimir with. I want to take a handmade quilt for GAIN to send to a Russian orphanage.

But, I have had to admit to myself I am not fast enough to do a whole quilt by myself by October.

So, I got to thinking...maybe some of my blogging friends would like to join me? Just make one square or two.

For more info about this, please read my post on, posted today, August 6. Please leave comment here. It may be that there's enough interest to make TWO quilts. The 25things blogs is NOT all Christians, by any means, but I always try to be overt about Christ somehow in my my posts there.

Got fabric?

When Tomorrow Comes Too Soon

Joel begged somebody, ANYBODY to play Trouble with him last night.

Not unreasonable, except that it was 11 pm. We had just gotten home from car shopping in Virginia! (He had taken a very long nap in the van.) So he had all this energy. We were beat.

"Joel, it's too late, honey. It's bedtime," Paul and I said.

The boy begged and pleaded, threw himself a pity party, but no one attended. Paul promised a spanking if he kept it up.

"I'll play tomorrow, Joel, " I told him. I kissed him goodnight and expected not to hear from him for another 9 hours, at least.


Sometime before Paul's alarm sounded at 6:30 I hear a rattle and a knock on the bedroom door. Was I dreaming? No, I wasn't. Within seconds Joel was standing next to me, bearing the game of Trouble.

"Mom?" he asked softly. "Remember how you said you'd play Trouble with me tomorrow? Well, it's tomorrow."

Quick Update

Thanks to everyone who's been praying for me. Here's an update:

1. My mom still doesn't have results. There are several tests that have to be reported on yet.

2. My root canal went fine. I got really worked up over nothing, especially that morning .I called so many people but all I got were answering machines except for my friend Barb in KS. The funny thing is, while waiting for her cell to connect , I got to listen to her music. The song? Lean on Me! Cracked me up. (Thought of Briana!) The other funny thing is what I read in psalms that morning, somewhere around Psalm 128. Remembering that I broke my tooth on an olive pit, and vowing to never eat one again unless I cut into 12 pieces first (cuz I DO love olives and don't want to give them up) here's what I read when I opened to my "scheduled" passage.

"And your children shall be like olive vines around your table..." It made me laugh, which did good like medicine.I said, "Lord, it's true, my children are a pain at times....but I still love them!"

Maybe God wanted to make me laugh, or maybe I am supposed to treat my children with more care. Or both. Either way, it was a perfectly funny thing to read the day of a scary root canal.

I have to go to my general dentist now for a permanent filling and crown. Still have soreness and a sharp edge on the lingual side, but nothing like what it was! Truly the hardest part of the visit was leaving--cuz I to shell over $427 on the way. Talk about the pits. (groan, groan)

3. I am on DAY 6 of my 5:25 HEALING!!!!!! It is nothing short of wonderful to be free of "that" issue!!!! I should elaborate in greater proportion than I begged for healing, but every woman reading this blog can imagine the list I could make of why it's great to be in this condition instead!!

4. Ben got the sexy car he wanted. (His friend Dan called it gorgeous, Allan called it "sick.") It's a 97 Audi A6 with quattro (meaning 4-wheel drive). The best part was that it was NOT the original car he put money down on, but a much better one--15,000 fewer miles, shiny black not green, working AC and sunroof, all around better. And the dealer was so understanding of the two hour trip we had made there twice, he simply wanted 500 more bucks for this car. Truth be told, PAUL loves to drive it. He has taken it to work twice in row.

We are not having an easy time finding a car for Sarah .Yesterday after church we went to VA again (where the good old cars for under 5K seem to be). Ran out of gas on southbound 95 while traffic just zoomed by. Thankfully we were in the fast lane so Paul putzed into the left shoulder hugging the jersey wall. Joel was a very good boy, happy to play with his Legos for an hour till the safety guy came w/ gas. The fuel gauge must be defective. It said we had 1/4 tank and Paul was gonna get more at the next exit.

Sarah enjoys long car rides, so going to VA or PA oer and over doesn't bother her a bit. She hasn't complained at all .

