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Sunday, December 18, 2005

I'm dreaming of ...

Christmas surrounded by family
Losing 40 pounds (ouch!)
Getting out of debt (double ouch!)
Finishing the decorating before the New Year (what are the odds of that?)
The kids having more kids
A gorgeous candlelight service on Christmas Eve
Hearing Ingrid sing on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve
An early spring!
Friends and family correspondence

Friday, November 25, 2005

'tis the season

I'm sipping "winter tea" from my Christmas house teapot. I'm baking banana bread, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and soon I'll pay the bills. Tomorrow I will compose the Christmas letter, after knocking myself out decorating today. Yes, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm getting geared up for what has become one of the most secularized holidays of the year. Frankly, I can understand why some so-called Christian cults decide not to celebrate these things.

Let me be Scrooge for a moment and remind us all that Christmas (the date) is never mentioned in Scripture. And those who have studied the signs of the times much deeper than I have, have determined that Jesus' birth probably took place in the spring. We have the early Catholic church to thank for lining up our current Christmas celebration with the pagan festival of lights. For good reason, of course. The pagans were not wanting to give up their holidays, so why not just overlay a Christian meaning to them? After all Jesus IS the light of the world.

I'm sad that Thanksgiving gets no more than a shelf space in any store. We go straight from the totally pagan Halloween, to a quickly slipping Christmas -- buried in buying, complete with signs and TV specials touting "the true meaning of Christmas." We have ceased to be a thankful nation. A thankful people. And me -- a thankful person. We want to head from candy to gifts, with little thought to thankfulness in between.

This is an exercise in preaching to myself. I'm every bit as guilty (except for the fact that I have nixed Halloween for several years). It will take concerted effort to not succumb to all the commercialization. I will have to take time out each day to remind myself that Christians celebrate Christmas because of God's gift of grace and mercy bundled up in the baby Jesus.

Christians don't celebrate Muslim holidays. Nor buddhist, nor shinto, etc etc. Why then, have we allowed our Savior to be secularized and his birth overshadowed by elves, trees, blow-up snowmen, and "holiday" greetings? I'd ask the question: couldn't we just keep Him to ourselves? That sounds foolish. We don't keep Jesus to ourselves because we are supposed to share the gospel. How do we do this when everyone around us is celebrating a holiday that has totally lost its significance spiritually?

Okay, maybe some little things:
1-when the well-meaning checkout person says "Happy Holidays" return with "Merry Christmas!"
2-Bake some cookies for your neighbors in the shape of a star, a tree, an angel, a heart, and a bell. Attach the Christmas story in the form of a 3x5 card telling of the significance of each symbol. If you need the story and symbolism, let me know.
3-Reinstate that quaint practice of Christmas carolling around the neighborhood.
4-Also, spend some time thinking about what the world would be like if we had not been given the gift of Jesus. Wow - too mind boggling to even write.

So what will I do today? Yep, I'll get out the tree, because it is a symbol of eternity. And I'll light it, as a symbol of Jesus being the light of the world. And I will have nativities all over the house, because THAT is what Christmas is about.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Nudge, Nudge. Wink, Wink.

My last blog was about not having blogged in a long time, so what do I do for an encore? Britany was kind enough to remind me that I hadn't blogged in a while. And I just got an email from a friend in England yesterday who said she was going to reinstate her blog, so ... I should get rolling off my blog.

I like using the blog as a journal, but then I'm opening myself up to the world, and someone is liable to get hurt! Me? You?

This past weekend, I was allowed to attend -- via the generosity of my employer -- the National Media Prayer Breakfast in Hollywood. It is put on by MasterMedia, a group that seeks to befriend Hollywood in the name of Jesus. It was quite encouraging to actually PRAY at the prayer breakfast!

After the breakfast, Mark and I visited the west coast office of Questar, Inc. and were treated to a lunch near the Warner Brothers Studios. Boy, do I miss California! We've talked about "retiring" there. Two problems with that scenario... we don't plan to retire, and we don't have the money for CA living!!!

