Thursday, June 21, 2007

Confessions of an Over-Eater

June 15

I’m giving up sweets (candy, chocolate, and cookies). I’m like an alcoholic: once I begin, I can’t stop. I keep telling myself that the root issue is self-control, and that to develop this fruit of the Spirit, I need to give myself opportunities to eat only a bit of chocolate. But tonight, I’m changing. It hasn’t worked to eat only a bit, so now I’m eating none. I’m going to live the verse “flee from temptation” and give it up entirely.

Is there a support group for this sort of thing? “Overeaters Anonymous” or something?

On the positive side, I’ve been exercising an hour each day, and feel much more in shape. Now I just have to lose these extra pounds.


Our car finally died the other day.

I’d been on my way to a birthday party with my three kids (and no Steve), when the van struggled to have power on hills and after stop signs. I asked the kids to pray because I feared we wouldn’t even make it to the party. Sure enough, after our second stop sign, we turned left into the fast lane of a four-lane road and had zero power! I limped into a gas station, knowing we’d never make it through all the downtown stop lights to our friends’ house.

I was able to call my in-laws, who were going to the same party, and they came to our rescue. Dad drove our van to a local, trusty mechanic, and Mom drove the kids and me to the party. For the rest of the weekend and two more days, we didn’t have our car, as the mechanic gave it a tune-up and fixed the ignition problem.

We were grateful this all happened before a trip we’d planned to Richmond (2 ½ hours away) to visit my aunt and cousin, and pick up our good friend Rachel who’s visiting from West Chicago. It was a stiflingly hot day on Thursday, June 8, when we packed our van and buckled the kids in (at 2:30 PM) We’d only gotten 40 minutes north of home when our van lost power in a freeway interchange. Steve pulled to the shoulder and our car just refused to start again.

We called AAA immediately and for 45 very hot minutes, tried to get a tow truck to come help us. But the state police were concerned about the dangerous position we were in and called another tow truck on their own. All five of us piled into the extended cab: Ethan was screaming, I was sitting with no seatbelt, Naomi was sitting by an airbag up front, and Josiah fell fast asleep during the 10 minute ride. Steve and I nervously watched as the driver talked on his phone, wrote information on a clipboard, and drove us and our car all at the same time.

We were told by a mechanic that our timing belt had broken and our van was worthless. The kids sat in their carseats, lined up in the 2 foot deep shade by the mechanic’s door: Josiah was still asleep, Ethan interested in all the goings-on, and Naomi munching a banana. It was still hot, but much more bearable in the breezy shade than in our closed-up car. Steve and I spent another hour trying to decide what to do with our car and about our trip. Should we ask a friend to come get us and take us back home? Should we ask Aunt Beth to come take us to Richmond? Should we rent a car and go home? Rent a car and go to Richmond?

Just before 6:00, we decided to rent a car and continue on to Richmond. I was trying to get there in time to browse a homeschooling curriculum exhibit hall that evening (which I thought was the only time it was free during the homeschooling convention). We gratefully drove our air-conditioned SUV straight to downtown Richmond, where Steve dropped Ethan and me off at the convention center (at 7:30), and took the other kids to a fast food place for bathrooms and a light dinner, planning to return to get me at 9 PM.

Unfortunately, my exhibit hall was not free that evening and I decided it wouldn’t be worth it to pay the money for the amount of time left. I borrowed someone’s phone to call our cell phone and ask Steve to come back for me as soon as possible, but he didn’t get the message until over an hour later. I sat outside on a concrete wall with Ethan, waiting for Steve, until 9:10 PM. It was still hot and I wished I’d known exactly when he’d come so I could have gone into an air-conditioned coffee shop to wait.

We finally arrived at Aunt Beth’s house at 9: 40 PM, ate her spaghetti dinner and got everyone to bed just around 11. Steve spent Friday researching used cars (we’d left our van for the junkyard),and on Saturday we bought a used Mercury station wagon. We didn’t have enough money available to withdraw the amount of cash needed to pay the seller. Thankfully, my cousin Andy loaned us cash for the weekend, until we could deposit what we needed in our checking account.

