Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keep them safe

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, line of duty deaths for peace officers have increased 6 percent this year.

There have been 49 gunfire deaths, up 17 percent from last year.

Sometimes the offenders in these crimes are caught and prosecuted. However, they also don't always serve their full sentence. Sometimes these cop killers get put back on the streets.

On Tuesday, October 12, 1976, Larchmont Police Officer Arthur DeMatte attempted to remove Blanks from the railroad tracks. Blanks disregarded the officer and in the ensuing struggle disarmed and murdered Officer DeMatte with the officer's own weapon.

The Officer Down Memorial Page is asking for people to send letters to the parole board to keep this cop killer from getting back on the streets.

Visit www.odmp.org/noparole/prepare/4012 to send a letter of your own.

Let's keep our officers safe and show that those who hurt them should pay the price.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rain rain, I don't mind if you stay

I usually only say it's beautiful weather outside when the sun is shining and the sky is blue.

However, I really love it when the skies are grey and it rains outside too.

I walked to the grocery store tonight to get some ingredients to enjoy a meal of smoked salmon straight from Alaska - yum - and it was misting outside.

The grey skies might makes things look a little dingy - the red brick buildings weren't quite as bright and the grey tin buildings looked dark and bland. However, the chill weather and the little bit of mist made me feel comfortable inside.

Whether you're inside enjoying a hot drink on a cool day, snuggled in bed with the dark skies relaxing you or walking in the cool weather, it's nice to have a change after summer.

I admit, I don't usually like it when the weather starts to change. Nate gets so excited when the temperatures start to drop and he can wear sweatshirts and go duck hunting. I don't look forward to the times when I have to put away my shorts and tank tops.

However, I think the weather today made me ready for fall. I find darkness comforting, and I love that my apartment is a cool and dark, the gray skies making my body think it's time for bed.

The cool weather made me feel relaxed as I walked outside instead of the usual sweat that comes from walking in heat and humidity.

Changing seasons and weather also makes me think about God and his power in controlling something as mighty as the weather.

So fall, bring it on. And rain, you don't have to go away and come again another day. You're fine right where you are!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The grass is always greener

Who came up with the statement, The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence?

Whoever it was, they had a beautiful way of describing people's tendencies to be jealous of others.

I was watching "Rizzoli and Isles" on TV last night, and the friends were each unhappy with their mothers. One's mom didn't really take an interest in her daughter, and the other took an over-active interest. However, they both appreciated and wanted a mom like the other had.

Whether it's how involved our parents are to our body image to what kind of home we live in, we all have a tendency to want what other people have - even if those same people are looking at us and coveting what we have.

When you start to get jealous of anything that you don't have today, stop and say a quick prayer for what you do have - even if it's not perfect.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The positive side of life

I don't know what's been wrong with me the past couple of days, but I have been in a crabby mood - even starting to cry for no reason.

I really want to be the kind of person that can act happy even when I don't feel it, but I wear my emotions on my sleeve. Most people might not notice it, but the people I'm closest to can always tell how I am feeling, especially Nate.

For Nate, I want to be the happy-go-lucky woman that he can't wait to spend time with. Sometimes I think I am so comfortable with him and our relationship that I don't try to be in as good a mood as I should be.

I hate when I am crabby for no good reason, and I am determined to be a shining light, a person that people always talk about being in a good mood and smiling. I used to be that person, with the nickname Smiley Kiley. I'm not exactly sure what has happened, but I need to start looking more on the positive side of life again.

Want to join me? As this new week starts, let's all determine to be in better moods and to make a difference in people's lives just by our happy attitudes.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The moments you remember

One of my favorite book series growing up was the Grandma's Attic series by Arleta Richardson.

Some of the books tell stories about a young girl named Mabel and her best friend, Sarah Jane, growing up after the Civil War.

A following series, that I still treasure and read, follows Mabel as she attends high school, teaches, gets married and has a family.

I just finished the series and read the author's note at the back of the book. Richardson, who is Mabel's granddaughter, talked about the stories. Many of the stories are everyday moments, yet it is the times that are looked back on with fondest when one grows old.

