Sunday, March 29, 2015

On time

Let's see how many things I can find to do instead of my list of chores...blogging is one!

I usually cut it close when I get ready for the day. I have it down to 25 minutes to get ready for work, and it's around the same time that I usually get ready for church. Even when I'm already awake, I usually postpone the getting ready until the last minute.

The clock was ticking, and I was thinking that I needed to leave at 11 a.m. for church this morning, and then about 10:50 a.m. it dawned on me that church starts at 11 a.m. and I should probably leave earlier than the start time...

I cut it close, but worship was already going on when I walked through the doors and headed down the side aisle to my usual seat.

It was while I was getting ready that I thought about the timeliness of church. Most of our congregation comes in for the entire worship service, very few actually entering the sanctuary before the music starts. It seems normal.

Think about it though. If I was going to meet Jesus, I would be up and ready early. I would leave the house 20 minutes, at least, before I was supposed to be at the designated location for the meeting, because there is no way that I would want to be late for Jesus.

Isn't that what church is? Aren't we there to meet with God? If so, then why do we think it's OK to be late? Really, the fact that I didn't get all my make-up on doesn't mean anything compared to meeting with Jesus. I might not get my cup of coffee, or I might have to chew gum instead of brush my teeth, but I ought to be on time. I might even have to start getting ready earlier in order to make it. But that should be OK.

When we have kids, I want the example to be that we are on time for God. I don't want my kids to think that putting on mascara is more important than being there and showing God how important he is in our lives.

In fact, I want God to know how important he is in my life. And I better start showing it through my actions.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Krystal's shower

"Friends are friends forever!"

In college, friendship was so easy. You knocked on your neighbors door and headed to get the next meal. You made dates for basketball games. You had class together. You worked out together. You spend your weekends together.

You promise yourselves that you will stay in touch after graduation.

Our fabulous five has done pretty good at staying in touch over the last five years. We've had wedding showers and weddings, and we try to do a bi-weekly video chat.

As time has gone on, it has gotten more and more difficult to find a night of the week that all five of us can log onto the computer. It's sad to see that go by the wayside, but I'm sure it will become even more difficult as friends start to have kids for them to find quiet moments.

But there's always the big moments. Like today, we had my friend Krystal's baby shower. It was wonderful to not only see her but to celebrate this next stage of life with her. I can't help but share a few shots from the days, and with these pictures comes hope for the future.

I hope that our vision to stay in touch truly does work out, and I hope even more that the little baby growing inside Krystal eventually finds some friends that are as wonderful as the ones I found in college.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Baby shower shopping

Whoops! It's been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. Time flew by and I didn't even realize it.

It's been interesting in that I have a couple of baby showers coming up. One is tomorrow, and I didn't know about it early enough to order something from my friend's registry, so I went to Wal-Mart --- the only place we have to shop for baby gifts --- and looked around for something to get.

Diapers, I figured, everyone needs. However, on her registry, she asked for diaper inserts for cloth diapers. Cloth diapers? I don't even know how those work. But I looked around for diaper inserts.

No such luck. Wal-Mart here only has disposable diapers.

Maybe baby medicine? Is that something that new moms would want?

I called my sister-in-law, who has two little girls, and asked. She didn't seem impressed with the idea, so Nate and I put that back on the shelf. My sister-in-law gave me some great ideas, but Wal-Mart didn't seem to carry any of the items that she mentioned except for a baby sling. I saw some on the shelf, but what would my friend want? That's a decision that she should probably make for herself, so I again put the item back.

Nate and I walked around and around and around the baby section, staring at items and having no idea what a new parent would want.

Apparently, we have no idea about children.

I've also seen plenty of people on Facebook talk about being  pregnant and what you can't eat and what you should eat for good development, and I had no idea. I think I would have just kept going like normal and not realized that you're supposed to change your diet.

I guess every new parent feels that way, unless you have been a nanny or a delivery room nurse for years and year, maybe. I'll have to keep watch and see what my friends do with kids. Then by the time Nate and I are considering a family, maybe we'll know more of what to do!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Choosing a life of content

My mom and I were chatting about a relative who has wished for years to just be alone. That person now lives alone and hasn't been happy about it. It's hard when the house is so quiet. It's boring. There's no one to talk to.

Many people think like that --- I'll be happy when I am married. I'll be happy when I'm divorced. I'll be happy when I have a baby. I'll be happy when my kids are out of the house. I'll be happy when...

That's the thing about contentedness, if you're not content now you won't be content later. When you get what you want, something else will knock and your desire will be aroused for that next item. Then you'll be happy when... again.

Most Americans, perhaps people around the world as well, think of contentedness as a feeling that you don't have any control over. It's a lot like the way people think about love. If you get what you want or if you just meet that perfect person, you will be content or your will just fall in love. If you get what you want, you will then stay content. If you meet that perfect person, you will stay in love.

