Sunday, September 25, 2016

Character Matters

Anyone who knows me well knows that we are a ‘band’ family. Two of our boys march in the high school band, and this is not for wimps, mind you. If you are not aware of this, there is a whole subculture devoted to competitive marching band, and when I say ‘competitive,’ I mean it. Our high school band competes at the state level and in Bands of America competitions, and they do very well at them. I say all that to set up this post to share something that got me to thinking about something more important than band this morning.

Last night our boys and over 200 of their closest friends, their marching band, had their first competition of the year. They came off that field feeling great and we parents were so proud of their performance. For the uninitiated, let me just say there is something special about the camaraderie that develops over the hours and hours of hard work these kids put into learning a very difficult show, and the high that comes from a performance well done is incredible. There’s not much else quite like it. They had a terrific night last night.

However, while talking to one of my boys today, he told me about something that happened that has led me to thinking a bit. He said that in the restroom after competition while waiting for finals results, some of the members of the band that ended up winning the entire competition saw the school he and his friends were from and proceeded to make fun of them and basically cursed them out with language and obscene gestures. Hmmm. When my other son heard that, he said that sometime during that same time period, he and his friends had seen some other members of that band and congratulated them on a job well done and he said they completely ignored him. Not cool. Our band members have been taught not to trash talk other bands and to be encouraging and congratulatory, no matter how disappointed they may personally feel. Our band members have been taught that when they have that uniform on, they represent the entire band program and their school, and they need to act in a way that honors that. I can only hope our kids act better than these kids did as reported by my sons.

We talked together this afternoon during lunch after church about how they really need to be careful not to respond in kind when treated that way, and certainly NEVER initiate that sort of interaction with someone from another band that way, especially when in uniform. They seem to have handled it ok last night, but I acknowledged how hard that is when all you’re feeling is you’d like to punch the guy in the nose, but that their actions reflect on the whole band’s, even the whole school’s, reputation. We talked about how they (and now I, too) now feel about (name of that school band). Unfortunately, though intellectually we know it was just dumb kids being dumb, the actions of a few taint how we feel about the whole, right? Don’t be that for your band. They may win, but no one will like them if that becomes their reputation. You want to be the band everyone likes. Character matters a lot more than winning stuff.

All of that got me thinking deeper, though. I started thinking about, and also talked with my sons about, the fact that we who are Christians wear the ‘uniform’ of Christ at all times, no matter where we are or what we ‘feel’ like. We are His ambassadors, always. We represent Him to a lost and dying world. We who love Jesus ought to be the kindest, most gracious of people. When we speak the truth, even hard truth, it should be obvious we speak from a heart that wants the best for people. Our words, our actions all reflect on people’s understanding and perception of Him, whether we realize it or not. We need to be careful that we fight for the right things, not the wrong ones. We need to be Kingdom minded. We need to guard our words and our language and our hearts and our actions. Because we are in the midst a very strange (and depressing) election season right now, my mind went this way, but I see some professing Christians online get all spun up about politics and some of the most hateful, desperate-sounding, unbiblical way of thinking stuff can be said. I hear people being Americans first rather than Christians first. I love my country, don’t get me wrong, but patriotism and Americanism ought not to be equated to and elevated above the same level as being a citizen of the Kingdom of God for those who follow Christ. In lots of situations, not just politics, I hear professing Christians use language that isn’t God-honoring. This ought not to be. We bow the knee to Christ alone.  His kingdom transcends all else. We need to remember that people see how we act and what we think is important. We need to make sure what they see is a life that makes Jesus precious. That is our number one aim. To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We need to guard how we represent our Lord with our words and actions and primary affections, not just in politics, that was just one example, but in everything we do. Once you’ve made a negative impression and garnered a negative reputation, that’s hard to recover.

So, as important as it is for my band kids to represent their school and band well while in uniform, and it is, even more we who belong to Christ need to set as the high priority to represent Him well.  People notice. Character matters.

