“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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

ABC's of My 2011

A couple blog posts that highlight my 2011...

As of Late - Quickest way to find out what I was up to this year...
Boston Marathon - Congratulations, Anthony!
Christmas Concerts - Christopher in a tux.
Disneyland Fun in the sun! 
Ethiopia Anthony travels to Ethiopia. 
Friendships A visit with a friend inspires me.
Grand Canyon Highlight of the year.  
Hope It's contagious. 
So Long, Insecurity Transparency. 
James - Re-Verse Sometimes we need to re-verse our thinking. 
K-Cup I didn't blog about this... but Starbucks switched so I did, too!
Love & Respect Sometimes when you teach you learn the most.
Made to Crave There's more to crave than just food. 
CoNgratulations to Mr. & Mrs. My Sissy got married!
Other Side Depression from the Other Side. 
P.E.R.S.E.V.E.R.E. Teaching on James.  
Qi Scrabble & Words With Friends. Addicted! 
Ruth Bible Study The Lord directs my path.
Siesta Memory Team Realizing that I am going to Houston! 
stop child Trafficking Christopher and I volunteer... and learn. 
Ugly Cry It ain't pretty. 
Vain Catching a butterfly in Monterey, California. 
the year of the Wedding We were part of three weddings this year. 
eXample She teaches me more than she ever knows.  
povertY God is not waiting for us to win the lottery. 
Zealous And extremely prudish! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

But The Point Is Not To Just Get By.

Christmas Cookies.
Christmas Sugar Cookies.
Oh, my!

Looking at it one way, you could say, 
"Anything goes. Because of God's immense generosity and grace, 
we don't have to dissect and scrutinize 
every action to see if it will pass muster."

But the point is not to just get by. 
We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be 
to help others live well.  
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 MSG

Most people think I am just about nuts because I am going through the study Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food... right now.  Right now.  Right now when there are cookie exchanges all around me.  Right now when there is lots of running around and it is easier to just grab something on the go.  Right now when I am stressed for time and thinking about eating healthy just doesn't fit into the schedule.  Right now.  Right now... when Anthony made these amazingly delicious and totally adorable Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies.  And yes, I have had one or two of these cookies.  And I consider that a success because I really just want to eat them all smothered in ice cream... but I digress.  

What I have been learning about by going through this study is:
  • I can make healthier eating choices.  I was telling the "Jesus-girls" in our group that I don't like to judge food by calling it unhealthy.  But I can determine that one food is unhealthier than another.
  • Perspective is EVERYTHING.  How we view food makes a difference in how we eat food.  If we look to food as a source of indulgence or justification or COMFORT, then we eat it that way.  If we pull back and remember that food is provision for energy and nutrition and health, then we will eat it that way.
  • Bring a friend.  Being able to discuss my frustrations about eating healthier has helped me to apply what I am learning.  Finding out that I am not the only one who struggles.  And realizing that accountability truly is beneficial to success.
  • It's actually not about food.  After reading the book and now doing the study with a group of caring friends, I have realized that this is not about the food.  It is about trusting God to help me in all areas of my life.  Whether I am praying for Him to help me only eat two cookies at a cookie exchange or I am praying for Him to help me control my anger when I feel like I am being misunderstood.   The fact is... I am praying more and depending upon God more.  And that is my endgame.
  • The Rewards.  Seeing the change in the women in our group.  Not just eating healthier, but becoming more and more transparent.  Sharing the struggle.  Encouraging one another.  Doing life with one another.  Because truly... "
    the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well." 

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. 
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.

 Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 
 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV 1984

It is not as much about denying ourselves.  It is about opening our eyes to the gifts that God has given and knowing that sometimes saying "no" to something means that we are saying "yes" to something even better.

I choose 1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #23.

I choose 1 Corinthians 10:24 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #24.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Is God's Will For You?

July 2011 - Summer Day at Mt. Hood

Be joyful always;
Pray continually;
Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV 1984

I choose 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #22.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Don't Want To Find My Want-To

I don't want to find my want-to.

I have been reading Made to Crave and it teaches that
We pretty much know the how-to.
The how-to lose weight.
And that is true.
I do know how to.
I've done it enough times before.
So many times that I don't want to try again.
Why bother?
I'll lose the weight and then gain it back.
So why bother.
Why go through the deprivation for a couple weeks
Only to get back to where I was?
And perhaps even more.
I don't want to find my want-to.
It is too much effort.
I don't want to fail,

I don't want to find my want-to.

But what I really don't want to do is
Buy more clothes.
Bigger clothes.
And I don't want to keep seeing myself
In a photo
And wonder
Why does my face look rounder than before?
And I really don't want to admit that
I rely upon my personality to
Overcome my over-layering of clothes
And scarves.