So, here I sit at my desk, when my real love is for the family. Wishing I could visit with them more often. Make things and send them. Teach a Bible study. Volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center. Get creative and be in a talent show. Okay, maybe not. Or even run a business of creative pursuits from home. Almost anything but an 82-mile round trip commute, feeling that I'm not in my element.

However -- and that is a BIG however -- I KNOW for a fact that God opened the door for me to be here. So there must be a ripple that I'm creating by being here, that God will use for His kingdom. Right? In the meantime, I will continue to work, and smile, and be here, and find ways that God might be teaching me and using me.

Prayers appreciated.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Time Passes

Wow! I almost forgot I had a blog, let alone do anything about it. The big things in life right now are work, babysitting my favorite little girl - Ashley - and studying the book of Acts.

I love studying the Bible. It appeals to my increasing appreciation for history, for one thing. I imagine myself living during that time, and in fact, we are all descended from *someone* during that time period! Amazing, huh?

From the time I put my trust in God through Jesus and the truth of His Word, I have been a staunch advocate for studying in truth - not tradition, not personal interpretation - but the truth of the Word of God. So, for example, when I hear someone say that "speaking in tongues" is required as proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit, I say, read your Bible! That is not what it says, and the use of the word "tongues" is misused.

In Acts, we see that the Holy Spirit was given to explode the church at a certain time. The apostles there were GIVEN THE ABILITY TO SPEAK IN KNOWN LANGUAGES ACCORDING TO WHO WAS LISTENING. There were people from all over the known world in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost (Harvest!) and God allowed them all to hear the Good News in their native language. Wow! This was not some esoteric language, nor was it a "requirement" for believers who received the Holy Spirit. Each believer received the Spirit, and we are all given gifts to increase the Kingdom.

So, what is my gift? Not "talent" but "gift." Talents are for the physical man, gifts are for the spiritual. Not that the two can't be intertwined, but gifts are specifically for building up the body of Christ and evangelism.

Perhaps I'll find one of those online tests... Blog to you later!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Out of site ... out of my mind

Well, it has certainly been a while. I've been posting pictures instead of blogs, it seems. Especially since I spent a week in Denver, a week in Colorado Springs, and a week in Las Vegas. I mean, that warrants pictures rather than blogs, don't you think? And if you want the link, you can contact me, otherwise you are already on my list of people to bore with pictures of places and grandbaby!

Friday, July 01, 2005

People cry for freedom!

It's July 1st and the 4th is coming! I remember that same style of delivery in a sermon years ago -- It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'!!! referring to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now THAT is freedom! Freedom from sin. Freedom from death. Too often, we Americans have used our freedom for just the opposite -- freedom TO sin ... well, yes, we do have that freedom, but as the apostle Paul said, does it profit me anything?

Here's another freedom. Freedom from constraint to a chair for my hubby. He is back at work this morning, and it sure is good to hear his voice. Albeit, he does have to keep his foot elevated, but that is a small thing compared to having to sit and watch daytime TV!

Deep within the heart there is a cry for freedom. We tend to think that our agenda and our license will bring us freedom, but ... you guessed it ... no. The rebellious heart desires to be free from God's leading, but the submitted heart is truly free. No more paranoia; no more grinch-like behavior; no more cutting off the competition at the pass. Freedom to serve and love without feeling loss of self.

There's the rambling for the day. Be free this 4th -- truly free!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Time is ticking and kicking

Whew! A lot has happened since I last posted! Life and death kind of stuff. It makes one marvel at the tapestry that God weaves in each of our lives. We can't see where the warp and weave are headed, but he is creating a gorgeous scene. Check out the daily musings that my hubby started writing because of the twists thrown his way ...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

National Day of Prayer

Although I don't remember it first hand, I understand that when I was a child some schools practiced prayer for "ourselves, our parents, our teachers, our country." This morning I will pray for those same things, but in a formal setting on the National Day of Prayer.

I will expand "my parents" to include my husband and children. I will expand "our teachers" to include my co-workers. And "our country" will specifically be our president, our troops, and as Jesus commanded -- the peace of Jerusalem.

