Archive | July, 2010

Skype

29 Jul

I have much to write to you,
but I do not want to use paper and ink.
Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,
so that our joy may be complete.
 2 John 1:12

 

Tim & I have a 16 month old grandson.  He’s a very active and energetic little boy, full of curiosity, fun, and love.  As all grandparents know, there is a special bond we share with these little people that is unique to any other relationship we have.

7 month old Cole & Grami sharing a moment!

Cole has always lived many miles from his Grami and Gramps, so we have consistently made the effort to bridge the distance by talking to him on Skype.  For those of you who may not know about this technological wonder, Skype is a web based program that allows us to see and hear Cole through the use of our computer’s webcam … and Cole shrieks with delight as his mommy’s computer allows him to interact with us.  Ever since the little guy was just a few months old, our hearts have stayed connected through cyberspace.

Peek-a-boo has been the all-time favorite game played with Gramps.  Hiding his face behind his grandpa hands, Tim’s silly antics have brought about giggles and smiles on the other end.  In recent weeks since Cole has become quite proficient in walking, HE is now the one who initiates the peeking as he ducks down below the coffee table, on which the computer sits, and pops back up with a grin and a twinkle in his eyes!  “Peekies!”

Cole & Grampi playing Peekies!

Not quite understanding the concept of a built-in camera and mic on the top of the computer, along with long distance, Cole DOES know all about love, affection, and relationships.  Just last week in a sweet moment of bonding, Cole raised his toddler arms to the computer and wanted his Grampi to pick him up.  A few days later, I asked him to give me his pacy … he stood there and stared at me through that computer screen for several seconds, took his prized possession out of his mouth, and then held it up for me.

Other such offerings, like his favorite John Deere tractor, any car, and the animal book with the tiger page opened are always eagerly brought to the computer to show his Grami.  What fun to also get the accompanying growl or motor sound!

I have much to write to you,
but I do not want to use paper and ink.
Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face,
so that our joy may be complete.
2 John 1:12

 

As wonderful as Skype is, there is nothing like seeing our little grandson ‘face to face’.  To smell his baby skin, to snuggle him close when he’s sleepy or to take his hand while walking through the park, there is nothing like being with him.  The same is true with Jesus.  Spending time in the Word is life sustaining.  Fellowship with other believers is encouraging and refreshing.  Prayer is the key that unlocks the portals of Heaven.  While all of this is essential for our spiritual walk today, join with me in the greatest anticipation of all time … that moment when we will see Jesus face to face, and with outstretched arms, He will say … “There you are!” 

Until next time,
Debbie

C is for Coffee

21 Jul

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

My daddy was a coffee connoisseur.  He loved coffee and he loved it black.  Just plain black.  As far back as I can remember, there was always a coffee pot on the kitchen counter, ready for the next batch of brew to be made.  I chuckle as I sit here and think about the glass bubble top to the percolator … so fascinating to a young child to watch the coffee gurgle up to that bubble and fill the house with that comfy aroma. 

I, on the other hand, do not like plain black coffee.  My favorite brew of all times is a White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks.  A simple whiff and a sip can settle my anxious heart into happy thoughts.   But once I followed my finger across a calorie chart to the total count for this decadent drink and realized it was Starbucks’ most sugary slurp, I decided only to treat myself to this yummy beverage  maybe once a year or so.  I have since become mature and responsible in ordering my coffee.  Usually as I leave my childhood hometown after a visit with my mom, I pull in the drive-up window and place my order … 

“I would like a tall vanilla latte, decaf (or half caf, depending on the time of day), 2 Splendas, and whipped cream.”

More times than not, I hear a giggle from the other side of the order board.  I’m sure they think I’m silly for specifying Splenda, but topping it with whipped cream.  Oh well!   It’s MY comfy food!!

Comfy food.  Notice I didn’t say comfort food.  There is a difference.  Biscuits and gravy, chicken alfredo and garlic bread, or a big juicy cheeseburger with onion rings  ~  all of these and more are comfort foods for me.  But coffee is a comfy food.  I don’t HAVE to drink coffee, like so many people in my life do.  The caffeine crutch has never been an issue with me  ~  in fact, too much of the stuff gives me the jitters and makes my heart race … therefore the reason for ordering decaf or half caf.  But coffee is a comfy food.  If it’s rainy or snowing outside, I will crave a cup of coffee or a good cup of hot tea  ~  Constant Comment or Spiced Chai.  When family or friends are gathered around and we’re enjoying each other’s company, there’s nothing like a cup of coffee with some  tasty cream to go along with the visit.  Any time of the year, with the warm beverage in hand, the heart and soul can sit back, rest and be comfy … certain of that moment.

