Saturday, January 31, 2009

Counting Some Recent Blessings: Covenant

I’ve been thinking a lot about covenant since last Sunday. Actually ever since I read the book Our Covenant God by Kay Arthur, the doctrine of covenant has really been special to me. The word “kindness” has taken on a whole new meaning. In covenant language, “kindness” doesn’t just mean being “nice” the way we think of it. In Genesis, when it says that God showed kindness to Abraham, it means that He remembered and honored His covenant. And that is something worth remembering. In Christ, I am a recipient of God’s kindness. I am safe. No matter what circumstances or feelings say, I am, ultimately, safe in Christ. And our idea of safety may not always be the same as God’s idea. We tend to think very temporally. But we need to remember that God’s grace is sufficient for us, in whatever path He chooses for us to walk, and we need to rest in the peace that He is causing all things to work together for our good and for His glory. May I purpose to rest in that.

Thanking God for His many blessings.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven

Counting Some Recent Blessings: Church

Our pastor preached a really good sermon about the sovereignty of God last Sunday. Can I just tell you how blessed we have been in finding this church? And I’m so excited we can officially call it our church now. We joined on Sunday, and I’m hoping to actually start singing in the choir now that I’ve gone to a few practices, too. We really love this church and are so looking forward to plugging in and finding our place to serve.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

Counting Some Recent Blessings: Radio Station

Oh, and we’ve had this really quirky thing going on where we can get a Christian radio station that plays a lot of music in the car, but I haven’t been able to get it on my radio in the house. Well, yesterday I decided to take my old radio back from my son’s room and let him have the one I had in the kitchen, and, guess what? If I stand in just the right spot (i.e. at the sink washing dishes, go figure) I can get the radio station in the house. Woo-hoo! I’m thinking I can probably fiddle with the antenna and radio placement and will probably be able to improve the reception, but that was just one other little nice thing today.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Counting Recent Blessings: New Hair Cut

Okay, this is just a simple little thing, but I got my hair cut yesterday. And it’s really cute! One of the little difficulties of moving is finding a new hairdresser. It’s also one of those ‘important, but not what I feel like doing today’ kinds of things. But, after a month and a half, my hair was looking bad. With a capital B. I almost braved one of those chain places with $8 haircuts just because I knew where to find one and had no clue about where anything else would be, but I have difficult hair, if you know what I mean. I've been scalped at those places before. My hair is coarse and very thick and heavy and I never know what to do with it. But I’ve tried long, and, as I told the hairdresser today, I start looking like a lion. It just grows out and in bulk – not unlike Rapunzel. Anyway, I had to run in to the grocery store for milk this morning, and guess what I noticed at the end of the strip mall – the same strip mall I’ve been grocery shopping in since we moved here, mind you - a hairdressing salon. I called when I got home, and they asked when I’d like to come in, and I said, “Well, do you have anything tomorrow? I know it’s short notice…” Then she said, “Actually, can you come right now? We have an opening if you want to come now.” I said, “I can be there in 10 minutes!” Boo was very well behaved, well, until right at the end when she was getting bored and wanted to explore everything, and now I have found a new hairdresser and love my new cut. It’s funny how the simplest thing can just make you feel fresh, isn’t it?

Stay tuned for more later.....

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Counting Recent Blessings: Healthy Kids

Another blessing I realized all of a sudden the other day is that all of my kids have been remarkably healthy this winter. Hence our having not actually met our new pediatrician yet. We haven’t had to. This is a big deal in my family. I am thankful that God has chosen to hedge us from our typical winter bronchitis flare-ups this year, especially. In fact, M has been a whole different kid since getting his tubes in. This time last year, he was sick pretty much constantly. So, I am also thankful that God has granted us the gift of ear tubes and helpful medical care.

Click here for Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Counting Some Recent Blessings: A Dreaded Task Accomplished

The original post I wrote was so long, I decided to break it up into smaller posts. Click on these to find Part One and Part Two.

I’ve been waking up stressing about the silliest thing for a couple of weeks. M is due for a check of his ears because of the tubes that were put in last August. In fact, he should have been seen in December, but we moved, and I’ve been putting off finding an ENT here. That’s what I kept waking up in the night about. Easily remedied, somehow this somewhat straightforward task fell into my brain fog of inertia keeping me from doing any more than just what had to be done each day. Well, after reading those chapters from Loving God With All Your Mind and determining that I’m going to quit the spiral and think on the things that are true and honorable and so forth that Philippians 4:8 commands and to focus on today as Jesus tells us when commanding us not worry in Matthew 6:34, I decided that what was true and real yesterday was that I could look up providers who are covered under our new insurance plan and make the phone call to our new pediatrician and ask for the referral and make all necessary appointments. Oh, I should probably mention that another little personality quirk for me is that I hate making phone calls. That’s one of those things covered in the retraining my thinking, but just the thought of dialing up the pediatrician, who we have not yet met except for my first call to them to get my kids in their system as required by our new insurance plan and have to go through all the finding a suitable specialist rigmarole was falling under the ‘important, but not what I’m doing today’ category for too long. So, I did it. I made all the necessary phone calls and M now has a scheduled appointment to get him established with a local ENT. And I’m kicking myself for letting it go so long and losing sleep over something so easily remedied. One sure-fire way to alleviate some kinds of depression is to do the next thing and get things done, not procrastinate. I find that when I procrastinate over tasks that I don’t want to do, depression does tend to escalate, but when I just do it, things are much easier. You’d think I would have taken that to heart by now…..