Whether it's the time that she went to the county fair, the ice cream social, berry picking, the wedding of friends - simple times are the ones that Mabel remembered when she reached 90 years old.

I wonder what I will look back on when I get old. I also wonder how I will be remembered when I die. Sometimes I think about what people would say if I died today. How much of a difference have I really made in people's lives.

Live your life in a way that you will remember and be proud of when you get old.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Home Alone 2

The "Home Alone" movies are full of tricks and traps that make people laugh.

However, the movies are also chock full of lessons. In the second film, "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," Kevin purchases something for himself at a New York City toy store. When he learns that the owner is donating all the proceeds from Christmas Eve sales to a children's hospital, he pulls out $50 to donate as well.

He said those kids need it more than he did.

That's typical of many little kids, giving to others because they know that the candy and trinkets they want to buy aren't as important as the needy.

However, many adults forget that. I find it interesting that while watching "Home Alone 2" on TV, the commercials are chock full of ads telling kids exactly what they need - pillow animals, cookie dough presses, dolls with crazy hair.

Instead of telling our kids what toys they can't live without, maybe we should be encouraging them to go with their giving instincts so they grow up with a desire to give to others instead of always buying things for themselves.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A little giggle

I did an interview today, talking to the owner of a local raspberry patch.

The 80-year-old woman is just the sweetest person to talk to, and I bet you could keep chattering for hours.

She had just had surgery this morning, and she was upset that her doctor was not letting her go out to the raspberry patch. She is used to having at least one piece of raspberry pie each day, and she didn't have any raspberries to make a pie with.

However, she laughed the whole time about how much she detested being stuck indoors, how much she loved raspberries and how much she enjoyed talking to the people who come buy to purchase the fruit.

The woman's giggle was infectuous. It seems that way with all laughs. How can you not at least smile when other people around you are laughing?

It's great to see someone who has a zest for life, even when they are not in the greatest of health. She probably doesn't even realize that her upbeat personality is something that others appreciate, but I hope that we all think about how our attitudes affect others.

A little giggle, enjoying the good times in life, can go a long way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Delicate flower

I'm not a very tough person.

When I got my finger pricked recently, I thought about the little twinge of pain all day. When I am sick, all I think about is how bad I feel, and I'm usually grumpy because of it.

Yesterday, Nate woke up not feeling well. However, he said that he wishes he could be grumpy when he's sick - because he feels grumpy - but he just can't act grumpy about it.

He is the best sick person I have ever met.

Nate very rarely gets sick, and other than a cold, I have never actually seen him sick. It's hard to even tell he's sick now if you don't know him very well, because he still keeps a smile on his face.

Even with a bad case of strep throat and possible Lyme disease, he is still upbeat. The only downfall is he hates that he is going to be stuck inside for a few days.

I went to Wal-Mart to buy him some medicine, juice, soup, etc. I tried to think of all the things that I want when I'm sick, but he really wouldn't tell me anything that he wanted besides some soup.

When I said I was a weinie last time I was sick, Nate said I was just a "delicate flower." That was sweet of him to say, but now seeing him sick I think he is just the exact opposite - what is that? I don't know, a rock or something.

Whatever he is, he's a tough guy, and I'm proud of him. I wish that I was like that when I was sick. It would probably make everyone around me much happier!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why are you asking?

"You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:2b-3
When you finish up reading the second verse in James 4, you think, oh I just have to ask God and I can get whatever I want.

Then he clarifies it by saying when you don't get what you want, it's because you have a wrong reason for asking.

This could be money - why should God bless you with a better job or higher salary? Will you spend it on more movies and travels and eating out? Or will you share it with others?

This could be time - if you're too busy, what would you do with more time? Would you spend it serving others and spending time with family and friends or would you sit on your behind in front of the TV?

Next time you ask for something, ask yourself why you're requesting it. What will you do with it if you do get it?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Phobias

I have irrational fear of snakes. I think I've told you this before.

It went so far that when I shelved books at a previous job in a library, I would try to leave the snake books for someone else to put away. Otherwise, I would just hold the books by the binding so I didn't have to touch the disgusting snakes curled up on the cover.

