Friday, January 31, 2014

Saints Alive!

I recently bought an e-book that I just can't stand.  Usually, I tend to agree with reviews and this one had five stars!  It had a funny title!  Instead, I couldn't get past the first chapter.  Awful.  And now that e-books often cost more than hold-in-your-hot-little-hands books, it makes me crazy to not get my money's worth.  Does that make me cheap?  I don't know.  I think I just value a dollar! (Full disclosure: my Dad says I invented the copper wire.) 

In this week's "The Economist" there is an article about sainthood: "These days a successful canonization campaign launched in America typically costs around $250,000, and can go far higher, says the Catholic News Service..."


I'm not Catholic, so I don't know much about the road to sainthood.  Here are a few things I found:
  • The candidate must be deceased for five years before being considered.
  • A Postulator travels to Rome to make the case for the candidate after compiling tons of documents and testimonies as evidence the potential saint led a virtuous life. (I'm guessing this compilation of proof is where the bulk of the quarter mil. is spent?)
  • To be labeled "Blessed" the Postulator has to prove the candidate conducted at least one miracle. (Except martyrs- the Pope can waive the miracle requirement for them.)
  • If the Postulator can prove the candidate performed two or more miracles the Pope may declare the person "Saint."  (Finally getting your baby to stay in her crib after she climbs out 8,000 consecutive times does not count as a miracle.  I checked.)
If this song is in your head for the rest of the weekend, I apologize; I just don't see any other way to wrap up this post, but with this little ditty:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dreamy Verses

Today is my parents' 36th wedding anniversary!  They are terribly cute together, and in sync the way couples who have been married for 36 years are.  Incidentally, we had a snow day today, which made my Mom and Dad laugh because they were married in the thick of the infamous 1978 blizzard.  The governor declared a state of emergency, the minister tried to cancel on them, most guests were snowed in, and my Dad had to shovel a path to the church in his suit, making him very late (and probably sweaty).  I'm glad they didn't take the storm as a sign to cancel the whole thing (so are my brother and sister!)

Thirty-six years later.

I DuckDuckGo'd some verses about marriage and all the usual suspects popped up- the tried and so, so true verses we love to hear at weddings.  But here are two that I haven't heard at weddings, and it was love at first sight:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up...  Ephesians 4:9-10

And I will betroth* you to me forever.  I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.  Hosea 2:19

Swoon.  Doesn't it just make you want to get married?  Or get married all over again?  Or go to a wedding?  Or start a wedding board on Pinterest even though you tied the knot ten years ago?  Just me?  Anyway, the good news is, Valentine's Day is just around the corner.  If you're looking for something a little more unique than "Roses are red, Violets are blue...." may I suggest turning to your Bible for the perfect words of adoration.

*The Living Bible translation uses "bind," which I love even more.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Taking Action

Friends, I have been useful today!  (I can't always say that.)  My baby's favorite stuffed animal lost its ear a while back and I?  Sewed it back on today!  Like a real mom!  Who sews!  Here it is:
Bun-Bun has two ears again!
I love feeling useful.  Which means I also love writing politicians (regarding issues even more important than missing bunny ears!)  It's such an easy thing to do, and it makes a difference.  Before you "x" out of this window forever, I promise this is not becoming a political blog.  Selling children as sex slaves, is not, should not, be a political thing; it's a human thing.

Sadly, many of our states do not have a safe harbor law to protect child prostitutes from prosecution.  Children forced into this lifestyle, with no hope of escape, can be charged as criminals rather than supported as victims.  Let's not sugar coat this.  It is human trafficking.  It is slavery.  As Christians, we are also called to free others from bondage- both spiritually and physically.  Jesus leads us toward the suffering and asks us to meet the physical, earthly needs of these aching prisoners.  In this case, the aching and abused children.  It is a daunting task, but do not be overwhelmed.  Here are four easy things you can do to fight child prostitution:

1.  Pray.  Pray for a massive decline in demand for children sex slaves.  Pray for the young men and women who have been rescued and are trying to recover.  Pray for children still enslaved- that they remain hopeful, and are rescued soon.  Pray for our political leaders to recognize the importance of this issue and take action.

2.  Write your Senators, Congressmen and women, Governors, all your political leaders!  Find out if there is a safe harbor statute for children in your state.  Tell them to crack down on human trafficking.  Be heard! 

3.  If you are interested in doing more or learning more, check out International Justice Mission or Polaris Project.  They have loads of information, resources, and Hallelujah! Rescue stories!

