Tuesday, September 29, 2009
#1 - Avoid debt - I don't mean debt that is beyond our control. I'm talking about debt that is the result of our choices, wants, and desires. Don't buy things unless you can pay for them. Save up for big purchases. Save for a rainy day. Have a financial buffer. Want less and be content with what you have. Debt is a hole that is hard to get out of.
#2 - Live simply - Set margins and boundaries. Learn to know when enough is enough. Learn to enjoy simple pleasures. Learn that less is more and do more with less. Spend less time on things that don't matter so you can spend more time with the things that do.
#3 - Learn to make white sauce - This should be part of a standard High School curriculum. A little flour, a little water, and a wire whisk can take you to yummy places. Soups, gravy, and sauces here you come. You'll never need to buy Cream of Mushroom soup again.
(I can't seem to get Blogger to accept the MckLinky Blog Hop code and I don't have time to mess with it anymore. If you want to read more Blog Hop entries click over to The Riggs Family Blog for instructions.)
Monday, September 28, 2009
Eleven years ago, we decided Sunday, September 27 would be the worst day for our youngest daughter’s birth. My husband had to preach and friends who could watch our other children would be out of town. God, please—any day but the 27th.
Sure enough—labor started at 2:00 a.m. on the 27th. God, I complained, This is no skin off your nose, but it’s a lot of skin off mine. Why today?
We found someone to stay with our younger children and dashed to the hospital. Thank goodness Keith could drive like a maniac in the middle of the night.
“Great,” Keith groaned. “We’re being pulled over.”
As another contraction gripped my body, I knew every second counted. “We don’t have time to stop,” I said.
Keith jumped from the van and yelled at the police officer. “My wife’s in labor.” Thankfully he believed Keith and waved us on.
I’d assumed frantic hospital dashes with laboring women were products of Hollywood’s imagination. I’d had six babies before without rushing to the hospital. The shortest labor so far was four hours. Apparently it wasn’t in my genes to spit out babies.
Or so I thought. I breathed through another contraction and looked at my two scared daughters Kiah and Erica, ages nine and seven, and knew if I delivered in the van, they’d never want children. “You’d better drive faster.”
“I’m going 70.”
Another contraction tightened, close on the heels of the last one. As the vise grip eased, I gasped, “Go faster.”
Sioux Center Hospital was 45 minutes from home. Would we get there in time? I breathed a prayer of thanks when we arrived.
Drats, the maternity ward was on the second floor. My friend was born on a hospital elevator. I didn’t want that experience, so with the logic of a woman in transition, I took the stairs.
I stopped for another contraction and noticed the time: 4 a.m. A nurse whisked me to a room. She quickly and efficiently dressed me in an indecent hospital gown.
My midwife, Belinda, rushed into the room. After a quick check, she calmly pronounced the baby breech and paged a doctor.
I looked at Belinda in panic. Breech babies usually meant Caesarean births and I didn’t want one. Some doctors deliver breech babies naturally—would she? “What do I do?”
“Calm down and push.”
That I could do. Before the doctor could get his gloves on, I pushed out a beautiful baby girl.
The clock read 4:17 a.m.
Thank God for a breech baby. I’m convinced that’s all that kept her in until we reached the hospital. Because things went so fast, Keith was still able to preach that morning.
Lani could have been born any other day, but God wanted us to rely on Him. He is not confined by our schedules, fears, or limitations. He knows our needs and is in control.
We chose where to have her, but God chose how and when.
Happy 11th Birthday, Lani Renee Vik
The mind of man plans His ways, but the Lord directs His steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
My Dad spent four years in the air force. On September 11, I was born in Spain. Thanks to Osama Bin Laden, I have one of the most famous birthdates in American history.
Mom says I ate meals with them and then crawled over and ate with our Spanish neighbors. Perhaps being born in a different time zone explains why I’m late so much.
Being the oldest child of two oldest children, the oldest of my three siblings, and the oldest cousin on both sides, I have bossed people around my whole life.
We moved often, living in eighteen houses in eighteen years. Through second grade, I lived in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. I remember cactus, Joshua trees, church, our Volkswagen beetle, measles, matching Easter dresses and a one-time freak foot of snow.
At age six in Vacation Bible School, I learned that Jesus loves me and I believed with all my six-year-old heart. Faith is simple enough for a child to understand but complicated enough to spend a lifetime learning about.
