Tuesday, September 20, 2011


On a recent trip to my local Chili's I noticed that their annual Create-A-Pepper fundraiser for St Jude's had expanded to not only including t-shirts, but also slap bracelets. If you are a child of the 80's your mind has already filled with joyful memories of your youth - slapping your wrist, your friends, and basically anything that may or may not capture a slap from one of the world's coolest creations. I HAD to get one for each of my kids.

They were, obviously, immediately excited. By the next day, Josiah had become completely addicted. Studying the every nuance of the toy he asked, "What does this spell?"

"H. O. P. E. Hope," I told him.

"You mean, like, 'I hope I get that new Lego police set'?" he asked me.

For the next five minutes I listened to everything he hoped for. The list included a variety of items from a dog, to new toys, to a vacation, to a new mother (which upon realizing what he said he quickly recanted).

And as Josiah continued to consider his hopes, I considered mine. I remembered Romans 8:22-24 (NIV) which says:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

I love that last part: Hope that is seen is no hope at all. The mystery of hope is that it exists and often for no reason. Hypothetically speaking, hope that IS seen is not hope, but rather experience. Experience is trusting in yourself. Hope is trusting in something or someone greater. I hope that my life reflects the words of Edward Mote's classic hymn:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ka- Ka- King

Today marked a right of passage for Josiah - his first day of speech therapy. Having gone through this same process with Jacob, I knew exactly what to expect. As I listened to my four year old son interact with Miss Tonja, I giggled at things he said. Blue, green, black, white, and brown are boy colors. Pink and yellow are girls colors, and purple too. Don't you just love how children think?

Their first day together focused on the "k" sound. A classic error, Josiah forms his K's at the front of his mouth and it sounds like a T. I was impressed that in just 30 minutes of talking, Josiah's favorite dog had gone from "Tuptate" to "Cupcake". Thinking I would keep the momentum going, on the way home we discussed different things that started with a K. "Josiah, do we have a king?" I asked him.

"Yes," he replied.

"We don't have a king, we have a president," I corrected him.

He persisted, "No, we have a king."

Thinking I had outsmarted him, I asked, "Who is our king?"

He had to think for only a moment before telling me, "God is our King."

Yes, Josiah. Yes, He is.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Practical Application

We are less than a week into the new school year, and I am finding myself frustrated trying to explain rounding to my 4th grade son. An idea that you and I probably take for granted, but it was really taking a toll on him. Thinking the problem might be that he doesn't understand the broad concept I tried to give him a real life scenario in which we might round a number: How many people are coming to the party? About 50. I'm still not sure if it helped him.

I've been thinking about all the lessons I've learned (and even taught) about life, my faith, and all the things that come between them. There are so many cliches that come to my mind. The other day a song from 15+ years ago popped in my head. As a teenager when I heard it, I thought it was a good piece of advice:

Take the cross-road,
It's your best bet.
The road might be a little rugged,
But it will get you there.

As an adult, I wonder just what this means. Yes, I understand that the idea is to cling to my beliefs when times get hard, but what does the cross-road look like when you are suffering? What do we do when there seems to be no right choice?

I'm wondering if what is missing in our teaching is practical application. We need to to be taught things like:
- When you are mad at someone, talk to them about it until you can reach forgiveness.
- When you feel far away from God, read the Bible.
- When you don't have enough money, stop getting your hair colored before you stop giving to God.
-When your marriage is on the rocks, fight for it instead of for yourself.

God help me to see Your will in the little choices I make because I know the big stuff of life is just a compilation of smaller decisions. Amen.