Do I ever REALLY stop? & other musings…

Just looked at the calendar. Five Mondays from today, theBean & I will be on our first day of sabbatical. I’m trying to prepare for this time away, with the purpose of being as intentional as possible about what we’re doing. So, I’m revisiting some studies that I began about 10 years ago on the Sabbath & Sabbath rest. I’ll be blogging some of my thoughts, discoveries, wonderings, & questions here over the next several weeks…(If you’re interested, you can read more about WHY we’re taking a sabbatical HERE)


 

A couple of my favorite ways to study something in the Scriptures are to

  1. find the word in the original language, along with a working definition of the word;
  2. do a word-search & find the first place in the Bible the word is found…
  3. ‘popcorn’ around to other places the word is found, referenced, discussed, etc…

I looked up Sabbath & found the first time the word itself is used is in Exodus 16:23  & it shows up quite a few more times, most notably in Exodus 20:8 – the place in Scripture where God gives Moses the commandments (of the most famous “10 commandments,” the command to remember the Sabbath & keep it holy is #4. But I digress. Fun rabbit trail though.) The definition of Sabbath is “to stop; rest; come to rest; cease.” The more I dug, I discovered that though the word first showed up in Exodus, the first time the concept or practice of Sabbath appears in the Bible is in Genesis 2:1-3 as a part of the creation narrative. It says:

Heaven & Earth were finished, down to the last detail. By the seventh day God had finished His work. On the seventh day He rested from all His work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day, because on that day He rested from His work, all the creating God had done. The Message

Think about it. The final ‘act’ of creation was God creating Sabbath, Holy Time –This was so important that He built it into the fabric of creation by working six days, then on the seventh day, He STOPPED. And then He RESTED.


The more I roll this around in my head, the more I see how tied together the two are: you cannot rest until you stop. So I think about what it takes to stop, to REALLY stop. And I think about myself & my own life patterns & pace of life. I reflect on our cultural norms, behaviors & attitudes that are normal, at least until they are held up to the mirror of God’s Word. And I ask myself, “Do you ever really stop? Do WE?”


We live in a 24/7 city – in a country that celebrates busyness, activity, & multi-tasking. We rarely think about let alone embrace the fact that we have limits – on our time, our physical/mental/emotional capacity, & on what we can do & do well. We often push ourselves & our schedules to the limit, cramming as much activity into our days & weeks as possible. We usually don’t get enough sleep & survive/re-engage with life because of coffee/energy drinks. (An interesting fact – in 2006 when I began my studies on Sabbath, I researched the caffeine, how much was consumed in the US, & how much money was spent on it. Here’s what I found: In 2006, more than $12 Billion was spent on coffee, & another $1.1 Billion was spent on energy drinks, most of which were consumed by people in the 18-25 year old range. Fast forward to 2014 – close to $40 Billion was spent on coffee last year & a staggering $13.5 Billion was spent on energy drinks, a figure which is estimated to rise to at last $21.5 Billion by the year 2017. And the reason more than 60% said they drank coffee/energy drinks? In essence it was, “I need it to get going & keep going. Can’t do what I do without it.”)

When we have time off, we use it to get everything done that we couldn’t finish during the work week, &/or we pack our free time with all sorts of activities. Technology doesn’t help us out here – the modern conveniences of ‘staying connected’ through our smart-phones, computers, omni-present wifi, mp3 players keeps a constant barrage of stimulation & noise bouncing around our brains.

No wonder silence seems strange.


 

Do I ever REALLY stop? When was the last time I took a day, set apart as Holy Time, & didn’t work… didn’t get preoccupied/distracted with something… just intentionally set myself up to BE?

The defense mechanisms kick in quickly. Countless reasons for WHY I do what I do, & WHY taking much time (let alone a day) is just about impossible with all the things that fill my busy schedule come to mind.

And then I think about what I read last week from Matthew 11:25-30, especially the part about finding God’s rhythms of grace for life… & I contrast that to the driven, life-sucking pace & practices that lurk around me… And I want that rhythm, God’s rhythm for me. And so I invite Him in to the mess of me… & I trust He will FINISH what He starts.

Blessed are the merciful…

Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Pardon the abundance of ‘ ‘ in this post. The ‘ seem helpful in describing my angst.

