Sunday, August 25, 2013

Which way?


You know those times when you’re trying to figure out what to do...

Do I choose this job or that one?  This school or that one?
Should I commit myself to join that group?
Which car should we buy?
When should I make that trip I need to take?
Should I speak up and say something to him or not?

And, for those who are Christ-followers, at the root of all of them is the question:

What does God want me to do and
how will He let me know?

At one far end of the spectrum are those who would say that God gave you a brain and He expects you to use it – it’s up to you.  At the other end are those who want to know God’s will for every decision, right down to what socks to wear.  The fancy words for those two extremes are ‘indeterminism’ and ‘fatalism’.  I know because I looked them up.  Religious thinkers have been debating this for centuries. 

I know that decision-making isn’t always so… theological.  But haven’t all of us wrestled with those thoughts at one time or another?  Especially when the decision we have to make is going to have some ripples into our future and into other people’s lives?

Jeff and I have been listening to many of Timothy Keller’s podcasts – sermons from his church in NYC – and we’ve loved them and been very 'stretched' by them.  For a recent car trip, I sort of randomly picked one that sounded interesting:  “Your Plans; God’s Plans”.


It was so incredibly helpful and enlightening and mind-blowing in many ways.  As is so often true about God, two seemingly opposite things can both be true – we have free wills to make our own choices and God is completely in control.  Knowing that is a huge relief.  As Rev. Keller says “The biblical understanding is utterly practical.  It doesn’t say that your choices determine your destiny or that your choices have no impact on your destiny.  God, in His sovereignty, relates your choices to your destiny but He is the One who fixes everything...  You have every incentive to do right and live wisely since there will be consequences for your choices but since everything is under the control of God, who is working things together for good, you can relax.”

I also loved his challenging words about how God gives us help in making decisions.  It starts with a radical, unconditional trust in His choices for us – in His way not mine. 

Rather than trying to recap it here for you, I’ll just give you the link to the message and you can download it yourself or listen online.  It’s also available on iTunes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Babies, weddings and Pee Chees


As these last days of summer wane and dusk comes earlier, tomatoes ripen quickly and crab-apples start to litter the driveway, thoughts begin turning to school supply sales and all things pumpkin.  Around here, we also have babies on the brain since our granddaughter is due at the start of September.  If I don't avoid the baby section of any store I’m in, I’m in trouble.  Yesterday it was jammies at Costco.  You'd think you would be safe at Costco but you'd be wrong.

Of course I am pinning lots of baby-related stuff, which helps me stumble onto all kinds of adorableness:

That Sinking Feeling
One of the quintessential mommy moments in my mind is bathing
your babe in the kitchen sink.

And the occasional funny:

Formula Fed Baby Enters Medical School (satire)
“I always wanted to be a doctor,” Barnes says, “but not having breastmilk felt like a black mark in my past.

My pregnant daughter now receives gobs of occasional emails from me with links to helpful articles, funny posts, Pinterest boards and lists of what baby items are absolutely essential and what are completely unnecessary.  Because she is so sweet, Lisa graciously thanks me for each one – bless her heart.  Here’s one I’m saving to send in a few months:

For the Desperate New Mom Who Thinks She’s Crazy Alone
I wanted to look exactly like I thought a new mom was supposed to look.  But in the first 18 months of Jackson's life I never met one other new mother who said that she was finding the transition hard, frustrating, exhausting or wretched.

I’ve also found a few marriage-related posts that I’ve loved…

Four Things I Wish I’d Known When I Got Married
Such good truth here.

A Wedding Under A Bridge
This is an incredible and beautiful way to begin life together – serving.

If you want something completely time-wasting to do, stay up late finding photos on Pinterest that remind you of things in your past that you’d long forgotten about:  I Remember That!  I am embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent doing this but not how much fun it was!

And I wanted to share a song I’m loving – Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keyes.  The lyrics are a powerful reminder of the TRUTH I need to tell myself over and over.

There is strength within the sorrow,
There is beauty in our tears
You meet us in our mourning,
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting,
Sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding,
You're teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper,
You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
Faithful forever,
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined,

Who could understand your ways
Reigning high above the heavens,
Reaching down in endless grace
You’re the Lifter of the lowly,
Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me,
Your promises are my delight

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good,
You turn it for our good and for your glory
Even in the valley You are faithful
You’re working for our good,
You’re working for our good and for your glory

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Where the “buffalo” roam

We drove almost 2000 miles this last weekend (four days total) to visit our daughter who has been living in Montana this summer.  It was a crazy fun blitz and over in a flash.  We took some audio books and podcasts in the car which always make the time go faster. 

We had so much fun being with Lindsey.  She did a 4K run on Saturday morning – ‘Scramble for Ethiopia’ which was a fundraiser for Charity:Water.  Then we had lunch at Burger B*b’s on Main in Bozeman.


burger bobs


I have to say that there sure are a lot of friendly people in Bozeman. Everybody seemed exceptionally helpful and just plain nice.

On Sunday we headed to Yellowstone, going in at the West entrance and leaving at about 7:30 that evening via the North entrance.  We didn’t actually see any buffalo – or even a single bear, which we were all hoping to see – but we were up really close to several elk and a couple of bison. 

This animal is H-U-G-E.  We took this photo from the car window.  We decided not to disturb him.

These weren’t taken with a zoom – we were that close! 

I don’t know if you can tell but that baby is having a little snack from his mama right in the middle of the road.  Do you think these elk are used to people? 