Colossians 3:17
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
           


Friday, January 01, 2016

Favorite Books From my 2015 Reading List

Well, here we are at the first day of 2016. I hope to make time to blog more in the near future, but I've said this before, so we shall see. For today, though, I think I'll go with what should become a small tradition on the blog and I'll mention some of my favorite books that I read during 2015. If you are interested in seeing the complete list of what I read during 2015, good, bad, and indifferent, I've put the 2015 list on the page at the top with the previous years' reading lists and cleaned up the current reading list page to prepare for what 2016 may hold. One of my criteria for which books I leave on this list for this particular post versus deleting a book but leaving it on the master list up in pages is that if I remember the book at the end of the year and remember enjoying it or gaining something  from it, it stays, but if I don't really remember the book or remember it as kind of so-so, but not remarkable or really didn't like it, I delete it from this list. So, if anyone is still interested, these are the books I liked best from my 2015 reading list, in the order in which they were read, not necessarily in the order of most beloved, with my original comments or lack thereof still attached, and additional comments added today in italics:

  • Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me - Kevin DeYoung (NF). Very good book.
  • Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, Book 3) - Tony Hillerman (F). Enjoying this series. This series held my attention all year. I really enjoyed the Navajo Mystery books.
  • Name Above All Names - Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF). This was excellent. So much I'm still thinking about and I am very glad I read this one. On Sunday as I worshiped at church I was brought to tears thinking about what I'd just read about Jesus standing with His people when we worship and offering our worship, making it acceptable to the Father. That has changed how I sing and worship when we gather together in a profound way, causing me to think much more carefully and richly and deeply about worship. I'm planning to reread this book in January 2016 after seeing this and remembering how much I liked it.
  • Risky Undertaking - Mark de Castrique (F). My brother-in-law happens to know this author and gave me a signed copy of this book for Christmas, which is a very thoughtful gift knowing how much I love to read. I enjoyed this one and will look for more by this author. 
  • Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul - John MacArthur (NF).
  • People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries, Book 4) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • The Dark Wind (Navajo Mysteries, Book 5) - Tony Hillerman (F)
  • The Ghostway (Navajo Mysteries, Book 6) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • Law & Liberty: A Biblical Look at Legalism - General Editor Dr. Don Kistler. This was very good.
  • The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God's Word is Misunderstood - Eric J. Bargerhuff (NF). 
  • Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, Book 7) - Tony Hillerman (F)
  • The Maze Runner - James Dashner (F). One of the benefits of being mom to teenage boys is reading books I probably wouldn't have even known about otherwise. I read this one because one of my boys is reading the series and I try to keep tabs on what they're reading. As I told a friend who asked if I liked it, I think 'like' is too strong a word for how I feel about this one. It was interesting, but frustrating and pretty violent. I'm starting the second one, but not really enjoying it very much so far, and it won't be making onto any lists of favorites for me, I don't think.  I see that I said this wouldn't probably make it onto a list of favorites, but seeing as how it stuck with me, and the boys and I still talk about it, I guess I was wrong in that assessment, after reading the whole series. It's probably not the best series I've ever read, but overall we liked it ok, enough so that it remained on this list.
  • The Scorch Trials - James Dashner (F).
  • The Death Cure - James Dashner (F).
  • A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries, Book 8) - Tony Hillerman (F)
  • The Kill Order - James Dashner (F). 
  • Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank (F). I debated about leaving this one on the list. It was ok, but I don't care to read it again. It's kind of on the edge. Saying it's a favorite may be a stretch, but I guess it can stay on the list.
  • The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne - Andrew Bonar (NF). This was excellent. I was in tears at the end, such an encouraging and convicting life. May I strive to love Jesus and long for holiness even half as much. I loved this. I'm enjoying exploring biographies, and this was great.