Friday, January 30, 2009

Counting Some Recent Blessings: Books! One In Particular

The original post would have been so long that I decided to break it up into smaller segments. You can find Part One here.

The books I ordered came in the mail on Wednesday! Hooray! Anyway, I started reading Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George right away because I’d like to catch up to the group before our next meeting a week from Sunday night. Can I tell you that I teared up after reading the first few chapters? I knew from sitting in on the group that it would be a good book, but I didn’t have a clue how much it was going to be a good book for me, personally. In fact, I had been kind of ‘ho-hum’ about reading it at first, but I wanted to join the study that meets at that time on Sunday evenings, and that’s what they were studying. But, friends, when I read those first few chapters, I said to myself, “ I had no idea this was what it was going to be about.” I told Drew that if for no other reason, this church and this group of women and this book may be why we’re here. Because in the first chapter, the author shares how this book grew out of what God taught her and what she learned about how to overcome her tendency toward depression. And as I read her story, I saw myself. I have been saying for a long time that I’m not really depressed, I just need to perk up and get on with things, but as I’ve been reading her discussion of how the Lord used His word to teach her to retrain sinful thinking patterns, I saw that my struggle with melancholy is linked to sinful thinking patterns and lies that I have bought into, too. And I also realized that a big thing that would help me to retrain my thinking in those areas was to be memorizing and thinking on God’s word. I had been working on some memory passages back before we moved that our AWANA leadership had been challenged to memorize and I really meant to continue that challenge even though we had left, but in all the hustle and bustle of moving I had forgotten about it. And as I read and thought about it, I remembered what a blessing it is when I’m actively working to memorize a passage of scripture, and how God does bring His word to my remembrance at all kinds of times as I’m focusing on it and thinking about what those verses mean. This is a key in replacing wrong thinking with the truth. And I had neglected this very important tool. I needed that reminder and gentle suggestion, because, as I mentioned a while back, I have been in a slump that was leading to the all too familiar brain fog and exhaustion that comes with it. So, I’m thanking God for using Elizabeth George to use God’s word to remind me to take every thought captive for Christ.

Stay tuned for further installments, but I need to take a break and go tend to the wonderful blessing that is my family for a while before I post the rest of this series....

Counting Some Recent Blessings:Finding My Way Around

Rejoice with me! I’m counting some blessings today and celebrating God’s kindness in the successful stepping out of my comfort zone in several areas at the same time. I started to write just one post, but it ended up being three pages long, so I’m breaking this up into parts that I’ll post separately.

I may have mentioned a time or two what a homebody I am. Part of that little personality trait leads to me being very uncomfortable finding my way around in new surroundings, especially in driving on city highways. And I live in a big city now. Thankfully it is fairly easy to navigate, and I almost never have to go downtown, so the adjustment has been gradual and not terribly difficult so far. For the most part I can find most anything I need right around the general area of our house and don’t have to venture into too many confusing places. We live off a main road, so it’s easy to find things. Anyway, I joined a MOPS group that meets at our church (I may write more about that later if I can sort out the thoughts I have mulling around), and my small group has planned a games night get together at the home of one of the ladies. Here’s where we discuss my very small comfort zone and my need to break free. I have met these ladies exactly once, at the first and only meeting that we’ve had since I joined and before tonight. I’m stepping out and going tonight, because I really want to make some connections here and because Drew says I need to. Anyway, I have the directions for how to get to there from here, and they involve, gasp, getting on the Interstate and another big highway. Not my forte. But, I took a trial run this morning and found my way to the neighborhood easily. Hooray! Going back home, however, I ended up taking the wrong exit back onto the, gasp, interstate. I realized very soon that I was going the wrong direction, however, and thankfully traffic wasn’t all that bad, for here anyway – it was way more traffic than we had back ‘on the island,’ but I got off and found my way back to the correct direction and back to my road and on to our house. I’m really glad I did that this morning and now I know how to get home tonight in the dark, and I’m very thankful that God granted me the peace to not panic when I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be. You’d have to know me and how very, very uncomfortable I am driving to really understand what a mercy that was....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's On My Nightstand?

Well, I saw at Lisa's that it is time for What's on Your Nightstand over at 5 Minutes for Books. I think I'll participate this month.

By the way, Lisa had some interesting books on her nightstand that I think I want to check out, and I'll bet that other participants do, too, so I need to go browse the posts linked over there, I do believe.

Here's what's on my nightstand and pending:

Just finished reading:

The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? by John MacArthur - I started this one a while ago, but it took me longer than usual to finish because it's the kind of book I like to take my time thinking about and digesting. In fact, I want to read it again. I highly recommend it.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - Really, really enjoyed this book! Drew recommended it to me back when he read it while he was in Kuwait (tells you how long ago that was!), but our library 'on the island' did not have it, though I read some others by the same author that I enjoyed. Anyway, I bought a copy from the bookstore before we moved, and this was an excellent book. Drew just finished the sequel, World Without End, so it is now in my 'Hope to Start Soon' pile. I'll say more about that in a minute.

