Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Today's Daily Heartlight

Because I am out and about in traffic much of my time, I notice many bumper stickers. I enjoy reading some of them, others I am offended by.

This persons view on them, particularly their last line, really hit my heart. Hope it hits yours too.

If You Love Jesus, Don't Honk!, by Rubel Shelly

You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked
about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you
must do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience
clear.(1 Peter 3:15-16)

I'm not particularly fond of bumper stickers in general. And I tend to dislike religious bumper stickers in particular. So I've tried to figure out why.

Maybe it's because of their naivete. They reduce the irreducibly complex to a slogan. If issues of war and peace or personal rights and social limits can be spelled out in a dozen words or less, we are dumber than rocks to have debated them for thousands of years. For publishing books as thick as the Bible. Or for writing and annotating the various law codes of history's major civilizations.

On the other hand, maybe it is their arrogance that is offensive. I'm going to convince a stranger who is three car lengths behind me in heavy traffic to vote for my candidate, adopt a healthy lifestyle, or end domestic violence by slapping a mini-billboard on the bumper of my compact car? Right!

At the bottom line, though, I suspect my problem with bumper stickers – especially the churchy ones – is their intrusiveness. Occasionally the language chosen for shock value is simply inappropriate: "Read the Bible. It'll scare hell out of you!" Can't you see the apostles passing out those to chariot drivers around Jerusalem? Or selling them in bulk for churches to distribute?

My least favorite of all is this classic: "Honk if you love Jesus!" Get real. Does anybody really believe for one sane moment that a loud, blaring presence represents the Son of Man? Impresses anyone positively? Makes "outsiders" more receptive to our "insider" message of the redemptive love of God?

If you really want to lead someone to a positive impression of Jesus, try quiet methods over loud ones. Secret over public. Gentle over forceful. Even listening over witnessing. Certainly close and personal over distant and cold.

Jesus related to people with warmth. He treated them with dignity. He ate with them and responded to questions. He was not too busy for men and women whose lives were messy and whose reputations were scandalous. The more formulaic our message and the more frequently it is delivered by the marketing tools of big business or political campaigns, the less appropriate to the gospel.

If you love Jesus, don't honk at anyone. Don't get loud and brassy. Be as quiet as leaven in dough or a flame on a candle. Don't intrude or bully. Let them see Christ in the normal and ordinary things of your life in him. Let them learn over time that what they have come to respect in you is his gentle presence.

We're not selling ideas or memberships, after all, but making introductions.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Was it real?

You ever wake up, not knowing if what you just dreamt was real or not.

This am - I did.

I dreamt that Curt was leaving me, there wasn't anything I could do to prevent it. There wasn't any love from him to me. And my heart was so totally broke. I didn't know what to do. There was such an emptiness and pain within me - even when I woke up....

I rolled over and hugged him to me. He asked what was wrong.

Bad dream - I dreamt you were leaving me - that there wasn't any stopping you.

As he held me in his arms, he kissed the top of my head and said, "You know, there's only one way that I would ever do that."

I know that he wants to be with his Father one day

Selfishly - I pray that it is many,many, moons away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What a life.........

Today is my day off. Kinda. If you don't count catching up on housework, bill paying, book work, menu planning, grocery shopping, etc. God has blessed me with a beautiful day - the sun is out, cool breeze, everything is so green and pretty. This is where I struggle - I hate to do all the things listed above and I love to be outside. So, what do I do - I blog!

This week has been amazing. I found out that I got a major job (thanks to all who prayed). With Dave Ramsey's help, I am so excited about our financial future. I was so concerned about if I would be bidding too much. It finally hit me:
1 - I was putting too much power on myself.
2 - If God wanted me to have this job, it didn't matter if I put down a million dollars, I would get it. (too bad I didn't put down that million!)

Why do I struggle so much with putting me out of the picture and letting Him take control?

I was mowing on a lawn Monday - and there by the curb in her vehicle, was "one" of my surrogate daughters, who I had not seen since last school break. We talked for over an hour. What a blessing she has/is in my life. Right now she is going through a very rough patch in this journey of life. But I KNOW that God has so much ahead of her. She is one of the most rooted persons I know, she is so totally in love with her Daddy, her life is all about Him. I pray that she will look past this deep pain she is in and find comfort that He has the perfect plan for her ahead. And who knows where she will be meeting the perfect someone to complete this plan with her. It may be many miles from here. And then she will have a whole other solution to come up with. Meanwhile, I pray for her in her mourning, I love her no matter what, and I am so honored that I am someone that she shares her life with.

Tuesday - we are again on the north end of town. Same yard as last week and my blow Z has a pulley go bad. Load up the truck and leave Kathy - again. This time after reaching my destination - 20 min. later - I hear the part is not in stock. They were so surprised by this, as they always have them. I really wasn't surprised.

Head off to another place. The manager there is a good friend and neighbor. I go up to the counter and ask to speak to "Rex". The guy says he'll check if he is in.

After a few minutes, Rex comes out from the back and says, "She's an old woman". Turns out this guy went around the corner and told Rex, "There's a young girl out there to see you". And he was completely serious. Rex, still not believing him, went around to the back so he could look out through the window to check it out.