And I don't want to
Judge or be judged.
Some would say to me
You don't need to lose any weight.
And I don't want to
think that skinniness is tied to godliness.
I do need to find my want-to
And the only true lasting change in my life
Has come from my relationship with God.

Do I need to find my want-to?
What I need is
To want to find my want-to.

And tomorrow
I will hang out with some sisters
Who will be wanting to find their want-to, too.
And maybe
We will find it together.

But right now
I'll admit
That I don't want to.
So for now
I will be praying that
I will be willing to find
My want-to.

Christmas Concerts

photography by Anthony Kaetzel

Christopher is singing in our church's Christmas Concerts this year.  All 10 of them.  There are about 200 singers and musicians with ages ranging from Kindergarten through adult.  And there are probably about the same number of amazing volunteers behind the scenes.  Approximately 10,000 to 15,000 people will enjoy the performances... and given the opportunity to surrender their hearts to the Lord through Jesus Christ, His Son.

This is the first time Christopher has worn a tuxedo.  And because we have been having beautiful inordinate amounts of sunshine (and lack of rain), we stopped by Gabriel Park to get these photos.

Christopher thoroughly enjoys being part of the youth choir at our church.  And I was thinking... that if you are local and your child does not have an opportunity to be part of a Christmas Performance or a choir... they could be part of ours.  You don't have to attend our church or be a member for your child to be part of this experience.  Practices are normally 6-7pm on Wednesdays.  The elementary grades have a musical in the spring and the upper grades go on tour in the summer.

Christopher's friend, K'reisa, came to watch one of Saturday's performances.  It is always fun to share the experience with friends.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top 10 Reasons for Avoiding The Ugly Cry

I had an ugly cry yesterday.  And let me tell you... it was not pretty (and hence no photo for this post).   It wasn't because Anthony was away... although I am sure that fact doesn't help.  I haven't had an ugly cry in awhile and I want to remember that I really don't like it and don't want to do it, again.  So to remind myself I created a list of the Top 10 Reasons to Avoid The Ugly Cry.

Top 10 Reasons to Avoid The Ugly Cry

#10 Totally defeats any work you have done with overcoming your insecurity.

#9 Your husband isn't home to pick up the pieces.

#8 It's hard to be discreet when out in public.

#7 It can turn into hyperventilating.

#6 It makes your friends ask what is wrong and then you start crying all over, again.

#5 It makes your eyes sink deep inside your head (which is why it is called the "ugly" cry).

#4 You end up sleeping with a stuffed animal like a little girl.

#3 You end up with an ugly cry hangover the next morning.

#2 Your son wants to hug you over and over again to make it all right which makes you want to cry, again.

And the #1 Reason to Avoid the Ugly Cry
You'll always remember the outfit you were wearing and will avoid wearing it in the future as if it holds some key to the Ugly Cry.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"The Leaking Window" Whines About A Blocked Drainspout

Been looking through my Ethiopia posts... I am kinda missing someone.  Came across this post of pictures from Ethiopia... and thought it was worthy of a re-post.  From May 20, 2010.  Praying it ministers to you in your current situation.

Ethiopia, April 2010
photography by Anthony

I was thinking I should sell my house today.  It was raining pretty hard and one of the gutters was overflowing.  It was cold and wet outside and I thought... if only I sold this house and had another... then I wouldn't have this problem.  I wouldn't have to see or deal with this overflowing gutter.

I wasn't positive that was the solution, so I asked Anthony about it... hoping he would fix it for me.  He couldn't take the time to fix it for me because he was working.  He thought perhaps their was a blockage at the drainspout.  He gave me some great advice... find the downspout and clear out the blockage.  But it was cold and wet... and even hailing, so I thought perhaps when it is not so wet... I will go take a look.

Within minutes the clouds parted... the gutters were not overflowing anymore... and I kindof forgot about it... and I was sooo happy that I didn't have to decide whether to sell the house or find the yucky blocked downspout.

But here's the thing... the next time it rains... that blocked downspout is going to cause overflowing gutters, again.  And I will go through the same thinking... should I just get rid of this house or perhaps wish I had cleaned out that drainspout.

And as I begin to think about it... it is really expensive to sell and buy a home... and there is all that packing involved... and Christopher would miss his neighborhood friends... and what about my beautiful garden... and the truth be told... the next house would end up (like every other home in Portland) having blocked drainspouts.  And would I want to sell the next house... no, not really.

However, the idea of cleaning the drainspout sounds yucky and cold.  I sure wish someone else would fix it for me.  But the problem there is... I don't know when that would be.  And I might have to start nagging about someone else fixing a problem that I could fix myself.

So, in the warmth of the sun, I decided to take a stroll in the backyard.  Looked in the gutter.  Yup, it is still blocked.  Looked for the downspout.  It was within easy reach... but I had to steady myself to get to it.  Saw there was a yucky mess... decided to stick my hand in and move the mess... and to my delight... the water started to flow down the downspout.  And flow.  And flow.  And flow.  And it was actually a pretty neat sight to behold... and pleasing to listen to... And the satisfaction... that I did it myself.

