Food, life

The Making of Huevos Rancheros

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As I was whipping up a simple guacamole about an hour ago – red onion, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper and the slightest wisp of cumin – I started thinking about people who have nerve. Nerve has been off and on my mind since it arrived in my inbox this morning. From WordPress. To prompt me.

I kept thinking about nerve as I followed the making of the guac with the making of a 3:00-in-the-afternoon huevos rancheros. My first meal of the day. And you are correct if you are guessing that I am not yet dressed.

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Ordinarily I would grate the cheese directly onto some tortilla chips and then melt the cheese/toast the chips in the oven, but I’m lazy today so I grated it directly into the egg pan. So as not to dirty a cookie sheet. I agree, I need to stop being lazy and clean my stove.

Anyway, I was thinking about a young woman I met a few weeks ago.

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I was hoping the cheddar would become crisp – like grated Parmesan in the fry pan does – but it didn’t. So I just globbed it on.

The young woman, upon learning that I am an abstinence speaker, asked how long I have been speaking on the subject. I told her I started my ministry 13 years ago, and that I was speaking on the subject long before that as the director of a crisis pregnancy center.

I’m not sure if any of my answer registered, because she then asked, “Have you ever heard of Pam Stenzel?”

I smiled and nodded yes.

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Make sure you keep the eggs over easy so the velvety, buttery yolks run onto the chips below.

Her  question reminded me of all the times during the twelve years I was directing the pregnancy help center, appearing in promotional videos for Right to Life and writing letters to the editor on the subject of abortion, that people, upon discovering the work I was doing, would ask, “Have you ever heard of Roe v. Wade?”

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Put a little jarred salsa on there. Organic.

The young woman proceeded to tell me all about abstinence; all the things she tells the high school cheerleaders she coaches.

I smiled and nodded and, when I could quickly squeeze a word in, said, “They are fortunate to have you.”

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Now pile on the guac you just made and sprinkle a little extra cilantro on top. Because you can never have too much cilantro. Just smile and nod you cilantro haters.

Why do people do that?

Is it just plain old nerve?

Or do they think they are always the smartest, most well-informed person in the room? Even when there are people in the room who have been devoting their lives to whatever-the-subject since they were in diapers?

Or do I just look like I’m a moron?

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See what I mean about the yokes running? Ya’ gotta’ have that. The hub doesn’t like runny yokes. His loss.

Please God, don’t let me ever be so eager to show off what little I know (I do hope I’ve aged beyond that) that I cause someone I meet to nod and smile.

#nerve

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life

What Price My Soul?

I stopped at Kroger on my way home from Bible study last night to return a movie (late) to redbox. The End of the Tour. It was good.

As long as I was there, I decided to grab a bunch of bananas, because yesterday my daughter mentioned nutella and, as soon as she did, the 2 and 1/2 jars of nutella in my pantry started begging for bananas. I bought a green bunch, since I gave up sweets for Lent…

And a red onion. Because I used the last of my red onion at dinner.

It was 9:00 pm and cashiers were scarce so I used the self check out. I typed in the code on the bananas, set them on the scanner and then bagged them.  Just as it should be.

Then I typed in the code on the onion, typed the quantity and placed it on the scanner. What? Cucumber? 79 cents?

I hit the button for assistance. No assistance was in sight. I waited. Still no one came.

Maybe I should just throw the onion in the bag and finish checking out.

I waited a bit longer.

Maybe I SHOULD just throw the onion in the bag and finish checking out.

I waited.

Just as I was about to throw the dang onion in the bag and pay, I saw a young woman in a Kroger smock approach. She was holding a scanning device.

“I must have punched in the wrong code because it came up cucumber.”

She voided my item and I re-punched.

Red onion. $1.65

Only 86 cents this time.

What a bargain.

#boughtataprice

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life, Light

Lordy

Last night I snagged The Big Short from redbox.

In the end I shook my head: Only ONE person went to prison?

I was a little bit sick: The bankers used the bailout money to give themselves BONUSES?

I already knew that. But it still made me sick. Again.

Oooooh I wanted to smack that smugness, that utter lack of concern for others. The fact that they weren’t held accountable, the fact that they are right back at it, same crookedness, new packaging, makes my head just about explode.

