Saturday, April 20, 2013

Inner Beauty

This little beauty is posted all over Facebook at the moment.  Interesting experiment, to say the least, encapsulated in a three minute video.

As women, we tend to view ourselves outside in;  if we look good, we feel good.  If others tell us we look good, we feel GREAT about ourselves.
But notice that not one woman chose to focus on good.  Every women critically picked herself apart, focusing on the negatives.  
 What this experiment demonstrated to me is that we actually view ourselves backwards.  We should be looking inside out, starting with who we are as people.  If that forensic artist could have drawn the hearts of these women, this exercise would have been remarkably different.  There would have been beauty and joy and love on those canvases. 

I think Dove is doing something remarkable and counter-culture with their line of advertising of late.  Beauty, TRUE beauty, is way beyond the face and body of a person;  it is at the core of our being.  It spills out and over into our lives through what we say, do, think.  Wearing a face-full of make-up, having the most current hair style, and wearing the latest designer clothes doesn't change that fact in the slightest.  If you are a horrible person beneath all that stuff, you are a horrible person all dressed up for the world's pleasure.

God sees the real you.  He thinks you are beautiful, despite the acne, freckles, crazy hair, and extra weight.  He loves you fiercely.  He knows your hurts and triumphs and He loves you all the same.  He would draw the picture on the right, the one that represents who you really are, because He sees that your beauty comes from the inside out.  And you, girlfriend, are RADIANT!

Time to go inside, ladies.  Time to find the "real" you deep down in your soul.  Time to tell the world to take a hike and determine you are gorgeous, inside and out, because you are loved by a great and gracious Savior.

I'd say that fact is astoundingly beautiful.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”--1 Samuel 16:7

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.--Colossians 3:1

Friday, April 19, 2013

Changing Expectations

I have probably been guilty of unrealistic expectations more than anyone else I know.  I have been positive that I knew exactly how relationships were supposed to work, how people should act, and pretty much why I'm right in almost any given situation.

I've even, gulp, been known to try to separate "Christian" from "non-Christian" behaviors.

I'm sure God has had plenty of moments of displeasure with me over the years.
I'm positive He has shaken His precious head in disbelief that He has, over and over, sent messengers into my life, spoken words of wisdom through the Bible and learned teachers, and allowed life-altering experiences that were all meant to convince me that I didn't have all the answers (and, that I should wipe that smug look off my face and pride out of my heart.)

What I used to lack in learning lessons quickly, I have gained back in my later years.  I have become a "picker" of things.  I often know when something I read or see is directed at me or someone I am praying over.  I can see God's handiwork in situations.  I feel led to share certain articles I've read with specific people who are struggling.  I draw lines between circumstances, effectively removing "coincidence" from my life, instead assigning things to God.

But, hear me loud and clear:  this isn't of me;  this is of God.  I am simply a conduit.

We expect life to be easy, even when there is compelling Biblical evidence that following Christ is ANYTHING but easy.
We expect life to be painless, even against compelling Biblical evidence that sin creates a great deal of pain, pain that ripples out and grabs at people who didn't even commit the sin.

It isn't life that needs to change, it is our expectations about life.

The following reading came from the Angel Learning Network Chaplain's page, one of the pages Nickels sees daily as he home schools.  I did not write it and I do not take credit for it;  I am responsible for the underlining.  

I hope you are glad I decided to share it with you today.  

Jesus replied, "Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected?" - Mark 9:12

Jesus was responding to the doubts His disciples had about Jesus’ death. In their minds, there was no way that Jesus could possibly be put to death. It did not fit into the box they had put their Messiah into. In their mind, their Messiah was going to continue to gain popularity and power. He would then assemble an army, claim the throne of David, and overthrow the Romans before restoring Israel to it prior glory. Jesus was correcting this limiting expectation. 

As members of the human race, Jesus’ followers did not need an earthly king, a conquering hero. They needed a savior, a redeemer, a High Priest, eternal salvation... Their desire and expectation that Jesus would be the next powerful ruler of their earthly kingdom was much less than Jesus planned on accomplishing. It was much less than they needed. Their expectations limited His amazing plan for them. His death and resurrection accomplished those plans. 

