Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Heart: The Treasure of the Kingdom

What Will You Do? 10/30/2009 [online devo from Ransomed Heart]

So, let me ask again: How would you live differently, if you believed your heart was the treasure of the kingdom?

What does your heart need? In some sense it’s a personal question, unique to our make-up, and what brings us life. For some its music, for others its reading, for others they must garden. Our friend Lori loves the city; I can’t wait to get out of one. Bart reads articles on flying; Cherie loves a good novel. Bethann loves horses and Gary needs time working in the woodshop. You know what makes your heart refreshed, the things that make you come alive. I don’t get the thing with women and baths, but I know that Stasi loves them and finds a little retreat in a fifteen minute tub. “He leads me to soak in still, bubbly waters.” For me and the boys its the dirtier, the happier.

Yet there are some things all hearts need in common. We need beauty; that’s clear enough from the fact that God has filled the world with it, as he has given us sun and rain,

Wine that gladdens the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread that sustains his heart. (Psalm 104:15)

We need to drink in beauty wherever we can get it – in music, in nature, in art, in a great meal shared. These are all gifts to us from God’s generous heart. Friends, those things are not decorations to a life; they are what brings us life.

The skies of blue
The fields of green
Are all for you

The silver moon
The shining sea
All for you

For you, the wind blows
For you, the river flows

And everything you dream about
Even the love you dream of, too,
Is all for you.
(John Smith & Lisa Aschman, “All for You”)

I don’t think I could have finished this book if it weren’t for the walks I take each day in the woods. My soul is tired, bone tired. The battle has been long and hard. Last night it began to snow. It is still snowing now. It, too, is a gift to my heart.

( Waking The Dead , 214, 215 )

Wake Me Up Inside

great one from one of my students today. i can actually totally identify with every word. :) thanks "a"!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blessed by a Priest

:) i went to a bonfire with my two littlest nieces the other night. it was HUGE! well, we were standing there when this guy walked up. he was tending the blaze. after introductions and some chatting, i found out that he's a priest (well, retired due to an injury). anyway, after a bit, he asked if he could bless us. SWEET! when he got to me, he also added something that he thought god wanted me to know. it was awesome! a shot of hope from someone i don't even know. :)


by the way...just to give a little background on my thoughts on least today. :) while i would definitely say that i'm "protestant" in my perspective, i'm not "anti-catholic". a man that helped to focus my vision of christian education was catholic. he was so in love with jesus that he actually contributed to my desire to experience god in a relationship far more than "intellectual".

what i am, though, is "anti-religion". by "religion", i'm not referring to the major belief systems in the world. no, i mean a legalistic approach to faith that elevates lesser truths, duties, "must's and must-not's", opinions, structures, etc. to the status of "core beliefs". granted, there are definitely convictions that people have...wisdom-driven guidelines...but to make them requirements to be a believer??...not for me. it's too driven by shame, fear and pride for me.

funny thing though...turns out there's "religion" all over tarnation...even in the belief systems of the non-religious. go figure.

for me, it's jesus. it's about an every day lovin' that i know and experience...and the things that he wants me to be and do to love him and my neighbor.

i don't know if all those words make sense or not...all i know is that i'll take a blessing from that priest and anyone else that's dishing them out. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


my good friend, dr. bynthia, told me about this video some time ago. she's uber-smart and loves it. :) it begs an interesting question about how serious we really are about freedom of speech in this country, especially in science. interestly, it's not so much about the need to prove arguments, but more about how willing we are to allow freedom of thought rather than persecution for disagreement...and to treat with value despite philosophical differences. darn "tolerance" keeps coming up...hehe.

