So, maybe it’s the crazy schedule we’ve had lately, maybe it’s the fact that my beloved has been gone for a couple of days, or maybe it’s just that working with young adults has made my sense of humor dark and twisted, but these Caring for Babies instructional posters triggered the laughing/crying emotion that I hate and fear. In retrospect, I suppose the teething tennis shoe was a bad idea and I should apologize to my kids.
I took this little test yesterday – it helps you pick a presidential candidate based solely on the issues. It’s fun, but also a little like the girl who says she doesn’t care if the guy is cute, as long as he makes her laugh, until she dates a homely funny guy and then decides she actually kind of cares about the cute. Yeah, it’s a little like that. Anyway – check it out here. (It’s worth it, just to see the faces pop up in the windows!)
And a loving piece of advice: this test is built on your opinions about some very important issues. If you don’t have an opinion yet…get one! Do some homework! Read Real Clear Politics or Citizen Link (from Focus on the Family and it contains fascinating stuff!) or anything else you can beg, borrow or Google so you are educated on the issues your country is facing.
Let me know how it turns out – or at least let me know if you’re surprised at how it turned out! (I was surprised at my result…probably because I will usually pick the best communicator as my favorite, even if the best communicator is not actually the best…um…person. This time, for my kids’ sake, I want the best person.)
I love safety. Security is one of my top five core values. However, my dad used to always tell me, “Safety in God is not the absence of danger…it’s just the presence of faith in the face of fear.” He said that kind of stuff because he’s pretty much brilliant. Anyway, here’s a clip from a message by Francis Chan (one of my new favorites) that addresses the same issue – also brilliantly. It’s only 3 minutes, but it’ll mess with your head and your plans and definitely your view of safety if you let it.
P.S. How much do I wish I could preach from a balance beam? MUCH!
An Easy Bake oven. Rocky Road ice cream. A baby monkey. A handsome husband.
A Pong game. A better teacher. An awesome locker partner. A pink satin jacket. A handsome husband.
A part time job. A day without back pain. A worthy win. A handsome (and passionate) husband.
A drivers license. A stereo with cassette player. An acceptance letter. A good roommate. A godly (and hopefully handsome) husband.
Another part time job. A way to love a hard-to-love friend. A chance to share Jesus. A decent haircut.
A great marriage. A full time job. A car that would run. A healthy baby. A house of our own. A strong sense of purpose. A miracle for Linda. A message to speak. A new gift of grace. A friend I could trust.
A green light. A paid bill. A break in my speaking schedule. A chance to get away.
All these things I have prayed for at some time in my life. Some important, some not at all. Some long-lasting (23 years with the handsome, passionate man of my dreams), some just vapor (Pong, anyone?)
My heart fairly tumbles over itself with desires and dreams and strategies and schemes. It churns and spins over words and wants and sometimes forgets that all of life…all that I need…everything that works and wins is captured in One Thing.
And from that desire springs…well, everything else. Over the past few months, as His presence has become the first and favorite priority of my life, Psalm 27 has become the distillation of my 42-year wish list…the anthem of my existence. Everything. And as I read it this morning, I was amazed to find my own heart woven in the words. I laughed and cried and all I could say is: finally. It’s good to finally and fully want the only thing that I can truly have.
Psalm 27:4-5 I’m asking God for one thing, only one thing: to live with Him in His house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate His beauty; I’ll study at His feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, the perfect getaway from the buzz of traffic.
Monday is an interesting day, yes? The start of something new (good). The end of the weekend (bad).
A quick reflection on the weekend at the Stern home. Tessie had 10 girls over for her birthday. Ten thirteen-year-olds + 5 hours = WOW. To celebrate the life and liberty of Tess Stern, we made amazing pound cake sundaes. So named, because of the pounds you will gain.
On Saturday, I got to catch up on some reading. I’m working on research for a parenting conference I’m planning for May, and I’ve been sorting through books, books, books…as well as DVD’s and other resources so we can offer the parents and families at our church the very best stuff available. So, my parenting book treasure for this weekend is: Single Parenting That Works by Dr. Kevin Leman. If you are a single parent or you know and love one, pick up this book…it’s just wonderfully balanced and encouraging. (If you know of a great book on marriage or parenting, PLEASE shoot me a comment ASAP. I’m always looking…)
I ran into another treasure in the March issue of Bon Appetit. There, among the glossy food-filled pages was a column on cinnamon rolls that was warm and wonderful (just like the perfect cinnamon roll). I checked out the author’s blog and: MORE wonderful! Even if you’re not a foodie, you gotta check it out at Orangette.
Sunday was my first Sunday in about 8 weeks that I’ve been able to just go to church and not speak anywhere. Oh, truly…SO great! And, my treasure of the weekend was absolutely Pastor Ken’s message called Never Give Up . If you get a chance, give a listen! I’m up to bat this weekend in the Moses series and I’m speaking on the 10 plagues and the Passover and I’m SO excited! Studying for it has just been remarkable.
So, that’s my weekend. A little of everything. A lot of wonderful. I wanted to pass the treasures along to you. Can’t wait to see what the week has in store…oh, yeah, Valentine’s Day! OH…I almost forgot! I have a great list for single people and I hope to get it posted before Thursday. I promised Jessica and Mekenzie…it shall be done!
Tess Stern was born on a snowy, 7-degree day in the middle of the heartland. She’s our only true Cornhusker – thus, the red hair. She came during a really difficult and dark time in my life and her arrival into our world was the clearest picture I’ve ever seen of how God makes all things new. He’s always at work. Always building. Always beautiful.
