Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holy Week

Today is Palm Sunday and our church came up with a great little family devotional to do with the kids this week leading up to Easter. There are scripture readings, very brief questions for discussion, a verse to memorize and prayer suggestions.

And crafts. Yeah...we're skipping the crafts part.

So we had the kids take turns reading the verses and they were surprised to learn that the same story is recounted four separate times in the gospels. It was cute when one of them didn't know what a colt was and how the other two (who DID know) were probably thinking about Peyton Manning more than any triumphant processional with crowds crying out "Hosanna."

They got a big kick out of seeing the same words they were saying to Jesus as he rode past on said colt were prophesied about the Messiah to come in Zechariah 9:9. "So then, they knew Jesus was the Messiah after that, right?" They asked.

Maggie had made this neat little decorated prayer pocket stuffed with different suggestions for things to pray about and asked if that could be used for our prayer time instead. We said sure and each had to pick one and pray for that thing. Caitlin had to pray for someone else. She picked Antti Niemi, the goalie for the Chicago Blackhawks. He didn't have such a great outing tonight. First she prayed he would know Jesus as his savior, then she prayed for his hockey skills. Gotta love that kid.

Maggie was to pray for a bunch of things to be thankful for - totally up her alley, she has the most grateful heart, the list went on and on. Ryan had to say how God had protected someone in our family and said God has protected his Papa through many surgeries.

Dan was to pray for something that we need this week. Oh, the irony when I interrupted him to say "patience"! He prayed for God's grace to get us through a busy week with a holy attitude.

I then got to say something positive about everyone. Dan's humor & commitment to the family, Caitlin's sweet kindness, Maggie's thankful heart and Ryan's compassion were all on the list. When we were done, Maggie interjected with - "Wait Mommy, we have to say how generous you are!"

God's grace is amazing.

I'm looking pretty forward to doing this again tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

As Time Goes By

I was in Best Buy recently, against all my better judgement, on a Saturday at noon. I was there to assist my parents in selecting a new laptop since after the normal lifespan of laptops (three years)...their's died. I felt badly about their's dying since it was a gift for my Mom's 70th birthday from all us kids. The thought did occur to me that my mom is now 73. Still seems young in my mind the way she carries it.

So I've successfully avoided Best Buy for many years and had vowed not to return because of the repeated poor customer service experiences I had in the store the last few times I had dared to go in. My brother assured me that they were now providing excellent customer service, but I was still very skeptical (a sign of old age?).

But to Best Buy we went and I'm glad that we did. We were just going to window-shop, test out the demo's and then purchase another day, but tke kid helping us (yes, he was a kid - all of 21 - just turned it, in fact) was so knowledgable and helpful and generous and kind that we bought one on the spot. It helped that he was Jordanian so my mom and he had the whole shared Arab heritage going on. What was striking about him was how blue his eyes were (my grandfather eye's were blue like that - really light blue on a 100% Lebanese man). My dad said he looked like that actor - he couldn't recall his name - I immediately said "Paul Newman" and my dad nodded. The kid looked at us blankly. I said, "You've never heard of Paul Newman, have you?" He said, "No." Mind you, he was born and raised here and he works in a Best Buy where six rows over there's a whole section of DVD's with such classics as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I asked him if he had heard of that film. Nope. Well, it seems...I'm getting old.

But we still left with some great technology for my 70+ parents who were very excited about the webcam feature. So, we're still learning new tricks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

Before I begin I have to say I've been trying to write this post for an hour. My hypersensitive keyboard reacted to some shortcut key I accidentally grazed (I type fairly quickly) and deleted the post about five paragraphs in. Three times in a row.

About a month ago I was having lunch with my mom and we were discussing a bad habit I have. I was expressing my frustration that I hadn't yet broken this particular habit after much prayer and time. I was waiting for the inside-out-180-degree-turn variety of overcoming the problem. One day I would just stop. Cold turkey. A new creation.

So far, that hasn't been the case.

My mom suggested I might try tackling it one little decision at a time. I was offended. Deeply.

In my Christian walk I have had this attitude from time to time that if I prayed hard enough and long enough and patiently enough eventually I would have the answer manifested in me. No disrespect to the power of prayer, but I'm starting to think I might have to actually work this behavior out a little bit at a time while I'm at it.

So the habit is impulse buys. And I'm really good at it. I'm also good at justifying it since they are usually less than $5 a pop. I decided maybe mom had a point and that I would try to make one decision on one occasion and put her method into action. I went into my favorite store (Gap) with a $25 gift card on a Saturday and I was alone.

But wait, there's was only.

Did I mention I was alone?

I tried on a lot of clothes, but in the end I left with four tops for which I paid $3.67 out of pocket. A small victory.

Just prior to entering Gap I had stopped in a bookstore and was browsing in the journal section. One of the covers read "You can cover great distances one step at a time." Okay God. I'll take your challenge.

Since then there have been no fewer than five more occasions when I have been reminded by various people in various settings of this one theme...when the mountain before you seems overwhelming, when the task ahead makes it a little hard to breathe...roll up your sleeves and take one step forward. That might be as far as you get that day.

I was sitting in a small group study recently with some other women and we were sharing some previous challenges and disappointments. We talked about our tendency to choose other people's approval over God's. And we all longed for the day we would never do that again. The day seemed a long way off. Then one of them said every time we choose God's approval over someone elses it pleases Him right then and makes us more like Him. So a couple of days later I remembered to please Him instead of the people in front of me. Another victory.

I look around this house and sometimes all I can see is everything that needs to be done. I sort through paperwork and I begin to feel more like I'm shuffling sheet metal. It's heavy stuff. But if I can take care of one piece instead of putting off all of it till I have time for them all, I have another victory. I did that this morning.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.