Thursday, June 24, 2010

Confession 111: 100 Days of Praise

My friend Teri over at GodsyGirl Ministries ( showed me a new site called W2W Soul. You can find it at They are offering a 100 Days of Praise challenge with downloadable scripture for each day. I'm up for the challenge! I don't know about you, but I need to be focused on some praise!! So, I'm taking the challenge. Anyone else?

Blessings and Peace,

P.S. It's move day!! Aaaack! :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Confession 110: Missed Grace

Sometimes I get obsessed with the news. A headline will catch my eye and something about the story will completely captivate me so that I'm following the whole saga on numerous national and international news sites. The past two days I have been closely following the fallout from comments made by Lt. General McChrystal, commander of the U.S. Afghan forces, to a Rolling Stone reporter. Apparently, the General and his staff made several off-color remarks about prominent civilian leaders (including the Vice President). When news of the article became public the General was immediately summoned to Washington D.C. and asked to account for his behavior.

McChrystal offered a public statement of apology for the remarks, which, from other news stories I have read, really do not mirror his actions throughout his career. Yet immediately there were cries from politicians and political junkies to remove the General from his position. President Obama met with General McChrystal this morning to discuss the situation. Call me an old-fashioned idealist, but here is how I had hoped this conversation would go...

The President: General, you've messed up. What do you have to say for yourself?

The General: Mr. President, I have made a fool of myself and of this country. I lost my focus and said things that should not have been spoken, especially not to a reporter. I am truly sorry for letting you down and the country down. I understand the precarious position this puts you in and am ready to offer my resignation if that is what you think best. I am also committed to continuing on in our mission in Afghanistan and am committed to the cause of rooting out terrorism and helping to secure peace in the Middle East.

The President: General, I thank you for your apology. There is a lot of work ahead of us. I can't deny that my trust in your abilities and loyalty to this cause has not been shaken. You are a General in the United States Army. I expect better of you. This country expects better of you. Your troops deserve better of you. I have given this a lot of thought and prayer and have come to a decision. While your comments were stupid and unprofessional, you were appointed to this post for a reason. It is not in the best interest of this campaign to lose you, especially due to the ramblings of some young, punk upstart reporter. I am willing to take the political heat from this decision. Goodness knows we've all said things we regret later. But I expect you to make amends here. You will recount every word that was spoken in that article. You go directly from this office to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and offer a sincere and humble apology. You will then fly back to Afghanistan where you will meet with the troops to apologize for putting them in more harm's way and to reassure them of your commitment to this mission.

Unfortunately, there is little room for forgiveness in today's political world. A misjudged sound byte can ruin even the most prestigious of careers. The President asked for and received General McChrystal's resignation. I can't help but feel a measure of disappointment. I know little about the General or his accomplishments, but I know a lot about grace. And I think that we, as a nation, are missing it. I think the President missed an opportunity here to show grace in a very real and public way. In that sense, I think he made the wrong decision. But he is just a man, after all. Thank goodness God isn't!!

Blessings and Peace,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Confession 109: Packing

Well, the big move is finally upon us. Thursday is move day, so we are in the final stages of packing. What this means in our house is that everyone grabs a box (kids too) and runs through the house throwing anything lying on a floor, table, chair, couch, bathtub, etc... pell-mell into the box. The box then gets closed, taped, and marked with a big "Misc." to make it look organized and official. Of course, we know that the big "Misc." really means, "Stuff scattered throughout the house we had no idea what to do with." My oldest has gotten pretty into the whole packing thing. He packed two boxes last night, and was very excited about it. I had to go through it when he wasn't looking and remove the sippy cup filled with yesterday's milk. That's a surprise I don't want waiting for me on the other end of the move!! (Yes, I did say sippy cup with day-old milk. No one was actually drinking it, it was just there on the floor with the rest of our belongings we have yet to pack.)

As a Methodist clergy family, we always save our boxes. It is inevitable that we will use them again. So, one of my favorite parts of this move has been reading the labels on the boxes from our previous moves. I know, some of you well-organized type A's out there are thinking, "How brilliant! You can pack everything back into the boxes that are pre-labeled and save a step!" In case you haven't noticed, my personality falls more into type C. Organizing everything into pre-labeled boxes makes my head spin. I thoroughly enjoy reading the old labels, loading the "Kitchen Glasses" box with shoes, labeling the box "Sara's Closet" and tossing it into the garage.
What I would really like to do is just toss everything into the garbage and take only a couple of suitcases to the new house. This is how we type C's organize. However, my husband tells me that would be wasteful and financially stupid since we can't afford to buy anything that costs more than a new card table.

We have been purging some things, however, which really does my heart good. Our local goodwill store has received about twenty bags of clothes and toys. My husband would like to purge the cats, but I just don't realistically think that's happening.

I was thinking this morning how nice it would be to go through the packing/purging process in our own lives. I would love to dig down deep into my heart and soul and purge some things out, while packing some others away for safe-keeping. I know that God has done a lot of the purging in his mind, but some things linger in mine. But really, that's how we grow, isn't it?

I guess those are the extent of my thoughts on packing, and in any case, my students have arrived and are eagerly awaiting the learning they will do today. (Ha!) They're eagerly awaiting watching Mexico play Uruguay in the World Cup! You know...whatever works.

