Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rethinking Obedience

Paul says, "God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him." Philippians 2:13

Isn't it true that most of us don't connect obedience with pleasure? I think we're used to obeying out of necessity or fear. As kids I think we all had parents who made us obey "because I said so!" It's certainly not wrong for parents to expect obedience from their children or bosses to expect cooperation and productivity from their employees. But I don't think it's the best definition or the highest motivation for obedience to God. In my mind the key element missing is the "want to" factor. This takes the "ought to, have to, better do it or else God will zap you" element out of it. It then elevates obeying God to a level of joyful response to all that He's done for you. Obedience isn't something you have to manufacture. Rather I believe it's something you need to cultivate and then activate because the desire is already present within you. When you put this into action it's better known as "serving the Lord with gladness." Anything else really is outward compliance. It's sort of like the little boy who misbehaved and was told by his mother to go and sit in the corner. After a few minutes she called to him from the other room, "Are you still sitting down?" He said, "Yeah, I'm sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside." This may look like obedience, but it's really nothing more than outward compliance without the inward response of eager and joyful obedience. How times are we sitting in our corners with that mindset toward God?!! Yep, joyful obedience...just another way of dying to self!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Worship inspires worship

A friend recently posted this on his blog and I thought I'd share it here with you..."Worship is a learned behavior. Worship is modeled by the saints who have gone before us and the worshippers who surround us. When we sing in church, the new believer learns from the person caught up in passionate praise standing next to them. When we dish out chicken noodle soup in a soup kitchen, the old believer is reminded to give their lives as an offering. Just like Jesus said, as he held the dirty heel of Peter in one hand and a towel in His other, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

Indeed, worship does inspire worship!

Misplaced keys

So why is it that I never misplace my keys when I'm not in a hurry?? I thought it a worthy question....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I've realized lately how easily we all can be seduced into thinking and speaking negatively. Negativity is seductive, there's a meth-like rush of energy and power in anger, snideness, gossiping, and cruelty (it's sick actually, isn't it?) Sadly my grandmother fell into that trap, and most of her conversation was loaded with tearing down something or someone. Sometimes it was easier to join her and feel a common bond of anger, a closeness in shared negativity. Wow, those seeds take root so easily and I want to tear them out as easily as they come! Yikes, it's so easy to get sucked into that vortex. But when I focus on living a life of gratitude then my heart opens. And when my heart is open, God enters in. I had a craving last night and this morning to read Ephesians and when I read 5:18 I was halted by these words: '...making music to the Lord in your hearts". I need to fill myself with the melody of life, the harmony of love...a heartsong. I'm going to use that word as a prompt whenever my thoughts turn away from ones of Love, from ones that bring life.

Evil talk kills three people: the speaker, the listener, and the one who is spoken of. (Talmud, Erachin 15a) But the same applies in the reverse: speaking favorably of another, accentuating his or her positive side, will aid him to realize himself in the manner that you have defined him.

Yes, YOU!!

Pretend an angel suddenly appears before you and says, "You are God's favorite". How does that make you feel? Hopefully, pretty dang special, because you are God's favorite!!! : )

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Check this out!

Find Out the #1 Song the Day You Were Born here...

Hmm...So I wonder if it counts if I've never ever heard the song before?? Who on earth is Freddie and the Dreamers and their song "I'm Telling You Now"!? However if I add on a few more years, my song would be "Aquarius" by the Fifth Dimension which I'm familiar with at least!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday has gone from somber to uber somber...

It's just been an off day with sports today for me. First Yankee Stadium (a few posts below) and now this http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap?gid=20080921017 Giselle Bundchen better be nursing Tom Brady back to health prontO (yes, yes I know he's out for this season, but I can still hope he might make a miraculous comeback...humor me already!)

"The Office" and my hopes!

Seven things I hope will happen on "The Office" for season 5 (in no particular order, of course! ; )

~ Michael will date Holly (and in a later season actually marry her).

~ Phyllis will run for some sort of public office after her party success.

~ Jim will, or will have, propose/d to or married Pam.Karen will get the position now vacated by both Jan and Ryan.

~ Dwight and Angela will get back together as if nothing ever happened to Sprinkles.

~ Oscar will host a Pampered Chef party after Dwight starts an online beet jelly company.

~ Ryan will be assigned to Dunder Mifflin by a temp agency yet again.

