family life, journey, Rest, Uncategorized, weather

Todays Forecast…Snow…

2013-02-06-sne-snow-map-02-08

In the middle of the latest snow storm which brought us 14 inches of snow, I couldn’t help but laugh as I thought about a few of my former blog posts. In September I wrote about how the marketing moguls attempt to rush us through the months, initiating Christmas in September.

Last month I wrote about how various advertisers continue this process by telling us what to eat, when to eat it, and how to lose the pounds when we’ve eaten too much. One way or the other, there are grand plans to get us to buy bathing suits in February and to go on diets so that we can fit into the bathing suits during the upcoming summer. Just when they thought they had us hyped and ready to buy…God de-planned their plan!

With this winter already bringing us over 53 inches of snow (with more to come…), the retailers were forced to go back into their warehouses to find more winter hats and gloves, and other winter accessories to accommodate the demand of the consumer. Despite all of the best laid plans of mice and men, it is God’s purpose that prevails. (Prov. 19:21) I love to see God shows up people who think they have it all figured out! (myself included…:))

Let it Snow…Let it Snow…Let it Snow!almaty-intro-snowscape-1-1

Wait!!!! Don’t stop reading!!! I know that some of you may feel like I just cursed you or used some other form of illicit language!:) Now it is true, I happen to love Snow. I know that it can be a pain in the neck on a lot of different levels. It can greatly alter our schedules, it causes great damage to our roads.

Potholes are are the worst! I have first hand evidence to this fact because of two tires that were destroyed by a snow caused pothole to the tune of $350.00! I know that the elderly and others who have trouble navigating ice and snow, get tired of being homebound. But stay with me a moment while I explain why I love snow.

11403265-running-people-vector-illustrationAlways on the Run…

We live in a time when schedules, jobs and other activities drive our lives and make us become driven people. Although there is nothing inherently wrong about having drive and ambition, being a driven person is something different altogether. Driven people often miss the little  nuances of life.

We run from one task to the next and miss opportunities to connect with one another. Connecting affords us time to really listen to whats going on deep down inside. We tend to listen more closely to the hopes and dreams that often go unspoken when we pass like ships in the night. The other reason that I like it is because it reminds me that we (humans) are not in control! It forces us to slow down and reflect. The grocery stores are swamped with people buying food that will be eaten together as we all hunker down and wait for the roads to be cleared. Meals that may have been eaten on the run if the weather was more favorable to travel.

Many of us see being busy and on the go as a sign that we are productive and successful. When we are constantly on the go, doing what society dictates as important, we often miss the still small voice inside of us; the voice that has to do with our Ephesians 2:10 purpose. We forget that we are each an individual masterpiece, created for a very unique and special purpose. We just need to learn that it is ok to be still. In other words…Chill...

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

The next time the snow falls over night (and it is coming :)), take time to notice the stillness of the morning. The hustle and bustle of cars and people are in submission to the freshly fallen snow. I wonder if we can learn the same submission to the God who made the snow?

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family life, Friendship, Love, Prayer, Uncategorized

Talking to Daddy

“People let me tell you about my best friend, he’s a warm hearted person who loved me to the end…”

courtship of eddies father

If you recognize these lyrics it means that you are either officially getting old, or that you have parents who let you watch this special show in syndication. The name of the show was, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. As each new story began to unfold, the characters would enter the scene as the end of the upbeat song continued softly in the background, (people let me tell you about my best friend…).

I loved that show. Not growing up with a Dad in my home, I used to fantasize that I was Eddie and that Bill Bixby was my kind, sensitive, Caucasian father. I was well aware that Eddie was a little boy and I was a little girl, but those minor details did not deter me from allowing my imagination to run wild about all the things I would tell my dad when he came home, just like Eddie did.

Fathers are very important to the security of a child. Not just a Father in the sense of biology, but a daddy. The term daddy brings with it a sense of intimacy, whimsy and fun. When my children were young they used to ask, “Is Daddy home yet?” There was a sense of great anticipation in their wide eyes as the words formed on their lips. There was always something that they wanted to tell him or show him, but more often then not, they just wanted to be with him.

