Monday, July 26, 2010

Our new doggie

As you read on Saturday, we adopted a new dog. Daisy Duke is a 4 1/2 year old basset hound. We really prefer older dogs, not puppies. We simply don't have the time or patience to deal with all the typical puppy behaviors...chewing, potty training, destructive tendencies, mischief, digging, etc. But we didn't really take into account the 'hound dog tendencies'. You know...the howling & barking. Oh boy.

The first night she was home, she carried on until about 10:45 before she finally got quiet & went to sleep for the night. We were so glad when she did because we worried that she was driving all the neighbors crazy! She only howled once during the night, about 2:30 am. I woke up, realized she had howled, but she stopped right away & I went back to sleep. We didn't hear from her again til about 7am. I figured that wasn't too bad for her first night home.

Day 2 was rough. We had to be gone much of the day (which I admit was poor planning on our part), but when we got home, we spent the rest of the day with her. Every time we walked away from her, she'd start howling & whining & barking. We felt bad for her, so we'd go back & play some more almost every time. At bedtime, we came inside, closed the fence gate & went on with our evening to the tune of her howls & barks & whines. I finally went out & clapped my hands at her & fussed at her around 11:00 and she quieted down. I thought "Ah-ha....I figured out the trick to get her to be quiet." Alas, my 'trick' didn't work on Day 3.

Day 3 (today) began at 6:30am when she first started barking & howling. I made Samuel (my early bird & morning walker!) wait til 7:00am before going out to walk her. I am hoping to train her to wait til 7am to start whimpering! He walked her & made sure she had fresh water & food before coming inside. By then, the rest of us were waking up because we'd heard her noisy barks & howls. We had breakfast & then one of the kids went back out to play with her some more. By 10:00, we were loading her up in the van to go to PetsMart and find some toys & treats. I was hoping we could find something to occupy her when we're not around. We got to the store & she was not interested in anything....she was way too distracted by all the sounds & smells of the store! ha ha! We visited a friend who had seen her on the Humane Society's website recently (they loved her, too!) and then came home after a couple more stops. She did GREAT in the van! She loves riding & is perfectly behaved the whole time! Although as soon as we got home, she immediately started barking & howling when we put her back inside the fence. Feeling a little defeated, I got online to do some research about how to help your new basset hound stop that darn barking & howling. It was driving me nuts & (I figured) probably bugging my neighbors.

I started reading about basset hounds & everything I read talked about their need for constant companionship & lots of quality time. I really do understand that, but she's not an inside dog (and isn't going to become one) and honestly, when school starts in the Fall and we're all gone most of the day, it'll be nearly impossible to give her the amount of attention it will take to keep her happy throughout the night & during times when we're away. I felt very frustrated & worried that all this whining & howling & barking isn't going to get BETTER with time. It even occurred to me that perhaps she would be better suited for a retired person's home where she could be an inside dog, get lots of constant attention & be happier. I even talked to the kids about that possibility....the fact that we weren't going to give up on her yet, but we might need to keep in mind that we might not be able to care for her needs as well as someone else could. They all understood. BUT after talking with lots of friends via Facebook and with a neighbor whose parents have had Basset Hounds her whole life, I was encouraged that maybe it WILL get better as she continues to adjust to life with the Reeves family. I got lots of good tips & lots of pats on the back & encouragement to keep trying, so in the end, I was less frustrated than I had been.

Throughout the day, Daisy Duke has had 3 or 4 walks, spent time with us in the van this morning, went to PetsMart, had a bath (oh my...she hatedddd that!), and got played with a LOT. And ya know what? By the day's end, I was noticing that she had spent more time being QUIET today than she had spent being NOISY. And it's 9:25 as I type this and she has yet to start whining & howling & barking tonight. I am soooooo encouraged!

And ya know what? I was really sweating how it would work out when Larry & I go on our anniversary trip next month. I was already looking at prices for local kennels where she could be boarded for a couple of days. Tonight, while I was out in the yard with her, a neighbor girl walked up to talk & pet her and she told me that she was starting a pet sitting 'business' where she'd come feed & walk & care for pets when people in the neighborhood go on vacation! What a God send! I told her about our upcoming trip & her mom said we could be her first "customers". As it turns out, they have been volunteering at the Humane Society & they actually walked Daisy Duke a few times while she was there!

