Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ever Do This?

There's a pan of fresh baked, frosted, and untouched brownies sitting in the pan on the shelf. Everyone is looking forward to having some for dessert after dinner.

It's about 4:30 and you get the munchies. You eye the brownies. But, no, you should show some self-control. And, you do.

For about 10 seconds.

Then, you reason to yourself that someone has to test them to make sure they're not burnt or poisoned. It's a mother's job to make sure that her family has a pleasant eating experience, right?

So, you cut a very small piece from the corner. So small, you could barely taste all of that fudgy goodness. So, you have to cut another small piece.

Next thing you know, your four small pieces result in a large gap in the pan.

Uh-oh. How am I...er...how are you going to serve that at the dinner table? Your family will instantly know what you've been up to: the highest sin in the court - snacking before supper.

Hmmm...you reach for a pretty platter and decide to cut the brownies and serve them in style. After all, they are your precious husband and children. Why hold the finery for company? They deserve the best.

And, no one is the wiser.

Ever done that?

Yeah. Me either.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dandelions

Recently, I've enjoyed walking past my next door neighbors house in the morning. They own a beautiful Victorian home in which they have made a bed & breakfast. Their yard is adorned with so many different flowers which keep their acreage colorful for 3 seasons. The little blue flowers that carpeted a whole section of their side yard earlier in the month were amazing. The daffodils made things so bright. The pink tree adds a splash of color to my early morning walk. Almost every time I walk by this home, I am inspired to thank the Lord for His beautiful creation made just for our enjoyment.

I never noticed even one dandelion in their yard and I wondered how they did it seeing as there's never been a lawn care company involved in the maintenance of their property. I kept looking, but all I saw was beautiful green grass.

Until last Tuesday. Suddenly, there are dandelions all over their front yard. Seeing those dandelions gave me an odd sense of satisfaction. I was glad that it wasn't just my home, but that even this beautiful home had to face these "lovely" weeds.

This incident immediately got me to thinking about life. Others may appear to have everything perfect - their families, their attitude, their spiritual lives - with nary a "weed." However, if you wait long enough or take the time to get to know others, the weeds will begin to pop out of hibernation. In the case of my neighbor's yard versus ours, they mowed their grass sooner. It was as simple as that. But, they had postponed their mowing just long enough to allow the dandelions to show themselves.

Then, I turned my attention to my response of my neighbor's weeds. Why did I feel good about it? Because it condoned my weed problem. It didn't make me look as bad. They didn't look as good. They aren't better than I am.

Why do we feel better about ourselves when we find out that others struggle with the same sins that we do? Why don't we feel as bad for our brothers and sisters as we do for ourselves? I'm not talking about judging, I'm talking about compassion...and prayer. Instead of having the mindset of "Wow! They struggle, too. So, it's not just me. Phew!" I should be thinking, "Lord, I'm so sorry that that person has to struggle with this problem as well. Please help them and help me with this sin. Help us to hold each other up in prayer so that sin will not have dominion, but that You will and that You will receive glory and honor from our lives."

Everyone has weeds. We all deal with them in different ways. Some mow sooner. Some get the lawn care company. Have you offered to mow your neighbor's weeds? Have you paid for their lawn to be sprayed in order to keep the weeds under control? "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Pray for and encourage him/her. Remember, it wouldn't look right to put all your effort into your neighbor's yard while yours is being run over with crab grass and dandelions. While you continue to tend to your weeds, help them tend to theirs.

Let us all work together to further the cause of Christ. Let us not glory in the sins of others and sit back and begin to feel comfortable in our sin. Let's get our hands in the dirt, grab a hold of the roots, and get the weeds out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Joy Unspeakable!

Tonight, little Zane was sitting at my feet playing so happily. He'd look at me and smile his great big baby smile that often turns into a little giggle. He'd crawl a little ways to investigate something, but he was always within six feet of me. However, if I got up to leave the room for a minute or two, his joy immediately turned to immense sorrow! How he would cry until I returned. He wouldn't be comforted until I'd pick him up and hold him close for a minute. Once I put him back down and he was sure I was staying, that big smile would return.

Is that how I am with Christ? My biggest joy ought to be sitting at His feet, gazing on Him, and waiting for Him to look upon me with a smile. He never leaves me, but, when I wander off and look around only to find that He's no longer near, do I wail and cry until I am in His arms once again?

Tonight, I saw through my son's eyes, what Heaven must be like. Sitting at the feet of the One who loves us eternally and the One we love in return. Gazing on Him gazing on us.

This past week, I've had such sweet communion with my Father that, at times, the joy is overwhelming. I can honestly say that being alone with Him, talking with Him, and hearing from Him has become my chief joy.

I know my human-ness. I know that I am prone to wander. I pray that when I do, I will cry and crawl back to Him as fast as I possibly can to feel His loving arms about me.

This week, I've tasted a bit of Heaven and I rejoice in it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I thought I was over this...I'm not!

Here we go. The supermarkets blaming the farmers - again. Read 13WHAMnews - Ethanol - Where Hype Meets Reality. Notice the misleading quote "Farmers have stopped growing wheat in order to grow corn for ethenol." Form your own opinion. Leave a comment after the story.

Lest you think 13WHAM is one-sided, read the farmer's side here (Farmers Don't Buy Into Ethenol Criticism).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What Time I am Afraid...Part II

Note: In order to fully understand the significance and blessing of this post, please read the post below first.

"...happy is that people, whose God is the Lord." "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:" "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is."

All of these verses are so very real to me this morning. I feel like I got a personal "pep talk" from the Lord directly from Philippians 1!

