Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hannah's Hundred: A Review

Last year my mom brought my daughter a CD from a ladies day she attended.  It was entitled "Hannah's Hundred Vol IV".  We opened it up and popped it in to the CD player on the car.

My 8 year old daughter (who the CD was for) loves it.  Her older sister thinks it is corny. I am on the fence, on the one hand, a little corny, on the other hand, kids under 10 rarely have discriminating musical tastes!  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Does it work?

Is "Does it work" the right question to ask about God?  Marriage, faith, church, hope,
My marriage is in trouble. If we started coming to church, do you think it would work?

I’ve got a kid who is breaking my heart. If I prayed for him, do you think it would work?

I’ve got cancer and I’m really scared to die. If I asked God to heal me, do you think it would work?

Does it work?  

That is a question I have heard before.  It’s a question that hurts me because it so often comes from a  place of immense pain and fear.  But I’m sorry to say it’s the wrong question. Why? Because it implies that we are willing to serve God if it will work (IE if we will get what we want.) 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The end of a love story

The love story isn't over.

After 59 years and 11 months, after children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, after countless adventures and the quiet wasting years, she is gone. 

He was at church today.  Sitting alone.  He hasn't been there in months.  He has spent every Sunday morning at the nursing home with her.  Their pew sat empty awaiting a return that simply never happened. Seeing him today sitting by his son was bitter sweet.  We were all glad to have him but he was displaced.

Displaced is just the word.  He seems lost right now without her. It's no wonder.  He was married to her three times as long as he was alive without her.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Communers not Consumers: 6 Ways to Build Community in your Church

What do you want in a church?  A strong youth program, a fantastic minister, visionary elders, lots for your kids to do?  

Would you trade all of that for community?  You know a church where everyone knows you, not your mask but the real you, and loves you anyway?  A place where you are integral, where you are missed, where you are needed?  A place where you know everyone.  Their hurts are yours, their joys are your, their children are like your own nieces, nephews, grandkids.  No, if you had that, you'd be a part of that church for the rest of your life. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Scrubbing Soap Scum for Jesus

One Wednesday I woke up and scrubbed the bathroom. It was the start of an amazing day from God. 

I live in the Wyoming desert.  Rock Springs is one of a pair of twin communities almost a 100 miles of highway away the next town.  We have the hardest water of anywhere I have ever lived. I would like to write, “I am constantly battling soap scum,”  but it’s more like soap scum is constantly winning battles I forgot to show up for.  But this Wednesday, I made a bottle full of the “magic” soap scum cure (Dawn and vinegar) and went to work. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

'Twas the Day after Easter

Communion, Lord's Supper, Eucharist, Easter'Twas the day after Easter and the plastic grass is semi-glued to the candy.  Halves of plastic eggs are lurking in the yard ready to pulverize bare feet and become shrapnel for the push mower. Tummy aches and leftover sugar highs are making parents more miserable than the kids.  Tiny suits and dresses hang in closest and photos are sent out to develop.

'Twas the day after Easter and millions of people brim with the joy of the Lord.  They rejoice in the love of Christ's sacrifice, they revel in the morning arrival at the tomb; they shout with the millions on high, "He is risen! Christ is risen indeed!"  But Monday has arrived.  Spring break is over and it's time to go back to work, back to school.  It's time to return to the mundane and leave our spiritual high behind. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What is an Older Woman Worth?

I once had an older woman tell me she doesn't go to church
anymore because " is for young folks and children. They need that in their youth to set them straight. I'm not in need of it now, and no one needs me there."  How my heart broke for that woman!  But I know that she is not alone in her thoughts, even if others may not drop out of attending worship as she had done.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Diligent Woman: An Interview

Angela Legg blogs at The Diligent Woman and has a new edition of her book To Be A Handmaid of the Lord coming out very soon!  I had the privilege of interviewing her for you today.  (Interested in just buying the book?  Check out the review.)

Angela, I know your family has been an inspiration in your writing; can you introduce them and tell us about yourself as a mom?

Bryan and I have been married 22 years this June. We have five daughters, all at home. They are currently ages 19, 18, 13, 8, and 6.  Hmm, I never thought about describing myself as a mom—authoritative but hands-off? I’m a no-nonsense kind of mom. I teach them the things they need to know and then stand back and give them room to act on the knowledge.

Friday, April 7, 2017

To Be a Handmaid of the Lord: A book review

When I recently wrote "Sister Value Yourself," an old blogging friend popped up in the comments, Angela Legg.  She spoke up on this post, I'm sure, because she and I share a soap box or two.  We believe women should be encouraged to eat of the meat of the Word of God.  That so many of the failings of women in our culture are because they don't recognize their value in God's eyes.  That the most important thing we can do as teachers of women is point them back to God's love and His word!  

