Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Travelogue

We have entered the third week of Advent on the liturgical calendar and are currently driving through the week of joy.

I started my Road Through the Holidays, in November, reading “thanksgiving” scriptures. In December I began researching the avalanche of information that can be found on the internet concerning Advent. I have been steeped in scripture, traditions, denominationalism and history. I have taken quizzes on the scriptures of the Christmas story, surprised when I didn’t make 100.

For the advent weeks of hope, peace, now joy, (and soon love) I am trying to embrace these characteristics and exemplify them. (I should poll my husband, son and co-workers after the season to see if I was successful.)

The initial objective is being met, spending time in the scriptures and “being still.” My holiday expectations have been reduced; a direct reflection of this new route. The rush from season’s past is missing. Do I feel like I’m missing out?

Stopping to ponder that question, assess my feelings, search my heart; the answer is no. There is nothing I’m denying myself. I’m enjoying this new route.

I’ll admit I’m waiting for that Christmas moment. A magical, spirit filled moment of revelation or insight. Perhaps that’s an expectation born of too many Hallmark movies but who doesn’t yearn for the moment when the bell on the Christmas tree tinkles and you know another angel received their wings?

Have you experienced that kind of magicial, Christmas moment?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cosmetics and the Mature Woman

It’s morning and a freshly washed face stares back at me through the bathroom mirror. With confidence I pull out the tools that will transform this older canvas into an illusion of, well . . . less older.

There are a few man-made marvels that I am truly thankful for, in-door plumbing being foremost, but cosmetics have a prominent spot on that list. My gratitude deepens in conjunction with the lines on my face.

As a young girl make-up was used to change from bright eyes to smoky eyes, between innocent and seductive, from pale to apple cheeked, from matte and natural to glossy and dramatic. The only ‘cover up’ used was for the pesky blemish.

As an older woman it’s all about the coverage. I don’t want to change my appearance as much as ‘hide’ the signs of aging. The furrows firmly established on my forehead and around my mouth, the age spots on my neck, the darkness around my eyes.

The wonders of makeup, and the art of using it, make hiding these exasperating, but inevitable marks of age, uncomplicated.

I’m not a brand follower but when I find something I like I stick with it. Max Factor went out of business, while I wasn’t looking, and took a favored pan stick with them. Reaching out for recommendations two suggestions came back for Max Studio Tech. I’m using it and so far am very pleased.

L’Oreal Voluminous is the mascara of choice as well as their Bare Naturale for blush. Cover Girl professional loose powder has been a staple along with Revelon’s Skin Lights powder which does an excellent job putting light in those furrows and brightening up the eyes. Avon has a Slick Tint colored lip balm that I’ve purchased in bulk but there is a myriad of suitable lip tints in the drawer.

I’m one of those that say, “Bring it on!” to aging. It’s a part of life and I’m ready to embrace it but there is definitely nothing wrong with looking good along the way.

Do you have a product worth noting? Please share.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nativity Unplugged

We have a nativity scene, a really nice nativity scene that we purchased from Sam’s Wholesale Club over five years ago. My husband is a Church History professor who has taught Old and New Testament survey courses for over eleven years. If he is teaching New Testament during the winter term there is always an extra credit question; “How many Wise Men were at the manger?”

Do you know the correct answer?

Zero. They were not at the manger; they were in their own countries taking notice of a new star. References include Matthew 2:11 which says of the Magi arriving at Mary and Joseph’s, “On coming to the house”, not the manger. Further, in Matthew 2:16 is the reference of age concerning the new King of the Jews King Herod ordered killed, “those who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”

If the Wise Men were not at the manger scene why do we put them there? My guess, for those selling nativities it’s a merchandising decision, for all the others it allows for more roles in the Christmas pageant.

I don’t have a problem with the Wise Men standing next to the new born savior but professors, such as my husband, find it very annoying. We are misleading generations.

Long standing traditions are difficult to change, especially societal traditions. Our solution, we put the Wise Men on an opposite surface and make an effort to explain their position.

The Wise Men are a large part of the Christmas story, include them in their proper place. Wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Holiday Driving Update

It is Saturday, after Thanksgiving, and I want to give an update on my Road Through the Holidays.

In the limited concordance of my Bible I have 29 scripture references for various forms of the word thankful. In addition to my daily study I spent time writing down some of these scriptures and contemplating what they meant to me in my world.  Making time to "be still" I will admit to being less harried or rushed, even with a three day trip out of town to enjoy the holiday with family.

What was I looking for? Honestly, I'd hoped for that rush of inspiration when a concept is made clear, the meaning unmistakeable. The moment wasn't quite the rush I was looking for, more a quiet whisper across my heart.

Today, as I was reading through the blogs I follow Window on the Prairie  posted a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1896. The first stanza held the gem:

We walk on starry fields of white                                               
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight                                               
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

My supreme delight should be in the common sights. Offer praises on these things. In my notes most of my reflections listed the common and daily issues as I mined my thoughts for the "supreme delight". I have reread my notes and see the supreme delight is, thankfully, already there.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV).

What insight did this Thanksgiving holiday provide you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cruckson Quilt

I’m going to toot my own horn today . . . but first, this moment was made possible by my sister, Jackie, and so I want to give a big THANKS shout out to her. Jackie was in possession of a serger (an overlock sewing machine to the un-initiated) that she so graciously passed on to me. It sat, stored, in my extra closet for over a year as I made plans to set it up and learn how to use it.

Fortunately, at work, there was a request for stage curtains to be made and I saw my opportunity to put the serger into action and teach myself how to use it. Mission accomplished on both counts.

I then set my sights on a t-shirt quilt made out of ALL my son’s school shirts. Looking over the pattern it seemed a good idea to do a test quilt. I have many t-shirts from a recurring family reunion event that seemed perfect for the project.

The Cruckson Reunion t-Shirt quilt is now complete.
My new motto: Have serger will travel!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Grinch

The holiday season is typical for bringing out the best, and the worst, in us. The average individual is moved by the need of others and will generally go beyond the normal routine to extend compassion to those less fortunate.