You know those spiritual gift ‘tests’ that you can take to find out what gifts you ‘have’ & what gifts of the Holy Spirit you are exempt from displaying? (Here’s an example of one: http://bit.ly/1xDYRBo ). Well, I used to love taking those tests & discovering at the end that I had ‘scored’ high in certain areas like discernment, teaching, & pastor … & that I had scored ‘low’ (read: not on the charts at all) in mercy. Because, hey, I’m a firstborn & I am a ‘consequences’ person. You get what you put in, & don’t expect me to make it easier on you. Mercy was for the Mother Teresa’s of the world – I was more concerned with ‘justice.’ As long as it didn’t apply to me. When it came to me, I wanted mercy. For others? Justice. As I saw justice appropriately meted out.

Looking back, I feel silly because I was almost SMUG about my results being low in mercy… as though mercy was something that weak people displayed, while people like me (The Firstborn Justice Mafia) served to keep life in balance & compensate for the Mercy People.

One day, I was reading through Matthew 5, & the verse at the top of the page hit me in the heart like a ton of bricks.

The merciful receive a blessing, & receive mercy from God.

Because God is merciful. And He wants mercy above good works. (Matthew 9:13)

And my petty, fleshy-human nature is exposed for what it is. Self-serving. Egotistical. Proud.

I am cut to the heart – I do a word study in Scripture on mercy. Bad idea, if I want to keep my worldview as is. God is merciful. Compassionate. Slow to anger. Rich in love. And His people have His tendencies. And I have not embraced mercy. And I’ve used stupid tests to validate my own twisted sense of justice. And I am unmade.

Mercy extended. Brings mercy to me. Lord, help my unbelief. Transform this heart.

 

The LORD is my shepherd… & I’m discontent?

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1

I was reading over Psalm 23 this morning… it’s familiar. I memorized it when I was small.

I know that its good to know scripture – at the same time, I have found that I have to make sure not to just know it in my head but to also let it sink to my heart.

There’s a difference.

If it’s in my head, I can recall it, remember it, think about it. And then when I’m done & off to the next thought, the Scripture goes back into the file in my head & is put away in its virtual filing cabinet until the next time I come across it.

If it’s in my heart, I live it. It affects me at the deepest level of my being. It becomes like a handy-dandy smart phone app, perhaps invisible but still actively running below the surface, having a definite influence.

Back to Psalm 23 – The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

David wrote it – he got it at a gut level – he had been a shepherd, & he knew intimately of the similarities between what he had done, & what God did with him on a daily basis. So David’s declaration of The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want, is a faith statement – rooted in thankfulness – contentment. There was nothing that God had not, did not, would not make sure that David would get if he was in need. And from his self-assessment, he wasn’t lacking anything.

This hit me hard. The LORD is MY shepherd. He is the One who cares & provides for, protects, directs, instructs, heals, & feeds – ME. But when I read the second part after the ; the I shall not want, I realized there were/are areas in me where the ugly stuff resides – rather that being able to see where God is shepherding me well, & that I am not in lack, want, or need – instead, my soul is striving; discontent; frustrated; needy; ungrateful; blind to God’s faithful & miraculous care for me.

Ouch. All that, revealed in a moment.

I know Psalm 23. But is it in my heart today? I repent. Reorient. Return. Ask my shepherd to pick the thorns & stickers from my soul.

Right now I intentionally choose thankfulness. Contentment. Gratefulness. Awareness of God’s work in & around me & mine.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. And I mean it.

PS – If you haven’t already, check out Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine – her investigative exploration of a real life shepherd, bee keeper, and vintner (wine maker) offer profound insights into three of the more prominent images/metaphors used in Scripture. The book (and the stories contained within) have transformed my understanding of some very familiar Scripture. You can also watch Margaret HERE presenting on the topic at the 2012 Foursquare Convention a few weeks back.

Through the Gospels – Matthew 3

SOAP – Through the Gospels
Matthew 3

S – SCRIPTURE
Matthew 3:1,2;5-8 – In those days, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…” Then Jerusalem & all Judea & all the region about the region were going out to him, & they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees & Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance…”

O – OBSERVATION
Repentance is a heart-level, life-transforming response; it is a change of heart & mind that leads to a change of direction & action. John called people to REPENT because the kingdom of heaven was at hand, & that fact changed everything. People from all over, convicted of their sin & challenged in their heart, submitted themselves to the declarative & symbolic act of water baptism as a sign of a changed heart & life – it was a visible sign of their desire to be prepared for the advent of the kingdom of God.

But repentance wasn’t (& isn’t) just about the act of being baptized; true repentance will bear fruit, will show evidence of that changed heart, mind, & life – the proof of repentance is seen in the days, weeks, & months that follow, as the new life springs up & reveals itself.