"I'm So Sick"

while my junior highers drive me pretty much insane...hehe...i totally love this bunch. and every now and then, they totally shock me with some of their realizations about life. today, "w" had devotions, and he decided to have us listen to a song by 'flyleaf' and discuss it. it's called 'i'm so sick'. he went on to talk about how we are all potentially infected with a selfishness especially in our country where we can soak in 'empty bliss'.

i was stunned...all i could say was, "uhh, true". HAHAHA!

so here it is...screaming and all...:)


yep, can't wait. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

They'rrrrrrreeeee Baaaaack!

colored, skinny jeans.

remember the 80's?? remember how we DIDN'T want them to come back??

holy crap...colored, skinny jeans.

my solemn oath...NEVER AGAIN!

am i officially "old" now?...ok, well, maybe jeans don't have to decide that for me...yet. ;)

Tolerance: Home Makeover Style

so here's the deal...i think "tolerance" in this country is often a total load of crap. either you have to totally tow the party line to be ascribed value (or lack thereof)...or totally have no opinion whatsoever for the same end. heaven forbid anyone ever get offended...thus the facade of "tolerance" that relativism demands which basically robs life of variety...well, and true value.


i love how 'extreme home makeover' does it. :) if you watch the show, have you ever noticed how pretty much anyone qualifies? i've seen entire communities pull together for all sorts of people that are predictably on totally different pages of belief and/or background...because people are valuable simply because they are.

a bunch of christians building a house for a buddhist family where the mom is dying a slow death.

a bunch of white people building a house for an african-american family that loves with no limits.

and vis versa...and vis versa...and vis versa...

no one chucks their opinions out the door OR at each other (heck, they are all probably chatting while they work)...BUT...they just take care of each other because something far deeper is MORE true...

and i love that kind of really respects the value that's present simply because of our common "condition" called humanity. man, it's cool to see a show do it too...including all those sponsors and voluteers. and no one is having to fill out forms asserting that they are or are not members of this or that, believing this or that, or not...barf. people just help because...

now THAT'S my kind of tolerance...hehe.

i wonder if all the atheists and christians and republicans and democrats would ever have the balls to love like that...kinda takes the strong, secure type...hehe.


my family had a HUGE garden this summer. it was AWESOME!! all of my nieces and nephews worked it...and i had the good fortune of eating it. hehe. well, i've been working on squash recipes for the past few weeks...ya, the squash was ready in the garden...and i LOVE it!!! i might be turning orange soon due to squash pigments...but OH WELL! it's "yummy in my tummy"!!! (that used to always get giggles from my nephew justin when he was an adorable fat baby...hehe).

"Ask God" Devo

Ask God 10/26/2009 [on-line devotions from Ransomed Heart]

Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends, one of only three that were invited into his innermost circle. In Gethsemane, at his hour of greatest need, Jesus again took Peter aside, poured his heart out to him; he looked to Peter for strength. Three years of this, and who knows how many other stories. Peter must have known, I have a special place in Jesus’ heart. So, how do you suppose Peter felt after he denied Christ – not just once, but three times? It must have been devastating.

After the resurrection, Jesus is on the beach with Peter and the others. It’s a touching reunion. Following a night of lousy fishing, Christ yells out to the guys to let their nets down for a catch – just as he did that morning he first called them three years earlier. Again, their nets are bursting with the load. Just like the good old days. Peter leaps from the boat and swims to Christ. They have breakfast together. Reunited, laughing about the catch, relaxed, warmed by the fire and stuffed from breakfast, Jesus then turns to Peter.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

What a beautiful story. Notice first that Christ does not let Peter sweep the whole matter under the rug. If this issue doesn’t get addressed, it will haunt the old fisherman for the rest of his life. No, this must be spoken to. Most of us simply try and “put things behind us,” get past it, forget the pain as quickly as we can. Really – denial is a favorite method of coping. But not with Jesus. He wants truth in the inmost being, and to get it there he’s got to take us into our inmost being. One way he’ll do this is by bringing up an old memory. You’ll be driving down the road and suddenly remember something from your childhood. Or maybe you’ll have a dream about a long-forgotten person, or event, or place. However he brings it up, go with him there. He has something to say to you.

