October 26, 2010

The Mommy Card

I don't think I have ever come out and said this on my blog, but if you have read my blog for any length of time, you may have figured out that I live in Oklahoma. You know, the place where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, where football reigns supreme, and where we think of ourselves as America's heartland.

Source: Google Images
This coming Tuesday, we will join the ranks of states who have elected women governors since, for the first time in Oklahoma history, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor are women.

It's wonderful that we have reached a point where a woman will lead our state, however many of us are less than thrilled with our choices. Like many Oklahomans, I voted for someone other than the nominee in my party's primary. It's not that either woman is totally unqualified for the position. Both have served as lieutenant governor, and I have voted for each woman (at least once) prior to this election. It just seems that there were others in both parties who were better qualified.

Having said that, in the interest of full disclosure, I have leaned towards one candidate over the other over a moral issue in the other candidate's life. It's an issue that came up after I voted for her a number of years ago - one which I feel has never been honestly addressed by this candidate. Had she ever come clean publicly it would no longer be an issue But instead of admitting her own failing, she has repeatedly chosen to shift the blame, and I believe that speaks volumes about her character.

But I have not been excited about this vote.

Suddenly over the last week our gubernatorial race has received national attention, and I feel my choice has been validated. Perhaps you've heard about it. Last Tuesday during a debate, the candidate I was leaning against - who is the mother of two and the (very recent) stepmother of four - was asked what set her apart from her opponent. This was her answer:

October 20, 2010

Book Review: A Perfect Fit

In June, I wrote my list of 30 things I hoped to accomplish over the summer. One of the items was reading more reading. Sadly, that didn't happen.

I was actually so optimistic that I signed up with a publisher to do book reviews. While I was waiting for the first book to arrive - which took about 5 weeks - I was given the opportunity to review a book by Julie Ferwerda. It's a newly revised edition of a book that was originally published in 2004, The Perfect Fit, Piecing Together True Love.

October 15, 2010

Bearing One Another's Burdens

The other day someone made a comment to me about prayer requests that got me thinking. It was something like "It's nice to know people's prayer needs, but gee, sometimes they make you feel so heavy."

I replied, "I guess that's why it's called 'bearing each other's burdens.'"  I have heard the verse from Galatians 6 for as long as I can remember.

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

I have always thought of the verse as figurative, and not literal. The conversation actually took place in the ladies' room, and as I stood in front of the mirror, watching the water run over my hands, I wondered if that weight that we feel when we pray is a literal weight that has been lifted from those for whom we are praying. Is it really possible to help ease the deepest kind of pain through our prayers? Even the kind of pain that people must walk through in order to find healing on the other side?

I hope it is. Today I will attend a memorial service for a high school senior who took his life earlier this week. I cannot begin to comprehend the pain his family is enduring, a pain that will never entirely go away. His school has suffered a series of tragedies over the last few years, and his classmates are deeply hurting over this loss, too. There are countless others who are grieving over his loss. We'll never know how many lives this young man touched in his short life, or the positive impact those people will have on others they meet, just because they knew him.

I know his parents. If this could happen to them, it could happen to any family. They are two of the sunniest, most positive people I have ever known. They love the Lord. They are devoted to their children. They're on top of things with their kids, but they couldn't know what was going on in their son's head. They could not know the hurts that he was hiding inside. And yet, for the rest of their lives, there will be moments when they question those truths.

Their prayer is that God will be glorified through their loss, and that what satan intended for evil, God will use for good. I'm asking you to join me today in helping to lift the burden they are carrying through your prayers. I'm asking you to pray that God will, indeed, be glorified. Whether you are reading this post the day of his memorial service or long after it's over, I'm asking you to say a prayer for this family, for the young man's friends and classmates, asking God to heal their wounds, remove all doubt, and that they will feel God's healing arms wrapped around them, holding them close.

I know our prayers won't make the pain disappear instantly. Just as God designed our bodies to heal from physical injury, God designed our spirits to heal from emotional pain. Grief is a necessary part of that and it takes time. But I believe that our prayers can help ease the grief of others, and that those prayers can bring a peace that surpasses understanding to those for whom we are praying.

