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Jelly Beans… possibly the greatest

jelly-beansMy daughter received a really sweet gift from her teacher and a classmate before their Spring Break… the whole class did.  It was a little basket and bag of Easter goodies.  Just after my daughter showed it to me, she devoured everything…. chocolate first (just like her Mom), then she went for the other sweet things like Skittles, Starburst and all of those other fat-free candy. (Believe me, I know the way the whole sweets justification thing works… saying fat-free, regardless of the sugar content has some redeeming sounding value) .

My precious little sticky-handed seven-year-old had finished all she could handle for the moment and brought me a little sweet gift…She handed it to me with a toothless grin and said, “Here Mom, you can have these,” and off she ran to play with a friend.  There in the bottom of the goodie bag was a rainbow of jelly beans… I can’t tell you how disappointed I was…. Jelly Beans are definitely not my favorite and in fact, I’m pretty sure that…with the exception of Jelly Bellies…. they probably have some great influence on our country’s economic situation today…. way too many jelly beans made and with all of the packaging and food color and sugar… they just seem to overproduce those things and they have to lose money on them.  They all seem to end up in some clearance shopping cart until they are marked down to 10 cents a bag… then either some impulsive bargain shopper scoops them up or the one of the few jelly bean enthusiasts out there grabs them to create jelly bean artwork. george_jelly_beans-3000x0500x750 I’m concerned that there may be a jelly bean bailout…   Check out Wal-mart the day after Easter,  see how many of those Reese’s eggs are left in comparison to the all of the jelly bean bags and you’ll see my concern.

I really do wonder why jelly beans have become such an Easter staple?  Maybe it is because they are inexpensive… or maybe it is because, though not impossible, they are harder to find throughout the year.. or maybe there is something about them that I just don’t see or get… I don’t know.

I know Jesus wasn’t talking about jelly beans when he said the least among you (which I think jelly beans totally are)will be the greatest.  I kind of always had in mind that being the “least among you” meant being humble and not being arrogant…. I still think it does…however, something struck me this morning as I was reading that passage.  Jesus had a child stand beside him and tells those who were arguing around him about their place by His side, “Whoever welcomes this little one, welcomes me, whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me”.  Wow! Being the least in order to be the greatest is about welcoming the child or childlike, a.k.a the least…. possibly the least of society… maybe the least according to your own personal prejudices or attitudes.. could be the least in maturity whether emotional, spiritual, social or physical… possibly the least could literally be a child (in that case I am plugging getting involved with your Children’s ministry)… I think Jesus was trying to show us that welcoming is what makes our faith so great… welcoming is more than just a greeting… it is an act of warmth, of hospitality, of gratefulness of the arrival…

Okay, I’ll welcome my jelly beans but only because they were given as a gift from someone I love…

Who has God given to you to welcome?  You might be surprised.  Maybe we should welcome because they are a gift from the Giver that we love.

Luke 9:46-48

46An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.”

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun

 

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I need to know what the moon is.. and more..

On facebook in the past month I have:facebook_logo

  • told 25 things about myself to 25 people
  • created an album cover using wikapedia, flickr and random quotes
  • caught up with my 4th grade teacher
  • chatted with a high school friend that I haven’t talked to since he graduated
  • created an NCAA bracket
  • laughed at a great Breakfast Song video
  • and loads of other things that I normally would not have done

Some of these things were interesting and completely time worthy a while others are purely a waste of time but fun….Usually some of the time wasters are sent to me by other who have done them too, so I just follow along and have fun with them… like this a little Google exercise that had these instructions- Go to Google, type your first name followed by the word “needs” and then write down the first five things you need…. so here is what Nancy needs

Nancy needs:

  1. to learn what the moon is
  2. jailtime
  3. her own personal Boeing 757
  4. prayer
  5. a vacation

(I definitely think four and five are on the money..)

I’m glad that I don’t really have to search Google to know everything that I need…..although sometimes it could come in handy.  Often times though, like it or not, I know exactly what I need.

