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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.