I love how days that can be so upsetting & frustrating sometimes turn around & end up being really good days after all!


Go over to my friend Lisa's blog titled Blessed With Grace & check out the yummy giveaway she has going on!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quiz: What do dogs & alligators have in common?

Answer: They were both part of my day!

About 14 months ago, our beloved family dog died. King was the kindest, gentlest dog in the world. He was a senior when we adopted him so we knew that we wouldn't have 10-15 years with him....but we didn't think we'd lose him after only about 15 months either! After he died, the kids vowed to never have another dog....they couldn't stand the idea of 'replacing' him. For about a year, we had no pets (other than the beta fish). We talked about getting a new dog several times but it just didn't seem like the right time yet.

A few months ago, we looked on Craiglist & mentioned on Facebook that we were looking for a dog & found a beautiful Great Dane who seemed to fit our family very well. We brought her home but that didn't last. Hours later she was back at her previous owners' house. She could practically step over our fence, so she quickly figured out how to escape! The kids again vowed that it hurt too much to say goodbye to another dog, so they swore they'd never have another one.

Recently, the issue of having a dog has come up again. So the search has been on again. About a month ago (before the kids mentioned wanting a dog again), Larry & I poked through the local humane society's website & found 1 dog we might be interested in, but never pursued anything because we didn't think it was the right time. When the kids mentioned being ready again, we had forgotten about the dog on the website. We put out our feelers again & a man emailed me about our ad on Craigslist. His dog seemed like a good fit. This is her.

This morning we drove way out into the country to meet this sweet dog. Belle is a German Shorthaired Pointer. She was a sweet dog, liked to chase tennis balls, seemed like an all-around good dog for us. We told her owners that we'd talk about it & be in touch. Three of us were 'sold' & wanted to bring her home but 2 of the kids burst into tears & couldn't quite say WHY....but they weren't sure Belle was "the one" for us. We talked a little & decided to just let everyone think about it for a rush to a decision was necessary. We had already planned a trip to a local alligator farm, so we went there to enjoy the animals & give everyone some time to think.

The 'gator farm was very cool. We were able to get THIS close to the alligators.

There were ducks & geese to feed.

There was a whole building with tanks full of venomous snakes...yikes! I didn't take any pictures of that.....I just wanted OUT of there!

There was a barn with animals that the kids could feed & pet.

There were ropes to climb & a bounce house for the kids to play in near the tables where we ate lunch.

And there were baby alligators & snakes inside the gift shop that the kids were able to touch too! (and may I just say that this guy had the most vein-y arms I've ever seen....if you can't tell by this pic, click on it to blow it up big & check out those veins! I could start an IV on that from across the room!)

While we sat & ate, we were able to talk a little more about the whole pet adoption situation. We talked about cats & dogs & birds. We talked about Belle, who we had already met, and why the kids weren't convinced she was 'it'. We finally decided that if we were going to get a pet, we needed to all fall in love with her right away and feel comfortable with saying she was "the one" for our family. And then it hit us....Larry & I wondered if the dog we saw on the humane society's website was still available.

Before we could leave the gator farm & call the humane society, Savannah began feeling like a migraine was coming on. We felt like it was due to the fact that we'd been out in the 100+ degree heat all day. We gave her medicine & got in the air conditioned van and made a call to the humane society. Sure enough, they were still open. And to our surprise, the particular dog we'd looked at on the website a month ago was STILL THERE!!! The kids all fell in love with her right away & so did Larry and I. So she came home with us!!

Daisy Duke is a 4 1/2 year old bassett hound. She is absolutely precious and (so far!) fits perfectly into our little family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Job Change?

I LOVE my job. wub :hot: I really, really LOVE it. heartlove

I don't make a whole lot of money doing it, though. I'm an hourly employee. I wouldn't even fuss about that because I really do LOVE my job, but the truth is, it doesn't work out to much money. I bring home an "OK" amount during the school year and about 1/3 of that amount during the summer. It helps, but we're certainly not rolling in the dough.

