“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Perseverance

Happy 65th Anniversary, GM & GD

Today my grandparents will celebrate their 65th anniversary. Many people will ask them the question, "How did you do it? How do you stay married for 65 years?"

The answer: Perseverance. And not just plain old perseverance... but "consistent perseverance." Constant, steady, undeviating despite difficulty and opposition. Let's face it... the world does not make being married easy. Our own selfishness and desires and temptations make it difficult.

I love being married to Anthony. We're about to celebrate our 20th anniversary next month. And in all that time, I have not found being married to be easy. It has been work. Hard work. We have had to make conscious and deliberate choices to keep our marriage happy and healthy.

I have been told before that I don't understand what it is like to be unhappily married. Or I couldn't possibly understand what a friend is going through because I don't know what it is like to be married to their husband. My advice is trampled over because I am happily married. As if my authenticity is discounted because I have "consistently persevered" over the past 20 years.

So, If you were looking for advice on money, would you go to a lottery winner? Or perhaps someone who started with nothing and worked their way up the ladder?

If you were looking for advice on how to lose weight, would you turn to someone who was blessed with high metabolism? Or would you ask someone who lost 50 pounds in a year and has kept it off for five years?

And, if you were looking for advice on how to make it through a difficult time in your marriage... who do you think might be someone to turn to?

Don't discount the advice of those who truly have been there. Just because they make it look easy... doesn't mean they haven't sacrificed, prayed, cried, studied... and have done it with perseverance... consistently.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Authenticity

Paulina's Peak, Oregon

At the end of June, we traveled to Sunriver to accept our medals. We decided to take some time to explore the nature around us. For those of you unfamiliar with central Oregon, it is highlighted with desert and volcanic rock. We decided to climb (okay, drive) to the top of Paulina's Peak. I noticed tan rocks, green trees, blue water, and white snow. But no other colors... until I looked down.

Authenticity

And there, I saw it... authenticity... it had a beautiful pinkish-magenta color. Here a seed had settled amongst the rocks... on the edge... and decided to bloom... where it had landed. It didn't wait to be picked up and nurtured in a nursery. It didn't hang on until someone gathered it up and took it from this dry and barren place. It didn't offer excuses as to why it shouldn't bloom here. It just did. No one sat around and thought.... "Gee, that plant is just showing off." Or "Doesn't that plant know that it will not be noticed here?" Or "What made that plant presume that it could just go ahead and bloom where others have failed to do so?"

I often find myself thinking that I have no right to presume to share from the depths of who I am. I mean, really, who do I think I am? Do I think that I am special? That my words might offer relief to someone? Or they might bring comfort? Who do I think I am...

And then I looked down... and realized that, I am authentic. There I am. Blooming where it might be unexpected. But afraid to show it. Thinking that perhaps I will appear that I think "I know it all." So, I withhold words of wisdom, comfort, love... why? Because I don't want to assume or offend or be rejected.

That's me. That's who I am. Authentic. Sometimes, I am afraid to let my light shine... but as God is liberating me from my fears, I would pray that He uses me in your liberation, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Anyone Can Become Angry -
That Is Easy

“Anyone can become angry -
that is easy,
but to be angry with the right person
at the right time,
and for the right purpose and
in the right way -
that is not within everyone's power
and that is not easy.” - Aristotle

I had the opportunity to visit the church of a family member this weekend. The pastor's sermon was on anger. I thought, "Great! I can take a little mind break... I think I have a handle on this..." Boy! Was I wrong!

I was amazed at the amount of verses in the Bible that deal with anger. I've heard it said that if something is repeated over and over again in the Bible... it must be for great cause.

What impacted me the most is when the pastor said that often the emotion of anger is caused by feelings of injustice. When we think, "That's Not Right!" When we have a blocked desire or goal... when we feel slighted, cheated or attacked. When our rights are violated... but catch this one... when our perceived rights are violated. What? Back up the train! Repeat that... "when our perceived rights are violated."