I haven't had the chance to tell Anthony yet that I did it.  He's still working.  But I have to tell you that doing it myself gave me a little boost of confidence if something like this happens, again.  I know if it is a downspout I can't reach on my own that I will need to ask someone to help me... but I am relieved to now know that I don't have to sell my house.

Seem like a silly story?  It's true... okay, well... I really wasn't thinking about selling the house.  But it has made me wonder... what trouble or hardship or trial or suffering in my life is causing me to think that I just have to do something more drastic than is warranted so I don't have to deal with it?  What problem have I determined to be one that I wish someone else would fix for me... when I could easily fix it myself... even though I might have to do a little hard work?  What difficulty... if I only might ask for a little expert advice and get a different perspective... might be taken care of within moments of taking that advice?  And I wonder if I had waited until the next time my problem flared up... I would have found that it caused additional damage which could have been averted had I taken care of it sooner?

Often in the midst of our difficulty we lose perspective... and think that the radical answer will solve the problem.  But that is only true for the moment.  Because if we count the entire cost, we will find out we have only delayed solving the problem... and have perhaps added more complications in the long run.

Food being generously poured out into containers for the poorest of poor.

And here is where we turn to the Lord and ask for wisdom and guidance.  Trusting and obeying Him.  In all areas of our lives whether it be a blocked drainspout... or a lousy marriage... or a broken relationship... or... well, fill in the blank.  And God will be there for you...

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise 
even when we're hemmed in with troubles, 
because we know how troubles can develop
passionate patience in us,
and how that patience in turn forges
the tempered steel of virtue,
keeping us alert
for whatever God will do next.
In alert expectancy such as this, 
we're never left feeling shortchanged.

Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers 
to hold everything God generously pours into our lives 
through the Holy Spirit!

Romans 8:3-5 The Message

I am praying for you, dear sister.  Never forget that... In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I [Jesus] have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

As of Late - November 5th, 2011

Lately, I've been to the apple farm with my favorite son and my hubby.  (Anthony taking a photo of me taking a photo of them... or is he checking Twitter?)

Lately, I helped my son make a white iPhone 4S to wear as he gathered candy from the neighbors.

Lately, I've been knitting washcloths.  (The reason I started knitting at all.)

Lately, I've been killing time as my man has been in Ethiopia.

Lately, I watched Anthony cross the finish line of his 12th marathon.

Lately, I watched Christopher shave his teacher's hair off.

Lately, I've gotten to enjoy the color of fall.

Lately, I've learned about Words With Friends and Scrabble on Facebook.  (Let's play!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Made To Crave

In the desert they gave in to their craving; 
in the wilderness they put God to the test. 
Psalm 106:14 NIV

I have had friends at my church recommend Made to Crave:  Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst.  I purchased the audio book and within a few chapters I decided that the Made to Crave DVD small group would be my Bible Study over the month of December.  

At first I thought I really couldn't call it a "Bible" Study.  Thinking it would just be about dieting.  But after reading it, with all confidence, I can call this a Bible Study.  I'd have to say the book and study somewhat remind me of So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore.  Because it goes in depth as to why we respond in certain ways and brings us back around to who we are in Christ.  It continually points to God's word and who God is and who we are in Him.  Also, having a community to support you as you work your way through.

I am so impressed with the material in this book because it transcends eating issues.  It is useful in other areas of life.  I'll give you a current example.
My husband is in Ethiopia.  When he travels for long periods of time, I miss him greatly. ...Yet your desire and craving will be for your husband....  Genesis 3:1 AMP I disconnect emotionally and go through a bit of a withdrawl.  Since the book had been talking about looking at what I "crave" I decided to apply the material to this situation.  Looking at my craving for my husband and filling that need with God himself.    And it is amazing at the transformation.  When I start to dip into feeling sorry for myself and feeling lonely for him, I focus on the One who conquered loneliness on the cross.
Some people wonder why I do a Bible Study during the holidays.  I have come to know myself and how I need accountability to keep me in the Word of God and in daily relationship with Him.  I admit that I don't have as much time to decorate for the Christmas season, but I know that when the holidays are over I don't have as much of a let down emotionally.  It's my way of keeping Christ in Christmas.

I choose Psalm 106:14 NIV for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #21.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A High Tower For The Oppressed

Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower

The Lord also will be a refuge and 
a high tower for the oppressed, 
a refuge and a stronghold in times of 
trouble(high cost, destitution, and desperation).
Psalm 9:9 Amplified Version

I was visiting with a friend yesterday.  And she was heart-sick.  Broken.  And wondering... Where was God in all of this?  Financial strain.  Broken relationships.  A daughter who was in an abusive relationship... and pregnant.  Illness.  Parents aging.  Family stress.