  • If I Should Die Before I Wake: What's Beyond This Life? - K. Scott Oliphint and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF). I very much liked this. It is biblical and well-written, and as our family is in the process of grieving the death of a young cousin and praying for her family daily as they walk this difficult road, I found this book quite encouraging and comforting. 
  • Talking God (Navajo Mysteries, Book 9) - Tony Hillerman (F). Another good one in this series that I'm continuing to read my way through.
  • The Transforming Power of the Gospel - Jerry Bridges (NF). 
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Iriving (F). This was a reread, and I'm glad I did. I liked it when I read it years ago, but I understood it much better and liked it better this time. It is very well-written and quite a story. I had to sit and cry for a bit when I finished it.
  • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, Book 10) - Tony Hillerman (F). I'm very much enjoying this series.
  • Trail of Broken Wings - Sajal Badani (F). This was good, but very sad.
  • The Lincoln Lawyer - Michael Connelly (F). Connelly is one of my favorite crime/detective fiction writers. Plus, he's a University of Florida graduate. Go Gators!
  • Sacred Clowns (Navajo Mysteries, Book 11) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • The Fallen Man (Navajo Mysteries, Book 12) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • Who is Jesus (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF).
  • The First Eagle (Navajo Mysteries, Book 13) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • A Murder is Announced (A Miss Marple Mystery) - Agatha Christie (F). Agatha Christie - what more can I say?
  • Hunting Badger (Navajo Mysteries, Book 14) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • The Forgotten Trinity - James White (NF).
  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (F). This was a re-read (don't know how many times I've read this book!) because I thought I wanted to read the new sequel that's just been published, but after reading some reviews, I decided I don't want to read it after all. One of my all-time favorite books. I'm still not planning to read the new one, as I don't want to spoil this beloved book for myself, and I'm pretty sure Harper Lee didn't really want that new one out there. This book is an example of just how powerful a good editor can be in helping an author write well and making sure the right book gets published. I'm so committed to not reading the new book that I sold it to Half-Price Books unread, even though I'd foolishly bought it before reading the reviews.
  • Loving Jesus More - Phil Ryken (NF). This was very good. I found it through Truth for Life, and I very much recommend it.
  • Amazing Grace - Eric Metaxas (NF). William Wilberforce is one of my heroes, and this was a great biography.  I was in tears at the end. Another biography that I loved. 
  • The Wailing Wind (Navajo Mysteries, Book 15) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • The New Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan, with notes updated text and notes by Judith E. Markham and Warren Wiersbe (F). This was a re-read of a favorite. 
  • The Sinister Pig (Navajo Mysteries, Book 16) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • Skeleton Man (Navajo Mysteries, Book 17) - Tony Hillerman (F).
  • The Shape Shifter (Navajo Mysteries, Book 18) - Tony Hillerman (F). I very much have enjoyed this series. This was the last book Mr. Hillerman wrote in the series before he died, and his daughter took up the series later.
  • Depression: Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness - Edward T. Welch (NF). I very much needed this one. I found it extremely helpful, especially as I was surprised by a slip into what I think must be minor depression this year. I will be keeping this one on my shelf for future reference. It is biblical and wise and practical counsel.
  • Spider Woman's Daughter (Navajo Mysteries, Book 19) - Anne Hillerman (F). It will take a little getting used to Ms. Hillerman's different style of writing, but I think she did a nice job taking over this series.
  • Judge Not - Todd Friel (NF). This one I definitely recommend.
So there's the short list for 2015. Currently I am reading Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall (1783-1787) by Winston Graham (F). Since I haven't finished it yet, it will have to grace the 2016 list, but I wanted to give it an honorable mention here because I am enjoying this first book in the series so much. I decided to read it because I had recorded the miniseries on PBS and finally got around to watching it recently and liked it so well that I wanted to read the books it is based on. The books came first, and general rule is that the books are almost always better than the movie. I have to say that from what I've read so far, they did an outstanding job with the series keeping to the spirit of the books and I'm looking forward to the next season. I'm also looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the 12 book series, so I imagine they will be appearing regularly in the 2016 list.

