11/26/08

Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving...

Why I never get any sleep the night before Thanksgiving...

the cooking, the baking, the stuffing...
but man, oh man is it worth it!


no matter how many times I go to the store,
I always forget something...
thank goodness for teenagers with driver's licenses
(I never thought I'd be thankful for that!)


I got that cookbook as a wedding present 22 years ago...
actually I think it was Mark who gave it to me...
subtle, he's not...

11/24/08

Wait Till You Hear What I Sing For Christmas!

Gobble, Gobble who said that?
Mister Turkey, big and fat!
gobble, gobble, gobble!

I sing this particular tune,
only on one particular date...
Sung endlessly through out the day
until the turkey is carved and on my plate...
The singing of my Thanksgiving hymn ceases
because my mouth is full and it's getting late...
When my family hears no more squawking,
the Thanksgiving hymn has met it's fate...
The annoying little ditty
which on their nerves began to grate...
Unsung until next year,
I know they can't wait!

11/23/08

Loose Ends Vol. 1 No. 9

On the way home from church tonight we saw a house decorated with Christmas lights...I just put on some fall decorations on Saturday...I guess I'm a little slow this year.

Our oldest child came home from college on Saturday for Thanksgiving. As Mark likes to say, "our quiver is full again".

Its astounding to me how the enemy can attack us. Before I went to Honduras, we had a young man stand before our congregation and speak the words of Romans 8. He didn't repeat them, or recite them. He spoke them from his heart. And he challenged me. I decided to memorize Scripture each week, maybe one verse, maybe more, but something each week. So while in Honduras I memorized the Scripture I used in my devotion. And when I came home, Sue suggested to our Sunday School class 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 as a challenge to memorize for the week. So I took up that challenge.

The Word says:
For though we walk in the flesh,
we do not war according to the flesh.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds,
casting down arguments and every high thing
that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,
bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
I wrote the verses out and placed them where I would see them each day. And so all week, when it was quiet at the office, or the house noise was at a low roar, I would speak the verses, trying to sew them into my heart.

And then Thursday came. And the fretting began.

I began to fret..."is she mad at me?"
"she seemed distant towards me" and on and on...

And then Friday came.
"did I get everything done?" "I know I've forgotten something"
and on and on...

And then Saturday came.
"how come they aren't coming?"
"I know I done something to upset them" and on and on...

And then Sunday came.
"well, I've done it again, stuck my foot in my mouth"
"why did I say that?" and on and on...

(And those are the ones I feel slightly okay about sharing...if you only knew what else was fretted about inside this noggin...)

Its astounding to me
that I would fret for 4 days over things
that I have little to no control over.
Its astounding to me
that I would allow the enemy free reign over my thoughts.
Its astounding to me
that after days of quoting Scripture,
I wasn't prepared to fight back.

But...
oh how I love that word...
But...

Its astounding to me
that He knew exactly what I needed to hear this evening at church.
Its astounding to me
that He loves me despite my failures and frettings.
Its astounding to me
that He delights in a wacko such as myself.

So this evening, this hour, this minute is better...I'm taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I'm girding myself with His Word, preparing myself for the next battle. Putting on His armor. Because I know it will happen again.

11/18/08

Witnessing On A Dusty Road

Each night during our mission trip, we have a time in the evening set apart for singing and devotions. On Thursday evening, I was blessed to be able to share a devotion that I wrote earlier in the week. And I wanted to share it here too...

On the drive home from our organizational meeting a few weeks ago, I realized I had voluteered to do a devotion the same evening as our door to door witnessing day. That day during mission trips is always the most special to me, as it is to others. And so I began to pray, "Lord where are You leading me? What Scripture can I share with these ladies?" And He took me to Isaiah 43. As I read this chapter over and over, I thought, "Lord what could this Scripture mean to this group of ladies? How am I going to do a devotion from these verses?" But then the teacher part of my brain said, "well, break it down, take it verse by verse." And here's what the Holy Spirit revealed to me...

The first 21 verses in Isaiah 43 speak of God's redemption of Israel. These verses describe who God is and what He's done. Like verse 1..."Fear not, for I have redeemed you, O Israel; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. Or verse 3...For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior. And verse 7...Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.

And then the last 7 verses of Isaiah 43 describe God's plea for unfaithful Israel to return to Him. And what He is going to do...the Word says in verse 25, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins."

