Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Random Favorites

  1. Favorite color: blue (navy, sky, turquoise, azure, royal, periwinkle- all blues)
  2. Favorite season: Spring!
  3. Favorite type of music: country
  4. Favorite music group: Eagles
  5. Favorite actor: It's a tie between Brad Pitt and Paul Newman
  6. Favorite actress: It's a tie too - Julia Roberts and Geena Davis
  7. Favorite movie line: "I'd rather have a man hit me than lie to me. At least then you now when the pain starts and when it stops" (White Palace)
  8. Favorite old TV shows: Home Improvement, Grace Under Fire, Star Trek (the original...yes, I'm a dork)
  9. Favorite current TV shows: Numbers, Design Star, NCIS
  10. Favorite thing to do: travel
  11. Favorite restaurant ever: Mama's Fish House in Maui, Hawaii
  12. Favorite quote: "I'm an optimist, but I'm an optimist who takes his raincoat." -Harold Wilson
  13. Favorite Bible verse: Phillipians 4:13(KJV) - I can do all things through Christ who strentheneth me.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I am fascinated by the GPS's (global positioning system) available to help you find your way when you are lost. I actually have some mixed feelings about them. Initially my thought was simply that they were an awesome invention because I have no personal sense of direction. I do fine as long as I have a map or specific directions that include 'turn right" as opposed to "turn west", but without one of those... consider me LOST! After using the On Star in my new HHR I discovered a couple of things. First, it was a little disconcerting that they could pinpoint my exact location - that "Big Brother" is watching sort of feeling. Second, the directions they gave me (from one teeny-tiny Indiana town to another one that wasn't even on my map) did not get me where I was trying to go. A friendly farmer at the side of the road, however, directed us to both the town and the building we were hunting. The error could have been by On Star - or possibly in how I communicated to them where I was trying to go - or in my attempt to follow their directions. Regardless, we arrived safely and on time at our destination. There was some comfort in knowing that help was just the push of a button away. I later started thinking about how the Holy Spirit acts as our own personal GPS (God's Perfect System). We know our final destination and we have a map (Bible) to guide us. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves in situations or places where the directions seem unclear or there are several roads that seem to lead to the same end but we don't know which is the best one to take. That's when we need to use God's GPS. While I am positive God's GPS never makes an error the other problems still occur. How often do we not even bother using the system because we think we know where we are going or the best way to get there? How often do we ignore the system because we want to go our own way which looks easier, more fun, or more scenic - usually to find we've chosen the rugged path with lots of hairpin turns and few rest stops? How often do we not communicate well (pray) first before embarking on our journey? How often do we not listen fully to the directions when they are given. I'm certainly guilty of only hearing part of what the spirit is trying to tell me because I think I know the rest or because I need to hurry on to my most current side trip. Further, if we don't understand the directions clearly, how often does pride or fear keep us from asking that friendly farmer who has been down the road before and will gladly share what he has found to be the best way to go? What would happen if we consulted God's GPS every step of the way? Not just for the "big" trips or after we've managed to get ourselves totally lost, but every single step. What if we got off the super highway of life we Americans live on and took the road that God has planned out from our birth to our death? I think parts of that road might be like the super highway- those places where satan is lying in wait for us to skid off the road and God wants us to pass by quickly and avoid taking a wrong exit. I think parts of the road are like a peaceful country lane where the road is familiar and safe. An occasionally roller coaster ride along the way may help us remain mindful of our reliance on God and cause us to keep focused on His GPS. I'm sure there are some scenic routes that God uses to teach us and to help us grow. Undoubtedly there are some crossroads along the way where we're sure we must be misunderstanding the GPS - where we know that if we only take the road to the left it is better road and will be a smoother, easier ride. So we make a choice. Either we follow the GPS or we rely on our own knowledge or instinct and likely end up stuck in some frightening part of town that we can't get out of soon enough. I try now to notice the On Star call button and the emergency button each time I get in my car. I remind myself that God is never too busy for my call for directions or help no matter how short the road is that I'm heading down. Even if it's as small a decision as my driveway is long, He'll offer guidance. I make a mental note to keep my eyes open for a specially placed friendly farmer if I get confused by the directions or accidentally make a wrong turn. Finally, I thank God for giving me His GPS so I don't spend my life lost.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Parents Learn What They Live

There are numerous books and articles about the influence that parents have on their children. My favorite is a little piece called Children Live What They Learn by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. However, I don't recall ever seeing anything about the influence children have on their parents. I realized fairly quickly after son J. got married that he has always been my encourager and supporter. I can't begin to count the number of times he said to me, in one form or another, "you can do it Mom". Whether he was 9 years old and assuring me that I could make it to the end of the trail we were hiking or, more recently at 23, encouraging me on my endeavor to lose weight, he's always been the one to tell me that everything would be okay or that it was "great" how I did something. When considering a new adventure, life-change, hobby or anything that I felt insecure about taking on, he would be the one saying "go for it". Daughter C. is my sounding board, conscience, and kindest critic. She is the one who will tell me when I'm being unreasonable about something or that my stance on an issue is valid. She's the one I take shopping with me because I know she'll be honest about how things look when I try them on. I've heard everything from "that looks great" or "it's not my style but it's yours and it fits" to "Mom, you're too old to wear that" or just 'Uh, NO!" She helps me keep perspective on things and is always available to talk or to help with anything that needs to be done. There are many things about us that are very similar and we all laugh about her being my "Mini Me". Daughter S. is the humor factor in my life. When she comes for Sunday dinner it is like dinner and a show! She always has stories to tell and can say things in the most comical ways. We truly never know what she will say or come up with next. She'd make a great stand up comedian. She is more adventurous and more likely to question things that I think are "obvious" making me sometimes question them too. She keeps me from taking things for granted and keeps me on my toes. Son B. is the curious, philosophical one. He is the one who started asking questions about life and God that it stretched me to be able to answer - like about free will or divine providence. His questions often required further research on my part to be able to give him something other than a superficial answer that wouldn't satisfy either of us. He's in college now and we don't seem to have those conversations anymore. I miss that - both the time with him and the way those conversations made me think and learn and grow. In their own way, each of my children has enriched and influenced my life - the way I think, the things I do, my priorities. I am grateful to each of them and consider them each a cherished blessing from God.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Aunt Maudie

My Aunt Maudie recently passed away. She was in her nineties and was my Mom's last living sibling. She was a strong woman of God and was one of my favorite aunts. Her favorite Bible verse was Proverbs 3:6 - "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight," -and she lived it. Maudie always had a humorous way of looking at things and of telling family stories. I hadn't really thought about what impact she'd had on my life until days later when I was sitting in the restaurant at the Cumberland Falls Resort watching finches at a bird feeder and two squirrels below chasing after any fallen seed. It reminded me of sitting at Aunt Maudie's "picture" window and watching the various wildlife always seen in her yard. She would identify the different birds for us (probably how I knew the ones I was watching were finches) and then point out the different varieties of flowers that grew in her yard. We'd often take a walking tour of the yard and learn all kinds of things about nature and how God made each thing exactly the way it was for some specific purpose. She made it all so fun that even as we edged into our early teens we didn't really realize we were learning things. Thinking back, I realize that my love of nature, and for being in the woods, probably came from her. I live in my own woods now and I relish any chance I get to sit outside and enjoy a sunset or to watch the lizards playing. Aunt Maudie never had an opportunity to see the world from my front porch but I think she would have loved it as much as I loved looking out her "picture" window.