Monday, February 21, 2005

Addictive Behaviors

Having been brought up in a strict legalist denomination, it's been drilled into me that certain behaviors, namely drinking and smoking, are clearly taboo. I don't drink, and I don't smoke, but of late I find myself questioning the rational behind these standards. As Christians, we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. After a rough day at work, I can see how people might want to escape the troubles of the day by enjoying a relaxing drink. I see plenty of stressed coworkers heading for the exits several times a day for a smoke. But as a Christian, what are my options?

Lately I have begun to realize that I create my own escapes - all perfectly acceptable behaviors, of course. Who can find fault with reading, for instance? Or coffee - surely the beverage of choice among Christians! But when I retreat to my books to block out a bad day, or rely on a cup of coffee to get me through one, aren't those serving the same purpose as alcohol? I'm just guessing that what God wants from me is complete reliance on His Holy Spirit, and a book or cup of "joe", while not in and of itself evil, if it takes the place of dependence on Him, can be just as much a problem as any other addictive behavior.

That's the whole issue with legalism; it circumvents the heart. Isn't this where Jesus took issue with the Pharisees? He said the outside of the cup was clean, but the inside was filthy dirty. He never said he had a problem with a clean appearance, only with those who focused only on the outward appearance. Isn't the Enemy subtle?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Love Is . . .

I sometimes get dismayed when I shop for Valentine's Day cards. Some of them sound so self-serving, i.e. they're all about what "he" does for me. I love you because . . . you make me smile . . . you make me feel secure . . . you make me laugh. That sounds like a very conditional love to me. I know, the point of Valentine's Day is to take time to cherish what you have and those sentiments have their place. But I think love is better expressed in our actions.

When I was a teen, our newspaper ran a little comic every Sunday called "Love is." It was just a cute little couple, with big eyes, and a one sentence completing the thought "Love is . . .: I faithfully cut these out and stuck them in a scrapbook which I've kept all these years. My mom thought it appalling that they were naked and she usually made me color clothes on them!

Anyway . . . here are some "Love Is" thoughts for Valentine's Day . . . and everyday!

Love is . . . flipping everytime you think about him.
Love is . . . making sure he's warm for the winter.
Love is . . . sharing the joy of traditional holidays.
Love is . . . sharing the same piggy bank.
Love is . . . trying out her exotic recipe!
Love is . . . keeping the home fires burning.
Love is . . . seeing the happiness in your reflection.

And a few of my own (these are ways BOTH of us express our love):

Love is . . . not batting an eye when your partner makes the entry in the checkbook but forgets to actually transfer the money!
Love is . . . cleaning out the freezer together when someone left a can of pop in there!
Love is . . . realizing that his junk is as important to him as mine is to me.
Love is . . . taking the dog out on an icy cold morning when it's not your turn.
Love is . . . staying up to take the dog out one more time so the other person can go to bed early.
Love is . . . a surprise phone call in the middle of the day just to say "I love you."

Ah, love . . . truly it is a many-splendored thing!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

This is Creepy!

Yahoo! News - Parents Protest Student Computer ID Tags I don't have kids but if I did, I don't know I'd want their school tracking their every move!

Monday, February 07, 2005

How Much Do You Really Need?

I'm planning to redo my kitchen - mainly paint and a much needed new floor. In preparation, because this may be a month long project, I've already begun packing up knick-knacks and whatnots. I glanced at the box tonight, the corner of which my cat is using in lieu of a good hand to scratch herself, and it occurred to me I haven't missed anything yet!

I wonder just how many things I tend to accumulate as I go through life that serve to weigh me down more than spur me on. I've been accused by my husband and mother of being a "pitcher" - I find it easier to just put things in the trash or give them away, which works fine as long as they're mine to pitch! That's always been my modus operandi when it comes to cleaning. And I absolutely LOVE to clean other people's junk! (I never understand why they don't seem as appreciative of my efforts!)

Seriously though, even though I think I'm less "things-oriented", sometimes I feel like a giant tumbleweed, moseying along through life accumulating things. Or worse, looking for things to accumulate! It's hard when the world seems to be telling us what we need, creating desires and needs in us we never knew we had.

I don't have the perfect solution right now, beyond the practical tips found on Flylady and other such sites. I know where the answer lies though: Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Notes in the Key of Life - A Must Read!

If I lived in Rockford, IL, I'd definitely be listening to Cindy Swanson, news director & popular radio personality on WQFL. Thankfully, she shares her buoyant spirit and positive outlook with an even larger audience on her blog. She interviewed Joni Eareckson Tada recently regarding the Oscar-nominated movie, Million Dollar Baby, a feel-good movie that promotes euthanasia. Check out the transcripts of the interview for yourself and bookmark Cindy's blog for a guaranteed good read!

Just for fun - something different. I got this from Blogin' Idiot who got it from Unspace who got from Therapy Failed who got it from Dell who stole it from Stacey who lifted it from Big Orange Michael who borrowed it from All Things Jen(nifer) who picked it up at Master Foley's Blog:

First, recommend to me:
1. A movie:
2. A book:
3. A musical artist, song, or album:

Next, I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want. (I will respond in subsequent posts. I reserve the right to not answer questions that might hurt someone else or that might be grossly inappropriate for my blog.)

Then, I want you to go to your blog, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything they want!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Happy Groundhog Day!

To me, that is! And my hubby! We got engaged on Groundhog Day a mere eight years ago. My then boyfriend arranged to meet me one Sunday morning on the pretence of an early pre-church breakfast. As many young lovers do, we gave each other a gift each month on our "anniversary" - February 2 marked five months for us. I had a silly t-shirt for him (I think it was free with the cologne I gave him at Christmas and I just saved it). He gave me adorable white teddy bear. I was oohing and aahing over it when I noticed the green yarn around its neck with - what! Just then Mike dropped to his knees and asked me to be his wife!

Each year I look forward to Groundhog Day as a chance to thank Mike for asking me to be his wife. So we actually celebrate - whether or not Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow. Even the prospect of six more weeks of winter can't dim the memory of that wonderful day.

Sooooo - do you remember the day you got engaged?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I'm Glad God Recycles!

". . . from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: II Cor 5:16-18

I'll admit I always pictured God getting so fed up with this messed up earth someday that He finally hurls it off into oblivion and starts all over again, hence the promise of a new heaven and new earth. But today on the radio I heard someone explain that "new" in this sense may not necessarily mean starting from scratch. It could also mean "being transformed or renewed."

While I'll leave the theological and eschatological lines for others to debate, the verses above came to mind. I'm grateful God is a patient potter and willing to work with what He has - in my case, that's certainly not much. How much more patient ought I to be with myself then? The question is not whether God is working in my life, but whether I allow Him to work without getting in the way.