4.  Know this number: 1-888-373-7888.  It is the National Human Trafficking Hotline.  Call if you suspect any kind of potential trafficking.

If you happen to be snowed in (or frozen in), don't fret about not getting your errands done, you can accomplish so much from your own cozy home.  And I promise, doing any one of these things is better than sewing a thousand bunnies back together.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


I sat down at my computer yesterday, and my keyboard looked a little... off.

nEvEr lEt your two yEar old play with your computEr.
Like "E," I was not my usual self today.  I was crabby.  It was because I didn't get my way, and I wanted everyone to pay for it.  I'm totally ashamed, because it would have been a lovely day had I allowed it!  My Sunday School kids were darling, my daughter won her hockey game, I organized my junk drawer AND my nightstand (thank you!), and we finally got our new fireplace working.  But I opted to be an insane person instead.  I let my joy be pulled out from under me.  Just let it happen.  And then I read Louisa's story.

Louisa's Grandma was my daughter's kindergarten teacher, so I've been praying for Louisa, but I just found out about her blog today.  You will ache and sob reading today's post by her Daddy, but do you see the very end?  The part about the joy?  This family's faith is unstoppable.  They aren't allowing the joy of Jesus to leave them.  In fact, they are wrapping themselves up in His joyful truth as a means of coping with their sick baby.  It's enough to make your salty tears taste sugar sweet.  It's completely lovely.

Joy is a choice!  And why choose anything else?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Legacy of Love

A gentleman from our church passed away earlier this week.  I didn't know him, but knew who he was.  Since he passed away I've been hearing such lovely things about him.  The recurring theme is how he affirmed so many people.  This man supported every area of the ministry in one way or another. He had kind words for the choir, the children's ministry, the administrative staff... all of us.  He would stop in the office specifically to ask which areas of the church needed support.

Is that an amazing legacy?

Like I said, I didn't know this man, but I certainly benefited from his support, I would argue the entire church did in one way or another.  Someday I hope my words leave a legacy of love in the same way.

Friday, January 17, 2014

All In the Family

Monday, my mom cleaned out the storage area at her house.  Tuesday, she showed up on my doorstep with... you guessed it!  A bunch of stuff for my storage area.  Including my old She-Ra action figures, my old cheerleading uniform, a box of birthday cards from my first birthday (and the candle that was on my first birthday cake!).  You know.  All kinds of things I don't want her to throw away, but I also don't want taking up space at my house.

Here is one thing she brought that I am over the moon about:
Knitting needles!  Glorious knitting needles!  Aren't they pretty?  And the case too.  It was all my Grandma's.  She died when I was four, but we lived with her, so I have some vague memories, and her knitting is one.  So my mom gave me these because, as Jen Hatmaker once wrote, "I wasn't having enough emotions that day."
Our families.  They leave us legacies- good and bad!  I just started doing a study on the book of Ruth.  As a Moabite, Ruth had some shameful ancestors.  She just did.  The Moabites were born of incest, which I didn't realize.  Yikes.  But she wound up the super great grandmother to Jesus.  Jesus! 
I didn't necessarily inherit my Grandma's mad knitting skills (boo!), and Ruth didn't inherit the disturbing behavior of  her ancestors (yay!).  Our families are huge parts of us and our lives, yes, but our relatives don't completely define us.  I love that God has a plan for every one of us, regardless of any baggage we may inherit.  And right this second?  I think his plan is for me to pick up my needles and get knitting!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Get Quenched

Isn't it awesome when Christianity pops up in the most unexpected places?  Like on your milk jug? 

Milk- it does a body good... and your soul too!
What a pleasant surprise!  It reminded me of the rumor that In-N-Out Burger has John 3:16 on the bottoms of their cups.  I double checked with Snopes and it's true!  For further proof I Google Imaged it; provided this picture:

These companies know how people thirst for the Word of God!  Drink it up, Friends!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Girl Power

Yesterday I was listening to Family Life radio and Priscilla Shirer was talking about Ruth.  She said Ruth was arguably her favorite woman of the Bible.  It made me wonder... who is my favorite woman of the Bible?  I knew it would not be the Proverbs 21 wife who exists only to make me feel inadequate.  But who then?  I must have a favorite!  Luckily, I have an ancient book about the women of the Bible at my house (the program from my Mom's high school Baccalaureate is tucked in the book; it was a public high school, but the entire service was religious.  That's how old the book is.)