Sometimes, our grand plans and noble desires for God’s work in our life actually limit what God really wants to accomplish. God is not as interested in our happiness as He is our holiness. He is not as concerned about our temporary pleasure as He is our eternal life. He is not as taken with our reputation as He is our righteousness. These priorities should form our expectations.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Disabled for 22 Million Minutes????

Yes, Hoo's ITouch was disabled for 40 years, given or take a few months or so, by some overzealous, unknown soul, who must have tried to hack his password forty thousand times.

Word to your Mother:  password hacking is B-A-D.  It results in screwing up some one's goods for an inordinate amount of time and completely wastes a sunny Sunday afternoon.  BUT, after it was all said and done, I lived up to my badger reputation and figured out how to get Hoo's ITouch back up and running without spending the equivalent of a day's pay calling Apple Customer Support for help.

Seems this problem is pretty consistent across the world.  I looked at videos of people with at least 15 different accents, ages, colors, and genders.  Seems a LOT of people 1) think it is funny to jack with friend's electronics or 2) think they can "figure out" passwords by osmosis or dumb luck if they just try 1,243,576 combinations of numbers or 3) steal or buy stolen electronics and like showing their prowess in getting past the password lockout (word to you folks:  the Internet is a really, really good place to discover thieves.  Might want to consider that before outing yourselves next time).

So, here is what I learned, step-by-step.  NOTE:  Everything that is saved on your ITouch will be gone once you complete this action because you will be going back to factory settings.  IF you had the smarts to save the contents of your ITouch to ITunes, you can always so a download once you complete the following actions.

Another NOTE:  I am NOT responsible for what might happen to your own ITouch as a result of following these instructions.  Do not proceed if you have ANY concerns.  I AM NOT an expert!

1.  Turn off the power by holding down the power button on the top, right side of your ITouch.
2.  On the screen, "slide" the power off.
3.  Verify the ITouch is off by pressing the home button (middle, bottom of ITouch).
4.  Pull up the latest version of ITunes on your computer.  You will need this in a few minutes.
5.  Plug the USB cord (short, white) into your computer.  DO NOT attach the USB to your ITouch yet.
6.  Hold down the home button--DO NOT let go--for about 10 seconds and, continuing to hold down, plug the USB cord into the ITouch.  The apple logo will appear on the screen if you've done this correctly.  Next you will see a picture of a USB cord and a blue circle with a music note and the word "ITunes" above the USB picture.
7.  You are in restore or recovery mode now (I got varying definitions from all the videos I watched).
8.  On your computer, ITunes will now display a pop-up screen asking if you want to continue.  Click yes.
9.  The computer (via ITunes) now controls the rest of the process.  At thee end, you will no longer be  locked out of your ITouch!

Now, keep in mind that I had to go through this process twice.  The first time, for whatever reason, didn't "take".  But, the second time worked like a charm.  A couple of the videos I watched warned me this might be the case;  I tell you this if, by chance, the first time isn't your charm, either.

Happy ITouch Dis-Disenabling to You!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

9600 Seconds

I think today is a good day to repost this video clip.  Sixteen minutes of your life.  Maybe a few kleenex.  Probably tears and gratefulness for being alive, unharmed, and blessed this day.

Take the time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Pike

Forgive me today because I am raw;  I drop the "F-bomb" at the bottom of this writing.  So, if your kids are looking over your shoulder, time to turn off your browser.
Over the years, I have probably heard the phrase "It's coming down the pike" about a billion times, give or take a few thousand.  If you are a geek like me (read, always curious), check out this link about the origin of the phrase.

In my life these past few months, there have been plenty of things coming down the proverbial pike.  I'm pretty sure if I pulled up the "life stresses scale", my score wouldn't even be a 10.  I guess that is partially to blame/thank for the fact that I don't look at change as being stressful;  change just is what it is.  But, I also know that trying to ignore stress and acting like it doesn't exist, even when it hasn't bubbled to the surface in the form of illness or anger or mental break, is playing with fire.

So, today, I had a really good cry.  The slobbery, snotty kind of cry that is cathartic.

*I said goodbye in my head to my kids graduating from the same school. 
*I prayed over Boston and the little 8-year-old boy who died there.  I let my brain acknowledge that fact that if this had happened at one of Mike's races you might be hearing about Aaron. 
*I let myself cry over Mr. Rogers being gone...again.  His quote hit home:  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” 
*I let the fact that some one I dearly love is leaving very soon to a new home, much too far away, if I let myself be honest and super, super, duper selfish.  Up until today, I had buried that fact in the back of my brain and wouldn't even acknowledge it when it tried to make me sad.  
*I regretted harsh words and angry outbursts and causing unnecessary tears. 

