Sunday, November 30, 2008

You can't call back thoughts

I said something I shouldn't have said.

I actually didn't even say it - I just thought it, the entire conversation took place in the confines of my head or maybe my heart... I can never tell anymore.

The thought had no more completed itself when I felt sincere regret. It's rare for me to say something to someone just to hurt. But that is all this thought could have accomplished.

And at the same time, I realized how childish I was being not just in that moment... but for the last year. I don't understand, I'm not getting my way, and so I'm acting the same as any child who did not get a much coveted toy.

But it's one of the few times that I truly and deeply regretted something I'd said -

to God.

So far, that event has quieted me. Though, I know others believe I've crossed the line with God before in my anger, this is the first time that I knew without a doubt that I had.
And it's not that I felt His anger over it, or felt afraid for my salvation, I just felt regret.
And I really don't like regret.

And for me, it took the violent wind out of my sails and left me with only quietness. I've been up and down a lot lately, so blissfully happy I can barely stand it, and then something else will happen and I'll find myself literally sick with fear and frustration.

But in the last few days as I quietly thought about the God I'd slung my hurtful thoughts at, I found myself watching these three videos - Awesome God , Psalms 139, Agnus Dei.
And in my sad quieted spirit, I considered how God is whatever He says He is, even when I doubt, even when I fear, even when I'm so frustrated I want to give up.

We read this morning from Psalms 46, and I had to consider the God of whom it speaks that "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted." That's not the small God that I'm slinging my foolish words to.
And to the great God, that I don't deserve to have hear me, I found myself speaking the first words in those chapter - with my own meanings.

God please be my refuge and strength, be my strength I need you to be a very present help in trouble. God, I'm so afraid, Help me not to fear, though violence come near and though my peace be as far away as the sea;

And God... I'm sorry. I didn't mean it.


I thought this was a very interesting article.

"Doing the right thing is worth money in the bank"

(HT: Byron Smith)

Monday, November 10, 2008


I don't know what happened on Sunday, but despite the fact that the day was going along just splendidly, it felt as though discouragement just reached out and hit me on the head.
There was nothing obvious to be discouraged over, and I was not discouraged about anything in particular, it just felt as though life was just too hard.

So I took a page from Davids book, and told my soul "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me".

And you know what? Nothing changed. You'd expect this to be an encouraging post that said "Oh, I just told myself to bless God, and suddenly the joy of the Lord was my strength!"
But it doesn't always work that way. The important thing, to me, and God, was that while I might not be able to physically change my emotions, or my own heart, I have authority over them. My heart may not have the strength to be thankful, but my heart can't refuse to allow my mouth to bless God. So I can still do my part, because of the spirit that is in me that is willing - even though sometimes my flesh is weak.

It kind of ties into something that I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks now.

Every night almost, I sit down to my piano and just take a time of praise and worship. It turns into prayers, or just songs, sometimes it just ends in silent contemplation. It's an enjoyable time any way I look at it.

There are sometimes, though, that I sit down and close my eyes, and as I begin to play you can just feel Gods presence. Those are the times that by the end, my hearts been broken, or Gods spoken to me about something, or He will tell me of a verse and when I look it up I'll have insight as to what it means that I had never caught before. Those times are amazing. Those times can go on, easily, for a couple of hours.

But on the nights when I don't feel that, I can get up 20-30 minutes later and just go back to my routine.

Hold that thought....

A couple of months back, I was in a really good song service, and the lady sitting next to me wasn't singing. She was holding my foster daughter in her arms and entertaining her during the song service rather than entering in to the service.
When we talked about it later, she said that the service wasn't moving her and that's why she didn't enter in. It wasn't her type of music and it didn't do anything for her.

Immediately I frowned, (it's a good thing we were on the phone) and I thought "there's something wrong with that". Worship, shouldn't be about you receiving. You're coming to give the worship.

Let me say that again, YOU are coming to HIM to give HIM the WORSHIP.

But when I looked at my habits in playing the piano... I can worship God longer when He does something for me. I speak this to my own shame. No one elses.
I think we're all just mixed up, tangled up, in our own self-indulgent self-seeking ways so our worship has become just that. OUR worship. Not His.

