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Friday, January 18, 2008

God ... one step ahead of me. As usual.

Well, we are back on the great “blog express.” Debbie is behind the wheel as we tear down I-70 at p-r-e-c-i-s-e-l-y the speed limit. (Riiiiiight.) St. Louis is in the rear view mirror and Cleveland somewhere out in front of the windshield. It is such a good feeling to know that this separation from my wonderful bride might soon be drawing to a close. You know, I really do like her. Obviously I love her. But I really do like her too. I don’t mind sharing a one room apartment with her for a while. We’ll pretend it’s a hotel room and the maid’s are all on strike.

But that’s not the point. This is …

I was taking some time alone with God this morning. I was crashing in what our family calls “The Date Chair.” It’s big and soft and two people can pretty much fit in it. So I was curled up across it and talking to The Father. I was thinking about the events in our lives over the past few years that have brought us to this point. They don’t need rehashing. We have always had a close family. My kids love each other. Everybody approves greatly of those they have chosen to spend their lives with. We even love their in-laws. We have “adopted kids” like Jim and Alisha. How could it be better?

And then I had this thought.

“God, you know what I would do with the rest of my life if you would let me? Seriously? If I had unlimited resources I would build this huge house. It would be a rustic log cabin style on the outside. The inside would be “north woods” d├ęcor but still very modern. A lot of light. Tons of space. Every conceivable convenience and amenity. Enough room for everybody. And then I would invite my kids, their families, those close to them, their in-laws … everybody … and I would take them into my home and we would just live out our lives together. God, I know that is a really selfish thought. They have lives to live and would never want to do that. But if I could call the shots that is precisely what I would do."

The still soft voice of the Holy Spirit spoke. “I know. I totally understand. And that is exactly what I am doing.”

What?

“Remember, Ron? I’ve gone to prepare a place for you, that what I am there you may be also. I get it, Ron. I want all of my kids with me just like you want all of your kids with you. And I DO have unlimited resources. So I am building that house. That’s the way it all ends up. All of us. My family. The family of God, living together in unimaginable beauty and joy … forever. So don’t feel badly, Ron. You are just feeling what I have been feeling for eternity.”

And I think that for the first time in my life maybe I understand a little bit of the passion with which God loves me. And you. Us. His kids. His family. The ache I feel at knowing my kids are spread out from Chicago to St. Louis while Debbie and I take up residence in Cleveland is just like the ache that God feels. He wants His kids to come home. Home. Home.

I hope it’s almost ready.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And our second guest blogger is ...

A dear friend and former teen in my Bethalto youth group. You'll love her! Here's her wisdom for the day ...
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Have you seen the All State commercial where the man with the deep voice says " You should treat people like they are in your home, not in your way" At first I thought wow what a profound statement. Who would think that an insurance company would be pulling at the moral heart strings of America's drivers? I wouldn't have. Especially not All State and for many reasons! Reason number one, when I moved into my first apartment the All State people some how got my number and called me RELENTLESSLY trying to get me to sign up for their coverage. I literally had to put the number in my cell phone as "Do Not Answer" so that when it rang I would know not to answer. It's still there because everyday I live in fear of them calling and me accidentally answering and then hanging up on them. I hate to do that but people who take those jobs have to know that's going to happen right? So that makes it ok in my book! They get paid whether or listen and say no or if I hang up. The second reason I am irritated by this statement is that I drive 40 minutes one way to work and then I drive around all day and turn around and drive 40 minutes back at the end of the day. I do this because I love my job not because I would invite the umpteen hundred people I see on the road ever day into my home. I think to myself as I drive and someone cuts me off I'd rather kick you out of your car then invite you into my home" Of course I would never say this and instead i just grab the wheel and pray to God to continue allowing me safe travel to work but I might throw in there that if that guy were to get a flat tire I wouldn't be at all disappointed! So to you All State Insurance.... stick with what you know, badgering people into buying your service. (even though you're really terrible at that too)

--
Suzy

Where have all the bloggers gone ...

I can almost hear "Peter, Paul and Mary" singing it now. "Where have all the bloggers gone? Long time passing. Where have all the bloggers gone? Long time ago. Where have all the bloggers gone? Writers turned chicken, most every one. When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?"

I expected a huge influx of potential blogs to fill my void over the course of this week. To date I have received ... one. Thank God for Bella. It's not too late. Get those entries in! Let's go! This could be your road to fame and fortune! (Probably not ... but who knows?)

On the more important side of life, I do believe that God is doing something odd. He majors on odd. I came back to St. Louis to slay the "insurance dragon." That has not happened. But ... I may have found Debbie a job about 3 miles from our apartment that would provide not only a place for her to work BUT ... insurance after 120 days. How weird is that? I had to drive 550 miles to turn up a potential answer 3 miles away. Hey, I'm not looking to complain! I'll take whatever God sends and thank Him for it.