A Tower of Yes

Each Yes of mine I added to a tower of others.
With a deceptively sturdy base it as so easy to add another yes-can.
It began with a foundation I could build upon.
It was so simple to add one more seemingly small, aluminum weight yes.
Yes, I can do that. Yes, I will call.
Yes, I will help. Yes, I can listen.
Yes, I will be there, do that, jump that hoop, ride that rail, hoist that sail, drive that car.
Yes. And one more. And another.
But it got hard to reach the top of the pile.
I stretched.
The stack grew higher
And higher and harder to balance.
And then one inevitable day a final yes toppled into another.
And another.
And another.
And suddenly with a rush and roar the cans of yeses tumbled down.
A waterfall of crashing cans falling in a metallic scream that finally echoed into silence.
And then...I heard the calling of the sparrow, and the singing of the crickets, the soft brush of an angel’s wing.
And sitting there in my pile of Yes rubbish I could hear God’s whisper, His voice beckoning, asking me to follow him.
I only needed to answer with one single, solitary,
Sacred and holy,
Joyful and liberating,
Life-giving, spirit-filling
Yes. Oh yes.
~ Anne Gough / I love the imagery of the cans...really helps me to remember to keep my "yeses" in balance! ; )

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Somber Sunday

Okay baseball friends....Sunday (9/21) is rapidly approaching for the last official game at Yankee Stadium before its sniff, sniff demolition demise. I still can't believe they're tearing it down all in the name of progress. Wouldn't it have been better (and probably cheaper) to gut it again like it was in 1973, but this time restore it to its former glory (while adding some fan-friendly amenities)? After all, it's only the 3rd-oldest ballpark in the majors, and the two older ones aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Yankee Stadium was built for the game to be played, with a mystic quality and magic that was just there, ya know?! Plus there were no bad seats in da house! I guess that's why I like it so much (no, not just because of the seats.) True, it's a simple park and may not be really clean or perfect, but baseball is the soul of that place...it's seen so much history!! A new stadium will never duplicate that. Sheesh, if those walls could talk....what a phantasmagoria of sights, sounds, and memories they'd flood us with. This is just plain wrong....what is this world coming to??!!! Anyone else sharing my pain?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When Someone Deeply Listens to You

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you,
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you,
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

~ John Fox from Finding What You Didn't Lose (an exceptional book about finding your inner creativity!! I've had this book for years and read it at least once a year!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And who says size matters!

They seem to make a lovely couple, don't they? ; ) I love how God creates us in all shapes and sizes!

(And yes, I do know they really aren't a couple)

A Lifetime Guarantee

"Goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life" Psalm 23:6. For some reason like a song you just can't get out of your head, this passage has refused to budge from my rooftop these past few days! When that happens, it's usually God trying to tell/teach me something. By no means am I an expert at all on interpreting scripture, so please bear with me. Here's what it says to me....

Goodness and mercy. Not just goodness alone, for we're all flawed and in need of mercy. And not just mercy alone, for we're all fragile and inadequate, in need of God's goodness. But He incredibly guarantees and promises both all the days of our lives!! Think of the days that might lie ahead: challenging days raising kids, days in a dead-end job maybe, underpaid and financially strapped, or days of sickness or loneliness. Whatever days you might face, the Shepherd will be following you and me. I think we're accustomed to a God who remains in one place; who sits enthroned in the heavens and rules. But like a Shepherd who comes behind, gently coaxing His sheep forward, our God follows us. Pursues us. Tracks us down and wins us over. So often we miss Him; and sadly don't even know when He's near. Yet, He's always there; through the kindness of a stranger, through the question of a child, through a word of encouragement spoken or a hug well timed we sense His presence. Even when we choose our hovel over His house and our efforts over His grace, He's still following. Never forcing us. Never leaving us. Using all His power to convince us that He is who He is , and that He can be trusted to lead us home. Wow! Who says there are no guarantees in life?!! Our God is pretty tootin' AMAZING!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

It IS good!

Being a Believer is giving all that you know of yourself, to all that you know of God. We should be growing in our understanding of ourselves, and of God. If that is true, then the Christian life is never static, but always changing and growing. There are no formulas or easy answers, just a call for us to keep on the path of commitment and dedication. We never arrive, but always are in pursuit of God's fullness. That's life as it's meant to be lived; with purpose, with adventure, seeking God and humbling one's self. The steward is always submitted to the master, looking for ways to please Him and celebrate life. And it is good! : )

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Techno-gadgets ~ friend or foe?

My friend, Dan Edelen over on his blog, Cerulean Sanctum http://ceruleansanctum.com/ made some really astute points that I wanted to share here....

"Nothing we do replaces the face-to-face. God wrapped so much of who we are in these flesh-and-bone bodies. He gave us intonations, facial expressions, and all other manner of communication that is lost through the Internet (sadly, so true.) Most of all, He gave us a soul. And no matter how eloquent we might be online, we can’t communicate that soul through our high-tech gadgets.

That distance so readily on display in the flame war above only illustrates the ultimate Achilles heel we build into every techno-whizbang toy we consider so vital to our personae. Yet how easily we lose ourselves in the the distant world of iPods, tweets, Myspace, texting, and Facebook pages.

