I should have put up this note weeks, maybe months, ago. I just didn’t have time for it.

Notice!

This blog will no longer be updated for a few reasons but you may continue to enjoy everything here. The blog will not be deleted. It just won’t be updated anymore.

Thank you!


“The men of Israel  sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord.”

After the days of Moses when the armies of Israel, led by Joshua, were conquering the Promised Land marked out for them by God, the surrounding kings and nations were understandably terrified. This was because God was with the Israelites giving them great victories wherever they went.

However, the men of Gibeon, a nearby country, resorted to trickery and outsmarted Joshua. They sent a delegation to Joshua with the appearance of having come from a distant land so they could deceive Joshua into making a treaty with them. Their donkeys carried worn-out sacks and old wineskins that were cracked and had been mended. They wore old clothes, and worn and patched sandals, and the bread they carried with them was dry and moldy.

Their ruse worked. Joshua signed a treaty with them and only afterwards discovered they were a neighboring people among those countries God had told Joshua to destroy because of their wickedness. They had to live with the consequences as a result.

Joshua’s mistake was that he made this treaty without praying and inquiring of the Lord! An extremely valuable lesson for all of us to learn!

1. Joshua 9:14  (NIV).

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Source: Daily Encounter … Don’t Forget to Pray [Thursday, May 29, 2008]

“I [Jesus] am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades [hell].”1

I recall reading about a father who was caught with his two young daughters in a snow storm and lost his way. When night fell he wrapped his jacket around his two girls and lay on top of them to stop them from freezing to death. The next day they were found by a search party. The two girls were alive and safe, but the father had frozen to death. He gave his life to save the ones he loved.

That is what Jesus did for you and me. He gave his life on the Roman cross some 2,000 years ago to pay for the consequences of our sin—death; that is, spiritual and eternal death which is not the cessation of life but eternal separation from God, the author and creator of all love and life. But when Jesus rose from the grave he forever overcame the power of death and sin. In so doing, he guaranteed resurrection and eternal life for all who accept him as their personal Lord and Savior.

Rivi Zacharias expresses Christ’s death and resurrection simply yet profoundly in the following words: “The disciples were the ones marked out for death. Those who survived Jesus were really the dead. And he, Jesus, the dead one, was really the living one.”

And because Jesus is the Living One—the day he rose from the grave was the day that changed the world forever. And the day that you and I commit our life to him and receive his free pardon is the day that will change our life—for all eternity. Forever!

Source: Daily Encounter … The Day That Changed the World [Wednesday, May 28, 2008]

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned from the Cat
By Dena Harris

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.
~Bill Dana

Having two cats is like having two children, where you must never, ever, bring something home for one without buying the exact same thing for the other.

For example, we brought home a new throw rug for the kitchen floor. Nothing fancy, just a basic woven throw with tassels on the ends.

We laid it on the floor.

“What do you think?” I asked my husband.

“Looks good,” he said. “I…”

A rumbling, rushing sound filled the air as two cats careened around the corner. Eyes bulging, ears laid flat, they were neck and neck racing for the rug. In a surprise move, the kitten took a Herculean leap and was the first to land victoriously on the bounty.

“Mrrowr!” she screeched, spread-eagled across the fabric.

“Rowr-rrrr!” the cat yelped, looking to us as if for a judge’s call. She screeched to a halt at the edge of the rug as if an invisible barrier protected it.

The kitten smirked as she pranced around the new rug.

“Well, it was nice for the thirty seconds we could call it ours,” said my husband. “I’m going to watch TV.”

I glared at his retreating back. Yet again, I was left to single-parent the situation. Fortunately, I had the deft touch.

“You share,” I told the kitten. “Be a good kitty. Share.”

The kitten’s idea of sharing was to settle into the middle of the rug and begin cleaning her private parts. I decided parenting was overrated and joined my husband in front of the TV.

The kitten didn’t move for the next four hours. Our entering the kitchen didn’t deter her in the least, and she went so far as to let us step over and around her as we fumbled through trying to cook and set the table.

My husband made the mistake of standing on the carpet as he stirred something at the stove.

A rumble emanated from deep in the kitten’s throat.

“I’d move if I were you,” I told him.

“Why?” he asked.

The kitten walked over and glared at the portion of his shoe on the mat.

“You’re on somebody’s turf,” I said.

He looked down at the scowling kitten. “I pay the mortgage,” he said. “If I want to stand on my new carpet, in my kitchen, no cat is going to stop me.”

I shrugged and went back to rinsing off lettuce.

The kitten nudged his ankle with her head. When subtlety didn’t work, she went for an all out head-butt.

“Hey, cut that out,” said my husband.

The kitten whipped out her claws and targeted his sock, which unfortunately had his foot in it at the time.

“Ow. Hey. OW!” He hopped off the rug.

“Us, zero. Cats, 391,” I said. My husband glared at me.

The cat moped in the doorway, watching the kitten. But older and wiser, she bided her time.

At dinnertime, the cat sashayed over and planted herself in front of the kitten’s dish. The kitten sat up, alarmed. The cat smiled, and then sank her head deep into the kitten’s food.

