Sunday, February 21, 2010

Before the Throne

A church story... but first, this hymn. If you haven't heard it or could just use a reminder, you can listen here: Before the Throne of God Above

Before The Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there! The risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself I cannot die
My soul is purchased with His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God

Before the Throne of God Above
Charitie Bancroft, 1863. Music: William Bradbury, 1861

This morning in church I sat next to Carl. I'm not sure how old Carl is but probably well into his 80's. I heard his trembling voice belting out the words to the hymn above and I had trouble keeping my thoughts on my own heart. At the greeting time, he shook my hand with a firm, double-handed grip and a big grin while his wife Lois looked on and smiled. Then during the message, he took copious notes in tiny, wobbly script on the tithe envelope as if he truly wanted to remember to go home and apply every word.

I've met Carl and Lois before. They faithfully attend our church and are there even at the mid-week services. They get down on their arthritic knees and pray together during our prayer times. They whisper to each other during the sermon and I've heard them say "Now that was a good word!" more than once. I love to watch them!

But this morning, as I casually kept glancing over at him, I wondered about Carl. I wondered just what the words "My name is written on His heart" mean to him. How has God proven Himself faithful in his long life? What sins can he remember that God had pardoned? What comfort did he feel as he sang "One with Himself I cannot die?" Was he looking back over his marriage of 60+ years and remembering God's forgiveness and fresh starts? Parenting struggles? Personal battles?

The message this morning was on the wood, hay and stubble we often pursue when God always prioritizes the eternal. One day, both Carl and I will stand before the judgment seat - before the throne of God above - and everything in our lives that wasn't lived out of obedience to Christ, in His service and with love will be toast. It makes me want to live with purpose. On purpose. To sing with conviction. To study and learn right up to the end. To be able to know that I've tried to live to please my God and not my Self.

Thank you, Carl, for sitting next to me this morning and for somehow speaking to me without any words at all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slip slidin' away

Where does the time go? How can it really be February almost-19th?

It's been a spectacularly beautiful month in Oregon - unlike so much of the U.S. The yard is full of crocus (the plural is either crocuses or croci but neither sound quite right to me) and these beauties...

Of course, we've been glued to the television to watch the Winter Olympic Games...

Can you believe Shaun White has his own personal half-pipe in Colorado? Is that somehow an unfair advantage? And can someone please help the male skaters with their outfits? Other than that, I'm loving the Games!

I have battled a terrific head cold. Ugh. I do not know if my nose will ever return to normal.

We had my sweet mother-in-law staying with us while she recuperates from her second hip replacement surgery. It was a complete joy to have her. Lord, may I please be half as gracious and happy as she is when I am her age? Whenever she's with us, I'm reminded of why my husband is the kind, all-around good man that he is.

(This is not my MIL. This is a model I paid to pose for my blog. And those are not my hardwood floors either.)

And I've been praying for these two precious little guys, who will soon be coming home to their forever family in Ohio...

I work for Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia and I happened to be in Ethiopia two years ago when they were brought to our orphanage director's house. I had just arrived there and was still trying to adjust to everything I was seeing - the thousands of people on the streets, the destitution, the many children who wandered alone through the city. Looking back, I think I was in a state of shock. The boys were dirty, hungry and listless. They'll now have a home with plenty to eat, tons of love and guidance and a future full of possibilities. I've had the privilege of meeting their forever family - a really delightful couple and their five children. How blessed I am to be a part of something so important and God-directed.

Jeff took this picture of a purple crocus in our front yard. It is AMAZING to me - the picture and the thought that went into the design of the flower! Lord, everything You've made tells about You - the faces of those You've put in my life, so many incredible flowers and trees, the changing seasons, even wind and rain. Power and strength. Detail and intricacy. Mystery and awe. Thank you for pointing me to You in everything You've created.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Snapshots

I'm so horrified by the death of the young Georgian luge slider at the start of what should be one of most joyful and exciting events of the year. It's just unbelievable.

I so love the Olympics -
The unity that happens across cultures and ideologies.
The great stories behind so many of the athletes and their preparation.
The edge-of-your-seat excitement of a good contest.

I also have NO CONCEPT of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication required to prepare for such a brief moment in time. Why does it have to be such a short blip in the spotlight??

We've been to Vancouver BC many times and have also stayed at Whistler, so there's a touch of familiarity to the scenes on the tv screen - which hasn't ever happened to me before. I guess NBC is up against some criticism for its lack of full coverage. I'm just so glad it's being aired on a channel that comes across pretty clearly through our analog tv antennae!

Here are a few favorite images from yesterday - Opening Day of the 2010 Winter Olympics...
(I took zero of these shots - just in case you were wondering!)

And this was my FAVORITE commercial of the evening! I'm sure we'll be seeing it a lot!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Links (I Hope) You'll Love

50 Things in 50 Years
Now here's some wisdom for you!

A Little Junk in my Trunk
Great little espresso cart made from a Goodwill find.