When we go to worship (and I'm certainly a chief sinner in this area) if it doesn't speak to me, if it doesn't move me, if it doesn't excite me or resonate with something I'm feeling - then I don't give it my all. "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me."

God is worthy of my sincerest, most heartfelt, most passionate, most worshipful, my highest praise - even if I don't like the way the words are arranged, the tune it's sung to, the tempo, or if it's been sung 27 times before. On number 28 I should be singing to bless the Lord with all that is within me.


I'm a part of the new worship movement. I enjoy contemporary fast songs,and the new worship songs that are coming out. I love the choruses, the hymns, and awesome praise and worship. That's a good thing, but it's also an obstacle to overcome. Because all that is about what I love. I really don't think God cares. It's all praise to Him. But sometimes I get wrapped up in "why aren't they singing like they mean it?" I condemn others for singing "Oh I want to see Him" like they're singing about how much they want to see their dentist - rather than the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And I do that to the point that I fail to worship myself.

I don't want this blog to be about just condemning myself - but sticking with the "walk" theme... sometimes I see scenery along this walk that I don't think would be on the main road God would have me to be on. Maybe I'm still going the right direction, but instead of walking on the road He'd have me be on, I'm shuffling through the grass off to the side and every now and then a correction needs to be made to get me on track.

I thank God, as I said in a previous post, that He is so good to teach me. He teaches me when I'm just plain foolish and stubborn. He is good. He is kind. He is gracious. He's a comforter when I'm sad and discouraged and His word is an ever present reminder of why I have no reason to be downcast, if I put my trust in God.

God is good.

And speaking of mood songs... I thought you might enjoy this old treat. It's what this post made me think of:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My sidebar

There were a few really good posts that went through this week.
None of them were on my blog though. :)
But I linked to them at least!

If you look on my sidebar, in the box titled "flyawaynets shared items", there's a link to some of the things I've found in blogs this week that I thought really stood out.

The highest ranking one though (for me anyway) is the one titled "The Bible, slip sliding away"

It's short, so it won't take you but about 2 minutes to read it. But it was certainly poignant.

If you can spare a moment, I hope you'll give it a click to see what it's all about.

A confession and a question...

I'd like some help if anyone knows the answer to this question.

I love symbolism. I love analogies. I appreciate the ability to use words in such a way that if you considered them the had more than one meaning (and I don't mean in a devious way).
I like having to think about what people said.

That said, I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't have a clue what Casting Crowns is talking about when they ask "how far the east is from the west, from one scarred hand to another"

I sing along to the song, and I appreciate the fact that I should get the phrase... but I just don't.
I don't get it.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Here's the whole chorus, and a link to the song "East to West" in case you somehow haven't heard it.
Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west' cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again in the arms of Your mercy I find rest' cause You know just how far the east is from the west from one scarred hand to the other

Friday, November 07, 2008

Lose your waste

I'll tell you right off the bat, this is a post that may only interest me.

I've worked diligently. And this is what I've got.

The blasted tv I bought, that jacked my electric bill up to $250, has been managed. The bill (which is an entire city bill including water, sewage, trash and electricity) was only $86 dollars and some change this month. The number one thing that helped was to begin to get consistent about unplugging the tv & dvd player not just turning it off. I've even done the same thing with my microwave. It only takes a moment, though I'm not as consistent about the microwave. It's a little harder to remember.

Beyond that, hypermiling is really working. I regularly got between 27 & 33mpg before, and now I'm getting between 39 and the highest I've gotten is 42.5 (a number I get more often as I get better at the techniques). It certainly helps that the gas prices have gone down. :) I paid less than 20 bucks for gas this week (the whole week). It made me happy. :)

Lights don't stay on in my house unless there is a need for it. In the daytime, I don't typically have them on unless I'm trying to read and it just isn't bright enough.
And now I'm researching switching to cell phone only and ditching my home phone.
That's the one that makes me a little sad, I like having a regular line, but I'm pretty sure I will get used to it. Once I stop frowning at it.