Currently Reading:

The Collectors by David Baldacci - Have I mentioned before how much I like this author? Well, I'm saying it again.

Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George - Well, technically this one is not on my nightstand yet, but I've ordered it from Amazon and it should be arriving tomorrow, I'm told. I'm listing it here, though because we are reading and discussing this book during our women's group meeting at my church, and I've read some parts from a book I borrowed from a lady in my small group. By the way, it feels so good to say that our new church is my church now. We joined Sunday! More on that in another post, I'm sure.

Just Enough Grace:Reflections on Ordinary Miracles by Heather Nations - Okay, I'll admit I'm glad I'm taking my time reading through Heather's book because it gives me another opportunity to plug my friend's book! I read all these chapters while she was living them and writing them on her blog, but somehow it is really special to read them all together in her book now. Love you, Heather!

To Be Started Soon:

World Without End by Ken Follett - Drew was reading this while I read The Pillars of the Earth, and he was joking about how he needed to speed up because I devoured that book so fast he was afraid I'd take his book from him before he could even finish it. Pillars was just that good. I'm really looking forward to starting the sequel. Drew said it was just as good.

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers - Okay, this one isn't technically on my nightstand, either. It is also part of that Amazon book order that will be arriving this week. But the women's group at our church has a Book Club, and this is the book they are reading for the meeting at the end of February, and I want to be in on that fun evening, so I ordered this one, too. I have to admit, I've never read anything by this author, but our pastor's wife and some of the other ladies who have already finished it say it is very good. I'm looking forward to it.

Pride and Predjudice by Jane Austen - Another one that is in my Amazon order. It has been a very long time since I last read this one, and I want to read it again now that I'm an adult. That and the fact that so many of my favorite bloggers just rave about Jane Austen.

Well, there are probably a few more I could mention on my to be read list, but my nightstand is already full enough. I'll just have to save them for next month.

That was fun. I need to pay more attention to these blog carnivals and join in more often!

Check out other people's nightstands over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Snow Day

We got the call we were expecting last night: School is cancelled for Tuesday, January 27 due to weather. There's snow on the ground and it's sleeting right now. All the whining about no snow, and it's finally here. The kids had fun just a little bit ago playing in the snow. Just one of the many, many things I love about my husband is that he is not as technologically challenged as I am. Here are some pictures!

All bundled up and ready to play!

Brother snow ball fight

"I walking on the snowflakes."

Little baby snowballs - Boo playing along with her brubbies, who held nothing back when it came to pelting siblings - Boo got pelted just as much as the big boys

It's so cold my nose is red

You've got to keep your 'glubs' on if you don't want cold fingers

And, of course, snow angels

Monday, January 26, 2009


Yesterday when I woke up and looked out the window, there was snow falling. The boys were so excited, and after church there was enough for them to make snow balls and pelt each other with them. The weather channel says we're getting more tonight, and the weather may be bad enough tomorrow to close the schools. Oh boy.

I took some pictures on my cell phone, but I'm so technologically lame I can't figure out how to download them to my computer. I would have shared them here, honest. I can't even figure out how to e-mail them to my home computer. I'm such a dork.

I think a new digital camera is at the top of my 'to buy soon' list.

Anyway, the kids are thrilled to finally have snow this winter. You know what was really sad? My mother-in-law told me it was snowing back home on 'the island' the other day when I was telling her how bummed the boys were that it wasn't snowing here. Of course it was just flurries, but I thought that was kind of ironic, considering that there was not one flurry there the entire five winters that my boys hoped so hard for some.

If it does what the weather people are predicting tonight and tomorrow, however, I think we'll have our snow fix, thank you.

Oh, and, by the way, so far everyone around here is feeling pretty good, in case anyone was wondering. Maybe it really was just too much sweetness and bacon, after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


So, Drew and I decided to take the kids out for breakfast this morning. A nice, fun, special family outing, we thought. We found a good, informal, but different (i.e. not IHOP) place where M could get his sunny side up egg with bacon and toast, a must for a first-rate breakfast in M's mind.
And it was a tasty breakfast for all of us. Boo had a giant chocolate chip pancake, which she really enjoyed, but didn't finish, so all of us helped and ate the rest off her plate and M finished her bacon.

So far, sounds like a nice, boring excursion, hardly worthy of a blog post, yes?

But wait, there's more.

About halfway through breakfast, just about the time Boo had finished all she was going to eat, she began fussing and wanting to get down and just being miserable. We finished up, Drew went to the front to pay for our delicious breakfast and left me the car keys while I bundled Boo into her jacket so we could go on out to the car. Only that's not how it happened. While I wrestled Boo into her jacket, she continued fussing until, as I pointed her to the door, she barfed up most of her breakfast all over the restaurant floor. Oh, yes. Poor Boo. So I caught the eye of a waitress and told her about it and tried to clean Boo and her mess up as best I could without grossing out other patrons. Drew came back in and asked, "What happened?"because I had not made it out to the car, and I had the keys, remember?

Fun times.

So, now the anticipation sets in. Was it just that she was too full of sweetness and bacon and out of her element, or is it something more sinister? We all ate off her plate. So, while Boo is playing happily right now and seems fine, I keep thinking, "Is my stomach really feeling queasy, or is it just the power of suggestion?" And every sigh or groan or frown from one of the boys has me cringing and asking, "Are you okay?" I'm so not good with body fluids. Don't you hate that kind of anticipation?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sad, But Not Surprised

Predictable, not surprising, but depressing nonetheless.

