Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pizza and Cucumbers

The last time I wrote about my Eucharisteo(Thanksgiving) list, I was at number 271.  Today I am at 610.  How about you?  Are you still finding things to be thankful for?  Sometimes it's hard to think of new things.  After I hit 500, I found that I was repeating myself.  I guess there are some things in life that I really love!  Richard said that he started repeating himself after the first six things.  He wrote down me and the kids and our house and our parents and then got stuck.  I told him that there were at least 100 things to be thankful for about me alone and that he just needed to try harder!  Smile.
If you are having trouble seeing what there is to be thankful for, here's a few from my list that might spur you on to think of your own...

273. Driving with the sunroof open and singing
276.  When everything is ready for company to come
281.  Sonic ice
287.  A table full of teenagers
292.  Running into friends at Target
301.  Friends to pray with
305.  Pizza and cucumbers
310.  New recipes
329.  Running through sprinklers
332.  Special Olympians
338.  A sister with a boat
344.  Christians in Congress
351.  Being missed
357.  Kisses in the elevator
363.  Pregnant bellies
375. The high/low game
376.  Sittie's spaghetti
392.  Finding out I can resist fresh baked chocolate chip cookies
396.  Listening to Will tell me about his day
407. Squeaky clean dishes
414.  Laughing in a crowded theater
428.  Generous lemonade stand customers
431.  Using our guest room for guests
458.  An innocent daughter
468.  A new friend on FB
477.  People who wave when they drive by

Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you.  1 Samuel 12:24

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Creation

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

A couple of weeks ago we took the kids to the Byrd theater  (which, by the way, was listed in USA Today as one of the 10 great places to see a movie in splendor) to see the movie "Metamorphosis."  As you may remember, when we tried to explain heaven to Anna, we used the example of the caterpillar and the butterfly to show her that someday she would be transformed and that she would be able to run, and jump, and play in her new heavenly body.
Anna painted a picture of a butterfly a few weeks before she died and it is hanging above our fireplace.  We have a butterfly tree when you walk in our front door.  I am always wearing at least one butterfly--ring, necklace, or earrings.  We love butterflies because they remind us of Anna's new life.  But when we went to see "Metamorphosis" I learned something about butterflies that I did not know.
A butterfly is not a caterpillar with wings.  Once the caterpillar enters the chrysalis,  it can never go back to being a caterpillar.  In fact, the caterpillar has to die in order to become a butterfly.  The cells that make up the caterpillar parts break down inside the chrysalis and become food for the cells that grow into the butterfly parts.  Besides the wings, the butterfly has totally different eyes, feet, stomach, and body than the caterpillar.  Everything is new.  It is a new creation!

The butterfly helped Anna understand heaven, and it helps me understand who I am as a Christian.   Just as the caterpillar dies and the butterfly is created,  when I placed my faith in Christ,  I  died to my old self and became a new creation.  I am not Marlo with "peace" stuck on my arm, and "love" taped to my back.   I am a new creation--as different as the caterpillar is from the butterfly.  The old has gone, the new has come!  Do I always feel like a butterfly?  No. I often return to my caterpillar ways.  I crawl around in the mud instead of flying.  But if God gave us the butterfly as a picture of what it means to be a new creation, then it is impossible for me to go back to being a caterpillar--even if I act like one.

"Go in new life with Christ... Go, and be as the butterfly."
(Quote from At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall 2011

Just in case you were wondering what we have been up to lately...
Starting in August, our lives seem to revolve around FOOTBALL!

Do you remember last year when I wrote about Will being Benched?  Well, this year he is on a smaller team so he has been playing offense and defense.  That has presented a new set of problems--mainly stress and bruises!

Here's a picture of the scoreboard from our only win so far.  After the last game (score 6-7), Will said, "That was our best loss of the season!" It's all in how you look at it...

Long after football started.  I couldn't find my camera on the first day so this picture is from the second week of 5th grade...

The second week of 7th grade...

And sometime during the first half of Jacob's sophomore year.  (He wouldn't let me take a picture outside.)

The holiday season starts in September at our house with Will's birthday.

He wanted to celebrate by bobbing for apples--never mind that it was a cool rainy evening.  No one seemed to mind getting wet.

Some friends of our happened to be driving through town on the day of Will's party and joined the fun. Audra was happy to hold their new baby...

While Kevin led the boys in playing Ninja in the kitchen at 11pm.  Way to go Kevin!

Besides football, we have been enjoying cross country meets and cheering Jacob on.  Go Jacob go!!!
(Yes, I do think he was wearing some sort of headband in this picture.  Don't ask me why.)

The schools here are T-O-U-G-H.  One afternoon, Will set up his perfect homework station, complete with popcorn and a drink.

I surprised Audra by taking her out of school one day to go see "Wicked".  She said it was amazing.  I just said, "Wow!"

This is what Jacob wore on school picture day--the sweatshirt I bought his dad at Disneyworld on our honeymoon.  Jacob LOVES retro anything!

Some nights there is no time to make dinner, but no one complains about eating Chic-fil-A at a football game.

With a grateful heart...

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change (James 1:17)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


WWJD?  It's written on pens, jewelry, signs, and even candy wrappers.  It's an acronym for, "What would Jesus do?"  Presumably it is a question asked by those who desire to be more like Jesus.  But what does being "like Jesus" really mean?   Usually when I think about being more like Jesus I think about being nicer.  Is that what Jesus was?  Nice?  Is that what Jesus would do?  Be nice?

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah described him as a servant.  In chapter 53 Isaiah wrote that there was nothing about Jesus' appearance that stood out as beautiful or majestic.  Nothing about his looks would attract people to him.  He was despised and rejected by those around him.  He was a man of sorrows and he was acquainted with deepest grief.  People turned their backs on him and looked the other way.  He was oppressed and treated harshly.  He did not open his mouth to defend himself when he was unjustly condemned.  His life was cut short.  He died without descendants.  He did no wrong and deceived no one and yet he was buried like a criminal.

Was Jesus nice?  I'm sure he was, but he was also rejected, despised, and oppressed.  Obviously there is more to being "like Jesus" than just being nice.  According to this passage, it is my grief that makes me more like Jesus who was fully acquainted with deepest grief.  It is caring more about the people around me than about how I look that makes me more like Jesus who did not attract followers based on his appearance.  It is my tears that make me more like Jesus man of sorrows.  It is being left out of the popular crowd because I don't "fit in" that makes me more like Jesus the rejected.  It is when I am treated harshly that I am more like Jesus the oppressed.  It is when I am able to serve without recognition that makes me more like Jesus the servant.  It is not clinging to this life and playing it "safe" that makes me more like Jesus whose life was cut short.  All of the things I try to avoid--grief, difficult circumstances, loneliness--are things that can be used to mold me into the image of Christ.

The rest of Isaiah 53 tells us why Jesus was despised, rejected, and sorrowful...

Yet is was our weaknesses he carried.
It was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed  for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God's paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all...
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.

I can't save anyone.  I can't even keep my house clean.  But the more I am like Jesus, the more I can point people to the one who can save.  The one who can heal.  The one who can make us whole.