The forest ranger eventually came along and told all of us (loudly) to back away from the wildlife… you never know what a mama will do if she feels her baby is threatened.  This one seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, don’t you think? 


Do you see all of those elk lying in the field with their heads poking out of the grass?   


old faithful
Old Faithful was a bit anticlimactic compared to the animals and the other natural wonders in the park.  I remember thinking the same thing last time we were there:

Aug 92018
This was summer of 1992 and you can tell even Amy and Lisa were hoping for something a little more exciting than hot water spewing out of a hole in the ground.  Lindsey had just turned one so she stayed back at the condo with her grandma. 

If you’ve been there, you know that Yellowstone is a bit like walking around on another planet.


Weird colors.

Weird shapes.


But there’s also lots of green and cool beauty.


All in all, it was a really great trip – and over too quickly!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Completely trustworthy

Ps33 HaveACupWithMe

I hope this brings you as much encouragement today as it brings to me.  His promises are sure.  His word is true when so much around us is not.  Thank You Lord for being completely trustworthy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This is a no-brainer!

We do quite a bit of online shopping.  For lots of reasons.

Convenience.  Sit at home in a comfy chair or drive from store to store to find what you want…. that’s not a tough decision for me.

Reviews.   One of the best parts of online shopping is that you can almost always find customer reviews of whatever it is you’re buying.  So you can know if those sheets with the 1500 thread count feel like sandpaper and are actually see-through.  Good to know!  Amazon and many other sites provide customer ratings and comments or you can google ‘your product’ + ‘customer review’ to find all kinds of helpful info.

Price.  Sites like and others make it easy to find the very best price – even if you want to buy something locally.  It’s always good to check.

Of course, you must still be a careful buyer.  Read the fine print.  Or, in my case, the large and obvious print.  

Earlier this year, my sis-in-law told me about a website call Ebates.  It’s an affiliate to over 2000 online stores.  They give you cash back for every qualifying purchase you make from one of these stores.  How do you use it? 

Whenever I’m going to purchase something online, I go to the Ebates website, check to be sure I’m logged in and search to see if the store I’m buying from is one of their partners.  Almost every time I find it is!  Amazon**, Target, Walmart, you name it and it’s probably there. 

From the Ebates website, click on the store link and Ebates sends you to that site.  When you then make a purchase, Ebates sends you a cash rebate.  You earn different percentages for different stores and those percentages change so be sure to check.  Basically, it’s free money for doing nothing but going through their site.  You get the money after 60 days (so they know you didn’t return the item) either in cash via check in the mail or deposited into your PayPal account.

The key is to remember to go to Ebates first.  I’ve already forgotten to do that and I’ve missed out on that cash back.  Other than the remembering part, it’s super easy and we’ve already earned a couple of nice checks – which is especially good on big purchases.  We bought blinds recently and 2.5% of that amount was a nice little sum! 

If you already shop online – even occasionally – why not be earning some cash for doing it?  It IS a no-brainer.

I would tell you this just because I like you and want you to get free money.

But… for every friend who signs up with Ebates using the link below and making a purchase by 9/30/13, I will earn $10.  Come to think of it, I probably owe my SIL $10 because I didn't go through her referral link.

Even if you don’t use my link, you really should check it out!

Ebates – It Pays To Shop Online

**On some sites, like Amazon, Ebates only gives cash back for certain categories - check the main Ebates site to find out which ones.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Links I Liked

…the challenge all three Stooges face is that they do whatever
comes into their minds, immediately.

Good comparison!

To Moms of One or Two Children
I have five children, and judging by the look on the tired and weary faces that pose the question "How do you do it?" that number seems simply impossible.
I love this post for lots of reasons but especially #3.

Raising Christian Kids in an Ungodly World
I know my good kids can be bad and the bad world can be good. But we can’t assume our Christian kids can survive this ungodly world just because we take them to church on Sundays and have 11 Bibles in our home.
This is THE hardest job you’ll ever have.  Kristen offers some excellent help.

Now on the Red Carpet: Kevin Palau
Read about some pretty encouraging things that the body of Christ is doing in Portland, OR!  See, everybody here isn't weird.

Do you like guessing games?  Personally, I hate them.  Unless the clues are super easy.
Every woman needs to read this.

And then I laughed at this:
Impossibly, Nearly Unforgivably Random.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Just after I got done telling you about my husband’s incredible bargain-finding skilz, I snagged a bargain of my own!

One of my ‘likes’ on Facebook is Frugal Living NW.  She regularly posts deals and last week she posted “Check out what’s been dubbed the best melamine bowl set ever… Williams-Sonoma + $9.99 = not even joking.”

So I clicked over to the WS site and sure enough, a four bowl set was only $9.99 with free shipping.  I like to get Christmas and birthday gifts to stash away so I ordered.  Early this week, a box from WS arrived on my porch.


Cool, right?


Well, the box they came in looked kind of small to me.  I opened it and lifted the bowls out:



I think they are American Girl bowls! 

I went back and read the description on the WS site (which I may have failed to do initially in my excitement to get a DEAL):

Melamine Prep Bowl Set…
Set of four includes one of each size,
from 1-cup to 5-cup
The mini prep bowls can be used to stage premeasured ingredients

My bad for being impulsive (something I like to think I’m not) and not reading the details.

This was not a mixing bowl set.  This set is for when you are doing a cooking show and you have pre-chopped the chives, scallions and tomatoes that you will use in your homemade bruschetta that you are showing your audience how to prepare! 

So if you happen to pre-measure your ingredients into mini prep bowls when you’re cooking, have I got a deal for you!
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