Wednesday, June 16, 2010

German Chocolate Red Peppers

Something very unusual and exciting happened to me the other night. I was attending a lovely graduation ceremony for a special homeschooled young woman. The elegant and happy atmosphere was accentuated with a dozen or so gorgeous, tantalizing layer cakes in the fellowship room downstairs. Carrot cake, berry cheesecakes, German chocolate (my fave), black forest, you name it, it was there...with open arms of engagement. That must be why they call it a "fellowship" room...sweet fellowship with those culinary soul mates called cakes. Anyway, as I was saying, something odd happened. There was a peripheral table, sort of back in the corner of the room with veggies and dip and cheese and cracker plates. Poor table...having to be sidelined by the adored cake table in the center of the room, with a crowd of droolers hovering and moaning over her. I guess I took pity on the veggie table, and forgot my football gear which helps to plow through the people and get to the beloved cakes, so I heroically let the crowd have at it and I sampled the red peppers. Maybe I was just hungry, but those veggies were amazing, and the just have to know that life without cheese just wouldn't be worth living. I ate my fair share of the cheese and veggies and was absolutely loving it. All by myself, not because of a diet, just really loving it!
Finally, I saw an opening at the cake table and took it stealthily. I ingeniously cut small samples of my four finalists on the cake table, then dug in. They were good. That's it...just good. I tried again to get that euphoric cake experience, but all I could get was just good. What was wrong? I'm supposed to be in seventh heaven by now, according to every "normal" woman alive with taste buds in tact. I finished my plate, and still nothing more than good. After momentary disappointment, I realized that I had much more fun and pleasure at that poor old cheese and veggie table than the cake table. Being the pseudo scientist that I am, I went back to try those rejected veggies again and found the same positive results. Call me crazy, sick or old, but I just parked myself beside those peppers and accepted my dysfunction.

It's amazing how determined we are. Later on, I eyed the German Chocolate cake again thinking that the third try might be the winner, but I resisted, thinking of how ridiculous it was to make myself eat something I should be avoiding anyway. What is it about the relentless pursuit of pleasure??? Little children aren't hung up on what others tell them is fun, they just do their thing...pick their nose and wear mix matched clothes. We adults, however have to get over the hill of worldly brainwashing and accept that we don't always enjoy what most do. Some people don't have this problem, but most do, I suspect.

So now, my eyes are wide open. No more blind following the blind. I'm going to keep low waisted jeans out of my closet, plain old soda water in my fridge and continue watching Dukes of Hazzard reruns with the kids.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My second son composed this as he was shoveling out the chicken coup. I guess life's dirty jobs makes us think about getting "cleaned up" :)

Jesus Christ is the one that forgave me of my sin,
He’s the only one that could ever cleanse me from within,
Looking at the world I don't want that anymore,
Since he died on the cross he opened up salvation's door,
Jesus is my father he’s my God he’s my king,
And the least I could do is give him back everything,
Now we are forgiven just because he sent his son,
To be a sacrifice and to love everyone,
Now we can live because he died on the cross,
And in my books Christ is the boss,
Boy if I were you I would take this advice,
Give your life to Christ because he paid the price.

Christians? Playing in the Mud?

I just finished watching an episode of "Larry King Live" where a pastor is debating with a person who says she is a Christian and yet unashamedly continues to live a life highlighted by sin. He lovingly says she needs to leave her life of sin in order to be called "Christian" or "saved". She says that everyone sins, even him, and therefore she is no different than him. Don't judge her, don't point the finger, and you can't use scriptures to conclude anything...just love, love , love and accept.

Because Larry hasn't called me yet to give my thoughts on the issue, and I burn with ideas that might clarify the pastor's Not to say he didn't do a good job defending the truth and Jesus personality, he did, but I don't think Larry's ultimate question was answered. Larry wants to know why sinful Christians are better off than sinful non Christians and who says what a Christian is anyway? By Christians, I mean people who hold to the scriptures as authoritative and clear...not as a suggestion and a contemplation. Why won't we leave them alone and quit saying they need something or are doing anything wrong? Quit "judging' them and look at your own life.

Larry, if you have Chasing Sunbeams in your bookmarks, this is for you:

It's like a baby playing in the mud. Some love the mud, and have no intention of getting out and into the bath water. Some even agree that the mud is dirty and full of nasty critters that may hurt them. Others agree with the nature of the mud and have decided to get out because Dad is offering his hands to help him out and into the bath water. We look to the mud often, and daily stick our feet and hands in just for that little thrill it brings, but eventually, due to a different conscience, reach for Dad again. Dad doesn't hate us because of our momentary failings, his acceptance of us is based on the DESIRE in our hearts and the subsequent obedience to HIS standard.

The other baby, still happily playing in the mud, has no desire to get out and has buddies in other puddles who are doing the same. They babble and google back and forth, temporarily appeasing each others' guilt and celebrating their "freedom", but end up going to bed that night with annoying sand in their diaper and biting bugs in their hair. They are perplexed as to why Dad will not allow them in the family picture, with all that mud caking their face and even believe that he eventually will. He does want them in the picture, he just requires that they be cleaned off first...and only Dad can do that. The other baby isn't judging them, he just knows the refreshing experience of being bathed and how to get into the family picture. He longs for his brother to have the same and cannot stop encouraging him to get out of the mud, because of love.