And then this morning I read Revelation 18, the fall of Babylon. Do you know Babylon?

I’ll give you a little history in case you don’t.

Except for Jerusalem, no other city is mentioned in the Bible more often than Babylon.  Scripture refers to it 290 times.   It represents the epitome of evil and rebellion against God. Throughout Scripture Babylon has been Satan’s headquarters and in the end it will again be the seat of his power.

Babylon is first mentioned in Genesis 10. It was the capital city of the first world ruler. His name was Nimrod.

When I was in high school, Nimrod was the name we gave to fools – as in, “What a nimrod.”

The first time I read his name in Scripture, I thought he  was a good guy. I thought he was a mighty warrior for God.

“Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord…”

But then I took a closer look at his name.  The name Nimrod comes from the Hebrew verb marad, meaning “to rebel.” Therefore, “a mighty hunter before the Lord” means he was a mighty hunter “in God’s face”.

The hub and I were driving through the Upper Peninsula a few summers ago. As we drove through one of its small towns, we were stopped at a traffic light right in front of the town’s high school.  Emblazoned on the side of the school in HUGE letters was “Home of the Nimrods.” I’m guessing they didn’t do a word study before they chose their name.

So, Babylon was founded by a rebel.

And remember the tower of Babel?

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves…”

They wanted to make a name for themselves. They wanted to make their own way to heaven. A way that didn’t involve The Way.

Babel became the city of Babylon.

What does Babylon have to do with The Big Short?

Revelation 17 called Babylon “The Mother of all Prostitutes.”  She is where all the selling of souls began. And it was definitely the selling of souls that created that housing bubble; that  enormous Ponzi scheme.

It reminded me of the Bernie Madoff movie I saw recently (with Richard Dreyfus) – of the smugness and glee on the faces of all those who thought they were getting rich, making easy money.

That smugness I wanted to smack last night?  No need.

Because today I read this:

Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’
She has become a dwelling for demons
a ghost town,
a haunt for every vulture,
rat and rodent.
Nations were taken in by her.
Kings have committed adultery with her.
A myriad of merchants have made a fortune off of her.

She thought she was the queen bee,
she thought she would get away with it,
she thought nothing could touch her
“the housing market has always been secure”…
but she was wrong.  (my paraphrase)

So wrong.

God knew what she was up to all along.

“Get away from her,” He warned, “don’t get caught up in her demise.”

And just like that, plagues overtook her and she went up in smoke.

Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said,

“With such violence
the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
never to be found again.

Such a shame.

I like the what Eugene Peterson wrote about Revelation 18 in Reversed Thunder:

Whore-worship brings us great gain: we get what we want when we want it… Throughout the Revelation, the great scenes of worship show God being served – the people come to him, giving themselves in praise. At no place does he entice them with easy promises. In the great lament of Revelation [18] over the Great Whore’s demise, the longest and most detailed lament is from the merchants and sea traders (Rev.18:11-19): in Whore-worship they got everything they wanted, their lives overflowed with things, and now it is gone, wasted, up in smoke. They are bereft of everything they were promised and invested in and enjoyed. It is not their businesses that have collapsed but their religion, a religion of self-indulgence, of getting. Now it is gone: salvation by checkbook is gone, god-on-demand is gone, meaning-by-money is gone, religion-as-feeling is gone, self-as-(temporary)-god is gone. They are left with nothing but themselves, of whom after a lifetime in the whorehouse they know nothing.”

The laments of Revelation 18 fade out as the hallelujahs of chapter 19 begin to build.

The Whore is gone, the Bride has come.

Hallelujah! My head doesn’t have to explode.

#itisnotmyfight

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life, Light, Revelation

Ignorance

There’s a story I heard years ago about a young girl who was walking through the woods on a glorious spring day. Suddenly a snake appeared in her path. She turned to run but the snake called out to her:

“Please! Don’t run away. I’m lonely and I need a friend.”

“But you’re a snake,” the girl replied. “you’ll bite me.”

“I won’t bite you,” the snake promised.  “I’m a bit cold and I’m very lonely and I just want a friend. Besides, I’m one of God’s creatures, too.  Won’t you be my friend?”

The tenderhearted girl looked upon the lowly creature of God and had compassion.  She stooped down, scooped up the snake and tucked it under her light jacket to warm it, pleased that kindness prevailed over fear.