Here's why. That was part one of a sermon Al Mohler preached. I'll be looking forward to reading part two. Two totally incompatible worldviews are battling in the abortion "issue." If you want to call life and death merely an "issue," that is.

One of the most telling things I heard in all the media coverage of the inauguration and afterward was a glowing comment by an actress from the show Desperate Housewives (not a show I watch, and forgive me, but I don't know the actress and can't remember her name right now) about how hopefully women will finally now have the chance to have unlimited access to abortion. I just don't understand that mindset. The breathless joy that women would be able to have unlimited access to abortions. Can't we even, at the very least, agree that this is such a weighty subject that there ought to be at least some limitations? Why is having children seen as a negative in our culture? And I know the arguments about extreme cases and what not, but, face it, abortion is the taking of a human life, not a cause for joy. And I'm really tired of the euphemism "family planning."

That does not negate what I said about praying for our leaders, though. I don't agree with many things certain politicians stand for, but we do need to continue to pray for wisdom, compassion and leadership that will err on the side of righteousness. But praying for our leaders does not mean praying that that they will have success in all that they endeavor to do. Sometimes we need to pray for mercy and that perhaps hearts may be softened, and for wisdom to live as good citizens and lights for truth no matter what our government may or may not do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Status Report - Wednesday, Jan. 21

Borrowing from my blog friend Lisa again, I present you with my latest status report:

Sitting…at my computer desk (duh) and wishing for more inspired blog thoughts to flow onto the screen. Unfortunately they are probably flowing from someone else’s fingers onto someone else’s blog. Sorry.

Eating…popcorn, popped in the microwave as an after school snack for the boys and their little sister who also loves ‘poppers’. Let’s face it, I really popped it for the mommy who was craving it all afternoon, but we’ll just say it was for the boys.

Drinking…sweet tea. I broke down and put real sugar in it. Not much, but enough. Here’s the thing, we have dinner at church tonight, and, well, we’re not in the South anymore. Lemonade, water, hot chocolate and coffee are the drink choices. No iced tea. So I’m bringing my own. As an aside, did you know that down South when you order tea, if you want it without sugar you usually have to specify “UNSWEET” and really make sure they hear that “UN” loud and clear or you’ll get tea-syrup (I don’t make mine the real ‘southern’ way). Anywhere else, you have to specify “SWEET” if you don’t want it without sugar. If they even offer it with sugar at all. Lots of places don’t. Just sayin’.

Sore….everywhere. Arms, legs, back, everywhere. Drew signed us up at the local YMCA. The Army gives us a free family membership, but we have to use it on average at least twice a week, or 8 times a month. Free is good. The YMCA here is a very nice facility, the nicest Y I’ve ever visited, in fact. You should see the cool indoor swimming pool. The boys had a blast the other day when Drew took them – there is a huge twisty water slide, and I looked in at it today and I think Boo will love the kiddie pool. I’ve been to exercise twice this week. Yesterday I did the weight circuit and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Today I was so, so, so sore when I got up this morning. More on that later. Anyway, today it was 45 minutes on the treadmill and no weights – the plan is to do them tomorrow.

Managed…to get the daily recommended 10,000 steps two days in a row. Drew gave me a pedometer that he got while working at his old job at the hospital outpatient rehab. Being a numbers and goal oriented kind of gal, it helps to have the little thing clicking away. It’s really depressing to have it not even get close to the goal after a really busy day, though. Anyway, yesterday I just barely cleared 10,000 steps before bed, but today I’m already at 11,187 and counting. That extra 15 minutes on the treadmill helped.

Motivated…to avoid fatty snacks today. When I got up this morning, I was so sore (did I mention how sore?) that I really, really, really wanted to just roll over and go back to sleep. But I’ve decided to get back on a decent schedule, which has really suffered since the move, and get up early, read my Bible and pray before the kids get up, and be ready to go exercise after dropping them off at school. It almost didn’t happen today. It would have been sooooooo easy to skip the Y this morning. My brain was screaming at me to just skip it. Just go home, Beck, don’t torture your legs today!! But, I got up and took a shower, yes, I’m nutty that way – I can’t go to exercise without taking a shower first, I just can’t wake up enough, and limbered up and went downstairs and had my quiet time and got breakfast and took the boys to school, and then Boo and I headed for the Y. I’m glad I did. If I don’t get the habit established, there’s only me to blame. Anyhow, after forcing myself to go this morning, I found that I really didn’t want to undo the good I’d done by snacking and eating unwisely today. So maybe it’s a good thing it was so hard to get moving today.

Hoping….I’ll stick with it. I’ve got 20 pounds to lose. I know, I know, I said a while back it was 10 or 15. Well, what with the move, not having our kitchen stuff for a long time and eating out too much, feeling depressed and just not being careful about eating, I’ve added back the little I had lost, so now we’re back to trying to lose 15 or 20 pounds again.

Proud…of my boys for getting along so well lately. Monday was a GREAT day. We’ve been reading The Fellowship of the Ring together in the evenings, and they got the idea of making rings with paper, markers and tape and they’ve been pretending to be characters from Middle Earth during their free time. And they have been getting along, cooperating, agreeing on rules….I’m pinching myself. Do you think it could possibly last? It is so much fun listening to them play together.

