What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I’ve been reading in book of Joshua and learning more than I thought I would about God’s character and about what my response to God should be. For instance, in Joshua 5 and 6, God gives the order to conquer Jericho. So Joshua goes out to look at Jericho and runs into a mighty warrior with a drawn sword. At first Joshua doesn’t know what to make of this warrior. He asks, “Are you with me or with my enemies?” The warrior answers, “Neither. I’m with God.”
Then the warrior tells Joshua how God wants Israel to proceed in conquering Jericho. The passage doesn’t tell us what Joshua’s initial response was but if it had been me, I’d probably have laughed and thought it was a joke! The soldiers of Israel were to walk around Jericho once a day for six days. Just march around the city (the city was about 700 yards around, so it would be possible to have the whole of Israel’s army walk around the city within a couple of hours). On the seventh day Israel would walk around the city seven times, play trumpets and shout. Seems silly, but that’s what the messenger/warrior from God told Joshua to do.
And it worked. The walls of Jericho fell down and the Israelites were able to go straight in and conquer the city.
Sometimes I feel like God sends me messengers with ridiculously silly “suggestions” for me to follow. God puts wise and godly people in my life to help me know the best ways to proceed. Sometimes the suggestions I get are simple, so simple they seem ridiculous. But they are also, usually, practical. And they work. For instance, one “message” given to me was to get enough (eight hours) sleep. Another was to get up at a working-person’s time (6:30 a.m.) to start my day off. Another was to get my sunlamp out and set up now that the days are getting shorter again. All are simple. All are things that would not seem to make much difference in my normal fall depression. But when I follow the suggestions, it works.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Lord's Prayer, Simplified

In my daily Bible reading I came to the passage (Luke 11:2 – 4) where the Lord’s Prayer is given to the disciples, who had just asked Jesus to show them how to pray. I was impacted by the simple way The Message put the key phrases. I say the Lord’s Prayer so often – at AA meetings, CR meetings, in church – that I’m not sure I really pay attention to what the words are saying. I need to pay more attention and one way of doing that is by reading the passage directly from Scripture – and using a variety of translations and paraphrases to give the familiar passage some freshness.

Below I’ve put side-by-side two versions of the way Jesus told us to pray.

TRADITIONAL                               MESSAGE

Our Father, who art in heaven          Father
Hallowed be Thy Name                   Reveal who You are
Thy kingdom come, Thy will          Set the world right
        be done on earth as it is
        in heaven
Give us this day                                Keep us alive with three 
        our daily bread                                 square meals
And forgive us our trespasses          Keep us forgiven with you
        as we forgive those                          and forgiving others
         who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation      Keep us safe from ourselves
            but deliver us from evil               and the Devil

You can decide how the simplified Message version brings new life to this very familiar passage for you. For me, it reinforces the basics of my prayer life: Praising who He is. Ask that His will be done on earth. Ask for our physical needs to be met. Ask for forgiveness. Ask for insight as to whom I need to forgive. Ask for His protection over our spiritual lives.

Are you taking time to remember who God is? What is God asking you to pray about? Who is God asking you to pray for?

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I struggle with not wanting to disappoint anyone. And, when I do something, or fail to do something, I get afraid. I am afraid the people I disappoint will be mad at me. Part of me deals with that perceived anger by trying to hide. When I was a little kid, I would actually, physically hide. Part of me still wants to.
The longer I wait to deal with the possible disappointment, the stronger the desire to run away or hide becomes. Sometimes I don’t have a choice about waiting; the person I need to be honest with is physically not available. When that happens my adult self – the part of me that should deal with the possible conflict – begins to slip away. And, the little kid part of me begins to talk to me about hiding the truth, not dealing with the conflict, because there is only one answer to the situation: I am bad and deserve to be punished.
This is when the adult me needs to jump in and say, “doing bad is not the same as being bad.” I need to remind myself that I can make better choices, or even just different choices. I can choose my behavior and choose to do the things that will not disappoint someone else. And, only choose behavior that is good for me.
I disappoint people when I make choices that only lead to self-destruction and not to recovery. I have to remember that others may be disappointed with my choices because they only care about me. That’s hard for me to grasp sometimes because the little kid part is afraid of punishment. But, I need to remind myself that people who love me only want what’s best for me. They are not out to punish me. They need to know where I’m struggling, so they can help me. I need to be honest with where the struggles are so they can encourage me and pray for me.
With the help of others, I can make different choices on a daily basis and avoid disappointing the people who care about me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day of School

Tuesday, September 4th. The first day of the 2012 – 2013 school year. I did what I’ve done every year for the past 5 – 6 years. I volunteered in the Junior High School’s office. There are always the extra things to do that the secretaries do not have enough hands to do. It’s a good way for me to start the school year out. It establishes a pattern, a routine, for my days.
The first thing in that pattern is to get up. Yes. Get up. It is too easy to tell myself to stay out of my husband’s way as he gets ready to go to work, and then just fall back to sleep until whenever – usually 9 a.m. when I should already be up, dressed, have gone for a walk, eaten breakfast, and be sitting down to read my daily readings. When I get up, and stay up, I get so much more done in a day and feel so much better about myself. That feeling should be enough to get me up every morning, but sometimes it isn’t.
This year was a bonus year. I showed up to help the secretaries and ended up substitute teaching for the day. I never expected them to need a sub on the first day of school. But they did, and there I was, already at school and ready to go. So, that really started my school year off on a good note. It is good for me to jump in and sub as soon as I can. When I wade in, taking a job here or there, I don’t really get into the habit of getting up. I don’t get into the habit of starting my days with productive things. So, working all day prevented me from going home and getting stuck in front of the television, accomplishing little, if anything, the rest of the day.
However, working all day also means I didn’t get done some of the stuff I normally do on Tuesdays, like write my blog articles. But, in the end, I still got this one written so all is good.