An Unforgettable Halloween

>> Monday, October 31, 2011

I could see it coming. The scene was being prepared. It was fun to watch.  

John asked me if he could borrow some of my big candles. He was having a special dinner and wanted candlelight. I loaned him candles. A few days later the request was for some romantic music records (remember what those were?). I loaned him my records. Time passed and then he asked me over to his apartment for dinner.  

I borrowed my teenage daughter’s slinky dress and showed up at his door.  

“Oh, you must have misunderstood. I am just cooking dinner here.”  

I understood. He was flustered. But if the night turned out the way I thought it was going to, I wanted to be dressed for the occasion.  

Dinner was fine … and then we moved to the living room. That’s when the evening began going downhill. He had trouble lighting the candles. The records were old, and had scratches. They kept getting stuck.  

But he persevered.  

Sitting on the floor … our backs against the couch … I could sense it was nearing time for the BIG question. And I knew there was one more thing that could go wrong.  

Candlelight … music … wine … and a knock on the door.  

“Who in the world could that be?” When John opened the door, there stood several children, dressed in their Halloween costumes.  

“Trick or treat.”  

The look on his face was priceless when he turned to me and asked, “Is this Halloween?”  


So much for romance. Between the constant knocking on the door and my uncontrollable laughter, it was difficult for John to ask. But he did.  

“Will you marry me?”  

I said “Yes.”



>> Saturday, October 29, 2011

The alarm goes off. Bleary eyed I rise from my bed … dress … exercise … shower … go to work … come home from work … do housework … go to bed … to rise another day and repeat the procedure.

Is there a purpose in this?  

Have you ever felt that way? In my early days, I moved through life as a robot … and truly felt I had no purpose. I’m so delighted to tell you I no longer feel that way. I live each day deliberately … focusing on precious present moments and being alert to any contact that could turn into a divine appointment. But the feeling of life being a futile exercise is not new.  

In Haggai 1 (yes, there is a book of the Bible with that name) God is talking to His people.  

“Consider how things are going for you. You have planted much but harvested little.” What do you have to show for the long, hard days at work? Or maybe you are exhausted at the end of the day from housework, three children and poor health. Do you feel a lack of reward in those efforts?  

“You have food to eat, but not enough to fill you up. You have wine to drink, but not enough to satisfy your thirst.” As an overeater, I certainly understand this one. I have eaten and eaten my way through my days, trying to feel satisfied. Do you search for a food or drink … or something more … to satiate your needs?  

“You have clothing to wear, but not enough to keep you warm.” Even though you dress nicely … leaving a good impression … do you still feel cold inside? Or maybe what you wear is just an extension of the mask you don each morning. You long for a warm, fuzzy feeling that is just beyond your reach.  

And this one is my favorite … the one that really started this whole thought process.  

“You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” For years I tried to live paycheck to paycheck … but there was never enough. My purse had big holes. One day I discovered that God cares about my finances. The Bible gives good counsel on how to handle our money. Right now, on the radio, there is a man named Dave Ramsey who gives biblical advice about money. The bottom line is … don’t spend more than you have. It’s a simple solution, but not easy to achieve.  

Life is not an exercise in futility. It takes God to help us change our view. When we walk through each day with Him, we see life differently. A chance encounter with another person can turn into a rewarding moment. With the right small group of people, we can remove our masks and let our insides show … and the love we feel in return warms that cold spot.  

And only when we turn our money over to Him, will the holes in our purse be mended.  

“I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.” Haggai 2:19 (NLT)


Holy Humor

>> Friday, October 28, 2011


A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"  

A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."  

A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark ?"  

"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, with just two worms."  

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter. Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm.

After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."  

The preacher's 5 year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why. "Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages. "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."  

"How come He doesn't answer it?" she asked.  

A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, "So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That's very commendable. What does she say?"  

The little boy replied, "Thank God he's in bed!"  

When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, "and all girls." This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, "Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?"  

Her response, "Because everybody always finishes their prayers by saying 'All Men'!"  

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away.  

"Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer." said his mother.  