Frustrated....with our cable provider. We have been trying to see about getting DVR added to our current cable package. We get a different answer and vastly different price schedule from every single person we talk to, and they wouldn't talk to me today, as the wife, because Drew's was the only name on the account since he set everything up during those weeks he was here before we came up. Anyway, when I called and told him that, he called the provider and was told that we could not get DVR with our package. When he told me that, I said, then why did the woman today tell me that it was only x number of dollars per month and etc. and why is it listed in our welcome packet as an additional service we can purchase? He's on the phone with a very helpful representative who is scheduling our service right now. Grrr.

Going…to choir tonight, in case anyone was wondering. I’ll just watch LOST tomorrow on the computer. Like you all care. But, no matter, I decided I need to go to choir. Anyway, it's time to get off the computer now.

Some Thoughts About Prayer

1 Samuel 12:23

"Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way."

1 Timothy 2:1-6
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,"

Over the past few years I have been increasingly convinced that I do not devote as much time as I ought to in praying for our leaders. The Bible tells us we are to do that. And it says that it is to our benefit that we do it faithfully. With all the news coverage of yesterday's historic inauguration, I've been thinking more about that. Actually, speaking honestly here, I have become increasingly convinced that I do not pray consistently, persistently, as often or as well as I should, even for my own husband and children and friends and leaders much closer to home, much less the president and leaders of our country. Too often I am content with spot prayers and self-centered prayers, but far, far too seldom do I get alone and quiet and really labor in prayer, so to speak. Because it is a labor to pray well. It takes work to get alone and pray thoughtfully and to really think about and reverence the One to whom I pray.

To be honest, as my friend Heather has observed and I have also found true in my own life, sometimes the best prayer times I have are in the shower because it is the only time I am alone. If anyone in my house wonders why I take such long showers, well, that's one reason. And too many days I bulldoze ahead into the day before properly fixing my thoughts on the things above and taking even a moment to pause and remember Whose I am and for Whom I want to live this day, or I fritter away time with all my Martha tasks, things that need doing to be sure, but I neglect the best thing, the most needful thing, the thing I am most desperately in need of doing - to take the time to know Christ, to take time to remind myself again that I am in His presence and that all the Martha busyness is better done Coram Deo - before the face of God in an attitude of worship. This is to my shame.

As people who have saving faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we are the uniquely gifted people who alone can effectively pray for our leaders and our country, because we are the only people who have a relationship with the High Priest and King, Jesus Christ. Other people may offer up ceremonial or rote or vain prayers, but only those prayed in faith according to His will by His people are something more than empty words.

Jesus is the intecessor sitting at the right hand of God, it is only through Jesus that we can approach the throne of God. We have His ear. Have you ever stopped to ponder the wonder of that? Think about that for a minute. We have the very ear of Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us, and the prayers of the saints are as incense before the throne of God. Think for a minute about the awesome price that was paid to grant us that kind of access. Nothing less than the life and blood of God's one and only Son. He paid our sin debt on the cross and rose again on the third day so that we could have God's grace and mercy poured over us who trust in His name and are washed in His blood. Only by that grace can we stand, clothed in the righteousness of Christ and bring our requests to God.

What an awesome privilege to carry everything, everything! to Him in prayer. How sad, how shameful, to neglect such a privilege. May I neglect other, less needful things and learn to labor in prayer. Praying without ceasing - having an attitude of prayer, those spot prayers are so special, and stopping to say a prayer for a friend when they cross your mind is sweet, practicing being in His presence all day long, but there is also a priceless intimacy when we shut ourselves up into our prayer closet for a time and pray diligently and thoughtfully, too.

As I was thinking about prayer yesterday, I read this at Dr. Al Mohler's blog and thought that it is an excellent example of how to pray for a president. He demonstrates how to pray for a man who, though he may not have been my choice for president, and he wasn't, but he is the man that God has allowed to be elected, and we must be faithful to pray for him and for the people who make the decisions in our government. May I be faithful - to pray for our government leaders, yes, but also for my own family and friends and local church leaders. And may I be faithful to not only pray for those who are actually in my sphere of influence, but to teach them well, also. May 2009 be the year when I commit to pray more fervently and diligently than ever before, growing in my love for Christ. And may 2009 be a year when I spend time in His word, not just reading it to get through a reading plan, but thinking about what I read and praying for wisdom and understanding. Because, ultimately, my goal, my hope, for 2009 is to know Christ more and to love Him more.

Psalm 27:4
"One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Song to Make One Weep

The Curse of Dry Skin
(Sung to the tune of "The Sounds of Silence")

Hello lotion, my new friend
I’ve come to slather you again
Because my skin is cracked and peeling
From the dryness I am reeling
And the itching that is driving me insane
Will remain throughout the course of winter
Itchy skin causes me to twitch
Trying not to scratch the itch
I’ve clawed my skin until it bleeds
And still a scratch the itching needs
When my skin is burned by the cold of the chapping wind
That chills the night
And brings the need for dry heat
And in my house we have to run
The drying heater day and night
Scratching, scratching and there is no end
To the itching I can’t comprehend
Lotion, why can’t you make the crazy itching stop
And bring relief
From such dry and itching skin
“Arrgh,” said I, “You do not know
Alligator skin hurts so
Hear my pleas for soft and silky skin
Take my arms and ease the itch on them.”
Here’s a thought that I to you must tell:
Didn’t think I’d miss humidity
So I slather lotion on
And baby oil helps a little too
And the itching will subside in time
Patience is something I must try to find
And I try to
Think about something other than itching or I’ll climb the walls
Trying not to bawl
Over the curse of itching skin.