With so much goodwill pouring from our heart and hands we extend that giving to our families by producing outside the norm through decorations, gifts, food and the like.

In the midst of all this goodness the normal chores and responsibilities must be continued.  Dark clouds can dim our celebration with the lack of assistance from family members in completing all the normal, required tasks plus those special extras we have endeavored to do for others. Why the dark clouds?

The lack of appreciation! Why can’t they appreciate what I’m doing for myself? I know this feeling because I stumbled across it the Christmas of ’02. I was rushing to make Christmas pajamas and not getting help, in what I thought was a timely manner, on the other fun and festive plans I had in play. My patience came to an end and the Grinch appeared. The conversation went something like this:

“Why are you so irritated?” In a calm, soothing voice.
“Because I’m trying to get these pajamas done and we need to finish . . .(and so on.)” Agitated and whiney.
“Why are you trying to do (this) now?” Calm and soothing.
“I’m doing it for you guys and I’m feeling very underappreciated!” High pitched and teary.
“Thank you for (all this) but don’t do it for us. We are having a good time without (them).” Logical and matter-of-fact.

Moral of the Story: If you are feeling underappreciated reevaluate who and why you are doing these things; are the decorations because ‘everybody’ else wants them or is it because you like them, is all that food necessary or do you want to have each special dish available, does that individual want that trinket or do you want three gifts for everybody.

If the Grinch starts taking up residence in your heart, stop, and remember what the Who’s down in Who-ville already know, “Christmas dosen't come from a store, Christmas is just a little bit more. Christmas day is in our grasp as long as we have hands to clasp; Christmas day will always be just as long as we have we.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Love In 300 Words

Donna's Book Pub, a blog I follow, posted about the opportunity to write and submit a senior love story . At 300 words it is an excellent writing exercise. Short stories require tight, concise and precise writing. Following is my parent’s story, which I've submitted. If you try this exercise come back and leave your link in the comments, I’d love to read your love story.

It was written in her 8th grade annual, for anyone to see, "I'm coming back to marry you." He was a 17 year old farm boy who liked to skate with trouble; he was on his way to the Marines. Her dad was the superintendent of schools, her mother a school teacher and they could see trouble coming.

In the 1950's the Portage roller skating rink was a party beacon for teenagers in a 50 mile radius. He skated tricky, fast, wild and slow with all the girls, even her sister. She was off limits and sister was the sentinel posted to say so.

He wrote her while in basic, declaring his love and intent to make her his own. In the spring, three years later, he knocked on the Edgewater Street door. She pushed aside her steady and her parent’s objections and married him in the fall. Aunt didn't waste time or money monogramming the towels; it wouldn't last.

High school dropouts they both returned to finish college; Bill going on to teach at a Junior College and Jane to become a Funeral Director. With the youngest child graduated, they sold their home and followed a dream to travel the highways and bi-ways of this great country. They spent twenty years living in the close quarters of a semi-truck as team drivers.

November, 2010 they celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. Jane and Bill raised four daughters and enjoy four son-in-laws and seven grandchildren. They established their retirement home on the land that Bill grew up on, outside the town where Jane lived. They are active in the VFW, Historical Society, Friends of the Library and the First Congregational Church.

Love found a way through trouble, objections, and the test of time. Aunt, you should have monogrammed the towels.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Road Through the Holidays

I always approach the holiday season with anticipation and excitement. I love this time of year and all that comes with it; changing colors, smell of decaying leaves, fires in the fireplace, house slippers, electric bed heaters, decorating for Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this time I expect to draw closer to Jesus, understand Him better, have Him reveal Himself more clearly to me in the wonder and traditions that are the holidays.

Frequently, when January dawns, I look back over November and December for the moments of personal growth and soul drenching joy of the season, and do not find it.  There is so much effort put towards making everything festive and bright that Jesus was far from my mind and I, again, missed the joy of Him in the celebration. Church services, shopping, cooking and gift giving are all hurried to generate the most fun and celebration until it is all over, and I am in January, tired and tattered from all the revelry.

There are no illusions that the fault is my own. Therefore, this week, as I sought God in my studies and prayed for diligence to be more aware the Holy Spirit whispered across my mind that I need only to "be still".

Wow, who would have guessed that "being still" would cause me such angst.
I'm listening, though, and I have every intention of being obedient.

My plan is this; reading through the Bible passages that mention thanks, thankfulness or thanksgiving, through November, writing them down, pondering them and "being still". In December, reading through the passages associated with the Christmas story, writing them down, meditating on them and "being still".

It is my hope to enter January having thoroughly enjoyed the holidays for what they mean to me; to have spent quality time with my savior and be enriched and strengthened. Again, this is on me, can I be obedient to this plan? I'll let you know in January.

What do you do to celebrate Jesus in the holiday season?

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Ps. 46:10 NIV

Saturday, October 30, 2010

1,2,3 Gifts That Count

The holiday season is just beginning but I am well aware there are organized individuals already making their Christmas gift lists. Some have already been purchasing and wrapping.

Missionary friends made a poignant, but gentle reminder, that we, who live here in the land of plenty have plenty to give. Many reputable organizations make giving gifts to our loved ones a double value by also benefiting others. Here are four of mine; list your favorite organization in the comments and I’ll draw one name on Friday and send a $5 bill just for taking the time to share.  Be sure to leave contact information.

World Crafts  Put on your holiday gift list items from groups that sell goods like World Crafts.

Heifer International  Help purchase farm animals through Heifer International.

Samaritan’s Purse Perhaps you would rather they give your gift in the form of a shoebox to a child through Samaritan’s Purse. 

Compassion Child  Provide food and education through Compassion Child.

Christmas is a great opportunity to teach children, and adults, how they can actually provide for other’s physical needs. Be well informed, reputable organizations make their financials available; don’t throw your seeds into the weeds; but don’t forget to cast them either as the result is the same.

Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." NIV

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pascal & Me

My husband is a Church History professor and keeps a finger on the pulse of religion and culture in the media. Recently he showed me an op/ed piece from USA Today titled Religion and Science Aren’t Friends.