A – APPLICATION
John’s challenge to the religious leaders of his day, (& to us reading this 2000+ years later) is to persevere in repentance, & not merely go through the outward motions of a religious experience. To be fundamentally shifted from my road to Christ’s. To live life, make decisions, establish priorities, & invest oneself in a manner that is congruent with a life of repentance; to not grow weary at doing good, but to persevere through difficulty & opposition so we may see the work of the Holy Spirit, righteousness & life, established in us. (Galatians 6:7-10).

P – PRAYER
LORD – make me sensitive to Your Spirit – that I would be quick to repent, to turn, to change my mind to align with Yours. Make my heart simple & soft. And may the seeds of repentance & faith grow in my heart & mind, translated to action & a life that makes You famous.

Day 2 musings… – Columbus, OH – Connection 2011

Day 2 – Columbus
This has been a very rich experience for me – every meeting, every interaction has been full of significance & meaning. As I’ve looked back on the day to try to “sum up,” I find that my words are inadequate to do justice to describe it & will probably leave . So, here I go with some musings…

From the messages –
• Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good; He came to make dead people alive.
• In the context of 1Kings 17 & Acts 20 – if/when you come across death, hug it – the life that is in you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, will bring life… For the same Spirit of God that raised Christ from the dead is alive in you, & gives life to you…(Romans 8:11)
• Bitterness, unforgiveness & resentment from past hurts are deadly, spreading poison, barrenness, disunity, & isolation – with the ultimate result a lack of fruitfulness & sensitivity. The only way these can be truly dealt with is with true humility & repentance.
o Isaiah 58:8,9; Isaiah 1:18,19; Matthew 11:28-30; John 7:37-39
• On the heels of repentance, God calls us to hunger & thirst for righteousness, & for the work of the Holy Spirit in, through, & around our lives
o To determine to repent, forgive, to be healed
o To see God work physical miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit
o To release to the church signs & wonders that point to Jesus Christ


I met for lunch with Jan von Wille, a friend & pastor from Germany – we spent several hours catching up over food & coffee – talking through the commonality of experience we have, albeit in different contexts. I came away feeling refreshed & encouraged, like 2 parts of my life that haven’t been ‘connected’ in a long time had come together. There’s a piece of me & my heart in Germany, & when I’m gone from there too long, I really feel it. Here’s to hopefully being there again this November for the Foursquare Deutschland pastorenfortbildung (Pastors training/strengthening/conference.)

In the afternoon, I had the privilege of being a part of a ‘task force’ that is specifically strategizing how to help the Foursquare church (local, division, district, etc.) find ways to reach, train, empower the next generation – over the next months, we’ll be offering up practical suggestions & steps to help do this, looking 3-5 years into the future. Good times.


The highlight of my day happened on accident – right after the task force meeting, I had to make a run for the facilities… unfortunately, there was no restroom. So, I had to make my way down a couple of escalators & search, (increasingly frantically, I might add. And BTW: that isn’t the highlight.)

In my search, I ran into my friend Jason D. – he is a dear friend that I haven’t seen in several years; his wife, Alyse, is theWeez’s namesake – they were a part of our church & youth group leadership team in Carson City, & they now live in South Carolina.

They’re at convention working in the ‘exhibit hall’ – serving as sponsors of a booth that is helping raise money for kids in Nepal – they’ve been active in missions in India, & have a heart for the kind of life & ministry that meets practical, tangible needs, as well as presents the gospel Good News in a way that makes sense to where people are.

I spent more time than they had, just listening, talking, & well, looking with disbelief at these two. More times than I can tell you, I’ve wanted nothing more than to be able to see these guys again… I feel very rich to have the relationships, friendships, & community that I do in Reno; I realized today that my heart has longed for the reconnection of the very old & dear friendship of these dear people.

Still can’t quite believe it. Feeling thankful. Alive. Joyful.

Acts 11, people like us?, & other musings…

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia & Cyprus & Antioch, speaking the Word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus & Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists (Greeks) also, preaching the LORD Jesus. And the hand of the LORD was with them, & a great number who believed turned to the LORD. Acts 11:19-21

The great persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen resulted in the scattering of believers – Jews and God-fearers – from Jerusalem to points all over the Roman world. Many even traveled as far as Antioch, a significant and strategic Roman colony about 300 miles to the north of Jerusalem.

And as they went, they preached the gospel, the Good News of repentance, the forgiveness of sins, and salvation available through the Name of Jesus Christ for all who would believe.

