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Friday, December 23, 2011

Ready Or Not, Here It Comes...

The presents are wrapped, the refrigerator is full, the lights twinkle on the tree and excitement abounds! It's almost Christmas.

Every night, 5-year old Sam studies the Nativity in the library and asks questions. Last night, he kept examining "the players..." and his little eyebrows kept knitting together ... he was perplexed. "Where is God? Is that God," he asked looking at Joseph. We explained, "No, that is Jesus' father, Joseph." We also told him that the woman in the Nativity was Jesus' mother Mary. "Hmm, I didn't know Jesus had a mother, he says."

He continued, "God isn't here, He's in heaven." I tried to explain to Sam that God is with us in our hearts, just like when he's not at home, he loves his Dad and holds him in his heart. To which he responded, "If you don't have God in your heart, you go down to be with the devil." He's trying really hard to understand how all of this "stuff" fits together.

In the Bible, the book of Colossians states, that there are mysteries of God that we, as rational human beings just won't understand, until we find ourselves in heaven. The Christmas story is not "rational," it's a miracle. Jesus is fully God, but He chose to come to earth as a baby, through the virgin Mary, to save us. So, yes, Jesus is both God and man.

My husband, Paul, has been teaching Sam a little science that we may have to use to explain God. Water exist in three states, a liquid, a solid and a gas ... water, ice and steam, but in any form, it's still water. In many ways, God is like a family with a father, mother and child - three persons, one family. Much like water, ice and steam, God exists in three persons: God, the father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit ... still all very much God.

As we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate, God the Son ... Jesus. It's time to set aside our rational "selves" and embrace the miracle that came in the form of a birth and the fact Jesus came willingly as a babe to save us from our sins. What a tragedy if the "story" had ended differently.

Merry Christmas from the Canelos Family and remember to revel in the birth of our Savior this Christmas season.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Journey of Service

Thanksgiving is a memory and we look forward to the celebration of Christ's birth. I seem to become more emotional and a little bit sentimental, AND, realizing I haven't been a kid for a very long time, I think about the past and all of the changes since those growing up years.

We were recently invited to celebrate the 30th anniversay of the church in which I grew up. In his sermon, Pastor Mike discussed the church and what it really means when you say the word "church." In most mind, it conjurs the image of a building. However, no where in scripture does God use the word "church" to descibe a building. It's the people. When I look back at my childhood, my church was "the people." And they weren't just "the church." They were/are family.

While we are not with them regularly, what a fitting time of year to visit these people ... the church. It is like "going home"... to family. I can't imagine where I would be if God had not brought that group of people together to serve God and each other ... and be His church. I am convinced my life would have turned out very differently ... I would not be the same person.

Our church lost a dear friend early in 2011. And when I think about her role in my life and in the church, it was all about service. I know her family and friends miss her, especially during holiday season. But I also rejoice in my heart for her ... what must it be like to celebrate Christmas in heaven ... with Jesus?!

In heaven, there is no worry about putting on a few pounds from the Christmas ham or picking just the right outfit for the Christmas party ... no worry about selecting the perfect gift. HE IS the perfect gift.

My kids look at me like I am crazy when they ask me what I would like for Christmas and my answer is, "I don't need a thing." I have the perfect gift ... Jesus ... and, while God's plan was put into action long ago in a small church in southern Iowa, I am still on a journey of service for my King.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"A Lot of Stuff On Your Plate"

My 5 year old often says things that make me laugh ... it's amazing how profound he can be without even knowing it. Last week, he stopped coloring, looked up and asked, "Jen, do you know what Thanksgiving means?" He thought for a moment and his eyes narrowed and his little eyebrows met. "Well ... hmm ... it means having a lot of stuff on your plate!" 

I can't believe it is mid-November. Everywhere I turn, I see Christmas decorations, pre-black Friday sales, the stores extending their hours to "holiday hours" ... Each year, it starts earlier and the stress levels increase.  Even this little, 5-year old boy notices that stores have "pushed" aside Thanksgiving in an effort to increase their own profits before year-end. Stores even open on Thanksgiving to make sure they get their "piece of the pie."

When I look ahead toward the holidays, it makes me tired ... just thinking about all of the things that have to be done. Sam said it best when he used the phrase ... "having a lot of stuff on your plate." Each year, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep "all of those plates spinning" and the focus in the right place.

While others get sucked into and dragged down by the craziness of "the holidays," while people fight over the last "bargain,"  I find myself grateful in an ungrateful world ... giving thanks when no one around me is thankful. I am counting my blessings, when others around me feel less than blessed.

I have learned (the hard way) that the "stuff on my plate" just doesn't matter. I can't let it "fill me up." I have to be selective about what I place "on my plate, be careful what I 'eat' " and look past it to the Giver of all good things.  I am so immensely thankful for all that HE has provided ... not the world. That fact that God has blessed me beyond anything I could have ever hoped or imagined is ever present before me.

What's on your plate this holiday season?  I personally don't want to look back at Thanksgiving and Christmas with regret that I wasn't focused on giving thanks for all He has given me or celebrating the birth of my personal Savior.

So during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I am going to be very selective of what I "put on my plate" and start a new year with no regrets ... I hope you will too!

"I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed." - anonymous

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Border Collies Rule!

I've been away from my blog for awhile. Life just seems to consume my time more than it used to. Especially this week...there has been a slight unraveling in the "household fabric." One of the "threads" is missing.

My husband is on a business trip ... he boarded a flight on Tuesday and returns Thursday evening. While he is just away for a few days ... part of me is missing and I just don't do as well without my other half. He is our constant ... the father, the bride groom, an illustration of the Heavenly Father's role in all of our lives.

Right now, I feel like a "border collie" at best ... running in circles trying to move the flock this way and that. There's craziness at work, kids needing to be different places, picked up, dropped off and oh, I can't forget to feed them! There are birthday cakes to be made, pumpkins to be carved, parent-teacher conferences ... oh my! So, in my quest to be super mom this week, I made enough beef stew for an army ... for the three of us that are at home. Yes, the border collie (me) just keeps circling the flock, making sure we are all, at the very least, safe and moving in the same direction (and fed!).