I told you in the title it would make you weep, didn't I? That was really bad. I'm sorry, but I just had to share. My sincere apologies to Simon and Garfunkel. I actually like their song, but it just fit so well when the idea hit me this morning in the shower......

Here is the real version of the song:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adaptability and Other Random Thoughts

According to the thermometer on my porch, it is 4 degrees today. According to the weather channel website, it feels like -13 degrees. Did you get that, minus 13 degrees. We did not walk to school today. M was so funny this morning. He bundled up in long sleeves, sweater, and heavy coat and kept going out and walking around and then he would come in and say, “It doesn’t feel that cold!” I told him he’d be singing a different tune if we were to walk all the way to school out there.

By the way, I don’t think my car has ever been so cold. The principal was on car line duty today, and when she opened the door and greeted the boys, she said to me, “Now this really isn’t South Carolina weather, is it?” You got that right. On the way home, my car thermometer was reading zero degrees. Now that is just plain cold, no lie. Not to mention the raging, and I do mean raging, sinus headache I have at the moment.

But the big disappointment these days in the Sweet Tea family (at least if you ask my boys, that is) is that there has been no snow to speak of since we moved here. The boys, especially M, were all excited about snow, and visions of snow men and snowball fights played prominently in their minds and dreams, but as of today, no snow to speak of yet. We did have flurries the other day while we were out running errands and you should have seen how excited they got about actually seeing falling snow. J managed to scrape enough off the car to make a very dirty snowball, which is now in a baggie in my freezer. Don’t ask me why. I just live here.

Drew informed the boys (and me) that it doesn’t snow when it’s this cold because it only gets this cold when it is clear. Who knew? Is that fact, or is he just making that up? Anyone know? I figure he knows what he’s talking about, having grown up in Connecticut and Indiana. He spent enough undergraduate days trudging through cold and snow when he was at Ball State, so I guess he knows better than this Florida girl.

Boo is getting better about not fighting me when putting on her coat. I guess she’s finally figured out how cold she is if she doesn’t wear it, and warm is good!

And another thing about adaptability, I thought it would be great to be an hour behind – the good TV shows are on earlier. Just shows how much I know. The only show I really watch anymore is LOST, because I got so hooked in earlier seasons that now I just really need to know how it’s going to end. Only ABC has put it back on Wednesday night. NOOOOOOOO! Why couldn’t they leave it on Thursday night??? The big premiere event is next Wednesday at 8/7 Central. Meaning 7pm for me. I went to choir practice for the first time last night at the church we are pretty sure we’re going to be joining. I loved it. And I’m feeling really guilty that I’m so torn about wanting to stay home next week and watch LOST, when I really need to be getting involved and committing to choir. Why not just tape it, you ask? Because I am so technologically inept that I cannot figure out how to get our recorder to work with our cable system. I asked Drew if he could figure something out before next Wednesday…..please, oh, pretty please? I’m hoping that the regularly scheduled time for LOST will be later and that they are just doing one of those premiere thingies with the early start next week.

And one more random thing about change: I’m working on the new laptop Drew got us. It was loaded with all this new stuff, and the version of Word I’m using to write this post is a newer version. I cannot for the life of me find the ‘save file’ button. Why do they keep changing things around? Change, in and of itself, is not always a good thing. Sometimes not changing is good. I finally get used to something, and they go and change it, just like the time and day for LOST. Grrrrrr.

And, another thing about the time change from Eastern to Central: when we first moved here, I had a really hard time adapting to the hour behind thing. I would wake up around 4:30AM and have a hard time getting back to sleep and then be petering out by 8:30PM. I’m kind of a morning person. I don’t mean I’m all that perky in the morning, just that I do better in the morning. I have to get things done early in the day. That’s just how I am. Well, I’ve adapted. I’m staying up way too late, and today I had the hardest time waking up at 6:15. That would be 7:15, island time (or Eastern Standard, if you prefer), and normally would have been late for me, but today I had a really hard time getting up. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the night before I woke up stressing about a whole bunch of silly stuff around 3:30AM and couldn’t get back to sleep and then last night Boo had a bad night, meaning another short night for me. Anyway, I’m tired. My neighbor back ‘on the island’ told me that the first week we were gone her kids almost missed the bus because she used to watch for us to walk by at 7:30 and then she’d know it was time – she knew I was a morning early bird, and she so wasn’t. The boys’ old school started at 8:30. Here, they don’t have to be there until 9AM, which is 10AM on my body’s time table, and I looked at the clock the other day, thinking of my neighbor friend, and realized her kids had already been in school for an hour and a half. I thought I’d have no problem getting the boys to school on time here. Well. I’ve adapted. I’m not sure I’d be able to get them there any earlier if I tried.

Must be the cold weather.

Friday, January 09, 2009


Do you ever have one of those moments when you come across something several times in a short period of time and then you sit up and start to take notice? I had one of those moments while reading the commentary part of my Bible study in Genesis this morning.