(Waking The Dead , 120-122 )

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Return of the Latte Maker

well...the espresso machine made its return in church today. i bet joy and i made over 20 beverages with lightning speed. lattes, cappuccinos, steamers...holy moly. aaaaand...i can still smell the coffee beans in my hair. somehow i get infused with the stink (oops...scent...hehe). i'm not a coffee lover actually, but it's good that church goers can caffeinate with style. ;)

Believing or Belonging

ben did the sermon today at church...major, major kudos! i'm glad that he took this topic...gutsy. why?'s just that some christians find the topic to be uncomfortable.

"creating an all-inclusive community"

i've just noticed (and have been one) that some christians elevate truth (what is believed) to such a place that those beliefs actually become a "membership checklist". not meeting the guidelines eliminates people from "belonging" (being loved, intrinsically valued). imagine how that impacts the second great your neighbor as yourself.

hence why the american church probably has such a bad reputation for loving the world...well-earned, i think. often, we don't love until people have proven they qualify for the club benefits.

again with the extremes...hehe. ben pointed out...jesus didn't come to show us how easy it is for god to love (he being god), he came to show us how capable humanity is of hearing god's heart and expressing it.

we could actually express the life and love of god and "belong" each other to belief.

does that mean that truth isn't important? no. it's just that there are deeper questions that hearts are yearning for answers to...ours included...the expression of love's truth more than the outline's bullet points.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Beat of a Different Drum

sometimes i feel like i follow the beat of a different drum. it can feel a little lonely sometimes, especially when i don't feel understood. however, at the same time, there can be such joy. i ran across this clip, and the first 3 minutes seemed familiar...hehe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life Songs

i heard a song the other day that was a blast from the past. it actually got me thinking about my life "soundtrack". :) when i think back over my years of up's and down's, i like to imagine what the music sounded like in those moments. my life...the musical. so, here are some that come to mind.

somewhere over the rainbow - iz

i'll be ok - amanda marshall

trouble - pink

return to the heart - david lanz

let's get it started - black eyed peas

rainbow connection - kermit

turn your eyes - michael w. smith

forever - chris brown

the edge - eiffel 65

i'm sure i'll think of others. i'm ocd about such things...hehe.

Internet Pornography

one of the in-services that i attended at the educational conference was about internet pornography. aside from the startling statistics regarding this industry and its aim to pull younger and younger kids into this addiction, i was utterly blown away by a statement that the speaker made. he said that internet pornography is now being viewed as a form of sexual abuse. the reason for this is that the damage done to a person (mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.) is no different than the consequences of contact sexual abuse.

shocking...and then not, all at the same time. :(

i'm not an "isolator" of kids...i've found fearful reactions to actually not prepare kids at all. it makes me consider, though, how we can be better preparing our kids for this sex-saturated culture.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making Kids Do The Tough Stuff

i don't think that people always understand one of the foundational principles of what we do where i work. that notion is 'parent in partnership'. i have, for years, dealt with the occasional stakeholder (parents, board members, administrators, etc) who really has no clue what that means. in truth, it really means that it takes "a village" (i.e. community of faith) to most successfully invest in and raise our kids.

oh man, being intentional with working together for the sake of our kids...well, it can be FULL of drama. but at the same time...setting aside all that crap actually ushers in an amazing thing...we surround our kids and ask them to do tough things...and they do...and they grow!!!

i've been in one of those situations lately...much potential...but i've been pulling my hair out at how tricky it can be sometimes to get everyone on board for the sake of a kid. BUT...because of and/or despite all those involved, i saw major growth tonight...MAJOR! and i'm convinced once again that what we can potentially do TOGETHER is well worth it.