5.About the part time work.... I bumped into a friend, Kim C, at Target who told me she'd give me the number of a mutual friend who does private elder care for a LOT more than Home Instead pays. We'll see what becomes of that.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Asking for Prayer---AGAIN!

It's been quite the summer of prayer requests from me. But I am not ashamed nor afraid to ask again. My Christian sisters in blogland have been faithful to petition God on my behalf, and I have definitely seen exciting answers to prayer. So here I go again.

1. My mom had an MRI yesterday to study the lesions on her liver and spleen. They were found when she went to the GBMC hospital a couple weeks ago w/ severe abdominal pain. Normally, she informed me, lesions like this are malignant when there is a primary cancer pre-existing, but benign otherwise. She has not been diagnosed with cancer, praise the Lord. Please pray the lesions are benign.

2. I have my root canal tomorrow morning. Not dreading it like I was earlier this week, but still apprehensive if I'm gonna be honest to God about my feelings. I would rather have another female procedure than have my gums dug up and stitched closed.

3. I am still running a lowgrade fever and my issue has not resolved a hundred percent. I am also anemic. Pre-op my levels were 8.8 and normal is about 12. Dr Levy says to call him if the bleeding is not better in a week because "we may need to bump it up a notch" (meaning ablation). Please pray for quick, complete and LONGTERM healing of my Luke 5:25 ordeal. Next time I see Dr Levy I will ask him if I can just touch the hem of his lab coat, and see if he "gets it." My mom says most Jews DO understand that because it was associated with healing long before Jesus walked the earth. The high priests wore these long robes with special tassels on the hem.

4. The car situation has gone from tedious to tumultuous. Two Saturdays ago Ben put $1500 down on a 1996 Audi in Virginia, at a small dealership. The guy who runs the place didn't tell Ben he'd be on vacation for the next 10 days. All he told him was that he'd probably have the AC fixed by WEds. That was LAST week! Found out y'day the part is on backorder and it will be 2 more weeks. German car parts take a lot longer, but the guy said if Ben wants to pick it up today and bring it back when the part's in, that's okay. So we're going to VA this evening.
For Sarah's use, the car we had decided to buy (after much prayer, counsel, and deliberation because of the kind of vehicle it is) is no longer available. We looked at it 2 weeks ago, the people had taken excellent care of it (a 1995 BMW) and it was under 4000 dollars. The guy told us before he left on vacation, "So, I'll be back on the 30th and have it inspected .If it passes, are we talking money?" Paul and I agreed to buy it if it passed inspection. Meanwhile, we've been waiting patiently and turning down other great deals. The guy calls y'day and says they've decided to keep it. So........ we are still borrowing my parents' second car, bless their generous hearts.

5. Part time work for me. I checked out Home Instead. It's the kind of work I would love, but the pay is lousy, less than 8 bucks an hour. If I didn't need big bucks for tuition, I would take it. But I am going to look around for similar work that pays better. After taxes, 8 bucks an hour doesn't amount to much. I'd make more selling wreaths for profit! I'll also check the writing lab at HCC. When my younger sister worked there, it paid 12 an hour. Much better, and also something I think I'd enjoy. (Maybe not, tho.' Jill said she was aghast at how many freshmen didn't know what a verb was, let alone how to organize a paragraph.)

That's my TOP 5. Thanks for reading and praying for me.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How, Exactly, Do You Give Glory to God?

Here's what I read this morning and have been meditating on all day:

It's about Abraham and is from Romans 4:20-21...
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised

The first thing I'm thinking about is: he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God.

NOT as he got older,
NOt as he saw evidence of the promise being fulfilled (because THAT was still a long time coming),
NOT as people encouraged him (because he didn't get a lot of that),
NOT as he attended synagogue with his fellow Jews,

but he grew strong in faith as he gave glory to God.

It's an oft-used phrase--"give glory to God," and sometimes I just like to ponder phrases, turn them upsidedown like pants to see if I can "shake any more meaning out of their pockets." Would you help me?

Please leave some bullet point ways to glorify God in the comment box. It's always good to revisit this theme with our heads together.

20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that(AB) God was able to do what he had promised