Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Have Seen the Lord!

It's the season of contemplation.

What we agree with.

What we believe in.

Who we agree with.

Who we believe in.

In one way or another, it's all contemplated.

As believers in Christ, we can over think it.

And by "it" I mean the whole thing.

We over intellectualize the sacrifice God made by giving up His only son for our forgiveness.

We make it about laws and rules and dates and times and commentaries and personal theories as we throw stones and fiery darts at anything that disagrees with us until we are so far from the heart of the matter that we don't even know what's the matter anymore.

And people certainly don't think of Christ 
when they see us coming.

In John 20:17-18 after Mary found the tomb empty and wept, Jesus revealed himself to her and told her to go tell the disciples.

"Jesus said, Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

"Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:  'I have seen the Lord' 
And she told them that he had said these things to her."

I have seen the Lord.

I have seen the Lord.

It's so incredibly simple.

Jesus didn't tell Mary to show off her knowledge of who He is.

Jesus didn't tell Mary to provide proof that she had in fact for real seen Him.

Jesus told her simply to go tell that she saw Him.

She was in His presence.

When Jesus preformed miracles he didn't ask them to research its validity, or their own worthiness of the healing, He simply told them to go tell others.

In a nutshell their healing became their,

"I have seen the Lord!"

I think if we think hard enough, we all have examples of situations where we can say, 

"I have seen the Lord."

Not literally the face of God.

Where's the faith in that?

Watching a loved one suffer from illness but still possess a joy and humor in their pain,

I have seen the Lord.

Seeing grace and peace that surpasses ALL understanding in someone who has every right in this world to be bitter and angry, 

I have seen the Lord.

Witnessing a newborn baby yawn,

I have seen the Lord.

Recovering from an addiction of any kind,

I have seen the Lord.

In a time when it's become more popular to be entertained at church than educated, 

easier to slam someone's theology on social media than talk to them face-to-face, 

trendy to be super extra careful not to offend an ever growing list,

we need to go back to John 20:18.

We need to tell someone the news,

"I have seen the Lord!"

Because it's filled with hope 

and love 

and forgiveness 

and faith.

It's personal yet for everyone who will just open their eyes to see.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Planet Earth 2

Have you seen any of the BBC's Planet Earth 2 series?

The series is broken down into segments, each episode takes on the animals of that particular segment even if they live across the globe from one another.

One episode was about islands.

We learned about the 3-toed sloth.

Oh my goodness.

This sloth was hanging out in a tree when he heard a mating cry.

The slowness in which he reacted is quite fast for his species according to the narrator, David Attenborough.

He's looking towards the mating call. 
David Attenborough has the type of soothing voice 
that could make Winnie the Pooh seem harsh.

And his brother played John Hammond 
in Jurassic Park!

Back to the sloth.

After hearing the mating call, the sloth jumped into the water and started swimming toward the cry.

I'm not sure why but this struck me funny.

I've never really had a reason to believe a sloth couldn't swim but I sure didn't expect him to look like a tourist on vacation rather than a sloth on a mission to find his soul mate.

He's doing the doggy paddle.

I didn't get the feeling that there was a great deal of urgency.

He got all the way across this inlet only to find out the mating call wasn't for him and he had to turn around and super casually swim back.

Womp womp.

It was like the Charlie Brown of sloths.

The scariest part of this episode was showing the perils of being a baby iguana.

They hatch on rocky beaches and must RUN AS FAST AS THEY CAN to the higher elevation of rocks by the water where their parents are waiting for them.

They must RUN because speed snakes are waiting and watching for them under rocks near by.

Yes. I said speed snakes.

These snakes are HUGE and they got their name honestly.

They are FAST!

I've never rooted for an iguana in my life like I did these newborns.

"GO! GO! GO!! 

My hands are sweating from watching that again.

Did you see that snake lunge at the baby iguana with his MOUTH OPEN in a last ditch effort to stop him?!

Isn't that just like the devil to try to WIDE-MOUTH bite us 
when we are two steps from freedom? 

We went to the Florida Keys for spring break.

It's much more tropical than south Florida.

In fact, the girls kept asking us if we were still in America.

At the pool of our hotel, there was a waterfall spilling over rocks into the pool so that guests could walk under it.

Iguanas were ALL over the rocks.

They were fascinating to watch!

I was an instant fan 
because… Planet Earth 2.

Sometimes, in the morning, we'd see 3 or 4 iguanas squeeze out of holes in the rocks where they had slept overnight.

I can only imagine how cozy
those accommodations were.

The iguanas became our live version of Planet Earth 2.

Except, THANK THE LORD, there were no speed snakes around. 

I would've run the entire way back to Ohio 
if I'd caught even a glimpse of a speed snake 
eyeballing one of my iguanas.