This whole thing isn't about depriving myself. But, if you look at your life, there's a lot of excess. If you have a cell phone, where someone can reach you all the time, do you really need a home phone? I'm not saying you do or you don't, I'm just bringing the question out for you to think about. I currently have internet, and phone with Verizon for about $90, and my cell phone is a pay as you go thing (which is ok since I rarely use it) and I usually have to "top up" which costs 32.50 every 2-3 mos. So lets call that $100 for phone/internet.
I researched T-Mobile and found a $50 plan that was right for me (am I sounding like a commercial) and if I switch my internet to Suddenlink, it can get a monthly rate of $20. Which is $70 + tax for my phone.

A savings of approximately $30. A total of $360 per year.

These little things are making a difference in my finances. It's fun to watch. And the main thing I hope to really take away from all this is just a simple awareness. I don't want to waste. And when you really start looking at it, you realize that you waste a lot, a lot. And in some cases, that waste costs you money. I don't want to waste stuff, I don't want to waste money.

I would call it being a good steward, but that sounds phony. It sounds like trying to make things sound religious, or putting a spiritual spin on something just... normal. So the goal, is nothing more special than just seeing how much stuff I can not waste. It's most easily measured by seeing the bills lower, or dividing the number of miles driven by the amount of gas purchased.

There are a lot of other things you can do to save money, and a ton of great articles about it. But one of the things I've learned is to not get wrapped up trying to do all of the suggestions. But to fiddle around until you find the ones that you can live with doing.

Long story short, all of your resources are gifts from God. I've been thinking about the parable of the talents, and I know the symbolism and I get the "heavenly meaning" in the "earthly story" but, at the same time I wondered what would happen if the master gave us talents to invest... would he return years later to find that we'd not only spent his talent, but used the income to qualify for a house too expensive for us, and a credit card with a $50,000 limit?

I don't know. And I don't want to condemn myself and just writhe underneath that burden. But I do want to do better. God is good to teach me.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Goodbye tree

So sometime during the night my tree had something like a heart attack. While it appeared healthy enough, it simply keeled over and died....
Right on my neighbors fence.
Fortunately, he'd built a strong one.
I'm planning on cremation.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and searched my house for a cutting object

Yeah.. that's a hacksaw. And no, it is NOT meant to cut trees.It took 10 full minutes to get that deep, so I headed off to the hardware store and found a saw. Isn't it pretty. :) Note the handy words like "fast" "efficient"

I then buckled down and determined to be more stubborn than the tree, and after a few hours I managed to get this

And this!

I sucked down some caffeine and finally I accomplished this:
Doesn't it look like someones burying themselves in a pile of leaves? Can't you see the legs sticking up in the air?
Now the area is completely cleared (I'll update with a picture later hopefully) since a chainsaw finally showed up and chopped things up into firewood.
I'm sorely disappointed to have lost my tree. It was a beautiful apricot tree. I'll be looking into planting a new one in it's place but I'm trying to decide which kind. So far, amongst voters, the top three picks are apricot, plum and peach.
Any advice?

76 Signs.

A month or so back, a co-worker of mine, Nancy, was having a special guest speaker at a womens group she organizes. She made sure I knew this was going to be a great event (though to be honest, she's said that every time) (also being honest, I don't doubt her).
She consistently bemoans the fact that my work keeps me from attending her group. And regularly mentions that 'someday' that is flittering around in the future when I might be able to go to one of her groups meetings.

Since I didn't get to go hear her last special speaker, she ordered cd's, a dvd, and a book. All of which she gave to me to read and watch first, before she passed it along to someone else that could use it. I did read and watch... all the while under her consistent questioning of "have you started the book yet? did you see the dvd?"

She has a good thing going, an exciting thing, and she wants me to be able to experience it. It's obvious. It was as plain as day that she'd found something very exciting and she really wanted to share it with me.

The book was every bit as good as she made it out to be by the way, as were the cd and dvd's.