Besides her beautiful red hair, Tess walks life out with a quiet dignity that gives her a sense of mystery…like you just can’t quite figure her out. She’s definitely picked up the Stern woman sass and can deliver a clever line in a way that I’m sure will get her in trouble one day, but for now just makes me laugh and proud. Her love for Jesus and family is something I treasure and her loyalty to friends is something that I – at 42 – envy. Without a doubt, I am blessed to know her and beyond blessed to be her mom.
I love you, Miss Stern. Happy Birthday.
I’m glad you found me here at WordPress! As I was hopelessly trying to sleep last night, I was thinking about what a weird amount of money fifteen dollars is. It seems like way less than $20, which seems like real money. I tried to think of things that would really fall under the 15 mark, but would also be tremendously wonderful treats for my life. So, for your hypothetical reading enjoyment, we open with my thoughts on: What to do With $15
- MAC Lip gloss. $14. (Smashbox is my favorite because it doesn’t smell like cake batter or 7th-grader, but it’s outside the range by 3 bucks.)
- A plate of calamari at Deep. $13.
- The Zondervan Bible Handbook. $14.99. I LOVE this book! It’s loaded with maps and charts and commentary and all kinds of great stuff for those looking to unravel the mystery locked in the pages of the B.I.B.L.E.
- Six Dozen Life-changing Donut Holes at Richard’s Donuts (except I’m not going there anymore. I’m not. No.)
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero. How much therapy could $15 save you? Read this book and find out!
- This cute necklace at Forever 21. $12.99. I love jewelry that’s cheap enough to date – you don’t have to marry it!
- Lonely Planet’s Travel Guide to Mexico. Only about 10 bucks and I get to spend the day on the beach!
- It won’t buy you a cute little baby, but it definitely will feed, clothe & educate one for two weeks.
So…that’s my list. What would you do with $15 bucks?
Luke 5:18-20 Some men arrived carrying a paraplegic on a stretcher. They were looking for a way to get into the house and set him before Jesus. When they couldn’t find a way in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof, removed some tiles and let him down in the middle of everyone, right in front of Jesus. Impressed by their bold belief, He said, “Friend, I forgive your sins.”
>Strong’s word for crowd is “multitude” and it means “rabble” or a low class of people.
While I have often been just as paralyzed as this guy: no direction, no vision, no hope of forward motion with Jesus, my issue in reaching Him is just the opposite. It’s not the rabble pressing in on Jesus that limits my proximity…it’s the rabble pressing in on me. While I have this awesome and every-day opportunity to seek and find Him, to ask for healing from my immobility…I let the crowd hold me back. Not everything in the crowd is “rabble” ( a low class of distraction). My family, my home, my job are all certainly worthy of my attention, but lots of things are not. All of these pieces of the crowd – in varying degrees of intensity – push in to absorb my time, my day and even my desire to find a way in to seek Jesus. Actually, I think a LOT of people – especially Americans – give up too quickly when seeking Jesus gets hard to do.
So I love how this guy and his friends just will not give up.
They devise a plan to get him in and quite a plan it is…it’s a gutsy move. He could get hurt, he could be rejected by the angry mob – or even an angry Jesus. Somewhere, it’s clear that this guy developed such a desperation for healing that the risk was worth it. Of all the characters in the enormous Word of God, I think I may identify with this one the most. Somewhere inside of 2007, I got desperate to find Jesus. Desperate to be built by Him…even if that meant being taken apart first. Even if it meant risking everything.
For so many years, I have stayed hidden in the crowd and suffocated by – yet secretly thankful for – their company. Finally, I decided to find a way through the roof. Though it would have seemed ridiculous and impossible a few years ago, the tile that had to be moved was the tile called: MORNING. The very small door labeled “before sunrise” was the opening through the roof that I needed to get through the crowd. In fact, I’ve discovered that the streets are pretty quiet and the ordinarily busy and bustling world is nowhere to be found at that time. The only one pressing in for time with me at that hour is the very One I’ve been desperate to talk to. And finding Him here has been the best thing in my life.
Absolutely the best thing ever.
Steve’s brother, Jon, and his family live in Kenya, where they run Kings Kids Village – an orphanage for children who have lost their families to AIDS. Please pray for them as they are in the middle of rampant violence and unrest and are responsible for many children and workers. Here is the latest update from Jon Stern – it’s long, but important in understanding the scope of the situation. Our God is GREAT and His power will prevail…but I believe that prayer is going to be the key that turns the lock. Here’s the letter from Jon:
Hello everyone, and sorry we haven’t written an update
lately…….we’ve heard from some of you that you are hearing the news
and following that way – you are probably getting as much as we are –
EXCEPT for what’s on the ground here at KKV……so that’s why we are
writing an update today. The unrest is getting worse and worse, and
there is talk that now things will be really bad for the rest of the
week……and it has slowly encroached on to Nairobi and anarchy
ensues. The country is shaken to it’s very foundations.
Here at KKV, like I said before, we have been in a haven of peace. But
today, the unrest comes close. Many of our workers who live in this
area are fleeing their homes with only what they can carry – threats are
coming that whole housing areas will be burned. We have taken in all
of our employees and their families from these areas……..today, we
went and bought mattresses for the floor and a good stock of food to
cover the extra mouths…..hopefully, enough for a whole week…..and we
are yet to see if more will still come – as many went home early to get
their children out of the schools and to see if their area is
The saddest thing is the tension that is here – right here
among us……pointing of fingers and accusations and side taking. WE
told them ALL that if they are to come here to stay, they must leave all
that outside…..we are Switzerland – TOTALLY NEUTRAL, both tribally and
Otherwise, i don’t know how to tell you to pray – just pray in the
Spirit and let Him guide you…..but please DO pray – we need God’s
protection and KNOW we will have it AND we believe that God has the
only answers……no one else seems to get to the real bottom of the issues.
Thanks and blessings,
Jon and Molly Stern