They became our entertainment.

From a distance.

One did come down to the pool deck and sniffed around a few sunbathers.

I preferred them at a distance.

I couldn't believe how dinosaur-like they seemed.

Slap on a back fin and they would resemble a baby Dimetrodon.


There was always a "changing of the guard" of who got the highest rock. They'd raise their head high up towards the sun and close their eyes. They'd remain still, in the same position, for long stretches of time.

Around day 3 of watching my iguanas, I determined Monte had lots of similar characteristics.

He agreed.

I just happened to be videoing my iguanas when I caught this interesting behavior:

After doing some research, I found out that the thingy-do under the iguana's neck is called a dewlap. Males puff it out for any number of reasons:  territorial, temperature regulation, greeting, warning or 

"Hey, female iguana, you are kind of cute."

Who knows what was happening in the mind of that iguana on that particular day and that particular rock.

Our research also informed us of why we saw so many hawks circling the pool.

They fly off with the iguanas!!

I was sharing this upsetting revelation with Monte and how APPALLED I would've been if we'd actually WITNESSED the iguana snatching when he glazed over a bit and said,

"That would've been awesome!"

After doing some research, I found out that the doohickey under the iguanas neck is actually called a dewlap.

Males puff out their dewlap for any number of reasons:  territorial, temperature regulation, warning or just a,

"Hey, how you doin'?" 

to any females nearby.

Our research also informed us of why we saw so many hawks circling the pool area.


I was sharing this upsetting revelation with Monte and emotionally expressing HOW APPALLED I'd be if we'd actually witnessed an iguana snatching when Monte glazed over a bit and said, 

"That would've been AWESOME!"

I blame Planet Earth 2.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Treasure Boxes

A lot of life has happened in the last month.

There's no way to explain all of it because there's just too much.

I agreed to teach Sunday School at church this past Sunday weeks ago.

Before Spring Break and before anyone could know my dear friend's mother would pass away.

The days leading up to Sunday were busy with funeral food and details and preparations and standing all day in wedge sandals that pinched my pinkie toes blue.

I was super weary going into that classroom 
Sunday morning.

We talked about David and how he wrote so many of the Psalms.

Did you know Moses wrote some too?

Anyway, we talked about how the word Psalm means "book of praises" and how many were written to be sung.

Our youth pastor typed out some of the Psalms for the kids to choose to use to decorate their treasure boxes along with tissue paper, foam sheets, stickers, markers and construction paper.

They could put things on and in their boxes that they want to treasure up. Keep. 

The kids went right to work.

One girl handed me a marker and a piece of scrap paper and asked me write Jesus on it.

I did.

She told me, with SO MUCH enthusiasm that she was going to write Jesus SO BIG on her treasure box.

Then she started singing a made up song 
about how much she loved Jesus 
and how he is worthy to be trusted 
and is her strength. 

She asked with a giggle if I heard her song.

I told her I did.

She said it was her Psalm.

I asked her how old she was.

She said she'd turn 8 in April.

8 years old!

I was totally done in by this 8-year-old.

I found out later how hard her life is.

A lot of disappointment.

Way different than mine at 7 going on 8.

Yet she sang her own praises to God and wrote Jesus's name SO BIG on her treasure box.

We talked about what we are thankful for and another girl looked me right in the face and said,


Then we talked about movies and they strongly urged me to see "Trolls" even though it's 

"a bit scary but it's okay because it winds up good at the end."

They also told me to see "Sing" even though it's 

"a little sad."

And we all agreed how good "Moana" is.

When I told them how I caught Monte listening to the Moana soundtrack all by myself in the kitchen eating his breakfast the other morning the little girl with Jesus SO BIG on her treasure box said,

"That is so sad! You should listen to it with him! 
No one should listen to music alone!"

I don't know if she was still referring to the Psalms or not but I went home and told Monte.

I also thought of my own treasure box and the praises I'd fill it with like love and laughter and joy in the midst of sorrow.

I thought of a line from a Chance the Rapper song I saw him sing on an award show,

"God is better than the world's best thing. 
God is better than the best thing the world has to offer."

I thought of how things in this life are scary and sad but we know the ending of the bigger story and to quote my little friends in Sunday School Class, 

"it winds up good in the end."

I thought of how I read in Ephesians 5 in the Message that "Thanksgiving is our dialect."

Gratitude should be our accent.

In a season where I can barely catch my breath,

and it seems like life is dealing a very hard hand to the people I love, 

 this little girl in my Sunday School class 
with the distinct drawl of thankfulness,

reminded me of all my treasures.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dino Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's sad that the only picture I could find in my photos of Monte and I together was a bad selfie in the dark while it was snowing or this:

Notice the leg pop.