What stood out to me as I read this chapter was that those fleeing persecution preached the gospel to most everyone they met. Most everyone that was like them… They only shared the Word with fellow Jews. Ouch.

The problem was they were running through areas populated by predominantly Greek/non-Jewish peoples. It’s normal, human even to gravitate towards what we’re familiar with – towards “people like us” with similar culture, interests, & experiences. Though it may be easier & more comfortable to do so, Jesus’ challenged to His followers in the Great Commission specifically says to do & live otherwise. When He told His followers that they would share the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, & to the ends of the earth, He was implicitly stating that they would be witnesses to ALL people. Not just the Jews, but everyone.

Fortunately, there were a few good men, Christ-following ‘outsiders’ from Cyprus & Cyrene, that intentionally & faithfully declared the Good News message to everyone. And not only was this message declared, it was received with joy & fruitfulness, & “a great number” believed & “turned to the LORD.”

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit, the One who fills us with power to live for Christ & to tell others of what we’ve seen, heard, & experienced from Him, will remind us of the call to lift our eyes from what we know, from what (& who) we’re comfortable with – & look to the fields that are white with harvest. The LORD is actively looking for men & women that will allow Him to work through them so He can gather people to Himself. Let’s be a part of that.

PS – Interesting to me to hear that Barnabas, the “Son of Encouragement” that was Paul the Apostle’s missionary companion for many years was from Cyprus (an island off the coast of Ephesus.) And Simon, the man who carried the cross for Christ on the way to Golgotha, was from Cyrene (in Northern Africa, most likely modern Libya.)

Three things I never want to be, & other musings…

Three things I never want to be: Stiff-necked. Hardened in heart. Resistant to the Holy Spirit.

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart & ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? & they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed & murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels & did not keep it.” Acts 7:51-53

Reading over this section of Scripture, I keep getting stuck on verse 51.

Stiff-necked. Uncircumcised hearts. Resisters of the Holy Spirit.

These are strong & prophetic words from Stephen, who reached into Israel’s history to challenge & rebuke the Jewish Religious Council for their opposition to God’s purposes. The hardest thing for the Jewish leaders to hear had to be that their actions were just the latest round of thousands of years of stubborn, hard-hearted resistance to God. And the bizarre thing was, they professed to be diligently & faithfully serving the very One who was correcting them through Stephen.

Several things stand out to me:
• As Stephen is being dragged to the place of execution, the Jewish leaders have covered up their ears as though by doing so, they can keep from hearing anything else Stephen says. Their response to his prophetic challenge graphically portrays the state of their hearts & minds that Stephen was testifying to.
• To be stiff-necked is to be unteachable. Stubborn & hardened. Resistant to correction. Proud. Each time this phrase is used in the scriptures, it refers to a willful, determined disobedience to God’s specific commands, directions, and ways.
• Stubborn resistance to God’s purposes & plans originates in our own hearts, minds, & will, but it is hellishly motivated as well. This is evidenced by the vicious & murderous responses to the prophets & to Christ that Stephen recounts from Israel’s history.

I want to be teachable, set apart to God in words & deeds so that I can be easily be directed by & responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This requires that I keep a close watch on my heart – that I cultivate humility & a lifestyle of repentance. And that I never forget that no matter how long I’ve followed the LORD, I never get to the spot where I don’t desperately need His guidance, direction, & grace.

the day at church no one ever forgot, & other musings…

I’ve been a part of the Church for the majority of my life, & I have experienced many incredible, wonderful things; interactions with brothers & sisters in Christ, & time spent in the presence of God in the context of our whole church family.

Some of the most powerful memories I have, however, are when something bad happened.

One Sunday that will live in infamy, I was a 19 year old kid working the sound board. At the beginning of the pastor’s message, a woman walked up to the front of the church & tried to grab a microphone. The pastor told her, “I’m not going to let you share.” She insisted that she had no choice, & that she was being compelled by the spirit to do so. The pastor was resolute, (thankfully) & told her that under no circumstance would she be allowed to bring her message.

The room was deadly quiet. The pastor explained that the woman had come to his office earlier in the week, & had told him that she had a message from God. After hearing what her message was, the pastor told her (& relayed to us) that he didn’t believe it was from the LORD because of the severe tone of condemnation, accusation, and belittling. He told her at that time, (& relayed to us,) that our Father God doesn’t speak to us that way; His heart is for repentance & restoration; further, spiritual gifts (including prophetic words,) were to be encouraging, edifying, and exhorting to the Church. This woman’s message was none of those.

