Archive for March, 2008

What a day…part 1

Less than 24 hours ago, I headed for bed..knowing that there was the possibility of a severe thunderstorm heading our way.  I’ll admit, I’m “storm” complacent.  “Yeah, yeah”, I thought, “whatever.”  Happens all the time–part of living in “‘tornado alley”.  Well, at 1:33am my attitude changed when I bolted out of bed to the sounds of tornado sirens.  Search for the remote.  Turn on the tv.  Blinded by the sudden brightness of the weather radar map.  

The tornado-producing storm was about 4 or 5 miles away as the crow flies and headed for us.  Dang it!  Waiting…waiting…waiting for the husband to say the word.   “Let’s head that way.”  Dang it!   Cameron’s awake already, she’s been up since the first crack of thunder, so down the hall we go to our “shelter”, aka the hall coat closet.   I wake Cory up, and he stumbles to the closet.  It’s the first time we’ve ever used it as that, so we were in for a rude awakening–it’s very small!  Not quite big enough for all of us unless we’re standing.  The dog is banished to the hall to fend for herself–sorry, Lucky!

We listened to the tv for a minute or so with the door opened, we heard “tornado down at 178th and Penn” and then…nothing.   Power out.  No rain outside, no wind.   Very eerie.  We shut the closet door.  Kids whimpering.  Hot and stuffy.  Somebody tooted (okay, it was me).    Kevin prays outloud.  Waiting.   (By the way, we’re standing there in our pj’s, no shoes (big tornado safety no-no), no flashlight, no bicycle helmets on our heads, no cell phone–very unprepared–remember I said I was complacent?)  Then I hear my phone–a text.   News from the outside, someone is trying to reach us!  “Kevin, can I go get it?”  “yes, but hurry.”  I ran down the dark hallway and fumble around till I find it and then grab a flashlight on the way back.   

Thank goodness it’s Justin and Sheena from across town, still with power, listening to the sirens and watching the weather reports.   Thanks, guys, for letting us know when it was safe to come out!  Who knows how long we would have stayed otherwise!?  Scott and Shelly, welcome back to Oklahoma!

Whew!  That was close!  We didn’t know how close until daylight, but it was close!  It took Chatty Ken and Kathy about an hour to process and wind down (still in the dark, with only flashlights) before they were able to stop talking and go to sleep.  Short night, long day…

What does it take to be saved?

Assuming that going to heaven and being ‘saved’ are the same thing, these following 2 verses seem to contradict each other.

Matt 7:21 says that “Not everyone who calls out to me ‘Lord! Lord! will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in Heaven will enter“.

Then take Mark 16:16Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved”.

The first verse from Matthew seems to indicate that faith is not important, that it only matters what you do.  While the 2nd verse from Mark,  implies that believing (or faith) is the only requirement to eternal life.     So, which is it?  I’ve always understood the latter to be true….that faith in Christ is all that was necessary to secure a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This is not one of those questions that I have an answer to…I’m just asking outloud.  I don’t really intend to question God’s word, but sometimes I just don’t understand it all completely.  Maybe it’s a context thing, or …I don’t know.   Thankfully, I have enough faith in the validity of the Bible to question, but still believe.

So, can both of those verses exist together in truth?   Is faith all that is required?

The Danger of Comparison

Do you ever compare yourself to others?  How often do you come up short?  Is it ever helpful to compare?  maybe if you’re comparing yourself to yourself?

These are questions I’ve been wrestling with this week.  

Surely I’m mature enough and old enough to know better than to do this nonsense.  After all, I know who I am in Christ.  I know I’m loved and accepted by the one who made me and knows me best.  I’m content with my life choices.  I know that just because someone maybe smarter, or prettier, or more accomplished than me, doesn’t me they are happier or more satisfied with their life. 

I worry sometimes that my kids aren’t involved in enough outside activities.  They should play sports, or dance, or learn musical instruments,  or  something–but, then I think about the time we have to spend together as a family…it is so limited and it goes so unbelievably fast.  If I can build for them a firm foundation in Christ, all the rest can come later.  They will build on that foundation and be all that God designed them to be.    So, we will invest our time together, not in “becoming more rounded”. 

