Saturday, December 1, 2012

All I want for Chistmas

I casually asked my youngest daughter (she's 19) what she wanted for Christmas this year, and she said " A gun. Something compact that I could carry in my purse. You never know." When I asked my oldest daughter she said, " A taser..." (after all she is living in LA alone). 

Nothing says Christmas like the gift of weaponry.

What happened to Ugg boots, ihome, ipad and Juicy Couture stuff. (not that anyone was gonna get those things anyway, but hey, they didn't even ask!)

So I decided we are scaling back. Waaaay back. My middle daughter works for an after school program for 3rd graders in Virginia, and when she asked one little boy what he wanted for Christmas, he said, "one of those..." he was pointing to her glove!  

When I sent a small donation to the organization (and I know I am risking something simply by stating I did a good act rather than keeping it secret), Word Made Flesh in Peru, (my daughters went there on a mission trip in 2009, and many of you helped them financially), the thank you card I received stated in part: "We are designating your gift to buy 2 Christmas baskets that will each be filled full of staple food items and specialty treats for families who are striving to live off of the streets and support their own family and children...your gift is a tangible sign of God's great love...."

What the what? If these aren't wake up calls to all of us who run to KOP mall and buy a bunch of stuff for our families, stuff they clearly don't NEED, than I don't know what is. That chocolate fountain I bought last year seems even more ridiculous now than when I first bought it.

I mean, one glove?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Praying through Life

There's a song in the musical Wicked called "Dancing Through Life". Well I am praying my way through life. Praying like my life depended on it, 'cause at it turns out, it actually does.

 E. M. Bounds wrote, "In God's ability to do, He goes far beyond man's ability to ask". This pretty much sums up what I already suspected. I have absolutely no grasp on God's immense ability!

I have prayed for the same thing over and over as if He didn't hear me the first time. Or He can't make it happen. I started realizing this is sin; a denying of the Almighty's almighty-ness?  

Prayer is actually evolving every day for me. It's now becoming a conversation, an intimate relationship with my Creator, a two- way street. Disarmingly honest, sometimes painful to hear what He has to say and so gratifying when I actually understand. Delightfully satisfying.

Grasping God's ability. Awesome. I will keep praying my way through life. And along the way I'll do some dancing too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Titles to Books I will probably never write

My best friend Kim and I share deep, meaningful conversations about God, relationships and money.  We also invent book titles to books we will probably never write. We love this. I am hoping you will too, here are some of our favs:

Carelessness Costs : A journey through the deep abyss of carelessness, how it ruins relationships, time, money, precious items and the cost of replacing things or people or relationships that can never really be replaced because you were careless! 

Not My Kid!!...Another how- to on parenting: Never underestimate the power of denial; especially when it comes to your child, and especially when other parents feel very free to tell you things you don't want to know about your kid #americanbeautytagline#eyeswideopen#lookatyourownkid.

How Not to Succeed in Business, By Not Really Trying: An essay instructing you on how not to study business in school, nor work in it, and therefore not succeeding. Easy Sunday reading for the little slacker in all of us.

The Magic Eraser for Your Soul:  If only Mr. Clean would come in and magically erase all the blotches and blunders and regrets on your soul. Oh, but that's right, we have someone much, much better than Mr. Clean. We have God. He's not magic, but He's the only one who can bleach and purify us better than any Johnson & Johnson product ever could. Booyah!

Thank you Kim for your insightful and funny contributions for our future New York Times Best Sellers that we will probably never write. I can't not do it without you. (yes I know I used a double negative). Whatevs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Ghetto to Good Job

How do you pray?  Is praying a conversation you are having with God while driving, but really you're just talking to yourself, a rambling narrative in your head, wishing someone or something would conform to your ideas and ways at that moment? Just rambling notes to God.

Or are you intentional? Do you sit quietly somewhere each day and meditate and give thanks and praise to the Almighty? I don't. I am learning to pray. I am reading books on the subject. I want to pray the way C.S. Lewis wrote about prayer : "lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." That's how I am learning to pray. Intentional, devotional, determined and honest. I want to be fully present in prayer.

I am laying it out there Lord, and it ain't always pretty. But I'm praying.

I used to say "as long as I get in, as long as I slide into Heaven, sliding like Indiana Jones, I don't care if I have to live in the ghetto of Heaven, just as long as I get in".

Now I feel differently. I've changed. I want to see God's face the day I die and hear "good job Maria, you changed; you were a good and faithful servant".  It's hard to think of yourself as a servant in this  world, it's countercultural to what we've been taught. But I am trying.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown

Fall on your knees.............

That's it for me. That's Christmas. Nothing embodies Christmas more than that line from that particular hymn. It moves me, it reminds me why I am here. The worship He deserves.

And no I don't want to hear Christina Aquilera singing it, not Mariah Carey either, and dare I say not even Celine Dion or Josh Groban. I want to hear me singing it with my family and a whole bunch of other people in my church, holding candles, singing with thunder. 

And that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.

The Not So Sweet Taste of Bitterness

How does the bitterness go away? Simply by getting on your knees at the foot of the bed and asking God to come into your heart and erase it from you? My bitterness is deep and layered and crusty, not pastry-like, more like burnt stuffed brie, (which by the way I have recently committed and it was bitter and nasty, haha). Julia Child I am not.

I want to read the Word, pray for my enemies, or as we say now our frenemies, and feel unburdened. But deep deep down that burnt layer still sizzles. I am broken by bitterness. I am convicted of bitterness. Yet when I read something Lord-inspired, or simply pray and by praying I just beg God to cleanse the deepest layer of ugly in me, I slowly start to not care anymore. Is that the Lord dissolving my bitterness? I sure hope so. 

Friday, November 23, 2012


Thinking about words. I love them. I was just looking up words in the Urban Dictionary. Words like bupkis, butkis, malarkey or malarky...non sequitur.
Words can heal, words can destroy, words can refresh, rekindle, restart and relax. They can also drive you mad. Words can end relationships, create dissension, screw up your finances.

I guess the only words I should care about more than any are His Words. But I get so distracted with other words. Other peoples' words.