Your continued prayers about this stuff is really appreciated.

Later ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And our first guest blogger...

Our first guest blogger is my "Almost Daughter In Law." It becomes official in October at Beaver Creek, Colorado. But for now she is just my dear friend. (You can find her own blog on my links to the left under "Laura.") Her name is "Laura" but she often goes by "Bella." Take it away, Bella...
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(disclaimer) Ron is busy...and I was asked to blog/ramble in his absence.

Recently I was being reminded of how much I miss taking undergrad classes. This is mostly because I recently started taking MBA courses and it has proven itself worthy of the debt it will surely cause me. During the 4 years of my undergrad degree I had the opportunity to take a lot of classes that allowed to become extremely introspective and a little more self aware than I had ever thought was allowed...or definitely needed. In my Interpersonal Communications class I shocked the professor who had assigned that we read a book called Discovering Your Strengths. After I read the book and took the 40 page personality test, it was calculated that my number one strength was "woo".....which is one of the rarest number one strengths to be assigned. Basically it just means that I "woo" people in to liking me, talking to me, getting me things...giving me more than passing grades for less than passing effort.

Perhaps the best piece of introspection that I ever got from one of these classes (that didn't inspire me to convince some other poor soul to do something ridiculous for me...just for the sake of taking my new "woo" for a test drive) was the topic of values in my Ethics class. Oddly enough the class was taught by the campus lawyer. I never let him forget the irony in that.... The truly ironic part was that he was actually very good at teaching us on the truth behind ethics and values. One of the most dynamic (yet simplistic) things that came out of that semester for me was him saying "Values are not by definition the things that we believe or show priority....or the things that we say we believe or say we show priority.....they are the things that we SHOW we believe and we GIVE priority to".

For some reason or the other that truth for me had never really felt so tangible. I had a long list of things I had labeled as "my values". Church, school, family, friends....blah blah blah. The values that would make me seem most normal....most inconspicuous....least controversial. No one wants to realize that the thing they feel they prioritize more than anything in their life is their Tivo...or their sleep schedule....or their money. Everyone believes that because they love their family or friends or their church....that it automatically becomes a value..... But where is the action? What makes it true?

Who wants to be the first one to say...."yes I believe that my Christianity is something I base all of my values on....yet I spend most if not all of my money before I can tithe...I waste all of my time on 'life' before I read the Word or pray....and I don't plan on giving up the fight for MY will even after I ask God to show me His...". I never thought of "values" as being such an action word....not just a state of mind. It's like saying "I'm so grateful I have the full use of my legs..." and then never getting out of a wheelchair. It's incredibly handicapping.

This wasn't really shocking to anyone else in my class....but for some reason it really took me by surprise. My values are more than a list I write down during some boring lecture. They are what I do with my day. They are how I choose to talk to people. They are how I interpret and apply the Word of God. I hope and pray I never find myself in that proverbial (and metaphorical) wheelchair....that state of mind when you realize you are nothing less than a fake....unbeknownst to even yourself.

I hope my values are a testament to my list....and that the list is NOT a testament to my ignorance.

Gods love, the LORD's grace and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you...
Bella

Applications Being Accepted!

I have made the decision not to be stupid. Having arrived back in Bethalto about ... oh .... 20 minutes ago I have realized THERE AIN'T NO WAY THIS BODY WILL BE DRIVING ANY LONG DISTANCE TOMORROW! God is good but the road is loooooooong. And on the northern end it was very, very snow covered. And my head is spinning. And I think I'm going to throw up. And no, I'm not kidding.

So. Who wants to blog? I'm going to be doing my best to slay the "insurance dragon" while I'm here. That means my blogging ability will be minimal. So if you REALLY want to be a guest blogger here's your chance! Write your blogs (as many as ya want ... it's free, doncha know ...) and email them to me at www.churchaintforsissies@yahoo.com. If it's acceptable by my impeccable standards ... you're on! And if you submit please let me know if you want your name to be published. Otherwise you remain anonymous.

Oh, this oughta be fun ...

See ya in blogville!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Nascar 101

Tomorrow night there will be a meeting at my house in Bethalto concerning the all too difficult ... insurance. While thinking, praying, etc., I realized that this meeting is so potentially critical that I need to be there. (insert sigh here!) So I'm going to play the "Nascar Game" tomorrow. I'll be leaving Sheffield Lake early to arrive by meeting time at 5:00 PM. Then I'll be leaving Bethalto early on Wednesday in an attempt to be back in Sheffield Lake by church at 6:30 PM. Ya lose an hour going that way. (Insert an even heaver sigh here.) I just mention this in blog-ville because I would appreciate the prayer cover as I follow the white lines ...

Thanks. And pray for the insurance meeting too.

Anybody care to be a "guest blogger" in my spot for a couple of days? Applications being accepted...