It's normal to be scared of some things, but phobias are irrational fears. Do you have a kind of phobia that haunts you day by day?

If not, you might find some of these fun:
Monophobia: Being alone
Myrmecophobia: Ants
Phalacrophobia: Becoming bald
Hemophobia: Blood
Coimetrophobia: Cemeteries
Enochlophobia: Crowds
Chorophobia: Dancing
Thanatophobia: Death or dying
Ichthyophobia: Fish
Philemaphobia: Kissing
Limnophobia: Lakes
Gamophobia: Marriage
Onomatophobia: Names or hearing a certain name
Soceraphobia: Parents-in-law
Ophidiophobia: Snakes
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Long words

I always thought the names of phobias were intersting. I guess the doctors who came up with them had some fun with it too - the people who have a phobia of long words would be terrified to say what they were diagnosed with!

(Source: Phobialist.com)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thinking about life

Blogging is an interesting phenomenon.

Every weekday, I put my computer on my lap, and I try to think of something to say.

I'm just a plain, boring woman, with an uninteresting life, and who knows if anyone really reads what I say anyway - well, anyone beyond my mom and Nate's mom :)

However, having this blog forces me to think about life and to contemplate the meaning in little situations and in what I hear in a sermon or on the radio.

Many people blog, because they think they have something interesting to say. I tend to blog, because I don't have anything interesting to say and the only way I can get out what I feel is by writing instead of talking.

I say that I don't have an interesting life, but really, who am I to say that?

I am on this earth, because God saw fit to create me and put me here. What is life really, other than a compilation of days, and what makes them interesting?

Is life only the trips that we take and the exotic places that we see, and the rest is boring? Is life only the milestones of graduating from school, getting married, having a baby and watching them go through life's milestones? Is life only nights out with friends and those times that we saw, 'It was a great night?'

I think we discredit a lot of life that we are given. We discredit those little moments and those breaths that we have that don't seem to mean a lot except for the fact that we are breathing and alive at that moment.

I may only be watching TV and typing on the computer. I may be the only person in the room, but I am alive. I don't have to be, but I am.

That's amazing in itself.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just keep swimming...

If you haven't seen the movie "Finding Nemo," then you probably don't understand this headline.

To explain, in the movie, Marlin and his friend Dori are on the search for Marlin's son, Nemo. When they are at a loss, they just keep swimming on.

Then Dori starts singing, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do you do? You swim, swim."

It might be an annoying song if someone kept singing it over and over, but really it's a good lesson in life.

Just keep swimming.

Just keep moving.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I notice often that when I am sluggish, the more I laze around, the less I want to do. When I am extremely busy, I get home and am still in a tizzy, so I continue to be productive.

If you stop swimming, sometimes it can get hard to start back up again.

Whether this relates to a hard point in life or just getting motivated, it's usually a good idea to just keep swimming.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Help!

My life isn't quite as good as some other people's.

At least in some ways.

In some ways, I have a life that many people would kill for. Yet, when I see others have something I wish I had - not usually material possessions but life accomplishments - the first thing I get is a knot in my stomach as I contemplate what I want.

I admit, sometimes I wish other people ill fortune just so I can feel better. I hope you don't think worse of me.

When I start feeling ill, covetous (is that a word?) I say, help!

Help me God! I know I shouldn't feel like this, but I just can't help it in my human nature. Help me! Help me be satisfied with what I have. Help me find what I strive for in life. Help me be content in what you have given until you give me the next you have in store.

When life doesn't go as planned, just yell.

Help!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tasty days

When I lived in a city all by myself, I used to try to make a lot of interesting meals for myself.

A lot of them ended up bad.

It's hard to cook a meal for one person, and I have enjoyed living in the same town as Nate so that I can share most of my meals. They turn out a lot better when I can cook meals for two or more.

However, we are also blessed to live in a small town that has a lot of food choices for eating out.

Sometimes I don't really want to cook, or we are busy and it's easier to pick something up than to take the time to make a meal.

I am a big fan of food, and of eating out.

Last night, I was hungry but was waiting until our normal dinner time at about 8 p.m. The food channel was on, and I was getting hungrier by the moment.

