Saturday, March 31

This Cup

Ever have a bad week. Ever know that the events that had to take place in your life would make for a bad week. How did you go into it? How did you survive? How did you come out of it?

If your faith in Christ means something to you, let this week in His life soak into your soul - the magnitude of His heart, His humanness, His holiness. There is a classic movie - The Silver Chalice with the tagline "I bid you seek the lost Silver Cup... for Sin is rising like the swollen rivers..." where a Greek artisan travels to Jerusalem and Rome to complete the commission to cast the cup of Christ in silver and sculpt around its rim the faces of the disciples and Jesus. This week we should consider the Lord's cup and all that it means for us and for the world.

The Last Week of Christ's earthly life:
On a Sunday, our Lord was hailed by the onlookers 'Hosanna, in the Highest; Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord' while they tossed they coats and coverings before Him as he rode in upon a young colt never before sat upon. The people saw hope in living form. Jesus remarked that in the absence of the crys of the people, the rocks would even cry out. He, Himself, beheld the city and wept for it.

Monday, He cleaned the temple of those desecrating it by their actions and He taught the people eagerly listening to Him.

Tuesday, as he preached the Gospel there and at the Mount of Olives, the chief priests, scribes, and elders and the like challenged Him. The plotted against Him and sent spies amongst the people in an attempt to bait Him to use His words against Him.

Wednesday, while the chief priests and the scribes schemed on, Satan entered Judas Iscariot who then plotted to betray Jesus with the chief priests and captains.

Thursday was the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover (distinctly different holidays falling on different days while, due to their closeness usually treated as one festival). It is amazing how these celebrations foretell of the Messiah and even moreso how in looking at some of the activities, especially for the children, some of our Easter traditions are gleened.

Jesus observes the Passover with His disciples as The Last Supper. He then went to the Mount of Olives, the heaviness of all that lay ahead weighing upon Him, to pray and wanting His disciples to watch and pray with Him. A stone's throw away, He prayed "Father if thou are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." An angel came to Him and strengthened Him, a strength that very much would be required. And in the agony of His heart, He continued to pray, his sweat 'as it were as drops of blood falling down to the ground'. He found His own disciples rather than praying, sleeping 'for sorrow'.

Judas committed his act of betrayal and a multitude descended upon them. Peter reacting angrily cut off the ear of one; but Jesus in is ultimate forgiveness, healed it. Jesus was arrested.

Friday Jesus' disciples scattered even while some including John and Peter lingered nearby. Peter to his own despair, as Jesus foretold, denied he even knew Christ. Jesus, Himself, was ridiculed and horrifically treated - see The Passion if you want to get even just a small insight to it. Justice hangs its head as Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod and again Pilate and, having found no fault in the accusations against Him, (rather than free Him thus displeasing the people) and finally given over to the people to decide his fate. In the stead of Barabas found guilty of sedition and murder, the people condemned Jesus.

Jesus was crucified - led away, He bore His cross and was hung upon it at Calvary as He said "Father forgive them, for they know now what they do" and "Father into thy hands, I commend my spirit" and was buried.

Saturday the sabbath was observed by the women those who had dressed His body and the women who went to see where He lay.

Sunday the very first day of the week very early in the morning, they returned to an open sepulchre; its stone rolled away. "He is not here" was said to them, "but He is risen".

Ever know that the events that had to take place in your life would make for a bad week. How did you go into it? How did you survive? How did you come out of it?

Our Lord and Savior knew what lay ahead of Him. He did not shy away from it. He continued to encourage and teach. He prayed and was strengthened. He was forgiving and loving. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, you will be with me in paradise." He had the victory.

Please take time this week to reflect upon the cup and this Holy Week, even each specific day, and be blessed by the events and the lessons and the eternal truth and give Him your praise 'Hosanna, in the Highest; Blessed be the King who comes in the name of the Lord' and in obedience say not my will, but thine be done.

Wednesday, March 28

He used mine!

