Sunday, April 23, 2006

Spice It Up!

It all depends on your taste! Cooking is not one of my better atributes. I can do it satisfactorily, but what I prepare is definately not outstanding. One thing is for sure, I have learned to use a variety of spices in what I prepare. Something a bit more than salt and pepper.
The truth requires a certain amount of patience. I tend to flip the control knob to high, slap on a pan and have at it....hoping what's in the pan is fortunate to make it to the table instead of the trash.
I have a wonderful friend who is a real cook. She's so good at it. When you walk into her kitchen there are shelves of cookbooks. Her refrigerator is bursting at the seams with delicious chewables. She's so well prepared that you could name off any dish and she's got the ingredients to make it. For her, the kitchen offers a quiet refuge from the day. She can mix and bake away any frustrations she may have had during the day. The great part about that is, there are goodies to be had as a result.
For me, the kitchen is a place to get in and out of. I like to cook but I don't love to do it. It's not restful for me because my creativity doesn't lie within the confines of a beautiful dish. I'm much happier putting pen to paper. Like I said, it's all in what your taste is.
This same friend is the one who taught me to use a mixture of spices. She taught me to take a plain piece of chicken and make it mouth watering all because of the spices. I was pretty much raised on good old salt and pepper.
Our lives need a little variety at times as well. Sometimes we need to step out from the boundries of our comforts and try something different. It's knocks off the "mundane" and brings a little zest into our hearts.
I often wonder if God gets tired of me being "the same ole me." He has stepped into my life frequently in the last twenty years and made some real changes. He knows where my fears lay and He's challenged me. One could say, "He's spiced me up a bit." However, God never lets me forget that beneath it all, I still need a little salt and pepper to give me good seasoning.
It's a good thing God keeps me well stirred. Just when I feel snuggled in and comfortable -- that's when everything breaks loose.
That's when it's time to walk outside and ponder awhile. Then flip open the grill! There's nothing like a good old fashioned hamburger with salt and pepper.
Somewhere along the way, I hope and pray I've been that seasoning for someone else. The Lord knows, He's used good friends to spice me up a bit. They've probably left my house shaking their heads in amazement....but, they've all left a little flavor behind.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What is Greatness?

There are times I sit and stare into the clouds wondering how they could have been created so utterly beautiful. Every one is different and each holds a picture; only clear to its beholder.
The vastness that stems as far as the eye can see, could have only been made by someone of infinate greatness.
I can remember as a child, laying on the grass and gazing into the sky, trying to find animal shapes. It was always a challenge to search for the figures of my favorite pets. Even then, I was awed at how the clouds twisted, twirlled and formed the imprints which hid inside my head. Learning to use my imagination began right there -- cloud watching.
Now, in mid-life, I still find myself cloud watching...and still impressed at greatness of the world around me. Just to think that God, in all His infinate wisdom, simply "thought" things into existance.
I find it humorous as scientist try to figure the in's and out's of how creation happened. They just don't get it. But isn't that how most people are? They long for the why's and how's instead of accepting the do's and done's? Sometimes it shouldn't matter how something is made -- Just that it is!
Life is so rushed these days and I still find myself occassionally daydreaming into the clouds. It's a quiet way to think -- to rest and ponder. It's a great time to assess ourselves and all the decisions we make on a daily basis. Then, right in the middle of our thoughts the question of "what is greatness?" pops in.
How could all this have come into being in such a magnificiant and perfect way. Every intimate piece knitted together in seamless picture -- flawless until we take hold of it. Greatness is found within the majesty of the Creator who defined the picture. We can't imagine the how's or whys because God is GOD. There is greatness within the clouds that should do nothing more than offer proof of deity which longed for our company, created us, loves us and forgives us. That, my friend is greatness. Isn't it amazing?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


We recently attended the wedding of our niece in Andrews, NC. Somewhere in the Smokie Mountains, in a part of the Cherokee National Park (or somewhere pretty close), we found the tiny town of Andrews. Primarily, there to host summer campers and whitewater rafters, there was sweet refuge in this little place.
Of course, it couldn't have been located in a more beautiful region and though the green of trees and the flowers had not yet sprouted toward the sun, there was a pleasant silence here.
I walked out on the deck of field house we were in and I noticed there was silence. Nothing. Well...let me clairify that. No cars, no trains, no ratrace -- only the breeze and in the distance, the river. Overall, silence. There was no one to ask me questions, no one to make me move, not a soul willing to interupt me at that moment.
I placed my hands on the railing and lifted my head toward the sky; a chill from the mountains touched my arms. My eyes were closed as I stretched my neck to feel the warmth of the afternoon sun. It was so restful. That's when I realized, God's "quiet" is a whole lot different from our daily run of the mill "quiet." My normal quiet time includes the dogs barking, or the phone ringing downstairs, the alarm clock or the tv in the background -- it mostly means, nobody's talking to me. But God's quiet -- wow, it was different.
It's no wonder He created places like this. He wanted a place He could sit down and truly enjoy the peace He made. I'm convinced there's no "real" silence in our world today, but there is certainly serenity. Here, in this tiny town of Andrews, I found that peace and serenity. One had to take in a deep, long breath and exhale ever so slowly, just to feel the stress drain out of your body.
Ah, the mountains. I was raised in the mountains, just not THIS deep into the mountains. I also probably wouldn't have trouble becoming a hermit of sorts, if I lived someplace like Andrews. In the thirty minutes I stood absorbing the restfullness of this place, I felt as if I'd rested for hours.
Take time to listen to the silence....God's silence.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

In God We Trust

A good friend shared a special story with me about his daughter. It's tender
and touching; one that deserved to be shared, "for out of the mouths of
A father kissed his young daughter as he placed her in the car to leave.
"Give Dad a kiss." He said as he pulled her close for a peck on the cheek. Her tender lips pressed against his face and the love of a father bounded.
"Here Daddy. Take this." She pulled open his fingers and placed a quarter in his hand. "Read this everyday."
He smiled at the thought of her giving him her quarter, not really absorbing what her intent was.
"No, Daddy," the child insisted, "Read it over and over."
"It's a quarter, honey."
"I know, but read it, Daddy." He leaned over and kissed her once more, thanking for her for the coin and promising to read it frequently. He pushed the door closed and waved as the car left the driveway. His heart ached as he watched the car turn onto the highway. He already missed her. Walking up onto the porch, he sat down on the steps and slowly loosened his grip. It's a quarter. Still, the man kept his promise. Flipping the coin to its backside, he gasped. Tears welled in his eyes as he realized the words his daughter wanted him to continually read. "In God we trust."
Wow, what a powerful ministry from the mouth of a child. Isaiah 43:11 tells us, "I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior." If we would only believe those words, better yet -- if we would only follow the advice of a child. Children have a unique ability to blindly trust. They don't question the reasons why they should believe; they just wholeheartedly trust.
I later learned this dad taped the coin backside up, to his bathroom mirror and continued to faithfully read it daily. If we could trust like a child we would certainly be in better shape. God requires no explanation. He is who He is. He is what He is. -- almighty and awesome. He is God and Savior. Apart from Him, there is no other.
In the words of a child, wise beyond her years, "In God we trust."