Archive for March, 2009

People Watching

Posted: March 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

Things I noticed on my visit to Barnes and Noble:

  • The doors have been open just a few minutes,  and yet I’ve seen three different people show up to meet other people.  And by “meet”, I mean “meet”…for the first time ever.  Handshakes, awkward greetings, some carrying leather portfolios and one is even wearing a fancy name tag.  Barnes and Noble with it’s fake fireplace and “legal addictive stimulants” (name that awesome movie) is just about the perfect place for an encounter that will require a name tag.  I’m going to take a minute to thank the Lord that I am meeting the wonderful Tracy, my filled-with-Jesus friend who does not need a name tag or a portfolio and will not try to sell me anything but more reasons to love Him.
  • One table contains a group of pastors.  They seem very nice, but I have to say that pastors carry a lot of stuff with them.  One is even pulling a rolling bag behind him and I imagine it contains Matthew Henry’s full 17-volume set of commentaries and the latest book by Rob Bell.  (Disclosure:  I am also a pastor and a quick glance at my gigantic purse, brief case and notebook reveals that this is a pot/kettle situation and I should probably stop talking now.)
  • You’re going to think I’m making this up, but I’m not.  I’m not this creative.  I just watched a man out the window walk back and forth for a long time without coming in.  After about 20 minutes, another guy from inside the store went outside and gave the man some money, and the guy gave him his watch!  I kid you not – he took it right off his wrist and gave it to him!  I would have thought something nefarious was going on, but seriously, these guys were like…old.  Old, yet mysterious.  A dangerous combination.
  • Meanwhile, at the name tag lady’s table (who, by the way, also has very expensive highlights), the man she is talking to has totally put his head down on the table.  Like whatever she was saying was just sooooo much that he needs a tiny little catnap to process it all.   I think I’ve been on both sides of that fence more times than I care to count.
  • Of all the things in life that I abhor – and there aren’t a million of them – these are without a doubt the top two:  loud chewing and snorting.  You know the snorting where you suck in your sinuses to clear them or clear your throat or maybe i don’t know all that’s going on physiologically, but I know I hate it and I know I picked the wrong table.
  • Hey, I found my twin!  She’s sitting by the fireplace – where I would sit if I had remembered to charge my lap top and didn’t need close proximity to an outlet – and she’s drinking a venti coffee (perfect!) and reading travel guides (excellent!)  And she has a yellow purse.  I tell you, we were probably separated at birth.  Except she’s Asian.  And 60ish.  Still, she’s a good person.  I can just tell.
  • Oh, cute red coat!  I want a red coat.  My friend, Elisa, has a super cute red coat and she also has no sympathy for my red coatlessness.  I hope there’s something in the stimulus package for people like me.
  • And there’s a table of beautiful people…four beautiful people  who I happen to know have beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7)   Hi Chris!
  • And at one table in the corner sits a woman with a lap top who clearly thinks using a bobby pin constitutes “doing your hair” and knows she should be working, but is instead totally frittering away the moments before Tracy her appointment arrives on her confounded blog.  Poor, sad girl.  I’m glad I’m not like her.

Spring is coming and people are wonderful,



My Dad, Stan.

Posted: March 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
  1. familyMy dad is funny.  He’s funny in the kind of way that made all my cousins happy to see him at family reunions.  And when your cousins think your dad is funny, it makes you feel pretty good about your own self.  It’s something how that works, huh?
  2. My dad lived his life with four women and lived to tell the tale.  He taught me and my sisters to throw like a guy and to appreciate sports…but he also taught us to have respect for ourselves and for who God created us to be.
  3. My dad showed me what marriage ought to look like.  Not because he and my mom never had fights or issues – but because his love for her was just really obvious.  From the nicknames he called her, to the way he vacuumed the house after our big Christmas shindig to the flowers he bought her on Easter and their anniversary and just for no reason…it was just so clear that he always felt like he had won something grand when he married her.
  4. My dad likes his car and shoes really shiny.  I have trouble figuring out all the reasons this matters to me…but it matters.
  5. My dad gives most people nicknames and who doesn’t love that?
  6. My dad has spent most of his adult life helping people – many, many people – get out of spiritual and emotional prison.  If you’re locked up by the past, my dad is the one you want to visit you in jail because he will bring a cake with a file in it.  Or he’ll just bring the keys.  Or he’ll tell you, “hey, did you realize that this door isn’t even locked and you could just, you know, walk out of there if you wanted to?”
  7. Here’s something from my journal on March 24, after I read Luke 12:  “What an amazing sermon You preached that day, Jesus.  I wish I could have been there to hear it.  I hope I would have taken notes.  I hope I would have been enrapt and in love.  I hope I would have “gotten it”.  One thing I know:  if I had lived when You were here, my dad would have taken me to see You.  He has always been seeking for more and more of You are and I don’t think it would have mattered a bit that we weren’t Jewish…he would have found a way to find You.  My mom too.  Wow, what a gift I’ve been given.  What a huge head start You put in my life when You gave me to Stan and Ellen.  Thank You.  Again.”