Taste of Home Magazine
Really good recipe magazine and only $3.75 for a year!

Mismatched Marriage
Loved Karen's take on being a little bit different than your husband.

Chocolate Fondue
Easy too. And I love that she didn't have to be all fancy and use a fondue pot.

Here's an easy Valentine treat:

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

Place a Rollo candy on a small pretzel twist (waffle pretzels work too). Lay these out on a cookie sheet and place in preheated 350 oven. Watch them carefully - in about 3-5 min they will be softened but don't let them melt until they lose their shape. Remove from oven and press either a pecan half or a Valentine M&M into the soft candy. Cool and eat only one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You Have Made Me Glad

I will bless the Lord forever
And I will trust Him at all times
He has delivered me from all fear
And He has set my feet upon a rock
And I will not be moved
And I'll say of the Lord....

You are my shield
My strength, My portion, Deliverer
My shelter, Strong tower
My very present help in time of need

Whom have I in Heaven but You?
There's none I desire beside You
You have made me glad
And I'll say of the Lord....

You are my shield
My strength, My portion, Deliverer
My shelter, Strong tower
My very present help in time of need

words and music by Miriam Webster

Play song from 5:28

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sidewalk Billboards

Do you have these people in your town?

Waving, pumping their fists and dancing like no one's watching?

These particular sign-wavers show up each year at tax time. But there are many others. Many, many others. People dressed as sub-sandwiches. As frightening cartoon characters. People doing the most amazing spins and flips with their signs!

One pizza-employed guy near us gets down on his cardboard electric guitar and he does a pretty good Steven Tyler impression. He looks happy.

But I always feel so badly for these folks. I would never want to have their job. The one I feel the sorriest for is the guy by the mall who's wearing a mattress. He looks mortified. I'm going to start waving to him instead of driving by and thinking, 'I'm just so sorry you have to do that.'
Do sign-wavers make a lot of money? I have no idea but I assume they don't.

I guess sign-waving must be a profitable form of advertising or we wouldn't see them everywhere. I just know I've never bought a mattress or even a pizza because of the cool guy dressed up outside.

I'll leave you with this video clip about a guy who wears a pickle costume for a living. He's actually got a pretty good outlook on his career!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'll apologize in advance

I haven't had anything to say. Rather than waiting until I get a FABULOUS idea for something deeply meaningful or hilariously funny, I'm just going to share what's rolling around in my head lately. A 'Brain Dump.' And I'm truly sorry that you're the dump-ee.

  • I'm getting ready to reupholster our dining room chairs that my beautiful friend Shawna gave us. (I say "I'm getting ready" but in reality, Jeff is helping me. I sound more industrious by saying "I'm" doing this or that.) The seats are white now, except not so much any more. I found a rich harvest gold fabric with a subtle stripe that I think will warm things up. I can cover all six chairs for $14 with half-off fabric from Joanne's. Before covering the seat pads we're going to spray the fabric with Scotch-Gard - smart, huh?

  • I want to move some dahlias in the yard. I know I should have done it in the late fall - is it too late now? I've already broken all the dahlia rules by not digging up the tubers and storing them inside over winter but they come up beautifully every year without doing that so I'm thinking it's okay to move them now. I hope so! I was just reminded here that I can also divide them - more dahlias!

  • Today I was sitting at a stop light when I looked in my rear view mirror and I'm pretty sure it was Zsa Zsa Gabor sitting in the car behind me. Either that or Lady G*g*. The only problem I'm having with that 'star' sighting is she was driving a Honda Civic. But she totally had the big blond hair with lots of red lipstick, gobs of jewelry and then suddenly, out of the driver's side window popped a white, sparkly long-gloved hand! I thought she was going to wave at me since I was staring at her but instead, she manually ootchied up her radio antennae. I guess either the Gabors are having some financial trouble or it wasn't her. Then I heard a horn honk and realized the light was green. Now I'll never know.

  • I miss these faces...

    • Beautiful sunshine today in Oregon! I choose not to notice how dirty the windows look when the sun shines through them but instead focus on how wonderful it feels. But really I will be planning when my husband will clean windows for me - soon!

    • It's hard to see your elderly parent slipping mentally.

    • Actually, it's hard to see yourself slipping mentally. I'm having some serious 'can't come up with the word' issues. Yikes.

    • I really like Sudoku. Maybe it will help me maintain my mental acuity.

    • I have a wonderful group of women in my bible study group. Young and old together is so good. We need each other! We have 2 grandmas, several 20-somethings and a teenager who just found out she's pregnant. God, what do You have in store for this crazy group of women who all want to learn how to believe You more?

    • We're having yogurt and granola for dinner. I'm not kidding.

    Check back often to find out the next exciting installment!

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