Happy New Year, and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Silence Was Broken


“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power, After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” 
Hebrews 1:1-4

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined." 
Isaiah 9:2

I have an admission to make. “Silent Night” has never been one of my favorite Christmas carols. I never really knew why, but it just hasn’t been up there on my top list of favorites. I think I know why after thinking about it some recently. For one thing, I’m not a fan of schmalzy sentimentalism, and this song has a bit of that. I mean, was it really silent and calm? Probably not. But I understand the point and I’m not saying I won’t sing the song with gusto every Christmas, because, “Alleluia to our King. Christ the Saviour is born!” Yes, and amen, I love the last lines. And “Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,” what a glorious truth, even in the midst of the sentimentality. So I’m not suggesting it’s a bad song or that I won’t sing it out. I just like some of the other Christmas carols better.  

Kevin DeYoung posted this yesterday, and the first line in the song, “It was not a Silent Night,” resonated with me. I can’t say I like the song he posted as much as he seems to, though it’s a good one,  but it got me thinking. 


No, it wasn’t a silent night, for the reasons mentioned in the song, but in an even more significant way. Here’s where I went as I pondered yesterday.

It had been about 400 years since the last prophet had received a word from God to share with Israel. Think of it. 400 years of seeming silence from God as the people waited for the fulfillment of His promise to send Messiah to save His people from their sin. Many were looking for Messiah and hoping in God, the time was right, and those who knew the Scriptures, were waiting. Then, suddenly the silence was broken, not by another prophet, but by the cry of a baby, the baby, and the announcement of angels to a group of shepherds in a field, the angels were praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) The silence was broken when God sent His Son into the world to redeem His people. He, Himself, came to rescue His people from their sin. Simeon in the temple was one of those who waited, and He recognized Him, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29-32) Hallelujah! 

Christmas isn’t just about the baby in the manger. What we who know Him are celebrating isn’t just the manger, but the Cross and the Resurrection. We celebrate because Immanuel, God With Us, came to live among us and live out the law that we could not and be righteous, fulfill all righteousness, for us. He is our ultimate Passover Lamb, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21).

The silence was broken when the Word became flesh (John 1:1-4). “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13). 

This is Christmas. This is what we celebrate. This is why we celebrate!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Slow to Anger

Psalm 86:15
“But you, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” 


Last night our church held a praise service where members were invited to share praise and thanks to God for His faithfulness. Even the children participated. One young child said that he is thankful that God is slow to anger, even when we are not slow to anger. I was very much struck by that. I thought, “Do my children know this? Have I taught them specifically that God is slow to anger, and what an incredible mercy this is? When you think that at any moment what I deserve is to be wiped out because of my sin, yet we are shown such mercy?” 

In Sunday School recently, we have been studying the attributes of God, and yesterday we discussed His faithfulness. Have you truly pondered the awesome truth that God is a covenant-keeping God? Our teacher yesterday took the book of Ruth and taught us about the faithfulness of God. I have to tell you, I was reduced to tears several times yesterday, though I thought I knew the book of Ruth very well and have read it many times, as I pondered in a fresh way how patient and faithful our God is. I was struck by several thoughts as we discussed this book. First of all, and I’ll admit you might want to take this first observation with a grain of salt as I’m not 100% sure it’s an accurate thing to take away, but I was struck by the fact that Naomi suffered due to decisions her husband made for their family. Yet, in her submission, you don’t see her blaming him. Then, when things seemed most dire, she returned home, back to the land of the covenant promises of God, and God rescued her. He was always faithful to her, even when her family left to escape covenant consequences in the land. God gave her Ruth. Then I got to thinking about Ruth. I wonder, what did Ruth see in Naomi and her God that she was converted to trust in and follow God? I wonder, did Naomi teach her about Him? What we do know is that Ruth didn’t only commit to stay with Naomi, but more importantly, she trusted God.

The book of Ruth is a rich picture for us of the Providence of God in the lives of His people, and such a shadow that points us to the grace of God. What reduced me to tears yesterday was when Ruth has this exchange with Boaz, “Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”  (Ruth 2:10) I got to thinking that this is the kind of amazed awe and gratitude I have for God when I ponder the gift of salvation and grace He has granted me. Why me? Why, Lord, have you opened my eyes to see the wonder of Your law and to see my wretchedness and to see the amazing gift of grace in Your Son? Why have You seen fit to shower such grace on me to rescue me from so much of the foolishness and bad teaching that abounds in much of evangelicalism and brought me into the Light and shown me the truth and granted me a hunger for Your word? It has to come from You, Lord, I could never have come to this on my own. 

The second thing that humbled me to tears yesterday was reading what Boaz said to Ruth, “The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2:12). On reading this, it came crashing in to my understanding in a way I’ve never fully appreciated in just this way before that this is what we do when we trust in Christ. Let me explain what I was thinking through and rejoicing in. Ruth placed herself under the refuge of the covenant keeping, only true God, and she could trust Him. When we are trusting in Jesus, this is exactly what we are doing. We are not striving to earn His favor, we are not having to perform or jump through hoops to get Him to notice us or ‘bless’ us. No. In our poverty and wretchedness, we place ourselves under His protection, trusting in Him alone. We have nothing to offer Him to earn favor. We simply come and surrender and shelter in Him. In this, we are cleansed and counted righteous because He is righteous. He protects us from the wrath we deserve, and He makes us His people, safe in the clothing of His righteousness, no longer aliens and foreigners without hope in the world, but cleansed and adopted and free. What amazing grace! It occurred to me that when we truly trust Him, we are free to obey Him and live as He would have us to live. When we are loved and protected and redeemed like this, why would we want anything else?