One of my favorite devotionals by Oswald Chambers is April 29

“Our natural inclination is to be so precise,
trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next so
that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing.
The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—
gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.
To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways,
not knowing what tomorrow may bring.
This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness,
but it should be an expression of breathless expectation.
We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God.

We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next.
If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness,
become overly critical, and are
limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled.
But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous,
joyful uncertainty and expectancy.
Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain
how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come.
Remain faithful to Him.”

Just as certain I was about my own Daddy, I can be even more certain of my Heavenly Father, who created me and calls me by name. Like embracing a warm cup of coffee, won’t you join me today in embracing the uncertainty of life with spontaneous joy and expectancy … as we allow our heart and soul to sit back, rest and be comfy?  …  All the while, certain of His care!

 

But now, this is what the LORD says–
he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1


Until next time,
Debbie

Tennis Shoes & Capris

15 Jul

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

 

Three of my friends and I decided to take advantage of “25% off Mondays” at the Valley Thrift Store.  Each of us had a shopping list.  The items on my list were unique and individual, with specific sizes and colors.  I chuckled on our drive over to Fairfield as I told the girls that our other friend Chrissy, who couldn’t come with us, was joining me in prayer to find the items that I needed.  How wonderful it was to find the first answer to our prayers sitting right there waiting for me on the shoe rack just moments after arriving at the store.

Easy Spirit tennis shoes for work           Size 7               $7.99 – 25% discount

With the sneakers in my cart and a smile in my heart, I called Chrissy and we rejoiced together on the phone.  Further investigating took me to the long rack of capri style pants, where I piled my cart with several brands, colors, and prices.  After narrowing down to a few choice selections, I was able to check mark two more items from my list, including 3 additional unexpected buys.

Banana Republic, navy blue capris                    $4.99 – 25% discount
Banana Republic, black capris                           $5.99 – 25% discount

Needless to say, I went home excited and freshly reminded that God cares about even the small things of life.  I bought 9 very nice items and paid a total of $37.00 for them all. 

Just like me, I’m sure there are some rather large issues in your life.  Whether they are health concerns, uncertain plans for the future, work instability, relationship struggles, God knows.   I’m grateful for the simple fact that God shopped along with me as I walked down the long aisles of Valley Thrift the other day.  The God who loves me enough to hand pick items that I need and smile along with me as I place them into my cart, is the same God who longs for me to trust Him with the bigger and even more serious things of life. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

 

Won’t you join me today as we walk down the aisles of our lives, seeking Him and His righteousness first, and knowing with confidence that God will supply each and every need, according to His riches in Christ Jesus?

 “And why do you worry about clothes?
See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow
is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or
`What shall we drink?’ or
`What shall we wear?
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father
knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:28-33

 

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

Torn Britches

6 Jul

Torn Britches was originally written last summer  ~  July 2009.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show
that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 

 

