Saturday, December 31, 2011


"When presently the twelfth stroke of the clock shall have sounded, we stand again at the opening of a new year... He knows all the trouble that this year shall burden your heart.... And therefore do not fear and neither be afraid, but now at the change of years, in childlike confidence grasp the faithful hand of that Father who is in heaven."
- Abraham Kyper

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Wait?

Three days until I am officially no longer purchasing fast food.

Three days until I am no longer driving through to pick up a McDouble and a Sweet Tea.

Three days until I won't allow myself to drive through for a Happy Meal just so I don't have to pack a lunch for the kids.

Three days until I will need to make my own homemade mocha (1 pack of cocoa + 1 cup of coffee, stir, get fancy with a little whipped cream on top) instead of driving through Starbucks or McDonald's.  Yeah, I realized Starbucks counts as fast food when I realized they have a drive-through.  But some don't ... is this getting hung up on a technicality?  I'll have to ask Lennie Freeman, the one who started me on this "fast food fast."

Three days until I replace nutrition and common sense with convenience and laziness.

Three days until I eat deliberately instead of on a whim.

Three days until I take control of my habits instead of letting them rule me.

So, why wait three days?  Why not start now?  I only have $9.00 left in my food budget for the month. Why waste that on trashy food?  Is a so-called value meal that valuable to me anyway?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What a long, strange trip this will be

I have retooled things a bit as I turn my sights toward 2012.
In 2011, we got rid of our TV.  It was an old RCA console monstrosity that was ancient when we obtained it second-hand in 1999.  To part with it was not a heartbreak for me, especially since we can watch TV on and, and the possibilities are mind-blowing for the modern family.  But we have eliminated our television, and that helps our budget, and makes us a little weird.
Thanks to a dare from a high-school friend, I have also decided to cut fast food -- any restaurant with a drive-through -- from my (and my children's) diets for one year.  Again ... a little weird, but it could help my food budget, cholesterol level, and improve the health of my family.
My husband and I have a goal to pay off our remaining debt (not counting our home) of $30,000.  It's a home equity line we took out a while back to pay for a used car, a new porch and new ceilings in the downstairs of our 1926 home.  Repairs needed to be made, but we just didn't have the cash on hand.  Since we've started applying principles we learned in Financial Peace University, we have paid off around $24,000 in consumer debt, and are beginning to pay down this line of credit.
We are getting ambitious this year.  We think we can pay this off in 2012.
It will require significant sacrifice on the part of everyone in our family, but we're excited to finally be free from this chain tying us down.
My blog posts may be a little strange this year ... counter-cultural, confessional, and a little crazy.  I promise I won't try to convert you, and I'll try not to make you feel sorry for me (although at times, I'm sure I will be a little pathetic).  I hope you'll follow along with me on this journey, and cheer me on when I need a little encouragement.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A glamorous day in the life of a church administrator

5:30 a.m.
Wake up, read the Bible and pray

6:30 a.m.
Prepare breakfast for the family, get husband off to work

8:00 a.m.
Prepare list of chores and school work for the kids
Update church website and Facebook pages to reflect EASTER 2 Days Away ...
Promote Easter and Easter Egg Hunt on social media

9:00 a.m.
Leave to take husband's breakfast and lunch to him at work (he forgot it on the steps when he was saying goodbye to the kids)
Go to the church building to prepare the screen for Easter services
Research background loops for Easter services
Meet with a beautiful single mother to give her a check from the church to help her get through the costs at the Department of Motor Vehicles - do an impromptu counseling session and agree with her that she needs to meet with someone much more qualified than me...
Meet the carpet cleaners and thank them for getting our building ready for Easter Sunday
Do an estimate of the Easter Eggs that were filled by our terrific volunteers and assess whether we need more candy
Review our guest gifts for Easter Sunday and the goody bags for the Easter Egg Hunt

11:00 a.m.
Pick up Easter Bunny costume from the rental shop
Refrain from texting the guy who will be dressing up as the Easter Bunny to tease him mercilessly about the amount of pink in the costume...

1:00 p.m.
Download some seriously cool looping backgrounds for Easter Sunday from

2:00 p.m.
Review Sunday's schedule using the free version of and make sure we have someone to do a communion meditation in our super early 8:00 Easter service
Call Easter Egg Hunt volunteers to remind them and thank them for serving God and our community.
Text the guy who will be dressing up as the Easter Bunny ... but don't tease him. Thank him.
Thank God for blessing me with a job where I can serve him and pray that I honor him with my actions, attitudes and desires.

One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
      beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
   I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God
      than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
   All sunshine and sovereign is God,
      generous in gifts and glory.
   He doesn't scrimp with his traveling companions.
      It's smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies. - Psalm 84:10 (the Message)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dancing in the Minefields - Dorwin & Mavy Stoddard

This morning I took Tim to work in the Volvo that can handle snow a little better than the other car. There is a possibility of some weather, and didn't want Tim to have treacherous travel on the way home.

As we headed toward the office, I turned on NPR to hear the latest about the voting in Sudan and catch up on other news. In a report about the Arizona shootings, I heard about Dorwin Stoddard, one of the victims of the attack.

Dorwin Stoddard
Mr. Stoddard was 76, and with his wife, was an active leader in the benevolence ministry at Mountain Avenue Church of Christ. His heart ached for the sick and homeless, and participated in numerous construction projects for the church and for those in need.  

Dorwin and his wife Mavy were high school classmates in Tucson who moved away and married other people.  When their spouses passed away, they both moved back to Tucson, got reacquainted, and were married in their sixties.

Their minister, Mike Nowak, said, "they normally go out to breakfast every Saturday." This past weekend, Mavy told her minister she had wanted to meet her congresswoman and tell Ms. Giffords she was doing a good job.

When the shooting started, Dorwin dropped to the ground and covered his wife Mavy.  She was shot in the leg but survived, and talked to Dorwin for 10 minutes until he stopped breathing.

When Tim and I studied "Love and Respect" as one of Living Water Christian Church's Watering Hole small groups a couple years ago, I was struck by the understanding that Tim loved me so much he would lay down his life for me willingly, no questions asked. That kind of selfless, sacrificial love is something I can not only appreciate and honor, but deeply respect. I pray that Tim never has to make the kind of decision that Dorwin made - a decision that was unthinking and instantaneous, to protect the woman God gave him to love for the rest of his days - but I know Tim would make that decision.  In a nanosecond.

Driving him to work this morning, I sobbed as I heard that story. I sobbed for Mavy and for Dorwin, but I sobbed with the understanding that God had given me the same gift of love in my husband, Tim.

Forgive me, Lord, when I take him for granted, and when I fail to respect him with the honor he is due.

"Dancing in the Minefields" by Andrew Peterson:

I was nineteen, you were twenty-one
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway

We bought our rings for forty each
From a pawn shop down the road
We made our vows and took the leap
Now fifteen years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storm
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

"I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin

'Cause the only way to find your life
Is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price
For the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storm
This is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

'Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you