I just let it all out.  And then it was over.  I pulled on my big girl pants and thought FUCK YOU SATAN.

You are not going to destroy my joy.
You are not going to pull me into your pit.
You are not going to keep me from embracing every little-itty bit of life that I have left to live.

So, take that right back to your hellish sulfur pit of a home, sit on it and spin!

I am going to proudly display stickers for two schools and volunteer at two different campuses and get excited that I have the privilege of knowing two, distinct school songs.  I'm going to rejoice that my kids are where they need to be at this moment in time.  And, if there is a need for change in the future, I'm going to face it head-on and get to work praying over the decision.

I am going to turn off the TV and the radio and listen to CDs and watch old movies that make me happy.  I am going to stop clicking on the "latest" headlines for a bit.  I am going to pray over all those who have been touched instead of wasting my time listening to "developing" news.  I'm going to pray that we can all forgive each other.  And when they finally convict the assholes who did this, then I will listen.  That's when we will have all the facts.  And, I will pray that those who committed these horrific crimes will turn to Jesus for forgiveness, redemption, and salvation.
I'm going to let Mr. Rogers continue to inspire me.  I am going to be a helper for someone who can't help themselves.  I am going to pray for opportunities to cross my path and I'm going to respond.  I am going on a "one woman, Random Acts of Kindness" crusade.  (Look out, it might be headed your way!)

I am going to help my friend pack or drink or whatever she needs so this move will be less of a burden on her.  I am going to be happy for her, instead of sad for myself.  I am going to remember that the people who touch us the most in this life never really leave us, even if they are hours removed from us or away in Heaven.  I am going to allow myself to cry a bit as I watch her car pull away that last time, but I'm not going to let it ruin my life.  Instead, I'm going to run inside, pull up my calendar, and plan my first trip to see her.  And, I'll probably text her ten minutes into her trip home to bug her about scheduling.

I am going to approach those I've hurt and say I'm sorry or Will you forgive me.  And, I'm going to do it sooner than later.  If Boston reminded me of anything it is that life is a whisper, a breath, a drop of water in a vast ocean.  You don't always get second chances to say the right things to the people you love, so you MUST speak blessings and love over people every.single.chance you get.

But, I am most excited to get outside and run for the first time in many months.  I'm going to run until my lungs burn and my head aches and my feet are begging me to quit.  Then, I'm going to walk.  And, each step of the way I'll be running and walking for those who lost a limb or a loved one or their hope.  I'll be praying them back to health and life and love.

Because there is one thing I know above everything else that this evil old world is trying to sell me at the moment:  Jesus is STILL on this throne.

And, in the end, love WILL reign. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


Yesterday, I accidentally spilled a LARGE glass of water on my computer keyboard.  It took nine hand towels to mop up the mess on and around the computer.  Today, my less than three-months old, Windows8 running, piece of hardware is acting up (surprise!) 

My screen is a shade of pink I've never seen before, somewhere between pepto bismol and light purple.  Just for effect, there are also lines running horizontally across the screen.  If you were lying in bed, looking out the window, in the midst of a terrifically fast falling, very heavy rain, then you would see these same lines.  Except, those rain drops would be GOOD news.

My biggest concerns after the accident were about my computer's contents, specifically pictures I had downloaded from my camera and the budget.  Thankfully, Mike was able to snatch those things off the system before things got any worse.

Secretly, I've hated this computer from the get-go.  I didn't want Windows 8, I wanted a Mac.  I have made no bones about how much I dislike the new Windows format.  And, I think my computer is doing a super job of karmic payback.  I'm getting a bit dizzy and sick looking at this color and light show.

This morning I am thinking about the whole incident.  I've learned a lesson that I shan't forget anytime soon:  Be grateful for what you receive. 

Even if my computer isn't exactly what I desired, it is functional.  It is getting the job done.  It is paid for, free and clear.  And, if I look with really rose-colored glasses on, the screen makes sense.

This is a picture of my larger life, of my daily grumblings about things that are really not that important.  And a wake-up call for gratitude.

Thanks Lord, I do believe I get it.  I just hope my computer survives the lesson.