The opinion in this piece is a common one. Believers cannot prove religious "truth" and science is a multicultural search for truth. The piece adds much more about the differences between science and religion and where believers have it wrong. This is an opinion and the writer is welcome to it. For the cyber surfers and my small band of subscribers and followers, this is my opinion.

This discussion is a short one when the resources are not accepted by both parties. The Bible is the believer’s source, the word of truth. Being classified as a believer it is “believed” that the Bible is true. All roads lead back to the Bible, what it contains is the truth therefore it is the solid rock on which the believer stands. If the Bible is not an accepted resource by the opposing debater then the discussion stops here. No agreement will be reached.

This discussion not only stems from different resources but from different mental approaches. The op/ed writer wants to approach from logic and many believers approach from feelings. From the logical angle I defer to Pascal and his wager. The gamble is this: (excerpts from Pensées, part III, note 233):

1. "God is, or He is not"
2. A game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
4. You must wager. It is not optional.
5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that god is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain eternal life; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is only a happy life to gain, and at the end, nothing to lose.

From the feeling approach, which science still struggles to test and evaluate, quantify and qualify, belief comes in stages. There is an initial choice to believe in God, even when all else is in opposition. This is a conscious choice of will to suspend what we see and have faith in what is unseen. Within this “chosen belief” the miraculous happens, (another stumbling block to scientific exploration). God reveals himself to the believer, and from my own experience, the more I seek Him through prayer, study and obedience to His commands (found in the Bible) He is revealed more clearly and substantially until the epiphany, a moment when the choice is no longer a suspension of things seen but a certainty of that which is unseen.

Those who have experienced this know of which I speak. Those who have chosen to believe are seeking that day. Those who don’t understand; choose not to understand; may never understand, no agreement will be reached.

They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. John 16:3 (NIV)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Same Music: Different Age

The Friday Summer Concert Series that the Today show runs is always interesting. I’ve never been a music fan, listening to the Top 40 or favorites of friends and family.

I do know the importance of music in culture, the important role it can play in a person’s life and the effect it can have on individuals and crowds. The Today show offers a quick glimpse of what is currently popular and what the culture is thinking, or singing, about.

On the occasional Friday the lyrics from the #1 song of the highlighted artist filters through my preparations for the day. Generally, it is something in the lyrics that catches my attention and sends me into a myriad of thoughts on the psychology of music. It happened on a recent Friday and this is what I thought:

Katy Perry, “I Kissed the Girl”

I kissed a girl and I liked it/the taste of her cherry chap stick
I kissed a girl just to try it/I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it
It felt so wrong, it felt so right, don’t mean I’m in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it, I liked it

I was initially surprised at such lyrics but a little thought and lyrics from the past flooded my memories.

1990, The Divinyls:
“I Touch Myself.”
The title suffices and it caused some controversy but made it to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Reaching back to 1972 there was plenty to raise an eyebrow about.
Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs. Jones”
Me and Mrs. Jones, we got a thing going on
We both know that it's wrong
But it's much too strong to let it cool down now

Later, I was driving and put in the soundtrack to “The Music Man,” 1962, and paid close attention to the lyrics of “The Sadder-But-Wiser Girl for Me”
I flinch, I shy, when the lass with the delicate air goes by
I smile, I grin, when the gal with a touch of sin walks in.
I hope, and I pray, for a Hester to win just one more "A"
The sadder-but-wiser girl's the girl for me.
The sadder-but-wiser girl for me

Which took me back to 1950’s Paul Brown and “Butcher Pete”
(This is featured in the 2008 Fallout 3 soundtrack, for those thinking, “Where have I heard that?”)
Butcher Pete's got a long sharp knife
He starts choppin' and don't know when to stop
All you fellows gotta watch your wife
'Cause Pete don't care who's meat he chops

Clearly, a central topic runs through our culture and spans the ages in music. Each generation has their own way of putting the idea into words and with different levels of shock value. The end assessment is that every generation has their songs on this topic and they can be shocking at any time to anyone.  The trend will continue with future generations adding their music to this mix, using their own vernacular and shocking past and present alike.

Friday, October 8, 2010

College On My Mind

In an effort to post regularly I've discussed pertinent Biblical lessons and our efforts at weight loss and good eating.  What other things are on my mind? Today it is the college application process.

We are in the midst of college applications and early decision dates. Most applications ask for the same information in a slightly different format. The efficiency of the ‘world wide web’ has produced the concept of the common application. This is common to a select group which does not include our little group of three, ergo, I’m sharing our numerical statistics (3 times) + the scarce state of our collegiate financial situation (3 times) + the supplements each institution requires because they are not common.

While I am busy digging out the past, present and future our senior is preparing, studying and testing for the separate test requirements. His anxiety level ebbs and flows with each passing event. Tomorrow concludes this process and I’m thinking a “Whew, It’s Done” party is in order, a celebratory event before the vigil for acceptance letters begin.

This process has turned into an emotional roller coaster because of our anticipation of acceptance into a major research university that will require several essential pieces fall into place, that, and an early seasonal head cold we’ve been passing around.

My one advantage; I’m an emotional NON-eater. Goal weight maintenance is, momentarily, a non-issue.

What is on your mind today?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Zero Never Tasted So Good

Apparently my mind is on food lately but a good discovery needs to be shared. Weight Watchers has a Zero Point Soup that is a meal maker on several fronts.

Once we cleaned our digestive systems of pre-processed foods, the abundant flavor found in fresh fruits and vegetables was really rather astounding. We started with the Zero Point soup as filler at meal time and in-between. It wasn’t long before we found that using this soup as a base made many other calorie friendly meals.

Puree some soup in a blender to use as the base for spaghetti sauce, chili macaroni, or any recipe that you would use tomato juice. We made delicious bisque by adding ½ cup half and half, Cajun seasoning and salad shrimp to a base of pureed Zero Point Soup.

Zero Point Soup has become a staple in our refrigerator. If you are not a vegetable fan be courageous and try this as a base to other meals, it’s good for your taste buds, your waist, and your health.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enron and Ezekiel

During my morning quiet time I was reading in Ezekiel 33 and the words made me recall the Enron scandal. If you had no personal stake in energy stocks in the 90’s Enron may cause only a dim flicker of recognition. A quick reminder: “At the end of 2001, it was revealed that (Enron’s) reported financial condition was sustained substantially by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known as the 'Enron scandal'. Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations throughout the United States.”