I've recently met Ed. He visited my blog today and commented so I went to check out his blog "cross the road" and in scanning his posts he had one that really caught my eye. It was called "The never-ending invitation." In it he mentions a 325 mile journey in which he saw 76 billboards for a store called "Wall Drug". Sure enough, when he reached the city the store was located in, he made a point to see the store that would put up so many signs.

His point, in his post was that no matter how many times people reject his invitations to church and such, sometimes it pays to keep asking.


If I knew a physical person, that could do everything, loved, worked, and spoke like Jesus does there is no end to how obnoxious I would become until you gave in to go with me to meet him.
And I wouldn't be doing it to be obnoxious. I'd just be doing it because... well, because I couldn't not do it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post-election joy

Barack Obama has been elected as the President of the United States of America, and Democrats now hold the majority. I'm sure you already know, but I have to say that it still does something to me to say it.
And, despite what you might be thinking... it does something GOOD.

I've been inordinately happy with the turn of events. I didn't vote democrat, and I didn't want them to have a majority. But now that they have, I can do nothing more than rejoice. Maybe it's too early for everything to truly sink in, and maybe once that shoe falls I'll be more upset. But today, today is a day of great rejoicing.

I think we've been slowly dilly dallying around with this whole end times business, and it's pretty easy to see that 63,427,857 of our fellow Americans are ready to speed up this all-too-slow process.

I'm not even touching the charges of Obama being the Anti-Christ. My charges aren't even pointed at him by himself. I just imagine, that with democrats in the majority, the moral issues that we're only barely hanging onto now, will easily slip out of our grasp.

Abortion will rates will increase as quickly as the ease of killing children later and later in their development increases.
Washington (State) joined Oregon in making euthanisia legal.
And I'm pretty well certain we're almost done renovating the house enough that no one, will ever have to hide their sins in a closet again.

I actually woke up today and prayed for this man named Barack Obama. He will hold great power to show mercy to our children, our families; I pray for the miracle that would allow that change of heart for him. I prayed God have mercy on us, for all that we've killed, and all that we're going to kill; for all that we've sinned, and all that we're going to sin as a nation.

God have mercy.

And then I sang 'Gladly may we herald the message of His blessed appearing. Soon He's coming in glory tell one and all then awake ye saints of the Lord why slumber when the end is nearing But get ready for the final call."

And I rejoiced. We may finally have received the handbasket everyones always talking about.

He's coming soon. Are you ready?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

God in America

It's election day here in the US, so you had to know I'd go patriotic on you.

Here ya go!

Monday, November 03, 2008

The power of "Oh"

In Sunday School class yesterday, we began looking at Colossians 3. One of the kids happens to be in the process of writing out this chapter 500 times (I'm so glad my parents never considered this punishment!). So I figured this was a pretty good time for us to look at it and figure out what it means. Hopefully, by doing this at #9, the words will mean even more to him by #472.

So we were talking about the old man, and him dying. And next week we're going to start on the new guy... but in talking about the old man I mentioned my old analogy of it being a real person, only this time I was clumsily trying to figure out how to make this analogy work for kids ranging from ages 7 - 16.
So our 'best friend' died. Our best friend liked certain types of movies, our best friend liked to smoke, our best friend liked to read dirty books. Then our best friend died. But we still went to the store and bought his favorite books, and we read them. Then we stopped at the theatre, saw a movie he would have enjoyed, and we went in and watched it.
I have to tell you, the effort was clumsy.
But I finished this clumsy analogy, and I had 4 kids staring at me (the 5th was so young I'm pretty sure it didn't sink in), and then one of the older ones said 'Ohhh."

And it was just as clear as a bell that at least that one had really gotten it. The others looked like they'd gotten it as well. But that one, softly spoken 'ohhh' really hit me.

Sometimes it's just the greatest blessing to know that your clumsiest efforts can be used by God. Sure it'd be nice to be one of those teachers that can explain things in the absolutely best ways so kids understand, and not only understand but get excited about them. But I'm not one of those. Teaching, most definitely, is not one of my giftings!