Okay, OUCH! This hits home for me. Think about it... what really are our "rights"? what really are our "perceived rights"? Do I really have the right to expect everyone to treat me fairly? or to treat my son with special attention? or to have peace and quiet in my backyard? or for the gas prices to be lower than $4.50 a gallon? or for my rental car to smell new (or at least not like smoke)? Or to get free internet access at a coffee shop... that does work? Or to get that super close parking spot?

Then the pastor came in with the next punch... We tend to get angry when someone violates a personal right that we have NOT YIELDED to God. (Wait a minute! I thought I was on vacation here!!!) Hmmm....

So, maybe I'm the only one dealing with this issue... but if you want to know how the pastor suggested we deal with our anger over what we may feel are our personal/perceived rights...


give it up

That's it. Just give it up. Give up our right to not get cut off while driving... or while talking. Give up our right to feeling we should be the center of our friend's attention. Give up our right to being first in line. Give up our right to get free food on the airline. Give up our right to... fill in the blank.

Yield these rights over to God.

I'm not saying it is wrong to be angry. I'm just wondering if there are more times then not that I get angry over "rights"... that I'm not even "entitled" to... that I perceive to be my right.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Family of Medalists

Not Quite the Olympics, But It'll Do!

This was our fourth year participating as a family in the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival in Sunriver, Oregon.

I ran... yes, I actually somehow ran... a 5K. Okay, so most of you could have walked faster than I ran, but I did it!

For the past two years it has taken me so long to cross the finish line that they actually ran out of medals and had to mail mine at a later time. No, I am not kidding. It is really quite anti-climatic to get a medal in the mail.

So, this time I got my medal at the finish... and I wore it later throughout the day. Well, so, I only wore it in the car... but it did feel great!

Anthony ran a half marathon this year and Christopher competed in his fourth triathlon. The Splash-Pedal-Dash!

Splash!

Pedal!

Dash!

So, when was the last time you earned a medal? Or were rewarded for a job well-done? I'd encourage you to experience that feeling, again... or even for the first time.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Page 3, The Rest of the Story, The Sequel

Marianne and Dale from Bus #4
from our Trip of a Lifetime

I just wanted to do a quick follow-up on some of my latest posts
  • You Lavish Me in My Garden I found two roses in my backyard last year that had been covered in honeysuckle (which is grown like a plant here in the NW... on the east coast we called it a weed... but it sure does smell pretty...). Last year one of the roses was able to produce about two blooms... this year, it is covered in blooms. The other one did not bloom at all last year. We now have three blooms on it. We have been here six years... and I had never seen it bloom. Thanks, God, for letting me reap where I did not sow, AGAIN!
  • The Leaking Window--Our One Year Anniversary You all crack me up! Did you really think I was complaining about the rain, again, when I entitled my blog?
  • Cinco de Mayo I about cried when I read my mother-in-law's comment. "Great job. You might plant a perennial for each 5lbs. lost as a reward. It would always be a reminder." Tying my weight loss to my garden. I thought, Ruth really knows me!!! I bought the most amazing beautiful pink azalea... now to plant it! I love that there are things in my garden with a story behind them! BTW I have lost 8 pounds ... and counting... hmm... now, I'm wondering if I should reset my goal for my driver's license weight? Nah! I hope others have found SparkPeople to be as beneficial as I have. Also, the accountability thing... I haven't used the weights I bought at the garage sale yet... but I did go for a little hike today!
  • Trip of a Lifetime continues... I just got an e-mail from one of our Bus 4 mates, Marianne. She and her husband, Dale, were so kind to me. If I needed Dramamine... or a little warmth... they were there! They were also there to laugh at me when I had my first taste of beef tongue! Our friends, Kathi and Jimmy, just sent a DVD of footage from our trip to Israel. We sure were blessed with a great bunch of bus-mates!