Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not Alone

"in the heat of the day"
Genesis 18:1

First off, I would just like to say:  it's hot. 

Like:  "ick, it's hot, therefore I'm sticky."

Like:  "ack, it's hot, therefore I think I'll just sit here and not move..."

So we went over to my folks' house to use their pool and share their air conditioning.  I mean, we have air conditioning, but it's better for the electricity grids if we turn on as few as possible, ya know?  My Amazing Boy and the Apple of my Eye went in the pool, but my Awesome Girl and I just sat on the edge of the pool with our feet in the water.  It cooled us down significantly, and we enjoyed sitting and talking with my parents. 

She and I didn't go in for two reasons.  My reason was that I only put on a bathing suit and get in the pool one day a year.  Maybe two.  Apparently this wasn't it. 

Her reason was that she wasn't feeling well.  She's had a few days now, of not feeling well, and as hard as that is for her, sometimes I think it might be harder for me.  I know that sounds selfish; how could I possibly think it's worse for me?  But any parent knows the truth in the statement "this hurts me more than it hurts you."  Watching our kids in pain, or unhappy, is hard. 

A few months ago, she was having stomach pains for a few days, and for some reason, at the same time, so was I.  I don't know why; we never figured out the source of her pain, or mine.  But hers started first, and when mine started bothering me, I found that in a weird sort of way, I was happy.   Sometimes when my kids are hurting, I would rather it be me.  So I was glad to be walking the path with her, if I couldn't walk it for her.

Sometimes I think the mere fact of being a parent brings me closer to God.  Seeing things as they relate to my children reminds me of how He sees us, and that He is not just the Creator of the universe, the Alpha and the Omega, but our Abba Father, as well.   I remember that He chose to take  the punishment for our sins. 

And I wonder, in the days and hours before Jesus' crucifixion, as He looked ahead to all He knew was coming, did His heart ache more for His disciples, than at the thought of His own suffering?

Pain is inevitable in this world, but it comforts me to know we are not alone.

~ "Jesus wept" ~
John 11:35
~

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pray, Tell

"Your Father knows"
Matthew 6:8

Do you remember those old commercials for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, where someone wandering around with a chocolate bar bumped into someone wandering around with an open jar of peanut butter?  "You got peanut butter on my chocolate!"  "Well, you got chocolate in my peanut butter!"  And then, hey look how great these things go together!

Well that happened to me the other day.  I was reading something about how sometimes our words sound feeble to us when we are praying, and it rang so true to me.  I often find that my words sound so trite in my head when I'm talking to Him.  At those times I'm grateful for the knowledge of Romans 8:26 ~ "We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

It reassures me to know that when my words are inadequate, He understands the feeling behind my words.  And so I pray my lame, sad prayers, stumbling over my words like my own language is new to me...

And then today I happened to come across Matthew 6:7 ~ "when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.  For they think that they will be heard for their many words."

That term "vain repetitions" leaped out at me because sometimes I do think my prayers are repetitious.  But then I realized that it's not because I'm just trying to say a lot of words.  It's about feeling that words are not enough.  It's about knowing that it's more important that my heart is reaching out for him, than my brain.  Sometimes my poor, weak words are all I have.  But it's enough. 

So, how is your prayer life?  What is your prayer life?  Frequent or occasional?  Long-winded and wordy, or sincere and simple?  What are you thinking about when you pray?  Do you remember that you are communicating with the Creator of the universe?  Are you praying for others who might share that prayer you are praying for yourself? 

Prayer is a privilege, and not to be taken lightly.  That means not ignoring that freedom we have, and not abusing it by praying as if it's a duty we're checking off our to-do list.

~ "For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Amen." ~
Matthew 6:13
~

Friday, June 28, 2013

Reaching the end, and then continuing

"with all your strength"
Deuteronomy 6:5

I had kind of a weird coincidence happen to me the other day.  I know some of you don't believe in coincidences, and I love that opinion; I just can't decide if I agree with it or not.

But it was something unusual that happened not once, but three times.  And if it was unusual and happened twice, that could be a coincidence.  Three times?  I'm not so sure....

It was three different people all going through something difficult in their lives, all of them long-term trials.  And I guess it must have been a full moon or something, because apparently they all hit the wall on the same day, and each of them said to me, "I can't do this anymore."

It's a hard thing to hear from someone you love.  It's a sentence of pain and desperation and it comes from a feeling of hopelessness, that the circumstance will never end. 

And in each case, I didn't know what to say.  When someone is unburdening themselves to me, I try very hard to avoid sharing from my vast store of wisdom, because if I give it all away, I won't have any left. 

Of course I kid.  But I do try to determine if they are coming to me for counsel, or simply a shoulder to cry on.  Because unwanted advice is, well, unwanted. 

But truthfully, I'm not really sure there's any easy response to that statement.  Please note that I said there's no easy response. 

There is a response, but people don't like to hear it.  At least, I don't. 

In each case, when my loved one said, "I can't do this anymore," what I wanted was to gently reply, "Yes, you can."

Because they can.  I know they can. 

And what's worse ~ I know they'll have to.

You see, God doesn't care when we think we've reached our limit.  I don't mean that He doesn't care about us, although it can feel that way.  What I mean is that He's not interested in our opinion of how much we can take.  Because He knows we're wrong. 

I've made that statement to God.  Only a few times, I think.  But He ignored me.  It didn't end.  At least not then. 

And what did I think, really.... that He'd thunder down from heaven, "Oh, you're done?  Sorry; I lost track of what you were going through.  Hang on, I'll turn it down a little." ?  No, that's not really His style. 

Have you ever heard the expression, "He will never give you more than you can handle." ?  That's not exactly in the Bible, but 1 Corinthians 10:13 is close ~ "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able."  The key there is temptation, but I think it applies to these situations, because the temptation is faithlessness. 

So the truth is:  God will never tempt you to lose your faith, more than you can handle.  Which would then beg the question, "How much can I handle?"

And the answer is:  everything He gives you.  The struggle you have, is not too much for you, otherwise He would never have given it to you.  Proof?  Philippians 4:13 ~ "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."


All things.  Anything He can handle, you can handle, in His strength. 