And she was wondering... Where was God in all of this?  And I felt like she was asking me for an answer.  What do you think, Sheri?  Where is God in all of this?  You know I believe Him and trust in Him and I know you do, too.  So, give me your perspective.  Where is God in all of this?

And I was desperately begging God to show me where He was in all of this.  Where are you God?  Because I have to give her an answer and she is hurting right now.  And I don't want to tell her that I don't know where you are.  Because it is hard for me to see that in all that she is dealing with right now.  And her problems are so big that I cannot do anything to help her.  I want to give her comfort, Lord.  I need some words that would lift her spirit.

And... nothing.  No catchy words.  Nothing spiritual.  And I waited.  For a nudge.  For something.  God, quick... I need to tell her something so she will feel better right now.  And so that I will feel better right now.  And I will feel like I helped her.  And she will feel like I helped her.  And she will be glad that she saw me today. 

Moments seemed like hours as I was catching my breath to try and speak some life-changing words.  So, I grabbed her hand and pulled it tight into mine... and prayed over her.  And as I was praying the thought came to me, What did that Philip Yancey book say about what to say to those who are hurting?  What wise words?  What were those words?  What magnificent meaningful words could I pray over her?

And I remembered.  Hope.  God is our hope.  He offers us hope.  Sometimes there are no words.  Just hope.  And as I prayed them... prayed words of hope over her... they seemed at first hollow.  Was I wishing for her?  Was there really something hopeful in her situation?  Would God really work all these things out?  Would He show Himself to her?  I feared that I might be just trying to give her hope.  Give her hope. Give her hope.  

And that's when I realized that I truly did believe that God would follow through.  He always has.  He always will.  And that in the end... it's not about me... and what I say... or how I pray.  But it is truth.  That He gives us hope.  That He is a tower.  A refuge.  A stronghold.  And sometimes when we are in a moment of desperation we need our friends to come around us and point out the strong tower.  Who is there.  Has always been there.  Will always be there.

Praying that if you need hope today... you'll let me encourage you and pray for you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And in my heart I knew... I was going to Houston.

Siestas - Linda, Sheri, Beth Moore, Jackie and Charlotte
I had decided that I wasn't going to go.  To Houston.  To see Beth Moore.  To celebrate another year of memorizing scripture.  To see wonderful women who I had met in January 2010.  I was not going to go.  

Well, actually I had planned on going, but after a year of dealing with the TSA on multiple occasions... I vowed that my travel via airplane would be severely limited.  And I meant it.  Of course, I did.

But when our son, Christopher, returned from a recent Christian Youth Convention I felt a familiar nudge.  A nudge that reminded me that sometimes... we need to get away.  Get away and get with God.  Have a spiritual retreat.  Hear a word from the Word of God.  Be separate.  Set apart.  And in my heart I knew... I was going to Houston.

I have kept in touch with quite a few Siestas that I met in January of 2010 via Facebook.  Wonderful women who encourage me.  I can't wait to hug their necks... and perhaps stop by Pappasito's... and don a little something feathery and pink. 

I would love to know if you'll be there.  

Just a post from the past to remind me of the future...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration!
I'm Not Exactly What You Call a Redneck...

I arrived in Houston yesterday afternoon to SUN and warmth.  The sun actually warms your skin as it hits you.  Oh my!  It is sweet... and I even remembered to bring my sunglasses and sandals. 

It had been suggested (by Siesta Anne) to wear something pink to recognize one another at the airports and throughout the weekend.  If you were brave enough... or silly enough... they suggested a pink boa.  I am wearing a bright pink feather boa which attracts a lot of siestas and attention!  But it is molting! and unbeknownst to me - staining my clothes and neck!  So, I'm not exactly what you call a redneck... but I guess you could call me a pinkneck? 
Thursday morning, I flew from Portland to Seattle.  When I got on the plane in Seattle I noticed two gals wearing pink scarves... and I asked them if they were going to see Beth.  They were and then they pointed out the other Siestas who coincidentally (wink) were sitting around us.  We hadn't planned it... but God did.  There were seven of us within three rows of each other.  I even got to sit next to Siesta Angie.  Other Siestas were Marybeth, Donna, Emily, Marykay and Amanda.  Seven in all!

I met up with Siesta Jackie (aka Rooney) at the airport.  We had found each other through Siesta Angie's spreadsheet.  Siesta Charlotte and her mom Julie also had hooked up with Siesta Jackie.

I am so glad I did not rent a car on my own!  I read the directions as Siesta Jackie drove.  I would have been in tears if I would have had to navigate the streets of Houston on my own.

Thursday night, we hopped in the hotel's stretch limo and had dinner at PF Changs.  Yum!  And returned to a hotel which had been ordered by the city to turn off the water for emergency repairs.  We had to fill our tubs just in case of emergency, and the hotel provided bottled water and antiseptic wipes.  It really was a non issue... but memorable oddly enough.