The particular moment in the Enron scandal that came to my mind was of Ken Lay, CEO, who said as he was being led away, “I have made my peace with God.” It was this quote that came to mind as I read Ezekiel 33:10-17. Verses 12 & 13 specifically: “The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.' 13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done.”

Ken Lay received many awards and honors for good work and yet one substantial charge against him was “assurances Lay gave, in the months leading up to Enron's fall, to employees about the company's financial health at the same time that he was quietly unloading his own Enron stock.”

Ken Lay is just a public example of how often we consider ourselves “good people” and yet knowingly and willingly do wrong. We are quick to justify our deeds; it’s a white sin it’s no big deal, it’s an acceptable sin. Justifications alone signal we need to check our actions.

I would never argue that Ken Lay did not make peace with God. Jesus Christ came to earth to offer forgiveness when we continue to do wrong, but a mature Christian is well aware that we are supposed to turn from evil, seek what is good, act in a Christ like manner. When we knowingly do wrong, what then?

The lesson is, as we mature in our Christian walk we are made more sensitive to the easy, culturally acceptable sins and we should begin to turn from them. As we mature, God increases our sense of right and wrong. The Health of Your Spiritual Heart makes sense to the maturing Christian.

We must be careful not to fall into the belief that “a white sin, a little wrong” will be okay. Ken Lay died of a heart attack before he was sentenced for his crimes. He discovered, likely much sooner than expected, whether he did, indeed, make peace with God. Even in the privacy of our heart the truth of our motivation is known. Ezekiel’s words should not fall on deaf ears.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review-The Kingdom of God Is a Party

It was instantly evident, as I read The Kingdom of God Is a Party, that Tony Campolo and I are kindred spirits. It would be no surprise that he and I share the same descriptors on any personality test. With that said those who are not kindred spirits will likely not agree with his comparisons and opposite personalities will likely be sharply critical.

Campolo introduces his premise by explaining that in order to communicate the gospel to the current generation, the words and imagery need to affect the current generation. Words and images need to come from their culture; where they live, what they do, how they communicate. He posits the word “party” is the word best used to describe God’s kingdom to the modern listener and reader.

His first essential point, which warrants closer inspection, yet flies in the face of long standing pulpit proclamation, is this: “Once a year, according to what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 14, all the people of God were to bring one-tenth of all their earnings to the temple in Jerusalem. Imagine! One-tenth of Israel’s GNP! And it was not to be used for mission work. It was not to be used for charity. It was not to even be used to build an education annex onto the temple. It was to be used on a gigantic party. Here! See for yourself:” Deut. 14:22-29.

Campolo is quick to explain that the tenth is for the party but it also limits what we should spend on the party. The work of the kingdom is to be done with the remaining 90 percent. “The 90 percent is to be sanctified for the work God has called us to render as we join Him in establishing His kingdom here on earth.”

This concept is his hardest sell. If you buy into the first point, the remainder of the book reflects on the lack of “joy” expressed in the church body and how it should be, and can be, expressed at home and at work using the “party” image. Campolo doesn’t discount the trials and sufferings of life but points out we have reason to party because of the eventual triumph of God; Romans 8.

Campolo develops an interesting concept but Christians have a poor record for understanding the gift of salvation much less showing their joy over having accepted it. Unfortunately, I expect his call to arms will largely be ignored.

What I have taken from The Kingdom of God Is a Party is a re-evaluation of my “tithe” and a conviction of how much more I could/should be doing with what God has given me, for the kingdom. As well, those happy souls don’t need to apologize for any cheerfulness they exhibit. If the joy stems from our knowledge of Christ, and what he has done in our lives, we need to openly and joyfully exhibit that too.

Does your life reflect the joy of a life in Christ?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Breakfast Lovers . . . Ta Daa!

During our Weight Watchers run, we discovered the next best thing to sliced bread; the Back to Basics toaster. This is a “must have” for anyone who loves breakfast. It cooks an egg, makes toast and will heat pre-cooked meat, all at the same time. You can fix an egg mcmuffin sandwich while you are brushing your teeth.

One of our favorites is a mini omelet; take a small amount of green pepper and onion, add a tablespoon of water and microwave for 30 seconds. Add an egg and whip. Pour into the Back to Basics egg pan having added the two tablespoons of water, add your bread, press the button for both egg and toast, and now go finish getting ready for the day.

This process is even faster if you dice your omelet items and pre-cook your bacon, sausage or breakfast meat so you can mix and go.

A soft yolk egg is also available by cracking the egg into the pan whole. The amount of water in the steamer will determine the softness of the yolk. Follow directions for your perfect egg.

The average price is $35 with the option of a double egg/4 slice model available.

This is a perfect gift for the college dorm room. Guarantee students start their day with a good breakfast, or sell breakfast sandwiches to the other residents for extra gas money.

If you are a fan of breakfast put this item on your Christmas list this year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Word about Coffee

I was 42 years old, in 2003, when I became a coffee drinker. The coffee era was in full swing, Starbucks beginning it’s ascension in 1987, and I was late coming to the table. I always enjoyed the smell of coffee brewing but never acquired a taste for the bean.

The concept of ‘candy coffee’ dressed up with sugar, flavored creams, steamed milk, whipped cream and sprinkles sounded yummy but at those prices, coffee fell into the category of a ‘special treat’. As the rest of society worked these expensive, calorie laden coffee concoctions into their daily budget, I sipped along on hot chocolate and green tea.

It was at a dinner party. Coffee was offered after the meal. A confirming nod from my husband, in answer to my raised eyebrow question of “Is it any good?” had me saying yes, to a cup. They served flavored beans, freshly ground and brewed. A convert was born. This modest setting opened up the world of; flavored coffee beans, personal grinders, flavored creamers, drip brew, coffee pressers and under the counter with timer coffee pots. With my own coffee bar accessories in-house I went from zero to a pot of coffee, daily, in under 30 days.