I will say one thing ... in our family and in our lives, it's a good thing there's a shepherd ... THE Shepherd who cares for His sheep much better than I ... the one who laid down His life for His sheep. He keeps reminding me this week to turn "the flock" over to Him and let Him lift the heavy burdens and the worry ... because He can and He will.

I look up to Him and realize that if I turn things over to Him, the "border collie" expends less energy running in circles ... my load becomes lighter and my "way" brighter. Thank you Lord, that the children are in bed, the dishes are done and I can put my feet up and write some thoughts and reflections about You, as the stars come out and the moon shines brightly in the window, again reminding me that you are the Creator. Lord, give me the strength to handle my blessings and thank you, Father, that tomorrow I get to do it all over again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I was driving down I-80 this morning, on my way to work, listening to the radio. They were taking about hope.

An interview had been done with a middle eastern man whose father had been kidnapped by the government of his country over 20 years ago. He stated that living with hope can make your life miserable. He still has "hope" that his father is alive, but holding onto that hope has taken a toll on his life.

There is a great difference between "living with hope" and "THE Living Hope."  You can live with hope that is "empty" or you can trust in the Living Hope that is Christ. Much like love without Christ is incomplete ... hope without Christ is devoid of "substance." It is not fruitful.

When you examine grace, peace, mercy and forgiveness ... without Christ they are just "labels." There is no action. With Christ, there is "life" in grace, peace, mercy and forgiveness ... complete, not lacking action or fulfillment.

Like this man, we have all experienced some sort of loss, some more difficult than others. I have seen individuals who are much like this man. They hold on to unspeakable sorrow and let it define who they are... or, they can revel in the Living Hope that is Christ Jesus and turn it all over to Him, living a life of real hope, peace and mercy.

Who are you and what defines you?  Are you a child of the King?  Do you have hope? Is it fruitless hope or hope in the Living Hope that is Christ?

I Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy  has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an  inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away,  reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God  through faith for  a salvation ready  to be revealed in the last time. 6  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while,  if necessary, you have been distressed by  various trials, 7 so that the  proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable,  even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and  though you have not seen Him, you  love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and  full of glory, 9 obtaining as  the outcome of your faith the salvation of  your souls.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Error ... please reboot ... "

What a difference a week makes! The second week of school was much better than the first. The kids have settled into a routine with practices, games, homework ... "the parents" like the routine! 

This year is different for us. The school provided Mac Books to each student in middle school and high school. This changes the dynamic in our home. The kids sit on the sofa, noses pressed to the screens of their laptops, furiously facebooking or i-chatting with their friends. They take these "precious communication devices" everywhere with them. It's their social connection to the world. They rush through meals, inhaling the wonderful meal their Dad has prepared just to get back to the laptop.

It's not just about the kids, oddly enough. While they are "Mac-booking," their dad or I are usually on our laptop, tablet or Android phones "doing OUR thing ... emailing, fantasy football, etc." I picture what it would look like if someone walked in and saw us all sitting in the same room, not speaking or interacting with each other ... how silly we must look. Even I will admit, it has changed the style of communication and drawn attention away from things that are more important.

While technology has made our lives easier (we use the cell phones for shopping lists, GPS, texting the children), in some respects, it has made them more difficult. It has changed the way our children write and speak to others. They feel like they cannot function without the internet and now, they NEED their laptops to accomplish their classwork at school and their homework.

Many things have come along through the years that have affected the way we worship and interact with the Lord. These new technologies and types of worship have almost become a distraction. My own cell phone rang during church a few weeks ago ... I was embarrassed.

People now attend church and expect to be entertained ... they tweet during the service! You can find a tab on church websites called "media" and download a podcast of the sermon. I really miss the days when going to church was all about Jesus and not about being entertained and/or how much technology you can incorporate into your worship service (or our home).

Have these technologies become idols? Most definitely ... what do we sacrifice to these new idols? Time, family, communication, money, respect ... the list is endless.

My stepdaughter asked her classmates which they would rather give up ... a foot or the internet? The concensus was each student at her lunch table would rather lose a foot. Now, really, no one is going to sacrifice a limb, but perhaps this is a good "wake up call." We need to go back to what's really important and focus on what real sacrifice really is ... ouch! ... not a foot or the internet, but laying ourselves on the altar and making God the center of our homes once again ... not the Mac Book.

1 John 5:21
... guard yourselves from idols.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"That's My Jen!"

There is no other way to say it, being a step mom is tough. There is nothing easy about it. I knew going in, it would be an interesting ride. The kids never cease to remind me that I am are not the "real mom" (not overtly, but it's just there). When Paul and I were married, the children and I said vows to each other that went something like this ...

"Jennifer, do you promise to be a faithful wife to Paul, a spiritual leader of your home and also a patient, loving mother to Joe, Olivia and Sam, caring for them and providing for them as your own? Do you promise to be their strength and their emotional support, loving them with all your heart and making Christ the center of your home?

And now, Joe, Olivia and Sam, do you promise to love and respect Jennifer? Do you promise to support this marriage and your family? Do you promise to accept the responsibility of being their children, and to encourage them and support them in your new life together?"

We all said, "I do." But did we really? When I re-read those vows, I have to admit, that's a pretty tall order from every angle. "Patient, loving mother? Love and respect?!"

Following a relaxing, family summer vacation on the beach at the end of July, we faced the first day of school on August 15. It was, in a word, CHAOS. I had been looking forward to the beginning of school. We would all get back on some sort of schedule. But, when it hit, it was like "the perfect storm." We were controlled by "the schedule" and the children all felt their "stuff" was most important. There were demands, disrespect and yes ... many tears. As the step mom, my heart was breaking. I thought I was handling everything so well ... breathe in, breathe out ... breathe in, breathe out ... I even went to work early for some quiet time. What happened to that "patient, loving mother" and the vows of "love and respect?"