One day not too long ago my mom and I were talking about the things she is teaching her 4th, 5th and 6th grade Sunday school students. Somewhere in the course of that conversation she mentioned that over and over in the Bible when God called His prophets their response was, "Hineni!" I think she then mentioned that the intent of that word is "Here I am, I go!" as an emphatic response of obedience to God's call. We were talking about how when we are saved we are no longer our own, but we belong to Christ, and how our response to Him must be obedience. He is Lord. We must live like it when we profess faith in Him as Savior. Basically we were talking about Lordship salvation, and I told her that is exactly the point that John MacArthur is arguing in the book The Gospel According to Jesus, and that I do not see why this is considered a controversial subject by some. (By the way, it is so cool to have parents who talk about these kinds of things, and I'm extremely thankful and blessed by their willingness to discuss what the Lord is teaching them as they teach others.)

Anyway, today while reading the Bible study notes in review of last week's lesson, which was from Genesis 22:1-19 when God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, the lesson ended with a discussion of the Hebrew word that Abraham spoke in response to God's call to him to sacrifice his son: Hineni! It was pointed out that the translation of the word is, "Here I am," or, "I am ready," but that our simple translated words do not capture the depth of the Hebrew. Here is what the writer of the lesson said:

"The word implies a father/child relationship. The Father calls the child who is "fully present" when replying - no distractions of any sort: physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. The child is fully open to the Father's commands, fully trusting that whatever the Father calls His child to do will bring glory to Him and spiritual satisfaction to the child."

While reading that and thinking about that word, Hineni! I got to thinking what a hypocrite I feel that I am so often. I got to thinking that I really want that to be my heart's cry, and how too often I am much too temporally minded and not thinking in that Hineni! kind of way. Even recently with this move, my attitude has far too often been focused on how I feel, how everything is affecting me, rather than learning to say, "Here I am, ready and willing to do what You ask of me, ready and willing to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, LORD." I want to learn to look at every single day and say, "What do You have for me to do today, Lord? May my words and actions bring glory to You! " So often I do not intentionally look at trials and daily things and look for what God is teaching me and how He is being glorified. Such a mindset would greatly help me to focus less on depression and more on Christ. More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee. I cry that often. Why is it so easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the daily small things and forget that even in those daily small things I need to have the ready response, "Hineni!"

I think too often I have this vague expectation of some big thing out there somewhere that may be asked of me, and I fail to see that I need to live a surrendered life here, now, in the everyday things of life. I want to persevere and live life intentionally. But so often I find myself muddling along and not even thinking about how awesome it is that I am bought with a price, my life is not my own, and that I get to live for Christ. Oh, that this would be my heart's desire, to say, "Hineni!" in the everyday things of life and to learn to see those ordinary things as vehicles for pointing to His glory. May I live a faithful life, in the small things as well as the big ones.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Learning Curve

Psalm 71:1-3
"In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress."

For all my teasing of my son for his hatred of change, I have to confess that I'm worse. I hate change. Even good change is HARD for me. Friends, I'm having a hard time with this move. I hate moving. We have pretty much settled in, but there are still quite a few boxes downstairs that my husband is still sorting through. Did you know that it can be depressing to have too much stuff? It is. We do. I am. Depressed, that is.

Even though we know this move is a good thing, the right thing, in fact, it's still HARD. I hesitate to post this because I think it will probably sound so whiny, but it's where I am at the moment, and it helps me work through it to write about it. It's hard to not know anyone yet. It's hard to send my boys off to their first new school since kindergarten five years ago. It's hard to find my way around a new city again. It's hard to be the 'new people' at church again. It's good, but it's hard. But one really awesome thing about being a child of God is that we know we can find kindred spirit people anywhere we go. It is awesome to walk into a Bible-teaching, Bible-believing church and be right at home - not a stranger among strangers, but a family member who just hasn't been met yet. Sunday was like that. The Sunday school class we attended was full of people who obviously love the Lord, and we were made to feel right at home, and Sunday evening I went to a women's Bible study and was, again, made to feel like I was among, not strangers, but sisters. God is good.

We knew this move would be hard. We did not, however, shy away just because it is hard, because we also knew it was, and is, right. I know that, as hard as it is, it won't be long before this all feels normal and like home again. Then it will be time to move again, but I'm trying not to think about that yet. It's been good to have Drew home so much already. I hate to admit this, but it was nice to have a little peace and quiet yesterday when the boys went back to school. They have been climbing the walls with things being still somewhat unsettled, not everything is unpacked or found yet, and not knowing any kids to play with and cold weather on top of it all. They really liked their new school, too. I think I'm having a harder time with the change in school than they are, and for that I am thankful. One thing I like is that we are close enough to walk to school, and that gives me some good time with the boys when we walk there and back, as well as some good exercise, too. I have a ready made thirty minute walk each morning and then again each afternoon. Boo didn't like the cold this morning, though. I told her if she would keep her hat and mittens on it wouldn't feel so cold. She is such a GRITS baby - no hat, no shoes, no problem.

