Thursday, June 30, 2011


A week ago today, Michael went to the doctor by himself, & I cried. Since the birth of our marriage, we have always gone to each other's doctor appointments, so I was upset that I wasn't able to get ready in time for this one. We are happily joined at the hip as much as possible & tease that we're considering surgery to make it permanent. ;-) We are unhappy apart & blissful together. That's not to say that we feel the need to do absolutely everything together; Michael had lunch today with Arnold, & I spent time with Sommer last week. But more than anything we revel in each other's company. In reading our TEA time Bible study book - Becoming the Woman of His Dreams - I found confirmation for our inseparable tendencies.

"There is such a thing as creeping separateness. What do young people who are freshly married do? They can't rest when they're apart. They want to be together all the time. But they develop separate interests, especially if they have separate jobs & some separate friends. So they drift apart. Pretty soon they have little in common except, maybe, the children. So the stage is set for one of them to fall in love with someone else. Later they'll say the reason for the divorce was that he/she fell in love with someone else, but it wasn't that at all. It was because they let themselves grow apart." pg. 120-121

If you pay attention to the conjunctions "but" & "so", you'll see a causal relationship. Because they develop separate interests, they drift apart. Because they drift apart, they are vulnerable to outside advances. It's wise for a husband & wife to cultivate, maintain, & pursue commonalities together, because in doing so, their marriage will be stronger. Perhaps Michael & me "being attached at the hip" isn't such a crazy thing after all! ;-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ron Paul Wants to Legalize Marijuana . . . And I Support Him!

*Sorry for the departure from my normal topics.  I try to refrain from political discussions because they just quite frankly anger me, but I feel this must be said.

First off, I owe you an apology. Like Ron Paul's opponents, I've written a sensationalized title to grab your attention. Now that I have it, let me also offer an admission. If you were previously unaware of this fact, let me assure you that I am not a raging drug-head. As a matter of fact, I've never even been tempted to consume a single drug. I was 20 before I tasted alcohol for the first time – watched over by my friend's parents – & have never once been inebriated. So, if I'm not a partaker of drugs – & quite frankly find their use & abuse to be idiotic – why in the world would I support an effort to legalize marijuana? For liberty's sake, that's why.

Let's get one thing straight. Ron Paul has not – I repeat, NOT – introduced a bill to legalize marijuana. Oh, that's what you'll see in the headlines (imagine – propaganda from the media!), but that's more than a little disingenuous & misleading. Ron Paul, along with other members of the House, has put forth a bill to "end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens."  In other words, these representatives desire to follow the Constitution by stripping the federal government of misappropriated power & properly restoring that power to the states.

Why is this so important? Aside from the fact that it honors the Constitution? Well, you also have the fact that the "War on Drugs" has officially been declared a failure & is yet one more drain on our already bankrupt country. Then you have the fact that it's yet another freedom that the federal government has taken away from American citizens. I can hear those wheels turning; I know what you're thinking, & the answer is an emphatic "No"! I am not advocating the use of marijuana or any other drug. That's not the point, & we completely fail to see the real issue when we get caught up in inflammatory accusations & pat answers. The crux of the issue is this: the Constitution clearly gives the power of such decisions to the states, not the federal government. Ron Paul doesn't want to legalize marijuana; he wants the states to make that decision one by one & for the federal government to get their grubby paws out of our personal lives. I, for one, agree.

The ramifications for this kind of thinking are far-reaching. The list of areas into which the federal government has unconstitutionally spread its power is too long to list. We already have regulations that restrict our choices in dairy, childbirth, speech, light bulbs, education, produce, religious practices, healthcare, housing, bearing arms, & private property. And don't get me started on money! Our "leaders" have decided for us how much money we can make, how much of that must go to the public (via the unconstitutional federal income tax), & how much we must pay into Social Security (which was supposed to be temporary, & from which most of us will never see payments). I'm sure you can think of more examples. Personally, I could go on & on, but I'm going to exhibit some control here, lest I stray from my point. Which is this: the Constitution gave power to sovereign states to decide what was best for their citizens. That power was never granted to the federal government, but over the years, we have acquiesced to an increasingly enlarged bureaucracy. As a result, we have an out-of-control federal government that strives to micromanage every portion of our private lives. This has to stop. In my humble opinion, Ron Paul is the only person possessing the integrity, knowledge of history, & proven record – as well as the utter disdain for seeking out popularity through votes & verbal quips – to put a stop to these intrusions. That's why we supported him in 2008. That's why we support him now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Slaying My Anger