Much like a marriage and even our relationship with God, sometimes, we let the chaos of our lives consume us and the love and respect part? It goes right out the window. The good news is that God is still in control and loves us beyond measure, even when life, and everyone around us seem completely out of control.

As for being a step mom? It's week 2 of school and the kids come home from the "real mom's" house today. I'll let you how it goes. Even with all that happened last week, I have to admit that being a step mom is still a "pretty cool gig." And, when we reach new heights of crazy, as the vows said, I still "love them with all my heart." The benefits outweigh the craziness ... smiles, hugs, high fives, knuckles, cuddles and laughter.

Sam still can't remember the word "step mom," so he introduces me and says, "that's My Jen." I think he believes everyone has a "My Jen" (he's only 5)!  So, I'll be content to be "My Jen," and continue to pray every day that we will all be respectful and mindful of each other in our home. I know that when life is running amok, "My God" reigns and sits on His throne ... and smiles when, much like when He calmed the stormy seas, He calms "My Jen's" chaotic world.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Love Like "the Wind ... "

We are discussing "loving one another" in Sunday School ... agreeably one of the most important, yet difficult commandments. Even the Pastor admits it's not his "best" subject.

Recently, I had a "theological discussion" with my brother -in-law about the Holy Spirit. I reminded him that the Holy Spirit is like the wind ... you can't see the wind ... but you can see the affects of the wind. You cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can see the affects of the Holy Spirit.

It just struck me yesterday. This is exactly how to best illustrate God's love. Scripture tells us that we cannot see God. However, we can see God, His love and the affects of His love in His Children ... much like the wind. The only way some people will ever see God is through us.

If we are not showing His love, how will those who are  lost ever really "see" God?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stop Talking! Stop Talking? What Does That Look Like?

Another episode of "Father Knows Best...But Sam Thinks He Does..."  Paul was trying to fix Sam's video game and Sam has a habit of spitting out as many words as he can in a short period of time without breathing...he is 5 afterall. The non-stop chatter was starting to grate. As Paul was fixing the game, Sam was "helping!"

Paul finally stopped and looked at him and said, "this would be a lot easier if you would stop talking." Sam looked at him with a puzzled look and responded, "Stop talking...stop talking? How does that work? I can't just STOP talking!"

Contrary to we earthly parents, our Heavenly Father does not weary of conversations with His children. He does not want us to stop talking. He wants us to tell him everything ... our struggles and our praises. He knows and understands every tear and heartbreak and every moment of rejoicing. There are times when we don't feel worthy to bring our petitions to Him, but He "is" grace and mercy.

As parents, there are times when we glaze over and stop listening. God never stops listening and He is in control of every situation...even when the 5 year old won't stop talking. Ah, that God, what a kidder!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shhh....Don't Tell the Children!

Just between us ... my husband and I are secretly keeping a list of all of the things we are going to do when the children are grown and we are invited to THEIR homes. Most people make 'bucket lists' ... we're making "payback" lists. With three children, this should keep us busy well into our retirement years.

You totally know what I am talking about ... things like:
  • door slamming
  • emptying the ice cube tray and putting it back in the freezer ... EMPTY!
  • chocolate pudding splattered all over the counter/walls
  • gum wrappers and other various items in the toilet
  • empty cereal boxes put back in the cupboard
  • cereal and/or candy wrappers on the back of the sofa (and generally strewn about the living room)
  • lounging around while everyone is working and complaining how bored "we" are
  • instead of helping get dinner ON the table ... constantly ask when it will be ready
  • pee on the toilet seat (leaving the seat up at all times ... just in case of an emergency)
  • chocolate pudding smeared across the coffee table
  • yelling from across the house or the yard and expecting an answer
  • texting while others are are trying to talk
  • silverware in the garbage can
  • constantly saying "we" should do this or that when they really mean "you" should do it
  • ... don't forget this one ... "I am too busy ... the universal excuse to get out of anything
  • acting like we have rocks in our heads
You get the idea ... I am guessing if you are a parent, your list would resemble ours quite closely.  Let's put it this way ... the list is becoming quite extensive. "Is he repeatedly falling down up there or constantly re-arranging the furniture?! Does he really need to honk his annoying, little bicycle horn at everyone and everything? (we'll put that one on the payback list for Grandpa Bob and Grandma Sharon)!"

Okay, we haven't actually made an Excel spreadsheet or hunted down a smartphone app for it. Paul and I just look at each other and say, "we're adding it to the list!"

We had the "Lord's Supper" last Sunday. I was praying silently ... "getting things right" with the Lord ... asking forgiveness for "MY LIST."  Oh boy!  What a long list that is!  I am so thankful I can ask for forgiveness and God let's me start anew with a clean "slate." Thankfully, He has "a shorter memory" than we earthly parents. 

While we are sometimes serious about making that list as earthly parents ... in the next moment as godly parents, we remember how much we love and miss them when they are not with us. We are concerned for their well-being. We hurt when they hurt and we rejoice in their happiness.

Isn't that just so reflective of our heavenly Father in His love for us?

I am so glad God isn't into making payback lists for His children. Amen ...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Which One Is My Left?

I have been away from my blog for awhile. Life gets busy with a husband and three children who are out of school.

I posted on my Facebook page a conversation between Paul and our 5-year old, Sam. He told his dad he would retrieve the dishwasher detergent from the pantry and asked if it was on the right or left. His dad responded that it was on the left.  Sam then inquired, "Dad, which one is my left?" 

We were discussing finding treasures in Sunday school last week. There are so many treasures in God's Word. I miss my devotion time. Life has gotten so busy that my Bible reading is pretty much non-existent. Now, I do realize that it is no one's fault but my own and that "God is a busy guy" too.

As I was having this discussion about time and finding time to immerse myself in God's Word, the old saying came to mind ... "Give God what's right, not what's left."

I have been finding ways to make it part of my busy day through online devotions and online Bible websites that I can read on my "smart" phone. God has given us the tools to read His Word no matter where we are or how busy we become. We just have to use them (and keep them out of the spam filter).