Our women's study is going through Max Lucado's Cure for the Common Life - Finding Your Sweet Spot; there's a book and a workbook. The workbook part is People Management International's exercise in finding what Max is writing about. Interestingly enough you find out a lot of stuff (or bring to surface things you knew) about yourself, making this possible. If you look at your S.T.O.R.Y, he says you can find your sweet spot.

Anyways, being in the study helped me to recognize such a situation. In online ministry, I met a believing navy wife who was dealing with a re-stationing of her family. I was able to connect her with a believing navy wife friend who not too long ago went through the same thing and is stationed at the new location. She now can have a friend and a resource. Though my friend is faraway, I know He put us in each other's lives for times such as these. The lady I met felt that things were falling into place and it was all by God's hand; she sounded just like my friend had when God had reassured her. The lady I met had peace about her move now. I felt that God had used mine; and that feels indescribably wonderful!

Tuesday, March 27

Early Morning Clouds

Surly nomadic clouds marched intently across an unlightened celestial plane, some darkened while others boasted of hope and expectation with a few subtly lined with promise. Their fleeting reign of purpose would refresh the land.

Monday, March 26

Norman invasion of paradise!

Look out Darrick and Jenn, the Normans are headed to Oahu in an Hawaiian hayze! We are excited. God is really blessing us this year with opportunities to get away from it all - and this one is just going to be me and the husband in paradise! We'll be celebration our 8th anniversary!

Tuesday, March 20

Don'tcha just love how the Lord just brings things together in your head in a neat little package wrapped up like a gift!

Sunday at Couple's study part of what we went over in Moments Together for Couples was Fathers as Servant-Leaders. Well with most this concept sat okay, but with some the discussion was discomfiting. It said:
"Serving his wife rounds out the husband's and father's role. Some men cannot understand the biblical definition of a leader as a servant. Even though He was Lord, Jesus said, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve" (Matt. 20:28).
As your wife's servant, can you name her top three needs? What worries her? What circumstances quickly put her emotional gas tank on empty?
Men, let me challenge you to lead, to love and to serve."

My wonderful husband was actually able to answer those questions. My point though is for devotion today I was reading Meyer's "Stooping to Rise" and he says:
When our Lord stooped to live visibly amongst men, He refused to avail Himself of the homage due to His original nature. He had been in the form of God, but was content to veil His glory, to assume the form of a servant, to be made in the likeness of men. In the cradle of Bethlehem, in the home of Nazareth, in the voluntary limitations of His earthly ministry, in His obedience to the death of the cross, there was the hiding of His power. He refused to use the attributes of His intrinsic Deity, that He might manifest the Love of God, that He might bear away the guilt of the world, and work out and bring in an eternal righteousness. Therefore He is exalted and bears evermore the name of Jesus---the Saviour of the world.
The Apostle says, let this same mind be in you; think these-thoughts; follow in the steps of Jesus. We must show a holy emulation as to who shall stoop the lowest, and follow the master the closest. The most urgent Matter for each of us to consider is not whether we are orthodox in our creed (though that is not unimportant), but whether at any cost we have the mind which was in Christ, whether at any cost to ourselves we are manifesting the love of God to those around us.
As any of us lead, this is so very important to incorporate into our walk to have any Godly success. Any who know my husband might raise an eyebrow or snicker (now stop that!) when I say he is such a man, because he definitely has a stand-his-ground, firm nature; but he constantly makes an effort to understand, please, and be a blessing to me. I realize too that Jeremiah 5 says the Lord is my Husband and so He initially set the ultimate example.

Thank you Lord for the gift of your Word, your Love, and for the gift of my husband.