Will you pray with me?

To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. ~ Jude, verse 25

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October 14, 2010

The Four Seasons

I've noticed a trend this week, as bloggers have begun to write about the change of seasons, both literally and figuratively. I am fortunate to live in a climate that truly has four seasons. I can honestly say that I don't have a favorite - there are things that I love about each one.

For years, my sister lived just a couple hundred miles to the south, but that was far enough to miss fall. Where she lived, the autumn months did not bring significantly cooler temperatures, so  the leaves just turned brown and fell off the trees. Where I live, the trees reward us by turning brilliant shades of yellow, scarlet, and fiery orange, as though they are summer's final curtain call. The humidity that plagues us from spring throughout the summer months disappears almost overnight, replaced by cooler days and wonderfully cool nights when the temperature generally dips into the forties or fifties. You can hear the leaves crunching under your feet, and enjoy the luxury of wearing a sweater, after months of often sweltering heat.

Before we know it, winter will be here, bringing the holidays and treasured time with family. There will be bright, sunny days and the evenings will bring the aroma of smoke from hearth-warming fires. With any luck, we'll have a couple of "snow days," those wonderful surprise days when we get to sleep late in the middle of the week and spend the whole day in pajamas, if that's what we want to do. I sleep best in the winter, the only time of the year that I can endure the weight of the covers over me. It's also when my cats most like to snuggle up against me at night.

By March, we're basking in some warm days mixed in with the cold, breaking out those transitional clothes that announce the change of seasons. Rain is a welcome change from winter's frozen precipitation. The redbud and Bradford pear trees are as beautiful as the oak and maple trees of fall. Neighborhoods are dotted with color as irises, tulips, and wisteria make their annual appearance.

As the days grow longer, summer brings outdoor concerts, evening walks in the park or along the river, and the opportunity to gaze at the stars. Early summer continues the thunderstorms of spring, bringing the rain that we know will be far less common by August. As it gets warmer, the emerald green trees against the blue sky are not only a delight to look at, but they also provide delightful shade.

None of the seasons is perfect. Fall and spring bring ragweed and pollen, winter often brings treacherous weather that is not necessarily accompanied by a snow day, spring brings a greater likelihood of tornadoes, and summer can bring horrendous heat. By the time each season ends, I'm ready for the next one. I'm always grateful, though, for the season that has passed, and the blessings that it brought.

Until next time,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

October 9, 2010

Warning Light

This is not a deeply spiritual post, but it is about trusting God with the seemingly small stuff. It's also a practical tip that might come in handy.

Nobody likes to have car trouble, but when you're single, it's a huge hassle to have to take your car in for repairs. You have to figure out when it's going to be convenient to be without your car...as if there's ever a good time. You have to find someone to take you to drop the car off, and then to pick it up. If it's a repair that requires more than a day, then you have to find a way to get to work and home again....and then back to work again the next day And then there's the issue of the expense.

So there's not much that causes my heart to sink faster than this:

October 4, 2010

First Monday in October

I love to watch history in the making. Today is one of those days as the Supreme Court begins a new session, and for the first time ever, one-third of the Court will be made up of women.

I had mixed feelings when President Reagan appointed the first woman to the Court, Sandra Day O'Connor. It was exciting, yet I had an uneasy feeling that she was selected first and foremost because of her gender. I thought that was as wrong as ruling a woman out (no pun intended) based solely on sex. Thirty years later, we still haven't reached a point where I think we can fairly say that gender doesn't enter into the nominating process, but as more women join the Court, we're getting closer.

Regardless of President Reagan's motivations for selecting Sandra Day O'Connor, she became my favorite Justice. I loved that she was unpredictable, sometimes voting with the conservative wing of the Court; and other times with the liberal wing. I respected her for that, because it seems to me that the law should not be ideological.

I know that Justice Kennedy isn't predictable either, but somehow it made more of an impression on me when Justice O'Connor "crossed sides" on an issue. It would be nice to see someone else pick up her mantle and join Justice Kennedy in the middle of the Court. Here's hoping...

Until next time,

"In the last days," God says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." ~ Acts 2:17