I read tonight one of my very favorite accounts of Christ and the need of one man (Luke 5:12-16).  At first it seems like just a regular story of healing but then there is something more to it.  It begins as Christ has been healing others all around and word was spreading about his abilities.  A man with leprosy comes up to him and asks him to heal him if he will…. Now I want to make the picture of this story a bit bigger… (Max Lucado’s book, “Just Like Jesus” tells it in a far better way than I could)… the story is of the leper.. the way that people look at his disfigured body and are repulsed, the way that he longs to hug his wife and hold his daughter, the way he must warn people as he aproaches by announcing that he is “unclean” when entering a crowd… for years he has longed to be near another, to be touched, to be loved, to just be human but he is an outcast and his only hope lies in a man who he has heard has healed others…

Jesus did heal him but my favorite part is this…. Jesus reached out and touched him… Jesus could have just said the words, “you are healed.”  He could have told him to go home and his leprosy would be gone.  He could have done any number of things but Jesus knew that this man needed more than just a healing… this man needed a touch.  He needed to be validated, to know that he was worthy of a loving touch… He needed it and God gave it to him completely.  Amazing.

I love how God knows what we need better than we do… and all the guy did was ask.

I don’t know what you are dealing with or what you need as you read this but I do know that all we have to do is humbly ask for Christ to help and we may get more than what we knew we needed..

The Man With Leprosy- Luke 5:12-16

12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy.[l] When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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I be wantin me some treasure…. Arrrr…..

treasure-chest-1

Maybe you are like me and you can reflect over a time period and then think of something that you find to be pretty valuable.  Possibly a funny story to remember, a heart-warming incident that you never want to forget, an observation that strikes you as pretty amazing, or maybe even a lesson learned… Well, I had one of those times this weekend where I could just reflect on current little things that I would consider little treasures…. I think I’ll call it “mind booty” (what’s a treasure without pirate talk, yer know… arrrrr)… the treasure that is swiped right out of your mind…

Here’s the booty.. one jewel at a time…

Jewel #1Lesson Learned- Even if the car in front of you does it too…..the “right turn only” cardboard-box-carsign means just that

Jewel #2Funny story to remember- A stimulus package is not a high energy flavored drink package that you dump into bottled water (don’t ask)

Jewel #3Amazing observation- Children of today, who live in a high-tech society, have 24/7 communication with others (cell phones, internet….yes, even little children), have received more information by age 10 than a 15 year-old would have 15 years ago, are able to play sports, exercise their bodies and exercise military operations from the comfort of their couch with a joystick (and if they have a Wii they may possibly stand up)… all of this and they still enjoy playing in a cardboard boxdisney-ice

Jewel #4Funny Story- One who turns 7 years-old actually LIKES having people sing Happy Birthday to them in a restaurant

Jewel #5Heart warming moment- No matter how old you are and no matter if you see it every year, there is still something special about those events that  Disney puts together..

Each one of those little incidents, for whatever reason, make up memories that I don’t want to forget.. a little treasure or mind booty (arrrr…)

I love that about the Bible too.  I can read something one time and read it again later only to see something that I didn’t catch before… like yesterday… I have read the story of how Jesus was betrayed many times.  I know the whole  kiss on the cheek, ear cut off, denying of the denial, the false allegations, etc., but I caught something last night that I have either skimmed over in the past or just never seen.   It is  Mark 14:51-52.  It tells of a young man who had been following Jesus and his disciples. When all of the action of the arrest was taking place someone grabbed this guy and in doing so, his clothes ripped right off and he ran away naked…it is not mentioned in any other account of the arrest, just in Mark and it is only two little sentences.    At first I thought that it was kind of funny…  I chuckled as I pictured the scene of him being scared out of his clothes.  Then I thought about it (arrr…. searched for the treasure) ….right before that little story it said that everyone deserted Christ and ran… This guy didn’t get away in time so he did what he had to do… ran naked…

In that reflection I  wondered if I have ever run away from Christ when times got a little scary.. When Christ asked me to do something that made me feel a little fearful and instead of trusting, I ran?…My rebellious pirate answer? “Aye,”….. I have and I might just be able to say that when I felt trapped, I did what I thought I  had to do to run away from Christ …..not even considering about how I was acting or even how I looked as I took those steps….

Fortunately, we have a loving God who wants to be our treasure.  He knows when we are running scared and he is ready and waiting to give us fresh clothes, nourishment and guide us in the direction we know we should have gone in the first place.  And the best part-he doesn’t leave us running by ourselves…  I’m thankful that I ran back.

Are you running to or from your treasure?

Mark 14:43-52

43Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.

44Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

48Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.50Then everyone deserted him and fled.

51A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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The sinister plot …. and we are in it….

If you have been following along for awhile you may be aware that I enjoy a superhero every now and then… particularly those with off the wall powers….you know,  like the ability to clear up misunderstandings or the ability to translate for a drive-thru restaurant speaker…I’ve been wondering about something for the last two days… maybe not wondering outwardly but inwardly… I’ve seen adults acting differently and children behaving in an manner out of the ordinary….I have felt if maybe there was some kind of an evil plot against people.. some force to be reckoned with…..some evil super villain with an evil plan…… Eventhough, I don’t necessarily believe that there is a evil super villain lurking through Kentucky, it did make me think and I put on my superhero creating cap and thought about the brilliant evil plan of a super villain….

