Monday, June 18, 2012

Operation House Facelift

After 10 years of marriage & 4 children, we are finally working on the outside of our house.  Our house looks like brick, but it's actually shingle...and it's old shingle that's been peeling & coming off more & more every time we get a stiff breeze.

We are wrapping the outside in insulation, getting new soffit, facia, and  downspouting, replacing the downstairs windows (the upstairs was done a few years ago), & putting new siding on the house. 

The first step begins today...removing the shingles!

My advice to young couples...
-Be patient
-Don't expect immediate perfection
-Save your money
-Do it debt free

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Me and My Dad

Me and my Dad, circa 1972 or '73.  Happy Father's Day Dad!  And, to all you dads out make a world of difference in the lives of your children!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Something to Strive For...

My mother-in-law helped with Girls Scouts for years & years, starting with helping when her daughter (my sister in law) was a GS & up until just a few years ago.  A couple weekends ago she finally went through some old Girl Scout stuff she had stored in the barn.

I came across this.  It was typed on a piece of paper as part of an agenda for their meeting opening.  I was never a Girl Scout so I don't know if this is a standard Girl Scout thing or was just something their group used, but I thought it was great.

It said....
"Do more than belong...Participate
 Do more than care...Help
 Do more than believe...Practice
 Do more than be fair...Be kind
 Do more than forgive...Forget
 Do more than dream...Work
 Do more than teach...Inspire
 Do more than live...Grow
 Do more than be friendly...Be a friend
 Do more than give...Serve"

I love it!  Truly something to strive for!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Little Late...

So, I was a little late in the game for thinking about teacher gifts. Yesterday I was checking Pinterest for ideas & found this cute & easy one.... Include all the stuff you need for s'mores & include a tag that says 'We need S'more teachers like you! Thanks for the great year!' And, while looking for gift bags I found these adorable drawstring bags with a porcupine roasting a marshmallow! How perfect is that?! I threw in a gift card to Subway & teacher gift was complete!

Friday, June 1, 2012

In The World But Not Of It

Our world is spiraling crazily out of control.  Would you agree?  It seems you can't look at the news without learning about something horrific that someone has done to someone else.  And, society's values have become so twisted & convoluted, you hardly know which end is up anymore. Half truths & false morality are everywhere.

It's enough to make a Christian want to hide their head in the sand. 

I've been thinking a lot about this issue of 'in the world, but not of it' lately and what our response should be to a world that is so sick and lost.  Having grown up in & having lived in a very conservative area for my whole life, I've seen some very different responses to this issue.  One common response is for those in the conservative Christian community to pull back completely from those 'of the world'.  There is a real separation.  And, on the occasions they need to interact with those outside their community, they will be cordial but not necessarily friendly.

Then, there are others who live a more balanced response....taking care about where they go & the influences they surround themselves with, but still reaching out to others and interacting with a genuine and warm friendliness.

Growing up I remember being taught in Sunday school class, as we neared middle school & high school age, the importance of choosing Christian friends.  I also remember being warned about the dangers of having non-Christian friends....and that we should not be 'unequally yoked'. 

As an adult I look back on that, and while I understand why the adults would have wanted to shield and protect us children, I question the validity of the approach.  First, looking to Jesus as an example of how we should live our lives, I see that He was not afraid to interact with those that the Jewish community scorned & avoided.  There's a pretty powerful statement about our expected response right there!

Then, I looked in the concordance in the back of my Bible.  It's lists key words in scripture, the verse references for where those words are used, and a snippet of that verse.  So, this is what jumps out at me as I look under World/Worldly.....

Psalm 50:12 - ...for the world is mine, and all that is in it
Matthew 5:14 - ."You are the light of the world...."
Mark 15:15 - ....into all the world and preach the good.....
John 3:16 - loved the world that he gave his one....

Of course there are also verses that refer to the foolishness of the world and the judgement that awaits it.  But, it seems clear that God's desire is for those in the world to be saved.

"...'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live'..."  Ezekiel 33:11

And, how do we take a message of hope and love and mercy to the world?  Not by building walls around ourselves I don't think.  Wear our spiritual armor....absolutely!  But, in order to truly reach those around us, we have to be there and involved, on a deep level.

We have to be willing to enter in to other people's messes.  We have to be willing to get a little dirty without worrying about soiling our holy robes.  When you think about those in the pit of despair and sin, who is going to be more effective in reaching them?  Those who stand at the top of the pit and yell down 'You better get out of there!', or worse, just walk by & shake their heads?  Or those who climb down in the pit and help the wounded soul climb back out? 

I'm talking to myself here as much as anyone else.  This is something I continue to struggle with.  Something that is a lot easier to write about than it is to live out.  And, I'll be the first to admit that I find myself making unspoken judgements about people all the time.  It's so easy to look at mistakes someone else is making and shake my mental head.

To love.  To really love a broken world the way Jesus loved it is so much harder.  Lord help me.  Help your Church. 

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