Here is the book- isn't it old-timey?

I leafed through the book to determine who my favorite woman of the Bible is.  Here are my top three: (I reserve the right to change my mind any time and every day if I like, by the way!)

Queen Esther:  I love that she was young and brave, but subtle.  What thirteen year old would risk death to help the Jewish people when she already had it made in the shade?  When I was thirteen I wouldn't risk walking to the mailbox if I had a zit (we had a really cute paperboy).  She saved God's chosen people without so much as whispering God's name, except I'm sure, in fervent prayer.  Her story proves God may not always be blatant, but he is always present.

Mary Magdalene: Does she give us hope or does she give us hope?!  She had not one, not two, but seven evil spirits.  That's seven more than most everybody I know and she was one of Jesus' favorites.  If she can make a comeback, surely I am not a lost cause.  Surely, none of us are.  Plus, Mary was utterly devoted to Jesus, and isn't that what we Christians aspire to?  Jesus brought her to her knees and he brought her to tears, and I just love her for it.

The Elect Lady:  The dark horse!  The wild card!  You didn't see this one coming, did you?!  It's actually the last woman of the Bible my new/old book lists.  John's Second Epistle was written to this lady (and her children).  An epistle for Christian mothers!  Glory!  My book says it best:
"... the Christian mother must also guard her home and her children against un-Christian ideas and behavior.  On this point the author of the Epistle is quite blunt: Christian mothers must be alert to the dangers posed to their homes and families by those who in every age teach false values." 

But no pressure, moms.

Do you have a favorite woman of the Bible?  Who is it?  You can tell me, even if you only pick Mary Magdalene because of her infamous red hair.  I would totally get that.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My New(ish) Prayer Journal

One of my New Year's resolutions was to begin keeping a prayer journal.  My memory isn't getting any better and frankly, I was forgetting to pray for some important stuff!  Plus, everyone I know with a prayer journal speaks about how much more aware they are of God's answers to their prayers.  I want in on that!  So, I did what I always do when starting a new project.  I visited Pinterest.

People have really cute prayer journals.

People have really organized prayer journals.

I became overwhelmed and just started writing sloppy bullet points in an old notepad.

Don't the little birds look like they're chirping songs of praise?

As proof that it isn't a new notebook, you see the old name tag that I slapped on after taking notes during a school tour about three years ago.  I tried to peel it off for this picture, but it's all gummy and not peeling in one piece.  You understand. 

It's not totally unorganized in there.  On the inside cover I have some permanent prayers listed that I want to say every day.  On the other pages I write the current date, and throughout the day I jot down prayers.  Then, I highlight (or, I'm going to- I only have one so far) answered prayers.  At the end of the day, I pray!  It's nothing fancy, but I'm excited about it.  Already, it's made me much more aware of how I communicate with God.  For instance, it serves as a reminder to offer up more praise, and ask for mercy when I screw up.  I also find myself shooting up more mini-prayers throughout the day. 

Do you have a prayer journal?  How do you organize it?  I'm not even a week into this yet, so I still need tips!  Unless you're going to tell me to find a notebook without scribbles from a two year old in it.  It's too late for that.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Spot On, John!

One of the reasons I love living in Michigan is that we have four distinct seasons- each as lovely as the next.  But you guys?  As pretty as the snow is, it's starting to be a bit of an inconvenience.  I'm starting to feel quite certain my girls are going to have snow days until April!  Here is the view out of my window today (I wasn't quite brave enough to open the door for a picture, you understand).

That box is my raised garden.  It's usually much more raised.

The good news is that we have plenty of food and electricity (please, please Lord, let us keep our electricity!) and a cozy fireplace to cuddle up to.  And blustery days are the best days for Bible reading, if you ask me! 
I'm in the book of John right now.  I've always heard this is the best book of the Bible for new believers to read, so I'm trying to read it objectively.  I like it because Jesus talks a lot in John, and we are told over and over that he is the Son of God.  He is not a prophet, he is not just a really good (albeit, rogue) rabbi, he doesn't have political ambitions; he is God in the flesh.  Not only do we hear a lot right from the mouth of Jesus, John provides front row seats to miracles, and doubts the people had about him (John 7:41-42).  By the end of the book readers can't help but be clear that Jesus came for everyone.  He obviously loves outcasts, women, sinners, the worst of the worst, the best of the best, and everyone in between.
John is happy reading for new believers and longtime believers.  Reading joyful enough, in fact, to warm one's heart on a blustery, winter day.