"I don't need to," the boy replied.  

"Of course, you do "his mother insisted.” We always say a prayer before eating at our house."  

"That's at our house." Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook.  

(Authors Unknown)


Messing With My Mind

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When I leave home at 5:00 in the morning, bleary-eyed and half awake, I have to work hard to remember what I need to take with me … my car keys, sheet of paper with the routines I do, water, iPhone to listen to a podcast, headphones to be able to do that and key to get in the gym.  

This morning I was sure I had remembered everything. When I go through the routines, I place everything else in a cubby provided by the gym. After I’m through with the machines, I’m ready for my water and headphones as I walk on the treadmill. My iPhone stays in my pocket. But this morning, when it was time for my water, I had none. In my mind’s eye I could see me picking up the water bottle at home … and taking it to the car.  

Guess I left it in the car.  

But after a trip to the car, I was still waterless. So for the next 30 minutes I walked and listened, but did not drink. When I went to the cubby to get my other stuff, there sat my water bottle, still full of water.  

Where did that come from? Who took it? Is it safe to drink now?  

Whether on purpose or by accident, someone definitely messed with my mind.  

Life is like that. We do everything humanly possible to get our stuff together. We have our routines … a time slot for this and another slot for that. But occasionally something isn’t in the right spot. The out-of-place thing may be something tangible, like losing car keys.  

But other times, it’s an emotional piece that may go missing. Maybe someone turned on you … said hurtful things … and you wonder where did that come from? Other times it may be a loved one who took advantage of you in the past and now they are back in your life. You wonder are they safe to trust now or will they just use me again? Life messes with our mind.  

I chose to drink the water … and I turn to God to help me deal with the other stuff.  

“God's a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you're never sorry you knocked.”
Psalm 9:9-10 (MSG) 


Living the Bible

>> Monday, October 24, 2011

His name is Tom. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant, kind of profound and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.  

Across the street from the campus is a very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Tom decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt and wild hair. The service has already started. Tom starts down the aisle looking for a seat.  

The church is completely packed and he can’t find a seat. By now, people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Tom gets closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. By now the people are really uptight and the tension in the air is thick.  

About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Tom. The deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair and a three-piece suit. A godly man; very elegant, dignified and courtly. He walks with a cane, as he starts walking toward this boy; everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and background to understand some college kid on the floor?  

It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. The minister can’t even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do.  

They see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down beside Tom to worship with him so he won’t be alone.

Everyone is choked with emotion.  

When the minister gains control, he says, “What I’m about to preach you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.”  

(Author Unknown)  

“What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming?” Matthew 3:10a (MSG)


Connection at the End

>> Saturday, October 22, 2011

A story out of Iowa has touched me deeply … and caused me to do some heavy thinking. A couple who had been married for 72 years were in a car accident … sent to the emergency room … and then admitted to the intensive care unit. Yet their concern was for each other. As the minutes passed and they didn’t improve, the couple was moved into a room together in beds side by side where they could hold hands … his right hand with her left one.  

Then he died. Even though he was no longer breathing, the monitor still showed he had a heartbeat. His wife’s heart was beating through him and into the monitor.  

That’s quite a connection.  

My heavy thinking moved past my earthly bond with my husband … and I’ve been pondering the strength of my connection to God. Just how in tune with Him am I? Am I allowing Him to work through me? Do others see His heartbeat instead of mine?  

Or am I still seeking my own way?  

If someone claims, "I know him well!" but doesn't keep his commandments, he's obviously a liar. His life doesn't match his words. But the one who keeps God's word is the person in whom we see God's mature love. This is the only way to be sure we're in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.” I John 2:4-6 (MSG)


Funny Stories

>> Friday, October 21, 2011

The Service

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church. It was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on either side of it. The seven-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning," replied the young man, still focused on the plaque. "What is this?" Alex asked.

"Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly, they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Little Alex's voice was trembling and barely audible when he asked, "Which service, the 9:45 or the 11:15?"