But maybe it’s just human nature to compare, so I’ll compare myself to myself.  Myself now to myself BC (before Christ).   That’s a whole ‘nother post, but let’s just say that I’ve come a long way.   I’m not finished yet, but I’ve come a long way.   So, I will ‘strain toward what’s ahead…to win the prize’ (Phil 3:14).    Comparing myself only to myself.

Quote of the Day

I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? . . . A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.      Franz Kafka

I can’t say that I entirely agree with Kafka.  There is such a thing as reading for enjoyment and entertainment.  But, there is value to reading things that challenge our thinking.   Even if I don’t agree, I like to read things that make me think about something in a whole new way.  I’m always dying for a book that is “the axe for the frozen sea within me”.  Something that shakes me awake.   I love the way Donald Miller and Angela Thomas think and write.  Each takes the ordinary and familiar and turns it over to look at it in a whole new way.  I’m not usually one to do this on my own without outside inspiration–so I look for outside inspiration alot. 

It’s the same reason I read blogs.  I even read blogs I don’t entirely understand–just looking for inspiration.  Trying to see things in a new light.

Speaking of which, I’m off to read an “assigned book” that hopefully will turn out to be another “axe”.  Fusion.

My appreciating-my-savior moment

So, the challenge set before the LC staff was to fast–one day.  To prepare for the big Easter weekend, prepare for all that God was going to do.  To fast and pray.  So, I accepted.

Here’s what I know about myself.  I do NOT do well without food.  Period.  Usually it starts with a headache–no matter how much water I drink.  So I allowed myself fruit and a few almonds throughout the day.  Still, I was obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t eating anything.  It’s all I could focus on, at least until noon, when I finally realized that that wasn’t the point.   So, I began to focus on Jesus and what he did for me, and pray for all that he was going to do this weekend. 

I did alright–maybe this fasting thing takes some practice–I didn’t really feel a big spiritual enlightenment or revelation.  Until…

I was laying in bed early (around 9:30pm) trying to fall asleep with a POUNDING headache.  Oh, yeah, I was miserable.  And, then, I wondered how Jesus felt the day he died.  Even the night before.   Even before the beatings, the crown of thorns, carrying his cross up to Calvary.  Just the agony and anticipation of what was to come was enough for a simple headache.   The bible says that his soul was crushed with grief to the point of death!  I have no idea what that kind of grief is like, but I’m guessing that emotions that intense are enough to make you physically hurt.   Forgive me, Jesus, for complaining.  My sacrifice was nothing compared to what you did for me.  You sacrificed so much more than comfort for a day. 

I will fast again–and I will focus on my Savior.  I love you, Jesus. 

Geocaching!

GeocachingIt’s been a while since we’ve been Geocaching, click here if you don’t know what it is,–since we lived in AZ in fact.  We figured Spring Break was a good time to break out the GPS again.  It had to be reset to our new Oklahoma coordinates, reset our home address on the website so we could search for caches close by, and then off we went!  Fun hunting!   We just write down the coordinates from the website, and then use our GPS to find hidden treasures!

It’s great fun when the kids argue the whole time.  And then, Cameron is not exactly the outdoors type, so traipsing through the fields and off the paths at Mitch park doesn’t bring out her sunny side. 🙂  But, we found 3 different cache’s, and Cameron got to trade goodies at one of them (see pic).  We even saw a snake!  There are several more at Mitch Park and in the area on our list, so we’ll be going again.  And, of course, we always talk about hiding our own cache.   We just can’t agree on a spot to hide it.

 Hopefully the bugs will leave Cameron alone next time!

Our retirement home

My future home  I would absolutely love to live here!  It has a green house, and a pool!  Doesn’t get any better than that.  and so much outdoor space!   As for the location of this beautiful, colorful, modular home….either Gatlinburg, TN, or Payson, AZ.  Oh, yeah…

We’ll have at least 1 “guest trailer”, so plan to visit!