We started meeting more and more ladies who had traveled alone to the SSTMC.  They were drawn to us because of our boas... and we jokingly said... "We've met our new BFFs for the first time!"  We would invite them to ride with us to the church... or join us for dinner.  Always amazed at how quickly we bonded.  A lot of people mistook us as having come together because we chatted together like lifelong friends... which is what we are now.

Today we hung out in the Presidential Suite at the Omni.  LPM had reserved it for the Siestas as just a place to meet.  Charlotte, Jackie and I were up there reviewing our memory verses as ladies came in to chat or just check out the room.  We met siestas who stopped by... like Danelle, Eleanor, Sheila and Janice.  You just might end up seeing some of them on my Facebook!

And of course, the SUN was here... bright and vivid and WARM!  I sat by the pool just soaking it in!  (I am serious when I say that it immediately "brightened" my day!)
Siestas Sheri, Charlotte, Anne & Linda

We met Amanda (Beth's daughter) as we left the hotel parking lot... and of course, took plenty of photos.  We told her we were going to Papasito's and she highly recommended the chicken fajitas... and was she right!  While at dinner, Siesta Anne was about to dine on her own, but we pulled her right in... and she is just a delight!  Well, you would have to be if you were the one who thought of the pink feather boas, right?

We arrived at the church to meet our 507 other BFFs.  We met in Beth's former Bible Study room.  Still we stood at the door for almost an hour waiting to get good seats, but any seat was a good seat!  Amanda, Melissa and Travis were there along with all the other wonderful LPM staff.

Then I saw Siesta Christina who I met on Audrey's spreadsheet via blogland... and she lives in Roseburg, OR.  Sounds like a roadtrip to me!  Of course, there are a couple of ladies trying to convince me to fly to Lexington, Kentucky for the Beth Moore conference in August... and what about the one in Spokane, Washington in October?

LPM hard working staff.

And then... Beth shared how they were audio taping the event... and how the other 1,500 Siestas who completed their 24 verses would be able to download the event.  She soooo missed you Siestas!  And the rest of us, too!

Well, I better get to bed.  I have to get up and pack in the morning so I can check out and head to the event... and hang out with some amazing women... and then hop on a plane back to Oregon tomorrow night... where with anticipation... I'll be walking through the security area... leaving the gate area... and I will see a familiar sight... and feel a familiar tug.  There will be people (Anthony and Christopher!) lined up waiting anxiously for me to walk through the security area... and well, I have to tell you I am looking forward to that moment... when I am waited for... looked for... and feel special... even if it took a little planning ahead of time!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hurt, Hope, Healing

Grand Canyon

"Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold." 
2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV 1984

I recently finished reading Where Is God When It Hurts? by Philip Yancey.  A friend of mine was reading it for a small group.  She mentioned that it would give insight into helping others who are going through something difficult.  She was right.

The book touched me so much that I wanted to make sure I remembered its central theme.  Hope.  So, I chose 2 Corinthians 3:12 as my 20th verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Team.  The book is a bit longer than most, but worth the investment of every word that is read.  Technical at times, but always revolving around the fact that pain is a necessary evil warning signal that something is not right.  And that we are lovingly made by God.  I marvel at the fact that there is not a pain nervous system.  Pleasure and pain use the same nerves.  And that our brains can tell the difference... well, we are marvelously made by God.

Earlier in the summer I had read A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada.  To my delight Philip Yancey used Joni Eareckson Tada as an example of how someone who deals with pain presses into God and His ultimate goodness and finds hope in trusting Him.  This particular audiobook was read by the author and was such a blessing.

I pray that if you are dealing with your own suffering and pain or a loved one's that you might find these books as a comfort and a guide.  I know I will be referring back to them.

I know this sounds like a paid endorsement... but it isn't.
It's just me.
Me being bold.
Because I have such a hope.
And I want you to have that hope, too.

I choose 2 Corinthians 3:12 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #20.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Girls Behaving Prudishly

Perceived Judgment.  I am sure it comes across that way.  People reading my current Facebook status and thinking... "Who is she to judge?"  And I have to accept the fact that my boldness today may cause others to think me judgmental... and prudish!

My Facebook status:
Just found it necessary to unfriend someone on FB. A "friend" who was commenting on photos of young women who are scantily clad. Women who are not his wife. (I never would have "seen" this but the new FB ticker so generously gave me this information.) Just wanting to take this opportunity to let you know that this type of behavior can kill the soul of your wife. I will be praying for this family.
And you are right.  Prude and Prejudiced.  But let's get down to the reality of the situation.  I looked.  I saw.  And I looked, again.  And my self-talk went something like this, "Well, I better just check and make sure I saw what I saw.  I am sure that was not what I saw.  So, I better go check their Facebook wall."  And when I went to their wall... there was more.  And I looked.  Again.