Every year, Larry asks me to look at the school district's website again & see if there are any new openings I'd consider. {Remember, before I got this job, I applied for a few jobs w/ the school but didn't get any of them.} Most of the time, there are openings for bus drivers (I'm not certified for that & would rather lick the belly of a frog or be raped by an elephant....) or lunch ladies (perhaps slightly less aversion to this one than driving a bus). Of course if we were in a position where it meant doing those jobs or losing our home/not feeding the kids, etc. I'd do it. I'm not above serving lunches or driving a bus, but honestly, I'd rather do just about anything else.

Anyway, I go back & look every summer and talk to my girlfriend who is the district's personnel director. Almost every year I send in my application for one job or another and the last 2 years I have heard afterward that the jobs I've looked at were filled by someone already on the school's payroll. (a sub the school folks were already familiar with or an aide already working at another campus, etc) I've taken that 'rejection' without blinking because realistically, I LOVE my job and I figure if it's not where God wants me or what He has for me right now, then it didn't work out for a reason. No biggie.

It would not amount to much of a raise each paycheck, but having a paycheck all year-round would sure be nice. And since trusting God for our finances is an area that is really hard for Larry, when I mention the possibility of a job with a year-round salary, he sees the dollar signs flashing before his eyes immediately and starts shrieking with joy!

So anyway, a couple of nights ago I was looking at the website again & found that there are 4 aide positions open. I emailed my friend (the personnel lady) and asked her about them. Two of them were something I wanted more info about.

One is the attendance clerk at the junior high (I'd LOVE that...I am sooo detail-oriented & love paperwork, so it would be right up my alley). The other is a part-time aide position at the AIM Center. That is our district's alternative education campus for the seriously delinquent kids.

I'm not 100% sure what the aide at the AIM campus would do, but the lady who is the principal of that campus was my 9th grade English teacher and she went to the church where I grew up, so we have a little bit of a connection. I haven't seen her in probably 5 or 6 years, but when I have run into her, we always have a sweet reunion, so it wouldn't be hard to work for her. I emailed her this morning to ask about what that aide position entailed. I suspect that they don't exactly have people running & begging for positions at that campus so it may make it easier to get hired there.

As far as the attendance clerk job goes, as a general rule clerical positions get snatched up by current school employees. However, my personnel friend said that she didn't know who...or if anyone...had applied for that one. So maybe there is a little hope? I emailed the 2 principals who are over the attendance clerk position today & let them know I'm interested. Because they're off for the summer, they may not see my email til they go back to the campus at the beginning of August. Same for the AIM campus principal.

Honestly, I would be COMPLETELY fine with staying at my current job. I LOVE it. I would have a very hard time walking away from being in the classroom. It's in my blood. I love hanging out with the little ones! But then again, I'd also enjoy a quiet, peaceful desk job. I think I could really get into it with time, too. Remember my post in January about how I love paperwork & details? It was no joke.

God's always provided every single penny we need, so I'm sincerely NOT worried about finances if I continue teaching. But at the same time, if this is what God has for us this Fall, I'm willing to go & do it. I've turned this one over to God and will follow His lead. I'm curious to see which way He will go with this!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Crazy Love: Chapters 9 & 10

Today, I took the kids to a local church library that also has a bookstore. I decided to buy a copy of Forgotten God while I was there. It's the next book Francis Chan wrote after he published Crazy Love. I've been anxious to start it, so today I finished reading the last 2 chapters of Crazy Love. And so, this will be my final Crazy Love blog post.

Chapter 9 is titled "Who Really Lives that Way?". The title refers to the type of life Mr. Chan has described throughout the book --- one characterized by a recognition of the mighty, powerful, overwhelming, mind-blowing love of God; and one that in turn wants to let that flow out onto the world around them in what might be looked at as a "crazy" way. I lovedddd this chapter. It included story after story of people who've done something that, to them, didn't seem radical or crazy, it just made sense, but it created a huge ripple effect and touched so many people. I love personal testimonies & biographies of people like this! I could've read a hundred more pages of these sweet stories, but alas it was only 1 chapter long. Loved it! I was inspired by a few of the stories & have got some ideas cooking in my little head...ways I can live a little of the Crazy Love life we're all called to!

Chapter 10 is called "The Crux of the Matter". This chapter was basically just a summary of the book, with little new information, just a pointed reminder to some of the high points throughout.

So....what did I think about this book?