Weight Loss Plan

A man calls a company and orders their 5-day, 10 lb. weight loss program. The next day, there's a knock on the door and there stands before him a voluptuous, athletic, 19 year old babe dressed in nothing but a pair of Nike running shoes and a sign around her neck. She introduces herself as a representative of the weight loss company. The sign reads, "If you can catch me, you can have me."

Without a second thought, he takes off after her. A few miles later huffing and puffing, he finally gives up. The same girl shows up for the next four days and the same thing happens. On the fifth day, he weighs himself and is delighted to find he has lost 10 lbs. as promised.

He calls the company and orders their 5-day/20 pound program. The next day there's a knock at the door and there stands the most stunning and beautiful woman he has ever seen in his life. She is wearing nothing but Reebok running shoes and a sign around her neck that reads, "If you catch me you can have me." Well, he's out the door after her like a shot. This girl is in excellent shape and he does his best, but no such luck. So for the next four days, the same routine happens with him gradually getting in better and better shape. Much to his delight on the fifth day when he weighs himself, he discovers that he has lost another 20 lbs. as promised.

He decides to go for broke and calls the company to order the 7-day/50 pound program. "Are you sure?" asks the representative on the phone. "This is our most rigorous program." "Absolutely," he replies, "I haven't felt this good in years."

The next day there's a knock at the door; and when he opens it he finds a huge muscular guy standing there wearing nothing but pink running shoes and a sign around his neck that reads,"If I catch you, you are mine!!!"

He lost 63 pounds that week.

Nasty Bug

Every night, Harold would go down to the liquor store, get a six pack, bring it home, and drink it while he watched TV. One night, as he finished his last beer, the doorbell rang. He stumbled to the door and found a six-foot cockroach standing there. The bug grabbed him by the collar and threw him across the room, and left.

The next night, after he finished his 3rd beer, the doorbell rang. He walked slowly to the door and found the same six-foot cockroach standing there. The big bug punched him in the stomach, then left.

The next night, after he finished his 1st beer, the doorbell rang again. The same six-foot cockroach was standing there. This time he was kneed in the groin and hit behind the ear as he doubled over in pain. Then the big bug left.

The fourth night Harold didn't drink at all. The doorbell rang. The cockroach was standing there. The bug beat the snot out of Harold and left him in a heap on the living room floor.

The following day, Harold went to see his doctor. He explained events of the preceding four nights. " What can I do? " he pleaded.

" Not much " the doctor replied. " There's just a nasty bug going around."

I Know This Lawyer

A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial-a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a rising big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you'll be in jail within 3 minutes!"

(Authors Unknown)


No One Knows

>> Thursday, October 20, 2011

It’s on the news and in the papers. According to Harold Camping, the world will end tomorrow. But this isn’t the first time he’s predicted the end. His first time was in 1994. Last May, he was quite sure he had his numbers correct. One man drove from Maryland to Oakland, CA to be with fellow believers when the event occurred. Others quit their jobs or left their families to get ready for the “last day”.  

This is nothing new. I grew up with Hal Lindsey and his predictions. I’m sure there are more that I’ve never heard about. I just have one question for these folks. What do they do with Matthew 24:36? To me, the words are very clear.  

”But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (NIV)


Private Adjustments

>> Tuesday, October 18, 2011

As I walk on the treadmill at the gym each morning, I can see out the window and down the street. But the gym room is also reflected in the glass. This morning, as I was walking (at 3.5 mph), listening to Chuck Swindoll’s podcast and minding my own business … there was a sudden movement in the reflection that caught my attention. By the time I realized what I was seeing, it was too late. A young man on a treadmill two machines over decided to adjust his private parts. He thought he was safe from anyone seeing him. His back was to the room.

How many adjustments do we make as we journey through life … adjustments we think are being done privately … and no one can see? I imagine we would be very surprised to learn how many people have seen those private adjustments. They can range from sneaking food (which I’ve done) to keeping some money to yourself and not telling your spouse to having an affair.

We may think we’ve gotten away with these secretive actions, but there is Someone who knows all about us … every second of the day … and knows each move we make. We have no secrets from Him.