Eerily enough I wrote about this very subject last year... almost exactly a year ago, in the post "I have a reputation for being a prude." And so, as I protect my eyes (and my mind and heart and soul), I pray that those of you who may not suffer from a past of sexual dysfunctional would be aware that those of us who do... may need to unfriend you.  And know that I am praying... and considering what to do with the information... especially because this "friend" may be friends with your daughters... and sons.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
I have a reputation for being a prude.

It happens in a blink, It happens in a flash...

You may want to skip this reading this post.  I'm getting on my soap box... I'm a little emotional... and most of you will find this contentious, so here's your way out... S T O P  READING NOW!

I have a reputation of being a prude.  Although I disagree with that assessment, I will not deny that many times I may come across that way.  Actually, I like to think of myself not as a prude... but as prudent.  

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'm angry or incensed or mad or frustrated.  Why?  Because there is a current Facebook message that is circulating around that says something to the effect of:  "In order to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month: Women will be posting to their Facebook status where they put their handbag the moment they get home... ie likes it on the couch, likes it on the kitchen counter or likes it on the dresser."  For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook, basically a status would look like this
Sheri Kaetzel likes it on the kitchen counter.
And here's the big joke... we are NOT supposed to let men know what we are talking about... as if they are imbeciles.  And in reality men aren't even concerned with what we are talking about because the innuendo is obvious... and intentional... my status has now become a sexual innuendo.  I have caused someone pause to wonder... What exactly does Sheri like on the kitchen counter?

Perhaps this wouldn't bother me quite as much but last year to "encourage Breast Cancer Awareness" this same type of message was sent around but this time it was encouraging women to write the color of the bra they were wearing as their status.  And again... hee hee, don't tell the men.  Of course, the men did find out... and that meant that my husband and the rest of the world knew the colors of the bras that young girls in my church were wearing that day.  Sad.  All in the name of "promoting" Breast Cancer Awareness... not.

Why this bothers me so much?  Because I have a history of sexual dysfunction in my generational background.  I am bound and determined to break that cycle for the generations to come.  And that includes my son.  We are raising him to be pure of heart and soul and mind... and body.  And to one day look forward to a loving marriage without sexual baggage to take along... and to find a young woman with the same heart and soul and mind... and body.

And if you have ever read Shaunti Feldhahn's For Women Only:  What You Need To Know About The Inner Lives of Men... you'll know what I am talking about... men's minds are wired a certain way... which is much different than women's minds.  We think we are being cute or funny... or supposedly promoting a good cause... but what we are really doing are leading men's minds to think on things that are not really lovely or pure or honorable...

And you know what, you can disagree with me all you like, but the thing is that I was raised thinking EVERYthing was a sexual innuendo whether it was or not... and then I started making sexual innuendos with  men... not caring the least bit whether they were married or not... just wanting their attention.  So when I made a decision to stop the sexual dysfunction in my own life... one of the things that had to change was sexual innuendos.  I had to stop thinking EVERYthing was a sexual innuendo... and I had to stop causing others to stumble, too.

Now, you may think this is my problem.  And I need to get over it.  And you are right.  But the thing is if you take a look around... this is a huge problem.  And these little innuendos may be cute for the moment... but they may assist in the downfall of someone else.

And I'm truly sorry if this makes anyone feel guilty about their status.  That is NOT my intent.  My intent is to help you have an awareness of the slippery slope that a lot of us live on... and to remember that we are in this world, but not of it.  And that there are better ways to promote October as Breast Cancer Awareness month.   Maybe with a status something like:
Sheri Kaetzel would like to remind everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And she thanks God that there is HOPE... and a future... for those who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. 
Okay... I'm done now.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Straight Paths

 "In all your ways acknowledge him, 
and he will make your paths straight." 
Proverbs 3:6 NIV 1984
"At first glance, it looks as if Solomon is guaranteeing that if we trust God, he will straighten out whatever path we choose.  But what this verse actually asserts is that God will make the best path obvious.  If we trust with all our hearts, refuse to lean into our limited understanding, and submit every aspect of our lives to him, the best path will become unmistakably clear.  Divine direction begins with unconditional submission.  Not information." Andy Stanley, The Principle Of The Path
"Have you ever asked God to give you several alternatives so you could choose the best one for you? How many options does God have to give you for you to have the right one?" ~ Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby
These quotes came across my path today in my Bible Study and in my reading.  Something about asking God to make the best path obvious and trusting Him that it will be the right one.  So I thought this verse would be good for memorizing.

I choose Proverbs 3:6 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse # 19.   
I choose Exodus 14:31 NIV 1984 for my Siesta Scripture Memory Verse #18... but forgot to post it.

