Monthly Archives: August 2010

525,600 Minutes

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Recently, 40 billionaires pledged to give at least half of their wealth to charity.  That is a LOT of money going to good causes.  I know these billionaires have more money than they can spend, but it’s still an incredible thing they are doing.  I know we don’t all have money like that, as a matter of fact, most of us will never come close to having that kind of money.  However, there is something we can give back, something worth far more than millions of dollars.  Warren Buffett, who pledged to give away 99% of his wealth, stated the following about his pledge:

Moreover, this pledge does not leave me contributing the most precious asset, which is time. Many people, including — I’m proud to say — my three children, give extensively of their own time and talents to help others. Gifts of this kind often prove far more valuable than money. A struggling child, befriended and nurtured by a caring mentor, receives a gift whose value far exceeds what can be bestowed by a check. 

 I think he hit the nail on the head.  Our time is valuably important.  We never seem to have enough time, so how are we supposed to give more of it?  Let’s think of it this way:

There are 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week (168 hours).  Since there are 52 weeks in a year, there are 8736 hours each year.  

Lets go back and think about each day and week.  The column on the left will show the activity the middle column will show the approximate time spent on the activity each day, and the last column will show the approximate time spent on that activity each week.  


Activity                     Hrs per wk day                    Hrs per week
Sleep                                8                                           56
Eating                              2                                           14
Dressing/Shower            2                                           14
Work                                8                                           40
Driving                             1                                            7             
                                                        Total                    131


That leaves  37 additional hours that we usually have something going, lets figure out how we fill this.  Most of us say we pray and study our Bible every day, lets be generous, and say we do this an hour each day.  That brings our total hours to 138 per week.  We still have 1 1/2 days to fill.  Let’s say we go to worship each Sunday morning & evening and go to Bible class on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening these activities are only 4 hours a week.  I know there is also house cleaning, kids activities, etc.  But We’ve only filled 142 of 168 hours!  That means we still have more than an entire day each week, or 14.25% of the week that we can devote to other worthwhile things!   Just imagine how that adds up over a year!


Tips on spending time wisely:
1.  Make a list of your time priorities.  Worship and Bible class, family, work, sleep, etc…
2.  Make a time budget.  Write down how you spend each hour of the day for a week.  Look to see where you spend most of your time.  Make a list of things you want to start doing, or continue to do, and things you do not want to keep doing, or habits that need change.  Now make a schedule for the week of how you want to spend each hour of every day.  Make sure to include the changes.  Sometimes this takes sacrifice, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.  This is a good activity for kids too.  They also need to learn the value of their time and how to spend it wisely.
3.  Always make sure there is time for God.  We often fill our lives so full that we don’t have time for what is most important.  It’s one thing to say God’s a priority, it’s another thing to make God a priority by giving your time to Him.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
Jonathan Larson, Seasons of Love


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The Curtains

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Lately I’ve thought a lot about motivation.  What spurs me to do the things I do, the way I do them, and at the time I do them?  For well over one year, I have had fabric to make some curtains for Jackson’s room.  I actually purchased the fabric and all of the other supplies while I was on maternity leave a year and a half ago.  The plan has been present, the supplies ready, and even the time has been available, but I have still not finished the curtains.


When we moved to La Grange, I did run across a slight problem:  Jackson’s new room had two windows, not just one.  So I devised a plan, but never put it into action.  Five months quickly passed and then my Mother In Law came for a visit.  My MIL decided to motivate me.  We went to the store, purchased the additional items, cut everything out, and pinned it all together.  When she returned to Oklahoma, I was motivated to finish the curtains the next day.  The next day turned into the day after, then the day after turned into next week.  This kept happening, and a month and a half later, I still have not completed the curtains.