After working several hours cleaning the Ferguson Dining Hall on Friday, I gathered our paychecks, some outgoing mail, and my purse and headed for the car.  As I sat down, it felt like I sat on something lying in the seat … I raised my rear up and brushed my hand across the car seat  ~  didn’t find anything, so I settled back down, put the car in gear, and made my way into town.  I made a deposit at the drive-up window at the bank and then dropped a card in the mailbox at the post office.  My next stop was to return an item at Cato’s.  I walked up to the counter where I stood for several minutes as the clerk processed my refund.  I never have understood why those who design check-out counters do not think of us who are petite in stature.  I’m almost standing on tip toes, with my arms raised nearly to my shoulders so I can see to write my name on the little machine, claiming that I am who I am.  Stuffing the receipts into my purse, clearance signs attract my attention, so I browse several racks of clothing  ~  envisioning myself in various tops, capris and dresses … but nothing really spoke to me, so I walked past the two floor clerks and left.  I got in my car and drove over to K-Mart, where I also stopped at the customer service counter to make another return.  I had two items to return on two separate receipts, so this took a little longer than anticipated, but I tried to have patience.  After I once again stuffed receipts into my purse, I meandered to their clearance racks, hoping to find something of interest to buy for my upcoming vacation.  Moments later, Tim called and was full of stories about his afternoon.  My concentration of shopping was broken as I listened, so I slowly made my way back out to my car.  As we continued to talk, I drove over to Bigg’s where I had yet one more return to make.  As I was getting out of the car, I felt that funny feeling again … the one where I thought I was sitting on something.  I already had one leg out of the car and onto the parking lot, so I went ahead and stood up so I could check the seat.  Much to my surprise, there was nothing there.  Making sure whatever it was wasn’t sticking to my backside, my right hand brushed against something odd and airy … and then my fingers got caught in some sort of thread  ~  OH MY GOODNESS!!!  I had a ginormous hole in my pants!!  I quickly slid back into my car and headed home, all the while my brain was back tracking over the past hour and these visions of horror filled my racing mind!  How far HAD I stretched my arms up to reach the counter at Cato’s  ~  hiking my t-shirt tail way up to expose even more of my embarrassing situation??  How long WAS I standing there at K-Mart as the return took longer than it should have.  One normally doesn’t notice someone’s butt when you’re out shopping, but I WAS just standing there with my back side facing the door … at just enough distance away that my rear end was more noticeable than had I been closer to the door.  Sigh …  As I pulled into the driveway, my neighbor Arno was just walking out.  I waited until he got into his car and drove away before I made a dash into the house and ran to the bathroom mirror to see what I could see.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!   I had a wedgy and half of my butt cheek was showing through this humongous opening!  I yanked my bright colored undies from their hiding place and straightened everything out so it would look presentable … yeah right!  I pulled my t-shirt down as far as it would go to see if there was any possible way that it had conveniently covered the humiliating scene, but there was no way.  I once again remembered the counter at Cato’s … and my arms stretching, which I’m sure pulled the shirt clear up to my waist.  Sigh …

"OH MY GOODNESS!!"

Yes, I took pictures.  You know me  ~  I take pictures of everything!  You have my permission to laugh.  I did.  There was no use doing anything else but that.  With the stress and strain of life, it feels really good to laugh sometimes.  Laughing distracts from the cares of the moment and brings a cheer to any situation … even if for a brief time.  Hehehe!!  Did I just say brief? 

The stress and strain in your life might not be a pair of torn jeans … or it may be the equivalent of that in the world in which you live.  A heart bumped around by a relationship, emotions kept in a constant spiral of confusion and dread, joy seemingly squelched by outside circumstances…

Have you ever ridden one of those barrel spinners at the amusement parks  ~  the one with the big wheel in the middle and the seats are all around?  The one that whips the cars in and around each other, spinning, bobbing, twirling?  The colors blur, the music blares, your hair blows wildly, and the squeals …    

I hate that ride.  So why do I find myself hopping back onto it so often?  Not at the theme park ~ no … never again there…but in the non-fantasyland of real life?  And how do I make it stop?

 
Overwhelmed.  That’s the word we all hear  ~  whether we are saying it or we hear others say it.  “I’m just overwhelmed.”  “This is so overwhelming.”  I don’t know about the “whelming” part, but I’m all for the being “over” part, aren’t you?  It really is crazy what we do to ourselves.  Although life could probably be a lot more ordered and structured than some of us allow it to be, and although certain unavoidable situations arise that knock even our best laid plans off balance, we could and should be experiencing God the best during our seasons of “overwhelming.”

Most days our mundane lives communicate very little to others about the difference Christ makes to us.  But set us to spinning with seemingly impossible problems, irritating and frustrating people and situations, and a to-do list with no end, others will suddenly start seeing the contents inside these jars of clay.  What will they see?  Will they see a glint of treasure … a depth of purity and power than can come only from God and not from us?  Or will they see a slopped mess of alarm, discouragement, bitterness and resentment … not to mention a lack of trust in God. 

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Matthew 12:34
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him,
and the evil man brings evil things
out of the evil stored up in him.

Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up
according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were
sealed for the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

2 Corinthians 12:10
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions,
in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 

Philippians 4:13
 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

 

Physically we may be operating on perpetual exhaustion.  Emotionally we may be a frayed knot of nerves and numbness.  But spiritually we should be drinking from a well deeper than many of us have ever known ~ the depths of God’s higher purposes and the assurance that He knows what He’s doing.  He may be strengthening the muscles we’ll need for perhaps even more difficult days ahead, and I’m confident that He’s infusing us with firsthand experiences that will give our advice, our support, and our prayers an authentic ring to people caught in similar situations. 

I challenge us all to take comfort during times like these to know that God is longing to do something extraordinary in us.  I know that I have prayed all my life for others to see Jesus in me.  The time is now, in the midst of the spinning and the twirling, that I long to be “overwhelmed” by HIS sustaining, securing, and victorious power.  Care to join me?

Until next time,
Debbie