Monday, November 27, 2006

Simple Math

Ah, the intrigues of having a college student under our roof. My baby brother, better known as "Uncle James-ey" has been living with us for more than a year. His presence here has not only added excitement and drama to our days, but has expanded our vocabulary as well.

For instance, "I really know what you're going through," has been replaced with "I'm feelin' ya dog." Calling one's attention to something or someone is no longer accomplished with words like, "hey", or "hi there", or "wait a minute". With great efficiency, we all just holler, "Dude!" However, the most influential addition to our verbiage has been two little words called "Plus" and "Minus".

This powerful duo of mathematical terms helps communicate a broad expanse of emotions and opinions ranging from gratefulness: "Plus on bringing home a Dr. Pepper!"; to disappointment: "Minus on eating the last brownie!" One family member might pass another in the living room and grin as he confirms that evening's activities: "Plus on watchin' a movie with me tonight!" One child might express his displeasure with a sibling's choice of plastic-ware: "Minus on takin' my cup!" This verbal technique can also be abbreviated by simply making comment -- positively or negatively. When someone tells you your shirt needs ironing, you may frankly disagree with "Minus". Perhaps you arrive home to find your favorite meal prepared for dinner. Adequate delight is conveyed with "Plus!"

Minus on leaving your laundry in the floor.
Minus on being late.
Plus on bringing in the mail.
Minus on watching TV while I clean the kitchen.
Minus on telling me I'm "in a mood".
Plus on wearing a shirt that matches.
Minus on whining.
Minus on pooping all over your clothes.
Plus on being so cute!

With all this "plus"-ing and "minus"-ing, I have become acutely aware of my speech. Essentially I am labeling my remarks as either positive or negative when I utter them. It stings to realize how often I say "minus". This categorical system leaves no room for neutrality. I am either encouraging or discouraging. I build up or tear down. I gather or scatter. Whether this verbal fad will sweep the nation or not, I have developed a heightened sensitivity to the words I speak and their effect. And I pray that God will give me the strength and self-control to be a total encouragement to those with whom I live. Minus on my rotten attitude sometimes. Plus on God (and others) being patient with me!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hunger and Thirst

I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when my son walked in for another drink. He seemed baffled by his unquenchable thirst. I hypothesized that his lunch had included quite a few salty foods. He asked, "Why does salt make you so thirsty?" That nutritional discussion faded off as my thoughts were captivated by such potential spiritual profundity.

Are we not, as believers, declared in scripture to be the "salt of the earth"? And doesn't Christ Jesus claim to be the source of "Living Water" who promises to satisfy our deepest needs? Therefore, shouldn't our contact with the world cause people to "thirst" for the Source of fulfillment?

I heard a rumor once, that all-you-can-eat buffets put extra sugar in the tea, so that people would feel full sooner and thus eat less food. Can sugar really diminish hunger? I'm not sure, but it's great for today's extended metaphor, so let's run with it! Are there attitudes we display that would actually suppress someone's hunger for the things of God? Lord, have mercy!

Who knew lunch meat, Dorito's, and sweet tea could be so enlightening?

Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 107:8-9 "Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Last night was one of those "His Needs, Her Needs" discussions that comes up every season or so. I arrived at the conversation physically and emotionally drained. I will typically hang in there just for the thrill of skilled debate, but not last night. After a few volleys of "My needs, your needs", I could participate no longer. As I walked toward the bedroom, I calmly admitted that the Holy Spirit would have to tell us what we needed to know. We exchanged "I love you"s and let the proverbial sun set.

Today as Philip returned home from work, he asked me: "Did the Holy Spirit speak to you today?"
I said "Yes, He told me that you are a great man, and that I should be patient with you."
We both smiled. I asked him if he had heard from God.
He replied with a smirk, "Yes, He told me that you are a wonderful woman and that I should be patient with you."
We both cracked up laughing 'cause we're hilarious, that's why.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Just the Facts

Item #1: Mari Alice has been sleeping through the night (10pm-6am) for 3 nights. Ahh....let's just enjoy that great news for a minute.........

#2: Philip (accompanied by Ashli) harvested a doe this evening. When he pointed out the deer on top of the hill, Ashli stuck her fingers in her ears and said "Shoot it, Daddy...shoot it, Daddy!" He did. She removed her fingers and said, "Good job, Daddy....good job." It's been several hours and he is still basking in the triumph and praise.

#3: We had a tremendously busy week so it's Saturday night and my house is a mess. BUT everyone's clothes are laid out for early service, and all meals for tomorrow are already prepared. (Luke spent a couple hours of "quality time" in the kitchen with me this morning and we cooked ahead. Big fun.)

#4: Landen slept in until he felt like getting up, then did zero school and played outside all day...until he helped his dad and brother gut a deer. We believe he lived his ideal day.

#5: Ardyn announced today she would like a horse.

#6: James......yes, James.....well that's a whole blog in itself.

#7: I am great. My house is a mess (did I mention that?) but I refer you back to item #1. 'nuf said.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Q & A

We were playing our usual dinnertime game...the one Uncle James made up where we take turns asking a question and hearing one another's responses around the table. The question making the rounds was Luke's: "If you could attend a party hosted by anyone in the world, who would that host be?" I said "Martha Stewart...not for a good time, but for great ideas and intriguing, thematic decor." James said "Cari" ('cause he knew I'd be serving brownies soon and he wanted a double portion). We got around to Sean (Ashli's 4-year-old buddy) who answered immediately "Ash" as he pointed his thumb over his shoulder at his good, good friend. We all sighed, overcome by the sheer sweetness. Then someone asked him "Why Ashli?" He replied with similar promptness and heartfelt resolve: "Cause I just love her alot." Ashli, not wanting the moment to fade, leaned into his ear, and while the rest of us bustled our reactions, she probed, "Why do you love me so much?" He smiled and said, "I don't know, I just do."

Everyone should have a friend like that!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Our God is Large and in Charge!

I was talking with my friend "Kelly". She and her family relocated recently and during the process, her one, continuous prayer was that everything would work out smoothly. Months into the process, looking back, "smoothly" has not made the list of adjectives describing her experience....not even once. If it could go wrong or be delayed or tossed into the air, it did and was. She has put her life into the Father's loving hands. He will give her strength and peace and continue to bless her.

I visited with my friend, "Sue" the other day. She hasn't asked the Lord for anything grand or specific. Yet, within the last few months, she has received wonderfully surprising news of great joy....followed by equally surprising news of great tragedy. She has put her life into the Father's loving hands. He will comfort her and continue to bless her.

My friend, "Leigh" has prayed diligently for years for a very specific blessing from God. In recent weeks, it seems as though the Lord may be giving her precisely what she has longed for all these years. She has put her life into the Father's loving hands. He will protect her and continue to bless her.

I have heard the same message shared from three separate women's lives. Whether we ask for it or not, we face challenges everyday. Some are monumental and others mundane. Some exhilarating, others exhausting. Our only hope is in the promise that God is God. He never changes and He cares for us. We have our wishes, we make our decisions, we live like we're making things happen, but the ultimate truth is that God is in control.

But realizing such a huge truth should not cause us to feel powerless. His love is powerful. His sovereignty empowers us to live abundantly. We rest in Him. We trust in Him. We live for Him. We believe Him when he says He loves us and will complete the good work He has begun in us.

Thank you, Lord, for my friends (You know their real names). Thank you for loving them and letting me see You at work in their lives. You are mighty and wonderful. Give us all the courage to cry out for You and the patience to wait for You. Thank you for Your promises that make life so abundant. You are worthy of all our praise!