On "Man vs. Food," Adam visited a Mexican restaurant somewhere down south. My mouth started to water looking at the cheese-covered burritos and delicious sauces.

Yep, I wanted Mexican.

Thankfully, we have a great authentic Mexican restaurant. After hounding down on some homemade chips and salsa, the waitress brought me my meal.

I usually look for toppings rather than just the type of dish - because I love items covered in cheese sauce and gaucamole.

I decided to try something new, going for a seafood entree rather than the normal beef that I usually go for.

The flour tortilla was filled with shrimp, refried beans, tomatoes and onions - which I picked out. It was topped with fresh lettuce, gaucamole, tomato and a light cheese sauce.

After downing the dish quickly, I had a smile on my face.

"Yum."

"Hit the spot?" Nate asked.

I answered in the affirmative, kind of amazed how a simple delicious meal can really make your day.

Splurge and have something yummy today!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Christianese

Christians want to reach out to non-believers in their lives.

However, many times a barrier exists between those who have grown up in the church and those who haven't. Many Christians who have been Christians for years have a way of speaking that they have developed that may put other people off - a way of speaking that makes them sound condescending, even when they're not meaning to be.

Let's call it Christianese.

"My soul awakened..."

"I need to be intentional..."

"Let's get together and fellowship..."

"Spirit-filled experience..."

I don't think there is anything implicitly wrong with these phrases, and I have used many of them before. But I think there is a time and a place to speak Christianese - with people who are of the same mindset as you.

For those who did not grow up in the church, talking about the Lord instead of just saying God, fellowship instead of hanging out, intentionality instead of it would be good for me to do this, can make Christianity seem like a whole other universe.

Sometimes I even listen to others talk, and it seems like they are being over-the-top and fake in their faith, even if they're not.

I've heard a lot of talks recently about the need for Christians to be transparent. Ruth Graham said, "We don't have to make God look good."

Speaking Christianese doesn't make us any more faith-filled, but it can sometimes put a barrier between us and others not raised in the church.

("The church" is probably another Christianese statement, actually.)

It's important for Christians to set themselves apart, but in a way that people aspire to, not in a way that sets us above everyone else.

Looking up Christianese online, I found this site that translates common Christian phrases. You might get a kick out of it.

http://www.becausepeoplematter.com/marks_weblog/2008/01/christianese-tr.html

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Everyday Sounds

Even as you read this, you most likely are hearing sounds in the background.

Maybe a TV is on, a fan is blowing, birds are chirping outside, a car is driving past, a neighbor is mowing their lawn.

Do you know why you are hearing those sounds?

Objects produce sound when they vibrate in matter, and those sounds travel through the air waves.

The outer ear catches vibrations in those air waves, and your brain can distinguish where a sound came from by how it bounces off the parts of your outer ear.

Sounds are funneled into your ear drum and vibrate your ear drum. The cochlea conducts the vibrations through a fluid, and little hair cells send an electrical impulse to the cochlear nerve which messages the cerebral cortex which interprets the sounds.

All of that happens so quickly, that we can match up the sounds we hear with the movements that we see.

In church on Sunday, the pastor talked about the hearing process when speaking on a passage in James about the power of the tongue. However, it really struck me how intricate our daily bodily processes are.

Whether it's the blood constantly flowing through our veins, light refracting in our eyes, the unconscious actions of breathing, blinking and swallowing spit - we are awesome.

These are everyday moments that make sure we get through everyday.

Thank you Lord for everyday moments that we don't even notice.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Lesson from Aaron Shust

video

I recorded this during a recent Aaron Shust concert that I attended.

When I went, I didn't actually know who Aaron Shust was, but I thought it would be fun to attend a free Christian concert, so I set out.

Although his music was beautiful, I think the biggest lesson I took away from the evening was from a story he told about a friend who was doing mission work in Africa.

The friend was from the United Kingdom, I believe, and he was talking to a farmer in a small African village.

The man told the farmer, "I'll pray for you."

And the farmer gave him a weird look, asking him why he would need prayers.

The man said, "You're poor. I'll pray for you."

The farmer responded, "You're poor, I'll pray for you."

