Friday, April 23, 2010

The Vacation, 252 little things -13 Days to Go

Every Friday until our vacation,
we will post items
concerning our

13 Days to Go.

252 dollars.

In change.

Yesterday I handed Glen a bag with $252 in change to take to the bank. For weeks and weeks, he has been emptying his pockets into a jar and each week I've been taking those coins and squirreling them away. The night before payday, I've been emptying my wallet of whatever coins I had left into the jar. Slowly, the amount of change began to aid up into more and more dollars. The change accumulated from our pockets, found dropped on the floor and emptied from wallets is almost enough to pay for the rental car (thanks to that great deal from Enterprise!)

We didn't set out to save a couple hundred dollars in change, over $140 in quarters, and over $50 dollars in dimes. It just added up, coin on coin.

While I was rolling all those coins, I thought about how easy it had been to amass that amount of money. It was almost effortless. Then I began to wonder, why couldn't other things that are important -- even more important to us -- be the same way?

If I want to memorize Scripture, then just do a tiny bit each day. Word on word, phrase on phrase. If I want to read the Bible all the way through, do a few verses each day, verse upon verse upon verse. Slowly, steadily, eventually, we will accomplish that goal that is set before us. The accomplishment comes in the continual "pressing toward the mark." The doing it, little by little, each day, not trying to do everything at once, or hours worth each day. The little drip creates the great crevice in the rock over days and years.

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:7,8)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

11 days to Work and Vacation's Coming

For months I have been researching, planning and anticipating our vacation. We now have 18 days until my vacation from work begins and 21 days until we leave on our trip. All of the tickets for our various "excursions" have been purchased and as each day ticks by I become more and more excited.

I have eleven more work days until my vacation. It leaves me in the mind set that I can do just about anything in those eleven days because I know that I have eighteen days off after that and ten of those days will be a wonderful, exciting trip with my family. Work can be just about as busy as it can be, because I know I have a vacation coming!

The Scriptures tell us that after the last supper, he faced his last hours "knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God. . ."(John 13:3). Also, "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

In going to the cross, Jesus had a joy that man could not understand. He gave us a hint of this when He told His disciples after talking to the woman at the well, "But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." (John 4:32-34)

He knew the Scriptures well enough to know what was ahead of Him in the cross, and death of crucifixion was a common occurrence under the Roman occupation. But He also knew the Father, and He knew He was returning to the Father who had infinite and perfect love for Him. He knew the perfection of Love and Union that we cannot know in this lifetime. He knew as well that His death on the cross was the vehicle by which we could be brought into that same Love and Unity. He even prayed for us that we would know this unity: "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. " (John 17:23)

As I continue my vacation plans and look with excitement to the trip ahead, I will let it serve as a reminder of our Lord and how He faced the cross "for the joy set before Him" that He may bring "many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (Hebrews 2:10)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vacation, The Unimaginable -- 20 Days to Go

Every Friday until our vacation,
we will post items
concerning our

20 Days to Go.

In planning this trip, I have done something my parents could have never done. I have "visited" sites before our journey has even begun, purchased the tickets without standing one second in line, and printed them on my own printer.

It felt so odd to see tickets for the Red Soxs spooling out of our printer -- almost as if we were doing something wrong. I felt great glee as I took the first one, ink still wet, to my daughter to show her the red, white and blue ticket. After all, it was her love for the Red Sox that started our trip to Boston in the first place.

Ticket after ticket for place after place poured out of our little printer. Only the Pops tickets came in the mail. Opening the envelope, however, brought a special fun all its own, to find the four tickets nestled within, a token of a night of enjoyment yet to come.

This type of planning would have been unimaginable just one generation ago. It was unknown for any of the trips I took with my parents when I was a child. Then we had the end destination, but so many of the "blanks" weren't filled in. You can bet I have already looked up the chocolatiers in New York! I have a friend at work who insists I go to Tiffany's "just to look".

I am definitely in the countdown mode. I remember how much I enjoyed our trip to Washington, DC and I expect to have as much or more fun in these two historic cities this time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vital Signs and the Clock

MonitorImage by osborn.steven via Flickr

When a patient comes into our unit, one of the first things we do is to take her vital signs. These simple measurements, blood pressure, pulse, temperature and respirations, give us a good indication of her overall well-being.

Sometimes we need a way of taking our own spiritual "vital signs", but it is hard for us to be objective about our walk with the Lord and where we stand in our spiritual life. One way we can do this is to take a look how we choose to spend our time.

I heard someone say the other day that "we will use our time doing something, and it is exactly that 'something' which defines us." I found a great deal of truth in this statement, but not necessarily a great deal of comfort. A. W. Tozer said, "What we do when we can choose what to do, says a lot about us."

So what is it we fill our time with when we have the choice? The answer to this question may answer our original question of taking our own spiritual vital signs.

Is our clock filled with those things which glorify the Lord, things which He has called us to do, or do the minutes click away with mindless and perhaps even worthless activities? I must confess to be far to guilty of the latter and not guilty enough of the former. The clock would rise up and testify against me if I professed otherwise.

We all have at one time or another bemoaned the cruel mastery of the clock, but the truth is, each of us are only given a certain number of minutes here on this life to learn the walk of faith, to walk in the Spirit and to yield our members to be conformed to the image of His dear Son. May we each be found to be good stewards of that which our Father has entrusted unto us.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Joy and Giggling

We had the great pleasure this weekend of having our two grandchildren, Jackson and Emma, spend the night with us. Their energy and curiosity was astounding.

