Archive for the ‘General’ Category

When We Can’t Laugh

It is better to laugh, to have joy, but there are times when our joy is temporarily lost. The tragedy in Connecticut is an example. Many are left with questions in the aftermath: Why did this happen? Why children? Where was God? How could God allow this to happen?

Some will say there is no God, for a loving God would not let this happen. Some will say this happened because we do not allow God in our schools, but God is everywhere; we just choose not to acknowledge his presence. My faith tells me that things like this happen because of man’s free will and sin in the world. Our loving God grieves when we turn away from him and innocents are harmed, but the more we turn from Him, ignore His sovereignty, and keep Him separate from any part our lives, the more hate, violence, and despair we will experience.

Some will say, “Look at the Crusades, violence was committed in the name of God!” There is a difference between a man-made religious agenda and truly knowing the will of God through sincere prayer and study of the Bible.

Another argument is the violence of the Old Testament. This is an example of God’s judgment on earth under the old covenant, and at times innocent lives were lost; however, with Christ comes forgiveness, and judgment for the unbeliever is reserved for the afterlife. We do not escape judgment.

As human beings, we experience grief at the loss of any life, but it helps to remember that this world is temporary. The greatest tragedy is not death in this realm, but eternal separation from God in the next. I cannot justly explain faith in God in one post, but I leave you with this: If we truly sought to follow the two greatest commandments of the Bible, there would be a lot fewer tragedies like the one in Connecticut.

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Heavenly Run

Last Friday night, I had one of my best running experiences, ever. The night was dark and quiet, the air was still, and the Christmas lights were shining cheerily. The bells at the Catholic church next to our neighborhood let me know the time, as usual. Then, the real magic started. The bells continued to ring, but they were playing Christmas hymns. The bells played for the rest of my run and cool-down walk; the beauty of the evening overwhelmed me. My thoughts turned toward God, his power, his beautiful creation, and his love. I started to get choked up at the thought of God sending his son to earth as a baby, only to have him grow up and save us from our sins by dying on the cross. Near the end of my cool down walk, I found myself in front of a house with a large, wood nativity scene. I stood there for a few minutes, praying, as hymns floated through the air around me. On a planet inhabited by billions of people, I felt God’s presence right there on Village Drive.

I eventually finished my cool-down, but I came away with a refreshed sense of wonder at the true meaning of Christmas. Have you experienced a magical moment this season that brought you back to the true meaning of Christmas?

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When I first heard about Chick-fil-A Day, I started making dinner plans for August 1. My 23 year-old son, Brad, asked my why I would do that. I told him that I was going to support the owner’s right to express his Christian values as much as gays and lesbians have the right to express their beliefs. He replied that, while he did not agree with the gay lifestyle, he is called to love everyone, and descending on Chick-fil-A did not seem like a very loving message. I reflected on his words, and I felt something move in me, but I still struggled with what to do. I was having a difficult time finding the words to express that stirring in my heart:  What action would most reflect my Christian faith?

On Chick-fil-A Day, Brad and I were running errands, and I said, “Do you want to go to Chick-fil-A for lunch?” He said he would, if I wanted to go there. I got that stirring in me, again. I also really love their grilled chicken and waffle fries, but that seemed pretty lame compared to the issue at hand. Then I started thinking about my gay and lesbian friends. What message am I sending to them? Right or wrong, in agreement or not on this issue, I love them. God loves them. And frankly, I get tired of the fighting. If you come to my house, you will be loved. I will hold to my beliefs, but I will not judge. Judgement is for God, and the relationship a person has with God is between them and God. Only God truly knows what is in a person’s heart.

I opened my Bible this morning with one reference in mind, but I opened to another that was equally fitting. In Luke, chapter 7, Jesus forgives the sins of a woman who washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. When the Pharisee homeowner questioned Jesus about allowing this from a sinful woman, Jesus told a parable about the debt of sin, forgiveness, and love. Those who have the most sins are the most forgiven who show the most love. He told the woman her faith had saved her and to go in peace. Jesus did not embarrass her; he did not make a list of her sins for all to see. If anything, he was admonishing the Pharisee for his judgemental spirit.