~ "Be strong and of good courage;
do not be afraid,
nor be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you 
wherever you go" ~
Joshua 1:9
~

Thursday, June 27, 2013

On Helen Keller's Birthday

"water in the wilderness"
Genesis 36:24

My son and I just finished reading The Miracle Worker a few weeks ago.  It's a play written by William Gibson and first performed in 1959, detailing the beginning of the relationship between Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan.

Helen Keller's is a wonderful story; one that has inspired me for many years.  We own two copies of the movie (the 1979 version with Patty Duke and Melissa Gilbert and the 2000 version with Alison Elliott and Hallie Kate Eisenberg).   I'm not terribly fond of the 2000 version; it's not one of the "classic" versions (the other classic version being the 1962 Anne Bancroft/Patty Duke version).  But I taped it off TV when my kids were little, and it's a version they enjoyed watching when they were younger.   

I even had the chance to meet Patty Duke a couple of years ago.  We had seen the musical Wicked at the Orpheum in San Francisco, and when it was over, the kids wanted to wait at the Stage Door, hoping to meet the stars {which they did.  Very exciting!}  but one of the first people out the door was Patty Duke, who had also been in the production.  It was a thrill for me to meet her, not so much because she is Patty Duke, but because of my admiration for Helen Keller.  Let's face it, Patty Duke is as close as I'm ever going to get!

My high esteem for Helen Keller is two part ~ first, the obstacles she had to overcome.  As if being deafblind was not enough, it was in a time when society did not know ~ so her parents did not know ~ how to help her.  As a result, when Annie Sullivan came into her life, she had the task of dealing not just with Helen's disabilities, but also her lack of discipline.

Despite her considerable handicap, Helen achieved much in this world, even graduating college, with Annie at her side.

But the other reason I admire her is her attitude.  Much of her writing gives us a glimpse of the optimism and peace this woman carried in her heart.  Many who have easier lives than Helen are not so wise and contented.

So in celebration of her birthday, I'd like to share a few quotes from this remarkable woman...

On Understanding:

 "As the cool stream gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other the word "water", first slowly, then rapidly.  I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motion of her fingers.  Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten ~ a thrill of returning thought, and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.  I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand."

On Humility:

"There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his."

On Obedience:

"I love to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble."

On Discouragement:

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content... My heart is still undisciplined and passionate, but my tongue will not utter the bitter, futile words that rise to my lips, and they fall back into my heart like unshed tears."

On Suffering:

"Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men.  It then appears that we are among the privileged."

On Reading:

"Literature is my Utopia.  Here I am not disfranchised.  No barrier of the senses shuts me out of the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends.  They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness."

On Self-pity:

"Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world."

On Optimism:

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

On Potential:

"If we have once seen, the day is ours, and what the day has shown."

On Gratitude:

"I thank God for my handicaps for, through them, I have found myself, my work and my God."

Photo Credit: helenkellerbirthplace.org

Be blessed today.

~ "Blessed are your eyes, for they see,
and your ears, for they hear;
for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets
and righteous men desired to see what you see,
and did not see it,
and to hear what you hear,
and did not hear it" ~
Matthew 13:16-17
~

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reporting for Duty

"a ship sailing"
Acts 21:2

Have you ever asked the question, "How come they get to?"

Have you ever thought it?

We probably all thought it as kids.   Probably said it, too.  In a high-pitched voice of complaint.

And maybe your mother responded with something like, "if they jumped off a cliff, would you, too?"

See, your mother knew that what was right for others was not necessarily right for you.

Your mother also knew that jumping off a cliff is not right for anyone.  

Now, who do you think of, in the Bible, if I say "boat" ?  Peter fishing?  Jesus calming the storm?  Paul shipwrecked on the island of Malta?

What if I say "boat" and "God's wrath" ?  Then where does your mind go?  Probably to one of two places:  Jonah, or Noah.

But there's a big difference between Jonah and Noah.  Noah got on a boat as a refuge from God's wrath.  Jonah got on a boat and incurred God's wrath.

Noah boarded a ship to to save humanity.  Jonah boarded a ship to escape his responsibility.

For Noah, getting on a boat was obedience.  For Jonah, the same action was disobedience. 

Just another reminder to me to not compare my life with others.  Obedience is personal.

"Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet, 
     or we'll walk by His side in the way;
what He says, we will do; where He sends, we will go;
          never fear, only trust and obey."
               (John H. Sammis, 1846-1919)

 ~ "I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God,
and have done according to all
    that You have commanded me." ~
Deuteronomy 26:14
~

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Knowing What's Noteworthy

"meditate on these things"
Philippians 4:8

The NBA season has ended.  And without verifying my facts, I believe that the San Antonio Spurs lost in seven games.

I have no idea who won.

I'm kind of excited about not knowing.  It feels like an achievement.  I don't really care about basketball; it's the one sport (outside of boxing, which I don't consider a sport) that I don't care to watch.  But every year I know who's in the playoffs and who wins the championship.  It's a major sport in the US, so the coverage is hard to avoid.

And I'm not really sure how I managed my blissful ignorance this year.  I spent the past week watching a lot of movies with my Awesome Girl.  We did a lot of "girl stuff" while the guys were in NYC.  So we didn't watch TV very much.

As a rule, I don't really watch the news.  I watch a one-hour show on politics every day, but avoid the stuff on the nightly news because it's too depressing, and because I don't think it allows me to live out Philippians 4:8, which says: "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy ~ meditate on these things."

But even though I don't care much about the news,  I still manage to find myself more up-to-date than I'd like to be on celebrity divorces, reality star exploits, and ongoing trials.

Not much true, noble or pure in most of that stuff.

But now I've realized it's possible to be even more out-of-the-loop than I was before, and it makes me want to achieve that.  I'm not talking about being oblivious to the important things going on in the world.  And I'm not criticizing anyone who makes room in their head for this year's NBA champs.  Heaven knows I pay attention to baseball.

Oh, and the Chicago Blackhawks just beat the Boston Bruins in Game 6, to win Lord Stanley's Cup. 

But there is knowledge that is not beneficial, and takes the place of what is.  Sort of like eating "empty calories".  I'm simply talking about refusing to make room in my brain for what's frivolous to me.  And if that means actively fighting it by filling my head with more of what's virtuous and praiseworthy, so much the better.