Almost Peed Myself

perhaps too much detail...but what can i say? i was so freaked out this morning that it almost became a reality.

i was the first one to arrive at school this morning. i have been coming in sooooo early to stay on top of things. well, i decided that i needed a little 'pick-me-up' because i was so tired, so i walked down to the storage room where we keep loads and loads of caffeine. i didn't turn the lights on in the hallways...first mistake. when i got to the room, i unlocked it and felt my way to the lights again...second mistake. well, all of a the darkness...i heard a bunch of little kids laughing in the corner!!!

hence the "almost peed myself"...

i whipped around, spoke an interesting form of 'french', and scrambled for the door (and light switch).

yep...a radio.

whoever was in there the night before had music playing, and the song that came on as i fumbled my way around had an introduction of little kids playing.

but because "teaching" changes a person's mental state...hehe...i thought my worst nightmare had come true!!!! just could happen...dark room, kids giggling as they sharpen their axes...

Red - 'Shadows'

my junior highers like to bring me songs that they enjoy. sometimes they use them in their devotions to open class. one of my boys likes a christian group called 'red'. to me it's like screaming with some melody included...hehe. BUT...i actually like some of them!! so, here's one that "j" brought me today. i really like the chorus. :)

(lyrics case you don't know what they are saying...hehe)

[Verse 1]
The sun has set. I close my eyes.
I pretend everything’s alright.
Drowning in anger from all these lies,
I can’t pretend everything’s alright.
Please don’t let me fall forever.
Can you tell me it’s over now?

There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master.
I try to save you, but I can’t find the answer.
I’m holding on to you. I’ll never let go.
I need you with me as I enter the shadows.

[Verse 2]
Caught in the darkness, I go blind.
Can you help me find my way out?
Nobody hears me. I suffer the silence.
Can you tell me it’s over now?

There’s a hate inside of me like some kind of master.
I try to save you, but I can’t find the answer.
I’m holding on to you. I’ll never let go.
I need you with me as I enter the shadows.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Conference...I Lived!! :)

well...i survived the in-service at the conference! it actually went pretty well. 20/20 hindsight will help me refine some things, so that's good.

something about this whole deal was some sort of initiation, i'm guessing. i don't mean that in the professional sense (although it'd be nice to see some change come there). no, i just mean it felt like god was doing something inside me in the willingness and then wrestling to see it through to the end. i had a massive anxiety wall, but i kept going...yay!

OH!...i had the most wonderful drive down with god. i put my ipod on shuffle and literally experience a solid hour of god-picked songs that are special to me (in my relationship with him). it was hilarious!!! even more amazing???...when i was driving home and wanted to flip backwards to listen to it again, the entire hour of music was gone. only the shuffle from the night before was there!!! sweet! so, even though it was a challenge, i know he was doing the whole deal right with me. amazing!

And WHY Does That Piss You Off So Much??

ya, this is me venting.

i'm so, so, so tired of people who just live their lives being constantly offended by certain issues. people throw out statistics about problems...true stats even...and somehow because of fear or the fact that they think saying it out loud might actually make it happen (like curse someone), others cast judgment on the messenger.

seriously...what the heck? how about taking information and getting in the trenches to make those stats NOT TRUE???

OH...and all this assuming crap!! someone says something the wrong way or leaves something out that they hold dear...why clarify???, demonize the messenger. surely, they meant to spit on your value.


i just think that people could do themselves A TON OF GOOD by looking at why they have to be so pissed off by things. i wish they would because they certainly don't contribute anything meaningful to change or progress. they just sit in the corner all ticked off...DOING NOTHING!

---- a bit of background...and yes, i'm paying attention to why i'm so ticked too...a packet on a new program for investing in our kids' lives was presented at the church annual meeting today. there was a section on the wonders of being female that didn't have all the information in it that it should have. you could tell because the male section was longer. oh my GOSH!!!...the immediate offense that somehow girls weren't as valuable etc. and all kinds of assumptions and was sickening. and, of course, even after the clarification...nope, still all the drama. i'm on the committee for putting this program together...AND I'M A FLAMING FEMINIST!!...hello? women are worthless??...stupid, stupid, stupid. just makes me want to tell people to work out their stuff. put up or shut up!! there are things like ROUGH DRAFTS (that actually say 'ROUGH DRAFT' on the title), there are things that get forgotten (hence why we have meetings for FEEDBACK), and there are areas where we have to totally start from scratch because culture/etc. hasn't provided information and/or resources. but some people just have to jump on their wound bandwagons...assume, assume, judge, judge. totally not helpful.