At age seven, my grandparents showed up at Christmas with a HUGE rectangle cardboard box with my name on it. Learning to ride their gift, a new shiny green bicycle, proved difficult. I fell over and over again, developing a good case of road rash, until that magical moment when I finally got it.
I soon learned about the laws of gravity and stupidity when my girlfriend and I tied our bikes together. Great fun until she went one way, and I went another. The resulting crash put a tooth through my chin, leaving a faint lifetime scar.
In third grade, we moved ten hours north to Vallejo, California to be close to my Mom’s family.
A flunked school eye test showed I had inherited Dad’s poor vision. Before glasses, trees had a general shape. After glasses, I could see branches and detailed leaves.
I worked in my parents store for 50 cents an hour to pay for a stylish pair of plastic blue gingham cat-eye glasses, which looked impressive when they broke down the middle and Dad joined them together with a piece of wire.
Grandpa gambled, smoked, and drank. He was a gentle drunk, so when he had too much drink, he’d sleep it off. He loved us and we loved him. He made each of us eight cousins feel special. He called my sisters and me princesses and treated us as such. He teased, told funny jokes, played dominoes, and gave us special nicknames and money for candy. We each spent a week with my grandparents every summer and they spoiled us.
After two years in Vallejo, we moved an hour north to Sonoma County where we lived for the next fifteen years, though we still moved around.
We moved my 8th grade year. A painful experience as classmates teased me about my big nose and dark blue plastic “cat-eye” glasses.
High school was a mine field, and by God’s grace, I made it, for the most part, safely through. I had fun times, but between teenage drama, numerous poor decisions, acute self-consciousness, flunking the driver’s license test twice, and accidentally driving our old Ford Falcon station wagon through the neighbor’s garden, I’m really glad all that is way behind me.
From my Spanish neighbors I learned that things are more fun with friends. In church I learned about faith. Learning to ride a bike taught the value of persistence and being careful who you tie your bike to, because if they go down, you probably will too.
Moving frequently taught me to be flexible, resilient, not to hold tightly to things, to go with the flow, to adapt, and not take things for granted. Movers live optimistically, viewing moving as a new beginning, not another ending.
Unfortunately moving that often makes one cautious, slow to develop attachments, and reluctant to dig in and settle down.
From Grandpa I learned the world is far from perfect and good people do bad things and life is rarely as black and white as we’d like it to be. Not all my alcoholic relatives were gentle drunks and I developed an aversion to alcohol.
I learned that God answers some prayers and doesn’t answer others. That our families shape and form us, and while He fixes some things, some things won’t be fixed until we get to heaven.
God is sovereign and has been there all my life, working things together for His reasons, for His glory, for my best, in His time, and in His own way.
Faith, family, and friends. The Big Three. Was learning. Am Learning. Will always be learning.
One day God will take me home and I won’t ever have to move again. After a lifetime of learning, I’ll enter a portal to a new world. One with a perfect Father who knows and does all things well. A place with no tears, teasing classmates, bad eyes, ugly glasses, poor choices, or broken lives.
Immersed in love so incredible we humans can’t begin to comprehend it, I will finally be where I should be and the learning will have just begun.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
What things cost in 1959:
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.01%
Average Cost of new house $12,400.00
Average Yearly Wages $5,010.00
Cost of a gallon of Gas 25 cents
Average Cost of a new car $2,200.00
Movie Ticket $1.00
Loaf of Bread 20 cents
I liked these musings of Paul Daughertry of the Cincinatti Enquirer
People called and asked, “Do you feel 50?”
At 50, Ford had invented the assembly line, Roosevelt was elected president, and John Updike got the Pulitzer Prize.
On the other hand, at 50 Pavlov was just a guy with too many dogs in his backyard, Ronald Reagan was an out-of-work actor, and Samuel Morse had virtually given up on the invention he called the telegraph.
Our friend, John Peckham gave me the best birthday insight. - "If we're going to live forever, 50 is just a drop in the bucket."
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Anyway, here goes...
1. Meeting my mentor – After a year and a half of taking a Christian Writers Guild’s online writing course. Turns out Joyce Ellis is even nicer in person.
11. New (to me) bread slicer - a friend bought this for me at a garage sale. I'll never have crooked bread again. Is this cool or what?