Speaking of Boo, I had to cut her hair the other day. That was heart-wrenching, since we've been waiting so long for her to have any hair at all. Anyway, now that she has a little hair, she's so thrilled with that fun stuff up there that she has developed a habit of twirling her fingers in it, creating knots. Last week she had such a monster knot twirled up that neither Drew nor I could work it out. I even washed her hair with conditioner and tried to brush it out - she has a really tough little head, I would have been screaming if someone pulled my hair as hard as I was pulling - but there was no untangling the mess. I had to cut it. You can't tell it, thankfully.

Back to the learning curve of the move, I ventured out today, and I feel kind of silly for being so proud of myself for finding Target, shopping, and finding my way home with no problems. It does help my overall malaise to start feeling like I can, in fact, find my way around on my own. Baby steps, Beck, baby steps. Another thing about me you may not know is that I am very uncomfortable driving in new places. I'm glad Drew had a lot of time off to drive us around before he had to go back to working all day. But I'll get through this learning curve. It just takes getting out there and exploring on my own.

Anyway, I was kind of surprised by the depressed state of mind I've been working through the past few days. And one thing I realized was sending me into that depressed spiral was that in all the hustle and bustle of trying to settle in and unpack and keep my boys from killing each other in their boredom and pent up energy, I have not spent much time reading my Bible and praying. I miss it. I can tell it when time with the Lord loses priority. Why is it that this usually is happens just when I need that time with Him most?

So, the other day I picked up my CBS book and worked through the lesson in Genesis my class will be doing tomorrow back in SC. I'm planning to keep up even though I had to leave my core group and class behind. God is so good, friends. In this week's lesson, we studied Abraham's test of faith when he was asked to offer his son, Isaac. During the course of the week's lesson, we were asked to look up several scriptures containing promises that God confirms to those who trust in His Son, and then we were asked to take one and discuss what it meant to us personally this week. What a blessing, and how I needed it right now.

Two spoke right to my heart this week:

Romans 8:38-39
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Ephesians 1:13-14
"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."

I've said it before, and I'll keep on saying it. I am so grateful that my security in Christ does not rest on my own efforts or on my feelings. If it depended on how I feel, then I am, indeed, most hopeless. But, praise His glorious name, my hope rests in Christ alone. I have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, and though I may stumble at times, He never stumbles. He is the guarantee, and nothing, not even momentary feelings of depression, can pluck me out of His hand. And this is why, even when temporal things seem hard, there is joy. Hallelujah.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Life With Boys

This being New Year's Day, I suppose I should write a reflective post, but I'm not going to. I'm too tired right now to be eloquent and reflective. But, here are a few random thoughts anyway, just because I have a blog and I'm not afraid to use it for random thoughts and it's been a long time since I've written much of anything.

First of all, I did not think Drew and I were very materialistic until I started unpacking all these boxes. There are a LOT of boxes that came off that moving truck on Monday, all intact and everything is accounted for - even M's $15.00 ear plugs that he has to wear to protect his ears when he showers. I found them today when I finished his room. Ahhhhh. I won't go into much detail telling you how I couldn't sleep last night because I didn't find them when I emptied the boxes marked "bathroom items" where I was just sure they would be. So I rejoiced when I found them at the very bottom of the very last of the "M_______'s bedroom" boxes tonight (of course they would be in the last box). He's been using throw away ones during the transition, and he was really glad I found them, too - especially since the last time he lost his ear plugs and I had to buy new ones, we told him he'd have to buy the next set if he lost them again. So he was very happy, too. I wouldn't have made him pay for ear plugs lost in the move, however. He doesn't know that, though.

Anyway, with all these boxes and how hard it is to find places to put all the stuff in them, I think one New Year's thing for me to think about is "downsizing" and "purging extraneous stuff." We've already taken a lot to the trash or to Goodwill. Too bad we didn't do it before the move. I have to brag on my husband. He has come a long way in doing away with his tendency to be a packrat. He's doing a whole lot of the throwing away this time around, and I'm so proud of him. The boys are throwing a lot away, too. They just don't know they are. Heh, heh, heh. "You can't find what, son? Oh, that must have gotten lost in the move......" Okay, most of the stuff I'm tossing, they will never even miss. I'm sure of it.

This morning, needing a break from unpacking and being cooped up in the house, we took a short road trip to the Lone Elk Park, not too far from where we live, and saw real, live bison grazing along the trail. That was really cool. Until M piped up from the backseat and said, very seriously, "Do bison pee?"

To which J answered, "Everything pees."

Which then devolved into a very strange conversation between the two of them as M tried to explain how some things do not pee, and, I found it really funny, in spite of myself. Drew and I laughed so hard. He looked at me and said, "There's a blog post for you."

To which I say, everything pees except the two year old I'm having a time potty training. I'm starting to have fears that she'll be the only kindergartner in her class in a few years who is still in diapers. I'm feeling like a real failure in the potty training arena these days. And now I cannot believe I actually wrote a blog post with the word 'pee' in it. Maybe I should just quit the blog now before it gets worse.

I won't gross you out with the dinner time discussion tonight. Suffice it to say that bison piddles were not the extent of my sons' speculations. Drew and I had the hardest time at one point not letting them see us dissolve into laughter while we tried to steer them onto more appropriate dinner table conversation. Toots, burps and such are very much beloved topics of conversation to my boys. I don't know where I've erred. I've tried to civilize them. Truly I have.

Sigh. I told you this would not be a reflective post. I really hope to be back to better blogging soon.....