“Rowr, rowr, psst!” yelled the kitten. My husband and I came into the kitchen. The kitten stared accusingly at the cat. “Mrow, mow, mow!”

“Well, go get your food then,” I said.

The cat hummed as she patrolled the perimeter of the rug.

The kitten bit her lip and lay back down.

The cat wasn’t through. She started splashing in the water dish. Hear the water? When is the last time you went the bathroom? Ho, hum. Splash, splash. I love playing in the runny water.

The kitten crossed her legs. She looked worried.

Splish-splash. Splish-splash. Oh, how I love the runny, full, wet, drippy water.

The kitten turned a deep shade of purple as she held her breath. Unable to bear it any longer, she tore off the carpet toward the litter box. Doing her business in record time, she raced back to the mat, coming to a dismayed stop at the edge.

The cat squatted at the corner of the rug, flipping a tassel back and forth. “Do you mind?” she asked the kitten. “I own this rug now.”

Me, I’m fed up. It’s impossible to be in the kitchen with territorial cats nipping at my heels, and both cats toying alternatively with starvation and kidney explosion so as not to lose their claim on the rug.

“We have to take action,” I tell my husband.

He sighs. “You’re right. We’ve spoiled them. But with hard work and commitment on our part, I’m sure we can do better.”

I stare at him. “What?”

He stares back. “Weren’t you going to lecture me that we need to find new ways of reward and discipline, so as to create a more fair, harmonious environment where we all learn a lesson about love and sharing?”

“Uh, no. I was going to suggest we go buy two small, crappy rugs for the hall and let them duke it out there.”

He thought for a moment. “Okay, that’s good too.”

Too bad we don’t have kids. We’d make great parents.

Source: BeliefNet Inspiration, Chicken Soup for the Soul

“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.”1

In his book, Peak Performers, Dr. Charles Garfield describes how the astronauts keep their spacecraft on course.

“On their flights between earth and the moon, it was said, the Apollo ships were off course much of the time. In each instance, the spacecraft would wander off its path and the crew would correct—wander off and correct, again and again. And do you now what? It didn’t matter. What mattered were the results. They got to the moon. They got home. They did it by having the discipline and knowledge to get themselves back on course. They followed not a perfect path, but a critical path.”

Whether we’re shooting for the moon, seeking to achieve a better personal or family life, or seeking to obey and serve God, whatever our goals, the principle is the same. There are always unpredictable and unexpected events that call for change and adjustment. Although the astronauts had to be precise in their calculations, they still allowed for mistakes and corrections. The person who doesn’t allow for such adjustments will probably not reach his or her goals. As Garfield said, the critical path is the way to reach any target.

For the Christian, our goal is to obey and serve God and to go on to maturity. We will stumble at times, make mistakes, fail, and hit many a bump in the road. When we fall, however, the important thing is to get up, correct our course and go on. This is the critical path for us.

And as one author reminds us, The bumps are what we climb on!

1. Proverbs 24:16

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Source: Daily Encounter, May 27, 2008

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters
By Jeannie Lancaster

Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.
~Martha Beck

Many of my friends belong to a club I will never join. They meet every other month to commiserate and also celebrate the unexpected joys and sorrows of empty nesting. They discuss the changing landscape of their days, with children gone and husbands coming home following retirement.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with my husband home all day,” said a friend to me recently.
“The house feels so empty now,” shared another whose last child recently moved out.

This past week, another friend excitedly announced, “My husband and I are taking a ten-day trip to the Bahamas.”

As I listen to my friends, I feel a sense of loss, knowing I may never share these experiences. My nest may never be completely empty. My three adult children are challenged by Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic abnormality that causes developmental delays, severe learning disabilities, and emotional problems. For now, they have chosen to continue living with my husband and me.

A few years ago, we built a new home with an attached garden-level apartment to allow them a larger measure of independence. They cook their meals, buy groceries, do laundry, and manage countless other things that occur with day-to-day living. Their space is open to ours, and they frequently pop up to visit, share a movie or a meal, or just hang out. We are rarely totally alone.

I could spend my days grieving the difference of our life–and sometimes I do. But I’ve come to realize that being different isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just different. I could foolishly waste my time lamenting things that cannot be changed, but when I do so, I fail to savor the blessings of our uncommon life.

Instead of emptying my nest, I am feathering it with the rich and unexpected joys that come with parenting those with special needs.

My nest is feathered with humor. My children have grown into delightful people. Each has a wacky sense of humor that lifts us, makes us smile, and provides great comic relief.

During a recent road trip from our home in Colorado to visit family in Utah, my two large, adult sons began performing a segment from the movie Shrek.

“Are we there yet?” one son asked in a perfect donkey voice.

“No, donkey,” replied our thirty-year-old Shrek.

As they continued through the entire dialogue mimicking to perfection the voices, we laughed away the miles.

I’m feathering my nest with gratitude. All of my children participated in high school graduation. My daughter attended classes at a local community college. They have jobs within our community working with caring, supportive people.

My nest is feathered with faith–knowing that a caring, compassionate God loves my children as I do and that He understands when I want to scream at the uniqueness of our life.