If I were to rate Crazy Love, I'd give it 9 out of 10 stars. And it only lacks that final star because, as powerful as it was, there were a few places in the book where it didn't pack quite as much punch as the rest of the book. Certainly, though, everyone is ministered to differently, so the parts that didn't kick my tail probably did kick someone else's.

I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who is ready to step out of their comfort zone & seek His face in a fresh new way. It surely kicks the booty of most American churchgoers. I can tell you with 100% certainty that there are Christians who will not want to read this book because they're just not ready for the impact it COULD HAVE on their lives.

Are you one of those Christians? Or are you ready to be challenged, inspired & impacted in a way that you can't walk away from without DOING SOMETHING?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crazy Love: Chapter 8

Another great chapter. This one was titled Profile of the Obsessed. Right off the bat, Mr. Chan defines obsessed. That is, to have the mind excessively preoccupied with a single thought or topic. The Bible says to be consumed with Christ & faithfully live out His words. So sounds to me like we (Christians) are all called to be obsessed with God.

Chan goes through one item at a time, explaining traits of a person who is obsessed with God. He says a person who is obsessed with God is: a lover, a risk taker, a friend of all, a crazy one, humble, a server & a giver, a sojourner, one who is engrossed, an unguarded one, a rooted person, a dedicated person & finally, one who is sacrificial. He makes one emphasized statement about each of these traits. Those statements & my thoughts are below.

Obsessed people love those who hate them & who can never love them back.
How often do we really do this? Do we take the time to go out of our way to do something loving for someone who either will never know we did it or will never be able to pay us back?

Risk Takers:
People who are obsessed with Jesus aren't consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God's kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress.
Ouch. I don't like pain & distress. Do I worry more about avoiding discomfort (physical, emotional or mental) than whether or not I'm reaching someone for Him?

Friends of all:
People who are obsessed with Jesus live lives that connect them with the poor in some way or another. Obsessed people believe that Jesus talked about money and the poor so often because it was really important to Him.
Another ouch. Do I really SEEK OUT people who have less than me so that I can find a way to bless them?

Crazy Ones:
Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo. A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don't always make sense in terms of earthly success or wealth.
Well at least I can check this ONE off the list. Larry & I have been known to do things that seemed a little crazy if you went by earthly standards....but I hate to even point that out considering the very next trait on this list!

The Humble:
A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the sin of pride is always a battle. Obsessed people know that you can never be humble enough, so they seek to make themselves less & make Christ known more.
Can I just say...go back & re-read the first sentence of this trait's description. So true. It's alwaysssssss a battle for me. Just about the time I think I've got it all figured out & want to show someone how far I've come, I realize that....uh's all about me again.

People who are obsessed with Jesus don't consider service a burden. They take joy in loving God by loving people.
I do love serving....ya know, if I'm serving people that I feel 'deserve it'. You know, ones who, by no bad choices of their own, ended up in a bad situation.

Wait...Jesus surely reached out to people who made bad choices, too. So does that mean He expects me to do the same? (another ouch)

People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers. Obsessed people genuinely believe that others matter as much as they do and they are particularly aware of the poor around the world.
Again....I don't see myself SEEKING OUT someone I can give things/time/money to. I wonder how I'm seen by a giver or a taker?

A person who is obsessed thinks about Heaven frequently. Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them.
A fabulous story comes to mind on this one.

Several years ago during a MOPS meeting, a speaker talked about orienting her children's focus on eternity. She told us how she'd made each one of her kids a Bible book mark from a hotel room key. She presented it to them in this way:

"Ok, kids...I'm giving you this hotel key book mark because we're about to take on a family project. The Holiday Inn has given us access to one room where we're going to go in & remodel & redecorate. We're going to put in a giant plasma screen TV and a side by side fridge. We'll install a grill on the balcony & buy fancy sheets and bedding for the beds. We're going to find some nice curtains & hang them in the room, too. Oh, and we'll take out the little table & chairs and go shopping for a marble-topped table and some recliners. We're going to gut the bathroom & re-do it too." By this time, her kids were all giving her weird looks, wondering WHY on earth they'd want to do all this. When they asked WHY she'd want to redecorate a room that wasn't their home, that they'd only stay in maybe once a year? Why not spend the money on something else?