And those are the reasons – combined with a gabillion more – that I want to take this moment to say:

Happy Birthday to the Best Dad in the History of Dads!

I’m convinced that my life is an act of plagiarism on a grand scale as I steal most of it from what I’ve learned and see in you and that wonderful gal you married way back when. Thanks for loving me the way all daughters should be loved by their dads and for showing me a life spent in awe of the God who truly sets us free.

So much love,



Posted: March 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

Matthew 9 astounds me. In it, Jesus is chased down by a paralyzed guy, a dirty rotten tax collector and his dirty rotten friends, a ruler with a dead daughter, a broken woman, two blind men, a man shut up by demons and people with “all kinds of diseases and every weakness and infirmity”. Pretty sorry lot that follows Him, really.

Two things:

  1. Apparently it’s the big hurts in life that lead us to pursue Him. When our hurts lead us to His healing, they get kicked to the other side of the ledger into the Biggest Blessings column.
  2. It’s silly for Christians to be surprised when His presence draws a stormy crowd. In fact, if we aren’t well-armed with the faith to distribute His healing and the love to do it authentically, then we – who ought to be the happiest people on the face of the planet – will instead be miserable pretenders.

That’s all.


P.S. My lilacs are budding!

Deuteronomy 1:19 And when we departed from Horeb, we went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, as the Lord our God commanded us…

1:31 And in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God bore you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.

I’ve discovered that the wilderness is the place where I struggle with fear the most, probably more even then in actual battle.  It’s this place in between where we were and where we’re going. No man’s land.  But over and over I’m seeing that God is especially tender in the wilderness.  He carries and comforts ”all the way”.

Sometimes I have imagined God launching me out of the safety of Mt. Horeb by pointing me in the direction of Canaan saying, “See you when you get there!”   But He’s not like that.   He packs the bags and gathers the supplies and wakes us up early in the morning to put us in the car – maybe still in our pajamas – and He kisses us on the head and gets behind the wheel because we’re going on a road trip and He’s the only one who knows the way.  And we’ll make stops at restaurants and gas stations and they will serve their purpose but they will not be home.  And when we get tired and cranky and frustrated with our lack of landing, He will comfort us with pictures of our destination. It will be good when we get there.

The journey will be done.  The house will be warm.  Our beds will be soft.


So, Jesus, I give you my wilderness and my final destination.   My journey, my suitcase and my walking stick.  All that I have is yours and I am so thankful to know that all You have is mine.   I ask for resources along the way and enough light to illumine my step and quicken my heart.  I want to love this walk with You.  I want to treasure the loneliness that leads me to new depths of friendship with You.  I want to bask in the silence that causes Your voice to be especially clear and beautiful when I hear it.

Oh, how I love You today and tomorrow and all days forever.



Posted: March 12, 2009 in Joy, Uncategorized

Those of you who check in with my blog regularly, know that I have been positively immersed in an effort to deconstruct a teeny little word: joy.  My desire to figure it out, chase it down and make it my own has been challenging, exciting and transforming.  Without any reservation I can say that I will never be the same.

Though it began as a purely personal project, as I studied and prayed (and frankly, did a lot of crying for a study on joy), I began to discover some stuff that was impossible to keep inside.  I found myself preaching to my sisters, my daughters, innocent folks at the grocery store and – certainly, my own dear Steve has patiently listened to way more words than he ever signed up for.  It just kept bubbling out of me!   Since I was already slated to teach the spring session at our ladies bible study at Westside, I felt like it was the perfect time to dive head-first into developing  The Joy Project into a six-week journey that we could all take together.

Well, it’s almost complete and I’m nearly bursting with anticipation to teach this study!  It will begin on April 7 at Westside Church and will run through May 12.  During that time, we’ll look at six principles that are absolutely essential – non-negotiable in fact – if we want to live a life of unshakable and authentic joy.  I’ll be teaching both the morning and evening sessions (the same study repeated both sessions) and we’ll also be filming it for some other churches and ladies’ groups that want to wrestle  this big little word into their lives in a greater way.

This project has been immense and consuming  and has felt much like a pregnancy.  I would covet your prayers for a joyful delivery (and a cute baby!) Also, if you’re at all interested in attending, I’d be tickled pink to see you there.  I think you’ll soon find all the information you need for registration at

I’m hopeful that when things get rolling in April, I will have more time to devote to this little blog, because I truly love the community of friends I have found here.

With Multiplied Joy,


I didn’t want to do it.  I did not want to spend money on this purchase and here – in no particular order – are my well-reasoned reasons:

  • Winter is certainly, definitely, undoubtedly over, right?
  • We’re in a recession and this is money that could go toward other important things like lattes and lottery tickets.
  • There is an outside, low-lying, fringe-dwelling chance that I will one day – before the end of the cold weather – learn how to park my car in the garage as God intended it.
  • It’s really more of a luxury item  (because using it feels almost exactly like a seaweed body wrap at the spa).