It's these ideas that drove the new edition of her book, To Be a Handmaid of the Lord.  I reviewed the first edition two years ago when it was designed as challenging Sunday School or homeschool material for pre/young teen girls.  And I was impressed with it then. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Twitchy and Giggles or Why I I Have a Communion Problem

Standing at the front, a solemn brother reminds the congregation that the bread he holds in his hands is the body of Jesus Christ.  Sitting in the pew, I raise an eyebrow as the kid I JUST told to put her feet down sneaks them back up.

He entones, “Let us pray.”  With half an eye open, I keep watch on Twitchy and Giggles ready to thump them if they get too loud.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Encouragement: Introducing Kristin Pace

I want to introduce you to a new blogger you should be following, Kristin Pace.  She blogs about her faith from a wide perspective.  She is a mom, a homeschooler, and her husband's helper in all things ministry.  She has a pre-teen with chronic pain and blog where she talks about all of it.  Be sure and click through at the end of the teaser to find the rest of the article and check out her blog.  You'll find her subscribe button in the same place as our's-top left-hand corner.

Have you ever wanted to try something but there was something that kept you from trying? Have you ever wanted to do something but were afraid it wouldn’t be received well? What eventually motivated you to put yourself out there?
I use my children as examples a lot, but there is so much insight to be gained from watching them interact with the world. 🙂 For example, our youngest struggles with chronic pain. She has fought this fight for over half of her life, but this last year in particular has been full of pokes and prods, countless appointments and tests and even a short hospital stay. Through the course of this, she has developed an intense fear of her doctor and anything medical. It’s to the point where she has full blown panic attacks....

Find out what encouraged Kristin's little girl to new heights of courage.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wanted: A Peacemaker

I was all set to write a post on peacemaking.We have been talking a lot about how to be a Christian in our modern world.  There was a post on women's value, another on whether Christians should engage in the swirling debate, and a Biblical rubric for social media.  That's not to mention the posts on fear and tamales

 Peacemaking fits right in because more than anything (except Jesus Christ) this country needs a peace maker.  Someone who can bring about reconciliation.  Someone who can lead by example.  Someone who can forgive, whose ego takes a back seat.  Someone who will stand up for God's way but sit down and listen to others' points of view.

But that is not today's post.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Too Stupid to be Afraid

My dad has long said that I was "too stupid to be afraid."  I don't think this is an insult.  I suspect grudging admiration.  He is every bit as adventuresome as me.  And he doesn't really think I'm dumb.  It's just that a certain amount of fear is a smart response to a dangerous situation. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Saving the World One Tamale at a Time

Do I look like a super-hero?  


I am a quite ordinary stay-at-home mom and blogger.  We're a dime a dozen.  It's the best disguise since the mild-mannered reporter.  

But let me tell you how I am saving the world one tamale at a time.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Teach Me Your Statutes

This New Year I have dusted off my audio Bible.  Specifically I committed to spending my first 25 minutes of listening for the day to listening to my Bible.  I am on track with all the folks who are reading and HOURS behind on my usual podcasts.  I am absorbed by the Torah.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

To Speak or Not to Speak: A Social Media Rubric

When we lived abroad, I lived an entirely apolitical life.  I had no opportunity (nor desire) to speak about the politics of our host country and no need to think about the politics half a world away in America.  But since we have been back, (especially this last 12 months) it seems to be the only topic of conversation.  I have been thinking about it a lot and finally came up with these 6 passages to help me sort out how to deal with these conversations and my own responsibility.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Welcome to the Jungle: Righteousness and Social Media

I don't have to tell you that the general trend of conversation on social media has become less civil, do I?  Not just impolite, on both sides of the aisle I have seen Christians carried away into bitter and hateful speech.   Before you ask, there are Christians who vote both Democrat and Republican, not to mention independents like myself.  

Even more recently I have heard people suggest that the answer to the problem is to simply delete our Facebook accounts or to stay out of politics all together.  I sympathize.  On my personal account I have dealt with the vitriol by not responding to other's political posts and posting less and less as the bile grew.  

Then I saw a friend who was hurting; all metaphor aside politics has been giving her a stomach ache.  The word compassion in Greek means "From the gut." She is living it out.  As we chatted,  I realized I was part of the problem.  In my silence, I had let her and others believe that they were alone.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Sister, Value Yourself

My sweet sister, value yourself.  

Women have been at the forefront of the news.  Not only because of the rise of LGBT, the resurgence of the "reproductive rights", and the recent Women's march but because so many women young and old feel devalued.

It's no wonder we feel devalued.  We have sold the truth for a lie (Proverbs 23:23).  