This honestly sounds incredibly lazy of me, but I promise I really haven’t been sitting around doing nothing the entire time.  I’ve done some deep cleaning around the house more than once, ran errands, visited some people, and have done all kinds of other things.  However, I seem to always forget to sew the curtains together.  I have moved then from one place to the next to get them out of my way, but I haven’t taken the couple of hours to sew them so I can hang them in the windows.  


The more I think about the curtains, the more it irritates me that they are not finished.  One day I’ll say, “I need to finish these curtains, tomorrow should be good.”  When the next day comes along, I just say the same thing.  I lack the motivation to finish.


My High School Bible class teacher taught my class over and over not to say, “I’ll do something tomorrow” for a couple of reasons.   The thing that has stuck with me the most is the first reason he gave.  He said repeatedly, “Tomorrow never comes.”  He explained how we never make it to tomorrow.  We’re always looking toward tomorrow, because it’s always in the future.  We’re just chasing after tomorrow.  The other reason is we’re not guaranteed another day so we need to take care of things today.  I thank you for teaching that to me Bill, but I haven’t always put it into action.  I’m real good at letting others know “tomorrow never comes” and if they want to see something done, then to do it themselves, but rarely do I take action myself.  I guess I’m just caught up in chasing after tomorrow.


Thinking on this makes me wonder if I’m chasing tomorrow on my walk with God.  I wonder about the cards I’m going to mail tomorrow, or the Bible study I’m going to start tomorrow.  Am I going to say that encouraging word tomorrow, or am I just going to keep putting God off until tomorrow?  Sure, I may be busy going to class, worship, and all the youth activities, but am I putting God on the back burner when it comes to my personal relationship with Him?  After all, I’m not guaranteed tomorrow, even if I could catch it.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

James 4:13-14 (NIV)

Watering the Grass

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I had not planned on posting anything today, but something happened this morning I think is quite funny.  I decided to share it with you.


Jackson is now 18 months old, and he has been interested in the bathroom and the toilet for several months now.  Since I like to be informed, I decided it was time for me to read up on potty training.  I purchased a book the other day at Half Price Books that is supposed to explain everything you need to know about potty training.  As a matter of fact, the book is titled, The Everything Potty Training Book by Linda Sonna, Ph.D.  “Everything” seemed like a good place to start learning, so last night, before going to bed, I began to read potty success stories.  Even the failures turned out nicely in the long run.  


After reading the first couple of chapters, I understood several things I needed to do.  First, since Jackson’s always worn diapers, I have to teach him where his waste comes from and about wet and dry.  The book explained a good way to do both of these things is to take the child outside without a diaper and let them “water the grass.”  As it was only 80 degrees at that point in the morning, I decided today was a great day for Jackson to start learning.  So I took his diaper off and we went to the backyard.  

At first, everything was just fine.  Jackson was playing in his sandbox and having a good time.  I was relaxing in a chair on the porch with a new book in hand waiting for the opportune time for a teaching moment.  Potty training couldn’t be going better.  Pretty soon Jackson left the sandbox and was wandering around towards the porch.  He walked around for a little while and then stopped by his toy boat.  That’s when I saw my chance!   I set my book down and waited.  I knew he was about to do his business, and sure enough pretty soon he was watering the porch.  That wasn’t quite what I had hoped for, but I wasn’t too upset by it.  The next thing is what caught me off guard.  He wasn’t just watering the porch he was fertilizing it too!  

I decided to go with the flow and tried to explain and show him what he was doing like the book said.  He didn’t seem too interested in what I was saying, so he walked away to a different area of the porch.  Cleaning off the porch was simple, I just wrapped it up in a big leaf and went to bury it.  The next thing I know Jackson was at it again.  I was thinking, “This is a little messier than I anticipated, but at least he’s really getting several learning opportunities.”  However, this time was different from the first time.  As he walked away, he began to trip.  What happened next is kind of a blur.  The outcome was poo smeared into the concrete and all over Jackson.  I soon gasped in horror as a little hand went towards a little mouth.  Fortunately I was quick enough to keep it out, but just barely.  I quickly washed Jackson off with the water hose and sent him back to play in the sand as I washed and scrubbed the porch.  While spraying the water towards the mess (the hose is only about 3 feet long) I also managed to spray my chair and my new book.  