My original text I was looking for is in John 8, the story of the adulteress woman brought for stoning. The scribes and Pharisees were testing Jesus. Jesus said to let the those among them without sin cast the first stone. They walked away, because everyone has sin. Jesus told the woman to go and sin no more. Now, is that woman going to sin again? Of course, she is human, but Jesus wanted her to strive for no more sin in her life. Again, that is between that woman and God. In reference to how Jesus answered the men, he could have said to them, “You bet. That is the law in the Good Book. Have at it.” Instead, he showed love and forgiveness to the woman and gently admonished those that would judge her.

Jesus came to fulfill the law with the two greatest commandments:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40). I read the transcript from Mr. Cathy’s interview, and I support him in being able to express his beliefs, but I, personally, did not feel I could support the way he expressed them; I did not feel in my heart that they were made in love. In Jesus’s many examples, I do not see him pointing the finger of condemnation at the unrighteous, but the so-called righteous. I see him lovingly touching the hearts of the unrighteous, and that is the example I want to support and follow.

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How hot does a 104 degrees day feel? Here are a few ideas:

  • The temperature in Indiana was hotter than Miami, and there was humidity, too.
  • My husband, Terry, took a friend’s new motorcycle for a test ride. Usually it feels nice to ride in the open air, but Terry described the feeling in triple digit heat as “riding into a blow dryer on highest and hottest settings. The faster I rode, the hotter it felt.” I did not ask how fast was faster.
  • I tried to fry the proverbial egg on the sidewalk. The outside edges got crispy, and after an hour the white and yolk congealed but were not totally cooked. Who knows what another hour would have brought, but I got kind of bored and I needed to go to the grocery, anyway. I think I waited too long into the day; the sun wasn’t directly overhead. Yeah, that must have been it.


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This (mostly) true story is dedicated to our niece, Jaelynn.  Happy birthday, sweetie!

Once upon a time, a little girl named Jaelynn visited her Uncle Terry and Aunt Dawn in Indiana. While she was there, her uncle introduced her to yummy strawberry syrup in her milk. The strawberry goodness put a big smile on Jaelynn’s face; making Jaelynn smile put a big smile on her Uncle Terry’s face.

On a visit to Wisconsin, Jaelynn’s mom told Uncle Terry that when they go to the store, Jaelynn always asked if they could please buy strawberry syrup.

“No, honey. We don’t buy that kind of syrup. Only Uncle Terry buys that kind of syrup,” or something to that effect.

Uncle Terry got a twinkle in his eye. “Well then, now I know what to send you for your birthday,” he winked.

Months later, in the month of Jaelynn’s birthday, as the aunt and uncle were cleaning up after dinner, the uncle asked, “When is Jaelynn’s birthday?”

“Strawberry syrup!” the aunt exclaimed, without hesitation. “It is coming up. I will get the syrup and mail it off.”

When her aunt looked at Jaelynn’s mommy’s facebook page, she saw that Jaelynn had lost a front tooth. “A perfect place for a straw full of strawberry milk,” the aunt thought with a grin.

Well, Aunt Dawn forgot to write strawberry syrup on her grocery list. When she came back from the store, no syrup. Uh oh! She only had a couple of days to get the syrup and mail it off so that it would reach her niece in time!

Aunt Dawn got the syrup and needed to mail it the next day. As she did her Friday errands, she got behind. She was determined to get that syrup in the mail! She got to the post office with 15 minutes to spare. What’s this? She forgot to pick up a box for mailing! No problem, the post office had boxes. But the boxes were too big, and she didn’t have any tape! The aunt wrapped the bottle in paper and put it in a soft sided mailer. She got to the counter with one minute to spare. As the clerk was weighing the package, Aunt Dawn saw a sign that read, “Blah blah blah, no liquids, blah blah blah.” Um, strawberry syrup is a liquid, even if a harmless one. The little girl’s aunt kept praying that the clerk would not ask if the package contained a liquid, because if the clerk asked, of course she would not lie. The clerk finished stamping the package (without asking questions) and said that the package would go out that day. Hooray! 

Aunt Dawn went back to her car. There, sitting under her purse, was the card, not in the package. Oops! She put the card in the mailbox. Even if the card and strawberry syrup did not arrive at the same time, the syrup was on its way, and that was the most important part! Uncle Terry was very excited that the syrup was making its way to his darling niece.

Hopefully, as you read this, there is a sweet, little girl in Wisconsin who is drinking her strawberry milk happily ever after.

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