Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mere shadows

My friend Janette just got me hooked on a new (to me) series by Janette Oke. The series is placed at the turn of the 19th century (early that 20th century?) and describes the unique bond between two families, one of French descent and one of English descent. Circumstances between the families fostered a secret relationship between the two wives and through a long series of events including an Acadian expulsion, infant daughters were switched to save the life of one. Due to the expulsion, the daughters were never returned to their biological parents and each family raised the other's daughter thousands of miles away never knowing if their own daughter was even alive.

Fast forward 18 years and both daughters meet....when asked what her birth parents are like, Nicole responds, "Everything good about me, everything worthy, is just a faint shadow of who my parents are."

That brief sentence totally took my breath away. Have you ever thought about how your life reflects your upbringing? If you haven't I'm sure your parents have. I'm not at the stage where I have children, but as a teacher I'm always concerned about the behavior of my students while I am absent. If this is a concern that our earthy parents have, how much more is our heavenly father concerned about the message we communicate by the life we lead? We are the living bible. Some people may never read the bible but our lives can be open book to them. Whether you think about it or not, your attitude, demeanor, perspective, and choices all serve as reflections of the Lord we serve. While I can never make a complete list of the attributes of God I do know that God is love; it makes sense then that John 13:35 says the world will know we are His disciples by the love we have for one another.

Just like Nicole said I know that anything good or worthwhile in my life is a direct reflection of my heavenly father. If my life is only a shadow of God's goodness and love, how great, powerful and loving is God? While I am only a mere shadow, I pray that His reflection in my life is as bright, clear and unmistakeable as it can be.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I've been punked

Twice. And by my dog. In my own truck. Need I say more?

Let's rewind to Monday of this week. I stopped by the local dance studio in Buckeye to pick up my camera from a friend (she picked it up for me after I left it somewhere). I was literally going to run in and run out so I left my truck running with Johnnie Reb inside. When I returned she was sitting in the driver's seat and the door was locked. I know it wasn't an accident; if I had waited a second longer she would have slipped it into gear and taken it for a joy ride. Anna helped me get a hold of AAA and my friend called a local auto shop. Thank goodness for living in a small town because AAA had just dispatched the call to them and they were headed my way.

Fast forward with me to this morning. I stopped by a Verizon Wireless store to inquire about getting a discount for being a public school teacher. While I was enjoying the pleasant surprise about my discount, Johnnie Reb was gobbling down the pan of seven layer bars I had brought to share with my family this weekend. I always fall prey to my pride and this morning was no different. I was secretly patting myself on the back thinking how clever I was for hiding the pan of goodies underneath a cooler on my front floor board. God, with his ever witty sense of humor, used Johnnie Reb's terrific sense of smell and led her to eat the seven layer bars to humble me. Hmmpphh. No wonder I didn't see her sitting on my console when I looked out; I assumed she had laid down in my back seat.

Johnnie Reb-2

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The right size for kids

A few posts back, I mentioned the quail eggs my sister bought me. I promised to post some pictures, so here they are! My sister and I were talking about it and quail eggs are the perfect size for kiddos...if you have a child, or niece or nephew, or someone else who is small and likes to hang out with you, it would be fun to cook the quail eggs with them because they're totally kid size. Speaking from experience with my own nieces and nephews, they love to have things that are "just for them."

I just wanted to show you the difference in size between a regular, large egg and the quail egg. There are actually two quail eggs in this picture; I didn't want you to think the quail egg had a wierd growth off to the right side.

Not only are the quail eggs perfect for kids, they're about the same size as my cowboy and cowgirl salt and pepper shakers. Not that you really needed to know that but I love Pamela Pepper and Sammy Salt so I thought I'd share them with you this morning. There's nothing like making breakfast with two good friends at your side:-)

As if you needed more proof about the difference in size, I thought I'd confirm that one is still bigger and one is still smaller even after they're frying in the pan.

Have a lovely day folks!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Paul and the trump card

I've been reading through many books of the bible authored by Paul as of late. I love his directness and his desire to grow people for God. It seems that as he closes every book he writes, he mentions the name of many people that he has worked with and is praying for (Romans 16, 1 Corinthians 16). God blessed him with the opportunity to influence many for His sake. This is just me speaking, but I think Paul was extremely honored to be able to work on behalf of God. Especially considering his life prior to accepting Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

Paul is the topic of my blog today because he has long intrigued me and I just read an article in World magazine that led me to think even more about his perspective on the war against Christianity. To quickly summarize, the article said that while many headlines today herald a decline in Christian faith, a closer look would reveal an actual rise in serious faith. The article was a refreshing read and I thought the author, Marvin Olasky, said it quite well when desribing this perspective of Paul's: "The apostle Paul was note unduly impressed by temprary ascents and descents. His confidence did not depend on which emperor was in power or who the next emperor might be. He knew that a benevolent reign would allow more to hear the gospel, but a hard reign would create inspiring testimonies that would show how the gospel sustained believers amid pressure-so Christ's cause would win either way."

God's truth will trump everything in the end. Regardless of who is at the helm of our government, or any government for that matter, we can be confident that any trial or challenge will only serve to bring more glory to God and the gospel that is shared through our lives and testimonies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Junky Car Club

Have you ever wondered what you could with the extra money you would have if you learned to live on less? I have, but it's not usually for the benefit of anyone but myself. I find myself selfishly dreaming of all the things I could do with the extra money I'd have if I could only refinance my home mortgage. These dreams usually revolve around doing something to the interior of my home-new window treatments, new decorations, maybe even a new drip irrigation system for the one my puppy just ripped out. If I ever happen upon extra money, the drip system will definitely have to wait until my puppy (hopefully) grows out of this stage.

Anyway, refocus with me back to the subject of this particular blog. I recently read about the Junky Car Club, a group that encourages people to drive older vehicles that are paid for so they can give their money to those in need. I have heard lots of talk lately about little ways to save money, but this is definitely a big way that could benefit someone else. Think about it-our culture encourages us, practically begs us, to have the biggest, bestest or newest. This is a great way to go against what our culture says and live out the what Christ has asked us to do.

What do you have, that you could give up, sale, or trade-in so that you might help someone who has gone without?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Rose and The Thorn

When I was in grad school, my group of friends shared lots of meals together. It never failed that we would go around the table and share the best thing from our week and the worst thing. I have heard this "game" referred to as the rose and the thorn and following this style of sharing I'm going to tell you about the coolest things and uncoolest things of my week so far...

Coolest: Anna bought me a dozen quail eggs from the Asian style Ranch Market over in the Chinese Cultural neighborhood in Phoenix. I had two for breakfast this morning and they were pretty good. The hardest thing about eating them was getting the shell and membrane to crack--I cracked the shell on the side of my skillet like I normally do but I practically had to tear the membrane to get the yolk to come out. I still have ten in my fridge so I'll take a picture and post it later.

Uncoolest: Johnnie Reb (herein referred to as JR) is tearing my drip irrigation system out! As I was frying up some quail eggs this morning I looked out just in time to see JR pulling with her little might and then nearly tumbling backwards as she succeeded in ripping it out. JR definitely knows she is not supposed to do this because she runs from me as soon as I come out to give her a swat. I discussed this with the smartest maintenance man at my school yesterday and he told me that if I put the system back in, I need to make sure I bury the line deeper. He thinks they left it pretty shallow and that is why JR can tear it with almost no effort. Besides going crazy finding black drip line all over my back yard, it's been a pretty good week.