Archive for February, 2008

So, maybe it’s the crazy schedule we’ve had lately, maybe it’s the fact that my beloved has been gone for a couple of days, or maybe it’s just that working with young adults has made my sense of humor dark and twisted, but these Caring for Babies instructional posters triggered the laughing/crying emotion that I hate and fear. In retrospect, I suppose the teething tennis shoe was a bad idea and I should apologize to my kids.

Make a Political Love Connection!

Posted: February 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

I took this little test yesterday – it helps you pick a presidential candidate based solely on the issues. It’s fun, but also a little like the girl who says she doesn’t care if the guy is cute, as long as he makes her laugh, until she dates a homely funny guy and then decides she actually kind of cares about the cute. Yeah, it’s a little like that. Anyway – check it out here. (It’s worth it, just to see the faces pop up in the windows!)

And a loving piece of advice: this test is built on your opinions about some very important issues. If you don’t have an opinion yet…get one! Do some homework! Read Real Clear Politics or Citizen Link (from Focus on the Family and it contains fascinating stuff!) or anything else you can beg, borrow or Google so you are educated on the issues your country is facing.

Let me know how it turns out – or at least let me know if you’re surprised at how it turned out! (I was surprised at my result…probably because I will usually pick the best communicator as my favorite, even if the best communicator is not actually the best…um…person. This time, for my kids’ sake, I want the best person.)

Safety.

Posted: February 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

I love safety. Security is one of my top five core values. However, my dad used to always tell me, “Safety in God is not the absence of danger…it’s just the presence of faith in the face of fear.” He said that kind of stuff because he’s pretty much brilliant. Anyway, here’s a clip from a message by Francis Chan (one of my new favorites) that addresses the same issue – also brilliantly. It’s only 3 minutes, but it’ll mess with your head and your plans and definitely your view of safety if you let it.

P.S.  How much do I wish I could preach from a balance beam?  MUCH!

One.

Posted: February 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

An Easy Bake oven. Rocky Road ice cream. A baby monkey. A handsome husband.

A Pong game. A better teacher. An awesome locker partner. A pink satin jacket. A handsome husband.

A part time job. A day without back pain. A worthy win. A handsome (and passionate) husband.

A drivers license. A stereo with cassette player. An acceptance letter. A good roommate. A godly (and hopefully handsome) husband.

Another part time job. A way to love a hard-to-love friend. A chance to share Jesus. A decent haircut.

A great marriage. A full time job. A car that would run. A healthy baby. A house of our own. A strong sense of purpose. A miracle for Linda. A message to speak. A new gift of grace. A friend I could trust.

A green light. A paid bill. A break in my speaking schedule. A chance to get away.

All these things I have prayed for at some time in my life. Some important, some not at all. Some long-lasting (23 years with the handsome, passionate man of my dreams), some just vapor (Pong, anyone?)

My heart fairly tumbles over itself with desires and dreams and strategies and schemes. It churns and spins over words and wants and sometimes forgets that all of life…all that I need…everything that works and wins is captured in One Thing.

One desire.

And from that desire springs…well, everything else. Over the past few months, as His presence has become the first and favorite priority of my life, Psalm 27 has become the distillation of my 42-year wish list…the anthem of my existence. Everything. And as I read it this morning, I was amazed to find my own heart woven in the words. I laughed and cried and all I could say is: finally. It’s good to finally and fully want the only thing that I can truly have.

Psalm 27:4-5 I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: to live with Him in His house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at His feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, the perfect getaway from the buzz of traffic.

Weekend Treasures.

Posted: February 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Monday is an interesting day, yes? The start of something new (good). The end of the weekend (bad).

A quick reflection on the weekend at the Stern home. Tessie had 10 girls over for her birthday. Ten thirteen-year-olds + 5 hours = WOW. To celebrate the life and liberty of Tess Stern, we made amazing pound cake sundaes. So named, because of the pounds you will gain.

On Saturday, I got to catch up on some reading. I’m working on research for a parenting conference I’m planning for May, and I’ve been sorting through books, books, books…as well as DVD’s and other resources so we can offer the parents and families at our church the very best stuff available. So, my parenting book treasure for this weekend is: Single Parenting That Works by Dr. Kevin Leman. If you are a single parent or you know and love one, pick up this book…it’s just wonderfully balanced and encouraging. (If you know of a great book on marriage or parenting, PLEASE shoot me a comment ASAP. I’m always looking…)

I ran into another treasure in the March issue of Bon Appetit. There, among the glossy food-filled pages was a column on cinnamon rolls that was warm and wonderful (just like the perfect cinnamon roll). I checked out the author’s blog and: MORE wonderful! Even if you’re not a foodie, you gotta check it out at Orangette.

Sunday was my first Sunday in about 8 weeks that I’ve been able to just go to church and not speak anywhere. Oh, truly…SO great! And, my treasure of the weekend was absolutely Pastor Ken’s message called Never Give Up .  If you get a chance, give a listen!  I’m up to bat this weekend in the Moses series and I’m speaking on the 10 plagues and the Passover and I’m SO excited! Studying for it has just been remarkable.

So, that’s my weekend. A little of everything. A lot of wonderful. I wanted to pass the treasures along to you. Can’t wait to see what the week has in store…oh, yeah, Valentine’s Day! OH…I almost forgot! I have a great list for single people and I hope to get it posted before Thursday. I promised Jessica and Mekenzie…it shall be done!

My Tess.

Posted: February 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

Tess Stern was born on a snowy, 7-degree day in the middle of the heartland.  She’s our only true Cornhusker – thus, the red hair.  She came during a really difficult and dark time in my life and her arrival into our world was the clearest picture I’ve ever seen of how God makes all things new.  He’s always at work.  Always building.  Always beautiful.

Besides her beautiful red hair, Tess walks life out with a quiet dignity that gives her a sense of mystery…like you just can’t quite figure her out.  She’s definitely picked up the Stern woman sass and can deliver a clever line in a way that I’m sure will get her in trouble one day, but for now just makes me laugh and proud.  Her love for Jesus and family is something I treasure and her loyalty to friends is something that I – at 42 – envy.   Without a doubt, I am blessed to know her and beyond blessed to be her mom.

I love you, Miss Stern.  Happy Birthday.

Mom

Pieces.

Posted: February 8, 2008 in Uncategorized
Psalm5:3 Every morning You’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on Your altar and watch for fire to descend…
So beautiful, this picture of letting go of these life-pieces that – as empty or ugly as they are – tend to consume my time and attention. The ones that are okay and well-formed, I feel frantic to push to the front of the stage so people believe that I’m okay and well-formed. The ones that are weak and anemic I have to work hard to hide away to keep them from stealing the show. In fact, I think that I’ve felt in order to really sacrifice my life to God, I have to fix the broken parts first, or get them cleaned up or – at the very least – thrown into neutral. This scripture ends that game. Sacrifice is just putting it all out there for Him to rebuild or renew or start over. A life God can use is not a life already constructed and functioning with no issues…it’s just a life that says ‘yes’ to His plan, His surgery, His therapy and His transformation. And when it’s HIS transformation, it works, it’s perfect…and it sticks.