Speaking of dinosaurs,

Monte and I rewatched Jurassic World the other night.

I forgot how intense it was!

I had to "go to the bathroom" during one scene 
because I couldn't take the suspense.

And I already knew what was going to happen.

That night I dreamed that Monte was bit in half by a dinosaur.

What kind, I'm not sure.

I thought for certain he was a goner but he kept talking.

Talk, talk, talk.

I thought to myself, in my dream, can you survive being bit in half by a dinosaur?

Somehow Monte was offended that I "killed him off" in my dream.

I tried to explain that HE WASN'T DEAD 
and still had a lot left to say.

The girls went to a church youth group white elephant party around the holidays.

Ellie came home with a dinosaur chia pet.

Not any real dinosaur, mind you.

The made up one from Jurassic World.

Indominus Rex.

Interesting that the word "minus" is right in the name.

Not that I'm bitter,
she gets it in the end.

But I was still excited.

I read the instructions and instantly got to work.

I soaked the whole terra cotta dinosaur and some of the seeds and then painted them on.

It was so exciting.

And drippy.

So much so that some of the seeds slid down onto the dinosaur's elbow and onto the platform.

I was supposed to keep it near sunlight and mist it daily to keep it hydrated.

Here's what it looked like after Day 1.

Day 2.

Day 3.

Day 4.

Day 5.

Day 6.

The box said I should see growth in a week or two.

I stopped spritzing it somewhere after the second week.

I was washing all the seeds off when I realized that I put chia seeds in my green smoothies.


I could've grown my own chia pet anytime I wanted.

Or not.

After staring at this chia-less terra cotta dinosaur every day as I did the dishes, I decided I would paint it.

I bought acrylic paint in metallic gold and metallic silver.

Monte voted for the silver.

Hello there!

I just saw this on some HGTV email I get because I clicked on something one time and now get daily emails.

I'm unintentionally trendy!

Now to hunt for the smallest little plant ever…

Sorry if this creeps you out.
It makes me laugh.
Look at my cave man feet.
And seriously, who wears a white bathing suit?

Monday, January 30, 2017


I had a feverish girl home from school two days last week and let me tell you,

I was so happy to be out of the house once she was better.

I started working out with a friend/trainer, Beth.

She texted me on a Saturday evening and pretty much told me I was going to start working out with her and a neighbor down the street.

It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

She participates in body building competitions
and wins.

I have a healthy fear of her.

I had done precious little physically since my surgery other than riding a stationery bike and working with some stretchy bands that are WAY too tight or I am just WAY too weak for them.

Beth plopped some weights in my hand and had me working out like I'd not been lying on the couch watching Hallmark movies for almost an entire month.

I could not move the next morning.

Getting up and down onto a toilet made me holler out in pain.

I wondered if there was some sort of mechanical up and down toilet 
that could alleviate the need to squat.

Get on that, Craft-o-matic.

Stairs were murder.

I said, "Ow!" on every step.

I finally got out the rolling pin to try to work through my tight thigh muscles.

It was very, very helpful.

That night, after tucking myself into bed, I realized that I would not be able to fall asleep until I rolled my tight muscles again.

The rolling pin was downstairs.

The very thought of enduring going down and then BACK UP the stairs was too much.

I convinced Monte to help me out.

He begrudgingly did but came up the stairs with the idea that if he just did the rolling for me, he could loosen up my soreness once and for all.

With all his power and might, he roller-pinned my leg.

I yelped enough to wake the dog.

I may have passed out for a second.

After I stopped whimpering, I grabbed the rolling pin out of Monster Monte's hands.

I started rolling my sore pectorals.

Monte may or may not have muttered something like,

"For the love of our marriage, I'm rolling over 
and turning off the light."

I'm not sure newlyweds could respect one another's space enough 
to allow their spouse to roller pin their pecs 
in the privacy of total darkness.

It's the stuff of old marrieds.

By the time I went back to the gym, I was only slightly still in ridiculous pain.

This morning, I walked up and down the stairs without a single, "Ow!"


Over the weekend, Monte and I decided to hit a consignment shop we really like that was having a big sale.

I was taking a bit too long browsing around.

I know this because Monte walked up to me wearing this.

He said something like,

"I wish I had someplace to wear this."

Not sure where such a place would be.


On a completely different note, a week or so ago, Julie, texted me that she thought I looked like a woman on a MiraLAX commercial.

I could not deny the resemblance as much as I did not want to look like a lady that could convincingly sell you a laxative product.

I am pretty sure I have that blouse too.

Without actually digging out the blouse, I tried my best to recreate it.

Not quite, I know. 

But I'll work on it.

Once I can use my arms fully again.

Yep, it was arms day at the gym this morning.