So Larry, we Christians sometimes point fingers at people because we love them, but be assured, any true believer is dealing with the rest of the fingers being pointed back at himself as well. The problem is the attitude with which the person corrects the other, not the correction itself. Jesus has no tolerance for a judgemental attitude ("Speak the truth in love"), but He commands us to make righteous judgements (John 7). You would never catch Jesus sitting on a fence. The pastor uses the story of Jesus defending the adulterous woman in John chapter 8. He clearly protects, defends and loves her, but confronts her on her sinful lifestyle and commands her to "go and sin no more". He doesn't accept a freedom of choice to live any way she wants and still have a right relationship with Him. She experiences a change of heart because of the power of His love and as a result, her lifestyle changes too. If we refrain from ever correcting or confronting people about their sin (as defined by scripture), and act like it's no big deal, then we are being selfish. We place more value of our relationship with them then their spiritual health. They may reject your outreach, but Christ's love compels us.

I don't think that we, within the Christian church, will ever be able to reconcile differences of opinion on moral issues until we agree on the authority, inerrancy and CLARITY of don't waste time, breath and energy on a discussion unless that is established. Just live, let live and pray.

There, got that off my mind. Now I can go teach how to find the area of a trapezoid, make bread, plant some flowers and swing in my hammock. Thanks for listening, Larry, and good luck with the show. I do find it very interesting...but have you considered getting a new style of eyeglasses?

I promise, the next blog will be more lighthearted.

Monday, June 7, 2010

True Healing

Everyone believes in something. Everyone has to have faith to believe it. Even science is not able to provide 100% certainty. That's the way we were need something or someone, in particular. Having an education in psychology, I understand why that field of study exists. It exists because people are full of guilt, depression and hopelessness, and everyone else wants to help them (and themselves, when their turn comes). The problem is however, psychology fails to address the real issue and therefore can only provide a band aid to the pathology. In fact, just as antibiotics help for the moment but overuse is harmful, so it is with psychology. The root of the problem is not accepted therefore never dealt with and the problems grow.

People don't want to be blamed, they want to be's just easier to live with, or so we think. It's seems easier to live in the realm of uncertainty then to accept truth by faith, because accepting truth means we must then conform to some set of standards and lose freedom to believe whatever we want. What about the freedom of certainty? Freedom of having someone in your life who you can depend on no matter what? If we have that kind of faith in a human being in our lives, why is it so hard to have that kind of faith in an all powerful, sovereign, ever loving God?

We are bent on believing that we humans are the "be all and end all" of existence. When the chips are down and we are face to face with our limitations though, that is our opportunity to see the way things really are and to find answers. THERE ARE ANSWERS. This clip from the TV show "ER" says it all. In the end, the chaplain has no answers for the patient and is helpless to give comfort to him. She can't do her job because in her belief system of uncertainty, there are no answers. That may sit fine with you in the day to day, but it won't be sufficient when trouble comes knockin'.

Don't think that everything labeled "Christian Counseling" is safe. Psychology with few scriptures thrown in and an opening prayer may do more harm then good. We need Biblical counseling in the purest sense...and it is available.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Slugs and Brain Efficiency

I really need an extra pair of ears, or bigger brain storage capacity. I've always imagined myself to be that mom who eagerly and enthusiastically gives her little storytellers 150% of her attention, with sincere and joyful pleasure. They muddle through a VERY LONG dialogue of how the slug made his way across the stone, then onto the leaf, then what it looked like...wait...child is distracted from his story by his sister's application of band-aid to her knee. Ok...she's done...back to the BEGINNING of the slug story. Across the stone...onto the leaf...meanwhile, I have dinner beginning to burn, the phone is ringing and the dog is headed for the road. People say "Just prioritise", well which one, pray-tell, is the priority?? Forget the phone (Not too hard for me), love my dog, rescue dinner but to ask that little, creative storyteller to hold that slug thought is SO hard to do!

Kids know when you are not truly interested in what they are saying. I find myself doing the plastic smile/airline stewardess voice thing far too often. I really don't want to, but burn dinner? Let the dog die? Pee my pants? Miss that free cruise telephone offer? Come on! The kids will surely understand!? I have learned that kids are pretty good at pressing the "hold" button for me. Save the dog and dinner, then return to the "edge of my seat" slug story. Even if I'm not fully captivated by the slug, my smile becomes sincere as I soak up the beauty of my child's vivacious face.

My grandmother Hanson did this to me once. I went to visit her in her nursing home one day in my WAY younger years. I was retelling what I thought was an interesting event, that she would enjoy, when out of the blue (no seniors' hair color pun intended) she says, "Wow, your hair has the most beautiful auburn color when the sun shines on it." She didn't hear a word I said, but she took the moment to enjoy her grandchild and express her love in genuine way. It didn't bother me a bit. I felt loved and appreciated regardless of my story's significance. So, I stroke my sweetheart's hair, gaze on his sun kissed freckles and enjoy the wonder in his eyes as he continues the verbal saga...the slug doesn't really sincerity does.

All the ginkgo biloba in the world can't help my limited mental efficiency, but lessons from grandmothers help rescue little hearts from my limitations.

By the way, in case you were wondering how his story ends...the slug does NOT live. What else would you expect from an 8 year old boy?? :)