With that, she said "see....this earth is NOT our home. We should not be investing all our time, money & energy into things that won't follow us to Heaven. Just like we would just be passing through the hotel room, we're only passing through this world. Heaven is our home!"

The engrossed:
A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above & before every other thing and every other being.
Beautiful....I want to be fully engrossed.

Unguarded ones:
People who are obsessed are raw with God; they do not attempt to mask the ugliness of their sins or their failures. Obsessed people don't put on a show for God; He is their safe place where they can be at peace.
I pray that I am unguarded. Why do we try to "fancy up" our words when we're praying? We don't have to sound fancy to God. He already knows our hearts!

The Rooted:
People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by His word throughout the day because they know that 40 minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them for the whole week, especially when they will encounter so many distractions & alternative messages.

The Dedicated:
People who are obsessed with Jesus are more concerned about his/her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn't come from circumstances or environment but is a gift that must be chosen & cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God.
I once heard it said that "God is more concerned with making you HOLY than making you HAPPY".

A person who is obsessed with Christ knows that the best thing he can do is be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of life. An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to pay back God or work hard enough to be worthy. He revels in his role as a child & friend of God.
Lord, let me bring a sacrifice of worship to you every's the only thing I can offer you. Father, inhabit my praises & be near me every minute of every hour of every day. I love you.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crazy Love: Chapter 7

Oh wow.

This book has been good all the way through, but tonight's chapter? Whoa. Very challenging. It's about giving. Not just your usual 10% tithe, but truly giving. Mr. Chan, and the Scripture throughout the chapter, was very convicting.

Right off the bat, the author asks this question: "Do you want to see God more than you desire security?" I think most Christians will answer yes to this, because we want to sound really holy. But really think about it. Security. That is one of those words that includes so many things. Safety, being taken care of, being guarded. Financial security, emotional security, mental security, spiritual security....the list goes on. Do we really stop & think about whether we want to see God more than we want a roof over our heads? Do we want to see Him more than we want our children to be kept safe? I know. That's a tough one.

Mr. Chan points to the story of Noah building the ark. He says that having faith often means doing something that others see as crazy.

A little story, first. I have to giggle about this statement because several years ago, Larry felt called to go to New York City to go to one of the Tuesday night prayer meetings at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. It made no sense to him, but when he came into the kitchen to ask me about whether he should go or not, his words were "Does God ever talk to you?" (yes). "Has he ever asked you to do something that sounds crazy?" My response was "Like build an ark?" ha ha! More about that trip by email if you'd like to hear about it.

Seriously, though, Mr. Chan pins the tail on the donkey when he points out that "something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers". Ouch. Do you fit in at work? Do you stand around & talk about the same things with your friends at the water cooler? Do you fit right into the conversations in the bleachers at the Friday night football game?

I loved this next statement. "We have to do things that cost us on earth but will be more than worth it in eternity." Beautiful. Are you doing anything like that today?

Mr. Chan suggests that "true love requires sacrifice". I can think of no greater example of this than Christ's death on the Cross. If His depiction of LOVE for us is an example of how we should live, then I have to agree with Mr. Chan's statement. He goes on to discuss giving. Not just of money, but of our time & resources. He talks about how silly it would've been for the disciples to take the giant meal Jesus created from the 5 loaves & 2 fishes and keep it for themselves when there were so many hungry people around them. If they had sat down to eat & continually said thank you to Jesus for THEIR meal, it would be ludicrous. It's the same way with the excess & abundance in our lives today. Most of us have farrrrrr more than we could ever need, but rather than giving away our excess, we sit on a mountain of luxury & raise our hands to God to thank Him. Sure, saying THANK YOU is nice & I'm sure He appreciates our gratefulness, but really....isn't there a better way to show love to all of those around us who are in need?

In Luke 9, Jesus sent out His disciples with nothing. He told them not to take a staff, a meal, an extra tunic....nothing. Why is that? He wanted them to reach a point where they could ONLY rely on Him and allow Him to supply everything they needed. Do any of us live that way these days? Do we EVER leave home without packing the kids' diaper bag or our purse and our gas-guzzling SUV with every possible item we might need while we're out? Think many of us sell our houses & move to the mission field to live on whatever God supplies from month to month? Would you even be willing if He asked you to do that? Is God calling all of us to do that? No. But He does want us to live, day to day, in a way that shows we trust in Him to supply all we need. I loved this quote.... "God wants us to trust Him with abandon. He wants to show us how He works & cares for us. He wants to be our refuge." Are you letting Him show you how He cares for you? Are you taking refuge in Him?

