Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Dedicated Line

So the Adelphia repairmen came today - a twin set of them actually and they tell me that I need a dedicated line for my PowerLink and I will need to add another cable outlet if I want to have actual cable on the second floor of my house. Apparently splitting the line does not provide enough power to my modem.

And this got me thinking.

How often do I "split the line" to my power source? In my effort to multi-task and accomplish all that I have before me, I am often guilty of multi-tasking my relationship with God. There is nothing wrong with praying while I'm carpooling my kids or singing praise songs while I'm folding laundry (nice example but I'm usually trying to keep my two-year old from unfolding the laundry instead). God wants to be included in my everyday life and my relationship with Him is ongoing no matter what I'm doing.

But I am in need of a "dedicated line". Without it, I'm not truly plugged into His strength. I think we could all use some time where we are focused completely on Him - our hearts wide open to receive His grace, strength and power to live our lives in a way that will glorify Him. Maybe that's why I feel like I'm always running on a half tank.

But revelation is only half of the solution - now I need to do what I'm hearing Him whisper.

I think I'm going to go install a dedicated line of my own - my own time, my own place - to focus on Him. I already know He's worth it.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

On Hard Work

"All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty."
Prov 14:23

My friend Joan was commenting on her blog about how so many wanna-be writers would like to skip all the work that goes into becoming published. I laughed as I read it because I, too, have met many, many writers who want to hear something other than what I have to tell them.

And that is simply, "It takes a lot of work."

But isn't that true of anything worth accomplishing? I remember my parents making me earn the money to get something I wanted, telling me that it will mean more to me by earning it than if they simply gave it to me. At the time, I was less than thrilled with their words of wisdom, but it was indeed wisdom. The things we have worked the hardest on, mean the most to us in the end. I took care of the bike I worked to pay for much better than I took care of the one I didn't. It's human nature.

And God understands the nature of man. Yes, He could speak a word and every wrong thing in our life could be made right. Every mountain would have to move and every obstacle would disappear. But if He did that, where would that leave us? We would be greedy and spoiled, expecting a handout every time there was a need, unwilling to labor and content to let God do all the work.

Now I'm not saying that God doesn't help us, on the contrary, He helps us much more than we deserve and it is only through His power that we are able to accomplish anything at all. But in His wisdom and mercy, He does allow us to labor for things. Hard work always brings a profit - but many of us, myself being the biggest culprit, simply don't want to do the hard work. And it is as true in the spiritual as it is in the natural. I whine and complain about my weight, but then balk about doing the everyday hard work that it would take to achieve a different result. A person calls me and wants to be a writer, but complains that they don't have the time, money, energy, etc, that it would take to achieve a result in the world of publishing.

It's a pervasive cultural problem with a solution few want to hear. Do the work, and you will get results. Spend the time with God, and You will get to know Him better. Labor through His power and strength, and all things are possible. It's the way He designed everything from the beginning. He knows us too well, and loves us too much to let us miss out on the blessings He wants to give us on the journey.

Here's to the journey.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Blog World

Until I began blogging myself, I never realized how large the blogging community really was. I mentioned the word "blog" at a Bible Study and the looks I received back were blank stares, thinking perhaps maybe it was a viral strain that they should avoid. So it seems that bloggers are the ones who know about blogs.

And each community has a unique feel to it. There are the "mommy blogs", "writer blogs", "political blogs", "knitting blogs", "pet blogs", "computer-geek blogs", "spiritual blogs" - you name it I bet there's a blog out there for you.

I read all sorts of blogs, a past-time I will probably need to confess an addiction to before too long. But it's not great info that interests me most. It's people - working out the everyday issues of their faith. I'll admit that I'm still trying to figure out what I want this blog to be. Blogs need focus if they are to gain a dedicated audience, but writing about "one topic only" stifles me in a way that makes me not want to continue.

So I went back to my vision statement - the sentence that describes my passion - and the purpose that I believe that I'm here on this earth. Maybe that's what my blog is - and perhaps focusing on that purpose, it will cause it to be a more cohesive whole.

So what is my vision statement? Hmmm, maybe that's a topic in itself.

And welcome to all those who are visiting from Make sure you visit their site and see what you find.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Confessions of a Packrat

Yes, I like to keep things. Almost anything can acquire sentimental value (including trash - trust me, don't ask) and getting rid of it causes major stress. This morning I tackled the room my two eldest girls share. It was getting cluttered and I was getting irritated simply walking in there. They are young, and are adept at picking up, but not true cleaning and organizing. So the task falls to Mom.

