So...you'd think my first full day home after our middle school fall retreat I'd be just pumped! Tired...but excited for what happened there. Instead - I found myself battling the enemy all day - I know I was fighting with him at the retreat - that's what happens when you call him out - our theme verse was John 10:10 - A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (yeah, we used the message version - very middle school friendly). Anyway - I was tired today. But I found myself battling all day long the thoughts of not doing things right, not doing things good enough, not saying things I wanted to say or planned to say, that others can do it better...and so on and so on... I always feel like I can do a better job than what I do. I'm not trying to say I don't do some stuff ok, but I can easily beat myself up, sometimes with a reason - sometimes with what I think is no reason at all. I know I've talked before about being one of the most insecure people on the planet - one who always feels incapable, or someone else can do this better, or that I should keep my mouth shut and let other people do it all. Even acknowledging it gives the enemy a way to know my weakness... so I've just spent time watching a video I put together for the retreat... reminding myself of the very truth I was hoping our students would grasp. Who I am in Christ... Because my identity in Him is what I need to be most focused on - not on how I do (or don't do) life...not that I don't strive to be what He wants, because I also know I can so let Him down - so it's that fine balance of acknowledging shortcomings, and not letting the enemy take those and so throw them in my face...

Anyway, I just thought I'd share it with you.

So to myself and to you I say --- spend time today reflecting on who you are in Him. The Bible is FULL of descriptions of who we are. It's a breath of fresh air to listen to the King of Kings describe you... (it's soooo much better than the lying whispers of an enemy who is on the ropes)... Be bold. Be strong. Be convinced. Be His...


A little brain break...a great deal...

So... what else is a girl to do at 10:00 pm on a Tuesday night after wrestling with some homework, and needing a break?? Go to Albertson's!!! I had some coupons...a few double coupons to play (couponing is a game you know...). So here's what I got - 4 bottles of Tree Top juice, 4 jars of Prego spaghetti sauce, 6 Healthy Choice frozen meals, 3 California Pizza Kitchen Flatbread Melts, 2 pkgs of Green Giant 100% natural Steamers, 2 pkgs of Danimals yogurt & 3 Betty Crocker Warm Delights...all for the bargain basement price of $21. 24 items. In Josh-like fashion that's an average of 87.5 cents a piece. Regular priced this would have cost me $83.66. Uh-oh - can I do this math?? I saved 75%. (Is that right??) I think so... yeah... so. That was the jolt of energy I needed to get through the next hour or so of school work... WOO!HOO!!! =)


I heard this song today...

I heard this song today... for the first time... and it broke my heart. I just sit and think of the number of people who are sitting there feeling the exact same way and wonder...will tomorrow be the day that perspective changes for them? Will tomorrow be the day that they hear just how much God truly, passionately loves and adores them? Will tomorrow be the day that someone will boldly and compassionately share that news with them?? I hope I get the chance to do that with someone tomorrow...


Things are about to fly...

So... I've been contemplating this blog for a couple of days. And just when I think I'm calm enough to go at this on a rational, collected, self-controlled manner, something else happens that sends me over the edge. Something else happens that makes me feel like the world has lost any semblance of common sense. Something that happens that makes me that much more aware of and in need of God who is patient, and all consuming. I know He can't possibly be finished molding me yet, because I just don't get it. Curious? Should I stop here, or should I go on? Where do I even start?

OK...I'll start with me - that's a good place to start. I'm going to make some admissions here that people typically try to shy away from. Obviously if you've read my blog I'm not afraid of the topic of "religion" - one of the big "no-no's" of conversation right? HA! Too bad. I'm not letting that one go. So...I guess I shouldn't be afraid of the other one either - politics. It's like opening a can of so ripened worms that I'm scared to even pop the lid. Just the word politics sends people's blood into a boil. It makes them disgusted, sick - but not even at politics itself. For example - I've talked to people who can't stand jury duty (oooo, I'm just getting started). Really? Can't stand jury duty? I mean people give up their lives so that we can live in this country, and you can't give up a few days, and take a good book along, to see our country in action where we have the ability to have things reviewed by a panel of our peers - to be one of those peers - who gets to determine the potential fate of someone who has been accused, just accused, of doing something inappropriate. Wrong. Against the law. OK - so if we can't even handle the simplicity of serving on a jury - how the heck are we going to handle discussions about those things that come up in court rooms? Or things that could end up in court rooms - or other places of discussion. Maybe we don't want to serve because we don't want to talk about those things in our world that aren't right.