As my coffee palate matured and sophisticated, favorites have emerged. Always cost conscious and as environmental as my wallet and taste buds will allow, this is my coffee gold; for cost and flavor the 8’Oclock brand is top shelf. Hazelnut beans a favorite. Folgers comes in second with their Chocolate Truffle and Carmel Drizzle pre-ground. Not one to drink my calories, Splenda is the sweetener of choice.  ½ & ½ is Weight Watcher friendly at 1 point per serving. Flavored creamers are saved for special occasions. The Christmas Coffee Mate flavors are worth splurging on; Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Spice and Eggnog.

A true pleasure is sitting on the back porch, on a cool morning, sipping a fine cup of coffee with someone you enjoy . . . mmmm, now that’s good.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Laundry . . . I Love It!

There is a base satisfaction to a line of fresh laundry, swinging in a gentle breeze, on a sunny day.

Not everyone will relate to my enthusiasm for the wash but those who do, understand the pleasure derived from the smell of warm clothes coming out of the dryer, a white shirt crisp with starch or the artistic picture of colorful shirts hanging on the line.

With all the possible household chores, laundry is one that I don’t mind doing.  Every week it brings me the satisfaction of a job well done; from the sorting, to the hanging, drying and ironing. There is an art to hanging out clothes; no towels as they dry rough, tuck personals behind the sheets and wrinkles are imminent, but that’s for a good iron to take care of.

It would be ecologically correct to say I hang out the clothes to be ‘green’, and D. installed the line with that in mind, but I really just enjoy the frontier feeling of pinning up wet clothes and letting the wind do its job.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Guest Post on Godly Gals

Today I was the guest blogger on Mel Mashburn's  Godly Gals series.  Come over and check it out!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where Are All the Ugly People?

In a culture obsessed with body image we do a fair amount of criticizing the fashion, modeling and magazine industries. We rail at them for perpetuating the unrealistic characteristics of the “perfect body”. These are the most visible offenders but I’ve begun to notice culprits with a more subtle approach.

These transgressors are television shows with a main character surrounded by a few secondary characters. The subtle offense is the people in the background, the crowds that make up a scene. A good example is Burn Notice.

The location for the show Burn Notice is Miami, Florida. No big stretch that most of the background scenes have people in bathing suits but if this show is reality there is not an ugly person walking around Miami. There are no overweight people, no one who doesn’t look great in a bikini or Speedo. Girls and guys making up the ‘crowd’ fall into the perfect body image parameters. Where are all the ugly people?

Other shows that don’t need to support a continuously attractive back-crowd encourage the body image fallacy in their bar and party scenes. When the detectives, police or other principles walk into a nightclub or party the girls are all beautiful, the guys are all handsome and their bodies conform to the perfect body image parameters. If this is reality no ugly people go out to nightclubs or parties. Where are all the ugly people?

One show that has bucked this trend is Memphis Beat. While Dwight Hendricks (male lead) is no slouch he is definitely no; Sonny Crockett, Michael Westin or Derek Shepherd. I like that Dwight’s partner has some age and grizzle on him. The female lead, played by Alfre Woodard, is 57 years old. She looks like, and portrays, an average 57 year old woman, not a ‘cougar’ on the prowl. The requisite “sexy girl” is Dwight’s ex-wife who is a minor character. The back-crowd here leans much more toward reality.

I’m the first to admit that good-looking people are pleasing to the eye but I have no problem with ordinary looking people, everyday people, people who look like me.

Google Images:
Burn Notice
Dwight Hendricks
Sonny Crockett
New York crosswalk

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Good Will of Goodwill

I am a Goodwill Industries shopper.  I like that they help provide jobs and services for the disadvantaged and in the process, I can find great stuff for VERY reasonable prices.  I am such a fan that it is common for my family to visit the local Goodwill store when we are vacationing or visiting out of town.  While visiting Hawaii we found some great shirts for $1.50 limiting our need to buy the tourist shirts for $15.00.

It is understandable not everyone shares my enthusiasm but those who do understand me completely.  With this in mind when I discover a store that is run well I can't say enough good things about it.  My favorite store is in Wisconsin where my parents live.  Pants (jeans) are sized and sorted accordingly.  This may seem negligible but it can save much time, each visit, being able to locate a specific size.  Shirts are sorted by color, another time saving advantage.  They also put regional items, i.e. UW and Packer merchandise in a separate area.

All this work is called MERCHANDISING and is paid for through higher prices.  (You may have noticed in outlet stores, true outlets, the merchandising is left behind and all goods are chaotically placed on racks to sift through.)  Goodwill proves a store can do decent merchandising and still keep costs down.  I believe it has more to do with good management.

On our summer travels I found another Goodwill store that rivals my Wisconsin favorite.  It is located in Galveston, Texas within sight of the sea wall.  This store exhibited the aforementioned qualities and more.  It was a larger store with more goods, clean, organized and a bargain shoppers mecca. 

I didn't have the space to carry home as much as I would like to have purchased but I want to give a shout out (I found a clerk and gushed my admiration on site) to the management of that store and the region, if the credit is due that far up the management chain. 

In these economic hard times Goodwill Industries provides an opportunity for everyone to benefit and those stores that provide a wonderful atmosphere in which to shop only makes the economic hard times a bit more bearable.  I would like to encourage you to shop at Goodwill to find a bargain, save a buck and help those less fortunate than yourself.  It's just good business.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Make Me an Instrument

If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:21 (NIV)

It has been my experience that God helps me to mature spiritually by calling me to specific tasks. These tasks require me to behave with love towards others. He asks me to act like a believer. 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 2 Timothy 2:22-26.

This can be a multi-fold lesson. 1) God is calling me to obedience. If I am obedient in the small tasks, which He uses to teach me, then I am better prepared for His larger tasks. 2) My obedience could be a small part, of a larger picture, that has meaning to someone else. I am not aware of them and their needs and they are not aware of me and my actions. 3) He could also be revealing Himself to me, which encourages me to grow and continue seeking His will in my life.