Verse 12 says, "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;" Now I know that this is Paul talking of his imprisonments and tortures, but I can so easily apply it to what Michael is going through right now. I think I'm going to print this verse and put it in a frame next to Mike's hospital bed. This is such an opportunity to witness to people. The blood bank, the doctors' offices, the hospital - all will be open doors to testify of God's faith and goodness to us!!

"And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds (or Mike's challenges), are much more bold to speak the word without fear." verse 14. We can be an encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ through this!

The end of verse 20 - "...so now also Christ shall be magnified in my (Mike's) body..." I feel like we have a calling to a mission field. I am now preparing to be used in a mightier way than ever before in my life. I am arming myself - and will be helping Michael to arm himself - with prayer, scripture, and tracts!

Praise the Lord for His goodness, His promises, His faithfulness, His peace, His strength, His love, and for His presence.

It's a new day. Last night I was afraid. This morning I am excited.

And happy!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What Time I am Afraid...

It's late. Too late to be up. But, I am. And, I'm tired. When I'm tired, I tend to worry.

Tonight, I worry about my son. Through this whole scoliosis thing, I've gone back to doing more research on NF. That's always a mistake. I read the stories. I see the faces. Then, I worry.

What will happen to Michael? What other complications will he face? Will there be more surgeries? More pain? What does the future hold?

Then, I remember.

God.

He's in control. It's something I have to constantly remind myself. The "bad" things in life come to give God glory and to help us lean on Him. Michael's scoliosis and NF are doing that.

I want to cry. Partly, because I love my son and realize I don't let him know that as much as I should. I want to cry because I am afraid. I want to cry because I realize how my Lord loves me and holds my entire family in His hand.

"What time I am afraid (11:33 at night), I will trust in Thee."

"Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you."

I am so grateful for my Father who loves me and knows my heart.

I think I'll go to bed. But, before I do, I am going to give all my fears to the One who cares. Then, I'll sleep soundly with Him watching over me.

Friday, May 9, 2008

WHAT?!

So, I'm in Fashion Bug last night looking for a cute shirt for my date with Eric.

Oh, yes. We had a date. Dropped all the kids off at various homes. We went out to the woods, cooked hamburgers and hot dogs over an open fire. Roasted marshmallows. Were able to talk and enjoy the peace without wiping faces and trying to get marshmallows out of the two year old's hair. Then, we watched "The Lakehouse."

OK - s0 we took a portable DVD player out. It wasn't about roughing it. It was about spending a sweet evening together! And it was wonderfully sweet. Thanks for asking.

Anyway. Back to Fashion Bug. I'm looking for this shirt when two older teenage girls walk by discussing one of their moms and fashion. I only heard the last enlightening statement in this (what I'm sure was) profound and deep conversation.

"She's a mom. Her clothes are supposed to be ugly."

WHAT?!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Man in Black


Too bad our neighborhood supermarket already took down their "blame the farmer" sign. My son would've been a great help.

Oh well.

Maybe the world is ready for a replacement for Johnny Cash.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Husband Did Not Cause Inflated Food Prices

As you may know, my husband is a farmer. Not livestock - cash crop. In the good ol' days, he would be known as a "dirt" farmer. He works alongside God growing crops - for people and for animals.

Today, there was talk on the news about the rising food prices. Someone in Congress blamed it on the fact that 25% of corn is now being sold for ethenol instead of for food.

A few weeks ago, our friendly neighborhood supermarket (which also has stores in several northeastern states) put up a small sign in their store-made bread department. I won't quote it word for word but it stated that, although they had been doing everything to keep their bread prices down, they finally had to raise prices because the cost of flour had gone up. If they had stopped there, we would have been fine. But, they continued to say that the reason flour costs had gone up was because the nasty farmer down the road had turned much of his wheat ground into corn in order to sell to the ethenol plant.

OK, so they didn't say "nasty farmer". Nor did they say that the farmer planned to use all that big money he was now making to retire and smoke cigars on the porch of his enormous plantation while everyone else starved for lack of wheat.

But, that's the impression it gave.

My local supermarket had an unfortunate misplacement of their little "blame the farmer" sign. Hmmm....

Oh, and by the way - I went to another locally owned, smaller supermarket and bought their much better store-baked bread for a lot less money.

ANYWAY. Here's the real scoop. My husband grows wheat. He grows corn. He sells to the ethenol plant. He has not changed wheat ground for corn. The corn used for ethenol is not the delicious summer-time sweet corn. It's corn used to feed cattle. And, guess what. The ethenol plant that we sell to, uses what it can from the corn for fuel. Then, it takes the rest and sells it to the cattle farmer for feed.

The corn is just taking a detour.

Wheat prices HAVE gone up. Is ethenol the reason? No. It's a reason. One of many. There were droughts all over the world last year resulting in huge losses of wheat crops. Not everyone has wheat to sell. Not because they're growing corn, but because the wheat wouldn't grow. Fuel costs have gone up. The transportation of the wheat is not cheap - nor is the fuel for the tractors and combines.

Half of people think farmers are filthy rich. Normally, they're just filthy. The other half think they're poor and some think he ought to stay that way. The farmer would like to feed his family.

Have you driven by the supermarket owner's house? Have you seen the farmer's house? Have you looked at his calloused hands and dirty coveralls while Mr. Supermarket Owner walks around in impressive suits and has his picture taken on a tractor for the latest "Menu" magazine trying to look like the farmer he's blaming for his skyrocketing bread prices? I have no problem with this hardworking gentleman making his money in his honest way. I do have a problem with his store blaming my husband for making money by taking food away from innocent people.

Attack the farmer and you attack my husband. Attack my husband and my claws come out.

Happy shopping.