See - the cool part of living in these United States of America is that we have a voice. And it's our choice whether or not to use it. We can use at the polls at elections to voice who we want to represent us. We can write letters or emails to those who are representing us to share how we feel about issues. We have freedom of speech. (uh oh, I can feel the blood starting to boil). And yet we are living in a day and time where it is embarrassing to be a part of this country. Yep - I've said it. Embarrassing. Embarrassing because we've taken this civil opportunity to discuss and challenge and grow as a people and turned it into bickering, fighting, back-stabbing hatred at the very mention of a differing opinion - and it makes me sick. I'm tired of people thinking Democrats are great and Republicans stink or that Republicans are great and Democrats stink. (Note - I'm a "religious" person so I'm trying not to use bad words here...) If you watch or read CNN you can't possibly watch or listen to Fox News. If you are a Republican you can't possibly have any desire to watch a Democratic National Convention. If you are a Democrat then anything that one of those lipstick wearing, hockey lovin' Republican women says has clearly got to be stupid and not even worth the value of hearing the whole way through.

I'm sick of it. I don't get it. I'm tired of receiving in my mailbox questionnaires for each political party wanting my opinion on issues, when questions are clearly worded in such a manner that only reflects their opinions, not mine. I'm tired of seeing opinion polls on news networks like CNN & Fox News where their viewers are the only ones who respond, and therefore are skewed - so the likelihood is that the real scope of American view is somewhere in between the two. I'm tired of feeling like if I want to understand how the "other side" feels that I can't possibly really be aligned with another political view. OH MY WORD!!!

OK...so how did all this start? I admit it. I was surprised when Barack Obama was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize last week. But (and I'm not trying to toot my own horn, I'm just saying...) when I heard it - I did respond with a tweet about how I could/should win one. But shortly afterwards I was online reviewing articles about how the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, how nominations are made, reading quotes from the committee who makes these decisions, looking at who has won in the past and honoring what they have and continue to accomplish. It's not my award to give. I want him to champion peace & stability. I want him to succeed. The committee says they awarded based on his ability to rally and challenge people and countries toward peace. I may not agree with how he's doing it, but does that mean I don't want him to succeed at it? No way. I do. My way may not be the right way either. I'm willing to admit that. I'm willing to admit (big picture here) that I don't really understand all the stuff that's going on the world - but that doesn't make me ignorant - or uninformed. I'm just an American girl (not the doll) trying to understand all that is going on the world. Looking at all the news agencies to get a real picture as best as I can as to what's happening. Mr. President - congratulations on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. I think you've received enough ridicule about it. I think you know what those who have received this award before you have done and accomplished. It's a high standard. Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter...just to name a few. I pray that you will seek for peace as part of your Presidency. I trust Mr. President that you will take all the advice you can from both political parties as you venture forward...

Here we go...I'm about to make more people mad. I'll admit it. I voted for McCain/Palin. Not ashamed of that vote at all. Does that make me an Obama hater? Nope. Does that make me someone who disrespects him? Nope. It means when I made my vote last November - after watching all the debates, both national conventions, looking at both websites, etc. that was my choice. But I watched on elections night the amazing display of people and supporters in Chicago. And was thrilled for our country to see the coming full-circle of an African American President - not so long after a terrible disservice of our country to judge just for the color of someone's skin. Barack Obama is my President. I want him to succeed!! I want there to be things different about our country!! I want him to do the best job he can. I want him to get people on both sides of the aisle working towards some of these issues.

So here's where I get frustrated. It's as though we've reached this place where we have freedom of speech but we can't express it without someone absolutely flying off the handle. Really? I can't say that I know we need change in healthcare, but I'm not sure the current option is the best way to go without knowing someone is thinking I've lost my mind. I can't say I get frustrated knowing that those representing us in elected offices don't read all the pages of bills that they are voting on, without someone saying I'm closed-minded. Really? Then again - I click the "I accept terms..." boxes on stuff online all the time and I haven't read them. Well, not all of them. But this is bigger than that, to me. When I check that box I'm making a decision for me. When elected officials vote for or against something - they are deciding for them? No, for all of us.

So... I know I'm going in a million different directions on a million different topics - but like I told Steve - I probably would have started typing last Friday and not stopped for days...and feel like I could still do the same...OK, wait - I'm distracted again. OK...