I am so thankful for a church family that encourages me and lets me know that I am not the only one struggling to find time with God. And, that we can share tools and resources that help each other grow closer to Him. As you go through your week ... don't give God "what's left."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rapture Practice Anyone?

I don't know if you have heard, but the world is supposed to come to an end this Saturday at 5 p.m. central time. Hmm.

I struggle with this because ... yes, if Jesus were to return on Saturday, what a glorious day!  On the other hand, I don't want my friends and/or family to be "left behind" and look to me with tears in their eyes and say, "why didn't you tell me?" 

Jesus clearly states, in the New Testament that we won't ever know the day or time of His return. Since I firmly believe that no one can "out guess" the Lord, I am confident of the fact that I still have work to do and time in which to do it.

I joked with a friend that until His return, I would be out on the front lawn, jumping up and down having rapture practice. But practice for the rapture should really be in the form of sharing Jesus with others before it's too late. Let's all get busy!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

That's a "Come On Man!"

One of our favorite things about the fall season is Monday Night Football. It's an EVENT. My husband and I eat our dinner (something "football appropriate") in front of the television, watch the game and wait anxiously for halftime. Excitement builds as the title of our favorite segment slowly inches its way up the side of the screen, ever so close to airing (8:17pm). It's called, "Come On Man!"  This is when the sportscasters highlight bad plays, unbelievable passes and catches or just plain "crazy talk" from the players and/or coaches. After each, we hear Chris Berman, Cris Carter or one of the other sportscasters yell, "Come On Man!" 

At the Canelos house, this phrase has become a "staple." With 3 children (2 of which are teenagers), it is required quite often.

Yesterday, after a long day of frustration at work, Sam and I used garden hoes to cut thistles out of the yard. Actually, Sam just "hacked" them into a million tiny pieces, but it was a good effort. Hey, he's 4 years old ... at least he "showed up!" We were both tired (okay, I was tired) as we put away the garden tools and went inside to help make dinner.

We were all sitting at the dinner table, having a family meeting about things that needed to be done around the house. There was a discussion about the development of a "chore chart" and how to split up the chores among the 5 of us.

Then it happened ...

My 15-year old genius** said, "Doing the dishes is women's work, so I think the girls should have to do them! The guys can just do the outside stuff." (This is the point in the television sitcom where everything comes to a screeching halt and you hear the "scratching record" sound.) I thought my head was going to explode. COME ON MAN!!!

When I stop and think about it, there are many things in my day that prompt a "Come On Man!" When I was driving to work this morning, I saw the bright light of the giant LED sign at the truck stop on I-35 flashing $3.69 for fuel (as my husband and I both drive 80 miles round trip to work every day ... each!!!) "COME ON MAN!"

As the frustrations at home boil over and I voice them to my husband ... I know he's thinking, "Come On Man!" When a woman at the grocery store blocks the aisle as she stands there and chit chats her BFF and you need to get home to make dinner ... that's a total "Come On Man!" When cell phones ring during the church service ... "Come On Man!" When I see a FB post about my friend's twenty-something, male children not being able to "hit the toilet" ... that is most definitely a "Come On Man!"

OH, you know where I am going with this ... how many times do we give God a reason to think, "Come On Man!" When our thoughts and our actions betray Him ... when we hear things coming out of our mouths and we can't stop ourselves ... when we say we are too busy meditate on His Word, pray or even get ourselves out of bed to honor Him with our presence in worship ... "COME ON MAN!"

I am going to try harder this week not to let inward frustrations turn into outward "expressions." I don't want to give God a reason to say, "Come On Man!"

(I input the phrase "Come On Man" in the search field, but it didn't display any results. Don't worry, He's got this one covered too ... He provides endless instruction regarding obedience!) I hope you have a blessed day ... without any "Come On Man(s)!"

**genius (of the Wile E. Coyote variety) = no where to be found when the "outside" work (i.e. the so-called man's work) was being done for the past several weekends!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sometimes You Just "Gotta Call A Guy ..."

My husband and I spent the past couple of weekends sawing, chopping, picking up, hauling ... We have pain in our lower backs to prove it!

If you saw my FB page, you saw the debris left by our determination to rid our home of mulberry trees, dead trees/branches and overgrown bushes. It looks like a tornado hit and yes, we have quite a mess to clean up.

On Saturday, I did what I could to keep up with Paul and his newfound love for the gas-powered chain saw. I kept dragging and hauling branches and logs to the "gigantor" (Sam's favorite word) pile of brush "ruining" the view on the east edge of our yard. It was so high, I literally had to throw things to reach the top of the heap.

We just kept going on Sunday and created an even bigger mess. We just stood and stared at our "war-torn" yard with fallen branches everywhere. I kept thinking to myself ... it feels so good to have this done, but where are we going to put it all?!

On Monday, I ended up looking up a service to haul it away. Paul was skeptical about hiring someone, determined that we could burn a little each week and make it disappear. I told him that I had made an executive decision and "called a guy" to come clean it up and haul it away. Listen, there are times in life, when you know you are in over your head and you just have to "call a guy!"

Much like our Christian walk ... there are times when you just have to ask for help and "call THE Guy!" There are things that, as humans, we can't handle on our own and we reach out to the Lord in prayer. If you are facing something today, that you can't handle or feels too large for you to "lift" by yourself. There is no "Guy" bigger than God and He will help you bear those call "THE Guy!"

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

1 Corinthians 4:10
We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

While others find our faith foolish, we must stand for our faith and be "fools" for Christ.

Be a "fool" for Jesus today!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Renewing of Our Strength

These past few months have been a challenge for many. Our family has experienced loss, illness and grown weary from the "trials" that life brings. I read this passage this morning and wanted to post it to give hope to others who are weary from "life."  God never grows weary or faint ... He is everlasting.

Isaiah 40:28-31

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


So, dear sweet Sam is outgrowing all of his clothes. Every pair of pants is up to his ankles and he won't wear anything with holes ... he's very fashion conscious apparently. His Dad and I ended up at Old Navy trying to find some new jeans for the boy. We keep telling him that eating healthy will make him grow! I keep pushing the fruits and veggies.