So, as I was still pondering all these things, when I heard that child Sunday night express thanks that God is slow to anger, my heart sang, “Yes and amen!” 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Seeing Through the Glass Darkly

I found myself weeping as I stood in the greeting card aisle of the store today as I tried to find a sympathy card that didn’t sound so very trite and full of empty sentimentalism void of true comfort to send to some friends. I wept as I read empty sentimentalities and thought of the deep, deep pain my friends must be suffering today. I did finally settle on a card and added my own feeble words to send, but, oh, how my heart hurts to contemplate the sudden and unexpected grief my friends are experiencing.

 I know that these friends know the Savior and that we who know Jesus, when we grieve we do so with deep and abiding hope, but grieve, and grieve deeply this side of Heaven we still do. And I believe our compassionate Savior sees those tears, every single one of them, and He intercedes for His own. But, oh, how we see through the glass darkly here during the journey of life some days.

I once heard Sinclair Ferguson say, “The boasts of one Christmas letter may be the griefs of later ones.” I know I’m not feeling much like writing a happy, happy, happy Christmas letter this year. I know too many for whom this Christmas will be a bittersweet one. This has been a hard year. 

And yet, there IS hope. This world is not our home. Peter tells us that this life is fleeting, but a little while. (1 Peter 1:6-9) Jesus has conquered the grave. We have real hope because of His resurrection. When we abide in Him, resting the weight of all our hope on Him, we trust that His promises are true. For those who repent of their sin and trust in the righteousness of Jesus, we have a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. He alone is the way to peace with God, and that peace is a sure and steady anchor. 


I recently learned this hymn, and it has become a favorite, as I often find much comfort in songs that remind me of truth, not empty sentimentalism, but real comfort that lasts and points to our sure Savior. 



Monday, July 20, 2015

Treasures in Song

We found my hymnal. I’ve been looking for it for the last two years. I guess it was in one of the boxes that went into storage when we downsized for the last two years, and now that we’re finally opening all the boxes in our new house, we found it. We also have our piano back after two years of storing it. It’s days like these that I wish I’d listened to my mother and really practiced the piano instead of just sort of practicing. She told me I’d feel that way one day, and she was right.

This hymnal has been a great help for years, and I’m glad to find it again. These have been the go-to songs for me since childhood, treasures that help me remember timeless truths that focus my eyes on my God and Savior, especially at times when I feel adrift or lonely. Tell me you can keep a self-centered pity party going while singing “Jesus Paid it All.” Certainly after singing the first three verses, once you get to the fourth verse and sing these words, “And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete, ‘Jesus died my soul to save,” my lips shall still repeat. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow,” you just see if tears that started out self-pitying and self-centered don’t melt into tears of repentance and joy and just awe with a renewed focus on what truly matters in life and in death.

I love that with the church we have been attending since we moved here my children will learn and sing and hear the voices of the saints in the aisles around us sing together a beautiful mix of rich hymns and also a solid mix of the rich new hymns that are being written by people like the Gettys and Sovereign Grace and people like that. What a rich heritage good music that sings the deep things of the gospel gives us to lean on when our hearts are heavy and when they are joyful and all the times in between. I wonder if anyone is going to put together a new hymnal with some of those good newer songs. I would like that a lot. I have complained a great deal in the past about how shallow so much of the newer praise choruses are, but one thing I’m very thankful about having gotten the privilege of worshiping with Parkside Church last year while we lived in Cleveland was being introduced to the wealth of actually good new music is being written. I truly did not know. I had not heard much of it before then. So it’s a joy to find a church here that also sings those songs I’ve grown to love and so many of the timeless old hymns as well. Serious, thoughtful, doctrinally deep preaching of the Bible and music that focuses our attention on the gospel are so refreshing to start the week and encourage us in the faith.