Still, I did it.  I caved to the pressure of the weather and  I bought this guy:


And here’s why:

  • It was 21-degrees yesterday morning.
  • It was 24-degrees this morning.
  • I would like to keep my fingers solidly attached to the rest of my hand and my current scraping devices did not assist me in reaching that goal:


So, I’d like to thank my friends the Dollar Tree, our local meteorologist and a sense of deep hopelessness for this new acquisition.

What have you spent money on recently that you didn’t want to?

Not-quite-frozen Bo

Bible Man

Posted: March 5, 2009 in christian growth

I have worked with teenagers and young adults for about a million years and here’s a truth you cannot shake lose from my little soul:  those who are taught to love and value the Word of God are about a hundred miles ahead of everyone else in terms of real life success.  It’s remarkable the difference that it makes.

Because of this firsthand information, Steve & I have taken every opportunity to teach our kids to love the Word.   Maybe because we’re older or maybe because he’s a boy and we know how hard it is to be a boy-of-valor in a fallen world, we’ve been especially strategic with Josiah in this area.

Here is the very first bible Josiah had: bible-for-mothers-and-sons1

My love for this book knows no bounds.  It’s simply brilliant and there are lots of versions (for Dads and Daughters, etc.) I read this whole book to Josiah before he was six months old, while I nursed him.  My philosophy is:  if the Word of God really is living and active then why would I wait even a day to start pumping it into my kids’ spirits? Also, this is my gift-of-choice for every baby shower I attend!

Next, came this amazing bible:


I first bought this for Whitney at Easter when she was two years old and I was uncertain as to how to communicate the story of the crucifixion without scaring the soup out of her.  All my kids have had it, all have loved it. Some day I’ll tell you how a story in this book set 5-year-old, Tess, free from fear of talking to people.  Seriously, the Word of God is POWER for living!

Next for Joe:


If you read my blog often, then you know my love for Eugene Peterson’s work runs deep and I wanted Josiah to experience it as well. I picked this one up when Joe was about 7 and just starting to read chapter books.  I gave it to him with a beautiful (and manly) blue highlighter and told him to go crazy and mark that thing up!  It may sound silly to have a kid highlighting his bible, but I really believe that it’s one of the things that got him hooked on daily devotions.  He loved breaking the “no writing in books” rule and finding something to highlight kept him engaged in what he was reading.  When I look at the things he chose to highlight, I laugh and laugh – but I tell you the truth: I will treasure this bible til the day that I die. Josiah read this bible cover-to-cover and got a prize at the end. This may cause some livers to quiver in disgust but I totally believe in rewarding my children for spiritual discipline.

So, when the time came for him to get a real bible,  I took him shopping and told him he could have any one he wanted but he needed to pick carefully.  We sat him in a cushy chair and started piling them up beside him.  First question:  hard cover or soft?  He held them and thought.  Opened them and closed them.  Repeat.  Hard cover.  That narrowed things down and then he started reading.  He checked out book introductions and special features and then he read the same passage in a couple of them since they were different translations.  Could I just share that he chose the passage about King Josiah and oh my goodness how cute is that?  Anyway, he ended up choosing (without any hesitation), this:


It’s a great one! (and, yep, that’s his class picture back there.)

Next, we shopped for journals and here’s a little note to journal makers everywhere: sometimes boys want them and so maybe we could back off a little on the hearts and flowers and rainbow brite and make something in a basic BLACK.  Because in Josiah’s world?  Black and blue are pretty much the only acceptable man colors out there.  Anyway, here’s where we landed:picture-0731

It’s a great journal with cool features like scripture memory cards.

With every Bible purchase, you gotta have new accessories, so:


Monsters, Inc. highlighters – because he’s a 9-year-old boy, that’s why.  Seriously, the more they like the stuff, the more they’ll use it.


Wonderful, beautiful, sticky flag markers which I am now showing him how to use.  What kid doesn’t love sticking stuff on other stuff?  What adult doesn’t love it? We have these guys in 5 different colors and they are a joy to my heart.   I’m a simple girl.


No kidding – these are my favorite mechanical pencils.  They have ridges on the side so they don’t roll and really great erasers.  They’re cheap and perfect for bible notations (I always mark the date that I’m reading at the top of the chapter because I love being able to see that in my bible and easily go back to that date in my journal.  I also make all kinds of outlandish notes like the greek root number or “PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, BO!  YOU DON’T WANNA SCREW UP!”  That kind of thing is what the pencil is for.)

So, Josiah’s all set for PB & J (Prayer, Bible & Journal) and he is seriously SO excited.  I didn’t get him a devotional because I really want my kids to learn that they can extract stuff from the Word themselves.  Around their freshman year, I get all my kids My Utmost by Oswald Chambers (who I credit with having helped raised my oldest daughter) and that’s pretty much where they start with devotionals.

That’s our bible-buying story.  Here’s to kids who will grow to love and treasure the Word of God with their whole hearts.


P.S. Thanks to Tess for lending me her photographic skilz without charge.