Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pure randomness

I really want to get back into the habit of regular blogging, but I can't seem to find the right thing to write about lately. So, here's a little of everything to jump start me.

Lauren's latest phrase du jour is "a little help here??" For instance, as she's trying to open the refrigerator door while holding the orange juice, she turns to me and says, as though she is an adult, "Um, a little help here?"

Joshua is trying so hard to grow up. He has been begging me lately to let him ride his bike with a friend to a little store in town that sells ice cream because the neighbor kids are allowed to do so. I've told him no way, no how. He keeps trying different angles. "Mom, we won't go down Main Street, and we'll cross at the light." "You let me ride to the high school, and that's even farther." (It's not.) So yesterday, he comes up with, "Mom, you're going to have to trust me on my own someday, you know." Yes, Josh, someday I will. But not today.

He's "training" to run a 5k on Saturday. Our library has an annual 5k/Fun Run in August, and last year the kids all participated in the Fun Run. This year Josh has decided he wants to run the "real race," and he's a pretty good runner for an 8 year-old, so I told him he can give it a try. Today I showed him a map of the route and told him I would drive along next to him if he wanted to give it a practice run. His response in a completely deadpan voice: "I can't believe you're letting me do this race, but you won't let me ride my bike to the corner store."

We took the kids to see the movie Zookeeper tonight. (Just to clarify, it has a few inappropriate parts, so this is not a recommendation, just a story. But it was funny. Also, consider this a spoiler warning.) So opening scene of the movie is Griffin (Kevin James) proposing to his girlfriend. She says no and then there is an embarrassingly awkward encounter with a mariachi band that he had already hired to show up right after. Fast forward almost two hours to nearly the end of the movie. She proposes to him five years later, he says no, and she had hired a mariachi band to replicate the one he hired when he proposed. The humor, obviously, was in the irony of the situation being completely reversed. I think it was a little lost on Ethan, who laughed and said, "The band finally caught up with them." Because, you know, the mariachi band had been hot on their tails for five years.

David is having knee surgery in the morning. He tore his meniscus practicing for the alumni football game this summer. Of course, he'll tell you it tore because he spent the day staining the living room floor and not because he was playing football. The fact that he got injured playing high school football at age 35 was purely happenstance. So, anyway, say a prayer for him tomorrow. He's not the surgery pro that I am, so he's nervous about it.

I really hate when The Daily Show is in reruns.

I survived an earthquake today. Though I first blamed it on the kids, yelling, "Whatever you're doing, stop it! You're shaking the whole house!" Who'da thunk it was an earthquake in north central PA?

I went back-to-school shopping for the kids yesterday and enjoyed that it felt appropriately Fall-like at 67 degrees. Summer is pretty short here, and so is Fall for that matter, but I love the chill in the air nonetheless.

In six days, I will send all three of my children off to all-day school for the first time. I can't imagine what it will be like to have a quiet house from 8-3 every day. I'm willing to find out, though!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Defining me

A few months ago in church I joined everyone in singing a familiar old refrain: "I've got a river of life flowing out of me." You probably know the rest about making the lame to walk and the blind to see. I sang the familiar lyrics as I probably have a thousand times in my life (though not likely in the past decade).

Later, though, I began to think about what I had sung. Was it true? Do I have a river of life flowing out of me?

I have the Fount of Life within me, no doubt. The water is there . . . but does it flow out of me?

Usually not.

More honest lyrics might be any of the following:

"I've got a river of criticism flowing out of me"
"I've got a river of judgment flowing out of me"
"I've got a river of selfishness flowing out of me"

Really, that song could go on all night. The things that flow out of me are endless, but unfortunately, not a lot of it is Life.

In the past few weeks, I've tried to be conscious of that, and another truth has taken hold along side it. How should people know that I'm a follower of Christ? Because I wear a cross necklace? Because I don't smoke, get drunk, or hang out in night clubs? Because I don't swear? Because I don't gossip? Lie? Cheat? (Note: These are hypothetical examples, not necessarily fact-based.) What should be the defining thing about me that tells people I'm a Christian?

John 13:35 answers the question: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if ye love one another."

When was the last time you heard someone say, "Oh, she must be a Christian. She's so loving?" We have become so defined by what we oppose that we have entirely lost what we are supposed to be for.

Jesus didn't oppose much. Except hypocrisy. And judgment. And pride in one's own works.

Jesus was for us. He loved. Everywhere he went, he loved. He healed, He delivered, He restored. And in case we might miss the point, He spelled it right out for us: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul; this is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matt. 22:38-40)

So many things He could have said were most important, but He knows that all the outward deeds, the works, the performances spring from the one place: our heart. Until our hearts are filled up with His love, none of the rest matters.

Let's be people who are known for what we DO (love) rather than people who are defined by a list of things we don't do.

I don't know about you, but I want a river of life to flow out of me. That will happen when I care more about demonstrating Christ's love to everyone around me than about making sure they know what I'm against.

"A new command I give you: Love one another." (John 13:34)