Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Becoming aquainted with God

This is one of my favorite quotes from George Muller:

"'Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God'(Romans 10:17. We must hear! Listen! Hearken! I must ask myself, 'Whom am I listening to? Tod GOD and His WORD? Or to what people say? Careful reading of the Word of God, combined with meditation on it. In that way we become acquainted with God; His nature, His ways, His will, His loving assurances, His promises, his mercies, His everlasting care and His cures. Confidence grows, faith is given and answers are assured.'"

Are you proud of our country?

I've got to vent here about this whole thing that Michelle Obama said yesterday, and also in an earlier speech within the last week.

First off, I do not think it's some huge misunderstanding. Her husband is running for president of the Untied States of America. She's an incredibly intelligent woman; educated at Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She has speech writers. She repeated almost the exact same words in two separate speeches.

If she would have said something along the lines of the fact that she is proud that America is finally to the point where a man of color and a woman are running for office of president; I would have applauded. I, too, am proud of these facts. I'll never forget an incident when my middle son, who is now 15, was 7 years old. We had some plastic place mats at our dining table and he was looking at them. The particular place mat that he was studying intensely was one which depicted all of the presidents of the United States. After a few moments he looked at me questioningly and asked: "Mommy, how come all these people are white men? How come no one is any other color and there's not any girls?" I can still remember thinking how happy I was at the time that our country had changed enough that he even asked the question; I never did growing up in the early 1960s.

However, that's not what Michelle Obama said. In both recent speeches she said that finally, for the first time in her adult life, she is proud of America.

My frustration is that this attitude, one of putting down America, is a prevalent one I've been observing for several years.

I think it's healthy to recognize that some things are really wrong in our country and to work together to change those things. But I think it's sick to put down our country.

I'm stunned that the wife of a man who could be the next president of the United States would say that for the first time in her adult life she is proud to be an American.

Just off the top of my head, here's some things about America that make me very proud to be an American:

We give more money to humanitarian efforts than any other country in the world.

We have a constitution which protects our right to free speech and freedom of religious practice.

We have free, public education for all children. (I'm not saying the school system does not needs lots of improvement, I could give you a list at any given moment, but I am grateful to live in a country where everyone has access to an education.)

We fought against the Kaiser in WWI, we fought against Hitler in WWII.

We have a very large middle class (unlike third world countries where you have the extremely poor and the extremely rich).

These are just 5 reasons I'm proud of America and that's without even spending any time pondering the many more reasons I could state. I find it terribly disappointing that a potential first lady of this great country hasn't been proud of America until now.

Of course, then the question arises - why now? It is because Barack is now running for office? Is it because no men of color formerly ran for office so everything else that is good about our country is negated? Is it that once he gets into office he'll change all wrongs?

I think this is just and example of something I've been observing for a long time. There's this sick, underlying, let's say how bad America is mentality that I seek lurking in the subtext of liberals. I see this theme repeatedly, especially in the public university circles. This attitude both angers and saddens me. So I just wanted a chance to vent.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Men and Respect

What does respect mean to you?

Do you feel like you respect your husband?

Can respect be given, unconditionally, just like love? Or does respect have to earned?

My husband and I are very slowly reading through Dr. Emerson Eggerichs' book entitled Love & Respect. We're reading through it slowly because we want to change the way we think and we've found that by going slowly it allows the truths to sink down into our hearts and translate into our actions.

It has opened my eyes up in a whole new way to men's need for respect. I've also come to realize that respect can be given unconditionally and in fact should be given unconditionally to my husband.

I've always believed that love is given unconditionally but that respect must be earned. As we've been reading through, Love & Respect however, I've come to see that respect needs to be given unconditionally just as much as love. It's been helpful for me to think of it to a certain extent in the manner I think of authority people at work. Fortunately for most of my work life I've been totally blessed with awesome bosses. But there was once I had a terrible boss (justice did prevail however and she was fired from the company!) or my bosses' boss at various times may have been not so great. However, I always treated those people extremely respectfully due to their position. No matter how they acted, I was respectful.

I've learned that this is what I should do for my husband. More than that, I've come to realize that this is what his heart craves just as mine craves unconditional love.

I've seen, the more I look for and take opportunities to show my husband respect, the more he desires to spend time with me and does little loving actions.

It's a win-win cycle.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Looking to God for Great Things

You pay God a great compliment by asking great things
of Him.
- Teresa of Avila

Delicious Lunch

Recently I found myself tired of the same old lunch.

So I glanced through a recipe book and came up with some new ideas for lunch. The general idea for the salad below was one of those recipes. It's both delicious and satisfying.

Cottage cheese-raisin-apple salad

1 medium size Gala apple cut into small chunks
1 cup Knudson 2% cottage cheese
2 scant Tbsp raisins
1/8 tsp equal sweetener
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Mix spices, sweetener and cottage cheese.
2. Add apples and raisins and mix.

Approximate nutritional information:
Calories - 326, Fat-4 grams, Carbs - 40 grams, Protein - 31 grams

You could add 10 pecan halves to bring the calories up to 424, fat to 24 grams, carbs to 44 grams and protein to 33 grams.


Do you ever find that your life goes along in themes?

That several things, over a period of days, will happen in your life and that several of these things point back to the same topic?

I do regularly.

The topics or themes always vary. But it definitely happens that way; that many events and experiences in my life are inter related and show me something (it's the events and somethings that vary but not the pattern).

Lately things keep pointing me toward connection with God.

Over the past few days the terrible attitude I've been fighting against in myself, my binges with food, a recent rejection, a book I'm reading (Woman of Influence, by Pam Farrel), a chance remark made by my 13-year old son while our family was playing a board game together, a bible study I just started at church and some negative encounters with my ex-husband - they've all pointed me toward my connection with God.

As I'm reading Woman of Influence, I came across these simple words by Farrel:

"God reveals himself as a personal being - not a force, not a philosophy, not even a religion. God's arms are always open, wanting to embrace me; the choice is mine whether to flee from or run to that embrace."

While these words may not be totally original never before heard thoughts, they are exactly the words I needed to read.

Intimacy is not an easy thing for me; not with people and not with God. It's not something I learned in my family of origin. My parents certainly did the best they could and they were good people; it's just that they didn't get everything they needed growing up so they didn't have any idea what was needed or how to give it. We're a distant family. A family that pretends that unpleasant problems don't exist.

I tend toward being that way too. I tend to say things to myself along the lines of suck it up and get going and do what needs to be done when hurtful events occur. But then later I find myself over eating, basically stuffing down uncomfortable emotions with food.

But one of the things I adore about life is that we can change.

Things don't have to stay the same.

Just this morning, as I realized anew that God loves me, because of Jesus does not condemn me and that He actually desires connection with me - I threw myself into His arms. I let myself cry and pour out my feelings about that recent rejection, I vented my frustration with my ex-husband's recent behavior, I lamented my disappointment with myself for binging on food yet again; I received His comfort, love, assurance and hope.
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