This is not to say that high-tech social networking tools have no value, only that their value may be far more limited than we realize or understand (YES!) The devil in this is that none of us is ubiquitous and neither is our time. Something MUST give. If the sociologists are to be believed, perhaps the give is our surrendering of the face-to-face for the security of a Twitter tweet.

One last illustration culled from a previous post:
I remember many years ago how my old neighborhood experienced a power outage that blackened TVs, silenced video games (Atari 2600s back then), and quieted the bits and bytes of computers (Commodore 64 and Apple IIe). Right after supper, with the electronics stilled, the soft voice of that beautiful summer night called to people. The next thing I knew neighbors were chatting in each other’s yards, kids were playing impromptu games of Kick the Can and softball, and the neighborhood came alive. But when the power kicked on an hour or so later, the neighborhood took on the feel of a tomb. People had trudged back to their electronic distractions, each homeowner shutting the door on his or her personal fortress (wow, how some things still haven't changed!)

We’re still locked up today. Perhaps more so. Bowling alone, anyone? On the Wii?

I don’t believe we have to live this way. I don’t believe the disconnected humanity depicted in Pixar’s Wall-E must be our future.

As for the irony of me discussing this through a blog, well, you’re right. Still, this is more about trying to make a difference than it is about getting someone to notice yours truly. And yes, if no one noticed, then nothing in this blog would make a difference. It’s not a perfect medium. God help me if it substitutes for my time in flesh-and-blood, face-to-face connection. May that never be the case."

Thanks for reading and I'm interested in your thoughts on this topic!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Only at American Airlines....

Airline to passenger: Sorry, we've lost your wife's body! Oh my gosh, I couldn't even imagine!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Love Words!!

This word happens to be one of my current favorites....


*1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea
2 : evasion in speech

Example Sentence
Mr. Harvey was notorious for his tendency to engage in endless circumlocution when a simple, brief explanation would suffice. (And boy, don't we know people like that! lol ; )

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ooooh, Ahhhh...MAMA MIA!!!

And I'm NOT talking about the movie (just the thought of hearing Pierce Brosnon sing makes me a little queasy!) I'm actually talking about the best pizza in the southwest!!! I LOVE VENEZIA'S PIZZA....YUM!!! It's the uber, buber best and if you grew up in NYC then this place is like home. The way it looks, feels, smells. Even the people working there are almost authentic, and they're just awesome peeps all around. The pizza is as close to NYC pizza outside of NYC as I have ever come across, if not the same. Nothing quite compares to a Venezia's pizza fresh from the oven. The huge, mouthwatering slices are covered in the perfect amount of cheese, sauce (to die for) and toppings. Have I made you hungry yet?? I guarantee you won't find a better pizza or a better value anywhere. Boy, do I sound like a commercial or what?!! lol Anyway, definitely check out their pizza!! http://www.venezias.com/

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The best policy of honesty

The truth will set you free is something I've always been told. However, my grandmother once told me there is such a thing as being too honest (at the time I didn't quite get what she meant by that.) The reality is that sometimes brutal honesty can cost friendships and huge misunderstandings. So I ask the question....is honesty really the best policy?

Recently, a family member said some very hurtful things to me. Instead of confronting her at the time of the incident I decided to leave. Now that I've had a chance to gather my thoughts, that situation taught me a valuable lesson ~ "being honest doesn’t mean being hurtful." The people closest to us know not only our strengths but our weaknesses and insecurities. It's human nature to examine the flaws of one another, but it’s an individual decision to continue to remind a person of what’s wrong with them. Overall, there is a fine line between honesty and rudeness. My daily challenge is to choose my words carefully and understand that sometimes what I say can hurt someone.

So honesty still is the best policy and in the grand scheme of things, I believe integrity is one of the greatest attributes to possess. The challenge is to maintain my integrity while being tactful and respectful at the same time. Over the years I've learned that if I give what I think is constructive criticism to someone then I have to be able to receive it as well.

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18

God shows up in the most interesting places...

The other day while I was engaging in some retail therapy at ROSS (oh how it does a girl good! : ), I had some clothing items to try on and sauntered through the Ross dressing room maze and finally settled on one toward the back. I pulled the door shut and hung up my items. As I was about to get the first item off its' hanger, I noticed some writing on the wall with a beautifully drawn butterfly. I was going to just ignore it as some graffiti, but something kept telling me to read it. So I indulged that little voice and read it. Here's what it said...."It's so hard to wait around for something you know might not happen, but it's even harder when you know it's everything you want." Wow! Right then, I knew God was speaking to me!! Did it give me answers to my waiting quest? No, not at all. But what it did give me was assurance and hope that He's with me and has been with me every step of the way and He knows I'm still down here waiting on Him. And it really will be okay and in his timing He will reveal His plans for me.