We have been talking about growth in church. A steady diet of "good food" (scripture) will make us grow and mature in our walk with Christ. So, as hard as it is, keep up the daily scripture reading any way you can. Technology makes it easier than ever to stay in the Word. I personally do it via cell phone now ... because I can and because I can do it at any time during the day! Sometimes I need it more than others.

I subscribe to "Our Daily Bread" and receive it every day in my email. Anytime I have a free moment, I can pull up my daily devotional and take time out to read the scripture that goes with it on

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's 3/16!

It's March 16 (3/16)!

That makes it John 3:16 day ... a great "door-opener" to share your faith with someone else.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Cry Out to Jesus ..."

I heard some heartbreaking statistics on the radio this morning. 70% of the people in Japan have no religious affiliation. Of the 30% who do, only 2% of those profess Jesus as their savior.

When you stop and think that on a "normal" day in Japan, their public transportation system "moves" 10 million people per day ... the scores of people who do not know the Lord in that country -- mind-blowing.

This is a time for revival in our country and theirs. I can't imagine living one day without Jesus in my life. My struggles seem small in comparison, but I get through them with obedience and humility at the feet of Jesus.

Please pray for Japan ... that people find peace in the One who brings comfort and healing during this time of trial and loss.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Laura Story - "Blessings" Lyrics

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
But long that we'd have the faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Between the lines!!!

Last week, I had the "honor" of taking my 15-year old stepson, Joe, to get his learner's permit. I sat with the 4-year old and waited patiently at the DMV for him to complete the test. At one point during the test, Joe put his head down on the table. I was thinking to myself, "Uh oh ... not good."  Moments later, he looked at me as if to tell me that he wasn't going to pass.

He did pass the test. I was so proud of him and I treasured the moment that I was so privileged to share with him.

A few miles from home on a county highway, I pulled over at an intersection and Joe looked at me. I told him it was his turn to drive. He sat and blinked at me for a few minutes, and then hurriedly ran around the car and jumped in the driver's seat. He nervously fastened his seat belt, as I intructed him to check his mirrors. After doing so, he determined he was ready. With pride, I let him drive "a distance" for the first time.

As with every new driver, he spent a lot of time "hugging" the shoulder of the highway, especially as cars approached from the other direction. I assured him there was plenty of room between the lines and advised him to looked straight ahead not right in front of the car. I kept "waving" my hand from side to side to "edge" him over back onto the road.

I think that might be how God spends His time ... "waving" us back onto the path He's made for us. He keeps us looking up, out and away to Him ... focused on what He has in store for us. I picture Him smiling contentedly at our obedience and each treasured moment He gets to share with us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Moment In Time

I was talking with one of my best friends on the phone yesterday. We talked about all of the "stuff" going on in our lives. I reminded her (and myself) that it all makes up just one moment in time.

As Christians, we can look at it as one moment in eternity. How we handle this one moment can affect the future, but a few weeks/years from now, it will all be in the past and we will have moved on from this moment.

We will see that God was in control of each moment and He will have used it in some way ... to teach ... to prove Himself ... to remind us that He's always there.

I Peter 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a Living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

8Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Acre of Attitude

I am borrowing someone else's blog today ... he borrowed it from someone else's book. This was a Seth Godin blog that I kept, because I knew I would want to come back to it.

An acre of attitudes

Anne Lamott relates an image from a friend in her great book on writing, Bird by Bird. My version:
Everyone is given an acre of attitudes at birth. It's yours to tend and garden and weed and live with. You can plant bitterness or good humor. Feel free to fertilize and tend the feelings and approaches that you want to spend time with. Unless you hurt someone, this acre is all yours.

Probably worth putting up a decent fence, so that only the attitudes that you choose will have a chance to put down seeds, but it's certainly a bad idea to put up a wall, because a walled garden is no good to anyone passing by. You get to decide what comes through your fence gate, right?

Watching out for invasive species. Spending sufficient time on weeding and pruning and staking seem to be incredibly powerful tools for accomplishing the life you want. I refuse to accept that an attitude is an accident of birth or an unchangeable constant. That would be truly horrible to contemplate.

We reap what we sow in our gardens ... pray for wisdom and discernment as you tend your acre ... I'll be doing the same.

Monday, February 21, 2011


I don't know whether to yell, "MONDAY, MONDAY, MONDAY" or "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!!"  I have not yet decided if Monday is a good or bad "thing."

I texted a dear friend over the weekend that, "I know my husband and I are doing the right things in our lives because Satan is on the attack" ... big time! 

There are people in my life who don't believe that happens. I absolutely believe that when you are obedient to God and walking in Him, Satan does what he can to cause havoc. The Bible says he comes to "destroy." He uses the world and people around us to launch a spiritual battle against us every day by "setting your mind on man's interests, not God's interests."

The good news is that we know how the battle ends.

We need to follow Christ's example and combat the evil one, whom the Bible says, "disguises himself as an angel of light," with scripture and prayer.

2 Corinthians 2:11
So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Don't Ask If You Don't Want to Know!

Tis the season! The Canelos Family resembles a doctor's office right now ... stuffy noses, coughs and lots of tissue ...  We have been to the emergency room two weeks in a row (nothing major). Saturday night, we visited the doctors and nurses at the ER for the second time. Sam had an ear infection and we arrived at the urgent care clinic at 4:02 (they close are 4:00 and they are very serious about that).

Yesterday, I received a survey in the mail from one of the new hospitals on the west side of town that we "frequent" now. They asked about the service, nurses, doctors, facility in general, etc. I tend to be brutally honest on surveys, as they are asking for a reason and it may be my only chance to "change" anything. Both Paul and I firmly believe that if you don't really want to know the answers, you shouldn't ask. Therefore, I wrote down our experience in the ER and placed the survey in the postage paid envelope to the "survey processing department." We'll see if it goes any further than the "processing department."

I laughed to myself as I thought that is how I approach God sometimes. I don't "ask" (pray) about a particular care, because I just don't want to know the answer. I don't pray for patience because I know God will teach me patience in what may be an uncomfortable or "unwanted" way.