~ "Study to show yourself approved unto God,
a worker that need not be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth" ~
2 Timothy 2:15
~

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lessons learned living vicariously

So, as I mentioned, one half of our familial unit was in The Big Apple last week.  Yup, my husband and my Amazing Boy visited The City So Nice They Named It Twice.  The City That Never Sleeps.  The Empire City.  Gotham.
Also known as New York.

The only time I was in New York, I was about twelve, I think, so I don't remember much.  So I loved following their trip.  We chatted every day, and texted frequently, and every day my sweetie sent pictures, and I really enjoyed living vicariously through them.

And as I lived vicariously, I also learned vicariously.  So I thought I'd share some of his/my lessons.

~

1.  They went to visit Ground Zero, the 9/11 memorial at the site of the World Trade Center.  I was looking at the brochure this morning, and there was a diagram that illustrated how the names of the victims were arranged in the granite.  For instance, those who were on Flight 77 are in this place, First Responders' names are over here, etc.  And there was an interesting and beautiful explanation as to the placement of the names.  It says: "The arrangement of names is based on layers of "meaningful adjacencies" that reflect where the victims where on 9/11 and relationships they shared with others who were lost that day, honoring requests from victims' families for specific names to be next to one another."

I just love that term "meaningful adjacencies".  It meant something very unique on September 11, 2001.  The first responders were not just co-workers on that day.  It became much more than that.  And the passengers on Flight 93 were not just fellow travelers.  Their actions united them forever in the hearts of Americans.

We have friends, and relatives, and co-workers and acquaintances, but there are other relationships, too.  Sometimes brief, sometimes barely noticeable, lives are affected.  Never underestimate the impact you can have on others.


"You are the light of the world."
Matthew 5:14
~

2.  The Apple of my Eye learned the hard way that shower gel is not the same thing as mouthwash.

~ ick ~

It was in a small, clear bottle, and to be fair, it's exactly the same color as Scope.  And it was on the bathroom counter, as opposed to being near the shower, where there shampoo was, and where one would expect to find the shower gel.  

Still...

I feel pretty confident in saying that it's not a mistake he'll make again.


"Test all things; hold fast to the good."
1 Thessalonians 5:21
~

3.  As we looked through their pictures, I saw a picture of that ice skating rink at the base of Rockefeller Center.  The one you constantly see on TV and in movies?  And my hubby said to me, "It's smaller than I thought it would be."  I kinda think this lesson falls under the heading "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence."  Just a reminder that what you think might be, might not be.  Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't be going, just watch your expectations.


"Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness...
Make Your way straight before my face"
Psalm 5:8
~

4.  One of the things my son was looking forward to the most was the Central Park Zoo.  I guess I'm not a big fan of zoos, so my kids have only been once in their whole lives, and that was to a pretty small zoo.  So he talked, the week before their trip, about the polar bear, puffins and snow leopard that he expected to see.   And as he expected, he loved the experience.

Except for the snow leopard that never showed up.  Just hid somewhere in his cage.

And the polar bear was not terrifically interested in cooperating, either.

Bummer. 

The lesson?  The promises of the world cannot be relied on.  But God will always keep His promises.


"There has not failed one word of all His good promise"
1 Kings 8:56
~

5.  The Yankees/Dodgers games they went to see were as a doubleheader, due to a rainout the night before.  The Yankees won the first game, the Dodgers the second game.  And that second game was all Dodgers.  Final score 6-0.  So it would have been understandable if Yankees fans were a little cranky about that.  But towards the end of the game, when a Dodger hit a home run for that sixth run, my family was all cheering, and a Yankee fan in front of them turned around and high-fived my husband.

A Yankee fan congratulating the "enemy"?  That doesn't jive with anything I've ever heard about Yankee fans.  And it reminded me to not judge people by their reputation.


"Love always looks for the best"
1 Corinthians 13:7
~

6.  My boys went to New York for baseball.  Two Dodger/Yankee games, plus a minor-league game in Brooklyn.  And of course the Empire State Building, the USS Intrepid, authentic New York pizza, Coney Island... they saw and experienced a lot.  But my favorite thing they did?  Playing catch in Central Park.

It's become a tradition for them.  They've played catch in places like Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, and in the shadow of the Gateway Arch in St Louis.  And it's a sweet reminder that even in the middle of our biggest adventures, we can't take for granted the simple blessings God has given us. 


"A faithful man will abound with blessings"
Proverbs 28:20
~

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Once upon a time

"And they journeyed..."
Genesis 35:5

The Apple of my Eye, and my Amazing Boy spent the past week in New York City.   They were there with several members of my family for the Yankees/Dodgers games.  But neither of them had been to New York before, so they tried to make the most of their week.  Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and Coney Island.  Not to mention the Apple Store and the Lego Store.  You can guess which of them wanted to go to which of those stores. 

I did a lot of praying for them this week ~ safety, adventure, fun, and good old-fashioned male bonding.  But I also had an additional prayer based on a recent conversation with my Amazing Boy.  We were working on US History in school, and found ourselves studying something that hearkened back to our trip to the East Coast in 2009.  He remembered the experience that tied in with our lesson, but not as well as he would have liked.  And he said to me, "I wish I'd been paying more attention on that trip."

Now, the thing is, I know he was paying a lot of attention on that trip.  Although he was only nine, he has always been mature for his age, and he loves history.  So he didn't spend our vacation playing video games and whining about when we'd get to stop at the next McDonald's.  He paid attention, he asked questions ~ and answered them when we quizzed him on things. 

So I don't think it was that he wasn't paying attention.  I think what he really wishes is that he retained more from that trip.  So this week, I prayed for a sort of internal connection for him, you know?  That he'd be fully a part of everything he was experiencing.

But I'm not worried.  I know that with this trip, as with our trip in 2009, everything he needs will stick with him.  We talk about that trip every couple of weeks in our home.  If it doesn't happen to come up in school, then we see something on TV that prompts us.  We have photos, we have souvenirs.... we have reminders

And I know that that trip is a part of who he will become, even if that simply means someone who wants to go back and learn more because he doesn't remember enough.  For me, really, that was part of the purpose of the trip.  We didn't have time to explore everything in great detail.  I just wanted to my kids to see enough to illustrate their history books.  Whatever parts of the trip piqued their interest will prompt them to learn more.

We can't learn from everything we experience.  And we certainly can't remember it all.  But I love knowing that things add up, and wisdom comes from unexpected places.  Day by day, little by little, and experience by experience, we are all growing to become who we are becoming.  And any lesson we miss out on learning, He gives us another chance to learn. 