At one point, I passed by the bathroom as their Grandfather was helping them brush their teeth and wash their faces. The bathroom reverberated with little child giggles. (I never found brushing my own teeth to be so enjoyable, I'll have to ask "Granddaddy" what he does that is so much fun!) I stopped to listen to that sweet sound. It made me smile and laugh just hearing it.

Later, as I reflected on the moment, I realized my own joy in listening to my grandchildren's joy. I was happy that they were happy. I felt satisfaction knowing that they were in there having a good time with their Granddaddy.

How often, though, I forget that the Lord joys over me in the same way. He "joys over" me "with singing." He finds me "accepted in the Beloved."

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, John must have spoke not only of himself, but also of the Lord when he said, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 John 1:4) What joy must fill the heart of God to know His children follow after His Word, and seek His face and love His ways.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Quickening is an old-fashioned obstetric term. It is used to denote the first time a

A picture of my wifeImage via Wikipedia

mother feels her baby move and is a sign that the baby is alive. Pregnant women wait anxiously for this moment and thrill to feel those first flutters deep within themselves that signal the life that has been there growing for weeks.

The Scriptures tell us that if we know the Lord Jesus, we too, have been "quickened".

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (Ephesians 2:1)

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:13,14)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2: 4-7)

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:11)

We have been made alive in and unto God and our enlivening is no less thrilling to the Lord than it is to that new mother. He has purchased us as His own at the cost of His dear beloved Son, and yet He did not consider the price too great.

May our lives here be such that we birth forth a life rich in obedience and love to the One who has made us "accepted in the Beloved" and will be "preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. "

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Vacation, The Joy of Anticipation -- 28 Days to Go

Every Friday until our vacation,
we will post items
concerning our

28 Days to Go.

I just bought the last ticket.

Everything is either reserved or purchased. I only have to receive the Boston Pops tickets in the mail and I will have everything all lined up and ready to go. Only the packing remains.

I am looking forward to our plans, our tours and excursions and even the long journey there and back. I am truly excited about our trip.

When we first decided to add a New York City leg to our Boston trip, we weren't going to tell the girls until we were on the road. We even thought of buying a copy of "New York, New York" to pop in the CD player to see if they would catch on. Then Glen said it would be better if they could have the weeks to anticipate the fun of visiting New York before we left. So we told them several weeks ago and we have all had a part in planning what we would like to see and do while there.


Webster defines this as a prior action that takes into account or forestalls a later action or as the act of looking forward. All four of us have great anticipation and expectation for our trip.

How much greater though should be our anticipation of another "trip", another future time in our lives. We anticipate that time when "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel. . .In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. . .for the trumpet shall sound. . . and the dead in Christ shall rise first. . .and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. . . For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.. . , and we shall be changed. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words".

(I Thessalonians 4:17,18; I Corinthians 15:52,53)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sizzling Heat

The other night I was sitting at the counter while Glen was cooking. He put some zucchini, onions and asparagus onto the griddle. As the vegetables began to heat up on the hot griddle, they began to move and dance about. As they slowly caramelized, the sweet fragrance of their sugars wafted up to me raising my anticipation for the moment we would sit down to eat.

These grilled vegetables were delectable. They could not have been more perfectly prepared. The preparation, however, took heat. It took heat enough for the vegetables to bounce around on the griddle. If the vegetables could "feel", I'm sure they would have said they were quite uncomfortable.

Often times I have found myself in uncomfortable situations, times which made me unhappy, times which made me frustrated, times which made me sad. Sometimes the griddle just gets too hot. But our Master Chef knows that the griddle is just what is needed to bring out the sweetness in us, to soften us and make us exactly what we need to be in order to bless those around us.

So, next time we find ourselves feeling uncomfortable or unhappy with our situations, let us not complain about the heat of the griddle, but thank our Lord that He is a Master Chef who will not let us stay in the heat too long, or cause us to burn, but only heats us to the point of perfection.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able. . ." I Corinthians 10:13

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vacation, Love the Ones You're With -- 33 Days to Go

Every Friday until our vacation,
we will post items
concerning our

33 Days to Go.

The more we plan, the more our plans change. Now we are leaving a day earlier than we had originally planned. I'm glad I hadn't already reserved the rental car!

I have been both curious and amused to find during this process what each member of the family is looking forward to during the trip. Glen wants to visit Steinway Hall; Emmie is searching for the perfect Italian bakery in which to taste seven-layer cookies. Marie hasn't voiced any preferences yet, but I'm sure she will. As for me, I am looking forward to the whale-watching trip. I love being out on the water so much, I think this will be great fun.

Traveling with people is a way to find out so much more about them -- if you would like. It can also be a temptation to become frustrated or angry. (Let's face it, three Greek-Irish women in a car with one poor man for 23 hours, there will be temptation.) Especially when the four adults live so closely they don't mind vocalizing their different tastes and desires vociferously. So it has to be a choice to learn about each other and respect each other. As Paul says, "let each esteem other better than themselves."

I have come to understand more and more that in a practical sense, love is a choice. It doesn't always matter how we feel or even what we think. . .it matters what we choose to believe. When we believe what the Lord has said is true of us, then we can know and experience what He has said is true of us. The Scriptures tell us "His love is perfected in us." This is true not only in a future sense, but right now in our very spirits. May it be true in our rental car along those 1450 miles!

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