Monday, January 31, 2011

God, starring as protagonist, director, and producer

**If you read this this morning, it got mysteriously posted before I was finished. I think it had to do with my computer shutting down. Anyway, it was almost done, but I didn't get to wrap it up. So if you want to be wrapped up, please procede to the ending.** :)

Good morning! I have mentioned before the daily readings Husband and I receive from Ransomed Heart Ministries (the people who've written Wild At Heart, Captivating, The Sacred Romance, Epic, Love and War, Waking the Dead, etc. - they are some of our favorite authors). The daily reading, which is available as a free email subscription, is an excerpt from one of the books they have written.

This morning I was catching up on a few of the readings from the past few days. They were all good, but the one for today really caught my eye. The last few sentences, to be exact. Take a look and see what you think.

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Wow, to think of it that way, with God as the central character. God is the hero. God is the one we're identifying with and rooting for. God is.

This idea of God as the central character, yet also being the author, made me think of watching Braveheart this weekend. During the movie, you get so caught up in the character of William Wallace; his passion, perseverance, goodwill for his countrymen. He is courageous, smart, and talented. His purpose is so clearly good, and not just good for his own sake, but good for all people. He is stirring up their hearts, pleading for them to leave behind their play-it-safe* attitudes, and join him on his quest for real live freedom. Then at the end of the movie, as the credits rolled, I noticed that Mel Gibson is protagonist, director, and producer of this movie.

I am NOT saying Mel Gibson is God. Please don't misread me. What I am saying is that, likewise, God is the protagonist, director, and producer of our lives. He is stirring up our hearts (have I shared the chocolate milk analogy from my pastor yet?), pleading for us to leave behind our play-it-safe* attitudes, and join Him on his quest for real live freedom. The battle/journey/quest/adventure is happening regardless of your participation. Sorry to quote from Transformers, but "When you look back on your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?" Don't you want to know you took the risk ? It it doesn't work out, you can always come back to before, although I don't suspect this will be the case.

*This verse from The Message version of the Bible has become increasingly important to me lately:

"The master was furious. That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? ... Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And, get rid of this 'play-it-safe' who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness."
Matthew 25: 26-30

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Odds and ends

One month into the new year and so much is already under way. It seems like every January Matt and I start thinking about making our place new again. I clean it top to bottom and together we dream up ideas of how we want this home or our next home to be. Lucky for us we have the same ideas in mind!

Among the ideas has been a Poang chair from Ikea. We had plans to head to Dallas to get one. Then, while I was walking Charlie one day, I saw this one on the sidewalk outside a local thrift store. I could hardly believe my eyes. I literally stopped in my tracks because this was clearly going to be a deal!

I took the dog back home, hopped in the Jeep, and went back to see what they were asking. As it turns out, they wanted about 25% of the cost of a new chair! It needed a little elbow grease and laundry soap, but it was a good deal in my eyes. Now that it's cleaned up, we are thinking about getting a different color cover, but even with that it will still cost less than half the price of a new one. What a bargain!

I have been planning our next place for months, and part of that plan has included some kind of work space for me. I have a lot of ideas in my head for different projects (sewing, jewelry-making, etc.), but I need a place for them to be out instead of on the kitchen table. Finally it occurred to me that there was no need to wait until we moved. For no more than the $16 cost of this cute table cloth, I turned our old, sitting-in-the-corner card table into a one of a kind workspace for me!

This I thought would be a cute story. A few weeks ago our little dog Charlie was shivering because he had not yet dried from his bath a couple hours prior. He was sitting there staring at us (not that that is unusual). I picked up this throw blanket from the back of the couch. Thinking he knew just what I was going to do (which he did), Charlie laid down in his dog bed and let me wrap him up like this. What a sweetheart. He stayed like this, all wrapped up, for hours. At some point in the night I guess he got too warm and decided to climb out and sleep atop the blankety softness. Lucky dog.

And, just like that, we became dog people. Huh, I never saw it coming...