But the beauty of it is that sometimes the learning has happened whether we remember that it happened or not!

~ "How much better to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding 
is to be chosen rather than silver" ~
Proverbs 16:16
~

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Lesson from the Scotchmallow

"feed on carmel" *
Jeremiah 50:19

* yeah, I know, this verse is a bit of a stretch, but it made me giggle, so it's my lead-in for this post :-)

It's called the Scotchmallow.  Marshmallow and caramel covered in chocolate.  

photo credit: cocoa-heaven.com

Isn't it beautiful?  Yikes.  And slightly huge.  I probably could size that photo down, but I'm just gonna leave it that way, so you can fully appreciate it in all its glory.

It's made by See's Candy Company.  Maybe others make something similar; I'm not sure. 

I don't know if you've got See's where you live.  It used to be just a California thing, but maybe they've branched out now. 

See's makes a lot of candies, and this one is my favorite.   But in a one-pound box of See's, you only get one.  But I long ago learned to recognize the exact size and shape of a Scotchmallow, and the peculiar decorative chocolate swirl on the top. 

By peculiar, I mean unique to this particular chocolate, not that it's weird.

Last year, though, my parents bought me a one-pound box of See's, and inside was nothing but Scotchmallows.  I didn't even know you could custom order a box of See's, and there they all were, specially chosen for me, and fully loved.

And you know what?  You are God's Scotchmallow.  You are his beloved.  Every part of you.  He has loved you since before you were born.  Since before the beginning of time. 

You bring Him joy, because you're peculiar.

~ "I have chosen you out of the world" ~
John 15:19
~

Friday, June 21, 2013

When we're headed towards home

"the base things of the world"
1 Corinthians 1:28

I watched some historic baseball on TV this week.  The Los Angeles Dodgers vs the New York Yankees.  Historic because the Dodgers have never played in a regular season game in Yankee Stadium.  The only times they've ever been there, it was for  the World Series, and the last time that happened was in 1981.

Making it even more fun for me to watch, I had family members in attendance.  I'm related to some pretty blue-bleeding Dodger fans, who decided as soon as they heard the Dodgers would be in Yankee Stadium, that they wanted to be there.   So even while I was watching the game, I was receiving photos on my phone from the stadium.

Well, I wasn't really receiving photos from the Stadium.  I was receiving photos of the stadium from folks I love.  And who love me.

It was supposed to be two games on two different nights, but the weather had its own notions, so instead it was a day/night doubleheader, which is rare and exciting in its own right.

As I sat there watching the game, there was a play wherein a Dodger got a hit, getting him to first.  At the same time, there was a runner already on base, who ran to second, and then third, and then started for home.  As he was heading towards third, the third base coach was giving him the "go ahead" for home, but then he thought better of it, and held up his hands to stop him.   It became obvious that was the right decision, as the ball made it to the plate before the runner would have.

After the play was completed, the camera focused for a few minutes on the third base coach and the runner, grinning a little about the close call, and the decision for the runner to stop at third.  And I thought how interesting it is in baseball, that there's a coach posted at first and third, instead of just making the runners decide the best course of action.  The coaches keep their eyes on the ball, and gauge what kind of play the fielder is going to be making. 

And it would be pretty foolish of the runner to not pay attention to the coach.  They're simply in a better position to decide if the runner should stop or keep going.

Sometimes we're in the same position.  We come to a point of decision, and maybe we're too close to the situation to be able to clearly decide.  But He has provided for us, in those times.  People in our lives who know us, and know our situation, yet still have some objectivity.  Like coaches, they can't do it for us, but with wisdom and experience, they can tell us what they see and what they'd do. 

We always have His Word as a guide, but sometimes the Bible doesn't touch our situation literally.  Then it's such a joy to have someone in your life who can help you understand how to apply it to a given situation.  The choice is still ours to make, but it's nice to know we don't have to decide alone.

~ "Listen now to my voice;
I will give you counsel,
and God will be with you" ~
Exodus 18:19
~

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guess what ~ He loves you!


His is the greatness, the power and the glory,
the victory and the majesty.  
For all that is in heaven and in earth is His.
His is the kingdom
and He is exalted as head over all.

And He loves you.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.

And He loves you.

And behold, the glory of the God of Israel
came from the way of the east.
His voice was like the sound of many waters
and the earth shone with His glory.

And He loves you.

He is worthy
to receive glory and honor and power,
For He created all things,
And by His will they exist and were created.

And He loves you.

The King of glory
is the Lord, strong and mighty;
The Lord is mighty in battle.

And He loves you. 

When the Son of Man comes in His glory,
and all the holy angels with Him,
then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

And He loves you.

He heals you, 
and you are healed;
He saves you
and you are saved.

Because He loves you.

~

1 Chronicles 29:11, Psalm 19:1, Ezekiel 43:2, Revelation 4:11, Psalm 24:8, Matthew 25:31, Jeremiah 17:14

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Veggie Tales


"give us vegetables to eat"

Daniel 1:12

I love Brussels sprouts.  I'll just say that up front.

I also love broccoli and cauliflower and zucchini and asparagus.

But I married someone who doesn't love Brussels sprouts, and I gave birth to a person who doesn't love zucchini, and one who doesn't love asparagus.   So I've done lots of experimenting with preparing and cooking those veggies for the non-lovers.

It's fun for me to experiment, because I like the veggies, and I'm going to enjoy them however I prepare them.  But the challenge is to see if I can't pull off something to please everyone.

For broccoli, I steam them for a few minutes, then saute them in a skillet with a little butter and oil.  The key is to not toss them around too much.  Let them sit still long enough to char the little florets a touch.  Gives them a nice crispy texture, and a little brown (not black) is a good thing.  Brown = flavor.  Then a slight sprinkling of salt over the whole thing.  My family loves it.

For cauliflower, I cut the head up into manageable chunks, and then steam them.  Then when it's nice and soft, I puree the whole thing in a food processor, with some salt and milk or buttermilk or sour cream or butter or Parmesan or cheddar or ranch dressing powder or maybe even a little bacon.... the possibilities are endless.   My family loves it.  My Amazing Boy is so crazy about it that he'll do the whole process for himself sometimes, and eat it for lunch. 