"And when the Israelites saw the great power of the Lord 
displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord 
and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant." 
Exodus 14:31 NIV 1984

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yesterday does not define you...

Yesterday at Bible Study, our table leader, Jean Balle, encouraged us to discuss our feelings about the teaching that morning from Experiencing God (Session 3).  Getting no response from the rest of us... she relented and shared first.

She had been touched by the story of a woman who had difficulty accepting love from God (or anyone for that matter) due to her fractured relationship with her father.  Not only did the woman have difficulty receiving love... she had difficulty sharing her love because she had set up so many walls to protect herself from ever being hurt, again.

Jean then shared how this affected her... and it spurred the rest of us to share about our relationships with our earthly fathers.  It wasn't pretty.  Sometimes you hear about the good, the bad and the ugly?  Well, this was the bad and the ugly.  It was NOT a time of persecuting those men who were not taught about how to be a father, but it was a time of grieving for the little girls who never felt loved or accepted or wanted by their fathers... and how that affected their ability to think of God... to love God... to receive God's love... as Abba Father.

But then... it did get good.  We discussed how we longed to know a Father's love.  How we wanted our children to know the Father's love. How we wanted to be the change that we desired.  That in this moment of painful healing, we would allow God to redeem our pain, so that we could touch the future generations.

And then this morning, as I was listening to my current favorites playlist, Matthew West's song came on.  It is the song that has ministered to me the most from his album (er, CD for you younger folks) The Story of Your Life -- "Family Tree."  I know the words by heart.  They tend to my heart.  They speak of who I am.  Not carrying on the sins of my earthly father.  Of God breaking the chains that wanted to bind me to a different legacy... of finding real love... of holding my precious son... of changing the course of generations... knowing that I am loved and chosen by my Heavenly Father.

I pray that this song and lyrics minister to your hurting soul, too.

Know that you are not alone.
Know that you do not have to leave a legacy of dysfunction.
Know that you are loved and chosen. 
Know that He will restore all that was broken.

You are loved.

And PS... Jean Balle, you are leaving quite a phenomenal legacy.

Family Tree
Artist:  Matthew West

You didn't ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It's your sad reality
It's your messed up family tree
And all your left with all these questions

Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they've handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It's better than where you've been
It's bigger than your imagination
You're gonna find real love
And you're gonna hold your kids
You'll change the course of generations

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

Cause you're my child
You're my chosen
You are loved
You are loved

And I will restore
All that was broken
You are loved
You are loved

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You're bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are
You are

No, this will be your legacy
This will be your destiny
Yesterday did not define you
No, this will be your legacy
This will be your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You're bringing new life to your family tree now.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Decision.

 Quick snap of the camera shutter... catching beauty at the Grand Canyon.

Quick.  I had to make a decision.
She wouldn't look at me.
We have known each other for a couple years.
We hadn't spoken in a while.
I stood there waiting to say hello.
But she would not even share a glance with me.
She spoke to others.
Carried on a conversation with others.

And I had to make a decision.
The self-talk was overwhelming me.
Like a wave.  A big wave.  An overwhelming wave.
Would I ride the wave?
Or would the wave ride me?
Would I swim?
Or would I sink?
Or would I drown?

I had to make a quick decision.
As the thoughts raced through my head.
Did I do something wrong?
Is there something wrong with me?
Does she know that she is ignoring me?
Right in front of others. 

Okay, deep breath.
Am I being insecure?
Is she hurting my feelings?
Is she being mean?

Okay, what am I going to do?
What am I going to do?
I am fading.
Into my insecurity.
Quick, Sheri.  Make the decision.
The decision.
What's it going to be?

Okay, deep breath.
Am I being insecure?
Is she hurting my feelings?
Is she being mean?
Is there something else going on?
Is she insecure around me?

The decision.
For her.
For me.

Okay, Lord.
I am redirecting my thoughts.
It's not about me. 
I don't need it to be about me.
I will offer her grace.
I will offer her grace for my sake.

And I will gracefully turn around.
Look for someone else.
Offer a smile.  A hello.
And move on. 

Reminding myself that she may not realize that I am not as secure as she thinks I am. 
Of course, she isn't thinking of me at all. 
But part of me wants to let her know...
Just because I look like I am a really secure person...
It doesn't mean her insecurity doesn't affect me.
And for her sake I will pray for her.
And for my sake I will pray for her.

But for my own sake... I made the decision.  Praying that you can, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

As of Late - September 26th, 2011

Grand-iose Canyon

Lately, I made biscotti using a cake mix I purchased for 50 cents.  It was on sale and I had a coupon, so I got two boxes of Betty Crocker cake mix for $1.  Frosting is ridiculously expensive (comparatively speaking), so I didn't buy any... knowing I could get a recipe on the web.  But I decided to look on Betty Crocker's website for recipes where you use the cake mix to make something other than cakes.  I found biscotti.  I didn't have all the listed ingredients, so I used the Devil's Food cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and slivered almonds which I had on hand. I skipped the chocolate dipped part, too.  They were so easy to make!  I purchased a carrot cake mix, too.  I am thinking of making a carrot cranberry biscotti.