So Isaiah 43 tells us:

Who God is,
What He's done,
and What He's going to do.

And there right smack in the middle we read these verses, Isaiah 43:10-12:

You are My witnesses, says the Lord,
And My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me.
And understand that I am He.
Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.

I, even I, am the Lord,
And besides Me there is no savior.

I have declared and saved,
I have proclaimed,
And there was no foreign god among you;
Therefore you are My witnesses
Says the Lord, that I am God.

God Himself commands us to be His witnesses. A strong mandate from a Holy God. And I thought about what does the word "witness" mean? And what is a witness' job? If you think of a courtroom setting, when a witness comes and sits in the witness stand, he or she is commanded to testify to the truth. That's their only job, to tell the truth. So God is commanding us to tell the truth about Him.

Testifying to the truth about who He is, what He's done, what He's going to do.

And this morning, that's exactly what we did.

As we walked down the dusty road this morning, I looked down at my sandaled feet. I began to think about the sandaled feet of Jesus and the disciples. The dusty roads they had traveled together the three years of Jesus' ministry. How Jesus had testified to the multitudes on those roads...

who His Father is,
what His Father had done,
and what His Father was going to do.

and here we are, 2000 years later, on a warm morning in November, walking down the dusty road of a rural Central American country...

testifying to others, witnessing to others, telling the truth to others,

Who God is...
He's Perfect
He's Sinless
He's Love

What He's done...
Sent His precious Son to die for us,
Raise His Son from the dead,
Making a way for His children to be brought back into fellowship with Him.

What He's going to do...
Restore us,
Supply our needs,
Never leave us or forsake us.

We must testify the truth about our God,
not just during a mission trip to a far off country,
but daily, as we walk down our own dusty roads.

11/17/08

Meet Jenny

Home from a week long mission trip to Central America...

I want to introduce someone special...her name is Jenny.

I met Jenny last Sunday night. We were getting ready for our church service to begin and as I was sitting down I heard this giggle. I turned around and there was Jenny, sitting in a big white plastic lawn chair, legs dangling, feet brushing back and forth across the cement floor.

And then I saw that face. And that grin.


I motioned for her to come around in front of me...

"Como se llama?"

"Jenny"

"Me llamo Debbie"

Introductions made, she climbed into my lap and church began. And soon I felt that old familiar heaviness of a child who had fallen asleep. Her head resting against my chest, I knew that this was probably the first time in a long time she had been mothered. Day after day, no lap to sit in, no one to stroke her hair, no arms to wrap around her.

And I didn't want it to end. For her sake and for mine. But it did end. I had to wake her up and send her across the field to her home, the block house with no glass in the windows. The house she shares with the 26 other motherless and fatherless children I met last week.

I don't know if she'll remember me.
I don't know if she'll remember last Sunday night.
I don't know if she'll remember my name.

I know I'll remember every minute of that night.
I know I'll remember to pray for a 7 year old girl
in a pink shirt with blue flower barrettes in her hair.
I know I'll remember Jenny.

11/2/08

Life With Hayden: It's The Great Pumpkin, Hayden Brown

Even though our kids no longer trick-or-treat,
wear cute little bumble bee costumes,
or have Fall Parties at school,
they still like to carve pumpkins...

So as we traditionally do, we loaded up
and went to the Methodist church in town,
which hosts the local pumpkin patch.
While we were there, Hayden decided he wanted
something a little different this year,
he wanted this little white pumpkin...
(I think he felt sorry for it, the pumpkin was kinda off to the side of the patch, no one was really paying attention to it, plus Hayden said he heard it whimper and saw it wag its stem when he walked by)

Anyway, we brought home a few pumpkins
and Hayden went to carving...
So his dad took this picture
of what we thought was the final product:

(I think that's Hayden's attempt at looking scary or spooky)

But later that same evening, I went outside to put candles in the pumpkins and I found this...

so I called Hayden outside and asked him "what's the deal with the puking pumpkin?" He told me that this year he decided to create a "Barf-O-Lantern" instead of a "Jack-O-Lantern"

Life with a 14 year old is never dull (but kinda scary)

A simple shopping story...

Her cart was dripping. The grocery cart she was pushing around the produce section of the big box store I had just entered was drippin...