And I recently learned a new way of cooking Brussels sprouts that has made them one of my favorite veggies to cook, simply because of the novelty.  I shred them (raw) in a food processor, and then saute all that confetti in a little oil.  You can just sprinkle them with a little salt, or you can add chopped bacon or pancetta, or you can add some garlic or Parmesan cheese or even a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar.  Lots of choices there!

There's a way to enjoy what you don't enjoy.  You just have to change your approach to it.  Sort of the "spoonful of sugar" thinking.  

And you might argue with me, but I believe everyone can like Brussels sprouts.  Or broccoli.  Or whatever it is you avoid.  Or if you can't like them, at least you can make them palatable.  There is simply some stuff we have to get through in this life.  Stuff that's good for us.  Full of vitamins and minerals and nutrients and character and wisdom and spiritual growth. 

You are welcome, even encouraged to pray that the bad in your life will go away.  But if it doesn't, then ask Him for the strength necessary to get through it.  And ask Him to change your perspective.


And if all else fails, add some bacon. 


~ "Listen carefully to Me,
and eat what is good,
and let your soul delight itself" ~
Isaiah 55:2
~

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I'll have to settle for a copy of the Declaration of Independence

"the flower of the field"
Isaiah 40:6

I live in California, but a few years ago, my family and I took a wonderful trip to the East Coast.  We saw parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, DC and Ohio.  We toured Presidents' homes and government buildings, monuments and battlefields.  We also went to five baseball games, two amusement parks and an aquarium.  We're nothing if not well-rounded.

One of the places we visited was Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello.  Beautiful place.  The house, the grounds, the gardens... all of it.  And I have such great memories of our visit there, because you have to buy tickets ahead of time, and you have to have an appointment.  I guess it's that busy.


But because of road construction, and the fact that we were driving all the way from Jamestown, we were late.  So when we got there, we joined our tour of the house, which was already in progress, so we missed the first two rooms.  But after our tour, our guide spoke to the lady in charge, and they allowed us to join another tour for long enough to see those rooms we'd missed.  I was really impressed with that.  People are not always so accommodating, you know?


Anyhow, instead of remembering that day as one of frustration and anxiety and rushing, I remember their kindness.  It contributed to my overall enjoyment of the day and all that was so interesting and intriguing and beautiful about Monticello.


Even though that was a few years ago, I still frequently about Monticello.   Either because we had ordered our tickets, or because we purchased something in the gift shop, they have my email address, and every few days I get an email from them, letting me know what their weekly specials are. 

It's kind of fun to look through the emails when I get them, even though I know I'm not going to buy anything.  China, home decor, decorations for the garden, etc. 


The most interesting things, though, are the plants.  Jefferson was very interested in botany, so the idea of being able to plant something in my own garden, a bit of something he had in his garden, is so intriguing. 

But it's also impossible. 


Because as I mentioned, I live in California, one of the five states to which Monticello cannot ship plants.  Those of you in Canada are also out of luck.  California ~ and I suppose it's the same for Hawaii, Arizona, Oregon and Washington ~ is very concerned about the insects and micro-organisms that could harm the agricultural this-and-that here, so they are very strict about the plants that cross the border. 


I wish I could order plants from Monticello.  But they're not for me.  And even if California would let them in, they probably wouldn't grow well here.  So that's how it has to be.  So I don't covet them.  I understand they're just not for me.  I can't have a pet penguin, either. 


There's a lot of beauty where I am.  Everywhere I look.  It's nice to be able to appreciate the beauty in others' lives, without thinking it's not "fair" that I can't have it, too.   If we choose to live like that, there will always be something that someone else has that we want. 

So we can want what we can't have, or we can simply want what we have.

~ "One thing have I desired of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord" ~
Psalm 27:4
~

Monday, June 17, 2013

Trusting

"What confidence is this in which you trust?"
2 Kings 18:19

So, did you see Readers' Digest recent poll of the most trusted people in America?  Interesting.... I think that the majority of people's first choice was their doctor, lawyer or priest, which is good to know.  But when it comes to celebrities, the top 100 included a lot of actors, news anchors, and other folks on TV.  There were also directors, Supreme Court Justices, CEOs and several folks I'd never heard of. 

I don't know how Readers' Digest phrased the question, but I was really so surprised to see some of the names on the list.  I suppose people see Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock on talk shows and think they have a pretty good feel for what kind of people they are.  And maybe they do. 

And Supreme Court Justices are all about speaking the truth, sticking with their beliefs, so I guess it makes sense to believe that they're probably not going to lie to us. 

But CEOs?  Politicians? 

The other thing we don't know about the question that was asked of over 1,000 Americans, is what those people thought when they heard the word "trust".   Trust not to lie?  Trust to not disappoint in the theater?

But of those 100 people, I can't trust any of them to be there for me if I need them.  I have never had to rely on them, never had the chance to shake their hands or take them at their word.

Reading about this list made me think about my family, any one of whom would get on a plane and come if I needed them.  And the friends I would call if I had a late-night need for prayer.  And the trust and understanding I have in my husband, my daughter and my son. 

Reliability.  Truth.  Strength.  Honesty.  Trust has to be proven, otherwise it's just hope. 

The Lord is where we put our faith, but there's such blessing in those He has given us; in trusting, and in being someone that others can trust.  It's a little glimpse of Him in others!

~ "Some trust in chariots,
and some in horses;
But we will remember the name
of the Lord our God." ~
Psalm 20:7
~

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The best of your life for the rest of your life

"By faith Abraham obeyed"
Hebrews 11:8

I'm reading a book about Abraham Lincoln.  But if you know me, that probably won't surprise you.  I own a whole lotta books about Lincoln.  The 1860s were the focus of my major in college, so there was a lot of reading about Lincoln.  Especially for that class I took on Lincoln.

Last November Steven Spielberg's movie "Lincoln" hit the theaters, and I don't know that I ever anticipated a movie more.  But at the same time I was anxious that Spielberg wouldn't get it "right", you know?  I know a lot about Lincoln, and the people in his life.  And you never know how a director is going to slant a movie.

For those of you who haven't seen it, I'm happy to say it was very well done.  Every actor portrayed his or her character beautifully, bringing to life the people I have studied in such depth.