I will share though - that guy thinking/saying that - made my day! Even if it is far from the truth. Privilege of being a woman to believe what we want.

After working with Rex and not finding a pulley, I went off to another place. No luck. Back to Kathy and a beautiful completed lawn. We managed to finish most of our clients and on the last job - my other Z got a flat tire. This is a new tire.

When I got home, Rex had left me a message. He had located a pulley for me at Selby's. I headed out - guess what - I now have a new pulley!!!! My blow Z is now usable, kinda. New problem developing.

I was so excited that I told the guys at the counter to go home and have their wives give them a big hug and kiss for me. I doubt if their male clients respond to getting parts this way. Another privilege of being a woman!

It was on my way to Selby's when I realized that satan was really trying to bring me down. Usually when things are going well for me, my equipment starts to break down - weird stuff. Not your usual things, things that my mechanic friend, Dick, who I "often" consult with, says he usually reads about, never sees. Right now my blow Z is acting up again. I think it is the magnet under the fly wheel falling apart. This happened last year to my mulcher Z. Thankfully, I can replace/repair it (with Curt's help), so this will cut down on cost.

The thing is - in all the years Dick has been working on mowers - he has never seen many of the things that have happened to me, happen to anyone. Another thing - my blow Z motor is 2 years old.

So on my way to Selby's, I asked God to put a hedge of protection around my equipment. I know that may sound silly, but it is how I make a living. And I believe He did. I believe that satan doesn't have the power to create anymore weird damage. I know that I will have break downs, etc. that is life.

But I know, just like with my "daughter", God has a plan for us. And looking past the "weird" stuff that happens, I see that He is in complete control. He is the one who picks up the pieces, repairs the damage, and enables us to complete our walks in this life.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Let's laugh at youth

I was thinking last night about when I was young - Freshman in HS. I so wanted a Jr. guy to like me. We had gym class together - and every once in awhile he actually spoke to me. That was all the encouragement I needed! Every year we had to take swimming in Sept. - in an outdoor pool. My class was in the morning so I was usually one big goose bump.

Here I am - 5' 7 1/2" - 110#'s - skinny. I would sneak my mom's bikini to school and wear it - somewhere in my brain I had figured I could look as good as her in it. How the top stayed on I don't know.

I was always aware of where this guy was and when he was standing by the high dive, I thought here is my chance. Never mind the fact that I had never tried diving - even from the low board - and that I could only do a pretty mean dog paddle. Also, I was terrified of heights. But you know, anything for love.

As I climbed the ladder, I called out his name and waved. That got his attention, since he had noticed that I couldn't really swim. He stood there watching as I walked out to the end of the board. Bounced on it a little, and dove off. I did a perfect high dive "belly flop". Knocked the wind right out of me and the guy had to dive in to rescue me. That wasn't part of the plan, but it got him by me - until we got to the side and he knew I was okay.

After that, he usually pretty much ignored me. Like I was some geek or something. Can you imagine that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Made for more than just mowing.

"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
I Peter 4:10,11

What a day was yesterday. We are on the north end of town, adding air to my front mower tire, when all of a sudden it "threw up". Two weeks prior it was flat and they put a sealant in it as they couldn't find a leak. Yesterday from two splits, it threw up this lovely purple/pink sealant.

After dropping Kathy to mow on a property, I started off on what became "My Repair Journey".

Arriving at Ron's Tire in 20 minutes, they informed me that they didn't have this size tire in stock.

Arrived at Farm & Home - 15 minutes later.

During my driving time, I decided to place an order for a new muffler for my weed eater. Mine had fallen off last week and it now sounded like an incoming airplane while in use. At the counter I met "Jeff". While looking up the parts number, etc. we began to have a conversation. He asked me how long I had had my business - beginning my 8th year. He then said he was a Christian, and had been praying about going into his own mowing business. He told me that he made under 20,000 a year without benefits. I told him - Go mow! Then he started to ask me questions about how to get started, equipment recommendations, clients, etc. I answered his questions and also recommended very strongly to buy the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University and live by it.

He then said that he would have to convince his wife, who has a job with benefits, that this would be a good move to go without his income. Then he said that they were on their way to divorce court.

I told him that my husband and I had been there also just this past year. When he asked me what made things change - I recommended the "Love and Respect" by Dr Emerson Eggrichs, also to go to their seminar if possible. I can not say enough about this awesome tool. $20 for the book and $50 for the seminar. I then gave him the name of our counselor that we have been going to in Keokuk.

Leaving Farm & Home 30 minutes later.

Leaving Ron's 15 minutes later with my new tire. I purchased a spare for future use.

Arriving at job site. I had been gone for over 1 1/2 hours.

There went my mowing schedule for the day. Supposed to be done around 3:30.

At 5:00, we are on our next to last job site. I look up and see a man walking towards me. I am dirty, hot, tired, want to go home and DO NOT want to converse with anyone. As he gets closer, I see that it is "Jeff". Just happened to be driving home from work and recognized our uniforms. He stopped to tell me - my muffler would be in tomorrow. He had called our counselor and set up an appointment. And thank you. That when he was praying about going into his own business, his marriage, it had been that morning while driving to work.