We should approach God with ALL of our cares and burdens, knowing that He loves us beyond measure and wants the best for us. God's answers and timing are always perfect, as are His grace and mercy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saint Valentine

A quick history lesson from Wikipedia ...

"The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493); alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine, the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome.

Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner – until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor – whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate."

Isn't that uplifting for a Monday?  My husband and I celebrated our Valentine's Day yesterday. We started with church and then enjoyed a wonderful lunch with our church family. We discussed how politically correct the world has become. Some organizations/schools AND churches have even banned the use of the title "Valentine's Day." This came as quite a surprise as it is named after a man who married Christian couples and in the face of persecution came to the aid of Christians.

As we strive not to get mired in political correctness and with the persecution of Christians around the world, today is a day to honor Christians who stand strong for their faith

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

2 Timothy 1:12
For which cause I suffer also these things: yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Testing Those Basic Skills

The topic of conversation at our dinner table last night was the Iowa Basic Skills tests that we all had to take "back in the day." The two older kids have been taking these tests for the past couple of weeks. I don't really remember what was on those tests specifically, but I do the dread at having to take them. The kids were relieved that today is the last day of testing for this year.

Do you remember taking those tests? Did you do your best on them, or did you just use your No. 2 pencil to black in the bubbles so you could finish quickly? 

It's a good thing God doesn't "test" us. He does give us free will. Whatever happens in our lives, He uses the circumstances to teach us something. Do we give our best when we are "tested" by things/people? Do we trust God to help us through it?

I heard two people having a discussion on whether the age-old adage that "God won't give you anything that you can't handle" is in the Bible. It is not spelled out that way specifically, but it is in there ... in a few places, actually ...

1 Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.

God doesn't test us, but people and circumstances do. Satan will use it, but only if we let him. When others "test" you ... just remember that God is faithful and He'll always be there to help you through it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who's the Mature One Here?!

I receive a daily blog in my e-mail at work. Today it was two sentences that said a lot. I am working too hard here! 

Our Sunday School lesson last week was about the minor prophet Hosea. Hmmm. One of our classmates suggested that he should have been a "major prophet" for what God asked him to do (I'll let you look that one up - it's the book next to Daniel). Hosea's life was not easy and God asked him to do something really difficult to prove/illustrate His amazing love for His people. Hosea showed absolute obedience in the face of hardship.

I accepted Christ when I was 9 years old. It has been a lengthy maturity process for this Christian girl. Paul is a newer Christian and just rededicated his life to Christ last year.

When Paul and I were attending marriage prep classes, we discussed where we were in our Christian walks. The pastor asked how that discussion had gone. Paul had no problem admitting that I was farther in my "walk" and that he was "a sponge, just taking it all in." 

Well, guess who the more mature Christian has been this past week?

When we struggle with a situation, Paul has to remind "the mature one" to trust God to "dispense" the "justice and rewards." When others try to tear us down because of their own self-centeredness, he reminds me that God will take care of it, and in the end it doesn't matter as long as we are praying about it and making the right choices.

His "newer" faith has him in a place that is less "comfortable" and more trusting ... while I try to "help" God with the answers. He is in a place of wonder of all that God does in our lives. I am so used to God working, that I sometimes forget to revel in his mercy and grace.

I am learning a lot from my wonderful husband and his trust, obedience and wonder as he demonstrates obedience in his Christian walk. He is genuine in His love for God and is selfless in everything he does.

The real beauty is that he lives his Christian principles everyday and everywhere - at work and at home ... he is in the world, not of the world. What a privilege to be an active participant in his growth as a Christian.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today Is The Day!

I heard this, one of my favorite songs, on my way to work this morning. With the struggles and disappointments of the past week, I thought it only fitting that this be my blog today. I hope you take time out today to just read the words of this song by Lincoln Brewster!

Today Is The Day
I'm casting my cares aside.
I'm leaving my past behind.
I'm setting my heart and mind on You, Jesus.
I'm reaching my hand to Yours.
Believing there's so much more.
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good!

Today is the day You have made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Today is the day You have made,
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I won't worry about tomorrow.
I'm trusting in what You say,
Today is the day!

I'm putting my fears aside.
I'm leaving my doubts behind.
I'm giving my hopes and dreams to You Jesus.
I'm reaching my hands to Yours.
Believing there's so much more.
Knowing that all You have in store for me is good!

Today is the day You have made.
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Today is the day You have made.
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I won't worry about tomorrow.
I'm giving You my fears and sorrows.
Where you lead me I will follow.
I'm trusting in what You say.
Today is the day!

I will stand upon your truth ...
All my days I'll live for You!
I will stand upon your truth ...
All my days I'll live for You!
All my days I'll live!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Carrying Heavy Weight

It’s only Tuesday!  I hate to wish time away, but can’t this week go any faster … a few more days until warmer weather and some time for God to work out things that are weighing heavy on my heart. I am having one of those days when I want things to be different … for God to be in control and take care of some things ... quickly!!

Last Summer, Paul was playing baseball (kind of) with Sam. Paul was pitching a plastic ball to Sam, who held onto a plastic, yellow bat. After several swings at the “air,” Sam became frustrated with his Dad and informed him that he should hit his bat with the ball. Again, Sam wanted Dad to do it his way.

That’s how I feel today. “God, can you just do it my way? Can you just work out some stuff that is causing hardship and be quick about it? Please take away the anxiety and frustration!”

People and "the world," in general, disappoint us. But God never does. We can be confident that His timing is perfect and His ways are not our ways. He assures us in Romans 8:28 that "... to those who love God all things work together for good."

If we are walking in His and doing the right things, He is taking care of business!

If you are feeling like I am today, just remember, Philippians 4:6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

I may have to meditate on that one today and wait on the Lord to take away the worries and work things out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Alive With Color!

Last night, as we watched the Super Bowl, one of the commercials had a kaleidoscope theme. Of course, I don’t remember which brand the commercial was promoting, however the graphics were impressive! Have you looked into a kaleidoscope lately? 