"Life is comfortable when you separate yourself from people who are different from you." Ouchy-wa-wa. To be honest, I don't know too many people who are vastly different from me. Living in northeast Texas, I live in a bit of a racial, ethnic, cultural, religious bubble. There aren't too many non-white, non-Christian people around me. Yes, there are SOME, but the vast majority of people here are very much like me. It takes reaching my hands out, getting my shoes dirty, getting to know people, seeking out people who are different to feel a sense of discomfort. I've been on the mission field in various places over the years and those places were very hard emotionally, but so very powerful. The impact that those people & places had on my soul were completely life-changing. But when I'm at home in my cozy 3BR/2BA, looking out the windows at my suburban neighborhood full of mostly white Christians, it's easy to forget that I need to be a little uncomfortable from time to time.

"God doesn't call us to be comfortable, He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through." SO very true. Been there, done that....over & over. It's HARD. But the intimacy (with God) & beauty in the end are so worth the struggles & pain & heartache.

Isaiah 58 says: "....If you do away with the pointing finger & malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always, He will satisfy your needs." We're all given different gifts. Maybe you can 'spend yourself' with money but it doesn't have to be money. Use your gifts to give yourself to meet the needs of others.

Like Matthew 25 says "...whatever you do for the least of these, you've done for me." What is it that you've given or done for the least of these lately?

While Larry & I give our tithe regularly and we gladly prepare & give meals to anyone who needs it (friends, family, church members after a birth/death/surgery/etc) & we serve at our church.....the truth is, we don't suit up & go to work on a regular basis for "the least of these". We need to be doing it, though. I'm praying tonight for God to show us a place where we can reach out & serve the 'least of these' soon.

I have so many thoughts churning in my head right now, but I'm going to close & give you time to absorb it all yourself.

And on a totally ironic sidenote:
I have no idea if Mr. Chan actually meant to have this particular play on words or not. Maybe he did. If you know anything about the prosperity gospel, it claims that you can be wealthy & rich & blessed RIGHT NOW by giving to God. The whole "Jesus is a slot machine" sort of theology that claims you can give "seed faith" money & God will dump a load of cash in your bank account by the end of the week. The kind of thing you'd see in a televangelist sort of show. Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely DO believe that God blesses us (sometimes financially) for trusting in Him...and that is spoken to in this chapter... but the whole idea of talking people into coming to the altar & writing a $20,000 check in expectation of God's cash-filled miracle is BOLOGNA! Anyway, all that to say there is a particular TV preacher who teaches some of this sort of thing & he's got a book out called Your Best Life Now. I have to wonder if Mr. Chan meant the chapter title a bit tongue in cheek or if it even crossed his mind. The chapter is titled "Your Best Life...Later".

Hey, YOU!

Yes, I'm talking to YOU. Due to my fabulous little gadget over on the right side of the screen (under the map), I know when someone visits my blog. I love it. But I don't know who most of the people are who stop by. So here's the deal --- I'm going to have a Blog Tour!

Everyone who reads this post, leave me a comment with your name, where you're from & a link to your blog (if you have one). I want to get to know all of you!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Housecleaning questions for you

I'm always making an effort to do better, so I'm curious what your standards are for your own home. (Remember, you may make me feel better...or be honest! You can always reply anonymously if you don't want me to know who you are!) Tell me, how often do you do the following things? (This is, of course, based on not having a kiddo wet the bed or throw up in the kitchen floor or having not dropped a bowl of spaghetti on the living room floor, etc. Think 'normal circumstances'.) often do you:

Vacuum carpeted floors?
Change sheets on all the beds in your home?
Clean the bathrooms?
Take down the curtains and/or blinds & wash them?
Do laundry?
Do dishes? (of course, I figure this would be daily for everyone...but maybe you have a system I haven't thought of!)
Clean baseboards?
Clean walls?
Take down pictures & dust the frames?
Flip your mattress?
Vacuum your mattress? (I hear some people do this, anyway. ha ha)
Cleaning ceiling fan blades?
Change the A/C filter?
Clean the disposal?
Clean the dishwasher?
Clean the oven?
Clean the fridge (interior)?
Clean out closets?
Organize drawers/shelves?