Isn't it God that my tire decided to "throw up" on that day two weeks later, that Ron's was out of this tire, Farm & Home was the only place in town to get this tire, that my muffler had fallen off and I needed to go to the counter to order a new one, that "Jeff" was working while I was in.

I finished up my day thinking that my "special gift" from God isn't mowing. I often relate to Barnabas (encouragement) when I think about my "special gift". Although I am quickly humbled when I remember that he was skinned alive and then beheaded. My irritations about being thrown off schedule were replaced at the counter when I met "Jeff". And when I was towards the end of my day, about to die, God had Jeff drop by to let me know how He had been working through my encouragement.

God is so absolutely fantastic. I just love Him to pieces!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Reflection came about while celebrating Nichalas' day yesterday. It also brought about the fact that I have come a full circle.

After 17 years, I again weigh as much as I did the day I went in to have Nichalas.

Isn't life one big bowl of cherries! Chocolate covered in my case.


big/little brother - first of many, many talks. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


My heart is in such turmoil. How does time pass so very quickly? How do you go through life missing so much? Why do we waste so much time on the things that really don't matter? How painful it is knowing that yesterday is really only a memory.

Seventeen years ago today I laid in a hospital bed about this time, looking down at a very precious gift. Nichalas. All 8pds 11 3/4 - 24 inches of him. Blond hair, blue eyes that just stared at me, soaking me up as much as I was soaking him up. Meeting for the very first time face to face.

As I have went throughout this day, many memories have made me smile, laugh, cry and yearn for yesterday. To grab onto and not let go because time is going oh so fast. Yet at the same time I look forward to tomorrow, as believe it or not, each next stage really is better than the last. I can not believe how very blessed I am with not one wonderful son, but two. I am so thankful that God intervened when I screwed up and made things right. That He answered many prayers to hold them in His hand and guide them His way. That they responded.

I am so thankful that I am able to count Nichalas as one of my friends. I am thankful that we enjoy spending time together. That we share a lot of the same interests. That he isn't embarrassed to go on a "date" with his mom, even on a Friday or Saturday night! Okay maybe it's a small price to pay for a free meal, I just pretend he likes to be with me.

Nichalas today. Standing at 6'8" and still growing, he is my gentle giant. A deep thinker, funny, quiet, caring,introverted, good/loyal friend, people come to him for advice, financially sound, goal oriented, entrepreneur, polite, athletic, and most important - walks with God.

Nichalas' yesterdays. He never stopped crying or screaming when we were outside of the house, unless we were holding him. Coming home from TX one time, the doctor said to leave him in his car seat, he would stop crying. I kid you not, 8 1/2 hours later, we finally took him out. He shut up and fell asleep in my lap. Why do young parents take the word of their doctors as the word of God? In most situations, he hated to remove his coat. Did not deal well with change. Looking back at video - he manipulated me like a trained seal. Would often walk around the house and let out a very loud noise - "Bagrrrrr", for no reason. Always protected the underdog at events. When he and his best friend Lucas attended preschool, they would take turns "protecting" each other every day. They would walk around holding hands. We called them Mutt and Jeff, as Lucas came up to Nichalas' elbow. They are still best friends to this day and now Lucas comes up to Nichalas' shoulder. They no longer walk around holding hands, just a very precious brotherhood.

Watching as he and Adam talk, kid around, discuss ideas and dreams, knowing that they will always be close brothers. Asking God to bless their unions with their future wives, that the generations to come will be followers of Him. That when Curt and I are gone, their family units will still be as strong as one in Him.

Deciding to be baptized on February 29, 2004 @ 2:29pm. In a creek. The Lord blessed us with unusually warm weather that day. We were actually sweating standing there on the sand, by the creek that had ice on it here and there. Standing around Nichalas in a prayer circle as each of us, about 20, prayed for him specifically. My friend said all the cars driving to the the creek reminded her of a funeral procession. I told her it was a funeral in a way. Watching Curt slowly wade in and Nichalas in his long, strong strides go over to his dad to be buried in the water for his Father. Watching the sun reflect off the waterdrops as Nichalas was pulled up, a new babe in Christ. A mom standing there on the sand, her heart in her throat, tears in her eyes, praying, "amen - he IS yours Lord".

Going to Australia, New Zealand for 22 days in the summer of 2004 with People to People. Coming back changed. More grown up, more dreams, more goals. Making friends with a guy who had very long curly hair. Learning that he was growing his hair out for Wigs for Kids. His best friend had died the Christmas before from brain cancer. Nichalas' hair is now 8 inches with only 4 more to go. I will miss his long hair as he looks very handsome in it. I am thankful that one day a child will be wearing his hair. We discussed how neat it would be to look up and see his hair on a child in a store one day.

So many memories, so little time. All too fast, too soon.

Seventeen years ago today, the nurse brought in birth papers for me to fill out. Still a bit under the meds affects from the C-section, I couldn't remember how to spell Nicholas. Too embarrassed to call the nurse and ask her, I sounded it out. N I C H A L A S. The memory that comes with his name.

Today/tomorrow - "HIS" Nichalas