I grew up in a time when divorce was rare. It was a time when schools still had father/daughter events to which I would bring my grandfather whom I loved deeply. When my curious classmates asked, “how come you don’t have a daddy?”, I often felt ashamed that although I had a father, I did not have a daddy. That shame ultimately led me straight to the heart of God. Abba, and Aramaic word that translates – Daddy. When I learned that Abba is one of the names used to describe God in the bible, I felt a lifting of my lonely heart. I too could have a relationship with a daddy.

father and daughter

In every episode of The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Eddie would have an earth shattering problem that could only be solved by talking to his father. That is what prayer is for me. My mind is often filled with the troubles of the world. I don’t just muse about difficult situations in my own life, but as I look at so many of the heart breaking situations of our times, I somehow think I can take on those on as well; However, when I crawl into the lap of my heavenly father, I remember again that, “He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together”(Col. 1:17). Children often see their dads as the biggest and the strongest. My children are never afraid when Dad is near.

If you struggle at times with uncertainty and insecurity about your life like me, trust that Daddy knows. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He promised never to leave us or forsake us. Jeremiah 29:11-13 reminds us that he has plans for our lives. We can call him and he will answer as we seek him with all of our heart.

Prayer is not some unattainable spiritual exercise set apart for the super religious among us. Prayer is best initiated in the context of love. Brandon Cruz, the actor who played Eddie on the show, did an excellent job of portraying a son who loved his dad and knew that his father loved him. In an environment of love we can talk about anything.

Evangelism, family life, trust, Uncategorized, worship

The “In Crowd”

Be_Our_GuestMany years ago, when my children were young, The Disney company had a slogan that shaped the values of the entire organization. That slogan was, “Be Our Guest”!  There was a song written with the same title that was song by one of the Disney characters that would fill my children with excitement and glee every time they heard it. When they heard the first couple of bars of the song, “Be… Our… Guest…”, they would stop whatever they were doing and start dancing and singing. The next thing out of their mouths were, “Mommy, Daddy, can we go to Disney World?” That’s powerful marketing.

This theme set the tone for every activity in their parks as well as the company at large. The Disney brand was recited and emulated in businesses throughout the world. They became a company known for the excellent way in which they treated their guests. Walking onto the Disney property, guests immediately feel secure that the proper preparations had been made to ensure that all of there expectations would be met and possibly exceeded. Branding is powerful. It drives everything.

The Shepherds Brand

Psalm 23:1 is a passage of scripture that I have read many times and even memorized. I was taught to recite it as a child. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”. Many of us can quote these familiar scriptures, but I wonder if they really make for change in our lives. I recently re-read this passage in another translation. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.”  Upon reading that phrase, “in want”, I realized that my relationship with the Shepherd Jesus was also based on branding. Living under the Shepherds covering represents a well thought out plan by God the Father to make perfect provision for all of my longings and desires. Just like a person paying for a ticket to enter the Disney park has expectation for a time of family fun and connection; we have been purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross which grants us access into everything we need for life and godliness. When we are abiding in the Shepherd, we don’t have to be in want.

To be “in” is a present tense phenomenon that requires faith for today. Just like the children of Israel, I must trust God to provide for my daily needs. Storing up manna for fear of lack only causes things to go bad. John 15:7 says:

“If you remain in me (abide in me), 

and my words remain in (abide in) you, 

ask whatever you wish and it shall be given unto you.”

People are always talking about “out”; coming out, outspoken, outsourced, but perhaps the real key to peace and joy is being “in”. In the secret place. Abiding under the shadow of his wing. Psalm 91:1-2 says:

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge, 

my God in whom I trust.”

Disney’s brand offers you a world of fun as long as you stay in the park. The Shepherd’s brand offers abundant life as we live in Him. Acts 17:28 says,

“In Him I live and move and have my being”

“In”, is a function word used to indicate inclusion, location or position – within limits.

My children were not disappointed when we vacationed at the famous theme park. They squealed with excitement when we walked through the gates and they realized that they were finally “in” Disney World. Maybe we should do a little more dancing and celebrating the fact that we are “In Christ”. Our marketing strategy of love, joy, peace etc. should make people long to be a part of the “in crowd”.

I like being part of the “In crowd”. How about you?