25 June 2012


For the last few weeks, I've smelled a smell in the laundry room. It has taken over the house.

Ian thinks something died under the house. We got home from church yesterday and could smell it. It stank.

So Ian ran to the store and bought smelly candles and air-deodorant-spray. I rarely--well, never--use those products because I'm quite sensitive to smells. But this stink was bad.

So. Ian got home, sprayed the spray around--and I began wheezing and coughing. It turns out I'm not jus paranoid--I do actually have allergies against artificial smells.

Now the west end of the house smells like deodorant spray--it's the same stuff they used at the vet's office I visited in high school the last time I had a pet--and rotting meat. It's worse than just rotting meat.

It's making me sad. I'm getting maudlin. "Poor me! Why does this have to happen to me? Why doesn't God heal my allergies?" and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

So! I shall make a list of everything I have to be thankful for in this situation:
-This house. It's such a gift to have shelter, let alone a nice, sturdy home that we own.
-An immune system that is a little too over active rather than 1) way too over active or 2) under active.
-A sense of smell. I smell rotting meat stink and artificial perfumey stink--but I also get to smell lovely things like the loamy smell of the woods, the freshness after a rain, roast beef or cookies or turkey in the oven. Also, it means I can taste millions of nuances: fresh peaches, applesauce, salsa and chips, turkey dinner, a tart apple, oatmeal with cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg...
-I know how it feels to be allergy-free, after a childhood of near-constant allergies.
-I can deodorize with other things--coffe-bean-candles and vanilla and simmering rosemary all some to mind.
-I can leave the house if it gets too bad.

And I should have started with eternal things to be thankful for:
-I belong to Christ.
-God so ordains every every circumstance to make me more like him and draw more glory to himself--even this Stink.
-God does not use circumstances to punish me. All the punishment had been meted out to Christ while I receive all the blessing.
-God is making me more like him. I see my sin so clearly--yet I also see true growth of character as I look back over the years.

09 June 2012

When I lose my temper, something breaks

A few years ago, I was angry and slammed a door. The window in the door was not sealed properly, so the slamming of the door caused the window to shatter explosively. Thank God my husband wasn't in the room!

I cried as I cleaned the glass shards from the floor and shelves. What a failure the evening was! How thankful I was for sparing me from hurting anyone! How I hate and abhor my temper!

I asked God to remind me that things shatter when I lose my temper. He does. But I jus lost my temper again and I broke something.

Son J1 is fighting naps, for whatever reason. I set him down for a nap and up he popped, and chattered and talked and yelled for attention--and I got mad.

I stormed into his room, told him sternly that he was to lie down and go to sleep--and as I walked in I saw his face go from 'happy to see you, Mama!' to 'Im being bad, but how?' in the space of a heartbeat.

Instead of breaking a window, I hurt my own son. Sigh. Perhaps he was being rebellious and needed a little heartbreak to teach him that disobedience is painful--but I don't know.

I do know that 'man's anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires' and that no good comes from my temper tantrums.

And he's still not sleeping. I could just cry with frustration and vexation.

07 June 2012

Happy New Week June 4: Vol. I

Well, you can tell that I meant to post this on Monday. Here it is, Thursday, and I'm just now getting around to it.

I have this theory that an entire year of resolutions is too much. People fill the fitness clubs in January and February but poop out soon after that. Quitting smoking, rewriting the resume, finally getting organized...the list goes on. Such good intentions on December 31 are smoke wafting away by March or April.

So I propose a new celebration--Happy New Week! After spending Sunday with the Lord's people, investing time and energy worshiping him, we can come to a new work week refreshed and invigorated to renew our desire to do what is right, to fight temptation and pursue righteousness, to seek the Lord's strength to obey him in all things.

We only have 6 work days in a row to labor, and our labor is not in vain. Let's take hold of God's grace and resolve, in humble reliance in God, to work at growing in a specific way. Forget the whole year! 12 months is too much pressure. Happy New Week, instead!


This week, I heard two sermons ob Sunday about the 1st petition of the Lord's Prayer: "Hallowed be your name." the first thing we are to pray for--even before our daily bread--is for God's name (his very identity as he reveals it to us) to be hallowed. Set aside. Kept reverent. To accomplish this, we should know him as he says he is and seek ways to do everything we do his way and for his sake.

To that end, this week I've been working to pray only thanks and praise to God for his nature, his providence, his ways and means, and refraining from jumping right into my wish list.

I pray for many of the same requests over and over and I fear my prayers sometimes slide way too easily into a honey-do list or a Santa wish list. God is not a cosmic vending machine but, well, God.

That has been my focus this week. Remembering that he is God. That he is holy. That I hallow his name when I know him as he is. That his name is hallowed.

02 June 2012

Forgiving my enemies

Listening to a podcast sermon, I'm convicted to forgive enemies I haven't thought of in years--but I know I haven't forgiven them.

"When you refuse to forgive your enemies, you carry them around with you and they have power over you. The Bible doesn't require you to like your enemies, but to choose the act of the will of forgiveness."

So, Lord, I choose to forgive ____ who was my nemesis throughout my school years. And ____ who told me the meanest thing I remember--we were in 6th grade and I'd recently gotten contacts. And ____ and ____. They went out of their way to exclude me and led many others to do the same.

Lord, everything in heaven and earth is yours. Even the circumstances of my past. You not only permitted it, but you ordained it! You arranged time and space so that these people were in my life. Why would you do such a thing? So I would know you better, so I would love you more, so I could trust you more.

I do believe! Help my unbelief!

Five minute Friday: See

Peek-a-boo! I see you!
"Look, Mama! Look at me!"
"Look me in the eyes when I'm speaking to you."

Why is looking so important? Why do we need to be seen?

The first connection I ever made with my son was looking at each other. I saw him. He saw me. It was magic to this weary, overwhelmed, immature and also postpartum-y new mama. I needed him to see me.

Remember the eye-contact game? You and your partner look at each other at a table. Then one of you ducks under the table and waits to make eye contact there. Variation: peeking around a tree.

Eye contact is powerful. It's magic. It's glitter and summertime sprinklers and hot chocolate after a snowball fight.

What do you see when you see me? Do you see someone lovable? Do you see someone you delight in?

One of my favorite Bible stories is of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert. "God!" she screamed. "We are dying! Don't you see me?" She'd lived her whole life at Sarai--oops, Sarah's--handmaiden, even going in to her husband's bed, and what did she get? The chance to die in the desert?

"God!" I scream. "Don't you see me? I love you and work hard and sacrifice for my children and submit to my husband and this is what I get? A baby who won't stop crying? When do I get to sleep?"

What does he say to Hagar? to me? "I see you. I am that I am. I am The God Who Sees."

I see you.
I see you.

I see you! Peek-a-boo!