Lately, I've still been able to enjoy my garden.  Although the lettuce grew weary... and wilted.  So for the first time all summer I actually had to buy lettuce!  I buy it at our local farmer's market. Now, I will be prepared for next year -- if we have a heat wave -- by covering the lettuce with cheesecloth.  The cucumbers finally came in and are about done.  The tomatoes are becoming ripe and I think I will be looking to make some salsa or freeze some or make sun-dried tomatoes.  Well, sun-dried without the sun... I'll use the dehydrator I got at a yard sale this summer.

Lately, Anthony and I finished facilitating our Sunday School class through the Conference Series of Love and Respect.  Although we have gone through the Love and Respect curriculum before, the conference series was amazing.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is quite a dynamic speaker and hearing the material from him directly just made it come to life.  I have to admit that realizing my contemptuous attitude could totally shut Anthony down opened my eyes.  And made me realize that there is more to just loving a man, but treating him with respect just as I expect to be treated with dignity.

Lately, I have been "replacing myself."  It has been a dream of mine for the past year or so, actually.  After reading the book Seven Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones, I became aware of the need to "Replace Yourself.  Learn to hand off what you do."  It's like mentoring... or apprenticing.  Seeing the potential in the people around me and helping them to be successful in an area that I tend to be successful at.  I end up moving on to something else that God is calling me to... and seeing others move into their calling.  It's awesome!
"If you fail to develop a strategy to replace yourself, you will…
…force talented individuals to remain in the wings.
…cause potential leaders to exit the organization.
…stifle needed insight from valuable team members.
…hinder your ability to recruit volunteers.
…limit the growth of your programs and ministries."

“No matter who you are, how famous or powerful, one day somebody will replace you.”

“Replacing yourself means that you are willing to hand someone else a significant piece of what you do.  You are then responsible to help this person own it and succeed at it.  When he or she succeeds, make sure they are applauded and recognized for what they have done.”
Lately, our ladies' Bible Study began the DVD Series Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.  This is my 5th time through the study. (1998, 2002, 2008, 2010 and now).  I don't say this to brag.  Quite the contrary.  I say this for two reasons.  1. The material is timeless and foundational.  2. This material encourages me in my walk with God every time I go through it.  The workbook/homework is daunting, but you get out of it what you put into it.  Learning about how to "experience" God more than just "knowing" Him.  If you are in the Portland area, it is not too late to join us at Portland Christian Center on Tuesday mornings or Wednesday nights.

So, what have you been up to... as of late?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Love Stopping Slavery

“Now then, stand still and see this great thing 
the LORD is about to do before your eyes!" 
1 Samuel 12:16 NIV

Christopher and I volunteered at the SCTNOW.ORG Walk/Run this morning.  I have to admit that I don't know a lot about this organization or about the cause it represents, so you may wonder why I volunteered at all.  

And may I admit even more?  I don't want to know more about the cause it represents. 

Child sex trafficking.  Child sex slavery.  Adults abducting children.  Pimping children to make money.

When I think about the stories I heard this morning about why this organization exists, I actually have to stop myself.  If I think on the stories, I would cave in on myself.  Stories that are not part of my reality.  Stories that make me think that my tainted childhood could not even be considered tainted at all in comparison. They are so unreal.  And it is as if I have to force myself to partly think they are not real, so that I can continue on with my day.

Where I live.  Portland, Oregon.  We're considered a hub for child sex trafficking.  Better yet... Pornland, Oregon.   That's where I live. 

And it would be easy for me to think that there is nothing I can do to stop this situation.  To help any of the precious children.  But I wonder if awareness is part of the solution.   You can't be part of a solution if you don't know a problem exists.
SCTNow exists to stop child trafficking by targeting the source of child trafficking: predators who drive the sex industry everywhere in the world, including in your local community. SCTNow has partnered with specially trained operatives familiar with what it takes to infiltrate, investigate and bring to justice the predators victimizing children worldwide.
I know I can't solve the problem.  But I can't ignore it, either.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 
'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! 
Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. 
It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. 
And here's why:

   I was hungry and you fed me,
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
   I was homeless and you gave me a room,
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
   I was sick and you stopped to visit,
   I was in prison and you came to me.'

"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 
'Master, what are you talking about? 
When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, 
thirsty and give you a drink? 
And when did we ever see you sick or 
in prison and come to you?' 

Then the King will say, 
'I'm telling the solemn truth: 
Whenever you did one of these things 
to someone overlooked or ignored, 
that was me—you did it to me.'"

Matthew 25:34-40 The Message