Let me begin by sharing what would be my sinister plot if I just happened to be a super villain for once….. though it would require a great deal of patience, over time it would bring doom to those who opposed me and I would have complete control… This is my sinister plan-

daylightraI would:

  • make people so grumpy (particularly children) that no one could possibly get along … creating  a plan for mass distraction… everyone would be frustrated, angry or not talking to each other, so no one would be able to work together to create a defense against me
  • make children detest rest and sleep by staying up later and not relaxing as normal…  they will no longer be able to learn at their full potential… as they grow their intelligence will be iffy
  • make workers, particularly those of odd hours, also detest rest and relaxation so their productivity will decrease… causing low self esteem and output..and eventually creating apathy and a loyalty to me as my words of encouragement will seem sincere.
  • allow more play time for children (incredibly sneaky way of causing divisiveness between parents and their offspring leading to disrespect and discipline issues)
  • allow more play time for adults (another incredibly sneaky way of causing divisiveness between co-workers, spouses, etc)
  • allow farmers and others in an outdoor working field more time at their jobs so they can be overworked and very tired … too tired to fight when the day is through…..
  • create mass confusion by tricking adults into believing that they are on time to work, church, etc, only to really be late- causing stress related health issues..(high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, etc)
  • cause commercial travel delays and stand stills… again working on the stress related health issues

Now you might be wondering how to accomplish this mighty task… It is extremely simple… All I will do is tell people that for the good of the economy, energy savings and just for fun we must all extend the daylight in our lives by an hour.  My plan will also tell them that they will eventually get that hour back later in the year but the reality will be that their human nature will not give them that hour back because they will stay up later because they think they have an extra hour…

It is brilliant!  Brilliant! I tell you!  Bwahahahaha!!!!

What?  It’s already been done?

Darn you blasted Spring Forward Daylight Saving Time!

Now I don’t get to wear my fancy super villain suit….. it was perfect.  The blues represented the night and  day skies… the star was my secret way of making people think that they would still see stars…. The skin color was to originally represent the tan of one who is in the sun for a longer period of time but since we are talking me… my skin color would be a bright shade of burnt red… and then to top it off.. I won’t even get to use the evil name of Daylightra…

Oh well, since the evil plot of Daylight Saving Time is already happening maybe I should focus on the creation of a superhero who can add an hour of sleep to everyone’s day without shortening the day… Maybe he would be called Captain 25 Hours!

Today I did read about what it means to be on the side of good though… not in Superhero terms but in spiritual terms.. In Deuteronomy 7, God is leading the Israelites into the land that He promised them… and in doing so they are fearful of those that they will have to move out of the way.  God tells them that to remember that by following the laws he has laid out for them He will do incredible things and they won’t have to worry… Why would we even want to flirt with evil when we know the power behind the Creator God?  The opposition of God will always lose… those are the facts…no more super villain ideas for me….

Deuteronomy 7

17 You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?” 18 But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. 19 You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. 20 Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. 21 Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. 22 The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. 23 But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. 24 He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the LORD your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.

(By the way… take note of verse 23.. I’m wondering it was ancient Daylight Saving Time that caused the confusion… I’m just saying….)

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun

 

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Pride vs. PRIDE…… will the real jerk please stand up…

In the past few days I’ve had to do some dealing with pride…. I think there are two different kinds of pride- the first kind of pride is the standard definition of pride… something to the tune of the “quality of being proud” or “a reasonable self respect.”  When I have worked hard at something and it meets the goals that were created there can definitely be a sense of pride in a job well done.  I’m not so sure that there is anything wrong with that … But there is also the other definition of P.R.I.D.E.  –

Personal

Respect

In

Doses

Exceeding

(Necessity)

I suppose maybe that is more likely PRIDE(N) but you get the picture… this is the kind of pride that gets us into trouble … this is the kind of pride that keeps us from allowing ourselves to be humble… this is the kind of pride that is not only dangerous but can be hurtful… this is the kind of pride that make us look foolish in the end anyway…

My daily reading led me to the story of Balaam and his donkey. (Numbers 22:21-24)