Of course, the snake bit her immediately and the girl dropped him in horror.

And as the pain and poison coursed through her body she cried out, “Why? Why did you bite me? I thought you wanted to be my friend!”

The snake turned, as it slithered down the path, and sneered, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

I told that story to an assembly of sixth graders last week.

I thought of it again last night as I lead a group of high school students through a discussion of Revelation 17.

Evil united to wage war against the Lamb. The scarlet beast, the mother of all prostitutes and a cadre of kings pooled their power to defeat their common enemy.

But of course their unity was short-lived.  The beast and the kings threw the prostitute under the bus – left her naked, ate her flesh, burned her with fire.

Because the snake is never your friend. His promises never mean anything. No matter how sweet his speech, no matter how much honey drips from his smooth-as-silk words. No matter how pathetically he appeals to your Christian compassion. No matter how well he exploits your sinful desires.

We are nearing the end of our study of Revelation and we’re finally getting to the good stuff, to the Hallelujahs!

Last week we took a little side trip away from Revelation to look at how God’s justice and mercy have always been woven together – throughout the Old Testament and the New.

The cross being the perfect balance of the two.

The cross. The focal point of Lent.

Some “friends” mocked Jesus on Facebook yesterday.

Ordinarily I would have ignored it, but it’s Lent, and no one ought to mock Jesus during Lent.  I mean, show a little respect.

So I reminded them – in a light, one sentence reply – that Jesus took a huge one for the team.

I don’t hold it against them, though.  Some of Jesus’s last words as He hung there were “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

My gut tells me that those young friends don’t know what they are doing.

God told Moses that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He forgives wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished. (Justice intertwined with mercy.)

Perhaps it was only sin that was forgiven on the cross.

“Forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”

You can sin without knowing what you are doing.

Those who don’t know what God’s standards are sin all the time without knowing it.

But, by definition, you can’t rebel without knowing it.

You have to know what God’s standards are in order to defy them.

No one is accidentally wicked. Wickedness is deliberately harming others – harm that includes enticing them to rebel against God.

All who are wicked and rebellious are sinners, but not all sinners are wicked and/or rebellious.

Jesus plead forgiveness for those who don’t know what they are doing – which doesn’t apply to the rebellious and the wicked.

Do you get what I’m saying?

I wonder whether Adam and Eve merely sinned – Eve said she was tricked, perhaps she didn’t know what she was doing – or whether they knowingly rebelled.

I’ve often wondered why God didn’t spell it out more clearly for Adam back in the garden. When He said, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die,” Adam had no experience with physical death (not human death anyway) and he had no experience with spiritual death.  So why didn’t God get really specific?  Take Adam’s face in His hands, move in close and lay out all the ramifications for him?

Perhaps He did, and Scripture just didn’t record it. Or perhaps He knew that it wouldn’t make any difference.

Whether or not He laid it out in the beginning, He’s certainly laying it out in the end.  That’s what the plagues and bowl judgements of Revelation 15 and 16 are all about – God making the choice perfectly clear. The judgments and plagues are designed to show those bent on rebellion exactly what life will be like without Him.  And He’s asking with each one,

“Are you sure this is what you want?”

No one is going to hell by accident.

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Those outstretched arms welcome any sinner, any rebel, any doer-of-wicked-deeds who one day says, “I was such an idiot.”

May that day be soon.

Let Go of the Dang Door

#dropaseed

P.S. It’s been a really busy couple of weeks – working round the clock on a project, preparing presentations and trying to keep up with life. Plus a car accident.

Life is still life, but the project is finished, the presentations have all been presented and I finally have time to catch up on some blogs.  Missed you guys!

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life

Ripening, Gathering, Harvesting Joys

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It was a tiny bit chilly that morning as I sat on the bench of a picnic table, beside the lake, sipping coffee and watching the early sun glisten off my diamond. I had just awoken for the very first time as someone’s wife and I was surprised, sitting there with coffee in hand, husband out at the end of the dock checking his minnow trap, admiring the pairing of my engagement ring with its wedding band. I was surprised by a feeling of increased social status. Of feeling like being the Mrs. to someone’s Mr. made me a little bit more. More what, I couldn’t quite pinpoint, just felt like more.