So what happened? She laid down. In the front row of the church. And the pastor went back into his message. And no one in that room EVER forgot what had happened, nor the lesson that we learned about how God speaks to His people.

I’ve wondered how he finished the message… especially when I’m distracted by something as benign as a louder-than-it-needs-to-be conversation that happens during the speech. Hmm.


Acts 5 –
What was happening in the early church was a beautiful thing. The believers were putting into action Christ’s command to “love one another” in a most tangible way; they were using their finances and other resources to care for each others real, felt needs. No one was left out; all were provided for. This spirit of benevolence was so pervasive that people were even selling properties in order to make sure that there would be money available to help others, just in case.

It was truly incredible.

At the very same time, a sobering event shook the church to its core. A married couple, Ananias & Sapphira, sold their own piece of land with the intent of giving the proceeds to the church. At some point however, they decided that they would keep some of the money for themselves; they’d still give some to the church, but not all of it.

The fact that they kept some of the money wasn’t the problem. In no way was there any requirement for them to give it all. However, together they plotted to tell the apostles (& the rest of the church) that the amount they were giving was the entire purchase price, thinking that no one would be the wiser.

They chose willfully & intentionally to lie. To God. It was a big deal to Him. It cost them their lives.

I’ve read this passage (Acts 5:1-11) many times, & I’ve wondered about & guessed at the motivation for Ananias & Sapphira’s lie.

    -Was it people-pleasing mixed with greed? Others in the church were getting attention for their selfless acts; did they just wanted in on that attention?

    -Was the love of money? Did they start out with a good intention & get sidetracked, tripped up by temptation?

    -Were they trying to buy favor, influence, &/or position in the church?

I don’t know. And I also don’t know the WHY behind their deaths. I do know that ultimately, God chose to address their choices and behaviors in a strong way, & that as a result, a great fear came upon the church & all who heard about it. That church didn’t see sin the same way ever again; & they most definitely didn’t think that God was Someone to try to pull one over on.

Both Ananias & Sapphira had the choice to repent, to acknowledge their lie, & given that choice, they stuck to their story. Ouch.

I look at my own life & see many times where, if God wanted to step in & say, “Not in my house!” I would have been dead to rights, & worthy of whatever punishment He chose to give.

It makes me thankful for repentance – the opportunity God gives us to turn FROM sin, & to turn TO God, & to know that if I confess my sin, & turn from it, that Christ is faithful & just to forgive & to purify from all unrighteousness (1John 1:7-10)

a life changed in a moment; a picture of repentance

How did a Jew from the strictest sect in Judaism, the Pharisees, become a Christian himself? And how did this person, who not only zealously persecuted, imprisoned, and condemned to death followers of the Way in his own region, but also travelled more than 190 miles by donkey for the opportunity to persecute, imprison, and condemn to death MORE followers of the Way in ANOTHER region, become so radically transformed that he became not only an avid follower of Christ, but the leading apostle, evangelist, and ‘discipler’ in the early Church?

Repentance.

I love the conversion story that Paul relays to King Agrippa. It involves the dramatic turn his life took in response to a mostly one-sided conversation he had with Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.

Christ basically told him, “Why are you persecuting Me, Paul? You’re fighting my plan for you. Stop it. Get it, go to Damascus & I’ll give you what you need for your real mission: bringing My Good News to Jews & Gentiles so they can TURN from darkness to light & from the power of Satan to God. They will receive forgiveness of sins & a place in My family.”

Repentance.

Paul’s conversion experience doesn’t involve sinner’s prayer, a lot of emotion, or even teaching from the Scriptures so he would know that Jesus was the Christ.

He was converted in response to his encounter with Christ – confronted by his sin & the error of his misguided persecutions, he turned from his wrong path, & turned towards obedience… to put into practice what he had heard from Christ.

Repentance. Is it really that simple?

Within a short time of his arrival in Damascus, Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit, & immediately began to share the gospel with the same zeal, fervor, & urgency with which he had previously persecuted the church.

Paul was a changed man; he’d been redirected to his true purpose, calling, & life-mission.

Repentance.

a series heavy sighs, or wondering how many times I dance this dance?

Oops. I did it again. Over-scheduled my life, with the best of intentions, & a complete disregard for the fact that:

  • a) I’m human;
    b) I’m married & have three kids, each with their own complex layered schedules;
    c) Just because something is fun doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a toll on you
    d) sitting in meetings for hours on end counts as a double no-no

  • And so I find myself to be spent; physically, emotionally, & relationally. Spent. Done. Finis. In need of a ‘hit the alarm 2x in the morning,’ followed by a 2 p.m. nap. And to bed early.