This morning, explosions went off in front of the British consulate in New York. Thugs, terrorists, bullies on a grand scale. In their finite minds they must think they are accomplishing something. The prayers of the righteous accomplish more in a millisecond -- within the will of God.

And on that rambling, I'm going to catch a cab for the breakfast. Indirectly, I will be praying for you.

Monday, May 02, 2005

bittersweet apple

Okay, so I decided to use some of our land money for a new iBook. I'm going to have to get used to using a Mac again. But here's the problem: I bought iWork "preinstalled." Did it come preinstalled? NO! Ah, but there is a disc in the package that says "iWork" on it, so okay, I can install software ... except that when I put the disc in, it clearly says this is a trial version and to purchase the full version go to Hey, guys, I already BOUGHT the full version!!! What's going on here?

So I have my little email question sent to Apple and we'll see what happens. But this is creating a bittersweet taste to the Apple experience. In the meantime, I'll try out a few new things on Tiger. And in the Mac help I'll do my "converting from a PC" training.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More, more, more

More blogs! I need more blogs! I didn't know just how much I depended on the postings of my kiddos to keep me informed. I take that back. I've always been an information junkie, and the blogs are no exception.

What a wonderful communications-rich world we live in. So does it make us better communicators? I imagine not. Whether I send a runner 13 miles with a message, or send an email 1300 miles, the communicator and the communique remain the same.

So, please post, leave a message, send an email, give me a call.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Swamp Land in Florida

Well, as referred to in a previous post, that "swamp" land in Florida finally paid off. By the way, we still have another lot if anyone is interested ...

Anyway, after giving our tithe, we have had a bit of fun -- paid off a bill, bought a 56 inch TV (HD all the way!!!), and today we treated Mark to an I-Pod and me to a replacement computer -- an I-Book. Wow!

Also, we'll be joining Ingrid and Andy for a trip to Dallas, to congratulate Andy on his Masters in Biblical Studies. One of the grandmas will most likely be holding Miss Ashley while Ingrid concentrates on Andy's every step down the graduation aisle.

This is a small taste of what it would be like to not be in debt. We're on the way. And if I can encourage anyone reading this ... please pay cash for all but your house! This indebtedness is a downward spiral into monetary slavery. But as I said, we're on a plan.

Yea! In the meantime, we're sure enjoying the fruits of this investment. Viva la Citrus Springs, Florida!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Let Everything that has Breath Praise the Lord!

Daughter in Chicago, voicedialing on cell phone: Mom and Dad
rrrring...rrrring...rrrring...rrrring....please leave a message at the ...
Mother in Oregon: hello?
Daughter: Hi! What are you doing this afternoon?
Mother: Hello? (no sign of recognition) I'm reading...
Daughter: Oh, are you still reading Across Five Aprils?
Mother: no .... I'm ...
Daughter: Mom, can you hear me okay?
Mother: yes ... um ... it's Miss Julia Speaks Out
Daughter: Oh, you've changed books already, huh?
Mother: yes ...
Daughter: Mom, how is your blood sugar? When did you last test?
Mother: hmmm ... what?
Daughter: Mom, I think you need to eat something! Mom, can you hear me?
Mother: yes ... you say ... read? ...
Daughter: No, Mom! Please go get something to eat! Or get some juice!
Mother: I think I'm okay ...
Daughter: Mom! I'm going to call Dad. You get something to eat, okay? Mom?
Mother: hmmm
Daughter: Mom, I'll call Dad and call you back, okay? Eat something!
Daughter, calling father's cell phone: Dad?
Father: Yes? Oh, hi!
Daughter: Dad, how far are you from home? I think you'd better check on Mom. I just called her and she doesn't seem like she could understand me, and she couldn't put a whole sentence together.
Father: Oh, no... Her blood sugar must be really low. I'm pretty far from home.
Daughter: Well, if you know someone close to home, maybe they could get there faster.
Father: Thank you so much for calling... Oh! ... I'll get there as fast as I can.
Daughter: When you find out something, please call me!
Father: I will ... thank you!

Praying, praying, praying: God, protect her. Help her to hold on until someone gets there. Give her strength. Lord, thank you so much that she answered the phone!