In hindsight (always 20/20) I can pick out some of these tasks. I see myself as an instrument that God is using for his purposes. You may know the song based on the Prayer of St. Francis; Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. I count it a special blessing when God allows me to glimpse His workings through my obedience.

At the time in my personal prayers when I was asking for strength and diligence in becoming a prayer warrior, I felt compelled to pray when I heard emergency sirens. The prompting was subtle but strong enough that when I would hear a siren I would pray something like, “Lord be with those involved in this emergency. Let everyone be okay, but if not, prepare their hearts for the journey ahead.” I believed this to be a part of my own growth and development.

I was a member of the PTA when my son was in elementary school. I led Teacher Appreciation but often volunteered to help with the annual book sale. The woman in charge of the book sale and I knew each other only through the PTA and this event. The second year of our service together her youngest son needed a kidney transplant. The situation was dire and in our PTA meetings, we always lifted her and her family up in prayer. When a kidney became available they rushed to a larger city where he received a successful transplant.

Months into his recovery she and I were working on the book sale. She shared with me. “It’s funny the things you see and think at odd moments. On the day we were rushing my son to the hospital for his transplant I was in the ambulance with him. As we were coming onto the highway, I looked over and saw your van and thought, ‘There’s Sally’. Why that stuck out in my mind, at that time, I’m not sure.”

The LORD flooded my heart at her words. I followed His request and was there to pray for another of His saints at a time of particular need. What was the fruit of my obedience? Did my praying for an ambulance, not knowing who was inside, make any difference? I don’t know. What I do know is that I felt God’s blessing that I had been obedient to his prompting. Did it further my spiritual growth? Yes! Did it influence her situation? Only God knows.

In your journey allow yourself to be God’s instrument. Be prepared for every good work.
Share a blessing you’ve experienced when given a glimpse of how God is using you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It Is Finished

The end.  Done.  Finished.  Completed.  All such satisfying words.  This weekend I polished, tweaked and dotted the final i, paid the fee and sent off my 64,600 word manuscript, The Boulangerie, to be judged.  Any of you who have completed; an arduous task, a thesis, a quilt, graduated, know how light I'm feeling.  After all the work my first thought, "What next?"

So, what next?  Stored in the writing file is a finished, unpolished manuscript (not even a working title) that is a lead-in to The Boulangerie.  That seems to be the next logical step but for the rest of the weekend I am going to bask in this light and airy feeling of a big job done.

The contest deadline is September, 2010 and results are expected in January, 2011.  I'll post any results.

Thanks so much for your readership, it's what keeps this writer going.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 Summer Food Tour: The Great BBQ Debate

The Summer Food Tour started and ended because of barbeque. The idea developed after reading articles about the great barbeque to be found across the state of Texas. Charting our course to Houston, we discovered we could intercept several of the mentioned establishments with minimum distance out of our way.

On the outgoing trail, we strayed off course to Taylor, Texas and enjoyed a sample from Mueller’s Market. We found the beef ribs the most memorable.

Going home we started for Llano, Texas for Coopers BBQ but made a change and landed in Lockheart, Texas. Here, Kunz's and Smitty's, markets are battling it out.  We stopped to perform our own taste test. Both are well worth the visit.

Smitty’s is located in the middle of town in their original building. Kunez’s is in a new, larger building out on the highway. Both have pits heated with open fires that have you dripping with persperation in the first moments you enter. This is easily overlooked as you inhale the wonderful aromas of smoke and grilling meat.

We bought a cross section of the menu from each to sample. After finding a cool, shade tree in the local park we took our time and gave close attention to the comparison study.

If you are in Lockheart, Texas stop by one or the other at meal time, you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

2010 Summer Food Tour: El Tiempo Cantina

2010 Summer Food Tour explained.

A family member who recently spent time in Houston recommended El Tiempo Cantina. We checked it against our reviews and found it was, indeed, worth a visit.

The recommended entrée is the mixed grill. A variety of sizzling meats delivered to the table on a small grill. The meat selection included quail, sausage, ribs, chicken breast, pork, shrimp, roasted jalapenos, skirt steak, peppers and onions. Each diner received their own serving of seasoned rice, beans, tortillas, pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream. The menu recommended this meal for two although it fed all three of us with some to take for lunch the next day.

A restaurant definately worth mentioning.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Summer Food Tour: The Hobbit Cafe

2010 Summer Food Tour explained.

We spent Saturday afternoon in a cool, dark theatre. Two hours later we were ready for our second meal so fired up and began searching for something in the area of the theatre. The Hobbit Café drew immediate interest because the three of us are huge LOTR (Lord of the Rings) fans. We felt lucky, the café was very close to the theatre and deserved a look just because of the name but we were thrilled to find the food just as worthy.

We almost missed the turn as the 60’s renovated bungalow was tucked behind another restaurant. The décor was current and vintage LOTR memorabilia. It also thrilled us to know The Hobbit Café was voted the best vegetarian friendly restaurant in Houston. We did indulge beginning with the black bean nachos. I had the Smog sandwich with a choice between the slim or the classic. This comes with avocado unlimited and shaved carrots as the side. We ended by sharing a piece of the mousse cake; decadent and very delicious. I’ve attached some of the pictures that decorated the walls. It was an entertaining dining experience and a must for any other LOTR fans. Sorry, they don’t have a website.

Smog Sandwich                                             
Bilbo Baggins 


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2010 Summer Food Tour: Breakfast

The 2010 Summer Food Tour explained.

Saturday morning we consulted Yelp and decided on a downtown restaurant.  Unfortunately, it was this weekend they closed for remodeling.  Fortunately, one of Houston's finest was parked across the street so we pulled along side and asked for his breakfast recommendation. 

"The best one is The Breakfast Klub," he said, "but there will be a line so you might try Harry's."

A line!?!  A restaurant with a line is surely worth mentioning so we plugged the address into our trusty Garmon and headed over to The Breakfast Klub.  There was indeed a line, snaking under three awnings and anchored by fans and a misting system to keep the potential patrons cool in the sweltering heat.  We plugged in the address for Harry's and was NOT disappointed.