Yesterday we sang “Amazing Grace,” and the verse that stuck out to me where I am right now was this one, “The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; he will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.” I almost put those words out as a status update, but I didn’t because out of context I know so many people who would take it the wrong way, with a shallow view of the Lord promising good to me, and I just don’t want to convey that. It’s not talking about worldly riches, but eternal life, and that is real hope. Jesus, the anchor for my soul. I am thankful. So very thankful.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Because We Can!


I didn’t actually mean to quit blogging. The early days of blogging when we formed friendships and networks and linked to each other and blogged about our blogging addiction and lived for comments and links and badges for the sidebar and whatnot seem very long ago indeed. These days, writing long blog posts seems to be much more difficult. These days, short little Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets seem to take up more time and energy. Does anyone even read blogs anymore? For me, when the Google reader went away and I discovered Facebook, it seems my infatuation with blogging dwindled. And I’m not all that sure this is a good thing, this addiction so many of us have to Facebook. Not at all. In fact, I have thought for some time now it’s quite the opposite of a good thing, but I haven’t given it up yet, either. I still want to write blog posts, but finding time and energy seems harder. Where did I find the time back in those long ago blog days? (Long ago in blog time, anyway. It does seem almost a lifetime ago, but in fact it was almost 9 years ago when I wrote my first blog post with trembling fingers, wondering if I was really ready to put my thoughts ‘out there’ for strangers to possibly read. I know this because my daughter was just a baby, and she’s 9 now. Wowza. Where in the world did all that time go?)

All that said, to say I would like to blog more, truly, but I’m not making any promises. I’m not even sure anyone ever even reads this blog anymore besides my parents. It’s not like I’ve had anything interesting to say here for some time. But there’s a new me. Well, not actually a new me. More like the same me, but older, in a new place. We’ve moved. Again. Third summer in a row we’ve had to pack up house and move. Hopefully we will get to stay here a bit longer this time. Packing up and moving three summers in a row is exhausting.

For a bit of fluff blogging, here’s a bit of a where I am right now sort of post.

After two years of living in an apartment and/or duplex kind of place, we get to be in our own house again, and we are loving it. The last two years were kind of difficult, but I’m finally feeling like we’re home, and things are settling nicely. Since moving to the great state of Texas this month, my husband and I have adopted a new catch phrase: “Because we can!” Let me show you a bit of our weirdness:

·         Park in the street over night? Yes! Because we can!

·         Park the camper in front of the house for one overnight while we’re unpacking? Yes! Because we can!

·         Launch a potato gun into the green space behind the house? Yes! Because we can!

·         Fireworks in the backyard? Yes! Because we can!

·         Tiki torches on the back porch? Yes! Because we can!

·         Drive 70 (or more) legally on the interstate or on the way to church? Yes! Because we can!

·         Drive faster than 35 MPH legally anywhere in town? Yes! Because we can!

·         Listen to loud music? Yes! Because we can!

·         Put the surround sound speakers back on the TV? Yes! Because we can!

·         Stop walking on tiptoes in the house and worrying about bothering someone else? Yes! Because we can!

·         Grill on the back porch? Yes! Because we can!

·         Not have to remind my youngest ONE MORE TIME to be careful not to make ‘stompy feet’ noises? Yes! Because we can!

·         Not have to tell my youngest not to run in the house? Yes! Because we can!

·         Sing, loudly, in the house? Yes! Because I can! (I have missed singing so much. I finally feel like I’m getting my song back).

·         Put out the bird feeders again? Yes! Because we can!

·         Sit on the back porch and read for several hours and NEVER hear a siren? Yes! Because we can!

·         Sit on the back porch and enjoy peace and quiet and bird sounds and crickets? Yes! Because we can!

·         Did I mention, grill? On the back porch? Yes! Because we can!!

I think we are going to like it here. I do feel like we’ve come home. I struggle with feeling guilt that we’ve had to move our kids around the country so often, and I know it’s not always been easy for them, but you should see how excited they are about living in Texas. Speaking of making the kids move and emotions, we saw the movie “Inside Out” and I cried. A lot. I also laughed a lot. So did my husband and kids. I am so incredibly thankful for this family God has knit together for us and for how resilient He has allowed our kids to be over the years. He has been very kind to us, and I am grateful.