Devotion

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

1 Peter 3:12

During the school year, I meet with a few other ladies once a week and we pray for our kids in school. There are several groups in our area which do this—most are affiliated with the national organization Moms In Prayer. The simple act of praying for your child is more powerful than all the lectures in the world. You can wear out your lungs talking to your kids about right versus wrong (and I have), but then you pray, and those prayers cut to the heart.

God blesses our prayers. He loves when we partner with Him, pour our hearts out to Him and ask for His divine help. The other day, after a prayer session, one of the ladies told us about an image that comes to her mind as we pray. She pictures Jesus looking down from heaven, tugging on His father’s sleeve, and saying “Hey dad, it’s that time again. Listen, they’re talking to us. I love this time of the week.”

The image has stuck with me. I love the idea of Jesus stopping to notice my prayers, and not just notice, but smile on me like a proud parent whose kid just threw the winning touchdown. Every parent would love for their child to turn to them for help and advice. And our heavenly father is no exception.

Do you have a set prayer time? A time when Jesus could say “Oh yeah, I love this time of day. I get to hear from (insert your name here).” Of course, Jesus wants us to talk to him all throughout our day, but having a set time to spend with Him is a habit which will bring many blessings—and make Him smile.

Dear Lord, give us the desire to talk to You every day. You hear us every time our thoughts drift Your way. Thank you for Your care and concern about all of the issues we bring to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Writing Conference!!

For those of you who haven’t read the bio page, I’m an author who really wants to be published. I have three novels completed. The first is pretty ugly, so I’ve put it on a shelf (learning experience, right?). The other two (entitled Created and Cascade) have been polished up and I’m taking them to the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference to pitch to editors this week! In case you’re interested in what they’re about, I’ve included the one sheets here. Anyway, I’ve had too much to do for the conference to be able to write blog posts, but I’ll be back next Monday (September 29th) with a new devotion. See you then!

Created One Sheet

Cascade One Sheet

 

Devotion

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

This year, we had a wonderful spring break vacation to Florida. We drove down then spent five days doing Universal Studios, the zoo, the beach, and Legoland. The kids were mostly sweet and happy and we had a great time.

The drive back—not so great. We left late so Todd and I were exhausted by midnight as we pulled into our hotel. We woke up the other two kids and carried our sleeping four-year old into the room. By 1:30 am, the four-year old was throwing up and she didn’t stop until 8:00 am (when the diarrhea hit her). And we were still two days drive from home. (I now have a new appreciation for hotel housekeepers and the ministry they perform every day).

But the funny thing was, the next day, as I contemplated the rough night through a sleep deprived haze, I realized I wouldn’t have skipped the trip. And as I’m writing this, I can hear my four-year old puking again into a bucket in the back of the van, but even so I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it. The great fun was worth the sacrifice of the pukey trip home.

Which got me thinking. What if God had laid before me every hardship and every joy that would become my life and asked me to decide if I wanted it? What would I have said? Would I bravely salute and take HIs word that all the trials would bring me closer to Him? Or would I cower and ask Him not to make things too hard on me?

If I’m honest, I’d probably be somewhere in between—raising my hand halfway and swallowing the fear in my throat. I’m grateful He is the only one who knows what’s coming next. I don’t need to dread the future. I only need to know that He’s chosen the future for me.

Dear Lord, there’s no way I would choose to skip this life you’ve specifically given to me. Today I’m going to live as if I’ve already decided to endure the hard stuff, and even count it a blessing, knowing it will drive me closer to You. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The giant red spot on Jupiter has always fascinated me. It’s a humongous storm that is twice the size of Earth and turns at  310 miles per hour (500 km/hr). That’s twice the speed of a category 5 hurricane! It has enough power to level cities here on Earth. Praise the Lord that He didn’t put anything like this on our planet.

This storm on Jupiter has lasted for over 300 years. Why? We don’t know. Scientists can only study the cloud cover of the storm to try to find out why it has such longevity. Jupiter’s atmospheric pressure would crush any probe sent to investigate the center of the storm. In lieu of studying the storm itself, some scientists have taken to studying the next best thing here on Earth–ocean eddies. These can last up to 8 years and they have mathematical similarities to the storms on Jupiter.

Reference: http://natgeotv.com/uk/storm-worlds/videos/wildest-weather

Photo Credit: ID 25709958 © Mila Gligoric | Dreamstime.com

Is Perfectionism from God?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Certainly, God is perfect. Doesn’t He want us to be? Is perfectionism from God?

I’ve got some secret perfectionist tendencies. Most people think I’m laid back—and I am—but that’s not a completely accurate picture of me. Granted, I’m not a perfectionist for perfection’s sake. Usually, it comes out in competition. Like those times where I feel the need to beat the other guy into submission (or in the case of Tae Kwon Do maybe smash a board across his face). Or in writer’s competitions where I might be dissapointed that my scores ranked only in the top 10 and not the top 3.

I see the same drive in my son, especially during football games. His desire to be perfect (and mine too) stems from the need to prove himself, to find self-worth in what he does. Problem is, no matter how perfectionistic we become, we’re not perfect. And “good enough” is a floating standard based on the guy standing next to you.

