Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Candle Fell Off

Why am I so easily distracted? By silly stuff?

Sunday we had a lovely service at North Wake Church with white candles burning and filling the stage with light. White candles of all sizes and shapes with simplistic beauty. There was such a worshipful attitude even upon entering the worship center (actually, sanctuary would be a better word to use for this day.)

Candle groupings were everywhere, seemingly random groupings, but also some symmetrical ones, especially the votives that sat on either side of the "T" of the large rough-hewn wooden cross that graces the back wall. The music as always was great and drew us further into worship.

Then...one candle fell off. Not just any candle. It was a candle that sat on the right side of the cross. It left a big gap. No more symmetry on the cross. I was annoyed with the open space, but also kept watching the bottom of the cross to see if flames were going to erupt that might cause the worship team to evacuate the stage.

As much as I love symmetry (can you spell OCD?) I may not have noticed if I had not seen the candle fall. Right in the middle of the song. It was one of those "look around and see if anyone else saw it" moments. I should have had my eyes closed. I should have focused more. But now I was distracted. Mostly I was distracted by my annoyance that the gap was there, but I was also distracted by a potential fire that might happen.

I had to ask for forgiveness.

Something so silly had taken my focus off worship. It made me think of the things in everyday life that "make" me take my eyes off Jesus. I say that my focus is on Christ and His will for my life, but then stuff happens. I homeschool, the kids argue, I commit to too much, there are many chores (that I don't get to,) and don't forget this new thing called blogging. Before you know it, I have short-changed my quiet time with a five or ten minute glance rather than really spending time digesting God's Word, causing me to be more and more out of focus.

Colossians 3.1-2 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Fortunately, Justin the Intern who spoke that day was quite engaging (no small feat for an intern) and drew me right back to where I needed to be. But I'm still more than a little ashamed that my worship of my Creator suffered Sunday morning all because one candle fell off.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Would Have Picked Them

My in-laws, Ron and Sue, are nowhere to be found in this crew, but the picture was taken in their backyard on a hot July day in 2007. The first thing that comes to my mind when I see this photo is how well my in-laws love. They love their grandchildren. They love their children. They love their sons-in-law. And they love their favorite (well, only) daughter-in-law, a term which they revised almost 25 years ago to be daughter-in-love.

They love people they know and they love people they don't know. One is immediately accepted by them simply by the virtue that one is living and breathing.

Sarah at Hashbrowns issued an intriguing assignment. She asked those who read her blog to post the sixth photo from their sixth folder (for some reason that reminds me of the Sheena Easton lyrics from the 80's "You're the seventh son of the seventh son...." ...long time ago...anyway...) This is the photo that won that lottery.

The kiddos in the pic are 57% mine....the two tall ones back left and the two short ones front right. The other three are cousins, but not all grandchildren of my in-laws. But you know what? It doesn't matter to them that we bring extra children along. In fact, when we do they are treated like family. It doesn't matter to my in-laws that one of the other children is from my side of the family. They are genuinely happy to have a "family portrait" that includes any of God's creations. They show love to all they meet!

I've witnessed that over and over again, beginning with their acceptance of me when Mike first took me home to meet them. I've witnessed it as they accepted our adoptive daughter during her very first visit to our home when adoption wasn't even on the radar yet. They have accepted my little brother, my nephews, the kids we kept each summer from Belarus, and my niece in the picture. Each one of them was welcomed enthusiastically to the family.

They are a true picture of God's acceptance of us, and so a witness to all who meet them. There are lots of great qualities about Ron and Sue and this is just one of them that, again, immediately came to mind when I saw the sixth picture in my sixth folder.

I'm so glad they had Mike and raised him to be the man of God, the man of character that he is today, and I have always told friends and family that if I were looking for in-laws instead of a husband, I would have picked them.

What's your story about the sixth picture in your sixth folder?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crispy Socks

Not to be confused with Krispy Kremes...one you want, the other you don't....actually, come to think of it, at my weight I'd rather have the socks...

Last Monday (yes, I'm a slow poster) as I was helping Joshua clean his room, he suddenly yelled in disgust, "Ugh, mom! Crispy socks!" He found them hidden behind his perpetually open closet door. Left over from football, no doubt. They had once been wet and muddy, but were now dried and stiff and were, well, "crispy."

So we talked about what happens when things get hidden and don't get cleaned the way they should. We then talked about how our hearts get "crispy" sometimes when we ignore what God tells us is the right thing to do. Or sometimes we let the muddy and wet sin get hidden, and we just forget about that it's wrong because it's been there so long.

Just as we found the "crispy socks" hidden behind the closet doors because we were looking for things to clean, I told Joshua that's one of the things we need to pray to God about. We need to pray and ask God to show us any part of our heart that might be getting "crispy" and then ask God to help clean it. We need to ask Him to show us our sin because we do not want a crispy heart.

I love "shema-mmy moments" (pronounced shmommy), and yes, I just made the term up so I won't have to explain it next time I write about these teachable moments when we can do what Deuteronomy 6.6-9 says:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

This part of the Jewish shema (rhymes with ma with a sh in front of it) is a plan for passing along our faith to our kids all the time....which means God's commands must be on our hearts and minds all the time.
No pressure.........but is that a "crispy sock" I see?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Told You So

I told you my Rachael is creative. Here are some photos from the budding photographer. She is wanting to submit some nature photos to a kids' contest, so she took tons. I can't help but think of Hashbrowns when as I post the flowers.

These, and many more, were taken at in the garden at The Hermitage, the home of our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, near Nashville, TN.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweets Made By the Sweetie!

Creativity is something eleven year old Rachael enjoys. She spent a Saturday afternoon at her Mama Basham's house and, to her joy, got to practice decorating cakes. Mama is a pro, and she's passed down her cake decorating talent gene to Rachael. Rachael completed this all herself. And, yes, it tasted as yummy as it looks.

But it wasn't as sweet as Rachael!