It was largely based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, which I own but haven't gotten around to reading.  Frankly, I just have too many things I have to read during the school year, both to teach my kids, and for Bible study.  So I don't do a lot of "pleasure" reading.  Then when summer comes I try to cram in as much as I can.  Course, my stack of "pleasure" reading books includes things like The Federalist Papers, Thoreau's Life in the Woods and The Geometry of Washington, DC.  So they aren't really things I can crank through in a hurry...

It's hard ~ or maybe impossible ~ to read any book on Lincoln and not be thinking about his assassination.  It's just this thing that's hovering in the background while you're reading about conversations with his wife, or interactions with political rivals.

You also can't get very far in any study of Lincoln without knowing that he knew he was going to die.  Well, die soon, I guess I should say.  Not only did he have dreams about his own death, but common sense and past events told him that there were people who wanted him dead.

So, most likely he would have lived longer if he had not been President, or if he had only served one term.  But even knowing that, he carried on with his job.  He did what he did, to the death.

But why?  Probably something simple like, "he believed it was the right thing to do".  Which, of course, John Wilkes Booth also believed, and his belief killed him just as dead.

But being President was Lincoln's job.  And more than that, he was good at it.  I wondered recently if he knew he was good at it.  So many men in that position think they're good at it, but not all of them have been.  At any rate, no matter what he thought of the job he was doing, he kept on doing it, as long as he could.

I wonder how many people are willing to do what they do, to the death?  Soldiers.  Missionaries in dangerous places.   The disciples.  Jesus.

Is there anything that you're willing to do, even if it kills you?  It's an interesting question.  And of course, even if you say "yes" it doesn't mean that it will.  But taking a long look at yourself might show you where your priorities are.  Or if you have any. 

I guess it's about prioritizing.  Testing all things in your life, and holding on to the good.   And it's about courage.  And perseverance.  And above all, obedience.

~ "Peter and the other apostles answered and said:
'We ought to obey God
rather than men.' " ~
Acts 5:29
~

Saturday, June 15, 2013

There are no red herrings in your life

"all things"
Romans 8:28

My kids went to see the new Superman movie today.  Don't you love how the folks in Hollywood can change the name of the movie from "Superman" to "Man of Steel" and get a whole new generation to fall for it?

I kid.  I'm sure the effects will be updated, even if the storyline is not.  And I look forward to seeing it myself, to compare it with the version from my childhood.  (RIP, Christopher Reeve.)  I don't know too much about it, except that Kevin Costner plays Clark's earth father.  I happened to catch him on a talk show about how he finds himself in yet another movie where he's in a cornfield.

I also know that Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, and while I love Amy Adams, I just can't picture her as Lois Lane.  It will be fun to see what she brings to the role.

But I can wait until it comes out on DVD.  Then I'll get to see it in the comfort of my own living room, where we can pause the movie while someone gets a second helping of dinner, and so that I can ask my kids questions like: "that villain looks familiar; where have I seen him before?"

In the past couple of years, we've been watching a lot more movies.  The kids have reached the age of being in that treasured demographic group that Hollywood courts.  And lucky for Hollywood, my kids have brought the Apple of my Eye and me along for the ride. 

One of the things I like about the Superman story is that it starts when he was a baby.  They run through his whole life, up to the "present," with conversations and events that will help the viewer understand the choices he makes, and why he is how he is.  And you know that there's more to his story, but that what's included is the stuff that pertinent.  It almost causes you to pay more attention to something that might otherwise seem mundane.

As opposed to watching some sort of "whodunnit" where you spend the whole thing thinking, "Is it me, or is this guy suspicious?  Or is he suspicious simply because I'm suspicious of everyone in this show who's even slightly suspicious?"

I like to think of this "everything matters" concept when I think about Romans 8:28.  "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

See those words, "all things"?  Focus on that.  I have a friend who says " 'All' means 'all' and that's all 'all' means."

Go ahead; say it a few times.  It'll just roll off your tongue.

So when God says "all things work together," that means that everything in your life matters.  Everything is something He can and will use.  And knowing that can give us peace and increase our faith.

It will also enable us to play fun car games wherein we remember seemingly inconsequential events from childhood and try to figure out how God has used them in our lives.  Fun for the whole family!

Isn't God super?

~ "glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;
and perseverance, character;
and character, hope" ~
Romans 5:3-4
~

Friday, June 14, 2013

Don't Go Fish

"the fish that are in the river"
Exodus 7:18

So, get a load of this little charmer:

photo credit: nydailynews.com

That's a snakehead fish. They are native to China, Russia, North Korea and South Korea, but the world's largest (17 lbs) was just caught ~ in Virginia.  Yup, in the Potomac River.  They've been found in several places along the east coast.

How did a fish native to Asia end up in North America?  No one knows.  Most likely a few were somehow brought here by folks who decided they no longer wanted them, so they dumped them in the nearest body of water, and they found each other and started breeding.

The fish, not the fish-dumpers.

The problem ~ other than having a face only their mothers could love ~ is that they have no known predators, other than humans, and each other.

Ew.

This concept got me to thinking about things being introduced into a "foreign" environment.  When that happens in nature, sometimes it's bad for the "alien" and sometimes it's bad for the environment.

For instance, we see it in the Bible, when the Israelites got the promised land and God warned them about interacting with the Canaanites.  And when they married them and made treaties with them anyway, it always went badly.  That's an example of suffering from being the alien in a foreign environment.  They should have kept to themselves and their ways.  Like He told them to. 

Or Adam and Eve.  That's an example of what happens when we allow something foreign into our environment.   God was very clear about what was good for them, and what wasn't.  And yet they allowed into their lives something that was bad for them.  Temptation.  Disobedience.  Sin.  Something for which there is no known cure, other than Him. 

For over ten years, authorities from California to the New York Island (anybody else have "This Land is Your Land" in their head now?) have been battling to stay in control of the snakehead situation.  You and I need to settle ourselves in for a long-term battle, too.  Sometimes it's a specific sin that is our weakness, that brings its destructive influence into our lives.  But other times it's something that's not a sin, per se.  It might be something that works for others, but is not right for you.  In you, it's a factor that's going to lead to destruction.

He created you uniquely and perfectly.  And He knows what's best for you.  Read the Bible.  Pray that He will lead you away from temptation.  Love what and who He has put in your life, and accept those things and people He doesn't.

And look out for weird fish.