Friday, September 11, 2009
You know you’re turning 50 when:
You start losing hair in the places you want it and getting it in places you don't.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
2. You can only enter their bedroom with a hazmat suit and God's blessing
3. You can have an entire conversation, and then realize they weren't listening to a thing you said.
4. They talk about weird things you've never heard about before, like SpaceBook, or even worse Mytwitface. Also cellphones become superglued to their hands and the only way to keep them from listening to their Ipod is to hide it and tell them the dog ate it.
5. Food doesn't last more than 22.78 minutes in the fridge.
6. They suddenly become willing to cooperate with you, but only until you drive them where they need to go, They alternate between declaring their independence and asking for help.
7. They develop an earnest, burning desire to pierce, dye, and tattoo.
8. They ask you for your opinion...and then do the exact opposite.
9. Along the same lines, they think your IQ falls somewhere in between Kermit the Frog and Elmo.
10. And finally, they begin to spend so much time in the bathroom they might as well live in it (Although girls are more prone to this than guys)
Disclaimer: Sometimes a rare kid won't openly display these symptoms. In that case check for fever and count your blessings.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I know his class schedule, what bus he rides, and where his locker is.
At age fourteen I live for his smile and waver between hope and fear.
He rescues me. The other kids circle, choose, and pair up. No one likes to be left standing alone. Certain that I am unworthy, wonder of wonders, he chose me.
He is a few rungs higher on the social ladder yet reaches down for me. Why? I have no idea.
Though fun and exhilarating, I can’t relax. I hope this will last but I’m afraid it won’t. I hope he likes me as much as I like him, but I’m afraid he doesn’t.
There are prettier girls out there. Surely he has eyes. There are smarter, more popular, talented and athletic girls. Why is he with me? Is it just a matter of time before he figures out what I already know?
The longer we stay together, the more it will hurt when he leaves. The unknown is too scary to consider. So with the flawed logic of a child who is much too young to be dating, I decide that it’s safer to hurt myself than to let someone else do it. I walk away, not one, not two, but three times.
I look back now and know that I was fragile and needy and no amount of love and affirmation could fill the hole inside.
We were too young to know what love is.
Letting a child mess around with love is like letting a blind person drive a car. Sure they can drive, but they can’t see where they’re going, there’s sure to be a crash, and someone is likely to get hurt.
There’s no way I could know at fourteen that love is more about giving than taking, more about the inside than the outside, more about doing good than looking good. Love does not need another person to make me feel good about myself or make me complete. It doesn’t run and hide when things get hard.
Thirty-five years later I know that love is day after day, year after year doing dishes when you’re tired, doing laundry when you don’t feel like it, going through childbirth, cleaning up puke, forgiving stupid words or random acts of insensitivity, living in a white house when you wanted tan, letting go of hurts and resentments, biting your tongue, taking vacations to places you don’t want to go, having different opinions, and laying aside personal preferences for the greater good.
Love clips toenails, empties bedpans, helps after surgery, and cares for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Love takes out garbage, mows the lawn, bakes bread, makes special desserts, sends cards, comforts, laughs, plays, encourages, tends wounds, juggles schedules, dreams, celebrates, and makes and keeps promises.
Love promises to stay together no matter what, rain or shine, good or bad.
I learned about love from the one who loves me best.
You see, God rescued me. Though I’m unworthy, He reached down and wonder of wonders, He chose me.
He invaded my life, filled the hole, completed me, and took away the fear. He gave me a solid foundation and the emotional wherewithal to build relationships in healthy ways. I quit looking in the wrong places for that which only God can give.
I don’t have to wonder how He loves me. (unconditionally)
I don’t have to wonder how much He loves me. (Completely)
I don’t have to wonder how long He’ll love me. (Forever)
He loves me, and surrounded, filled, and blessed with that amazing love, I am free to love.
Let the smile of your face shine on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine. I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe. (Ps. 4:6b-8)
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Keeper of the light,
Singer of the sunset,
And guardian of the night.
Steadfast and unchanging
A rock, forever sure.
Ageless love unfolding
Illuminant and pure.
The person of the Son,
Power of the Spirit
Forever three in one.
II. God of healing comfort,
Source of love divine.
Grant me understanding
And ease my troubled mind.
Sustain me, loving Father,
Closely hold me in your hand.
Help me see the scattered fragments
Are all pieces of your plan.
Make me know your fullness
Make your presence known.
Work in me, until I be
Content in you alone.