Many people I know would consider themselves perfectionists. Some even take it to obsessive extremes and move into compulsive disorders. Approximately 8% of Americans (or 16 million people) meet the diagnostic criteria for obsessive compulsive personality disorder. There might even be a gene responsible for this behavior.

Is striving to be perfect (or at least better than the other guy) something that God put in us?

Evolutionists would say this competitive behavior came about through natural selection because of competition over resources. Does this mean we should be growing less competitive in developed nations? In the U.S., most of us have adequate access to basic resources (food and shelter), but it hasn’t seemed to quell our competitive nature.

Perhaps natural selection (notice I didn’t say evolution) has caused humans to become more competitive. Or perhaps God has placed that drive to be better inside of us in order to point us toward something better. Maybe He wanted to emphasize how we don’t measure up, how we can never be perfect, to remind us of Himself—the One who is perfect. The One who gives us our true idenity, our true worth—through His perfection, not ours.

What do you think? Did God give us the desire to be perfect? Or are we just trying to control Him and everything around us? Do you have your own areas of perfectionism?

 

Reference: http://www.lawofficer.com/article/needs-tags-columns/perfectionist-personality-diso

Photo Credit: ID 26145348 © Leszek Glasner | Dreamstime.com

Devotion

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!

Phil 4:4

Today was a glorious day. When you’ve been sick since Sunday and on Saturday you finally find the energy to clean off the kitchen counter, then it’s a glorious day. So today, I’ve gotten my first burst of energy in a week; God gave me a great ending to my novel; my son, who had been struggling, had a great basketball game where he kept control of his emotions; and my oldest daughter learned to use her booty in basketball for defense (my husband tells me this is a good thing).

This day made me smile. At the end of this day, it hit me that glorious days are all relative.

If I hadn’t had the hard days in between, then I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this day as much. That’s how it’s possible for people to become millionaires, get everything they desire, and still be miserable. Those people live in a controlled bubble, insulated from all hardships. I’m willing to bet I have more glorious days than the average millionaire.

If a glorious day is relative, then in truth, every day is glorious because of what we escaped from when we became children of God. We were wallowing in a pit of sin. We were slaves to that sin. Now we are not!

We have been set free in every sense of the word. Our circumstances don’t bind our spirits.

I try to remember that truth when the sorrow and frustration creep in. Many days down here on earth will be hard and we won’t feel like calling every day glorious, but we can rejoice in each day because of what God has done.

Dear Father, thank you for the days you have given us. Help us to appreciate each one as people who have been released from the sickness of sin. We are free–what a reason to rejoice! In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

DSC00468DSC00361

I’m back from Mount Rainier in Washington State and it was an incredible trip! I’ve been to Seattle three times, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen “the mountain” (as the locals call it). The other times it’s been draped with heavy clouds, so thick that I’ve driven on the road next to it and not seen it at all.

Why? Because Mt. Rainier creates its own weather. Yes, this monster mountain forces air up its slopes, which then condenses into clouds as the air cools.

I’ve fallen completely in love with this place. I loved the forested slopes, the lava drenched ridges, and the glacier encrusted peak. How could you not?

But this was not just a pleasure trip. The book I have recently finished is set on Mt. Rainier and so it was research time. I needed to check my facts.

I stalked several park rangers and even one park geologist. I drove around the mountain several times, stopping about every 50 feet to take a picture. Then, it was time to hike (and oh my goodness did we hike).

My brother and I hiked to the top of Emerald Ridge, up to almost 6,000 feet elevation, which is about a third of the way up. Columbia Crest is the highest peak on Mt. Rainier at 14,410 feet. Hiking to Emerald Ridge and back took us on a round trip of 13 miles and right at 9 hours to complete. My muscles have never been so sore in my entire life. Even my toes hurt.

After all that, here are some cool things I learned about Mt. Rainier, not just during our hike or my ranger stalking, but also through lots of research (meaning I read the displays at the visitors center):

DSC00374

Explosive Lava

Mt. Rainier is not as explosive as Mt. St. Helens because the lava from Mt. Rainier is andesite (a lava with less silica). On Mt. St. Helens the lava has more silica (mostly dacite) which makes it thicker and more likely to trap gases, hence its explosive nature (yes, I said it, Mt. St. Helens has explosive gas).

Steam Caves

At the top of Mt. Rainier, under the ice pack, are steam caves, formed when heat from the volcano melts the glacial ice. Most of the steam caves lead to a glacial lake under the ice. How cool is that?

Glacial Thickness

Most of the glaciers on Mt. Rainier are around 200-300 feet thick, but the Carbon Glacier is 700 feet thick in some places.

Tree Islands

The slopes of Mt. Rainier are dotted with islands of trees because the growing season is only two months long (that’s how long the lower half of the mountain is free of ice). Trees can only grow in spots where the ice melts the fastest—on ridges, or in areas where shrubbery is already established, which keeps the ground warmer.

Snowfall

The average snowfall at the Henry Jackson Visitors Center (6,000 feet elevation) is about 650 inches (over 54 feet). The record snowfall is approximately 1,100 inches (over 90 feet). This explains why the park goes into lock down all winter long.

Photo Credit: Me