Monday, April 27, 2009

A Marriage Story

Remember when I spoke at my church back in March during a sermon series on lust?

After that I received an email from a woman who knew her husband was having an affair. She hinted about it on the way home from church that day - I think hoping the sermon series had softened his heart - but he stonewalled. So she was seeking some advice and prayer from me. She did not want her marriage to end, yet she was frustrated and hurt.

I responded and told her to pray. I suggested she not to get into any conversations with him about it just yet - let God work on her heart and his first. I told her to love her husband afresh, despite the affair, because love is the most transformational power in the universe. And I suggested she surround herself with wise counsel. That's my response in a nutshell.

Honestly, I didn't know if it was going to turn out well. But I heard from her again a few weeks later:

"This is just a note to let you know i did seek wise counsel and had friends walking and praying along the path to confrontation ... i have felt the lord every step of the way and waiting for his timing and his peace brought a quite different outcome than had i forged ahead like a bull in a china shop. We are healing and heading toward forgiveness, reconcilliation restoration and defining a new marriage as neither one of us can go back to how it was before. it has given the title of husband and wife a whole new sense of responsibility and honor worthy of respect and the hard work to deserve the position.

i could write a book about my journey and god's grace but right now i am focused on walking with god every step on the road to the future. thanks for listening - thanks again for coming to church to speak and for encouraging me to seek god."

It is AMAZING what God can accomplish - even things that seem impossible in our hearts and minds!

Can you believe ...

that I am thirty-something ... from the South ... and I just made homemade lemonade this weekend for the first time ever?

Oh my what I have been missing all this time ~ this stuff is delicious!!

I'm so glad you are here to share my joy, even if you can't share a glass with me. You see, half my P31 friends are all on this crazy no-sugar diet. I won't name names ... Zoe and Lysa are the only ones to publicly announce it. But if you are coming to She Speaks, it will be obvious which ones did the diet. They'll all be looking Tori-Spelling skinny.

And I'll be the more Kelly Clarkson looking one, with the glass of lemonade in her hand. At least that was my plan: Eat whatever I want between now and then, and tell the conference hotel to stock up on lemons. Only Lysa had to go and ruin my plan. Last night she had to challenge all of us to give up something - fast something - between now and She Speaks. So .... errrr.

No offense to Tori or Kelly by the way - I'd gladly share my lemonade with either of them. I bet they wouldn't make their friends feel guilty about enjoying the first batch of fresh lemonade they've ever made. No offense to Lysa either ... maybe I'll send her some lemonade, just to let her know no hard feelings. :)

Hey I'm not quite sure what to do with the the 18 lemon halves that have the daylights squeezed out them. Surely some frugal mom would know what I could use those for, but I haven't a clue. Aren't lemons good for cleaning something?

Off to pour a second glass while I contemplate fasting ~R

Trapped into Domesticity

Yesterday evening I enjoyed some fried chicken and fruit salad at the park with a few of the Christian faculty members from my university. The weather was truly blissful as we ate, chatted, and played bean bag toss and ultimate Frisbee.

I must've been sooooo relaxed when I got home that I didn't realize my purse was still in the back seat ...with my keys in it ... and darling husband locked its doors once I went inside. I realized all this today after I made my errands list, showered, and then looked around the house for my purse for 20 minutes.

Gracious, now I'll just have to spend the day cleaning house and doing laundry. Ugh.

I can go days (literally) without leaving my house and be perfectly happy. As a lark. As whatever kind of bird is even happier than a lark. I do it all the time. But a soon as I CAN'T go anywhere, it drives me crazy. Remove the option and my lark flies the coup, leaving me stuck there alone with my crazed notions of hitch-hiking to Barnes & Nobel.

I seem to be a strange mix of eager world traveler and total homebody. What about you ... are you a happy homebody or full of wanderlust?

My email is not back up yet so if you've sent me an email, please be patient. I'll eventually get it and respond. Pinkie promise.

Off to fold more clothes ~ R

Friday, April 24, 2009

Financial Friday

You should see my entryway floor this morning -totally covered in paper. Mail and bills to be exact. I've spend the last 30 minutes on the floor there opening ... sorting ... moaning occasionally ... tossing ... and filing.

I don't do this often enough.

Anybody else have an aversion to dealing with their snail mail?

I was soooo happy years back when my bank began online bill pay where I could set everything up to automatically pay on time - what a time, sanity and late fee saver! They write and mail the checks for me and I don't even have to keep stamps at home anymore. Yay!

But the downside to that is I don't open my mail - the bills part - with any regularity anymore. I assume all is taken care of by my bank - and 95% of the time it is. But then there are the occasional notices about billing addresses being changed, or rate or schedule changes. And I miss those until they've already taken effect. Then it usually it costs me money, which is frustrating and not smart.

So I decided I will open any bills that come in during the week on Friday mornings. That should be frequently enough. How often do you open your mail?

Guess what I discovered today? Evidently my utilities bill has been overpaid by $400!!! Now I clearly don't owe them money or late fees, but that's $400 that I've loaned to them unknowingly, interest free, for 2 or more months! I'm heading off to call them now and find out the deal.

For those of you who know me well enough to know I'm forever cutting myself somehow - I did get a big paper-cut across my thumb opening the mail today. Maybe that's the real reason I don't open mail daily or weekly. I need one of these!

Then again, I'd probably hurt myself with that too. Sigh.

So, here's to getting more intentional about managing my finances.

Want to join me? I'll post some easy-to-do tips here occasionally on Fridays.

Meanwhile - go open your mail and tell us if you discover anything surprising!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I've been silent here for a few days .... that's because I've been spending time with the fellas from my local Best Buy Geek Squad.

Because my computer crashed.

Completely and totally.

I know, you're feeling my pain, right?

We ... I say we but it was actually some "geeks" with enough testosterone to enable them to understand computer stuff ... had to wipe the entire laptop clean - like to new out-of-the-box condition. Then we had to reload the basic software. I actually did a little bit of that myself.

My computer is back up and running - but it is still acting strangely. (Probably because I did some of the installs.) And I periodically loose my Internet connection. Errr!

I do back up my computer - I just don't do it weekly like I should. So I lost some files but not all of them. And I did lose all my pictures! Doesn't that thought make you cringe? And I can't take more because if you'll remember, my camera was stolen about a month ago. Urgh.

I also lost my entire email address book.

You're still feeling my immense pain, aren't you? Good. That makes me feel better.

So I'm in mourning for my losses. And I'm playing catch-up now that I'm finally back on-line. But for some reason, while in radio silence, I decided I want to give my blog a redesign. A bloggy face lift. (Since an actual face lift ain't happening, I'll settle for my blog.)

Anybody got any tips for me? Are there blogs you love the look of? Give me their URL so I can see too. Are there colors you like or hate for blogs? Do you have trouble reading the font size here?

Anybody - without Geek Squad help - figured out how to do their own blog redesign??

Or, anybody know any good blog designers - who don't cost a grand because I'll have little money left after paying the Geek Squad and buying a new camera. *Thanks, y'all.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Jesus is Coming, Look Busy

Saw this bumper sticker on the back of a car while I was coming home from the grocery store today. I had layers of reaction to it. And I'm curious to know what you think when you first read it. Funny? Warped? True? Offensive?

What did Jesus tell us to be doing when He returns? Somebody post here and tell us!

UPDATE: My first reaction was to laugh at the audaciousness of this sticker. And then to nod my head in agreement that this is so often the human condition - our fleshly mode of operation.

Then I thought about the various things I do ... how much of it "counts" eternally, and how much of it is wasted vanity? After a few more minutes of pondering, I realized that sometimes resting (in God) is the most productive thing I can do.

Then again, I have a tendency to think too much. :)

BTW, I also noticed another bumper sticker on this person's car indicating he is a Quaker.

PS. I posted in the comments something Jesus had to say on this subject

Friday, April 17, 2009

Got a Favorite Verse?

I was recently asked what my favorite Bible verse is. I always cringe a little at this question. Because I don't like being tied down to just one verse. I'm too ... what? ... all over the map, ADD, impulsive, something like that. So whenever someone tries to force me into the one verse corner and make me stand there, I squirm.

I've been asked this in the past - even had my answer to that question published - but then it changes and the next time I'm asked, I say something different. Yes, I'm a waffler. But there's just so many great verses in the Bible and they speak to me in different ways on different days.

Often, though, it seems God gives me a verse or a theme for the year or a season in my life. Right now that verse is Jeremiah 33:3:

"Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know."

I like this one because despite my time spent in higher ed, I can be pretty dense. And yet God saw fit to drop me into a speaking and writing ministry, so I'll take all the help He will supply! How about you ... have you got a favorite verse of all time, or a favorite verse of the moment? If so, post it so we can all glean from it. And tell us why it's special to you.

PS. I'll look back through the comments and try to answer any questions from the "Afraid to Fail" post soon. Right now I'm off to enjoy my Friday at the coffee shop.

. My taxes are done. Whew! They were turned in by 5:00 Wednesday. I know ... how very last minute of me!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Afraid to Fail

Welcome, if you're visiting after reading my devotion today.

Are you the Queen of Afraid to Fail?

Does that fear keep you from even trying - even when you think it's something God has called you too? Yeah, I've been there. I can live there if I'm not careful.

The power verse in my devotion today describes me well:

"Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don't enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don't be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."
Mark 14:37b-38 (MSG)

While a part of me is definitely driven, another part of me is lazy or easily paralyzed with fear of failure. It's hard to live with both those feelings going on simultaneously. Reading this parable, I know which one it is God wants to kick to the curb! Check out these verses from Proverbs too:

(Proverbs 18:9) “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great waster.”

(Proverbs 29:25) "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe."

(Proverbs 31:30) "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

What area or tasks do you need to target with more effort, and which ones call on you to have more faith?

Don't worry but rather pray about everything, the Bible says. It also encourages us to seek input from wise counselors when we feel stuck or unsure. But when we do that and believe something is God's direction for us, we need to tackle it despite our fears. Oftentimes my fears don't go away before I begin - I just begin despite them, and then they dissipate.

I trust this helps someone out there today. Sweet blessings ~ R

Monday, April 13, 2009


So did you have a great Easter? I did. Enjoyed church, as always. Then we spent the rest of the day with Rick's family, who I adore. We had a country lunch of ham biscuits, sides and mint-tea. Followed by an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Then all the females gathered on the patio to make hair bows for the girls. We had ribbons and sequins every where!! Only burnt myself on the hot glue gun twice. :)

OK, confession time. I haven't done my taxes yet. I do the taxes for us every year, and this year I've waited until nearly the last minute. Yikes. So I'm off to dig through my tax files, itemize my deductions, and hope for a refund! If I'm not back before the 15th - you'll know why!

Girly-Girl Nicki asked for tips on biscuit-making. Can't help you there. I rarely make bread. Also, my brother-in-law is a professional chef - the kind at expensive restaurants. So we let him do all the cooking when the family gets together!
Meanwhile, Zoe lamented that she loves ham biscuits but hadn't had one in years. Girlfriend - life is short - get yourself a ham biscuit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Week Before the Cross: Friday

Last night I watched "The Visual Bible - Mathew." Ever seen this? It is every verse from the book of Matthew in NIV on DVD with actors portraying the events.

I turn on the captions so it displays the verses on the screen like subtitles. It is 2 discs long so last night I watched up until just before the Lord's Supper. I'll watch the rest tonight and I'm looking forward to it.

So here we are. The day of crucifixion. It's weighty. And it would be unbearable without the knowledge of what comes on Sunday. Can you imagine being in the disciples' place on this day nearly 2,000 years ago? Rough.

Of course, they had been clearly told by Jesus that this would happen, and that He would rise again on the 3rd day. Yet somehow, they didn't quite grasp what He was telling them. It's weighty.

So here is what happened on this day in Jesus' life. The disciples scatter, and Peter denies believing in Jesus. Jesus is tried by the Jewish and Roman authorities:

Then, Jesus is tortured and crucified - supposedly for the crime of blasphemy - but in reality, for every crime and sin of mine and yours:

The Bible doesn't tell us the events of Saturday for Jesus, when His body lay in a tomb. So we'll pick back up on Sunday for that dramatic conclusion.

Blessings ~ Rachel

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Week Before the Cross: Thursday

Welcome, if you've come over from my devotion published at Crosswalk or at Proverbs 31 today. Feel free to say "hi."

Easter is just days away - so are you ready?

I don't mean have you picked out an appropriately-colored outfit yet. (Mine will likely be lilac, white and black because I have a lilac nail polish I like.)

And I don't mean have you colored any Easter eggs. (I haven't done that yet - and surprisingly the kids haven't asked me about it.)

No, I mean something more akin to, have you spent any time walking in your heart with Jesus to the cross yet? That's what I'm trying to do this week as I read through the gospels about each of the days in this particular week of Christ's life.

As Jesus entered His final days before enduring the cross at Golgotha, He acted with deliberate intent. Every step was premeditated. Each word was rich with loving purpose. Knowing He had just days left with His disciples, what did He want to tell them? What things did He do with them? What did He ask of them? What really mattered in those final hours?

Find the answers to those questions in the events that took place on that Thursday. (These each link to an online Bible)

The Last Supper:
Jesus talking with his disciples in the upper room:

He stresses and prays in the garden at Gethsemane:

The Son of Man is arrested:

After reading about the Last Supper, I'm motivated to take some time tonight or tomorrow to take communion together as a family. I want us to remember together the sacrifice that Jesus said was about to be poured out for our sins.

A few years ago I went to one of those paint your own pottery places with some girlfriends and I chose to make a challis. We used that as our communion cup at home for awhile ... until it broke ... when I dropped it... those pottery things are sooo heavy!

Still, even the broken pieces of that challis reminded me of the broken body of Christ. So this is what I'm doing to get ready for Easter - this is how I'm remembering the satisfaction Isaiah spoke of regarding the cross. I trust you'll find ways to remember as well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Week Before the Cross: Tuesday-Wednesday

Today's readings are longer than the past two days have been. Remember, we are moving chronologically through Jesus' week. So a lot happened on Tuesday.

Interesting, the Bible doesn't say what Jesus did on Wednesday. Nothing is recorded for that day. We can assume perhaps he stayed in Bethany with his friends and disciples. And probably continued praying. If you can't get through all of the readings below today, finish them up on Wednesday since there are no reading for that day. (All the verses in red below are liked to an online Bible for ease of reading.)

In today's readings we see Jesus' authority challenged at the Temple on Tuesday:

We see Jesus teaching with his trademark parables, and confronting the Jesus leaders:

Some Greeks ask to see Jesus on this day, and He predicts His death:

Jesus gives the teaching known as His "discourse" at the Mount of Olives:

Finally, also on this day Judas agrees to betray Jesus and makes plans with the head Jewish priests:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week Before the Cross: Sunday-Monday

So I spent much of my weekend watching movies on the Hallmark channel(see below). Which is fine because if you recall, I was determined to enjoy the nothingness on my calender after 3 weekends of speaking.

I did get a few loads of laundry done while watching two of the movies. And I walked 45 minutes on my treadmill during another one. I managed to make dinner with leftovers before the last two movies of the night, which didn't make me cry as much as the others. Maybe I was just out of tears by then, or maybe exercising released those happy hormones that Elle Woods says keeps happy people from killing their husbands. :)

So this week I figured I'd do a bit of reading. I'm going to spend my week going through Jesus' last week before the cross.

Sunday through Wednesday Jesus spent each night a couple miles outside of Jerusalem, across from the Mount of Olives in Bethany. He may have been staying at Mary & Martha's home. Thursday night we'll find him in the Garden of Gethsemane. And Friday and Saturday night His body lay in the tomb. Sunday, however, a glorious new dawn rises in the hearts of man!

I'll be reading the passages in all 4 gospels. Anyone want to join me? I'll post the readings here each day and link them to the online Bible, like I did during last spring's Bible study. All you have to do is click on them to read them. Then if you want, you can post here to say you've read it and leave any questions or comments about the passages.

I'll also be reading Max Lucado's book, "And the Angels Were Silent," about this week of Jesus' life. I started on it this morning. I started on the Bible passages yesterday - but you can quickly catch up.

Here is Palm Sunday's (yesterday) reading:

The laying down of palm branches was an ancient tradition that indicated a king or dignitary was arriving in triumph. Interestingly, palm branches are also mentioned in the book of Revelation. John writes of his heavenly vision in Revelation 9:7-11:

"After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God."

I especially like the details John's gospel includes in his passage about the praise and worship sung as Jesus entered. Can you picture creation - in Heaven and earth, living and inanimate - anticipating the redemption to come?!

Here is Monday's (today) reading:

Any thoughts?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dear Hallmark,

Dear Hallmark Corp,

First let me say "thank you" for so many of the blessings you provided me while I was growing up. My parents owned a chain of Hallmark stores in Virginia. I still recall each and every store, along with its backroom, loading dock and many of the store managers. My very first job was clerking behind the register. I learned to count money and make change ringing up Shoebox cards, wrapping paper and gifts.

But I feel I have to let you know something today. Last night I stumbled across the Love Comes Softly movie you were playing and it caused me great emotional distress - plus, roughly a half a box of tissues. Those were my tears you jerked out of me.

Today - after the some comments left by friends - I turned on the TV again to see if you were in fact running other such movies in what they told me was a series. Sure enough, this is a 14 hour marathon. OH HELP ME LORD! So now I've lost an entire Saturday afternoon, and at least 2 quarts of salt water, to you and your movies which play with my emotions like a kitten with string.

I really need to go to the grocery store for more tissues, and for ingredients if I'm going to make dinner tonight. But how can I do that when you run movie after movie in this series back-to-back? Besides, the store clerks would wonder why my eyes are so swollen and my nose is red. I fear my kids and I just might starve. (Good thing hubby is out of town this weekend.)

I thought I was going to get a reprieve tonight at 9:00 pm when the saga concludes with Love's Unfolding Dream, but no - the series is not concluding! At 9:00 pm comes the "world premiere" of the newest movie in the "Love" series: Love Takes Wing. Now I ask you, how can I miss the world premiere? ... Unless I'm in the hospital by then due to starvation or severe dehydration.

And there's more, next Saturday evening is the premiere of the 8th movie in the series, Love Finds a Home.

I'll tell you what "Love takes" ... this love movies series takes a lot of time to watch. And and lot of tissues to get through. And a lot of chocolate to soothe me. And the phone number to Domino's.

Oh, and a heart of stone not to love it back. So I have a feeling it's also going to cost me a few dollars at the bookstore to purchase the entire series to read. Hallmark, I guess now you're taking after all those years of giving when I was young. Well, I reckon that fair.

Y'all let me know if you watch it tonight.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pass the tissues

I'm watching Love Comes Softly on the Hallmark channel.

Oh my is this movie is a first-class tear-jerker, or what?! Brutal! But I'm loving it. And I've gone through no less than 7 tissues already.

Anybody seen it or read the book?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Sometimes at the dinner table my family does "high-low" where we share with one another the lowest and highest points of our day. I thought we should try that here - it's fun to learn about each other's daily lives.

LOW: When I arrived at my gym last night there was a sign on the door that as of April 1st the gym would be closed, indefinitely. Was this an April Fool's joke? No, it was signed by 2 lawyers and it is legit. What?!

I still have 3 months of membership left that I've already paid for, and I'm told today I'd have to file an insurance claim to get that $ back. More importantly - we're only talking like $30 - this is my favorite gym and so close to my house. It's the place where I reduce stress and get in shape - two needed things in my life. And I think it's the only gym in town with a steam room. I love the steam room!

HIGH: The upside is I worked out hard last night. Feeling that it would be my last opportunity, I cranked up the music in my earphones and ran like crazy on the elliptical machine for 3 miles. Then I hit the weights with a vengeance. I burned calories and reduced lots of stress - woke up today still sore and starving!

Today I had to run a few errands. While out I discovered that my favorite brand of "energy bar" now comes in some new flavors. I eat one of these nearly every day for breakfast, so that excited me. I bought and tried the chocolate-pecan flavor and loved it! (Note to self: tell LeAnn because she loves these bars as much as you do.)

MORE HIGHS: Next I had to stop by a consignment shop where I had left a few items of clothes back in February. My contract was up and they had sold all but one jacket. So I got a check for $25. In my twisted girl-logic I decided that my clothes shopping habit could actually fund itself now that I found this consignment store. (Note to self: Don't think any further about that. A close examining of that logic won't leave you feeling as happy as you are now.)

Then I had to return a blouse at the Belk's department store - due to that clothes shopping habit I mentioned. While there I found a cute pair of casual, low heels on sale for just $10 including tax! (Note to readers: Do not ask why I was shopping in the shoe department when I was there to return a shirt.)

So those are my highs and lows from the last 24 hours - what's been yours?