Blessings and Peace,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Confession 108: Tired But Inspired

I woke up today tired with a capital T! Teaching English to incoming Freshmen for seven hours a day, most of whom failed 8th grade English, is draining. Our boys are off at Grandma and Grandpa's this week being spoiled rotten and loving every minute of it, and I have been enjoying their absence probably more than I should. Chris and I have been working on packing up the house and I've been trying to get through a couple of scrapbook pages each evening for my four year old's baby book. I figure it will make a good high school graduation gift!! My youngest might get his before he finishes college! :-)

Anyway, I was tired, and cranky, and dreading trying to instruct my students in citation of sources... (Mees! I don't get it!) Aaargh!! I stopped for some coffee and spent some time perusing some of my favorite blogs and found three that were very inspiring. Check out Bethany at She wrote an extremely moving post on the Native American sweat lodge ceremony of healing and drawing closer to God that helped to wake me up a bit and give me something "higher" to ponder.

Also, check out GodsyGirl at Not only does she offer inspiring blog posts, she also has an audio feature you can listen to with wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement.

Finally, if you just need a laugh to start your day head on over to The Domestic Fringe. She has a wonderful quote on friendship from Ralph Waldo Emerson that will get your brain going and you can scroll down to previous entries for some good belly laughs. I love starting my day with FringeGirl!!

Blessings and Peace--the Weekend's Coming Soon!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Confession 107: All Tangled Up

Last fall, we had the bright idea to get a new puppy. It was a moment of weakness, I must admit. The puppy was from a rescue organization and we were taking the boys on a stroll through a park where the rescue organization was set up for the day. Gibby, our puppy, was only a few months old at the time. One of the rescue workers gave him to our youngest to hold (total sucker ploy!) who immediately cuddled up with the puppy, which we were told was very "docile". Whatever!! Several months later our Gibby has grown up big and strong. He's part Black Lab and part Pit, so he chews everything, jumps on everyone, and causes mayhem among our other three animals when he's in the house. Therefore, Gibby is primarily an outside dog.

Unfortunately, we don't have a fenced in backyard, so Gibby is tied to a lead out front. The problem with this is that there are also three rosebushes, two (now one) small trees and a couple of big shrubs that also dwell in the front yard. Gibby is not what anyone would call a "smart dog". Without fail, shortly after he goes outside he's tangled up around a tree (note that we only have one now), a rose bush, or a shrub. And I'm not just talking wrapped around once or twice, I mean several layers of lead wrapped in different directions around two or more elements of landscaping. It's infuriating to spend twenty minutes untangling that mess, dodging thorns, poop and brambles, only to have him wrapped up again ten minutes later!

My general response to finding Gibby tangled up in a mess of his own making is this:

"Aargh! You stupid dog!! Why did you do that? I am NOT untangling you again! Maybe now you'll learn not to get yourself into this mess, Dumb (fill in the blank) Dog!!"

When I came home from church Sunday to find him tangled up, yet again, I wondered if this is what we look like to God. How many messes have you made for yourself in the past year chasing something you thought you needed? How many times have you been tangled up in something and called to God, "Please help! I'm stuck!!" Like my dumb dog, we never learn to stop running in circles.

Luckily, as always, God's response is so much better than mine. I don't think God ever calls us stupid or dumb. I don't think he says, "I told you so!" or leaves us straining to break free from the web we've stuck ourselves in. No, I think God patiently and gently comes to us each time, slowly leading us back around the thorny bushes, brambles, poop and trees that have caused us to become trapped. He puts us back where we need to be, each and every time. Each and Every Time!!! There is no place we've gone that God can't lead us back from. There is no knot too strong and tight for him to unloose.

Jeremiah 5:22- "I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail."

Psalm 46:1- The Lord is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Blessings and Peace,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Confession 106: The View From The Sky

A few weeks ago, some church members who own a small plane invited Chris and I to go flying with them after church. I had not flown on a plane this small in my entire life, so I was a bit intimidated. We have a will which designates custody of our children to my sister, but she is 8 months pregnant at the moment and I can't imagine would relish the thought of having two toddlers in the midst of that!! Regardless, I went on the trip anyway and it was a lovely experience.

The thought occurred to me that you really don't know a land until you've flown over it. For instance, I didn't realize how close the three towns we live around and in really are--how they come together to form a triangle of sorts. I didn't realize how the farmers' fields flow with the land and the cattle graze up one hill and down another. I didn't realize how beautiful the vast expanses of farmland all around us are, the contrast of the rich dark brown soil and the verdant green of the hillsides. Ireland eat your heart out! Surely, I thought, there can be no more beautiful place in the world! (Except, of course, Italy, France, Greece, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Australia, Hawaii, Japan, Kenya, Peru....I just want to make sure my husband doesn't think we don't need to travel in the future! :-) )

The point is, you can't see the whole from where you're standing. You only get that view from above. And, the only one who has that view of our lives is, of course, our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Almighty, Loving, Merciful, Glorious, Above All, Who Was, Who Is, Who Is Yet To Come, God.

I've been wrestling with God a lot lately about the future. We move in two and a half weeks and I still have not found a teaching job. I've been offered an adjunct position to teach a class at a local community college, but I'm not sure the money is going to be worth it. And, I could substitute teach, but there are no insurance benefits from that. I know, I know, that God already has this worked out. But I can't see the view from above. I guess I just have to trust that's it's beautiful.

Blessings and Peace,

Friday, June 4, 2010

Confession 105: Turning Two

My baby boy is turning two today. Please tell me how this is possible!! Time shouldn't go so fast! Stephen woke up this morning for an early celebration around 4:30. I got him back to bed right before my alarm went off. :-) I used Grandma Mikki's brown sugar cookie recipe to make him a giant cookie cake to take to the babysitters. We'll get to do the whole thing over again next Wednesday for my oldest who will turn four. Crazy times! It doesn't make sense to me that I can be excited about my oldest getting older while being sad that my youngest is getting older as well. Oh well, such is motherhood!

Blessings and Peace for a Joyous Weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Family

My Family

My Family 2

My Family 2