I went in there giving myself a peptalk. "Be ruthless! If it's trash, throw it away. If it's broken, throw it away. If they don't use it anymore, pack it up for the yard sale. Come on! You can do it!" But I am still amazed at how hard it is to actually throw things away. My girls have accumulated countless little pink and purple plastic boxes in various shapes that toys probably cam in or with. Yes, the flower shape is cute. But they don't really need it and it's cluttering up the room! It's near the trash bag, but admittedly, it's not in it yet.

The same goes for many other things I keep. It often takes me two or three times of going through something until I finally admit to myself that it needs to go.

In the same way we accumulate physical clutter, we can pile up spiritual clutter as well. Jesus told us we were a new why is it so hard to let go of the old ways and put on the new ways? We grow attached to our old ways of doing things. Change is always hard, and there is always a cost. I know that when I'm done cleaning my girls' room, I will breathe a big sigh of relief. It will be worth the struggle to make it happen. And I know if I let go of some old habits and put on new ones, there will be good fruit that comes of it. I know it. But I have to believe it and be willing to do what it takes to get there.

Here's to getting there.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Spring Has Sprung

Oh, how I love the Spring!

"See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come;
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance."
Song 2:11-13a

I know we still have some rain to come but spring rains are so different from winter rains. I live in a place where we get four seasons a year. I joke with my husband that I want to live somewhere where it's 70 degrees and gorgeous all year long, but the spring coming after a long winter refreshes me. I don't think I would appreciate the spring as much if it were never winter.

And the same is true for joy and sorrow. I would rather everything stay happy and wonderful, but sorrow, and even tragedy does come. But I know the spring will come again too. I know that God will refresh and renew the Earth...and me.

The season of singing will come again.

So I like being where the seasons change and I'm reminded to trust God to bring newness to me. (But you may have to remind me of all this when it's 100 degrees and 100% humidity this summer.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Easter Candy and the Art of Self-Control

By the title you can tell where I'm going with this. There is entirely too much Easter Candy - i.e. chocolate - in my house. I can resist cheap chocolate - I can pass by Hershey Kisses and the no-named chocolate Easter balls with no problem. It's the Dove chocolate bunnies that my mother stuck in my kid's Easter baskets that I have trouble with. That and the BJ's size case of Lindt Truffles that are (not) hidden in my husband's closet.

I went to the gym today and did over an hour of aerobics and the whole time I'm thinking - "Why am I sweating my butt off just to go home and ruin in with the chocolate that I'm bound to shove in my mouth?" And hence the self-control issue. I have it in spades in some areas of my life but somehow come up de-void in the area of eating - well, to be specific, sugar and sweets. I mean, if I was eating carrots by the handfuls I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

I know the exercise is good for me regardless of my eating habits. But it would probably actually cause some change if I'd do both instead of just one or the other. And frankly, I'm just tired of being bigger than I should be.

But I'm going to have to get this Easter candy out of the house - and not the way I'd like to do it either.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Terri's Death

I wonder what effect Terri's death will have on our culture. I wonder how it will change living wills and the way our country views life. As I watched the videos of Terri, I couldn't help but think of the countless children and young people who suffer from serious brain damage. These kids have always been that way, and their parents have always cared for them - so we don't hear a lot about them. The real question that Terri's case has brought up, and the reason it so closely mirrors the abortion issues, is "What is the value of life?"

Are we valuable because of what we do or experience, or simply because we are? As Christians, we know where our true value comes from. But as we talk to an unbelieving world about Christ - the value of life is an important question to consider. It's one of those foundational issues - that we are valuable to God - so much so He was willing to die that we might be saved. If we are not innately valuable, then our worth comes from where? What we do? How many driven Pharisees believe they can earn their way to heaven by their good works. How many times have I heard my own father say, "As long as the good that I do outweighs the bad that I do, then I'll be okay." The problem is that the Bible says that all of us will fall short.

I don't know about you, but today, I'm awfully glad that I am sure of my own value. That I don't need to struggle and fight to try to earn favor from God. I already have it, and so do you. Maybe if our culture would be willing and able to see the innate value of their own lives, they'd be more willing to see the innate value in someone else's. And they wouldn't be so quick to cast it aside.

Just a thought.