Women are devalued when they are exploited, taught that they are only valuable as sexual objects.  It happens when women read porn; it happens when women become porn.  It happens when women believe (and so dress) as if their boobs were more valuable than their brains.  You think women's education is disrupted by enforcing a dress code?  I think girls struggle to receive an education when our society and their parents have encouraged them to think of themselves as 16 year old sex objects instead of 16 year old scholars. The lie: A woman's value lies in her attractiveness.  The truth: Women are intrinsically valuable-humans made in the image of God.

Women are devalued when they believe that they are victims, constantly attacked and belittled so they should take up arms and militantly defend their rights.  The women of God, like the men of God are meek.  We are spiritual warriors, mighty in prayer.  When we suffer in the world, our Father takes up our cause.  The lie: Men and the paternalistic society are our enemies and we must fight even harder for our rights.  The truth: Women are often mistreated in the this world.  Yet the women of God seek justice at the throne of God and stand in peace for those who are mistreated, brother and sister alike. 

Women are devalued when they categorize themselves.  To the single some mutter, "Why can't you find a man?  Without a family you are nothing." To the married others mutter "The man you married has made you barefoot and pregnant, a servant in your own house." Women are never nothing.  Each one has the potential to become a daughter of the King, priests of our God, holy, mighty in prayer.  We are not only the nurturers of life, we can bring people to new life.  The lie: Our worth is found in our marriage or in our career.  The truth: Whether we are in the workplace, in our home or out having fun, we are all servants in God's house.  Checking the box, "married" or "single" will never be as important as serving Him well. 

Women devalue themselves by choosing lie over truth.

Let me tell you the truth, sisters.  You are of immense value.  Your Father adores you and wants you to becoming everything you can be.  But that "everything" isn't skinny, or curvy, married or single or any other category that the world trumpets.  God's everything is holy, self-controlled, peaceful, meek, powerful and gentle.   God's everything reflects His character and is empowered by His Spirit.  The truth will set you free from the world's expectations and bring you into your Father's light. 

So let me beg you sisters, value yourself because the Father values you.  


Monday, January 30, 2017

The Accuser

Have you ever second guessed yourself?  Felt the anxiety of wondering if you were misunderstood?  Been gripped by panic that what seemed fine at the time was actually gossiping, boasting or being hurtful?  Waffled over whether you should say anything at all?

During our most recent Sunday night class we talked about boasting.  I love these classes where our whole congregation is invited to study and bring their thoughts.  At first it seemed that everyone confidently understood how to identify bragging.  It makes us want to roll our eyes; it's a heart problem.  It's exaggerated.  It's a kind of one-up-manship. I began to think I was the only one who dithered about sharing good news in case that was boasting. In the past I have been misunderstood or I've struggled with boasting or both (See how I anxiously dither?) and sometimes now I just don't share at all.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Preparing Heart Songs: A guest post by Susan Elliott

If you recall last week, I reviewed an anthology of short fiction, essays and poetry edited by Susan Elliott.  Well, today I have a treat for you.  Susan wrote a post for MaidservantsofChrist all about the process.  Enjoy. 

Let me just say, wow! Putting together an anthology has been a huge learning curve. I had the idea for an anthology from Church of Christ Women Authors (COCWA) in 2015. I think I first mentioned it to Monica Mynk during a YouTube author interview a long time before I announced it on the website. She encouraged me to go for it, so I did. 

One cool thing about the Heart Songs Anthology is that it is full of material from all genres of writing.  It was an opportunity for any Christian woman writer to let her voice be heard. I love the variety of short stories, articles and poetry. It includes authors like Sandi Rog, Carol Shaw, Lynn Nodima, and of course Helene Smith. One thing I wanted to do with the anthology was to make sure that the writers retained their rights to their works. I want them to be able to enter contests, publish their own books, or share them in any way that they want. So, I didn’t garnish them in any way. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Heart Songs Vol 1: Book Review

Are you an omnivore?  I'm not asking if you eat meat, veggies, fruit and grains, but if you are the kind of reader who loves to read EVERYTHING.  I am. 

I love poetry. Edna St. Vincent Millay is a long term favorite.  
I love science fiction/fantasy.  Sanderson, Weber, Bujold
I love well done Christian fiction. Patrick Carr
I love non-fiction- We have been back on a Metaxes kick at our house. 
I love short stories- Especially the ones for kids. I enjoyed the Dahl, Kipling and Dickens short fiction pieces we've done for homeschool at least as much the kids did.

I love to read.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Lessons learned at Tae Kwon Do

Recently my daughters and I joined a Tae Kwon Do class. If
you are struggling (or snickering) as you imagine me as the oldest white belt in a class filled with people under 12, that's ok I understand.    It's pretty funny.  Especially when we are crab walking.  Or frog jumping.  Or I am lying on the gym floor wondering if I just did irreparable damage to my body.  Besides all the hilarity, and amazing physical benefits, Tae Kwon Do has taught me spiritual lessons as well.