I was angry this morning.  I won't go into what the situation might be (other than to say it most expressly does not have anything to do with Michael, naturally), but I will say that I was on the brink of tears.  That's my typical response when I shoot past irritated, cruise beyond frustrated, & arrive at destination:  angry, angry, angry.  It doesn't help that it's completely beyond my control either - the situation, that is.  What do you do when you feel that choler burning & boiling up from the pit of your stomach, threatening to erupt in a scream?  I pondered calling Beth to vent or Sweet T to beg for wisdom & advice.  I considered waking Michael up so I could pour out my anguish & receive his sympathy.  Instead, I cried out to God to "help me, please help me, because I don't want to feel this way or respond in this manner."  He brought to mind John Piper's "How to Kill Sin" sermon series, which I have lately been listening to once again.  My thoughts ran thus:

     ~Anger is the sin that I'm presently battling, & I want to kill it.
     ~How do you kill sin?  By the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
     ~That means I need to delve into my Bible to see what it has to say about anger.

Here's what I found, & it was very helpful.  As the situation & feelings of anger have continued to spring to the surface throughout this day, I have been fleeing back to God's Word for the renewal of my mind & spirit.  I pray it is the same balm to you.

*Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.  A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy (often the cause of anger) makes the bones rot.  ~Proverbs 14:29-30 (notation mine)

*A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.  ~Proverbs 15:18

*Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, & he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  ~Proverbs 16:32

*Good sense makes one slow to anger, & it is his glory to overlook an offense.  ~Proverbs 19:11

*Know this, my beloved brothers:  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, & slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  ~James 1:19-20

*A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.  ~Proverbs 15:1, 4 (I found this appropriate because I'm likely to have a "harsh" or "perverse" tongue when I feel angry.)

*But now you must put them all away:  anger, wrath, malice, slander, & obscene talk from your mouth.  Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy & beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, & patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  ~Colossians 3:8, 12-13

May the word of Christ dwell in us richly & the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.  Amen.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Blissful Anniversary

I am so loved by my incredible husband.  So very loved.  He is . . . sigh . . . wonderful.  He shows me day by day how much he loves me & further highlights how insanely blessed I am to be his wife.  But this past week, he really outdid himself!

This past Thursday marked our 4-year anniversary.  In that funny way that time works, it seems impossible that it's been that long, & yet it also seems as though I've never known another reality.  I've certainly never known a superior reality!  This truth was underscored by the surprise celebration of our special day completely planned by my beloved.

Our celebration actually began Wednesday afternoon.  After packing everything up & dropping the dogs off at Allie's, we headed up to "the big city", where Michael had surreptitiously reserved a beautiful hotel room - complete with whirlpool tub, king bed, & loveseat.  After getting settled in, Michael whisked me off to Superior Bar & Grill (a reminder of my LA roots) for supper.  As instructed, I secured a table while he parked the truck.  What do I see as my beloved approaches our table but him carrying a beautiful yellow lily!  The hostesses (who had been told it was our anniversary) squealed with delight & gushed about how romantic he was.  It brings smiles to my face even now.  Following supper, he took me over to The Cheesecake Factory for our traditional strawberry shortcake dessert - which was divine - & a slice of cherry cheesecake.  Our waiter - also having been told that it was our anniversary - brought out a plate decorated with "Happy Anniversary" in chocolate sauce!  As I gazed out the window by our booth, I felt such contentedness at being with this amazing man.  He makes life so special!

This is really good so far, huh?  It doesn't compare with what awaited me as we returned to the hotel!  Now, you may know that our song - my favorite song - is Louis Armstrong's "La Vie En Rose".  And, you may also know that Michael & I both really like "Brown-Eyed Girl".  Well, my precious husband sneaked in a portable CD player, & we danced to both of these songs.  I have to admit, that when "La Vie En Rose" began to play, & I realized what he had done, I cried.  Following that up with "Brown-Eyed Girl" was smart, because the peppiness of it made me laugh.  As he twirled me around the room, I exclaimed, "I feel like Julia Roberts!"

You would think that was enough, right?  As Sweet T would say, my love tank was definitely full.  Apparently, my darling Michael wanted it to overflow!  He had also brought up his "Things I Love" list for us to read through.  We each made lists of the things we love early on in our relationship.  It was a good way to get to know each other better, & it's also a great tool for surprising someone on any special occasion.  Well, Michael brought his so we could read through all the things he liked about me then & he could reaffirm them.  Isn't that sweet?!  Guess what else he brought for us to read through . . . our vows.  We read them responsively so that he read his parts & I read mine.  We even kissed when he's told to "kiss his bride"!  Remember that whirlpool tub I mentioned earlier?  A little while later, he called me into the candlelit bathroom for a bubble bath!  It was the absolute perfect night celebrating our 4 years together, & I fell asleep perfectly contented.

