Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Snake In My Toilet

When I was a girl, my dad's mom, Grandma Hayes, lived in the Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio. It was a beautiful place to live. At night, she'd open the family room windows and fill the house with the fragrance and music of Turkey Creek. A sound especially thrilling after a storm.

We cousins would run and play through the woods, lost in our own never-never land for hours. We'd fish from the bridge for minnows using Velveeta cheese as bait. I still can't eat that stuff...

But being in the forest, we were always on the look out for snakes. Copperheads and rattlers were the big threats. Grans house was an older place with a bare necessity utility room with a bathroom and door leading out to the backyard.

It was the spare bathroom. And for some reason, I always imaged that one day I'd go to use it and find a snake in the toilet. Maybe I'd heard that Gran found a snake in there once before, I can't remember. But I never, ever "sat" without a thorough look.

I just saw on the news a man found a snake in his toilet. That's what made me think of it.

I never did find a snake in the toilet. And it's been a lot of years since I've been to Gran's home in the forest, but it's still one of the happiest places I've ever been. Concern over snake in the toilet or not. :)

What is one of your childhood "fears?" Do you have a "childhood happy place?"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I broke down and went on a diet

I hate diets. I love working out. I even like "watching what I eat," but the combo of those two were not working for me any more.

I was holding steady, but my weight was not where I wanted. I think it took the pictures of me after the ACFW conference for me to go, "Something's gotta change."

Counting calories wasn't working. I'd log my breakfast and forget about the rest of the day.

I was running and gyming but losing some momentum. A hot summer didn't help.

So, I decided to be radical. Do what I said I'd never do. Nooo, no lipo. Sheeze. I decided to try the HCGdiet.

A friend of ours from Texas stopped in for a quick visit a few Monday's ago. He told us how he lost 40 pounds. Intrigued, as I am about how people lose weight, I asked how he did it.

"HCGdiet," he said.

Oy! What's with the HCG diet? My sister lost on that diet. A dozen writers that I know. I've been watching them, especially Colleen Coble, for over two years. They lose it and pretty much keep it off. A friend at church is loosing very successfully on the diet.

I asked a lot of question of my friend. I emailed my writer friends who'd tried it. I Googled and looked online. Talked to my sister.

I really couldn't find anything negative about it. Other than it being a rapid weight system and keeping it off, the diet looked good.

Besides, the Biggest Loser candidates are losing five to ten pounds or more a week, right?

All weight lose requires maintenance. I have years of exercised muscle under this small load of extra weight. I just need to find it. :) Once I lose, I'm back to the gym routine.

I've been on the diet for nine days, seven of them eating a restricted calorie diet. I've lost ten pounds. I feel good, though weak at times. I'm hungry once in awhile -- in the "I could eat" kind of way. It feels like a fast.

I've heard people say the diet "reshapes" you, but I've looked better at the same weight. :) I know that's the exercise factor.

I feel good. I took my mom out to a scrumptious breakfast and while she ate eggs and home fries, and a yummy pile of French toast, I sipped iced tea sweetened with Stevia.

This feels like a fast. You know how after a few days, you're tad hungry but not dying, and you're motivated.

I have seventeen days to go. I hope to lose another ten pounds. We'll see. I'll be done and off maintenance by December which is birthday month and Christmas. Not that I can pig out! But I'll be able to enjoy the season.

Who knows, I might go for another ten pounds in the New Year. Though, I could easily employ the things I'm learning and doing now to lose that last ten.

I'll let you know if I recommend the diet when it's all said and done.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Response to Pain and Suffering

I'm reading a great book by my friend Shelley Hundley. "A Cry for Justice: Overcoming anger, reject bitterness, and trust in Jesus who will fight for you."

This is an amazing book. Not only is Shelley bringing justice scriptures to life but she shares of her own horrific journey into understanding and embracing Jesus as Judge.

Abused sadistically as a child, she was on the verge of suicide when her cry for Jesus to make Himself known to her was realized.

Shelley has pushed through the pain and despair of abuse and a four year chronic illness to rise up and say, "Jesus not only loves you, He'll fight for you and bring justice to your heart and mind."

This message is not preached enough. I'm not sure most of us even understand the justice of Jesus in this life or the next. But we must. Everyone of us has experienced some kind of injustice.

From my kind of injustice that when I was fourteen, my boss at Publix stole money out of my cashier's bag and blamed me for losing Shelley who endured untold abuse.

There is no scale of injustice in Jesus's heart. He cries over it all.

Here's a great quote from Shelley's book:

"For all of eternity we will be face-to-face with the beauty and splendor of our God, but only during my lifetime on earth to I have the opportunity to impact the heart of God in the midst of darkness, accusation, and blindness. I have a chance only today to love Him in the midst of my current hardship, for this is when y heart feels nothing and sees nothing, but still I move in love toward the One I cannot see. And his heart is most undone (Song of Solomon 6:4-5.) I feel nothing. He feels everything."

I could meditate on this passage for days, grasping the depth and reality of it's truth.

Shelley is the real deal. Buy her book! It was released this month by Charisma House of Strang Communications. Worth EVERY penny!

Here Shelley talk about it here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

True Justice

A blog from my Hubby:

It’s hard to see injustice all around us and not get angry. But it is comforting to know that, ultimately, no one escapes justice.

(Mat 12:18-21) Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.

Jesus is coming again, and will see to it that every man, woman and child receives justice, except one.

(Acts 8:32-33) He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.

Jesus is the only man who will never receive justice. Throughout eternity the one great injustice will stand, an innocent man killed for the sins of others, and they will never be called to account for it. He chose to sacrifice His own justice to become a gift to us.

Romans 5:8 calls this the demonstration of His incredible love. The next time you feel you’ve been treated unjustly, think about this.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

An Invited Into Divine Partnership

When did it happen? Over time? Lack of understanding? The misgivings of powerful men?

But we lost sight of something so dear and critical in our relationship with Jesus. Partnership.

We see ourselves as only, merely, servants. We are servants, yes. Bondslaves, absolutely. But out of love and utter devotion. Completely surrendered. "Not my will, but Your's be done."

But we are called to be partners. We are the Bride of Christ. Not the concubine.

Until the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus taught His disciples. He sent them out on test runs. "Go do what you've seen Me do."

Then came Matthew 26. Jesus is about to endure the greatest ordeal of His or any man's life. He goes to the Garden to pray. Here's what He says to His friends,

"Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed...

Jesus is not teaching or demonstrating, or hanging out with the disciples, He's imploring them to pray with Him. The toughest hour of His life is about to come upon Him and He, the God-Man, needs His friends. He needs support in prayer. This is the only time we see Jesus call us into partnership with Him. "Do this with Me." Not for me. Not to Me. Not because of Me. But with Me.

Then, He leaves them. He goes to another spot in the Garden to pray. Why? Seems odd, doesn't it? "Watch with Me, but I'm going to be over here."

This is such a picture of what was to come. Of what IS our life with Him now. We are here. He is "there." He sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. We are still called to partnership in intercession with Him!

When He returns, the disciples are sleeping. We know it well.

"And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Romans 13:11, Ephesians 5:14 have verses that call to the Believer, "Wake up!" We are to be on the alert, watching and waiting.

But we are weak. Prayer is hard. It's a spiritual battle. But it is THE ONE THING where Jesus invites us to partner with Him. "Keep watch with me."

He is coming. Will we be found watching or sleeping?