The man countered, "No, I'm not poor. God has blessed me richly. I'll pray for you."

The farmer said, "You have many things and God. I only have God. I'll pray for you."

Shust was amazed, as am I, that the people we think we need to reach out to are actually praying for us. They realize that we have too much stuff to rely on, which makes us rely on God less.

They see, in ways that we don't, that having only God is more valuable than having stuff plus God.

Instead of praying for God to bless other countries with more riches, maybe we should pray that God will bless all of us with an undying desire for him, and him alone. Whether we have stuff or not, that's what we all need.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Influences

Do we know what influences us?

Often - I was going to say sometimes, but let's be real, it's more often than that - when I fall asleep without some kind of sound in the background I get nervous. I don't like to hear the little creaks and groans of the apartment and the sounds outside, because I start to imagine terrible things.

Instead, I usually fall asleep with the TV or a movie going. It may go back to growing up when I fell asleep to "Adventures in Odyssey" every night.

Since my body is used to falling asleep with the TV on, sometimes when I am just watching TV I end up dozing off.

This happened tonight as I was watching "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

Sometimes when I nap with the TV on, I am not in a very deep sleep. I will start to dream really weird dreams, and when I wake up I realize that what was going on in my dreams had coincided with what I was hearing from the TV.

I don't realize that my actions in my dreams are being influenced by an outside source.

That kind of applies to real life. I don't think I realize just how often my actions are being influenced by an outside source, something that I don't even notice is steering the way I am going.

This can be good when the steering is from God, but I'm thinking that we often have ungodly unconscious sources steering us as well.

Although we don't have to examine every little move we make, it is important that we stop sometimes and think about why we are acting as we are. What is influencing you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Climb a mountain

You've just walked for miles and miles in the desert.

You're thirsty, sweaty and dirty. Your stomach is growling, and your feet are aching.

All you want to do is sit down, gulp a cup of water and close your eyes as a cool breeze wafts over you.

However, when you reach where you're going, the one you're following invites you to climb a mountain.

What?

Heck no!

At least that would be my answer.

When Jesus invited his disciples to follow him up a mountain, they probably didn't want to, but they took a deep breath and followed him just a bit farther.

At the top of that mountain, the experienced the transfiguration of Jesus. They heard the voice of God and saw a glimpse of just how big Jesus really is.

What they would have missed if they said no.

Sometimes when we are the most exhausted, when situations just aren't going out way, we want to just sit down and go to sleep. We want to give up for the time being and let life pass us by for a little while.

Sometimes God will let you rest. However, sometimes he wants you to follow him just a bit further to experience his glory in a way that you could never imagine.

When he asks, will you climb that mountain?

(Thanks to Pastor Leland Schmidt for this lesson on Sunday).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Family connections

Well, to catch you all up, because I left the last post a little frustrated - thank God for a wonderfully relaxing weekend :)

In college, every once in a while I would get a 7:30 a.m. wake up call from my dad. He goes to work about 5:30 every day, so 7:30 a.m. seems late to him, yet extremely early to me.

He listens a lot to Christian radio when he's at work, so he often hears sermons or shows that bring up ideas he wants to share with his loved ones.

Those early morning wake up calls, which didn't actually happen all that often, were him wanting to share a profound thought with me.

I remember sitting out in the hallway with my squinty sleep eyes, listening to my dad's deep words.

He gave me another call today, although thankfully it wasn't quite that early, to share a deep thought.

We talked about how friends and whether we let non-Christian friends influence us or whether our influence extends to them. We got on to other topics like people pleasing and other stuff.

My dad is simple but has deep thoughts. He is quiet but that hides a beautiful mind and heart. I love that we can talk and that he calls me to talk about spiritual ideas.

I have talks with my dad and my mom, and I really appreciate that we can have those strong family connections that stretch beyond blood ties and love for each other, into spiritual relationships. Those can be some of the strongest bonds, and I love that we have all of those connections together.

I'm so glad that my parents raised me with a love for God, and I'm thankful that we have such great family connections.

I look up to both my parents and their relationships with God.

Thanks dad and mom for giving me all that you have, emotionally, physically and spiritually.