That "daughter" is me. I call my mom frequently, but especially on Mondays, just to see how the weekend went, and because I know she calls her own mother (my Grandma Nelson) every Monday morning. I waited for Dad's return call through dinner with Mark, and just as we were leaving, he called. He had my uncle and aunt who live nearby head over there. They called the house first and the line was busy -- Mom hadn't even hung up the phone. They called 9-1-1, who had to go through the window because the house was locked. Mom was passed out and, after a glucagon shot, began to rouse.

Mom is back among us, he said. Whew! More tears. He thanked me again that I had called her, and had called him. What if, what if, what if? What if I hadn't called? What if she hadn't been able to answer the phone? What if it had been fifteen minutes later?

Thank You, Lord, that You know all those "what ifs" and chose to do what only You can do -- heal, give life, in perfect timing! I don't want to think about those "what ifs" anymore, only praise You for saving my Mom!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Praise Baby

I'm not sure I can quote it, but it won't belong before any mention of a praise song will bring to mind images of little babies, balls, computer generated colors and numbers, and prancing toddlers. Oh, it was so fun to have the next generation over, and work on stimulating a little mind again.

Learning is so great when you realize it has a purpose. And there is so much product out there these days! Still, books are my favorite. Especially when read to an eager child.

For those of you who have the link, check out Ashley watching her overhead play mat, as well as the DVD playing on the widescreen in the background. What do you think ... is it overkill?

Little known fact: if you learned a new fact each second for a million years, only then would you fill your brain! So keep on learning!!!

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Ides of April

Alas and alack. It is tax day. Ours were mailed yesterday, grudgingly. We're thankful we were able to pay ... based on a Florida land boom. There is talk about abolishing the IRS. With all due apologies to those who may work for that office ... yea!!!

How did our country function -- through the greatest industrial revolution ever -- with no income tax? What was it that possessed FD Roosevelt to saddle working Americans with back-breaking income tax, and thereby demotivating the inventor, the entrepreneur, the corporations who employ a majority of workers, and ushering in the entitlement mentality? Certainly income tax revenue has caused an attitude of gluttony on the part of centralized government.

The cry of "unconstitutional" comes to mind. I mean, that phrase has been used for all kinds of non-issues. Someone needs to read their Constitution a bit better, as well as the Bill of Rights. We were never supposed to be taxed... nor is it a constitutional right to kill a baby (now I'm stepping into another realm) ... nor is "separation of church and state" anywhere to be found in either document.

Start reading history, folks, rather than rewriting it! And perhaps if we got back to our roots, we may start growing again. Until then, the flowers will be choked off by taxes and finance charges for those who can't afford to pay their taxes.

I will render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. But I will also raise the question of constitutionality of federal income tax!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Swirling around in my brain are some aches, a few glitches, some green tea, and a mental calendar of today, tomorrow, and the coming months. It's a good thing that God is in charge, but I wish I'd remember that more often. Family with medical concerns and uncertainty (what isn't?), international travel, relational kicks in the shin, and just the general angst of life.

Rats! Reaching down deep into that swirling melee I can reach the bedrock of something I know to be true: eternity is real. My finite mind cannot grasp it, and so my brain continues to ache. But if I set every one of my mundane concerns up against the timeline of eternity, somehow they no longer seem important.

Matthew 6:34 (New International Version) as Jesus says:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Was that meant to be encouraging?

Friday, April 01, 2005

No Comment?

What does a person have to do to get comments on their blog, huh? I mean, I'll take a good dissent as well as an assent. What do you say? Literally...

And by the way, I also have some swamp land in Florida I'm trying to sell. Did I mention that this is April Fool's Day? Had any good wool pulled over your eyes lately? Tell me about it.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Guardian as Murderer

It is a sad moment. Terri Schiavo (Schindler) has died. According to those who have visited her, we can be assured that she is totally healed now in the presence of her Savior.

But what about the man who called himself her husband and guardian, who instead benefited from her disability and her death, who adulterated himself with another woman by whom he had two illegitimate children, and yet claims that he wanted what was best for Terri. Not a chance! Her parents were the ones who visited, spoke to her incessantly, cared for her needs, made sure she was comfortable, and who agreed with God that life is from Him.

