Wednesday, July 27, 2011

BEAUTY


Oh, friends - we are surrounded by TV commercials, Victoria Secret ads, People magazine, the Bachelorette, short shorts, bikinis and skimpy tank tops. These things get lots of attention. I'm sure we all have varying opinions about those sorts of things, so I'm not here to debate it all. I AM wondering, however, if we know what real beauty looks like. If we stumbled across real beauty, would we miss it? What if it didn't have a six-pack and an awesome butt with long shiny hair and perfectly tanned skin?
I can think of lots of really beautiful gals that I know. Some fit the Victoria Secret definition of beauty, but others are even more beautiful than that...in other ways. In the future, I'm hoping to do a handful of little spotlights on some of my beautiful friends. If nothing else, we will hear some fun facts about some interesting people. Overall, though, I hope we can all be reminded that beauty isn't always determined by size, shape or appearance. Off and on (I am bad with schedules, so I'll leave it at that), I hope you will join with me in celebrating real beauty. If you are the praying sort of person, you can also join me in asking God to help refine our definitions of beauty. Sound good? I think so...
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

CARS!


We have had quite the adventure in the automobile department lately. Here's the story of the past few months...

My Aveo dies on the way to Rock Valley. Turns out the timing belt and engine decided to quit. $1400 later, she perked back up.

Mark's Pontiac died near a busy intersection in Sioux Falls. Some small part (that I don't know the name of) had to be replaced, so we only had to dump $200 this time.



My Aveo gets hit in a parking lot...a hit and run! Luckily, I caught the guy's license plate before he drove off. The insurance company gave us $300! Score.

On our vacation, Mark's Pontiac started making funny noises. I think the wheel bearings were going bad. Don't quote me on that. I'm a girl, and let's be honest, I know nothing about cars. Anyway, I think we spent around $700 on that one.

We found out that my grandma was trading in her Buick for a newer Buick. She asked if we wanted to buy it from her. We did want to, but wasn't sure if we'd be able to sell Mark's car quickly enough...

Mark puts his Pontiac up for sale. A friend bought it ONE DAY later.

Over the Fourth, Mark officially traded in his sports car Pontiac with a sun roof and supercharged engine...for a Buick. The things you have to do when you get married... Sidenote: When I told my spitfire Grandma Betty that Mark was going to get teased about driving a grandma car, she jumped in and said, "No, that's not a grandma car! That's a grandPA car. Your Papa bought that thing - not me. My new car has a spoiler and the engine revs up and it can go really fast around corners." My grandma is 85, folks.

Anyway, we love the Buick. And, I'm not sure if Mark will admit it in front of people yet, but he doesn't miss his Pontiac at all. He is in love and completely fascinated with the reverse-backing-up-alarm-dingy thing that beeps if you back up too close to something. I am totally in love with the sea twarmers. And yes, I use the warmers even in the summer, because Mark turns up the air conditioning so darn much. The Buick is saving our marriage. The Lord knows us well! :)

Seriously, though - we are praising God for being a Great Provider in the auto department. We dumped a lot of money in our vehicles but no one has gotten hurt, Mark's car sold miraculously fast in a bad economy, Grandma was very generous, and we don't have any car payments hanging over our head. God is so good to us!


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Thursday, July 21, 2011

SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE


Friends. You have got to read this book. If you are poor, no worries. I found it on Amazon for two dollars. If you don't like to read, no worries. It is less than 125 pages.

I don't even know how to begin to sum it up - it's just that good. Here are some quotes that might help you understand some overarching themes in it...

Currently the children of God who really seek after Him are divided into two classes: one class knows the Bible but knows little of God's power; the other does not know much of the Bible yet knows the power of God. Very seldom are Christians well-balanced in both points.
...Knowledge of the Scriptures alone is not sufficient; we must know God himself. But to know Him requires dealings with God and dealings by God. We will not come to the knowledge of God if we do not deal with Him and expect to be dealt with by Him.
...A lamentable condition prevails today, which is, that few are those who truly know God. Brethren, we may frequently listen to Bible knowledge and yet we still do not know God. He who only possesses some knowledge of the Bible is like one who fights with a mere reed as a weapon: he will bend as the wind blows; he has not the strength to fight. Let me ask, Who can say today that he knows God's purpose, God's mind, His will, and His way? I often say that to know God is precious beyond measure; nothing can be compared with it. Some people can open the Bible and speak quite well on a passage, but they may not know God at all. They may talk well, yet they are strangers to Him. The knowledge of the Bible ought to lead us to the knowledge of God. This is not so nowadays.
PS - This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm learning more about what it means to wrestle with God and have real interaction with Him - more about what it means to actually know Him and hear from Him. Much of the stuff I'm reading is drastically changing the way I want to pray and read my Bible from now on...it is changing the way I think about the Lord in many moments throughout the day.

It just may be a life-changer sort of book, folks... BUT, in the words of my long-lost buddy, Levar Burton on Reading Rainbow, "You don't have to take my word for it!"
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Osborne!


Catching up a bit on the blogging thing...