Where's the rolling pin?

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Choice

I've seen some really good movies lately.

There was a thread in each of the movies that connected them.

I'll explain more later.

Don't Think Twice

This movie is about an improv group in New York. It's all about "group think" and having each other's back while on the stage but clearly it's about way more than that.

It's about how they act as a group off stage. 

Two of the members of the group get an opportunity to try out for "Weekend Live" which is essentially SNL. The reactions of each of the members is soooooo interesting when one of the characters actually make it onto "Weekend Live."

I won't spoil if for you but it's such an interesting study in human nature and the way we react when jealous, hurt or faced with a challenge.

Great quote: "I feel like your twenties are about hope, and your thirties are about realizing how dumb it was to hope."

I loved this quote because clearly all of the characters in this movie were living with and in the hopes of being discovered one day. They had cruddy jobs, worse living conditions, all in the hopes of something more.

This movie was wrongly rated as R. We don't usually watch R-rated movies and feared the language would be distractingly awful but it wasn't--thankfully.

The improv parts of the movie were very funny.

La La Land

You've probably seen this or heard of it or watched the Golden Globes to see that it won big.

We saw this movie the very next night after seeing Don't Think Twice.

It's so different than what I thought it was going to be. We saw it early after it's release and I'm so glad we did.

We went with friends and didn't really let Monte know it was kinda/sorta a musical until right before we left.

Monte likes musicals when we are in a pretty theater watching it live.

Or an animated movie made by Disney.

But nothing else.

He's complex.

We got to the packed cinema and saw trailer after trailer of the most emotional, heart-wrenching movies ever.

I think I cried 3 times.

Monte loudly whispered to his friend next to him,

"I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a musical!"

La La Land is about an aspiring actress, Mia, who works as a barista in between auditions and a jazz musician, Sebastian, who dreams about buying his own club while he works odd jobs.

They start to date while they encourage one another in their careers.

Again, I don't want to spoil it but the movie becomes an interesting view into how we handle watching someone succeed when the other doesn't.

It's a visually beautiful movie and I listen to the soundtrack all the time.

Great quote:  Mia singing:  "Here's to the ones who dream/ Foolish as they may seem./Here's to the hearts that ache./Here's to the mess we make."

Hidden Figures

This is a movie about the African American women who worked for NASA as engineers and mathematicians in the era of segregation and the race to be the first country to put a man into space.

It's such a phenomenal movie because it's true.

It makes me wonder how many more stories this amazing haven't been told.

And why Hollywood keeps making dumb superhero movies 
when there are true heroes in our history that have MUCH 
better stories to tell than anything with a cape or spider web.

The conflict of this movie is the appalling racism and sexism.

These women were doing important calculations for NASA in a basement in a building far from their colleagues.

There were separate bathrooms, cafeterias and coffee pots.

And salaries.

NASA wanted the works of their minds but didn't want to include the women in important meetings.

As the pressure to get a man into space increased, the need for these women increased too. Old laws and traditions had to be broken so progress could be made.

But it was the beauty of how these women supported one another that I was struck by.

I can't say enough about this movie. Go see it!

Great quote:  "Any upward movement is movement for us all."

The thread in each of these movies was the choice.

Each movie listed above, put the characters in a position to choose selfishness or support.

In Don't Think Twice, the characters had to choose whether they were going to be happy and supportive for their friend who won a spot on "Weekend Live" or jealous and angry.

In La La Land, the characters were offered the chance to choose to focus on themselves or their relationship.

And in a musical montage, you get to see how each decision plays out.

In Hidden Figures, the characters were in the same position, waiting to be noticed for their skills and efforts. It wasn't until Octavia Spencer's character said, "Any upward movement is movement for us all," that the theme for each of the movies really gelled for me.

When we feel left out, ignored and overlooked, what do we do?

When someone close to us is included, highlighted and invited in, what do we do?

Do we give up hope because all of a sudden we feel foolish?

Do we ignore relationships because we are too busy licking our  own wounds?

Do we miss the opportunity to support each other because we are too busy sizing each other up?

Do we miss the blessing of seeing someone blessed?

Do we turn our backs on joy because it didn't choose us first?

It's that choice that has me thinking.

If you've seen any of these movies, what did you think?

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Top 5 for 2016

Not to bore you, but I decided to look back at what posts were most visited in the past year.

It's always interesting to me to see what gets the most views.

Here's the top 5 for 2016:

I reported on Monte's nose cancer procedure.


My Christmas hernia story.


Our college journey with McDaniel.

And black squirrels.

On missing Jesus when he's right in front of us.

How NOT to become deadwood.


in conclusion, you all like 

medical issues, 


and a little college thrown in the middle.


Thanks for reading!