~ "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
but " ~
Genesis 2:16
~

Thursday, June 13, 2013

6/13

Today is June 13th. 

6-13-13

I had the urge to jog your Scripture reading again.  Just a few random ~ and yet carefully chosen ~ verses in the Bible.  Maybe you're familiar with a few of them and God will use that to remind you of a truth you already know.  Maybe others make no sense out of context, in which case you should find out what they mean.

Consider your curiosity piqued.

Revelation 6:13
"And the stars of heaven fell to the earth,
as a fig tree drops its late figs
when it is shaken by a mighty wind."

Hebrews 6:13
"For when God made a promise to Abraham,
because He could swear by no one greater,
He swore by Himself"

Ephesians 6:13
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God,
that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand."

2 Corinthians 6:13
"Now in return for the same
(I speak as to children),
you also be open."

1 Corinthians 6:13
"Food for the stomach and the stomach for foods,
but God will destroy both it and them. 
Now the body is not for sexual immorality
but for the Lord, 
and the Lord for the body."

Romans 6:13
"And do not present your members 
as instruments of unrighteousness to sin,
but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."

John 6:13
"Therefore they gathered them up,
and filled twelve baskets
with the fragments of the five barley loaves
which were left over by those who had eaten."

Luke 6:13
"And when it was day, 
He called His disciples to Himself;
and from them He chose twelve
whom He also named apostles:"

Mark 6:13
"And they cast out many demons,
and anointed with oil
many who were sick,
and healed them."

Matthew 6:13
"And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen."

Zechariah 6:13
"Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both."

Daniel 6:13
"So they answered and said before the king,
'That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah,
does not show due regard for you, O king,
or for the decree that you have signed,
but makes his petition three times a day.' "

Song of Solomon 6:13
"Return, return, O Shulamite;
Return, return, that we may look upon you!"

Proverbs 6:13
"He winks with his eyes,
He shuffles his feet,
He points with his fingers"

Esther 6:13
"When Haman told his wife Zeresh
and all his friends everything that had happened to him,
his wise men and his wife Zeresh said to him,
'If Moredecai, before whom you have begun to fall,
is of Jewish descent,
you will not prevail against him,
but will surely fall before him."

2 Chronicles 6:13
"(for Solomon had made a bronze platform
five cubits long, five cubits wide,
and three cubits high,
and had set it in the midst of the court;
and he stood on it,
knelt down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel,
and spread out his hands toward heaven)"

1 Chronicles 6:13
"Shallum begot Hilkiah,
and Hilkiah begot Azariah"

1 Kings 6:13
"And I will dwell among the children of Israel,
and will not forsake My people Israel."

2 Samuel 6:13
"And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord
had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen
and fatted sheep"

1 Samuel 6:13
"Now the people of Beth Shemesh
were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley;
and they lifted their eyes and saw the ark,
and rejoiced to see it."

Joshua 6:13
"Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord
went on continually
and blew with the trumpets.
And the armed men went before them.
But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord,
While the priests continued blowing the trumpets."

Deuteronomy 6:13
"You shall fear the Lord your God
and serve Him,
and shall take oaths in His name"

Leviticus 6:13
"A fire shall always be burning on the altar;
it shall never go out."

Exodus 6:13
"Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron,
and gave them a command for the children of Israel
and for Pharaoh king of Egypt,
to bring the children of Israel
out of the land of Egypt."

Genesis 6:13
"And God said to Noah,
'The end of all flesh has come before Me,
for the earth is filled with violence through them;
and behold, I will destroy them with the earth."

6:13

Now off you go!
~

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Behind Door #2

"concerning the election"
Romans 11:28

I read an interesting article the other day.  I'm sorry, I don't know what magazine it had been in.  I had pulled it out of an old magazine and set it in my read-when-I-get-around-to-it pile.

Oh, you have one of those, too?  Awesome!

Well, I finally got around to reading it, and the focus of the article was on four Presidential elections, about which the writer was asking:  "What if it had gone other way?"  In other words, what if the loser had won?  How would his party/the country/the world have been affected?

It was very interesting.  Very thought-provoking, which is what I look for in my reading.  I think the best books are the ones that have me thinking, long after I've turned the last page. 

Anyhow, the four elections the writer chose were:
   
     1860 ~ Lincoln/Breckinridge/Bell/Douglas
     1912 ~ Wilson/Roosevelt/Taft/Debs
     1932 ~ Roosevelt/Hoover
     1980 ~ Reagan/Carter/Anderson

In each case, it was interesting to look at the politics and platforms of those who did not win, and then extrapolate those to imagine what decisions they might have made, etc.

It was thought-provoking in the immediate because I started thinking of other elections where the same question applied.  Not long after, I came to the conclusion that every Presidential election could justifiably fall under the heading, "Things Would Have Been Really Different If This Had Gone Another Way".

Yup.  All of them.  

The fact of the matter is that like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings in South America, everything that happens has an effect on other things.

And that took me to the long-reaching thinking I did after reading that article:  the wondering of the other paths in our lives.  What might have been, if you and I hadn't made the decisions we did.  Or if the people around us hadn't made the decisions they did. 

I once had a vision ~ not any kind of spiritual vision, just a picture in my head of me talking to God.  And I imagined what He'd say if I asked Him why I had to walk down that hard path; why He didn't steer me to an easier path.  And He said, "You should have seen the path I didn't let you take."

Some paths we take under His guidance.  Some we have no choice about.  Some are our personal decisions.  And 99% of the time we have no idea what would have been the circumstances of making a different choice.  And the 1% of the time we think we know how things would have turned out differently, we're wrong.

I think there's a bit of a "go with the flow" lesson here.  Making the best decision we can, and moving forward.  And if there are consequences to be dealt with, or apologies that have to be made for our decisions, then do that.   It's about learning from our mistakes without repeatedly kicking ourselves for them, and trusting Him when He says all things work for good.

~ "And we know that all things work together for good
to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose" ~
Romans 8:28
~

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Giving new meaning to "taking a seat"

"sitting on a seat by the wayside, watching"
1 Samuel 4:13

We spent all of this past weekend at a volleyball tournament.  At least it felt that way.  7 am to 2 pm on Saturday; 7 am to 5:30 pm on Sunday.  And if you had stopped by on Sunday evening (and thank you for not) you would have seen four truly exhausted people.  We stopped for In-N-Out on the way home, knowing we had not much in the house by way of dinner.  And all we'd had for lunch was things like granola bars and almonds.  In-N-Out never tasted so good.