My youngest sister, Micah, works at a nature center in NE Iowa during the summer. Since we visited the family over the Fourth, she took Mark and I along to do chores one morning! Woo hoo!

Slideshow Commentary:

  1. Mark and Micah looking serial killer-ish... Every morning, Micah feeds the animals leftover (sketchy and expired) meat and dead baby chicks. Yum.
  2. Mama and Daddy Deer... They have a little Bambi, too...just didn't get it in the photo.
  3. Micah IN THE CAGE throwing meat to the wolf. Yikes. The wolf was one of my favorites. He was really playful and raced the Gator we were in as we drove away. He won. By a lot.
  4. An owl! Even though he looks cute and cuddly, he was grouchy at us for visiting. Maybe we interrupted him pondering really wise owlish things.
  5. Another one of my favs! A black bear named Ozzie.
  6. Winnie the Pooh isn't the only one that likes honey!
  7. We put honey on a stick for a treat! She loved me.
  8. Mark is having a nice morning chat with Ozzie about theological sorts of things. She is smarter than the average bear.
  9. A mountain lion! Doesn't she look like Nala on the Lion King?
  10. Me and Bob, the Bobcat playing a bit. We had a good ole time.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prophetic Relief

In Acts 11, it talks about how prophets came from Jerusalem to visit some of the disciples in Antioch. One of these prophets foretold that there'd be a great famine coming to the world. In hearing this, the disciples put their heads together. My guess is that they probably prayed and tried to discern through whether or not this prophet was legit and if they should listen to him. In the end, they believed God was speaking through him, and responded by sending relief to their brothers in Christ who would (in the future, mind you) be impacted by the famine. Sure enough, the famine hit "in the days of Claudius", and they were prepared.

So here are my questions for you out there in cyberspace...
  1. Do you believe God can still speak prophetically to people? Letting us know what the future holds?
  2. Christians around the world (the Church) have sent relief to many different places throughout history. I think of the earthquake in Japan or the tornado in Joplin off-hand... In sending relief after disasters have already taken place, could it be that we're late? Maybe? If we're willing to listen to the voices of prophetic people in this hour of history, could God speak and let us know where to send relief ahead of time?

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Fourth!


Did you have a fun Fourth of July? We did! The Fourth is my favorite holiday. Less hustle and bustle than Christmas or Thanksgiving. More relaxation, outdoors, hot dogs, campfires and sun...AND fireworks. Love it. Mark and I spent the weekend camping in Northeast Iowa (where I am from) along the Mississippi River. Here is my summer vacationing hat...or not.


We spent part of one day shopping a bit. This is one of the fun shops in McGregor, Iowa called the Paper Moon. Lots of vintage and artsy trinkets and books. Heart.


McGregor is a super-quaint, no-nonsense town right on the Mississippi - about 20 minutes from where I spent most of my years growing up.


We spent the other 90% of the weekend camping along the river! My parents have a little lot - a big campsite and dock - on the Mississippi where they have a couple of campers and boats. It's close to their home, so they spend every weekend there! Here's the family sign at the front of the lot.


Mark tried fishing off our dock, and only caught ONE fish. He's pouting about it.


I didn't feel sorry for Mr. Pouty Face because I didn't catch ANY fish. Rats.


Kayaking turned out to be better than fishing. This is my sister, Micah's, new kayak. So fun! We want our own kayaks now. Wish list!


Mark's favorite River activity turned out to be wakeboarding. As you can see, he is pretty stinking good at it already! Leave it to him. He's so athletic! Special thanks to our friend Jeremy and Danielle, who let us borrow their wakeboard for the weekend!


My fifty-year-old mom also tried wakeboarding. This is about as far as she got. :)


For all of you daredevil adventurers out there, I DID try wakeboarding last year. However, I have found a much better (and more fitting) calling in the realm of water sports. The Lord has shown me that I am a great spotter, and a great picture-taker when OTHERS are wakeboarding and skiing. I am very secure in my new identity, thankyouverymuch.


In other news, my sister, Micah, went missing one afternoon. She had gone kayaking and was gone for hours. We started to get worried, so Mark and Dad took the boat out to look for her. They found her pulling a picnic table home. Yes, that's right. A picnic table. She had found it floating in the water, so she took apart her life jacket, and used the strings to hook the picnic table to her kayak - a makeshift tow rope. She wasn't making very good time or progress, so the boys bailed her out and pulled it back to the campsite. Leave it to Micah!


One night, we used my other sister, Naomi's, projector to watch an outdoor movie! I do not recommend the movie, Battle Los Angeles, but I do recommend outdoor movies in general.


Mark is taking seminary classes, so he brought along some books to read at the River. Here, he is preaching hell fire and damnation to us in between wakeboarding and fishing.

We saw fireworks on the River, ate lots of ice cream, swam a lot, got several mosquito bites, fed a bear some honey (more on this later), soaked up lots of sun, got a new car (more on this later, too!), ate great camping food, played cards, got some treasured rest and relaxation, and had a great time with our family. Perfect weekend!




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