Let me take a moment to sing the praises of our Garmon GPS.  Where Yelp was a treasure trove from which to choose the right eating establishment the Garmon provided the directions to get us there.  Both invaluable in the success of this food tour.

We didn't leave without making our way to the Breakfast Klub, early on Sunday.  There was still a line, only about 15 minutes, but worth the wait.

Harry's is American, Mediterranean and Latin fusion, "The Globe On your Fork." Great coffee, freshed squeezed orange juice and a menu deep in unique flavors.  I had the Larissa Plate the first time and a blueberry waffle the second time.  Wonderful!

The Breakfast Klub has an ethnic flare and their two speciaities are waffles with wings and katfish and grits.  My son enjoyed the waffles and wings and I enjoyed the french toast, highly recommended by a Yelp reviewer.  They had an extensive coffee/expresso bar with four different blends of coffee available with the bottomless koffee kup.

Both restaurants are a thumbs up!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 Summer Food Tour: Bombay Pizza Co.

The Texas food tour was a culinary success. With the help of Yelp, a wonderful traveling tool, we found places that MUST be mentioned.

For those who are familiar with our last seven months at Weight Watchers I want to preempt the following blog by saying we made use of the excercise room and pool every night and ate two meals a day, supplemented with healthy snacks, in order to stay within guide lines. 

Our change in eating has "cleaned" our taste palettes.  It seems like the old standards use the same distributor, the same ingredients and produce the same tastes.  We began to wonder, "Where have all the unique restaurants gone?"  We began the hunt for those establishments that offer something other than what the distributor delivers; scouring for those eateries that make it fresh, add something different, up the bar for flavor.  What we want are those places that are worth mentioning.

Our first find was in downtown Houston.  The Bombay Pizza Co. is a fusion of Italian and Indian ingredients into wonderful, flavorful combinations.

The pizza crust was a combination of regular dough and sesame seed dough which made for a light and crispy, cracker consistency.  The sauce was listed as Bombay pizza sauce, red, but not the standard tomato flavor. 

We ordered the 16' Slumdog pizza for $19.00 along with a bowl of tomato basil soup and salad.  Check their website for the wonderful combinations of pizza.  This will be a definite repeat visit and if I lived there a frequent lunch stop.  I'm sorry we didn't have enough time to sample more of the menu.

What an interesting combination of ethnic cuisine.  Houston was the only location for Bombay Pizza we could find.  Do you have a favorite pizza worth mentioning?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Goal! 3 Tips on How to Get There

In an earlier blog I mentioned my family's turn toward healthier living. All three of us have done very well. I have reached my weight range where the hard work begins, maintenance. The backsliding tales are epidemic and I am not immune. My success on that subject is yet to be seen, but there are three specific items I’ve noticed that were essential to our weight loss success.

The most important element of our success has been making this journey together. A buddy in every situation is beneficial, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (NIV) Having the whole house eating the same way and working towards the same type of personal goal is an advantage beyond measure. Every member of every household would benefit from better nutrition and a healthier lifestyle.

1. Everyone in the house is on board, has their personal goal and is eating the same type of things.

The Weight Watchers concept that aided our success was the points system. To manage your weight you have to know what you are putting in your mouth, which means counting, something. It isn’t necessarily their point system but how the system steps you down in points gradually. I started with 24 points. Those first two weeks I felt as though I was getting enough to eat and yet still lost weight. Over a period of 20 weeks I gradually stepped down to 18 points. By the time I reached 18 I still felt as though I was getting enough to eat. I never hit the spot where I felt I was starving myself.

2. Slow, controlled weight loss. Slow and steady wins the race.

Learn about and embrace fruits and vegetables. The negative is they are “fresh” meaning they have a short shelf life. It is understandable, in a busy household, that you don’t purchase much fresh produce because it goes bad and you end up throwing away money. Changing how we viewed and used produce was essential to our success. Produce “fills” you up for less calories meaning you can eat A LOT and still feel full and lose weight. In the beginning decide to make more trips to the store and buy only what you’ll eat for two-three meals. As you adapt to a heavier consumption of produce your menus will begin to naturally include fresh items and you will be able to purchase more and get it used up.

3. Discover the wonderful, varied world of fresh produce. Gradually increase your purchase of fresh produce. Invest in frozen veggies.

There are many free programs with online features that can help you be successful. Find one that you are comfortable with, learn it and DO it. Every weight loss plan and piece of exercise equipment works if you use it. Getting the whole house involved keeps accountability close and everyone is interested in the conversation. Nothing rushed is fully enjoyed. Be satisfied with incremental weight loss it’s healthier and stays off longer. Be willing to learn about new and better foods to eat and have the courage to try them.

Don’t expect to cut the fat and sugar in a current recipe and like it. Expect to gradually move yourself away from your current menus into new and healthier menus. Here is an excellent place to start.  You CAN reach your goal.

Good luck and Godspeed.
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV

Sunday, July 11, 2010

God's Map

While my son was away at a summer internship opportunity I sent encouragements to help him throuh his stressful,"nose to the grindstone" moments.  He was never far from my thoughts nor was the fact that his experience was but another mile along the journey God will map out for him.  Although I have edited out elements specific for him the message is the same for all of us Christians who have said, " yes" to the call.

If we are obedient to God's direction in our lives, He will ask of us things that are outside our comfort zone. If we embrace these tasks, we will grow in ways we never expected.

God bestows talents upon everyone that He will use for His purpose, if you allow. Your experiences add to, or grow, your gifts. With this in mind how are you being stretched?

You may be stretched environmentally by moving away from the comfort zone of your home and people who know you. You have to establish a new routine in a new place.

You may be stretched emotionally by being away from people who understand you. People, who share your humor, get your references and like you warts and all.

You may be stretched socially by having to interact with all types of personalities, in different situations, with different priorities and personal needs.

If you are obedient to God’s call, doing so in love and on His behalf you experience immeasurable growth.  Pray for wisdom, courage, patience and peace for this journey designed especially for you.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KVJ)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Daily Schedule

For a majority of people, excluding active government agents, those who travel frequently and new mothers, our lives are steady and usual. Each weekday is so similar that a schedule is maintained. It is within the ordinary for this schedule to vary only minor degrees from month to month. For those steadfast individuals it may continue on into years without interruption.