Saturday, March 17

Vacation Log

Havasu Vacation 20070309 – Friday’s Fiasco:

Friday we set off while the sun was still up after making a stop at Circuit City and then Best Buy for the latest Stargate Atlantis DVD Season set at Fry’s prices. Taking the 15 Fwy at Foothill, we didn’t even get past the Falcon Ridge onramp when we heard a funny sound in the car. Pulling over, we discover the car is running hot and the husband looks under the hood to find a lack of coolant. He walks back to the Target in that shopping center to acquire some while Jonathan and I sat in the car watching people pass by looking at us pathetically, and a lady was kind enough to give him a ride back.

Traffic had begun mounting and becoming somewhat desperate as people tried to make their way; a traffic accident was suspect due to the emergency vehicles and sirens we were encountering. Temperature levels return to normal levels, but the husband suggestdc we delay until morning and get the Caravan looked over by our reliable mechanic before setting off again – so home we go as he back very deftly and safely backs our vehicle off of the on ramp to the streets again, but this actually gives us an opportunity to re-assess our packing and include items we didn’t have.

Havasu Vacation 20070310 – Saturday’s Sojourning
The Caravan was given the once, maybe even twice, over by our trusty mechanic Joe and deemed trip worthy, so we set off once again. Previously our route was to be the 15 to the 40 as a safer and not as trafficked choice, but since it was now Saturday it was revised to the 10 to the 95. I had some frustration because we were taking off later than discussed, but the husband was so pleased with the safeness of the car. Down the 10 we set off.

Later I realized that the map directions I printed showed us taking the high road of the 62 north of Joshua Tree, so I then became angry with my self that I may have caused us loss of more time. But I realized it was possible to do it the way we were going. Then, I think the husband doubted my navigational abilities and we stopped in Quartzsite, (yeah, Arizona) to get a roadmap. We picked up a few things there, looked at a few things , used the restroom, then picked up some Popeye’s, and also stopped for gas before continuing. This became much more than the quick stop I anticipated. It is not easy sucking in exasperation, but I really wanted this vacation to be a success and mired by a sourpuss. I think I did rather well.

Our coordinates were established, nourishment attended to, we were once again on our way. I oftentimes throughout the trip offered to drive, but I think the husband actually enjoys the driving – or maybe he just doesn’t like mine? The remainder of the trip was might I say delightful? We headed up to Parker City with a big rig roaring down our back and shortly after caught a glimpse of the river to full blown wonderful sights. The youngest was a pleasant passenger throughout with only a couple of “Are we close?” The red rock that made up much of the mountainside and dirt around us carved into bluffs and wind-formed architecture was impressive. Before I anticipated, we were pulling up into our vacation destination – the Nautical Inn Resort and Convention Center.

The Inn boasts to be the only such property with a Colorado Riverside beach – the state owns all other land. So while you might get near lake accommodations in Lake Havasu – we were on AND facing the lake – home at last for the next 6 days. We tend to vacation in places with kitchenettes, so we come with groceries and equipment like the husband’s smoothie maker – all the comforts of home. Our first dinner, I had a salad with chicken, mushroom, and viniagrette dressing, while the gentlemen had rice and breast of chicken that had been already cooked and brought from home. It made the first day easy and comfortable and easy to settle in. And as a remarkable sun set on our day, so it began …. That let me say is the Prologue ;-)

Havasu Vacation 20070311 – Sunday’s Sabbath
We slept soundly. It had been a warm day previously and the week promised mid-90s. We missed the meet & greet Sunday morning free breakfast, but gladly had our own of cereal and such – I finished off 2 of the last 4 pieces of Popeye's. On our patio we overlooked the lake. The place was small, opening into a bedroom area replete with Jacuzzi tub which led you through a bathroom hallway with a separate toilet and shower and area and into a livingroom kitchen area. A sleeper was in the couch there which is where the young one retired. He and I took a walk around the property surveying our surroundings. Overall we did quite a bit of relaxing on the patio, took naps, watched Atlantis episodes and we went swimming.

We had church in our room considering Psalms wherein it advised the wiseness of adhering to your parents teaching and no listening to those who would lead you astray opening and closing singing praise songs. We hadn’t done that as a family for some time; it was a very nice time of worship.

We went back to the London Bridge (we had crossed over getting to our destination), singing the child’s song and walked around the quaint storefronts and restaurants there. There is a fountain which is used as a foreground of many of the postcard shops. On the other side back in the city we went to the store for smoothie supplies and stopped at MickeyD’s on the way back. We had a very full and pleasant day – we were definitely on vacation.

Havasu Vacation 20070312-15 – weekday unwinding
The rest of our days were much of the same – we swam, played badminton, made more trips into town and shopped a little, walked, hung out on the beach. The youngest made friends with a couple of families with kids and learned to swim t’boot! He went from saying he could swim to swimming both above and under water and retrieving items from the bottom of the pool. He has a collection of seashells to show for his time as well. The young one also was allowed to display his artistic abilities on the sidewalk with chalk colors. One of his highlights would be the spring breaker guys who spent time with him in the pool throwing a football. The young one had a spiral and a victory dance! Nicole I had time to read a book - Last Witness by Jilliane Hoffman.

Every timeshare use is not complete without the timeshare’s sales pitch. We went through that, actually considered it, and walked away with Lake money to spend. We ate out at Denny’s (where we had great service until we got to the abrupt cashier) to utilize some of it. Throughout the week we had waffles and steak and chicken dinners, hot links, taquitos and burritos, italian sausage and such with veggies, salad, rice or potatoes. Right now I’m going to have a lil’ dessert of sherbert.

It is difficult to say where the week has gone because it is nearly over. We depart tomorrow. I hate to see it come to an end, but we plan to make the most of it before we head back to a life all too familiar. I do know there were memories carved and precious artifacts gained beyond the young one's seashells. Now in a dually employed marriage and formerly long time single parent, there hasn’t been the pleasure of infinite hours to spend in the formation of who my children become – each moment has had to be selfishly maximized to bring forth fruit. To have the time to languish in being with the young one and developing who he is and really have an opportunity to appreciate it. Spending time with both his parents, We had conversations on our walks, he became able to know the 10 commandments, examine nature, swim, have long badminton volleys. He is a precious child. Thank you Lord.

Most precious of all was to have the husband with me. In these busy days of ministry, school, work, parenting, household, he often feels lost to me, coming home to change from one hat to another some heavier than others – often wearing severally simultaneously and interchanging as he goes – a most efficient juggler. But he came home to me this past week. We’ve committed to make more of these times. We can’t always change the commitments that are pressing on our lives, but we can make a way to find each other in them. This was our period of rest; thank you Lord.

Havasu Vacation 20070316 – Friday Finale: the Epilogue
I had a skin care clinic at 8:30 so I jumped up, ate a quick breakfast and headed over to the First Cabin Club trailer. We played with Mary Kay make-up and I left with a golden summery look that enhanced the tan my body had acquired in this 90 degree weather. When I got back to our room full-fledged packing was going on. But before getting too heavily involved in that disheartening task, I went over to the gift shop and purchased the summer dress I had been eyeing all week with the remainder of our lake dollars – something to take home with us. Then I went into a packing frenzy. We were ready in short order – a icon of teamwork. We checked out and took the long road off the premises back to highway home. Our route was the inverse of the original one – the 95 to the 40 to the 15.

We stopped in town for a few supplies and MickeyD’s for lunch on the way. And we were in California (we knew because the gas prices went from $2.59/gal. to 3.59 per gal. for unleaded) and going through the long and uneventful Mojave desert passing through Needles and Lodi and the husband noted the location for the Disney-Pixar movie Cars. We scooted from Barstow on home bringing a wonderful vacation to and end ... until the next adventure.

Signing off...the Nomads of Normandy

Saturday, March 3

No waste!

Snatching a minute to blog while the youngest is getting a haircut. Yay; its not me doin’ it! Fantastic Sam’s had a coupon I’m taking advantage of. So, three days into March, I need to wrap up February.

Maybe, I’ll back my way into it…
We are six days (and 7 nights) from a week long vacation – haven’t done that in years (about four now), so I am eagerly looking forward to it – Lake Havasu to see the London Bridge! The youngest (the one getting the haircut) is off-track at his school for the entire month – so he is traversing with us. He doesn’t likely remember the trip he took with us to Orlando before he was two. Also he is getting an award at school on Tuesday (the last day); he got one last month (to our chagrin, we missed the information on that one) too. The proud parents will be there.

It’s been a busy time the last week and I’ve worked hard on weight loss (I didn’t say I’d never talk about it!); have you noticed the progress? It’s been an up and down proposition, but I think it is beginning to pay off. I’m using the trip as a quick short term goal, just because I can.

In that light and in general, I’ve been struggling with discouragement – you may have noticed in my last post. I’m basically a positive person and feel like my atmosphere has been an increasing reminder of negativity. I was reminded today however that God doesn’t waste anything – so there’s a purpose for everything – that’s the positive. I looked high and low for that and He gave it to me today.

I haven’t seen my brother since before the new year – who lives what – an hour away – but where is the time to travel into traffic and return in traffic with so much stuff going on – meetings and engagements - so many plans gone awry. It’s hard to get off of a moving carousel. However I decided to take the award day (above) off and kill two birds with one stone. I should be able to spend time with my brother and still get back before traffic escalates.

Had my second 9/80 day off last Friday and I spent that one trying to kill other birds. The eye doctor’s office informed me it had been since September since I was supposed to pick up some contacts – that one’s off of my ‘to do’ list. Tried to make use of a gift card on trip essentials, but didn’t see anything of value. May have to fit that in later this week – it was an excuse to go back to Victoria Gardens.

Missed my friend's Gold Canyon candle party, but I have some goodies ordered! Cathy and Lee have been battling her life threatening disease and by God's grace they’ve won; praise God. That was so good to find out. Talk about renewing leases – the lease on life is the most profound. As believers, its nice to be able to approach it knowing that the equation is going home or finishing His work here. I'm continuing in prayer for her job. God is good! The Ace was able to get her son into the preschool program she had waitlisted an year. By the grace of God she was the last one in on a first-come/first-serve 6AM enrollment call. Yes, God is good. And her husband is able to be back at work for which we’ve all been long praying. I know the re-adjustment may be hard. But for God, there’s no waste; everything is for a reason. The prayer list seems partiularly long these days, but no prayer is wasted with God. In that vein, we are continuing in prayer for my husband's life-long friend's wife who's diagnosis of cancer does not look good for their family of four little ones and for all those who we know have family battling this disease and those unknown. God be with them all!

Our women’s study has started a new book and we are all excited. It’s Max Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life – the cover has two beautiful short haired lab like dogs lazing on the couch. If we are peculiar people, certainly an uncommon life should accompany us. There is a workbook that we are making our way through. Our group is going to kick off a monthly Saturday study in April as well and the First Place study is seriously being considered; I’ve ordered the group starter kit to initiate it. There is much to look forward to.

Most of all I am sooooo looking forward to our vacation. The place is right on the water with beach and pools, lots of activities in and around the area – gotta talk to a man about buying a bridge ;-)

My, he looks handsome with his haircut; time to go!

Thursday, March 1

a discouraging word

It's been a lil bit and I'll catch things up shortly; this is just a quickie.

My friend posted about who we should esteem which lingered on the brain. I sure wish I had her reading time *sigh*) Anyways, silly enough, that song home, home on the range has been rattlin' around in my head as well, particularly the words where never is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. Where you treasure is, there shall you heart be also. My range and my heart are with God. I need to remind myself of that when I hear a discouraging word and go home - a place of comfort, correction, love and encouragement - and have a heart to heart with my Abba Father.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us Heb 12:1

Fitness Footnote

'the highs and lows of' my Weight Loss Journey