My brain is going blank....but if you can think of something else, feel free to include it in your answers!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Crazy Love: Chapter 6

Earlier tonight, a girlfriend who is going through a rough time emailed me asking, "Is there really such a thing as unconditional love?". All I could tell her was YES. But the only unconditional love that exists is through God. No earthly man or woman, girl or boy can ever fully meet all our needs. Only God can. That is the only unconditional love any of us can ever know this side of eternity. While many of us are lucky enough to have a fabulous spouse or beautiful children who we feel like we love unconditionally...or who love us unconditionally...they still can't meet our every need.

And so...I found it fitting that when I opened the book tonight, I read the title to this chapter "When You're in Love". Don't ya love God's timing? I will be honest, as I read tonight, I was distracted thinking about my friend's current struggle & much of what I read was read through the eyes of that struggle. I'm not going to respond to the highpoints I'm posting below because I fear I'd give details of her situation and that's not for me to share. Instead, I will email her this post and pray that she (& all of you reading this) will glean from the wisdom in these passages from the book.

*Grandma Clara would kneel by her bed every morning & spend hours in the presence of the Lord, praying. Later in the day, just a glimpse of that corner of her bed would bring tears to her eyes in anticipation of sharing time with God there the following morning. Grandma Clara acted toward God the way we do when we're deeply in love with someone.....When you're truly in love, you go to great lengths to spend time with that person.

*If you could go to Heaven with all the friends you have on earth, no sickness, all the luxuries you desire, all the physical pleasures & no human conflict, yet without Christ, would you be satisfied?

*When we love Him, we're FREE. No burdensome list of conditions or rules to follow.

*Lukewarm living & proclaiming the name of God simultaneously is disgusting to God.

*When loving Him becomes an obligation, one of many things we have to do, we end up focusing even more on ourselves. No wonder so few people want to hear from us about what we ourselves feel is a boring, guilt-ridden chore!

*Jesus didn't only die to save us from @#!*% ; He also died to save us from our bondage to sin. John 10:10 says "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." He wasn't talking about the future. He meant NOW, in this lifetime.

*I need God to help me love God. And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other fault-filled humans.

*As we focus on loving Christ, loving others becomes more natural.

*John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." Life isn't perfect when you follow Christ wholeheartedly; you will have trouble, Jesus says -- it's pretty much guaranteed. BUT He has overcome the world.

*There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter and me & you.

*It sounds trite to say that our troubles on earth are 'light & momentary'. Yet God tells us we're getting the better end of the deal, that we really will be rewarded in a manner that far outweighs our current frustrations and hardships. (Luke 6:22-23)

*God is the only true Giver, and He needs nothing from us. But still He wants us. He gave us life so that we might seek & know Him.

*If you merely pretend that you enjoy God or love Him, He knows. You can't fool Him. Instead tell Him that He isn't the most important thing in your life and that you're sorry for that. Tell Him that you've been lukewarm, that you've chosen ______ over Him. Tell Him that you want Him to change you, that you long to genuinely enjoy Him.

You can be real with Him.

The aftermath of Hurricane Alex

Or is it just a tropical storm? I haven't watched the news in a couple days, so I'm not sure. Either way, the NE side of Texas is getting a good deal of rain. This afternoon, I went out & took a couple of pictures..............

...........before I saw this.

Sarah loves to play in the rain, or even just sit on the porch & watch the rain. When she spotted the heavy-duty rain we were getting, it didn't take long til she was out in it!

And soon after, she donned her swimsuit to play in it. She called her sister out to make a mud pie with her...........

.....and before you know it, they had a big ol' "tasty" pie made.

Savannah tried to convince me to give her muddy, wet self a hug. ha ha!

You've gotta love a rainy summer day.

Summertime...I've lost count of the days!

Sorry, I was going to do my annual summer days count again this year, but I've lost count & I'm too lazy to go back & count up where we are now.

I'm too busy filling my days with things like this....

Savannah's here, too....but she dodges the camera well! :)