"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be." Jeremiah 17:10 (MSG)


Slow Dance

>> Monday, October 17, 2011

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask “how are you?” Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, " We'll do it tomorrow?"
And in your haste, not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time to call and say,'Hi'?

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift .... thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

(Author Unknown)

Note: I had this scheduled to post on Monday, 10/17/11. On Sunday, 10/16/11, a 33-year old young man named Dan Wheldon, who won the Indy 500 this year, driving in the last Indy race of the season, lost his life in a crash. I dedicate this poem to him.


Old Programming

>> Saturday, October 15, 2011

I bought gas for my car this morning. I’ve been performing that duty for 40 years. Yet each time … just for an instant … my mind flies back to the first time I accomplished that task.  

I had been programmed to believe that pumping gas was way beyond my capabilities. That first time, as I pulled into the service station, I was overwhelmed with all that needed to be done. The correct distance from the pump … pulling up to the right position for the hose to reach the car … knowing how to open the gas tank … how to make the gas actually pump through the hose … all these thoughts flooded my mind. My heart was pounding. Was I about to make a fool of myself? My old programming had been that I was totally incapable of performing such a complicated procedure. And for years I believed it.  

Today, it seemed so simple.  

We all have old programming. My list was long … and most of it had to do with religion. It’s not easy to overcome beliefs that have been pounded into your very core. It took time and a lot of effort on my part to change some very basic concepts … about God … and me.  

Maybe you are dealing with some old programming. Or are you even aware you are operating under that old system? What kind of reactions do you have? Are they in response to what you believe … or what you’ve been told to believe? Sometimes it’s tough to separate the two.  

Maybe you are in the process of programming someone … perhaps your child. Exactly what are you entering into their system? Is it something they will have to work at overcoming?  

I learned to take each situation … one at a time. Then I would observe me … my reactions … my thoughts. The next step was to decide if I wanted to change my behavior. And that’s when the hard work began. I apologized often to my children … sometimes changing my answer in mid-stream.  

I had lots of old programming. But with God’s help, it’s now a distant memory … flaring only occasionally.  

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)


Embarrassing Moments and More

>> Friday, October 14, 2011

“A mother was taking a shower when her two-year old son came into the bathroom and wrapped himself in toilet paper. Although he made a mess, he looked adorable, so she ran for a camera and took a few shots. They came out so well that she had copies made and included one with each of their Christmas cards. Days later, a relative called about the picture, laughing hysterically, and suggesting that she take a closer look. Puzzled, the mother stared at the photo and was shocked to discover that in addition to her son, she had captured her reflection in the mirror wearing nothing but a camera!"  


"A lady picked up several items at a discount store. When she finally got up to the checker, she learned that one of her items had no price tag. Imagine her embarrassment when the checker got on the intercom and boomed out for the entire store to hear, ‘PRICE CHECK ON LANE THIRTEEN, TAMPAX, SUPER SIZE." That was bad enough, but somebody at the rear of the store apparently misunderstood the word 'Tampax' for ‘THUMBTACKS.’ In a businesslike tone, a voice boomed back over the intercom: ‘DO YOU WANT THE KIND YOU PUSH IN WITH YOUR THUMB?’  


There was a man who worked all of his life and saved all of his money. He was a real miser when it came to his money. He loved money more than just about anything, and just before he died, he said to his wife, "Now listen, when I die, I want you to take all my money and place it in the casket with me. I wanna take my money to the afterlife."  

So he got his wife to promise him with all her heart that when he died, she would put all the money in the casket with him.  

Well, one day he died. He was stretched out in the casket; the wife was sitting there in black next to her closest friend. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said "Wait just a minute!"  

She had a shoe box with her; she came over with the box and placed it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down and rolled it away. Her friend said, "I hope you weren't crazy enough to put all that money in the casket."  

"Yes," the wife said, "I promised. I'm a good Christian, I can't lie. I promised him that I was going to put that money in that casket with him."  

"You mean to tell me you put every cent of his money in the casket with him?"  

"I sure did. I got it all together, put it into my account and I wrote him a check." 


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