One of the things that my mom used to say was that God doesn't always call the qualified, but He qualifies the called. The quality, in these lessons is certainly not with the teacher. But God is able to do something with these things. When my best isn't good enough, or when I just downright fail to communicate my point, God can still use my words, and my efforts.
It'd be great to be a good teacher, but it's not about that.
It's about the God, who was able to feed 5,000 with just a few fishes, being able to feed 5, with 45 minutes of my less than talented teaching.

It's also not about me not being good enough. But about God being more than enough.

As I've stumbled through the last months, I've come to realize that God could easily be working on my pride right now. It's easy for me to focus on how religious I know how to be. But Gods working in me something that I can't fake my way through. Any dope can learn to play the piano and play for church.
But when you open your mouth to teach kids... that's when people, the most impressionable people in the world, are going to see what you're really made of.

Also, that "ohh" helps me know that I'm not doing this for nothing. It tells me that something is coming from the lessons, from all the words, from all the conversation. And that makes it 10 times easier to pick myself up and go it again next week.

If one little "ohh" does that much for me, I figure it can do something for someone else as well. So for all the 'ohhs' I've had the blessing of experiencing, I'm going to be working harder to remember that sometimes my preacher can't hear me go "ohh". The co-worker down the hall that has been such a great teacher for me, he's never heard my 'ohh' of understanding. All the people in my life that randomly do stuff that teaches me something more about God, and about life, and walking this walk... every once in a while, I want to make sure they hear me let them know.

Commenters, you spark something in me every time you comment. It's such a joy, a real joy to know someone read this and actually understood what I meant! I get just the right amount of comments. Because too many would give me pride issues, I'm 100% certain. But every once in a while a comment just pops up that encourages me.

And while I'm thanking people... I just want the inventor of the Lemon Berry slush from Sonic, and the creators of Wylers GRAPE kool-aid to know, that they really make rough days better, and I appreciate their contributions to my world.

That is all. :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What can I say?

I think my blog is almost like a pulse for my spiritual life. Am I not posting often? Something probably isn't right between me and God. There's a struggle happening.
At the very same time, I can easily say that I've found a deep and true lesson on Gods grace. He holds onto me. Through every question, every doubt, ever turn, every failure, every stupid moment -and there's certainly aplenty- He's still holding onto me.

So I suppose, no matter what else I say, I want to make sure it's prefaced with that knowledge. I'm a dope, but God is strong enough to hold onto me.

It seems that the more focus I put on my growth, growing, changing, drawing nearer nearer nearer blessed Lord, the more I find myself flat on my face. The harder it is just to be a normal Christian, much less a growing one. And it's incredibly hard to fall so many times and get back up.
This evening was one of those moments where you just let out a big sigh, as my Pastor prayed over the church that (amongst other things) that God would draw people to us that we could minister to, and he took a special moment to thank God for the people that could rise to the challenge (I'm paraphrasing here because I don't remember his exact words). But he was thanking God that we'd be able to handle the challenge.
And deep inside something in me just sighed as I knew I'm not in the group he's talking about. I went to God and I cried that I can barely get off the floor without crashing hard on my face again.

I'd like to say it was some great issue as the devil had a foot on my back, keeping me down. But it seems to be that the truth is that I'm just too clumsy to walk. I stand up, and some preconceived notion about God tangles me into a knot and I fall. I stand up, and some foolish thoughts about works vs faith whops me upside the head and I crash.

I stand up, and old struggles I thought had been conquered, leave me disappointed and ashamed. How can one such as I stand back up in the presence of the Lord of Hosts and declare the way of the Lord?

Yet, at least for now, I'm still doing it. I'm standing up guilty as sin and no other option but to say "It's me again Lord, not only did I not grow, but I fell.... again.... Don't give up on me, and help me not to give up either."

27 years of being raised in church, 6 years of a closer, beautiful walk with Christ my Savior, and I stand before anyone who might read this blog and I can only say that I'm still weak. I'm still broken. I'm still foolish. I'm still an often dirty, chipped up vessel that I can't imagine could ever bring honor to one so great as my Father.

And here's the only reason to stand back up, each and every time.

"But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.