Food and water are not "artificial means of support." A heart not beating, lungs not breathing, brain not creating waves -- those cannot exist without outside support. But none of us can live without food and water administered from without.

My sister works with special needs students that are perfectly functioning in the classroom, except for the fact that they must be fed via a tube. Would you say that their tubes should be withdrawn because they are "artificial means of support?" No! That is the only way they can get sustenance. An infant cannot feed itself, and yet we keep them alive by actively feeding them. Because they NEED to be fed. Just like Terri NEEDED to be fed. It is basic CARE for another living human being.

To withdraw that care, to withdraw food and water, is inhumane cruel treatment. At the very least her "husband" should be taken to court for "wrongful death." He is right in the camp with Hitler, who decided that those who needed extra care were not fit for life.

God is the author and finisher of our faith. And the author and finisher of life. If we must err, err on the side that God gives: life!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Don't let me grieve over java

And I don't mean programming language. It pains me, but we will not be returning to Caribou coffee. We are all responsible for the knowledge we have, and then to either take action or withdraw as necessary. Decide for yourself.

Monday, March 07, 2005

And THIS is why I haven't blogged in a while. Little Ashley Nicole was born on March 1 at 4:13 p.m. and I've been playing doula. Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

Just like me?

Yipes! I just did the unthinkable. I actually clicked on some of the links in my own profile just to see how many other people had the same interests. Now I know why e-Harmony is so popular. From what I understand, they take much more than just a list of likes and dislikes into consideration. I mean, I was appalled at what some supposed intelligent people put on their profiles! For example, in my profile I have written that the books I like are "too numerous to mention." That same response was said by several (dozens) other people. But I'm not sure I'd want to meet any of them in person. Boils down to one or two things that will glue us together. Can you guess what they are?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Not My Friend!

A friend is someone who does what is best for you. A friend loveth at all times. A friend will gently guide you to do what is right. You like being around a friend. You want to do things for a friend. You will lay down your life for a friend. Okay, so why do I treat FOOD like it is my friend??? What misplaced emotion have I given over to the love of food? It just never seems to go away, and what do I get in return? Added pounds ... swollen joints ... hardening of the arteries ... now I ask you, is this any way for a friend to treat me? I read a really good article on how we think about food just the other day. And I'm convinced that there are "voices" in my head and heart turning me to the false friend of food. There is the "rebel," the "victim," the "indulger," and "the critic." Can you tell which one is haunting me right now? Hmmm, probably the critic, except for the fact that while I am writing this I am chowing down on Poppycock cashews smothered in glaze. Somebody stop me!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Blind Guides

Lord, help me! Keep my mind fresh and plugged into Your Spirit continually or I shall join the ranks of blind guides. When the eyes are clouded over, even gray looks clean. But in You is spotless splendor. So help me to keep the spotless splendor as my ruler.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Christmas Coming Down

It's a downer. Today, I mean. Having family here for so much of the time between Christmas and New Year, and then starting a new job this week ... I took the tree down, the wreaths, the decorations, stockings, Christmas scented bathroom spray -- you name it, it's down. I even rearranged the living room! The next major thing to put away is the large nativity set on the living room coffee table. I'm putting it off.
Perhaps I'll feel more settled once the house is back to "normal," whatever that is. Nah, I'm feeling the unsettledness for all the kids and spouses, too. Why do I do that? Pregnancy nearing its end, and health concerns for Ingrid. Possible move for Marshall. Health concerns and tension about move decisions for Adam.
It would be more comfortable and more healthy for me if I could just forget that other people have problems. Rats! I'm supposed to care! That's what empathy is. Sometimes I'm empathetic to a fault. Either that, or I'm trying to live everyone else's life... please don't agree with me. So it's gray outside and it's gray inside, too. Chocolate might work. I don't think that's what chocolate is for, although we could discuss it if you like. No, I'm supposed to be praying instead of turning nervous energy into indigestion and bad dreams.
So here I go. Taking down the last nativity set. It's coming down around me.