As soon as I had the porch cleaned up and my book wiped off, I took Jackson inside for a bath and began to blow dry my book and think about what had just happened.  The amount of blow drying I had to do allowed for a pretty good think.  I decided several things.  First, it’s not always as easy as the “true” stories in the books.  Second, I should wait to start patting myself on the back until after something happens.  Third, I’m not an expert after reading a couple chapters in a cheap resale book.  Finally, the most important thing I learned from this is experience is: if a book tells you it has everything you need to know about something, unless it’s the Bible, it’s lying!  

Have a happy day!

When It Clicked

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Sunday night at worship, as we were singing, a powerful memory resurfaced.  One thing I love about music is its ability to transport your mind to another time, or to conjure powerful emotions and feelings.  While singing the other night, both of these things happened to me.

At first, I was reminded of singing the same song every worship for the six weeks I was in Japan.  It wasn’t just a casual reminder of singing the song.  I remembered the voices of my brothers and sisters singing this song in both their native tongue and in mine.  I could hear how earnestly they sang with passion in their voices and on their faces as they pleaded for Jesus to fill their land with His grace and mercy.  I heard them as they prayed for His Word to be spread.  I felt the tears I cried with Akiko, the 70 year old woman who understood her condition and wanted to change it, but she was too scared to be baptized.  She was scared because she would be left alone, by herself with no home for dishonoring her family.  Then I remembered how I met Akiko and why I even went to Japan.
I call it, “The Night It Clicked.”  It happened late one Wednesday in August of 2001.  I was meeting under a gazebo between the two main dorms on campus at OSU.  The gazebo was located in a grassy lawn in the middle of a HUGE parking lot for the 1000’s of students living in the dorms.  At the UC, we had a tradition to meet at the gazebo on Wednesday nights from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and in the darkness sing.  People in their dorm rooms could hear us, and people walking by or playing volleyball would often stop to listen for a while.  Sometimes others joined us.  It was an amazing experience similar to the awesome late night, tennis court devotionals you have at church camp under the stars, or around a fire.  Only this was better.  It was better because we all wanted to be there.  We all had work to do and sleep to catch up on, but we chose to spend another hour together praising God and reaching out to a lost campus in song.  
I described all of that, because I want you to understand what it was like when it all came together for me.  It was one of those nights, at the beginning of a new school year.  We were singing, and as I looked around the circle of new and familiar faces, I looked beyond them.  I looked out into the parking lot at the 1000’s of cars, each representing a person.  Each car representing a soul.  Then I looked back at our circle of 30 – 40 and it clicked.  I was so suddenly aware of how many people need what I have but don’t care, or don’t even know it’s there for them.  I realized that night how vast our task is as Christians.  I realized that night I could no longer sit idly by and let other people do the work I should be doing as well.  That was my “Ah ha” moment.  
In the weeks to come, one of the things I decided to do was participate in a Let’s Start Talking campaign.  The following summer I went as part of a team of 5 to Curitiba, Brazil.  The next summer, in 2003, I was part of a team of 3 to Mito, Japan.  It was the memories from Mito that hit me like a brick Sunday evening as we sang “Shine, Jesus, Shine.”  Singing that song made me think not only about the past, but about now, the present.  As I sang, I knew my brothers and sisters in Japan had already sung that song earlier in the day.  I knew they didn’t just sing it, they meant it.  It was their prayer to an Almighty God who can do anything.