As young children, my brother and I were given kaleidoscopes … a shiny, blue cardboard tube that fit inside a shorter, bright yellow tube. There was rigid, white plastic in one end and a bright, silver cap on the other with a hole in it.

Two excited children peeking inside that dark hole revealed something “magical” … vivid, 3-dimensional colors … bright yellow, fiery red, sky blue, and thousands of other colors. If you turned the short tube in one direction --- the colored fragments shifted and danced into a dynamic flower. A turn in the other direction revealed something unique and amazing…a stained glass window. Holding it up to the light made the vibrant colors even more brilliant and alive! 

Is that how God sees us?  Are we part of “His kaleidoscope?”  The choices we make cause us to “turn one way.”  In that turning and twisting, life may not go as we planned. If we listen to God, make a different choice and turn another way, the result may be totally unexpected, as well.  No matter which “turn” we make, God uses every second of our lives for His glory. Just like the kaleidoscope, when we are held up to His light, we become fully alive!  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Christian Sisters & Zephaniah 3:17

When I arrived at home last night, the house was full of activity. I was greeted with hugs and then everyone went about what they were doing. I went upstairs to change my clothes and ended up lying down on the bed for a few moments of QUIET (breathe in, breathe out). As I laid there, the Lord brought two friends to mind.

These two godly women are very special to me. They were part of my church family while I was growing up, and we were church camp counselors together many years ago ... Carol Ann and Liz.

During that week of camp, Carol wrote me a letter telling me how proud she was of me and her prayers for my life. While the paper is a bit yellowed and tattered, I still carry her words with me in my Bible.

Liz and I started our day before the campers were awake with Bible study and prayer. We stumbled over a particular, little known verse that we meditated on and prayed over ... Zephaniah 3:17.

"He will be quiet in His love for you ... He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

Liz and I still share our love for that verse today. As Christian sisters, it is "our special connection" with each other and with the Lord.

When I am struggling, or when things are loud and chaotic and I need a "time out," I remember Liz and Carol and meditate on Zephaniah 3:17 ... I know that even though we are not together, He is quiet in His love for us and He is rejoicing over all of us with shouts of joy!  If you have some time today, I encourage you to look up Zephaniah 3:17 and be confident in how the Lord feels about you!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Playing by "Vader's Rules"

It was early one morning, as I walked down the stairs to the sounds of Paul and Sam playing. If you haven’t played with a 4-year old recently, you should know that the 4-year old is always in charge of the game and its rules … “No, Dad … do it this way.”

When Paul picked up the Darth Vader action figure, I heard, “No Dad, give that back. You are Luke Skywalker this time.” Paul, of course, continued to play along and they laughed and “used the force.” The light saber fights and non-stop chatter continued, until Luke Skywalker (i.e. Dad) got worn out and needed to rest a bit. Sam let out an “ah man," stomped his little foot, gathered up his toys, and went in the other room to play by himself.

What a perfect illustration of our relationship with our heavenly Father. We try to give him control of our lives, but end up selfishly “taking it back.”  We want to play by our own rules. We say we trust him with our lives, but our thoughts and behavior say something entirely different, “No, Lord, I want to do it this way.” We place ourselves on His altar and then “wiggle off” … not willing to make the sacrifice that He deserves.

Fortunately, our Heavenly Father doesn’t weary of us “wiggling off” of the altar. He doesn’t wear out or need a break from us. He always listens to our "chatter." At our best or worst, He never leaves our side, even when we "gather up our toys" and try to push Him aside. He has made the ultimate sacrifice.

We recently had a discussion in Sunday School about sacrifice. Through this discussion, it was determined that individuals don’t practice true sacrifice or really know what it is … giving up sugar or Facebook or merely missing some sleep to attend Sunday School and worship with the church family. This is selfish sacrifice in comparison to His selfless act of sacrifice for us.

Today, I am doing my best to heed His call and to give Him “all of me” to use for His glory. I am working on my acts of true sacrifice and trying to learn more about those through His Word. Won’t you join me on the altar of worship? We’ll do our best to hold onto each other and not “wiggle off.”

Shhhh ... listen ...

When I first started my blog, Paul laughed and reinforced the fact that I would never lack  for “material”  around our house. He started running through many things that had happened in the past couple of years that would "make for some good blogging" ... one of which happened last year around this time.

It was a cold, winter day and Paul kept hearing a noise in the house that sounded like dripping water. We had such a harsh winter, he was afraid of what might be dripping.

He and his "mini-me," Sam, began wandering around the house trying to find the source of the “dripping.” They would walk a few steps, then stop, “Shhhh … listen.” When the dynamic duo came to a halt and cocked their heads sideways to hear the drips, they no longer heard the sound. When they continued their search, they could hear it again.

After several spins around the house, and checking all of the faucets and pipes, Paul finally realized that it was not water dripping, it was the “swooshing” sound made by Sam’s little, brown, corduroy pants as he walked.

There are times in life when I hear God speak. Some people say God speaks directly to them. God speaks to me in different ways … through the lyrics of music, my pastor's sermon, the common sense words of my husband or a friend, and yes, even in lessons I learn through parenting three children.  

There are also times when I am not sure if it’s God speaking at all…what exactly am I "hearing?!" How do I know if it is indeed God speaking to me?  I have to remind myself, "Shhhh ... listen." He tells us, "Be still." Through prayer and opening His Word, I can more easily discern His voice. 

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  

Monday, January 31, 2011

It's All In The Approach - Stickers for Good Behavior

The Canelos clown car made it to its destinations and back over the weekend. It was a busy one with basketball and school projects.

The past few months, we have been working with Sam on manners. Instead of “get me this or that,” we ask that he say, “May I please have …”

The 4-year old tries to “joke” you into doing something for him. Little does he know, we have “his number.” I reinforce that it’s all in the “approach” and that if you are “genuinely” nice to others and ask politely, they will be nice to you. If you ask nicely, it’s likely the answer will be “yes.” 

Last week, Sam brought home three stickers from pre-school for good behavior. We were so proud, as was he. On Thursday, we received a note from the teacher saying that he didn’t have his “listening ears” on that day. He just didn’t feel like being polite and showing good behavior that day … he forgot his manners and lapsed into his old behavior.