The next day, the celebration continued as we visited Michael's favorite restaurant - Johnny Ray's - for lunch.  Just before we had left the hotel, Michael snuck a love letter into my purse.  I pulled it out & read it aloud when we finished eating lunch.  It was a good thing that we sat by the window so that I could turn away from the rest of the patrons while I cried.  He expressed such love for & happiness with me that my heart was fit to burst!  After drying up - & eating pie - we went to Solid Ground Christian Books for Michael's anniversary present & spent a good 2 hours visiting with Mike Gaydosh.  He's such a dear man to us both!  Michael got some great books, & we had some wonderful fellowship with this lovely man.  Of course, a stop by Costco is mandatory on any visit to "the big city", some of the fruits of which are being enjoyed by the puppies as we speak!  While there, my beloved purchased an exquisite bouquet of sunflowers!  I tied them up with ribbon & have them sitting right where I'll experience their loveliness most.  They're such happy flowers!  After leaving Costco, we picked up the dogs, got settled at home, & then enjoyed dinner at Olive Garden.  (Needless to say, we won't be eating out for months!)  It was so funny:  upon hearing Michael tell our waitress that it was our anniversary, 2 other couples right by us announced their anniversaries as well!  As I watched those other couples off & on (my attention was really taken up with Michael), I noticed that the husbands were rather unengaged.  Once again, I was filled with thankfulness to be married to my beloved, who was completely focused on me.  He is remarkable!

I know this is long, but I hope you've enjoyed my gushing over Michael & his anniversary surprise for me.  I'm only going to keep you long enough to tell you one more thing, a part of one of our conversations, from me to Michael:

"I have no need for purchased gifts, for what store could possibly contain anything to even remotely compare to the gift you are to me?  When God gave me you, He gave me everything I ever wanted."

I love you, my darling Michael!  Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Adventures with Josie

Cute, isn't she?  Don't let that face fool you, though, she is not innocent!  She is lovable, energetic, funny, eager to please . . . and has a serious case of wanderlust.  Michael told me when we got her that she was going to break my heart with her propensity for climbing fences.  Today, she very nearly did.  Little Miss Josie is clever enough to wait until I walk away from my back door look-out post to make her escape, as she did this afternoon.  Normally, she's just nosing around the magnolia tree when I catch her, but today, when I went back to check, she was nowhere to be found & didn't respond to my frantic calls.  I fled through the house - trying not to disturb Michael, who was still sleeping off his work night - jumped in the truck, & tore off down the road screaming her name from the open windows.  I was a puddle of tears by the time I stopped to ask some neighbors if they had seen her; they probably thought I was crazy.  Of course, the whole time, I was praying in short bursts.  Pretty much all I could get out was, "Please, God, please!"  As I left the neighbors & turned around, there she was, heading back home.  When she heard me calling, she thought I was home, & she was booking it for the backyard.  But as soon as she realized where I was, she wiggled her way to me, at which point I sobbingly scooped her up & drove her home.  Somehow, Michael had known something was wrong & was waiting on the front porch as we pulled up.  Once I got her settled, I dissolved into tears on his shoulder.  He was none too happy with her for the distress she caused me, but I'm just happy she's home safe & sound, contentedly demolishing a rawhide as we speak.  Silly girl.  We're definitely going to have to do something about that fence.

Seeing Jesus in Genesis

“Adam and Eve faced temptation about a tree in a bright, sunny garden, a paradise with no pressure. But Christ faced temptation about a tree in a dark garden, a garden given the name that meant ‘oil press,’ and certainly he felt squeezed like an olive in a press on that dark night, to the point that his sweat was like drops of blood.

If Adam and Eve obeyed God about the tree, they would live. If Jesus obeyed God about the tree, he would die.

Jesus obeyed. And through his obedience he gained for us far more than Adam lost for us through his disobedience.

Adam lost for us the beautiful ‘naked and not ashamed’ of the garden. But at the cross, Christ hung naked and full of shame. It wasn’t his own shame. It was your shame and my shame. He ‘endured the cross, despising the shame’ (Heb. 12:2) so that ‘everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame’ (Rom. 10:11).”

~Nancy Guthrie, The Promised One: Seeing Jesus in Genesis
Of First Importance