Thinking of them made me do something thinking of myself and the commitment I made to God when I put His Son on in baptism.  The commitment I made to share the love He gives me to everyone I see.  I was reminded part of that commitment was also to others.  I made a commitment to the world that I would show them Jesus in my everyday actions, words, and life.  If I’m not fulfilling my commitment, I’m not just letting myself down.  I’m letting down those around me who need God’s love.  I’m letting God down.
Singing that song Sunday night gave me more than just strong memories.  It also challenged me to make good on my promises to God and to others.  It reminded me I promised God I would be like his Son, so I need to do be more Christlike.  It reminded me to not just think about doing something, but to do it.  Instead of just saying I’m going to bring food to the homeless the next time I go to the city, I need to bring food to the homeless.  Instead of just saying I want to send some money to a children’s home in India, I need to write and mail the check.  Instead of just saying I’m going to send cards to the sick, I need to send the cards.  Instead of just staying I’ll pray for someone, I need to get on my knees and pray.  Instead of just singing some words to a pretty song, I need to earnestly mean them with all of my heart.
Thanks Tom for leading that song Sunday night.  I thank God for the reminders and the challenge.

Shine, Jesus, Shine
By Graham Kendrick
Lord, the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining;
Jesus, Light of the World, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us:
Shine on me, shine on me.
Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!

All the Dust

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Tonight I settled into bed, got my book ready, looked up at the ceiling fan and gasped in horror!  For several months, we’ve had the fan on continuously to help circulate the air in the house.  Tonight, for some reason, it was off.  What I saw completely grossed me out!  I saw thick gray dust completely covering the fan blades!  


Immediately I put my book down, jumped out of bed, and ran to the closet which houses my cleaning supplies.  This had to come down tonight before I did anything else.  As I came back into the room, equipped with a full arsenal of rags, dusters, and spray, I realized I needed to cover the bed or it would become the new home to all the dust currently living on the fan.  I quickly draped the bed with old ratty towels that are usually in the car protecting the back seat from Jackson.  Then I went to battle.  The war was on and the dust was putting up a good fight.  It was so thick the Swiffer Duster wasn’t doing the job.  I had to really wipe hard to clean the blades.  I was amazed by how much dust had collected so quickly.  It really had not been very long since I cleaned the blades.  I know I’ve wiped them down a few times in the six months we’ve lived here!


All of the dust really got me to thinking about life in general.  Sometimes I’m a lot like that fan.  My life is dusty, and I need it cleaned.  There are so many distractions, annoyances, and just stuff in my life that clutters things up and makes me dusty.  I don’t know where it all comes from, but it always seems to cloud my vision about what’s important.  


While I was cleaning my fan, I looked around to see what may be causing so much dust.  As I turned around, I noticed the AC vent just two feet from the fan blades.  When I looked closer and saw the dust inside the vent, I knew I had found the culprit.  I also came to the realization if I didn’t get to the source of the problem, then I would always have a dusty fan.  No matter how well I clean the fan blades, with the dusty air blowing on them, it’s not going to take any time at all for my fan to be just as dusty as they were tonight.  Until I clean the ducts, or at least install a filter over my ceiling vents, I will always have a dust problem.


My life is like that as well.  As long as I just clean up the surface of my life, Ill just keep getting dusty.  It’s a superficial clean, something everyone can see, but it doesn’t solve the problem.  What I need to do is call in a specialist to clean out my ductwork.  I know that is easier said than done.  It takes time and sacrifice, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.  Not only will my life truly be clean, when my fan blades start to get a little dusty again, the dusting will not be quite as tedious.

“Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, 


      scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.”

Psalm 51:7  (The Message) 

Hi!!

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Hi Everyone!


I’m obviously new to the blogging sphere.  I decided to start this blog on a whim.  I think this may be a good way for me to decompress all of my thoughts.  If you know me at all, you know I’m full of random, off-the-wall things.  I think it may be a good idea for me to let them out instead of keeping them all inside.  Plus, it may be entertaining for you!


I plan on posting some of my random thoughts on life, spirituality, motherhood, food, and really whatever comes to mind.  So, here it goes.  I hope you find this interesting…  🙂


Laura