Seems like only our volleyball-playing girl had a right to be that tired, but getting up at 5:30 am is a recipe for tired for anyone.  Plus, it saps your strength to a surprising degree to sit in a beach chair for that many hours.  And even though she was the one exercising all day, she's also got high metabolism, and far more energy than her forty-something parents, so it was kind of a wash.

They did so well, both days.  So much to cheer about.  They've worked hard all year, and there was a lot for us to be proud of!

But I didn't come here to talk about volleyball, per se.  Something happened at the tournament I wanted to share.  Our team's schedule for tournaments goes something like this:  play a match, then our girls might be line judges (ref) the next, then play the next, then we have a break, then ref another game, then play.  Done.  So when our girls aren't playing, my hubby and son and I might go sit in the car, or get a snack, or go for a walk or the boys might play catch in the parking lot.

But depending on the forum, if you get up and leave your seats when your game is over, you might have trouble finding seats when it's time for your next one.  So sometimes people lay a jacket or a seat cushion on their seat, so it will be waiting for them when they return for their next match.  

The bad part of that is, it might prevent a parent from having a good seat to watch their own child play.  They might have to sit farther back, or at a bad angle, because the front seats are "reserved".  So we generally don't do that.  It just doesn't seem fair for us to "hold" a good seat, and keep someone else from using it.

Well, we kinda paid the price for that this weekend.  We had great seats for her first match, but had to sit way off to the side when we returned.  Meanwhile, I watched a woman put her jacket on her front-and-center seat, and then leave.

It was one of those times when our kindness seemed to punish us.  When the "offenses" we refuse to commit, were committed against us. 

Happens to me on airplanes, too.  I absolutely refuse to recline my seat on airplanes.  I think it's just too cruel to the person behind me.  And yet, without fail, the person in front of me reclines theirs, almost mocking my consideration of others.

So what's the deal there?  Is it simply that this is what most people do, and I only notice it because I don't?  Because I'm more aware of it?

Or, I wonder, is it that we are being tested as to our convictions?  Like Job's wife continually tempting him to cave to the idea of turning on God.  The more it seems that "everyone is doing it", the harder it seems to be to refuse.

It's a reminder to me that the standard I'm supposed to meet is His, not the world's.  After all, the world's "norm" is often selfish, and ever-changing.  And boy, do my emotions desperately desire to have some impact on my decision.  What I want is going to seem paramount, unless I have disciplined myself to remember things like "Love thy neighbor" and "Turn the other cheek".

And it's a reminder to me to do what I know is right, no matter what others may do. 


~ "If it is possible, as much as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone" ~
Romans 12:18
~

Monday, June 10, 2013

Best Boy

"he increased in wisdom and stature"
Luke 2:52

You'd think, since our sports are officially ended for the year, that I'd be done with posts about sports.  But apparently the lessons I learned are still with me.  Or still coming to me.  And hopefully they won't stop, because in case you haven't noticed, I love learning from the everyday things in life...

My Amazing Boy had his Little League closing ceremonies the other night.  He didn't particularly want to go, though.  Our team did well, but this wasn't his favorite year of baseball (more on that later) and the closing ceremonies are never really all that fun for him.  After all, Little League is about kids, and grownups giving speeches might not be the best way to acknowledge the kids' hard work.  These kids don't even like sitting still, much less listening to the president of the league thank everyone on the board or whatever. 

But the rest of his team was going to be there, and the Apple of my Eye was one of the assistant coaches, so they felt they should go for awhile.

I, on the other hand, stayed home with my Awesome Girl, cuz if there's anyone who is more bored by Little League closing ceremonies than Little Leaguers, it's their big sisters.

So she and I stayed home and watched "Say Yes to the Dress".  You know; girl stuff.

Two hours later, the boys were home.  Speeches?  Yes.  Trophies?  A few.  I think all the players in the lower years get them, but my boy is in Majors now and the standards are stricter.  Our team went all the way to the championship game, but lost, so we were the runners up.  You know, in case the champion team is not able to fulfill all their responsibilities.

So he didn't get a trophy.  They don't give trophies to the runners up; just to the champions. 

And to the team that was in first place for the first half of the season.

And the team that was in first place for the second half of the season.

That's three teams getting trophies.  Out of five teams.  But who's counting.

Did I mention we went all the way to the championship game?

Truthfully, my boy doesn't really care about a trophy.  And neither do I.  It would just be one more thing in his room.  I'm just sayin', I think the College Bowl system makes more sense than Little League.  And that's goin' some.

But one thing I would have liked to have seen him come home with, is the award for Best Sportsmanship.  Which he didn't.  Which was fine with him, because he didn't want to be embarrassed by having to go up in front of all those people to accept it.  And he was very glad for the boy who won it.  It was the boy he himself had voted for.

I knew there was a chance my boy would win it.  He has before, and he's nothing if not a good sport.  Even-tempered, encouraging, and unfailingly polite.  In a word, well, Amazing.  But I would have liked for him to win it this year in particular, because I know what this year has been like for him. 

He loves baseball, and he loved every game this season.  But he wasn't as fond of his coach this year as he has been in years past, and he didn't really have any good friends on his team.  His two closest friends were on different teams, and though he got along fine with most of his teammates, there were a few that were a challenge to him.  Twelve-year-olds can be a tricky bunch.  These seemed to have a love of bathroom humor, and looked for ways to add swearing to their conversations.  Neither of those interest my boy.  So all season he walked the fine line of trying to get along and work together with people that he sometimes found it difficult to be around.

A lot of us know that struggle.  Schools and workplaces and other aspects of daily life are full of opportunities to show love when we aren't feeling it.  Patience, kindness, and a refusal to judge those who are in a different place...  Staying true to ourselves when the conversation turns to something we know wouldn't please Him.  It's not easy.

My boy grew over the course of this season.  In maturity and spirituality, and in understanding how tough it can be to be in the world but not of it.   Little League didn't recognize his growth, but God sees every bit of it, and I know He is pleased with my boy.

Maybe even as much as his Momma.


~ "Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. 
Enter into the joy of your lord" ~
Matthew 25:23
~