my major sadness in it...since when do our hurts in other areas or with other people give us permission to judge the goodness of the hearts of others? my experiences with chauvinism don't give me one ounce of permission to assume it of all. not anymore, at least...and thank god for that!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Have a Little Faith in Me

i heard this song in a movie yesterday. right away i thought that it'd be a cool song to have in a wedding (like to a slideshow or something)...and then my thoughts went a-trailin' to how this song would be so cool for something like that because it's god's song to he's my "main squeeze"...and is walking with me towards my second "main squeeze" (mr. right). :)

anyway, man, if you aren't sure what god is whispering to your heart these days...these lyrics seem pretty much from his to yours. (mine for sure). :) because here's the "straight-shootin'" deal. 'have a little faith' isn't referring to just believing he's our's that intimate trust that he's desiring to release us into. a life where we know that he's our father, he's the lover of our a living, real and deep life together.

anyhoo...i'm rambling again. :)

I'm Yours

one of my friends played this in bible study this morning. it fit so well with the book we've been reading (the journey of desire). stepping out of "christian behavior" into real divine life (that actually releases us into a life of desire...wooo!!!)!! it's very hard, but it's so much about living a life where we know in a real and intimate way that we are god's. yowza. good stuff.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amur Maple Heaven

i'm surrounded by amur maples!!! i just love these. reds, oranges, yellows...EVERYWHERE!! puuuuuuuuure heaven!! years ago, someone planted a ton of these shrub-like maples along the road i live on, by my church, along the nature's just beautiful!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dancing in the Moonlight

ya, i'm going to find some moonlight. there's some dancing that needs to be done...and it turns out that the moon doesn't require rhythm. ;)

dancing in the moonlight

God's Agenda

i need to talk to god about how he delivers outlines. i've been preparing for an in-service at our educational convention this weekend...ya, terrified...but i've been having such a hard time knowing where to start. so, i took advantage of an eye appt today and took the rest of the day off to concentrate on my outline. first, though, i had to get my list of errands done so my mind could settle. well, all of a sudden...AS I WAS DRIVING...i felt god just start to assemble a good jumping-off point. immediately, i was like "GOD, HOLD ON!!!...I'M DRIVING!!". how in tarnation does he expect me to drive and write???...or not write and somehow remember??? man, here i thought he was all "safety first"...turns out...NOPE! ;)

got some great points, though. sweet!

Holy Smokes!

oh my gosh! i almost peed my pants! HAHAHA! life feels like this sometimes!!! a little too often for me. :D

Too Comfortable???

oh dear...hitting up the "comforts" again. :) case in point??...the culturally-infiltrated church.

What?...He's Alive?

couldn't agree more!! i wish more in the church could step into THIS understanding.

and this one too!!!! oh my true!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Big C

so...i'm getting nervous. i'm doing my first seminar at an educational convention next weekend. my session is really early in the morning, so i'm hoping it won't be hugely attended...hehe. that way i can be "initiated" into "session-speaking" and then move on to larger audiences after that. :D oh man...i hope it works out that way!!! 'cause my anxiety is THROUGH THE ROOF right now!!! AHHH!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


my cousin john sent this to me...i've been trying some of them, and they WORK!!!!


Peel a banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringythings' off of it. That's how the primates do it.

Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter andbetter for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic.

Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.

Easy Deviled Eggs Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up.. Add remainder of ingredients,reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixerfor a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving..

To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

Start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.

No More Mosquitoes Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrowopenings.

Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and ... ta da! ... static is gone.

Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser Works better than a cloth!

If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.

Use your hair conditionerto shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something, and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes.) He took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material ... I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well ... the hot water just sat on top of the mesh! It didn't go through it at all! He told us that dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh, and that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free .. that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box? ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that.