A bomb comes in many varieties. It is always explosive but that explosion can be physically non-destructive, moving us physically from our home, our job or a relationship. Physically it can explode within our health causing damage that requires doctor’s visits, surgeries or hospitalization. A bomb can explode emotionally causing heartache and/or hurt feelings. I will quickly agree that there can be a positive bomb but that’s another blog.

For today’s purpose I refer to a bomb, not necessairly good or bad, but that explodes and changes the course of your daily schedule. What is usual and ordinary; your current schedule ceases to exist. What do you do?

My usual and ordinary changed on June 6th. It was not an unexpected change but I didn’t know exactly how the explosion would affect my daily schedule. Now that it is several weeks into the change I’m going to label the affect a “refocusing”. I have been refocused. Several items that were scheduled before June 6th have lost their place on the list and ceased to be addressed. These tasks I once monitored daily/weekly are currently gathering dust, unnoticed. My blog is among those items that grow dusty in the aftermath of the bomb change.

My small band of followers and subscribers are the motivation that keeps me honing my skill as a writer. Your interest affirms my desire to write; to share my words and thoughts. Although the bomb has shifted the daily schedule it has not removed the desire. As with most ‘bombs’ Helen Steiner Rice says it best, “This Too Shall Pass”.

When another bomb drops, or change occurs, and my schedule shifts once again my blog will reappear on the weekly list. I look forward to finding you all here.

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, tooHelen Steiner Rice

What ‘bombs’ have shifted your daily life?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Another Treasure of the Heart

This weekend my husband and I took our seventeen year old to attend a five week, internship program, six hours away, at a major university.  It is a perfect trial run at "off to college" and we all handled ourselves well at the moment of departure.  In recognition of this I'd like to share another excerpt from my Treasures of the HeartLuke 2:51, “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” NIV

January, 2004
Mrs. Brower works with the special ed. kids and brings them into Logan's 5th grade homeroom for mainstreaming.  During my volunteer time today she said to me, "I don't remember what we were studying but Mrs. Brammer was asking about the connection between forgiveness and eraser.  Your son raised his hand and said, 'Forgiveness is like the eraser for your soul.'  I thought that was really deep for someone this age." 
Do you have a treasure of the heart you'd like to share?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Long Suffering in Marriage; How long is too long?

I don’t follow public figures as a “fan.” I understand the concept of being a “fan.” As a teenager, I was enamored with the cover boys of Teen Beat Magazine but I left that behind with my teens. This being said I cannot express my disappointment when I read that Al and Tipper Gore have chosen to separate after 40 years of marriage.

They have chosen a public life along with representation of national and global issues. This has definately brought intense public scrutiny over many years. It is understandable that this alone would be a heavy burden on a marriage but to add the standard day to day issues every marriage goes through it is no surprise that there has been tough times.  Ending a marriage after 40 years begs to ask the question, “why?” Is there nothing worth salvaging? After 40 years, has the weight become so heavy there is no other alternative?

I am disappointed at the message they are sending to so many. I don’t know what the spiritual lives of the Gore’s are but such a public couple undermines marriages across the gamut. My husband is teaching a course entitled “Understanding Christian Marriage”. He asked his class, “What is a Christian marriage? Christ wasn’t married so how could a marriage be Christ-like. Is it two Christians being married?”

I believe a Christian marriage is ourselves being Christ-like in our marriage. It is difficult to find a full example of a ‘good’ marriage in the Bible. Even the example of Christ as the bridegroom and the church as the bride, the bride is adulterous.

The positive example we must take from the Bible on marriage is how long-suffering God is in his relationship with his adulterous bride. We sin and keep sinning and God continues to show mercy and forgiveness, taking us back again and again. At what point in our marriages do we decide we have no more mercy, no more forgiveness. When do we decide that we have suffered enough and we will suffer no more? At what point do we want God to decide he has suffered over us enough?

What the Bible shows is that all relationships are difficult. All relationships require long-suffering. If we are Christ-like in our behavior and work on our relationship perhaps we will not “grow apart" and our lives won’t get “more and more separated”; we won’t reach a “mutual and mutually supportive decision” to break the vows we made to each other. Gary Smalley is the author of the book “Making Love Last Forever.” It is highly recommended for every couple whether your marriage is strong or weak.

When do we want God to decide that He has suffered enough? When do we want God to decide he has no more mercy or forgiveness for us?

Matthew 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (NIV)

Unequal Yoking Equals a Rough Journey

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lifeline Timeline

Isaiah 64:8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (NIV)

It is an interesting exercise to do a timeline of your life. There is the basic timeline of the high points, i.e. birth date, school milestones, college, young adult milestones, marriage, children etc. There are other more specific timelines which could be your career, family or spiritual timelines. The older you are the more time you have to chart, or the more explicit you want your timeline to be, can cause your timeline to be very long, and/or, full.

I did this exercise shortly after my Parable of the Two Salads event. That was almost nine years ago. All of these timelines would have more moments to record or new titles for some events. Hind-sight allows for additional, in-depth reflection and a different point of view often brings different perceptions.

A Lifeline Timeline can be a useful tool. It provides a glimpse into the production of your life. Looking over your timeline you view patterns, talents, good-decisions and bad-decisions. You get a broader view at the direction you are going, where you might be heading or where you would like to end up.

My only child will be leaving for college soon. The requirements in the life of a 24/7 mom are about to change drastically. In order to embrace this change I've begun looking over my timeline to glimpse any discernible re-direction.

There are well traveled paths I would never have predicted nine years ago. I visibly see what God has been doing in my life and how I got where I am today. There are discernible paths moving forward, some traveled and some untried, but apparent.

Lifeline Timelines are a good exercise for reflection or confirmation or determination. It is a snapshot journal, a quick look at where you've been, where you are and where you are headed. It is a look at who has walked with you and when you have walked alone. A Lifeline Timeline is not the end product but a tool to see clearer the production of you.

Google Images: