Monday, April 8, 2013

Pioneer Woman, I just wuv you

So, me and Ree. 
Pioneer Woman and Milpitas Mom.
Turns out we have a lot in common.
Well, a few things in common. We both like to eat. We both like to cook. We both like photography, although you'd never know it by the looks of this blog. BEGIN RABBIT TRAIL: This is not because I don't take an insane number of photographs. Because I do. It's because I've never learned (hangs head in shame) to get the photos from the camera into the computer. There. I said it. I rely on my former teenager to do that. Which brings me back to my original post idea. END RABBIT TRAIL. We both homeschool our kids, although she has been blessed with a bigger brood than I. We both like...well, you get the picture. We have stuffs in common, PW and I do.
Therefore, I shouldn't be surprised upon learning that she feels the same way about her kids growing up that I do, given that we're practically twins and all. In a nutshell, she's gonna miss them. Misses their babyhood already, in fact.
Ree, I feel your pain.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I got a little comment-spanking on my April 2nd entry. Just a little one, mind you, from friends I love dearly (Hi, KM! Hi, SN!). And it's my fault. I wrote an incomplete and slightly depressing entry about (picture my face melting a little here) My Baby Growing Up. And sort of ... left out all the good parts.

I intend to remedy that. But I have a few other things on my full plate that need attention first, so the editing will have to wait it's turn in line. The "good stuff" will be in another color, for your reading enjoyment ;) You are welcome, my friend. You are welcome.
And while you're waiting, please read how Ree--and about 5 billion other moms--feel when their babies gwow up a wittle:
http://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2013/04/seven-years/#comments
"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him." Psalm 127:5 (NLT)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Best. Song. EVAH.

Been playing or singing this nearly nonstop for 4 days now.
We're attending a Cleansing Stream Retreat this Saturday. This is the time the enemy of our souls likes to mess with us, tries to separate us from our God, tries to cast doubt upon His greatness. 
This song helps me remember that I'm on the winning team. I read the book, I know who wins. I will not be shaken. I will not renounce the name of my Lord and my Saviour, my best friend, the lover of my soul, Jesus Christ.
He overcame death for me, and for you. You don't have to earn it--it's done. You don't have to deserve it--none of us do. You don't have to "clean yourself up" before you let Jesus lead you--that's His job. 
The only thing He asks is that you follow Him, the One who wears the Victor's Crown.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2nBOGA6X2g
"...they will receive the Crown of Life that God has promised to those who love Him."
James 1:12 (NLT)

(The Crown of Life refers to a Believer's reward at the judgement seat of Christ, mentioned as various images in the Bible, including those of precious metals, garments and crowns. (See Rev. 2:10, 2 Cor. 5:10, Rev. 22:12, 1 Cor. 3:8-14, Rev. 3:5, 18, 19:7-8, and for crowns, see 1 Cor. 9:25, Rev. 2:10 and 3:11.) None of us, no matter what we do or how "good" we believe we are, can get to Heaven on our own merit. Jesus grants us His Victor's Crown when we believe on Him and follow His ways. Go to www.biblegateway.com to look up specific verses if you do not own a Bible. Then call me--I will buy you one ;)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Baby's Birfday

Today is my precious first-daughter's birthday.
I can't believe it--it seemed just yesterday it was her birthday, and here it is, her birthday again.
And for some reason, I always get a little cryish on my kids' birthdays. Memories of when they were fuzzy-headed, helpless and toothless flood my mind, and if I'm honest, mistakes I've made enter in as well. There's a sense of wanting to go back in time, wanting to "do it all over again", to avoid the wrongs that I've committed in raising them.
And then, I remember that they are who they are as the sum total of their raising, their experiences, their own personalities, which were shaped by their raising and experiences. And I get happy again.
Happy Birthday to my precious, sweet, God-loving, gorgeous, intelligent, funny and talented daughter. I don't know if you'll ever realize how precious and special you are to me. Words can't really do the feelings of this mom justice.
I love you. I always have, and I always will.
"I will put my trust in Him, behold, I and the children God has given me." Hebrews 3:13

Monday, April 1, 2013

My change of heart over swaddled feet

I've had a meh-affair with Tom's shoes since they first became popular. I'm not overly fond of the style, although I'm all for comfort. When I heard someone refer to them as "Foot Diapers", I couldn't stop laughing. That is exactly what they look like to me.
My 8-year old daughter is getting her first pair of Tom's shoes soon. She's paying for them herself, with Birthday money and other money she's saved, as these Foot Diapers don't come cheap. They're ordered and on the way, and she is so excited :) My 19-year old has bought several pairs of Tom's, liking both the comfort and the fact that Tom's gives away a pair of shoes to a needy child for each pair sold.
But today, my skeptic's heart wondered: what kind of shoes are being given away? What if Tom's takes the money for these (seriously overpriced) shoes, and instead of giving away a similar pair, gives $5.00 flip-flops to impoverished kids? How awful would THAT be?
So I found this video...

http://youtu.be/7MV3HWQHl1s


...and can't stop crying.
All those little faces...all those little toes...they're so like my own kids, in so many ways.
All children love to play; all children love hanging out with friends, having fun.
But so many kids around the world have never had a pair of shoes of their own. While my 8-year old is excited that her new shoes are on the way, it's hardly the first pair she's received. She doesn't have to worry that a cut on her foot may lead to gangrene or tetanus or other life-threatening diseases. A new pair of shoes for us means something very different than a new pair of shoes for a child in extreme poverty. Here in the United States, we live with proper sewage facilities, free of diseases that children in third world countries succumb to every single day--diseases that could be prevented by protective footgear. We've got to stop thinking of "those" kids as people who are somehow different than us, happy to be shoeless, not bothered by the fact that they aren't protected against disease. Their little faces tell us they are exactly like us, like our kids, like we were as kids.
It's enough to make me want to purchase a pair of Tom's. 
"Stand, therefore, having your ... feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace..." Ephesians 6:14-15 (KJV)

(This video not cooperating on Blogger. Please cut and paste to view--sorry. I promise it's worth 2 minutes of your time!)


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pretend this was posted yesterday, 'k? ;)

Posted on my Facebook page, this time last year. It's long, I realize. But please, please read it. The message is timeless. TRUTH NEVER CHANGES! 

Probably the longest "Note" I will ever write. Read on.

by Lisa O'Brien (Notes) on Friday, April 6, 2012 at 11:24am
Saddest day of the year. If you are not Christian and this is just another Friday for you, read on. I didn't understand for decades. I was made to "endure" rituals for years in a certain religion which shall remain nameless, but they made no sense at all to me. They seemed to make no sense to anyone around me, either. Mindlessly ritualizing diluted and compromised the message that we all desperately need to hear, and yes--embrace. Whether we think we do or not.
Today is Good Friday. For years, I wondered what was so "good" about it, since in the Christian calendar, it's the day Jesus died. Why did I need to believe that any of this happened instead of simply believing that God is "love" and God is "forgiveness" and God is "mercygracekindnessjoyandeverythingelsegood"? Why did Jesus have to die at all? It simply didn't add up. Wasn't logical.
It wasn't till I attended a truly Christian church and began some non-denominational Bible studying that these and many more questions were answered.
Briefly, in a nutshell: We are all sinners. Yes, I know--you've heard that before and it's been charicatured to pieces. If you're anything like me, you are readily arguing that "I'm not as bad as that person" or "I may make a mistake now and then, but I'm a good person!"  or "God is LOVE and He will FORGIVE me" or "I don't believe in God, so I don't have to worry about any of that" or "People are free to believe any way they choose and we will ALL go to heaven eventually" or "I'm religious, so I've got that covered" or any number of arguments that you are making up to justify your thoughts and behavior. I know I did. We all do. We ALL do. Be honest. We all do! No one wants to wake up and realize that they are on par with Hitler or Pol Pot as far as their "goodness" is concerned. We spend more time justifying our behavior than actually doing anything about it.
But there's a problem: our standards are not God's standards.
Most people believe in Heaven. We may believe that if we are "good enough", we can get there. We may believe that "good works" (taken out of context from the Bible) can help us get to Heaven. This belief makes God seem like some sort of heavenly ATM-machine--bestowing gifts upon those who have enough "stocked in their account". While this is the message of nearly every religion on earth, it is not the message of Christianity.
Read on.
Heaven is absolute and total perfection, therefore all who enter must be perfect, or it wouldn't be Paradise. Would Heaven still be Heaven if Charles Manson is there? Would you want to spend eternity in Heaven with Ted Bundy? Stupid questions, right? We all see ourselves as "better" than either of these men. And therein lies the crux: WE all see OURSELVES as better than them. 
God doesn't.
Read on.
Although He created you and loves you more than you can humanly imagine, the offenses you've done have separated you from God, who is not only loving and kind and forgiving, but just and holy. And as a just and holy God, he ... judges. With holiness. If you've ever told a lie, even a little one, even if you were three at the time, you have sinned. If you've ever stolen anything, even if you were sorry, even if it was just a small item, you have sinned. Taken the Lord's name in vain? How many times have you said, "Oh, my GO*"? or used God's name as a cuss word? Have you always put God first in your life, above everyting else (First Commandment)? Have you ever created your own god, making the true God what you believe He should be? That's breaking the Second Commandment, making God into a personal idol that suits you and accepts your own personal vices, and we do that each time we excuse our behavior and tell ourselves: "God doesn't really mind if I watch this movie or read this book or listen to this music or attend this concert. After all, He's forgiving!" 
God does mind. 
But He is unbelievably patient with us. More patient and loving than we as humans can wrap our minds around.
And He has provided a way for us to be with Him for eternity.
Read on.
I don't know about you, but I can't even wrap my mind around the concept of eternity. 
I tell my 7-year old to look at all the grains of sand on the beach, then imagine that each one is a thousand years. And to remember that there are beaches all over the world. Then--to imagine all that sand, all those "years" and multiply that by bazillions. And THAT is just the first day of eternity.
We usually have to take a break after that. Both of us.
Back to God's provision for us: He provided a way for us, complete losers in the "Sin Games", to be with Him forever. And He named Him Jesus.
Why should you believe in Him and not just trust that a loving God will forgive everything you've ever done that fell short of the mark? God knew that humans wouldn't--couldn't--believe in anything we didn't see. Jesus was tangible, Jesus was real. 
Jesus was God with skin on. 
And He still is.
He was born for one purpose: to willingly become for us what we couldn't become for ourselves. We can't save ourselves. We are not capable. No matter how "good" we perceive ourselves to be. No matter how many lives we save in the Emergency Room. No matter how "nice" or "moral" we are and no matter how many good deeds we do and how much we donate to charity. We cannot be sinless, we cannot be "good enough" to earn  our way into Heaven by pleasing some god with our good deeds--this is fabulous news, since most of us just aren't cut out to be brain surgeons. Because we continually sin, because we give in to our bodily desires, the desires that this world tells us are acceptable, we can't possibly be let into Heaven. And there's only one other choice. 
You may believe there are other "options". Let me tell you--there are only two places that humans go when they die, and both those places are explained in the Bible and both these places are forever. There is Heaven, and there is Hell. While the Bible mentions Heaven several times and definitely encourages us in that direction ;) it actually mentions Hell more often and it describes it more fully. 
Believe me when I tell you it's not a place "where the bad boys party". There is nothing good in Hell. Nothing. You will not be partying with all your friends, as friends fall into the "good" category. There will not be tasty beverages for you to enjoy while you are hanging around an amazing fire-put. Tasty beverages fall into the "good" category, and so do amazing fire-pits. There is darkness and isolation, and it's forever. While Heaven is more wonderful than we humans can picture, Hell is more dread-filled than any of us can believe. As difficult as it is to imagine the fabulousness of Heaven, so it is to try to imagine the complete and utter despair that is Hell.
Read on.
God doesn't want you to go there! Which brings me back to His provision: We all deserve Hell. We have alldone things that we knew were wrong. This is when our consciences prick us, but we sally forth with our righteous anger/offense/thought/fight/superiority/behavior/insert personal vice here. We have all offended God in ways that deserve the full punishment of His law--being thrown into Hell. Whether or not you choose to believe this right now, it is the truth, un-sugar-coated. I didn't want to believe it for the longest time. I kept saying, "But I'm a good person!", stubbornly refusing to submit even this one belief to the One who created me. My insistence that I was good enough to get into Heaven on my own merit cut the legs right out from the message God wants us to know: that He is the One who provides that passage for us. While He provided it, we must humble ourselves enought to accept it, each one of us, on a very personal level. Picture God handing you a fabulously wrapped gift--the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on. And you just say, "No, I'm good. I don't need that." 
What incredible conceit.
What unfathomable pride.
And I was the worst.
Read on.
On a dreary day over 2,000 years ago, Jesus--fully God and fully man, "God with skin on", was whipped to within inches of His life. He was spit upon. He was mocked more brutally than an abused child whose story brings a community to action. He was beaten with sticks and rocks, moaning in agony even before He was killed. He was forced to carry the instrument of His death, the very heavy cross itself, in His weakened condition. He was hatefully screamed at. People were yelling for Him to be crucified, the most demeaning, painful and horrible death imaginable. 
And He'd done nothing, not a single thing, to earn any of this.
He'd spoken the truth, and told people the way to get to Heaven. And they didn't want to believe Him, because they felt they were good enough, all on their own.
Sound like someone you know?
After He suffered all manner of humiliation, having His clothes gambled for, wearing a crown of thorns and being further mocked, He took on that sin you commited yesterday. You know, the lie you told. And that porn you browsed through last week? He paid for that, too. The harsh words you spewed at someone because you thought they needed to be knocked down a peg or two? He covered it. The lie you told to your 4th grade teacher? Paid for. The fight you started with someone, to prove that you were "right"? He took that for you. The secret affair you had? Done. The years you've spent ignoring and rejecting the God who created you, the lustful thoughts you've had about that hot co-worker in the next cube, the defiling television shows you've watched, the abortion you had or paid for, the insolence you showed your parents, the secret thoughts of anger you harbored toward your sibling, every one-night-stand you've had, every hateful and offensive thought you've ever had--all forgiven.
Every sin you've comitted. Every one.
Forgiven.
If...
If.
IF you accept the gift that God is holding out to you.
Not tomorrow, when you'll be less busy.
Not when you're old and on your deathbed, so you can "have fun now".
Not sometime in the future, when you might actually believe all this stuff.
But right now.
Right.
Now.
Because believing in the eleventh hour does you no good if you die in the tenth. You can't go back in time to a day when you had a choice and made the wrong one. And if you haven't accepted God's free gift to you and think you are not actually making a choice, trust me--you are. You are choosing to reject that gift. 
But God has chosen to keep holding it out to you.
Because when He was on the cross, dying a death He didn't deserve, YOU were on His mind.
He did it for you.
He loves you more than you can imagine.
Read on.
Let's correct a couple of misunderstandings:
God doesn't want you to live a fun-free life of slavery and boring servitude and Dana Cavey Church Lady-esque hats. Sometimes Christianity is portrayed that way. What a shame. What a sham.
Being alive in Christ means the chains have dropped off. It's liberating, not life-ending. Imagine being free of the guilt that you carry around, free in the knowledge that you are eternally protected, free in the knowledge that you are truly an "adopted child of God"--not simply a creation of His. Like a loving mother who pulls her child out of the street just as a truck is bearing down on him, God wants to protect us, and His "rules" do just that when we follow them. But like that little child, we tend to be angry, hollering at the parent who saved us from danger. "You never let me have any fun!" says the child who has no concept of what a 4-ton truck could do to a toddler body. We can fight God all we want, but He truly knows what is best for all of us, even if it's contrary to what this world tells us. We automatically believe that if it doesn't "make sense" to us, it cannot be right. 
We're just like that little child pouting at his mama.
God also doesn't want you to be a mindless robot, giving Him your intelligence and personality as a tradeoff for life in Him. On the contrary, some of the most intelligent people this world knows are Christian. They didn't let their "intellect" get in the way of the truth. They didn't accept what the world tells them is true to the exclusion of what God says in His Word, the Bible. They didn't say they have an "open mind" while rejecting all things spiritual. 
They believe the unseen.
Disbelief in the unseen is not an excuse to ignore this message. Love is unseen, and everyone believes that love exists. So is faith.
I'll bet you have more faith than you realize. Most of us do not understand fully how a microwave oven works, but we trust that when we put into one a frozen burrito and push the proper buttons, it will exit, hot and tasty, three minutes later. I certainly don't understand how my car's engine works, but I know when I press the big pedal on the right, the car moves forward. Every time we depress the car's brake pedal, we have faith the car will slow down and stop. Each time we get on an airplane, we have faith it will go up really high, bring us to an exotic foreign locale (or maybe Ohio), and land safely on terra firma.
You have much more faith than you realize, and you trust more than you give yourself credit for.
All God asks for is a little of that same trust and faith.
You don't have to "understand" all of what's in the Bible to actually have an open mind. Although it was written as God's love letter to you--and intended for you to read, not for someone else who is "smarter" to read and somehow interpret for you--there are mysteries in that Book, and sometimes we won't understand a certain passage--the same way that toddler can't understand why his mom pullled him out of the street. The good thing about the toddler is that he will grow up and understand one day. The good thing about believing and trusting God is that we also grow and His Word begins to take on new meaning and shape to us as we mature in Him.  
You may have seen the bumper stickers that say, "Not Of This World". This life of ours is a kind of first-act. We are here an average of 80 years, and will spend eternity elsewhere. Our souls live on forever, long after our bodies decay. Where will you spend eternity? That is the question I want you to ask yourself on this Good Friday. For although there seems nothing good about today, when seen from the eyes of our Heavenly Father, there is nothing but goodness in what His only begotten son did for us--all of us. You and me and that weird guy you go to school with. He died, so that we may live.
He died so that we may be adopted into His family.
He died so we have a choice: to believe on Him and be called "Children of God", or to reject Him.
It's that simple and that complicated.
He took on all our sins and nailed them to that cross upon which He died. When He rose again (that's what Easter is all about), which was historically recorded and witnessed by over 500 people (more than many events in history, btw), He defeated death--which means that His true believers will "defeat" death as well. 
I like the saying, "One birth, two deaths. Two births, one death."
If you are born again of the Spirit, trusting in Jesus, you will die only one death--the physical one. If you choose to reject Jesus, you will die two deaths--one physical and one spiritual.
Today, you can make the right choice. It doesn't matter one bit to God what you've done in the past, how "horrible" you've been. He is holding out His hand to you, drawing you near to Him.
He's been waiting for you! 
His love is scandalous--He loves even murderers who truly repent and put their trust in Him. He said so on the cross, when He forgave the repentant thief beside Him and told him, "See you in Paradise." He loves the sexually immoral, the chronically angry and the suicidally depressed. He loves those who have made a disaster of their lives by drinking themselves nearly to death and losing everything He gave them. He forgives those who ask forgiveness and He can forgive you, too.
He is the only One who can
No earthly human, no matter what title we may bestow upon them, no matter what "penance" they assign to you, can forgive you.
None of the good works you do can buy your way out of the sin you've commited.
Jesus is the One who nailed your sin onto His cross and died to obliterate it.
Read on.
I know this is a lot to swallow. I know it might seem very, very weird to you. I felt the same way for years. I may have phrased something in such a way that seems downright crazy to you personally. Don't let that stop you from asking me, "What the heck???" I will do my best to find the answer for you or direct you to someone who knows. I hate to sound scary, but Hell is scarier than anything on earth. If you knew someone was headed for a terrible car crash, wouldn't you stand in the road waving a flag, yelling, "Go the other way! Take THAT road! This one will kill you!"
The truth is, no one knows when their time is up. No one wakes up and thinks, "This is a good day for an aneurism! Or a fatal car crash! Or a massive stroke!" The vast majority of people who will die today did not expect to.
One day, you will be one of those people. One day, so will I.
And I'm prepared.
Are you?
I welcome your input, and love you enough to bring up this possibly uncomfortable topic. I'm OK with your discomfort. I'm not OK with facing God one day knowing I have to answer His question about why I didn't show more love and risk your discomfort. I thank God that there were people who cared enough for my soul to keep on keeping on with me, despite my stubborn pride. They knew I was in a burning house and took the time and effort to let me know, "There is a door from which you can escape." Even when I didn't think I needed that door. Don't let your pride keep you from the the greatest gift you will ever receive, the precious, hard-won gift of a gracious Savior and His plan for you--eternity in Heaven.
Thanks for reading,
Lisa
(No Scripture here, intentionally. So you can call or text me: savedbymyking@gmail.com, 408-621-4352) 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Just look at these faces!

My husband and I sponsor two precious children through Compassion International. One is Brenda Michele, who lives in El Salvador and is 8 years old. The other is Abenezer, who is 6 years old and lives in Ethiopia. Both children live in extreme poverty--poverty that is simply not seen here in the United States. In Brenda's neighborhood, most of the houses are made from thin steel and corrugated cardboard, with dirt floors. They are so incredibly hot during the day that no one can go inside. Her parents travel on foot several miles each way to go to the nearest town in an attempt to earn a dollar to feed their family of 6. If Brenda and her siblings didn't have a sponsor, things would be dismal for them, with little hope. She now gets food and medical care, schooling and spiritual guidance on a regular basis and is thriving.
Abenezer has been "part" of our family for just a few months. We now have a boy! ;) He, like Brenda, is absolutely adorable. They both have creamy brown faces and huge eyes and precious, precious smiles. Abenezer's looks as though he's just about to impart wisdom--his face seems wiser than a 6 year old's should be, but he's only as big as my kids were when they were 3. Although Abenezer's family has access to clean water (thank God), many in his city have no access to adequate toilet facilities. The lack of sanitary conditions in his village poses a very real health hazard, especially for children.
If you've flushed a toilet in the last week, you are wealthier than most of the world. Is it time for you do act on that? 
When my 18-year old realized the joy that comes with sponsoring a child in a developing country, she responded to God's calling on her heart by sponsoring a child of her own--actually, TWO! She sponsors Hirut, a beautiful 16-year old girl in Ethiopia, and Desmond, an adorable 9-year old boy living in Ghana. (She also makes monthly donations to an organization called "Food for the Poor", which takes food surpluses from first world countries and flies them to folks in true need. Visit www.foodforthepoor.org for more information.)
If you're not currently sponsoring a child in a third world country, please take a moment and consider whether you are able: If you can "afford" $38.00 per month, you can do this! We are a single-income family with no money tree in our backyard ~ but we can share what we have with those in real need. You may be surprised by what you can "do without", in order to provide some basic food and medical care to a child in desperate poverty.
If you have a child you are sponsoring--through Compassion International or another agency--name them here and tell me about them!
If you are not sponsoring a child, ask yourself this question: Is God calling you to a relationship with a child you don't even know yet? Let this be the last thing you think about tonight before you go to sleep. I'd like to hear what you decide in the morning :)
Click on this site to see some faces that may help you make your decision: 
Singing for Jesus at Easter
"...for I was hungry, and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me." Jesus, in Matthew 25:35, 36 (NKJV)
..."Assuredly, I will say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me." Jesus, in Matthew 25:40 (NKJV), emphasis mine.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ode to an overdone Superfood

I know I'm supposed to eat more leafy green stuff. And I love vegetables, so you'd think this would be easy. 
But I have a problem with some of them. 
Like Kale. And Mustard Greens. And Chard. Oh, I have a serious problem with Chard. I'm firmly convinced these foods have been recently labeled as "Superfoods" by the Stringy, Tough, and Tasteless Leafy Green Vegetable Board, in order to get people to buy them.
But I made a mistake today that made the Kale I'm cooking so tasty, I just had to share it with you.

I burnt it.

Just a little. Not technically black or anything, just a little more "cooked" than the recipe on the Kale bag called for, which was, frankly, yucky.
I put in some oil, and some onions, and some water and set it on high-ish, like the recipe said. Now, granted, the onions were my idea. Because Kale in oil sounded inedible to me, even with "salt and pepper to taste" added. So, stuff is cooking, the Kale is getting all warm and hopefully yummy and oniony, and suddenly, just like that, it was burning. So I ran over and scraped the burnty, oniony stuff off the bottom of the pan and it is entirely delicious. A great improvement from the recipe, which warned me against having my Kale stick to the pan.

My Kale, My Way is how I'm rolling from now on.

I'm going to try scorching my Chard tomorrow and see how I like it Creole-Style. I'll get back to you if it's om-nom-nom. :)

"One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only." Romans 14:2 (NASB) 
While this is never going to be my favorite Bible verse, I do believe they may have been talking about Kale here. With onions. ;)


Monday, March 25, 2013

Facebook, I love you. Facebook, I hate you. And I want some cookies.

Again, I'm going through my semi-annual love / hate relationship with Facebook. First-world problems. I have so many other things I can do. Should do.
Like, for instance--blogging. Because that is most certainly more worthy of my time, right? Yes.
But first, I must get over this weird thought-process that if I don't get every single blog post perfect, grammatically and thought-wise, it's not worth posting. I have some ideas I'd like to blog about, but I seem stuck in some sort of perfection-limbo, believing that if an entry isn't flawless in every way, it's not worth posting.
Well, I'm not Mary Poppins. I'm not practically perfect in every way, except perhaps to my kids when they were younger and my dog, who is no longer with us.
So since my kids are older and my dog is in Heaven, it's time to get on with some blog posts that may or may not make the mark, punctually, grammatically or any other "ly". They may even be boring to you. Some entries I read are boring to me. It didn't stop the blogger from blogging the next day.
Please comment if you are reading this. Don't comment on Facebook and feed my habit. Comment on this blog and lure me away from the little red icon telling me how many "likes" I have, or who else has posted something I can absolutely live without knowing. 
(Sorry--of course I don't mean you! I'm terribly interested in what you ate for lunch, or your political viewpoint, or what you feel needs it's awareness 'raised', or where you are "checking in"...and I'm especially interested in those adorable foot photographs that everyone seems so fond of posting these days. And of course, I love hearing about the FB games you're playing! Really! Terribly interested!)
I just don't have 36 hours in a day, and so have to choose.
And I'm choosing to know you all just a little bit ... less. And more. More on that in a bit.
Do you feel this way about any social media? I notice that when I'm on it, I know weird, random factoids about people, such as where they are eating dinner, what room they just redecorated, how they feel about gun-control and abortion, and what their kids said. But I am not eating with them, or being invited to see the newly-decorated room, marching in a protest, or spending time with them or their cute-talking children. So I see them at church, or around town, and the convo is this awkward sort of, "Heeeeey! So how've ya been? Yeah? Great! Saw you had dinner at The China Bucket last week! Yeah...and your feet look GREAT!" kind of chat.
And I'm done.
Frankly, I'd rather know fewer factoids about you and have an actual cup of coffee with you. I have a few friends with whom I actually do this. And you know what? I know stuff about them. Not where they ate dinner last night, but real-life stuff. Like the troubles and struggles they're going through. Their plans for vacation this year. How their husbands are doing. What they think about the cookies I just served them, and the music at church last week, and the book we both happen to have read. The stuff I know about my coffee-drinking, cookie-eating friends in real life is stuff that will not be posted on Facebook. Because there's no interesting way to post this status: "I think it was well-written, but the first third was slow and I almost put it down. His foot is healing nicely, much faster than the doctors said. I really like them, they're not too sweet. We're trying to decide between Monterey and Disneyland...what do you think? Wasn't that song FABULOUS! I was moved to tears! My 3-year old still can't sleep through the night..."
No, this is the stuff that life is made of, the stuff that is discussed between actual people, not put into little "statuses" or "tweets". 
And I want to hear it from you, not read it on a screen. You're worth my time, and frankly, I'm worth yours. It's time well-spent, this discussing of life's generalities. Time spent on social media rings of time that could have been better spent, sort of like choosing french fries over broccoli. While I loves me some fries, I'm truly needing some broccoli, know what I mean? 
Many things "old-school" are viewed as new and therefore trendy by some. I'm sure there will be a new name given to sitting with someone enjoying a cuppa with some cookies, as though a 20-year old just invented this "new" way of communicating. I've always called it fun. Or relaxing. Or a nice break from the day. But if you're so busy posting and tweeting about random factoids of your life, you won't have enough time in the day to actually visit and have a hot, tasty beverage with some sort of baked goods and talk about absolutely nothing and everything.
No amount of TweetBooking can even come close to that. Because we are worth the time. And because my coffee is really, really good.
"As a dog returns to it's vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness." Proverbs 26:11 (NLT), with thanks to the wise and humorous Stephen Norton for this reminder.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

I know the Meaning of Life

Today is my 51st birthday. 
I can hardly believe it. I feel ... 20. Make that 25. But with bigger feet. And chubbier hips. Perhaps just a few more grey hairs.
But I feel something else, too: a little wiser. Because, if you do it right, with age comes wisdom. At least a certain amount of it.
If you do it right.
For decades, I didn't do it right. In fact, it was only a few years ago that I began to move into the general direction of any sort of rightness.
You may already know that I was firmly entrenched in the occult, in areas of pagan worship, god and goddess worship, wiccan, and other worldliness. (Search for "My Testimony" in the search window above to see a very sanitized version.) Something inside of me, something very small--like a BB pellet rolling around inside an empty tuna can--felt the wrongness of this even as the rest of me tried to assert the rightness of living wrongly. I did a really good job of squelching down that "small, still voice". So good, in fact, that many people from those old haunts (heh-heh) now accuse me of not really being in that camp in the first place. 
Let me assure you, I was. Tent poles, sleeping bags and propane stove. I was not only in that camp, I'd decided to live there on a permanent vs. vacationing basis. So no fair crying, "Lisa, you were never truly one of us. You didn't get the whole wiccan thing, therefore you can't judge it." I was there, all right. I was unfortunately all too there.
Which makes it incredibly weird for me to discuss, actually, since I can truly feel both sides now. I know what it's like to believe in witchcraft, ghosts, reincarnation, UFOs and communicating with the dead--because I believed in them for so long. But now, I don't. I believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. 

And I know the meaning of life.

We get one chance on this earth. Many people believe this. But most people believe it's because we need to "grab all the gusto we can", or make ourselves "number one" or "find our purpose, our soulmate, our reason for existing". 
They have it as wrong as I did when I believed that.

Our one chance on this earth is to choose.

To choose which side we are on.
To choose who we worship.

Make no mistake. We all worship something. If it's not the God of the Bible, it's money. Or our kids. Or our careers. Or our spouse. Or the longing for a spouse. Or sex. Or clothes. We are created to worship, and we all worship something. While you may be thinking, "I don't bow down to my Jimmy Choo's, Lisa", I can almost guarantee this: whatever you put before God--that's likely what you worship.

And I did it, too. I'm no different than anyone else.

I won't bore you with what I put before God. But trust me, I did this. There are religions that are built around putting things before God, although they do not, of course, advertise themselves as such. They draw in many unsuspecting folks, good-hearted, well-intentioned folks. Folks who are deceived, nonetheless, in putting something before the only One who deserves our worship. 

This is why I am not religious. 

I am a Christ-follower, a Christian. The Jesus Christ of the Bible condemned religion. He didn't want people following man-made doctrine, as anything man-made will always be faulty. 

Following God will never be faulty.

Let me make one thing clear to those who may not know this: the entire time I was immersed in the occult (which literally means "hidden". It's appeal is the supernatural, something exciting, hidden from view. I soon learned that the most exciting, supernatural stuff ever recorded is written in the Bible. And it's more interesting than any seance could ever be), I never thought I was serving the enemy of my soul. I loved God. I still do. But the God I serve now is the true God. You see, I was doing what billions of people--trillions, if you count those no longer living--have done since Adam and Eve: I was making a god to suit my own tastes. I created in my mind a god of goodness, mercy, love, love, love, kindness, dark-chocolate, hot salted caramel macchiatos, etc. In other words, the god I loved so much was good. And the God of the Bible is good, too. Truly good, in ways we mere humans--His creations--can never, ever hope to be. One hundred percent good, one hundred percent of the time. 
BUT--and this is a big BUT--He is more than that. In addition to goodness, God is also Just. And Holy. And Righteous.
Oops. 
That's the part I sort of, you know, didn't want to face.
So I didn't.
I simply did not.
Instead, I created a god of my own making: all good, all loving, all the time. No justice, because then I'd have to think about what I was doing in order to please Him. No Holiness, because then I'd have to change my belief system in order to please Him. No Righteousness, because I'd have to do too much soul-searching and admitting I'd been wrong for 45 years and ew--that felt too much like humility to me, and hey, MY god would love me no matter what I did, right?
Right?


What I was doing was practicing idolatry.

I created a god to suit me, and worshipped it instead of the God revealed to us in His Word.

It's so simple.

God made it simple for us. Not easy, perhaps, especially if you are proud of who you are, and don't believe you need improvement, but simple nonetheless.

He wrote down everything He wants us to know in a Book. It's His love letter to us. His "Owner's Manual" to us. His progressive revelation to us, His creations. He made it simple for us to understand what He wants from us. Simple. Not easy, perhaps--in the same way we all know we should eat kale and carrots, and cut out our 6 cups of coffee each day--but not complicated, either.

Just read the Book. The Book contains the meaning of life. It details for you the lives of people who were there at the time Jesus was. It gives you all you need to know in the same fashion that the Owner's Manual of your Toyota gives you all the information you need to know to maintain your Highlander or Camry.

Just. Read. The Book.

Simple.

Uncomplicated.

Easy. IF you humble yourself enough to admit that you really don't know it all. That perhaps Marianne Williamson doesn't have all the knowledge in the world about spirituality, nor does Oprah. Easy, if you admit to yourself that you know, somewhere deep inside of you, that there must be more to life than owning a nice car, getting a bigger, more well-furnished home, and donating to charity to make yourself feel spiritual. Even Christian charities. For that extra-spiritual feeling.

There must be more.

And there is. 

The older one gets, the more that nagging feeling persists. Once you realize that some dreams are never, ever going to come true for you (like becoming a fairy-princess-ballerina-veterinarian, or climbing Mt. Everest, or becoming a millionaire), many of us go into a second-childhood, often called a Midlife Crisis. This isn't always a bad thing, if it propels you in the correct direction, the direction of actual truth. It's not necessarily a bad thing to buy a new red Corvette, or get a facelift. (Blerg.) But it's useless if your quest for the truth stops with these things.

Come ON.

You know there's more to life than this physical stuff. You know this. 

Don't waste your life searching in wrong directions for the truth. Don't be like I was. Learn from my mistakes and open a Bible.

Isn't it about time you stopped disparaging the truth and actually looked into it? Isn't it time you gave "the other side" a fair shake? Isn't it about time? The time you may or may not have left on this earth?


The meaning of life is this: You have 75 years, if you're average, in order to make a choice. Choose wisely. Choose armed with information, not just your "feelings" about the state of your soul and where it will end up when you die. Our feelings are ever-changing and not trustable (didn't you once "feel" so much love for that ex of yours?). Look at the many sides of spirituality (if you must), but give true Christianity it's due. Don't judge it by the Christians you know--many Christians are nasty. Some aren't truly Christian, and how would you know the difference? Some are well-intentioned but misleading. There are many false religions in the world. Don't be misled by any of them. 

Read the Book.

Know the meaning of life.

Get right with God, on HIS terms, not yours, which are the terms that truly matter. One day, we will all face Him. It won't do us any good to say, "I thought I was doing the right thing..." any more than when your child lies to you and you don't believe her.

It's not difficult. The creator of everything in the universe has made it simple for you. But He won't force you. He loves you enough to give you a choice. He didn't create us to be robots, blindly worshipping Him because we don't know any better. He gave us a choice: live for Him, or without Him. 

And that, my dear ones, is the meaning of the life you've been given. It's sad that it took me 45 years to even begin to realize this. It's wonderful that God never gave up on me, the way most people have, and diligently pursued me despite every offense I'd caused Him.

Happy Birthday to me. Three years ago to this day, I made a choice. I chose to worship the God of the Bible, not some god I'd made up to suit myself. It wasn't an easy choice, since I'd deluded myself for decades into believing God had many wonderful attributes, and no holy or just ones. But I made the right choice, the correct one. And I've never regretted it, not for one moment.

"So fear the LORD and serve Him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshipped...serve the LORD alone. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve...But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD." ~ Joshua 24:14-15, emphasis mine (NLT)

"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and it's gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life (Heaven) is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it." Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT) 
(When someone calls Christianity "narrow-minded" I think of this verse. It reminds me that there is one road to God and Heaven, not "all roads lead to God", as the world tell us. (Think about this: do all roads lead to San Jose?) Those who choose to reject the God of the Bible are, by default, choosing the road to Hell. That sounds harsh, I know. But when I realize how we reject God and disobey Him many times each day, it makes perfect sense. Heaven was created for those who are perfect (Jesus), and those who have been bought by Him, which is you and me. Those who actually accept the gift from Jesus of entering Heaven on His "ticket", His merit, are the ones who will actually inhabit Heaven, not everyone "good" as the world says. (Those who have accepted this marvelous gift are called born again--see verse below. The "difficult" part to which Jesus refers in the above verse is what happens to us after we decide to follow Him: ridicule, loss of family members, prejudice, even death, which is still being experienced by hundreds of thousands of believers all over the world today. While their lives on earth may not be "better", their eternity in Heaven certainly will be. Jesus never, ever promised us our lives would be "better" while on earth. He does promise us an eternity with Him, from whom every good thing--including Salted Caramel Macchiatos and chocolate and fresh air and flowers and love and happiness and fulfillment--was created. Choose today whose side you're on. There are only two. Remember that if you aren't on God's side, you default to the other side. These are God's standards, not mine. But He's the One we'll all face one day.)

"Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth: unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.'"
"What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus (a respected Jewish religious leader). "How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?"
Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water (physical birth) and the Spirit (rebirth, regeneration of the Spirit, being "born again", which happens only when a person decides to consciously follow God). Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, "You must be born again." ~ John 3:3-7, emphasis mine (NLT)






Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Daughter Learned to Ride a Bike Today

That's pretty much it. Such a normal part of childhood, but when it happens to your child, it's just the most wonderful thing ever. Watching her little face when she had that "I'm free!" feeling--do you remember feeling that way when you first learned to ride?--it was priceless. She's still working on her dismount, and learning to laugh when the dismount is less than glamorous. Braking is difficult for her, apparently. But she's just about there. I'm so proud of her. I still remember the day I first learned to ride, and I'm just so happy she's there now as well. Well done, Regan. Many happy, free-feeling rides to come, sweetheart. I love you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

All About MEEEE!

OK, so I've been getting some helpful much-wanted unsolicited advice from someone who won't out themselves in my comments area. Good for you, keep me guessing, that's what I like. (Not really.) Well, here's to you, ANONYMOUS! I have a post today that has nothing whatsoever to do with my gums! Enjoy it, since I had gum surgery last week and I'm just itching to blog about it. (Not really.)
I am currently having a bit of trouble blogging and with e-mail in general, since I've switched to the new and easy-to-use gmail. For those of you who don't have my new e-mail address, it's savedbymyking@gmail.com. Although my Comcast e-mail is still mysteriously working (baffling, since we haven't paid for it for 2 months now), I will not receive e-mails from it. Because I won't be checking it. Because I have this new, fancy gmail account. Those of you who have gmail know what I'm talking about. Those who don't--well, let's just say it's got a few features in it with which I'm unfamiliar and leave it at that. I should be getting used to gmail right around the time that we humans become able to transport ourselves by "energizing", like they do on Star Trek. 
The other day, I saw yet another "All About Me" page on someone's blog and thought to myself, "You know, Lisa, you have about 46 'Drafts' in your blog. There's a good chance no one will ever see those half-finished posts. There's a really good chance you don't even remember half of them, or why you felt it necessary to begin them in the first place. In this age of over-sharing informational-highwaying, there's the chance that people will look at yet another kindergardenish "All About MEEEEE!" page as exactly what it is: a super-long substitional Facebook status, penned by someone who couldn't finish her other blog entries, yet had enough time to write what she thinks are interesting tidbits about herveryownself. Really. Who is going to read something that gives little bits of useless information about you?" 
And then I thought, "Naaw. Everyone'll read this." So here it is:

  • I have ridden an elephant.
  • I often dream, in color, about flying (I push off from the ground. I'm usually being chased.), driving a big-rig, and my teeth falling out.
  • I have intense claustrophobia. In. Tense. I can't even ride in the back seat of a car. I am also very, very scared of heights. Very. So I'm incredibly fun in glass elevators.
  • I have no problem at all with the things most women are phobic about, such as spiders, snakes, rats, public speaking, etc. Well, maybe a little with the public speaking.
  • I have let a tarantula crawl up my arm. See above.
  • I used to be liberal. I am not anymore.
  • I once belonged to a very liberal environmental group called "LifeWeb". (Get it? Web of Life and all that?). In LifeWeb, I created a character called "Auntie Fur" (get it? Anti-Fur?) and wore the hot, itchy costume with a bunch of protesters in Macy's Fur Salon (this was back in the day when Macy's still had a Fur Salon). I still don't think people should wear fur. And apparently, neither does Macy's. Anymore.
  • I have known I would homeschool my (future) children since I was about 20 years old.
  • I have never dyed my hair.
  • I used to have super-duper straight hair. When I was in my 20s, I permed it a lot. Now, I look like I have a perm and I'm considering having my hair straightened. This is amusing to me.
  • I do not have an addictive personality. Except for Facebook. 
  • I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook.
  • Although I love letters in general, I hate algebra.
  • Turning 50 scares me. I don't want to discuss it.
  • I'm getting old. I don't want to discuss it.
  • I got something in the mail from AARP. I don't want to discuss it.
  • I can still dance like I did in my 20s. It's just not as fun to watch.
  • I love my kids. All three of them (hi, Goo!). And the ones I never met who are waiting in Heaven.
  • I've made my living many ways: When I met my husband, I was a Corporate Event Planner. Before that, I was an EMT, proofreader, Games worker at Great America (my first job!), Office Worker (hated that), Childbirth Educator / Doula, among other things. My current job as homeschooling mommy is my favorite, hands down.
  • I fell asleep during Star Wars. The first time it came around.
  • My favorite color is red.
  • My favorite color is green.
  • My favorite color depends on my mood.
  • I love Art. And Crafts. I'm not particularly good at either, but I love them.
  • I love Jesus more than anything in the universe. I AM particularly good at that.
  • I have several bone disorders. I blame my Irish heritage.
  • I give birth at home.
  • Except for Regan, who stubbornly refused to leave her first home, hours after she should have been born, resulting in a hospital transfer after 6 hours of pushing.
  • TMI. Sorry.
  • I am terrified, beyond all reason, of flying in an airplane.
  • I sometimes see the world through a camera lens. I may be talking with you, staring into your eyes as we converse, but in reality I might be composing a photo of you in my head. (Black and white? Or color, to show off those eyes...) I would apologize, but the photo is probably going to be pretty darn flattering, so...you're welcome.
  • I need to like your voice in order to hang around with you for longer than 30 seconds. If I've had coffee or a longish conversation with you, congratulations.
  • Hiking is overrated. What. Is. The point?
  • I am sort of twitchy and highly-strung by nature. (Surprise!) If I'm sitting calmly, it's because I am working hard at it. Sometimes, I have little patience with those who are so calm as to be  s l o w  about things. I am working on that. I'm working on being more mellow. Mr. Rogers is my role-model.
  • I Love Lucy.
  • I remember when phones had dials and cords, cars had no seat belts, an infant-carrier was a mother's arms, soap came only in bar-form, gas was .33 / gallon, and life before answering machines and "Press *#1 for English".
  • When I was a kid, all the neighborhood kids played together in the street after school. We were told to "Be home when the streetlights come on!". Today's young mothers are horrified at this, but kids were happier, healthier and more secure and confident back in that day.
  • I find ironing strangely satisfying. But not enough to do it that often.
  • I love the smell of "used" bookstores.
  • I do not much love the smell of "used" clothing stores.
  • I have seen prayer work miracles.
  • I know my Spiritual Gifts. Do you?
  • My least-favorite phrase coming from anyone at all is, "You have to let her do it sometime, Lisa!" I forgive you if you've said this to me. But know that in my head, I was secretly saying, "Really? I DO? No. I most certainly do NOT." 
  • I love the Duggar family.
  • I was painfully shy until I reached my 20s. (Waiting for you to stop guffawing.)
  • I love the ocean. And mountains. And lakes. Not so fond of the desert.
  • My Life Verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.
  • People comment favorably on my handwriting.
  • I read "quirky" books. My latest: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?" (turns out, they do!) and Prophet's Prey, about polygamy in Mormonism.
  • I know the times tables in only one direction. I know them all, but if I am asked, "What's 8 X 6?" I have to think in my head, "6 X 8 = 48" and then answer.
  • I believe the smell of a clean baby is intoxicating. If you have one of these in your possession, you should know this about me.
  • I enjoy huge chunks of alone-time. Really. It's true.
  • I am a truly horrible bowler. But I hear it's amusing to watch me try.
  • I love dogs. I thought I was a "cat person" until I got my first dog, at the age of 37. I still cry over that darn dog and miss him terribly.
  • I do not enjoy crowds the way I used to.
  • I rarely use aprons or umbrellas. Because I love to cook and I need to leave the house occasionally in winter, this often results in food-adorned clothing and and curly-haired frizz that no hat can contain. 
  • I'm getting tired of writing about myself, but I have more things on this dumb list that I kept for two weeks.
  • I'm eating chicken after a 25 year vacay from eating anything with a face.
  • I eat chocolate every. single. day. I am unapologetic about this.
  • I give blood regularly (well, I could be better at this, but I try) and am in the National Bone Marrow Donor list. How about you?
  • An unmade bed = a messy room! Wait--that's my mom's voice. But it's true.
  • I've never understood this country's love for the song that begins, "I believe the children are our future..." Duh? 
  • Something I want to do but am too afraid? Canning food. How weenie is that?
  • I used to SCUBA dive. I don't anymore since ... the accident. Ask me about it sometime if you're so inclined. Right now, I'm sick of hearing about myself!
  • I justified this column on the left just for you, Anonymous. You are welcome.
(This space, usually filled with inspirational Scripture, intentionally left blank, as I could not find Scripture to justify this fun yet meandering yet self-absorbed post.)





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This is a test. This is only a test.

I'd like to start blogging more and Facebooking less. So if you are reading this, please do me a favor. I've updated my blog look a bit and made a couple of changes. Will you take a moment and become a "follower" of Living the Dream?  I'd appreciate it very much!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Me and My Big, Fat Pulps

So what were you doing two days ago around 2:30 p.m.? I decided it might be fun to have a root canal. Well, not exactly fun. And technically, I didn't decide. Well, technically, I did, but I had little choice. I had a tooth that was bothering me a month ago, and bothering turned to pain and pain turned to waking me up in the night wishing I had a bottle of Vicodin and a sledgehammer. I found a lovely dentist who would see me the next day, and she took a lovely x-ray, and then we both took a lovely walk to see the man next door to her who just happened to be an endodontist. It was lovely.
Not really. It was weird. And uncomfortable. I am very, very glad he was there, and had an opening for me at that precise moment. But was it weird that there were just two people in the office? And that the receptionist also doubled as his assistant? And wasn't even an RDA? And was just then trying to get into a community college to take some dental-type classes? Perhaps. Yes. Definitely. And believe me, there were parts of me that screamed, "Get OUT!", like those Vader-like, disembodied voices one hears in spooky old houses in horror films. Part of me wanted to run. I was already thisclose to screaming from the pain alone. Now I had the mental aspect to worry about.
I began to notice little things that concerned me. I might have been their first patient of the day. I was definitely their only patient in the afternoon. The office was quiet as a tomb. Where was the hustle and bustle of your normal dental office? I realize endodontics (root canal stuff) is different than plain-ol' dentistry, but still...no one? Yeep. I was weighing the fact that both dentists had told me there was a good chance I'd end up in my local ER over the weekend (a weekend packed full of many plans, mind you) against the fact that something inside kept telling me, "There's a weirdness about this office. Find another one."
What to do, what to do...
I can tell you what I would have done a couple years ago. I would have said, "Ya know--I need to come back another time. I need to ... think about this a little...". Weak, I know. Then I would have found a more modern, lively office, one in which I felt more confidence in the dentist. I would have wished hard, and prayed in my own little way that God help me find a good endodontist and that my tooth would not get worse over the weekend and that I could find someone who could fit me in their schedule asap. I would have relied on my own judgement alone to fix this problem. But it's not a couple of years ago and now I have something even better than blind faith and straws at which to grasp.
I have God.
And He didn't let me down.
 Looking at my x-rays, having two dentists point out where the cavity was (about a hair's breadth from the nerve of my tooth), I now understood why I was in so much throbbing pain. While there was no telling when the cavity would reach that nerve, I didn't want to know what level of pain I could withstand when it did. I was already being wakened up from sleep in agony. So I said yes to the root canal. (Catchy new name for a reality show?) But I did so with a caveat. I nervously needed to visit the ladies room several times before the procedure. Each time I went into that ladies room, I asked God if this was the right thing to do. I prayed to Him to help me make this fast decision. I also prayed that if this was the right thing to do, that He guide the dentist's hands surely and that the sweet little non-RDA guy really know his stuff also. Hey--I was praying to God. No business too big or too small for Him. And while this was probably not on your mind at 2:45 last Thursday, it was most definitely taking up an incredibly unbalanced amount of my grey matter.
What to do, what to do...
I decided to go ahead and do it.
And then the real fun began.
I had to be numbed FOUR times. I'm blaming that on age. Or the dentist.
Or on air molecules.
I had to listen to them say things like, "Wow, she really does have a narrow palette!" and "Watch the way I do this, she won't even flinch!" and other things I never thought I'd have to listen to while I was nearly flat on my back with 3 different hands in my rubber-dammed mouth. While the dentist did say, "Sorry--we're sort of making fun here; I hope you don't think it's at your expense!", I couldn't even retort with my usual snarkiness: "Why, no. I'm the only patient in the office. I'm numb from my eye to my neck. I have a super-cute and not-at-all-annoying rubber dam in my mouth and a trendy spit-sucker hanging down my throat. I'm basically as undignified as a person can get this side of a torpedo-style crotch-kiss by a large unruly dog. Why on earth would I think that you're having a moment at my expense? Carry on!"
But something told me it was OK to stay. Or perhaps it was the fact that something didn't tell me to leave. I petitioned God for an answer. I believe that He gave me one. This is not blind faith. Blind faith would have been me fleeing the office on my own "gut feeling". While gut feelings are a good thing to listen to in the face of immediate danger, this was a situation in which I had some time and lots of inclination to ask the One who knows every hair on my head (and yours) for His opinion. I knew what I felt. Time to let God give me His wisdom.
And the answer I got was, "Stay."
No, not in words, and not in some untrustworthy bosom-burning sensation, either. Just a blanket calmness that this was indeed the right place to be. A calmness that could be trusted because there was no way, absolutely none, that it came from me.
So I stayed. And although there were several other things that made me nervous ("Seriously? No water in that little holder thingy to squirt my mouth with? There's NO ONE in the office and YOU DIDN'T CHECK THE LITTLE WATER TANKS?"), I could rest easy in the fact that, although I didn't necessarily want to be in this chair at 3:00 on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, I truly didn't have something better to do. This needed to be done and God guided me to the right place at the right time. (Interesting rabbit-trail: the regular dentist was not my first choice. I called another dentist and was disconnected twice and on the third call, received the recording that "this number is no longer in service and there is no new number". I checked the number on my phone screen against the number flashing at me from my computer screen. Same. Again, I believe God's hand guided me to the right people. I may not understand it, but then again--I don't have to. End rabbit-trail.)
I did like some things about this endodontist. He was very personable and talked to me a lot before the procedure. He didn't feel I needed antibiotics (no infection) and that was great, since I usually have to fight with a doctor to not take them. And he finally explained to me why my teeth are so incredibly sensitive: "You have the biggest pulps I've ever seen on someone your age!" (I really, really hate when sentences are ended with, "...for your age", by the way.) Apparently, as we get older, certain parts in our teeth "shrink" and get thin and less sensitive. Mine are not. Dr. Dentist said he has never seen pulps as big as mine except on teenagers. Teen. Agers. All I could think was, "Great. I'm aging all over the place, but I've got the tooth pulps of a 15-year old?".
He was honest about the pain medications he could prescribe me, and in the end, I didn't get any. The cool thing: I didn't need any. Not one little Tylenol. Not one teeny little Advil. Nothing. Aside from an almost unmentionably small little bit of gum soreness, felt only when I brushed my teeth, there was absolutely no discomfort at all after the numbness wore off.
This is amazing.
A root canal is a fairly traumatizing procedure for a mouth to undergo. Not only is there the actual procedure, but just having your mouth cranked open for over an hour gives many people a jaw-ache that lasts a week.
I got nothing.
With all my TMJ problems, and my tooth issues, and my big, fat, gargantuan pulps, I got no side effects at all.
Amazing.
Truly.
Thank You, Father, for modern dentistry. Thank You for the doctors you put in my path last Thursday.
Thank you, Father, for answering my prayer.

"Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."  Psalm 4:1