Surprised because I had not a smidgen of a thought on any day of the 26 years leading up to that morning that I was less or lacking.

Sitting there, basking in that early morning summer sun, I was looking forward to joining the young marrieds Sunday school class and forging life-long friendships. My then-husband’s parents both grew up in the same Swedish covenant church, married and formed close friendships that lasted their entire lives – even as many of them aged and moved to the same retirement community in Florida.

That’s what I wanted: Friendships laid in our carefree newlywed years and forged as we reared our children together, served shoulder to shoulder, laughed, rejoiced and grieved together through the ups and downs of life.

I was reminded of that long ago morning this morning when I read a quote on Facebook:

Almost everyone finds their early days in a community ideal. It all seems perfect. They feel they are surrounded by saints, heroes, or at the least, most exceptional people who are everything they want to be themselves. And then comes the let-down. The greater their idealization of the community at the start, the greater the disenchantment. If people manage to get through this second period, they come to a third phase—that of realism and of true commitment. They no longer see other members of the community as saints or devils, but as people—each with a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, each growing and each with their own hope. The community is neither heaven nor hell, but planted firmly on earth, and they are ready to walk in it, and with it. They accept the community and the other members as they are; they are confident that together they can grow towards something more beautiful.  —Jean Vanier

I longed for that journey toward something more beautiful.

And then, six years and one two-year old in, my then-husband bailed.

My Sunday school class of no-longer-newlyweds didn’t know how to respond. I tried to stick it out, but back then Baptists shot their wounded, lest anyone mar the happy illusion of happy Christian marriage.

A single friend – who discipled me when I was a new Christian – invited me to attend her church. We taught Sunday school together and my daughter was loved there.  We settled in. But when my single friend moved to Atlanta, a couple of the women pulled me aside and said that the church was geared toward families headed up by COUPLES, not single parents. I’m pretty sure they were worried I might try to steal their husbands. I wasn’t going to steal anyone’s husband. Not only would I not do that, but, as if.

My daughter had started kindergarten by then, so she and I went back to our original church, where she was attending their Christian school. Week after week I went, worshiped and left. No Sunday school, no fellowship, no community, really, just worship and go.

Over the years I’ve bounced back and forth from church to church. Sometimes because I was rejected by the community, sometimes because it didn’t have what I needed. Or what my daughter needed. Or what my new husband and I wanted or needed.

Perhaps if my first husband had stuck it out through the disillusioned second phase of our marriage, I would now be enjoying the deep, enduring, hard-won, life-long friendships I envisioned that first morning of my first marriage.

But maybe not. All these years later I am still loosely connected enough to a few of the women from that first class to know that even they, whose marriages succeeded, are no longer walking in close community together. Many of them have scattered to new church communities.

Blessed be the ties that bind…for now.

I didn’t get to “grow towards something more beautiful” with that little band of young marrieds all those years ago, but I’ve got the hub. And together we are on a journey to enjoy “the deep, hard-won truths of marriage.”

Perhaps the greatest blessing in marriage is that it lasts so long.
The years, like the varying interests of each other,
combine to buttress and enrich each other.
Out of many shared years, one life.
In a series of temporary relationships,
one misses the ripening, gathering, harvesting joys,
the deep, hard-won truths of marriage.
Richard C. Cabot

#longing

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It’s a Battle, Not a Leap

You’ve heard the expression, “Leap of faith,” but it isn’t a leap, it’s a nearly bloody battle:

Dear Julie,

While reading keep in mind that although the use and abuse of alcohol began in the teen years, its all out assault began about 1975, and culminated in 1977.
Something was really pushing me to put all of this down on paper.  Having done it, I can see that the “having done it,”  and not the four pages, was the important thing…
Love,
Dad

Concerning Hope

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.  1 Peter 3:15

On the night of April 18, 1977, I was alone in my apartment, face down on the floor and immobilized.  For years I had traveled the road of addiction.  Alcohol was the propelling vehicle.  At the end of this road is death, and death was to be found in the bathroom which was but a few yards ahead.  One travels this road with companions who are faithful to the end.  The fellowship includes perfectionism, a law giver demanding consummate tidiness even in a terminal act.  Wrists slashed at the bottom of a filled tub preclude the washing of blood from walls and ceiling.