That's irrational though. Like love, contentedness is a choice. I've written before that we all have to wake up and choose to continue to love our spouses. No one is perfect, and if you go off of feeling, you will fall out of love eventually. If you decide to love someone, no matter what they do or how you feel that day, you will have a long life together and a successful marriage.

Contentedness is the same way. You have to choose to wake up and be content with who you are, where you are in life, where you live and what you have. You may dream, but you don't covet what others have and you don't live for the moment when you are where you want to be and you have what you want. You are where you are today, and you will have a much better life if you accept that and be content with it.

It doesn't sound as good, but we could put it to the words of a popular children's song that started to go through my head the other day --- "I'm content, content, content, content, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart. I'm content, content, content, content, down in my heart. Down in my heart today."

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sometimes work is just work

It frustrated me a little bit at Sunday school last week, because we were talking about vocational calling. The book had talked about finding a job where you can use your gifts, and my fellow Sunday school students mentioned you know you're in the right job when you are doing what your passion is and time flies.

I am blessed to be in a job that I love. Time often does fly for me, and I get to do a lot of different things which fits my personality. It is wonderful, and I feel like I fit right with what they were saying.

What frustrated me was many people do not have that luxury. My dad, for one, has spent 30 years in a job that he doesn't particularly enjoy. It is not what he set out to do, and I know that he would have rather been farming or doing something that aligned more with his interests for that much time.

However, he had a family to support, and he had a job that paid the bills. That was what was important. I will always appreciate that he did what he had to to support his family.

Nate's dad was the same way. Thirty years at UPS was not necessarily his "dream" where time flew by every day. Instead, he invested in a career and stuck to it in order to support his family.

Think of how many grandparents and great-grandparents never even thought about finding their "vocational calling." They got out of bed and trudged off to work, sometimes horrible work, and they did it to support their families.

I think this is a wonderful sacrifice and a sacrifice that the majority of people are called to. We shouldn't waste our lives looking for a job that leaves us fulfilled and makes time fly by. We should prioritize our lives, and if supporting your family is at the top, as it should be, then you make it work. You get up and you go to a job, even if you don't like it, and you make the most of that experience.

I think a lot of what is wrong in our culture is that people want to have the perfect job. There are lots of menial tasks that people won't do because they think they are above them and instead live off of what they get from the government or mooch off of family. They won't "demean" themselves to these jobs that they won't enjoy.

It's not always about enjoying what you do. Again, you should feel blessed if you are in a place that you truly feel called and doing what you truly have a passion for, but not everyone can do that and I don't think we should put pressure on people to find work like that.

Sometimes work is just work. If that is your kind of work, good for you for sticking to. Your family will appreciate the sacrifices that you are making for them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Children in the land of Babylon

I've written before how Nate and I aren't sure about having children. There's always the possibility that the world will end, that one or both of us will not live, that we won't be able to have children or that it's just not God's will for us.

One thing we've talked about is that we're not sure we want to bring children into this messed up world. At church the other week, it was mentioned how Jeremiah and the Israelites at that time were called to procreate and bring children into the messed up world they lived in. Those children were supposed to make a difference in that terrible place.

I guess that's the way you have to look at having children at any time. The world always seems to be going down the tubes. In bad times and good, people continue having families, and you have to trust God and bring up your kids in a way that will teaches them to make a positive difference in a dark world.

One of my friends said that you never know if your kids will make a positive impact. You might have a child that rebels against everything you have taught them, and they might be a horrible impact.

But the Bible says to teach children the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart from it. It's up to parents to be a good influence and to teach their children what is right. Then you simply have to trust God to work in their lives and help them be that positive influence in a dingy culture.

We don't know what the future will hold, and we're content to live one day at a time. However, if we do end up with an extended family, we'll have to remember that even if the world looks bleak our kids can make a difference. We don't have to follow the depressing pattern that is around us, but we can have that positive impact, if only from the help of God.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stand firm in the end

The end of the different New Testament letters are usually overlooked. "By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you..." 1 Peter ends.

We don't pay attention to that usually. We don't realize that Silvanus was a courier chosen by Peter to take his letter to different churches and to read this letter in the way Peter wanted it read.

The ending goes on to say "exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it."

Our pastor talked about ways that we can stand firm amidst life and whatever it throws at us. Stand firm in the knowledge that God cares for us. Stand firm by knowing who the enemy is and how to fight him. We resist Satan by believing the truth of God's Word and knowing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Stand firm in it.

That just sounds like a normal encouragement. But that was Peter telling these people to stand firm in the grace of God. When someone who has suffered for God says it is worth it and tells you to also stand firm, it means more. It's not a worthless statement. It is strong.

He could see the future. It is worth to stand firm because of where we will end up. Heaven is worth this bit of suffering in this life.

It's a little statement at the end of a chapter and a book, but "stand firm in it" is more important than you might think. Don't overlook those little parts of the Bible---everything is in there for a reason.