Dear Fellow Americans - I respect your opinion. Please respect mine. Let's all agree that there are things that we want to see differently. Let's agree that we all have a right to say what we need to say. Let's all agree that we don't have to literally hate the person sitting on the other side of the opinion, issue, table, fence, whatever you want to call it. I'm not saying we have to agree. But how can we ever come together to solve some of these issues without putting these stereotypical assumptions aside for the sake of really and truly seeing and wanting something different. I'm tired just like you are of seeing one-sided/one-partied solutions that get stalled out, or wait until there is a "majority" in a governing body so that it can be put through without the other side. I didn't like it with Newt Gingrich and the First 100 Days thing which I felt like came across so "ha - ha - we're gonna do whatever we want", any more than I like the Democratic Congress of today feeling as though it's their turn to rule the USA. We want a change in the way health care works right now. We want our country to be safe & protected. We want our soldiers to be safe & cared for. We want quality education for our children. We want a stable economy. We want to care for those who aren't in a place to care for themselves. We want to care for our environment, because God created this great world of ours and we should care for it. And in as much as He created our world, He created us. And we, as humans, each deserve respect, care, common courtesy.

Dear Elected Officials - stop thinking that your idea is the only idea. stop thinking that your way is the only way. stop thinking that it has to be Democrats or Republicans. Because let's face it - those of us who put you into office are pretty convinced that while you may say you want to act in a bipartisan manner, you really don't. Bleck! Please oh please read or have your staff read every word of a bill before you cast a vote. Please oh please take seriously the oath to which you pledged. Please oh please represent your constituents and not your own special interests.

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Presidents - of yesterday, today and tomorrow --- please oh please oh please read both paragraphs above. Please oh please continue to have our country's best interest at heart. Thank you for being willing to even run for this office. I can't imagine the stuff you go through and have gone through and will continue to go through as you hold this very powerful position in the world. But please do not use your office to push a personal agenda coated with executive orders that the next president is just going to come along and use their power of executive order to discontinue. And please don't use your power of executive order to change something just because the last person did it. It happens every time there is a "peaceful transition of power" - I've come to the point of seeing this only as "we were able to pause for a photo opp with our predecessors before I get to do things my way." Please give common courtesy to the person who sat at that desk in the Oval Office before you and after you. I pray you lead in such a way that honors that trust and faith that has been put in you by those who elected you, and by those who while they didn't elect you fully call you their president as well and want you to succeed. I know you have a short time in office. But please challenge those in the House of Representatives and the Senate to true bi-partisanship - reflected completely in your office, your staff, your agenda. You have 4-8 years in that chair. Determine what will make the best impact for those 4-8 years. What foundation are you laying? What foundation was laid before you that you can continue to build on vs. just pick apart? (Note - I would say this to any President - not just the sitting President so please do not read this as I'm only speaking to our current Commander in Chief)


I think about the movie "Dave" and think about how they had to cut the budget, and the guy impersonating the President brought his accountant friend into the White House and they sat and cut the budget. I know it's not as easy as that - but really - I think all of us are crazy to think our personal idea is the only good idea out there and that it can't possibly be improved in any way. We need each other. We need to talk things out. We need not to be offended if someone else has an idea or opinion. We do need to stand up for what we believe in. And I know there are soooo many differing opinions out there. And this is where it gets tricky. Each "side of the aisle" has things they fundamentally disagree on. And they each have things they are not willing to budge on. OK - so let's find any common ground and go from there.

OK...I've gone on toooooo long this time. I wonder if anyone is even going to read all of this. I haven't even gotten to things like - 6 year-olds being suspended from school because they brought a Boy Scout eating utensil type thing to school - innocently --- That reflects this whole rant of mine. We have zero-tolerance policy that has gone too far. We definitely need absolutes. We definitely need common purpose and common ground. We definitely need courtesy and respect. We definitely need to be informed of what is going on in the world and in our country and speak into those things...respectfully.

OK...I'm gonna stop for now. It's nearly 2 am. My friends on the east coast will be awake shortly... I have a big day ahead tomorrow.

Lord - thanks for blogs. They are like journals where we work through our ideas, our thoughts. Thanks for not giving up on me when I know that I don't have this world figured out. I know I have a voice. Will you help and encourage me to use it to reflect Your heart? Will you please change me from the inside out?? I don't want to be cynical, judgmental, critical, frustrated, confused, embarrassed ... then again, Lord if there is something that makes you sick, will you make me sick? If there is something that makes you joyful, will you make me joyful? If there is something I'm supposed to say, will you give me the courage to say it?? If there's something that needs to be different, will you make me different? God will you guide and protect our leaders - our political leaders, our media leaders, our corporate leaders, our family leaders...all of those...all of us who lead. May we cautiously, carefully yet boldly and unashamedly walk in the steps you have for us. Will you help me to see people as you see them??

P.S. And Lord...will you multiply my sleep tonight? will you help the eyes of those who braved this crazy-long rant to be able to continue to read and see?

©2009 Until... | by TNB