    I’m not scratching my head, wondering, “What happened?” I know exactly. I went to Sacramento the week of 9/13 for our fall pastors conference. Great conference. Fun with friends. Challenging speakers. Meaningful interactions. Late nights & early mornings. Came home, hitting the ground running to catch something that could not be caught: Monday & Tuesday – they were long gone.

    Jerry came in Friday, & I spent the weekend trying to spend as much time hanging out, talking with him as I could. And Friday/Saturday, I managed to shoehorn in a wedding rehearsal & wedding, a gathering & hang out on Saturday morning with Jerry & some friends, another gathering Saturday evening, & a full Sunday. Which was my birthday.

    Ended the day with packing… cause I had to catch the first flight out on 9/20 to Burbank for special meetings… in which I sat on a ballroom chair for a total of (drum roll please…) 21 hours over the course of Monday – Wednesday morning. Rushed home for round 3 of a special Marriage Enrichment series (which I’m loving, btw,) & staggered to bed.


    We’re hosting friends, a family of 4 Germans from Mainz, Germany through Friday 10/1. NOTE: this is not a bad thing to have & to host friends. But it does take it out of you.

    Did a Quincenera Saturday – absolutely wonderful time. Church on Sunday. Home & slept for 3 hours in the afternoon. Oh goodness.

    Still trying to catch up. Heavy sigh.


    Throughout the madness, theBean mentioned to me once or 30 times that this pace wasn’t ok. That my sabbath day of rest & recharging wasn’t getting the priority & attention needed. That the schedule I was keeping was… wrong. Too costly. Heavy sigh.


    At some point I gave at least mental assent to what she was saying, then hurriedly justified the 2 week sprint as “fun” or “mostly fun.” She wasn’t buying it. I’m not either.


    Today I spent time in repentance, embracing a change of mind, asking God’s forgiveness for the pace I’ve been functioning at. I know better, but it happened anyway. And I’m paying the price. A small part of me is questioning my ‘toughness,” as though if I were just BIGGER-FASTER-STRONGER this wouldn’t have happened, & I SHOULD’ve been able to make it through this, kicking the calendar & schedule’s proverbial butts, taking their proverbial names. Heavy sigh.


    Then I realize this small part of ‘me,’ isn’t me after all… its the enemy of my soul. The one who wants to steal, kill, & destroy. To poison & drain the very “life in all of its fullness” Christ came to bring & give. Hmm. Duly noted. Heavy sigh.

    On that note, I look at my calendar & see I have 34 days until I’m off to Frankfurt – November 3 -16. And the schedule there is full-ish, but I have some downtime intentionally included in the travel schedule. Praying for wisdom. Aiming for balance. Staying on rhythm. Heavy sigh.


    I might fall down, but I’ll get back up.

    Got a note from another ‘scoey’ the other day (2 weeks ago now… at the beginning of the madness.) He had the same nickname as me – who’da thunk it possible? And lots of similarities in the happenings in our lives. I wrote him back, but it seems that the earthlink spam filter may have been bouncing me back. So scoeyB, if you’re reading this, thank you for writing. And I’d love a penpal. :)


    Pasty is dominating his college schedule, passing all tests with flying colors. And getting A’s, which is better than colors. His girlfriend from Tennessee is coming to visit in just about a week. We’re so excited, we just can’t hide it.

    There I times I have to literally refuse to get offended… to not be antagonized by someone else’s (real or perceived) actions, words, slights, condescensions, etc. My anger & indignation rises up… & I realize that at that very moment, I’m thinking an awful lot about me. ME. And goodness, am I of primary importance? Oh yes. Heavy sigh.

    Last night, I was playing with EllieG, my niece… we were wrestling around on the ground (which means I lay on my belly with my face in the carpet & she & her little sis the ZoeHawk use me as a jungle gym. Good times.) EllieG stopped climbing for a second & touched my head, smack dab on the big bald spot. She did it again, harder. Then she asked, “Tay, what HAPPENED to your hair?”

    “Ellie,” I replied, “it fell out. Sometimes when a man gets older, his hair falls out. And I’m getting older…”

    She pondered this for a second & said in the sweetest voice, “Oh. I’m SOOO sorry Tay. But I still like you.”

    Heavy sigh.