How do we approach God?  What is our motive when we ask Him for something?  If we are “genuine” with God, it deepens our relationship with him. God already knows our hearts and our motives. Of course, there are moments when we lapse into old behaviors. Then it’s time to get on our knees and remember … it’s all in the approach.

I hope you all get stickers for good behavior today!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Canelos Clown Car – My Cup Overflows

It’s the weekend!  Get ready … the weekends for a family of five can be quite chaotic – as you can imagine.  I always wonder what the neighbors are thinking as they witness all of the activity at the Canelos house. Olivia is playing basketball again this year, and yes folks, there are only (count them) two home games this season! 

So, that means every weekend we all “pile” into the car* with all of our stuff: duffle bags, boots, gloves, coats, mp3 players, headphones, papers, Jen’s big purse, a Ziploc of barbecue chips, cups of coffee … and then, we HIT the road to some exotic locale like Panora or Anita. This week it’s Fontanelle!  Oh boy!

Because he is such a wonderful, thoughtful husband, Paul always asks on the way home, “Would you like to stop anywhere?” I just sit there and “blink” at him. The mind just “reels” at the opportunities to “stop” in rural Iowa (I was raised in rural Iowa, so I can say that). As politely as I can, I give him a simple, “Um, no thanks.”

On Sunday mornings, we once again “pile” into and out of the car - Dad, Jen, three kids and all of their stuff. The sight is almost comical. We look like a clown car as we get in and out … five people and their mounds of “stuff.” 

But, those closest to me can tell you how long I’ve waited for the “clown car” full of husband and family. God has been slowly “filling my cup” and now it filled to overflowing

I have learned that when you discover a point in your relationship with God, in which you stop dwelling on the things you think you want, and your relationship with Him becomes one that’s “exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any other desires or belongings” ... He rewards you beyond anything you can imagine and fills your cup to overflowing

Psalm 23:5-6 
My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

*As a side note: yes, I know we need a bigger car, but I am just not a minivan kind of girl!

My Daily Portion

How was your sticky, messy, sweet life yesterday?  To be perfectly honest, mine was more sticky and messy than sweet! But, I know that God used “my mess,” because He has given me a new day.  

I’ve been grappling with the “weight struggle” since the holidays. Ugh! After all these years, I finally learned that for me, it all comes down to portion sizes and eating "pure" foods (no white flour/sugar - processed foods).

As I looked in the mirror this morning (which leans back on an easel and I’m convinced it makes me look wider than I am – but that’s another blog waiting to happen) it led me to think about “my daily portion.”

We have learned through experience that God gives us exactly what we need for each day, just like the Israelites and their manna. He doesn’t give us too little or too much – but our exact “daily portion.”  If we become greedy and try to “take more" of the portion than God has provided, you can guess what the results are…we are miserable. If we don’t take enough … we find the Lord challenging us. The good news is that He gives us a steady diet of "pure food" through His Word!

He is our daily portion. In Him, we live, breathe and experience every messy, sticky, sweet moment of our day.

So, as I sit and watch the kids eat leftover candy canes, pizza, barbecue chips and whatever else those skinny, little bodies (what portion control?!) can handle … I’ll be content with my crisp, juicy apple … “my pure food and daily portion,” because that’s all I need.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart faileth; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life is Dee-licious!!!

So here it goes … I never thought I would be “blogging.” Interesting term, but that’s another “blog” for another time.  In my 20+ year career, one thing I have discovered that I really love is writing. My head is so full of “stuff,” that it’s time to “empty it!”  I also recently acquired a whole cast of characters who teach me daily lessons and give me really good material. 

As a new wife and mother of three, I am still making adjustments to this “new” life … trying to fit everything in between daycare pick-ups, basketball games, updating I Pods … you get the idea. One of the things I haven’t been able to accomplish at the end of my day, after many years of faithfully doing so, is my daily Bible reading. However, as I listen to my Christian radio station in the morning, I am given a scripture each day. Since my commute to work is now 45 minutes, I have a lot of time to meditate on that verse.

One of my favorite lines from a movie is “… I just chew on it until all of the flavor is gone and then stick it in my hair.” That’s what I have been doing for the past few months with my verse. I have a lot of time to think on my drives to and from work. I decided to blog some of the lessons that the Lord has taught me through my family and my life.

Let me introduce you to my cast of characters … my husband Paul, 15-year old Joe, 12- year old Olivia and 4-year old Sam. Daily life with these “characters” brings fun, blessings and challenges … joys and frustrations. God uses it all for His glory.

It’s amazing how much wisdom you can gain from a 4-year old! Sam loves Star Wars and barbecue potato chips … oh, and candy! Let’s not forget the sugar. I think 4-year olds are 10% chocolate milk, 30% barbecue chips and 60% sugar.

We saved some candy canes from the Christmas holiday and have been “rationing” them each night to the children. Last night, we reached the bottom of the box (insert jumping child here). Since we’ve been working on manners, Sam, in his most polite voice asks …”Dad, may I PLEASE have the last candy cane?” I sat on the other side of the table and watched as his Dad handed him the candy cane and since the jumping continued, he bumped Dad’s hand and the candy cane fell to the floor and broke.

Instead of tears, we heard Sam's matter-of- fact voice say, “It’s still dee-licious, we don’t need to throw it away.” As I was replaying this scene in my mind this morning (and laughing to myself ) … I realized that’s a wonderful illustration of our lives. We come to God "hard and broken." Yet, He sees us as “dee-licious” and makes us whole. He would never "throw us away." He savors our lives even when we feel less than “dee-licious.”  

So the last, broken candy cane made for sticky, little hands, face and furniture, but it was played with and delighted in until the last little piece dissolved into a sweet, little smile … savored right to the last bit of “dee-licious-ness.”  As you go through the day today … remember how sweet and “rich” you are in God’s sight and that He put you where you are right this minute for a reason … He is relishing your sweetness and using every last “bit” of you for His glory.