Born into a world of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound, the cry of an infant brings response and gratification to his demands.  Response and gratification instill a sense of power, and power promises hope.  But hope circumscribed by the senses is counterfeit hope and bears within itself the seed of its own destruction.  Despair is the short-lived child born to be the executioner of its father and he who gives sanctuary to the father.  Born there on the floor, despair matured quickly and, like a lemming, yearned to dash across those last few yards to hurl itself into the water of the tub.

But despair was frustrated.  Wanting to get moving, it found itself trapped within immobilized flesh.  The delay made the last few yards ahead the turf of terror for consciousness.  The road became clogged with figures which looked vaguely familiar – ghostly manifestations of unresolved issues, hit-and-run victims at various points during the long trip in the vehicle called alcohol.  They were singing a song, my song; that seemingly immortal lyric which says, “I’ll do it my way.”  They knew the tune well.  I was singing it as they were victimized.  For consciousness, the legacy of despair is the recognition that the last stanza is being sung.  The song was inspired by counterfeit hope, but manipulation was the talent which penned its innumerable stanzas.  Fueled by alcohol, years of practicing the art of manipulation had produced exhaustion and immobility.  Peter had been robbed to pay Paul and Paul had been robbed to pay Peter so many times that both had resolved to make a trophy of my hide.  Their breath was on my neck; I could see a noose suspended from the branch of a tree.  There was no longer a will to pen new stanzas.

At this point a word presented itself to consciousness.  The word was addressed: “You are said to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.  If true, You are not light years away, but here with the prodigal.  If there is a road that does not terminate at the tub, You will have to pick me up and put me on it.  I give up.  God help me!”

This appeal came as an ominous threat to my hope.  A battle ensued in which consciousness was but a spectator.  Hope drew its battle line as it addressed consciousness: “You don’t need help.  Those ghostly manifestations out there need help.  They are the problem.”  Picking up the towel that I had thrown into the ring, the Word responded:  “You are the problem.”  Gravely wounded by the Word, but not yet dead, hope crawled from the field of battle.

In his book, Power of the Renewed Mind, Bill Bansky comments on this battle:

“God doesn’t speak through your mind, into your mind.  He speaks into your spirit that’s born again.  When God speaks to the spirit, the Spirit of God brings the thought into your mind, and then you know that God is speaking to you.”

Surrender gave birth to a new spirit which was to be followed by a renewed mind and a new hope.

Consciousness became aware that the telephone table was within reach.  A pull on the cord brought the receiver to the floor.  Names and numbers were beyond the grasp of both hand and mind.  After a number of misadventures, a finger found the “0” button.  My thickly muttered message to the responding voice was simply, “Alcohol!”  She grasped the situation immediately.  Learning that I was alone she asked if I could take down a phone number.  The long established habit of keeping a ball point pen in my pocket proved useful.  Laboriously and with much repetition, I labeled my arm with the phone number of a detoxification clinic.  Consciousness ended at this point.  During my long trip with alcohol, I had come to know periods of blackout.  This is not to be confused with passing out.  In a blackout one can act, but unconsciously.

With the return of consciousness at 3:00 A.M., I found myself on the porch of an old brick building which resembled an army barracks.  Later I would discover that it was one of several identical buildings which had once been a mental institution.  The buildings were on a large, secluded piece of property twenty minutes by car from my apartment.  It would be difficult to find this place at noon while sober.  The fact of having driven for twenty minutes in a blackout was not disconcerting.  That sot of thing had been part of my repertoire.  What was disconcerting was the realization that God was giving me what I had asked for.  He had taken my request seriously and had responded earnestly.  The plan was that I must follow Him on this new road one step at a time, one day at a time.  But false hope was not yet dead.  As I lingered at the door of the clinic, it strained to find something in the plan that could be manipulated.  There was nothing.  The absoluteness of this absence was depressing.