And finally, I’m feathering my nest with learned perspective. I have been allowed to look at life through different eyes, to see small achievements as reasons for large celebrations, to embrace simple pleasures. This nest of mine that may never be completely empty is warm and good–feathered with love and joy.

Source: BeliefNet Inspiration, Chicken Soup for the Soul

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles
by Monica Sizemore

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
~Raymond Lindquist

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
~Raymond Lindquist

I called my roommate as I was sitting in my car on the side of the highway. I had pulled over because I had a sudden urge to turn around and go back home. I couldn’t decide if I should go to him, or go home.

“Go there,” she said, “If you don’t, you might regret it for the rest of your life. You have to know where this will take you, and if doesn’t take you anywhere, at least you’ll know for sure. And you can move on.” She was right. After hanging up, I put the car in drive and started again in the direction of his house.

I pulled up to the house and took a minute to freshen up my make-up, adding a little lip gloss, just in case. I saw him open his front door and walk out towards my car as I got out. We both had smiles on our faces and halfway to the house we met, embracing.

“I missed you so much,” he said while we hugged. I stopped and checked out the “New Eric.”

“Wow, you look good,” I said, flirtatiously.

“You look amazing,” he complimented. We walked into his house and sat on the edge of his bed as he fumbled with my shirtsleeve. While we made small talk, I tried to ignore the memory of his choosing another girl over me last year. He told me all of the things I had wanted to hear for months, and it was nice to hear, but it didn’t feel right. I chalked it up to nerves, until he pulled me into a kiss that caught me off guard. I didn’t feel any sparks. Why didn’t this feel right? He looked at me and smiled, “I’ve missed you for so long, it’s almost unreal that you’re here with me now.”

Somehow, making out with him felt like kissing the back of my hand, and it started to worry me.

I should love this! Why does it feel so plain? It wasn’t the same. Something was different.

Then it hit me–I was different.

I lightly pushed him to lie beside me. I glanced at the clock. I had been there only thirty minutes and I hadn’t even gotten to talk about the past and what had happened since we were dating.

“Eric, what’s different with you?” I asked him, attempting to make things right before they got too serious. “You told me on the phone you had a lot to tell me. Talk to me for a bit.”

“I missed you and I miss you. Come back and be with me. When we broke up, I did it because I didn’t want to hold you back. You were well on your way to a new life, going out and having fun, but still keeping your head on straight. That’s what’s so cool about you.” What he didn’t know was that the whole time I was out looking like I was having a blast, I was really dying inside to be back here in his arms. But now I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get serious with a man who had dropped me.

He curled up beside me and I held his hand. The room was quiet, but my mind was busy with thoughts and questions about all the pain he put me through when I was in my first year of college… wanting to be with me and then not, blowing me off, hurting me over and over again. Why should I go back to someone who controlled my every feeling for four years, cheated on me, and still managed to haunt me? I decided then I was ready to move on. This was exactly what I had needed–closure.

I took a deep breath. “Let’s just call it what it is, and what it was, Eric. We both know that this wouldn’t work out, even if we tried,” I said without looking at him.

It must have taken a moment for the words to set in, and then he slowly let go of my hand and scooted away from me. “What? Why? I mean, if that’s how you feel, then why did you come over to see me?” He looked so sad and angry at the same time.

“I wanted to see you. I missed you too; I wasn’t lying about that, Eric. But seeing you is too strange for me. We can’t jump into something that has changed so much. I just don’t have it in me to try a round two.”

He shook his head from side to side and then left the room, returning later with a drink in his hand. “I can’t believe you,” he said. “What does a guy need to do to prove he’s changed?” But it didn’t matter anymore. I couldn’t force myself to feel anything for him. He sat on the edge of his bed with his back towards me.

“It’s up to you. You know your way out of here, but if you go, you can’t come back,” he said quietly.

There it was–an ultimatum. It was now or never.

I stood there, contemplating the idea that he might just be sincere enough to have changed for me. But just as the happy memories from before came into mind, the bad quickly followed. Here he was, immature and upset, because I couldn’t ignore the hurt he had given me for so long. Just because now he was ready didn’t mean I was. After all, I had been waiting for a long time, and he didn’t even give me a chance.

Giving him a light hug and a kiss on the shoulder, I got up and went for the door. This time after I walked out, I closed it behind me. I was finally closing the door on that chapter of my life. My roommate was right. This was exactly what I needed. I needed to see exactly what I wasn’t missing.

I left there feeling refreshed. I guess after being hurt for so long, it made it easier to walk away. He had laid the cards on the table and made his bet, but I had chosen to quit the game forever. I didn’t want to gamble with my heart anymore.

On the way home, he sent me a text:

Come back. Why are you doing this to me?

I looked at it and replied to his text:

I can’t handle this anymore. I’m sorry.

That was it, my final goodbye. The drive home was smooth. I went back to my dorm and took a shower. I washed away any feeling of regret that lingered. Then I put on different clothes and got in bed.

After turning out the lamp, sleep came rather easily that night. The next morning, I woke up emotionally ready to begin the first day of the rest of my life.

Source: BeliefNet Inspiration, Chicken Soup for the Soul