I did still get to go to my homeschooling convention (and even for the last few hours that were free), and we made it to Fredericksburg in time to pick up Rachel. We had a great visit with Aunt Beth and Andy (except for Steve who was on the internet the whole time) and were thankful for their help. The kids were thrilled because Aunt Beth slept in a tent with them on Friday night (their first time camping), our new car has a rear-facing back seat which they love, and they’re so excited to have Rachel with us for a week!

Yahweh and Man: a narrative of redemption (Finale: The Not Yet)

No one knows
the day or the hour –
it could be any minute.

The LORD in all his splendor
will return for his own
and rule in his heavenly might.

No one knows
the day or the hour…
we must always be ready.

If he came tonight,
would you have any reason to fear?

* * *

Holy God,
I praise you
for being so righteous
that all sin is detestable
in your sight.

But I praise you, too,
for grace,
for forgiveness,
for cleansing me by
the blood of Jesus.
There will be a day
when I and all others
stand before your throne,
accountable for our words,
but most of all,
for our acceptance
or rejection
of You as LORD.

King of kings,
I already dread
the look of disappointment
on Your face
as you recount all my failings.
But I rejoice, as well, in knowing
that you have covered these
and saved me from
the punishment I deserve.

* * *

In this world
of hurt and disappointment,
we like to think of
as the place with all of our
own personal favorites.
The beauty of heaven, though,
is not in our own pleasure,
our own satisfaction.
Rather it is in the
of being face-to-face
with God
and praising him in humble adoration
forever …
Eternal worship
of an eternal God,
worthy of all
honor and glory.

  • * * *

even as I am redeemed in your sight,
may I ever remember
that redemption
is not a story about me.

You love us, yes.
but you did not redeem us
because we are so good.

You alone are to be praised,
and nothing else in eternity is worth doing.
Only in worshipping you
does life have any meaning.
The story of redemption
is all about YOU.

You, who desire all glory and praise.
You, who are the end to all.
You have redeemed us that we might
worship you forever,
and live in right relationship
with You.

Please keep breaking me
every single day
that I would become less of me
and more of you,
and live in constant worship.

April 1998, for my Christian Thought final project

Friday, June 1, 2007

Yahweh & Man: a narrative of redemption (Part 2: The Now)

sweet fellowship



* * *
Dear God, what have we done?
Given choice,
we chose the darkness.
and now, shattered,
we lie in pieces on the ground.
our hearts keep wandering.
In our areas of “strength,”
we are actually
most weak.
And the hardest thing is:

we can never put ourselves
together again.

* * *

The separation from you is so great …
How are we then
to ever come close to you?
To ever pay enough recompense
to cover the depth of
our guilt?

On our own,
It is impossible .
But because of your perfect love,
you have made a way;
you have covered us,
canceled our sin
and washed us clean.

Only You.

* * *

From the highest glory
to the lowest poverty,

God of all
Stepped into time.

Who would have thought
that Almighty Holy God
would ever become human?
It makes no sense
to our limited minds –
this God and man
in one being.
But then again,
what of God can we grasp?

* * *

They called him Jesus.
And no one quite knew what to make of him.

He was a person,
a Jew,
was a son and brother …
but didn’t there seem to be more?
He was called a prophet,
a teacher,
yet his words were more than just facts.
They were words of authority,
as though Jesus himself were
the originator of such thoughts.

And see his life –
evidence in every minute
of the God he was:
communion with the Father,
power to perform miracles,
compassion for the children,
the prostitute,
the demon-possessed,
the widow,
and always perfection

In paradox,
at the same time,
he was clearly man
who needed shelter,
who cried,
who was hungry,
who had friends …
who died.

* * *

For sin that causes death,
death is required.
And animal sacrifices had been the means

throughout Jewish history.
Does it not make sense then
that to finally
pay for it all,
the perfect sacrifice
would need to die?