When called from the tomb by our Lord, Lazarus emerged looking like a mummy.  He was alive but still bound by the wrappings of death.  Similarly, having been resurrected from the floor to a vertical position at the entrance of the clinic, I was wrapped in my depression and essentially immobilized.  Though I lingered with fear and apprehension, this depression was something that could almost be enjoyed when compared with those ghostly manifestations at the end of the old road.  But if one is to cross the threshold and follow Him down a new road, depression is a barrier; a bitter fruit in a bowl designed for gratitude.  On the floor the reins had been relinquished to an omniscient God.  This omniscient and omnipotent God resurrected me and set me in front of doors which marked the beginning of a new road.  Depression is to doubt His wisdom.  Doubt seek alternatives, and alternatives are born of thought.  But there is danger in thinking with a mind whose only song has been, “I’ll do it my way.”  Such a mind entertains but one thought, “Take back the reins.”  A response to this temptation came as consciousness circumvented thought in contemplation of that resurrection from floor to porch; a resurrection hidden in the realm called blackout; movement void of thought and doubt.  Consciousness opted for thoughtlessness and answered temptation with silence.  Temptation relinquished the porch and departed for a time.

With the rejection of temptation, something washed over my depression, then receded.  Depression became the sands of an ocean shore.  At high tide there was “peace beyond all understanding.”  At low tide there was a return of fear and doubt.  As the wash was receding during a low tide, the tempter returned with a thought; “Lay hold of it and pull it back over you as you would a blanket on a cold night.”  Consciousness discerned this to be but a more subtle expression of the earlier thought.  Again temptation was answered with silence and from the depths came a voice, “Lo, I am with you always.   My ebb is the season in which vessels are to empty themselves of self.   My flow cannot fill a full vessel.”  With His words consciousness recognized that something which had washed against depression – a new hope.  I opened the door and entered the clinic.  I was on a new road.

As Lazarus stood mummy-like before the tomb, Jesus addressed those present saying, “Loose him and let him go.”  Upon entering the clinic, the first respondents to His command were the staff physician and a substance abuse therapist.  The therapist’s shift was ending and his relief had already entered the examining room.  Having completed a preliminary examination and blood work, the physician addressed the relief therapist saying,  “Stay on top of him for the duration of your shift.  Don’t let him sleep; he could slip into a coma and expire from alcohol poisoning.”  Apparently Jesus had already commissioned the first therapist.  He addressed his relief saying, “Get about something else.  This one is mine.”  During the following eight hours, and without additional pay, he nurtured this fragile new life.  Sometime late the following day consciousness recognized, received and embraced the loving care and concern with which the therapist had fulfilled his commission.  As I placed my offering in that bowl designed for gratitude, counterfeit hope expired, along with doubt and its depression.  The lemming was in the water.

With the surrender of self-will and death of false hope, sin ceased to be a lifestyle.  The weight of sin which had immobilized me was absorbed by Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross.  His cross is a point of orientation which sets the course for the journey down this new road.  The point of destination is that place where “I shall know just as I am also known.”  It is a place where I shall see Him who is the author of my hope. In his book, A Theology of the Cross, Charles Cousar speaks of death and resurrection:  “Easter does not erase or eclipse the godforsakeness of Good Friday.”  At the beginning of each day I position myself at a place where both His death and glorious resurrection stand between me and the point of destination.  This destination is seen through my sin which hangs there on the cross.  On the cross sin does not invite morbidity, but gratitude – gratitude for the fact that He took it and paid the price.  The price that He paid gives my sin transparency.  The view to the destination is not obscured.  At the beginning of each day I am grateful to find that my sin still hangs there.  That by His strength I had resisted the temptation to take it back.  At the beginning of each day I am grateful that the cross is there as a place to hang that which has been emptied from this vessel.

So what sustains hope, one day at a time, during the journey on this new road?  To focus on that future point of destination, through union with Him at the cross, gives sustenance.  Charles Cousar comments, “The future so impinges on the present as to give it a distinctive buoyancy.”  In this world our pilgrimage is through terrain which would have us to stumble and fall;  “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  That “distinctive buoyancy” keeps us up and moving, if our focus stays on the destination.  In all things I give thanks, and praise His holy name.  Glory be to God!

I first published my dad’s story in January 2015 in two posts:
Concerning Hope
Concerning Hope part 2

And then I told you how it played out for me:
Grateful

Back then I said I inherited two things at his passing: His hooded sweatshirt and his Bible. But I also inherited his love for Jesus, passed on to me by his prayers.

He is one of a great cloud of witnesses, still sharing his testimony, and I’m hoping it speaks to someone today.