The story in a nutshell is about Balaam on his way to visit Balak who thinks Balaam will place a curse on the Israelites for him.  On the road, Balaam’s donkey suddenly takes off into a field.  He gets so upset at her behavior that he beats her and she gets back up on the road.  Then the next thing the donkey does is as they are passing through a walled area she pushes Balaam’s leg up against the wall and again he gets upset and beats her. Finally the donkey just stops and lays down… again, Balaam(seems like such a pleasant guy)takes his frustrations out on her.  This time, little miss donkey has had enough and turns around and asks Balaam (yes, she spoke) why he keeps hitting her.  He said he was embarassed (his pride was hurt) because she was making him look like a fool in front of others who were supposed to respect him.  Little did Balaam know that his faithful donkey was only protecting him from an angel that the Lord had sent that would have probably killed him and Balaam finally sees the angel and is so sorry for his actions.

So all of this takes place and I noticed something… The writer of this acts as if a donkey speaking is a natural thing.   There are no double takes from Balaam and his traveling crew, nor are there any out of control screams of horror or even laughter… there is nothing.  So here is my take on this… Balaam was so focused on his pride and looking like a fool that he forgot he was conversing with a donkey…and I’m pretty sure looked pretty foolish anyway..

Yep, that is the way PRIDE(N) works… or at least in my life… I focus on what I don’t want others to see because it may embarrass me only to find myself talking to a donkey I end up looking foolish anyway.  There are times I don’t ask others for help and it haunts me later…

Are you experiencing PRIDE(N)?  Balaam saw what he had done wrong… and he was sorry…. me too.


Numbers 22:21-34

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.

24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.

26 Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28 Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.

31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32 The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. [i] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.”

34 Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”



 
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Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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16 Ways to Keep My 16 year-old Off of the Road

My daughter recently turned 16.   I’m pretty laid back about things but the other day when she said she was ready to get her driving permit it hit me that she was really at that stage in her life.  She needed several things to take with her to the DMV; her birth certificate, her social security card and a paper stating she is enrolled in school. Well, she did her part to get her school info but I kept dragging my feet getting her other documents.  My mind started racing… What would she do if those documents just happened to be “lost.”  Now I am not the type of mother to manipulate my daughter but it did run through my mind.  What if the document thing didn’t pan out though….. what would be next?  What would I stoop to?

I’ve made my list-16 ways to keep my daughter off of the road…

  1. Tell her that all licensed drivers must spend a two year stint of public service driving daycare vans – and then top it off with horror stories of vomit and stinky diapers
  2. Give her the keys to the car-  a set from the lost and found at Wal-mart that belong to someone else and then look at her like she is crazy when she says they don’t work
  3. Tell her when she loses the next tooth the tooth fairy will give her a key under her pillow… sometimes vanity is beautiful
  4. Sell the cars- I can do without
  5. Tell her that I fibbed about her actual birthdate and she is still only 14.temporary-poster-1
  6. When she asks to take the car, I will respond, “No hablo ingles”
  7. Paint her bedroom windows black… she’ll sleep for months
  8. Duct tape pool noodles all over the car … for safety… again, sometimes vanity is beautiful
  9. Tell her that there is a warrant for her arrest and going to get her license might land her in jail
  10. Everytime she mentions driving I will scream a B movie horror scream….I’m thinking Pavlov’s Dog, you know.. conditioning will kick in eventually
  11. Have a group of actors storm the house and tell her she won the teen publishers house sweepstakes… she is so rich she can afford a limo with driver
  12. Super glue the car doors shut
  13. Explain the new family tradition where the youngest qualified driver now purchases all gas for all family vehicles as well as washes all cars on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and buys dinner on Friday nights…
  14. Everytime she mentions the words drive, I will respond with “Dive? You want to dive?”
  15. Tell her she must learn to drive a stick shift before she can take her driving test
  16. And the one that I know will work for sure…. give her the minivan

Ephesians 6:4

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Okay, I’m not going to lie to my daughter… and I will take her this week to get her permit….I don’t want to exasperate her….. but I can stock up on pool noodles and get an enormous bow for the minivan

Sometimes we parents have to be creative.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2009 in Fun, Life Stories

 

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Squirrel Appreciation Day

I found out today that beginning nine years ago, January 21st marks the annual Squirrel Appreciation Day.  I don’t know that I have ever appreciated a squirrel.  Hmmm….I’m not even sure I know how to appreciate a squirrel.   Baby squirrels are pretty cute… well, after they get some hair …   Is that appreciation?  There I said it… I appreciate baby squirrels.  Now what do I do?  Chocolates? A card?  baby-squirrel

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2009 in Fun

 

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