 

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Party Hardy

Last night at midnight I was watching the movie Always (Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter) with the hub. We talked about toasting the new year, but neither of us were committed to the plan enough to go downstairs and fetch a bottle of champagne.

I did have a small bowl of salted caramel ice cream at one point in the evening, though. So that was a party.

The daily post wonders whether I would have rather been somewhere else.

Nope.

Happy 2016 everyone.

 

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Panic & PJs

I was standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs that led to the platform of a large stage. Thousands of people were waiting in the audience.

As I put a foot on the first ascending step, I realized that I was in my pajamas, and I had nothing to say!

As I put the next foot on the next step, I searched frantically for a hook, an opening line that would get some words flowing. Nothing.

I know how to wing it, but there was absolutely nothing to wing.

I couldn’t stand before these people in my pajamas – with no words in my mouth, no thoughts in my head.

Turn and run?

Panic?

Wake up?

Yes, wake up. It was going to be all right.

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“Face”

I met him in the weight room at the men’s intramural building. At first he just stared at me. And then one day he approached. He did not introduce himself, he just started bantering. I was cordial but clearly disinterested.

He continued to approach daily. He didn’t ask my name, just called me “Face”.

I was focused on working out and found him annoying.

And then I found him mildly amusing.

Eventually he wore me down. I agreed to dinner.

It was the date from h-e-double-hockey-sticks.

I was dressed in clean jeans and a cute t-shirt – my college date uniform – when he arrived to pick me up.

“Is that what you’re wearing? I’m taking you somewhere nice.”

Back into my room I huffed to change. The pickings were slim. I was a college student who had to ration her bagels for crying out loud. I should have just gone back out there and told him to take me as is, but I managed to scrape together an outfit.

“Somewhere nice” turned out to be the Playboy Club.

“Um, no.”

This time it was his turn to try again.

We ended up back near campus at the Pantree.

I looked at the menu for naught – he told me what I could order.

He started talking about how good-looking our children would be because of my “face.”

Then he reached his fork across the table and started EATING FROM MY PLATE.

Ew.

I was no longer hungry.

Needless to say, the date did not end with a kiss.

We continued to chat in the gym.

He asked me to accompany him to a resort in Colorado Springs for a medical conference.

“Just as a friend,” he promised. “All the other docs are taking a spouse or a date.”

A long weekend at a posh resort in Colorado Springs sounded kinda’ nice (I must admit). I finally agreed. Until I learned we would be sharing a room.

“Sorry, can’t.”

“All the nurses at the hospital say you’re crazy. They say I’m one of the most eligible bachelors in Lansing.”

He was thirty and an established doctor. He knew what his life was going to be. I was a 20 year old college student with possibilities still in front of me. I certainly wasn’t ready to be his good-looking-baby machine.

“Maybe you should date one of them.”

 

 

 

 

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life

Nothing Says Love Like Diabetes and Tooth Decay

minimalist cookie

Sugar.  The kids at BSF loaded up on it last night.  It was our last class before Christmas break and – in violation of the guidelines – a couple of the kids brought treats to share.

Under the table.

Literally.

We were in a circle of chairs and in the center was a small table. One kid opened 2 boxes of Starburst candy canes and placed them under the table. Another brought a package of cookies and placed it under the table.  Candy canes and oreos slid back and forth under the table and across the floor from student to student.

“Sugar is the devil,” I kinda’ wanted to say.

But who wants to be the killjoy?

The church I used to attend throws a party for underprivileged children at every holiday.  And at every party they show God’s love by loading the kids up with sugar.  Trunk loads of sugar at Halloween, plates piled high with sugar cookies and candy at Christmas. Baskets brimming with chocolate bunnies and jellybeans at Easter.

They show God’s love by putting the children who are the least likely to be able to afford diabetic care at risk for diabetes; they put the children who are least likely to be able to afford dental care at risk for tooth decay.

I shake my head and suggest we find healthier ways to show God’s love.

“Oh just let the kids have fun,” I’m told.

Yes, I don’t bother to say, let’s let them have fun – let’s play FUN exercise-getting games with them, let’s give them fun GIFTS, and a few cookies.

Let’s stop reaching out to children with cheap and easy.

Because God isn’t.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pour-some-sugar-on-me/

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