In other news, just about two weeks ago I attempted barefoot running! Matt has been doing this for months and having a grand time with it. This was my first time, and I was also really enjoying it until...I stubbed my toe. Now, hear me out, "stubbed my toe" might be underestimating it. I was running barefoot on the side walk, didn't bring my foot up enough (maybe I was tired or something as I'd run almost a mile barefoot by then?), and ripped off a good chunk of skin from the top of my toe and my the nail. Sorry for the mental image, but I made sure the actual image (above) would be clean.

After almost two weeks, I am back to walking normally now, and am pretty certain I have successfully avoided both serious infection and the risk of an ingrown toenail. I'm sure you wanted to know all of that! Nonetheless, I know I'll be trying it (the barefoot running) again soon. Does anyone out there have any tips for keeping my tootsies injury-free? I'd love to hear them!

Next up, my impromptu trip to Colorado, Matt the tree climber, and homemade spaghetti sauce!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Four years

Our fourth anniversary has come and gone (geez, that was fast!), but I still wanted to post this photo to commemorate it.

Husband and I have been married for over four years now! So much has happened in this time; so much change in us and our families. Four years ago I was half way through my first year of teaching and Matt was half way through pilot training. We were eager to get married and it was a very exciting time.

We love each other even more now, but I know neither of us could have predicted the places life and God would take us. I also know neither of us would have chosen them, so it's a darn good thing God is the one leading instead of us!! His plan always turns out so much better than our own. Praise to Him whose wisdom is beyond this world.

This is the first anniversary for which Matt and I have not been home celebrating Christmas. We were actually at our own place, by ourselves. We decided to spend the whole day together without phones or TV or computer. It was beautiful weather, so after waking up late and lingering over breakfast, we played in the park with the dog. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a nap and relaxed. That night we went to Pasqual's restaurant, where we had a dream dinner. It was a simple sirloin steak (but with this divine red wine reduction sauce) with asparagus for me, green beans for him, and the most incredible candied sweet potatoes for both of us. For dessert, we had buttermilk pie. (Courtney, it was not as good as yours or mine:)

We were going to allow ourselves a movie out, but the high price for low selection had us opting for a quiet, cuddly movie at home instead.

The End to another great anniversary day.

Monday, January 24, 2011


So, now that Matt's done flying T-6's he get's a break right? Right! (Haha, as in, said with sarcasm.)

We did get a short trip home for Christmas, and a day to recover when we got back. About December 29th though, Matt was back to work studying to learn...the next plane. This one, by the way, he's only flying for about 40 rides (I think). He'll be done by the end of April.

He's in transition right now, learning the T-38. He flew the jet three years ago, but has long since forgotten much of the information about it. As such, he has about 20 flights to get "spun up" as he calls it so that he can show what he knows next month in IFF. It's a stressful time, but also very hopeful. We are so eager to get to the A-10.

If you're a praying person, feel free to send one up for him!

The Fini Flight

Matt finally enjoyed his Fini ("fini"shed) Flightin the T-6 in December. Unfortunately, due to communication difficulties, we didn't make it out to the ramp to see the taxi in, but we did get there just as they were exiting the aircraft.

Here are Matt and Paris "Toad" Hollis. They flew in one plane of the twoship formation. Along with them were friends and fellow IPs James "Storm" Killian (also on his Fini Flight) and Andrew "Bean" Pellegrin. They were able to take the planes for the entire day and head to San Antonio for their favorite burger joint, Chester's. What a day at work, right?

Out of the plane, Matt safely stows his patches as he knows just what is coming next...

...the cold water spray blasting from a fire extinguisher, courtesy of Matt "Jigga" Lowe, who will also be in Matt's upcoming IFF and RTU classes.

All is well between friends though, especially considering my Matt will probably get this Matt back the next week (when he has his own Fini Flight)!

Lots of students and fellow IPs showed up to watch the production and show support. Thanks everyone! (They also knew that showing up would mean they could partake in the Qdoba goodness that would follow without feeling guilty...).

Here we are with the Killian family, left to right is Courtney, Jacob, Connor, James, Matt, and me. They have been our best Texas friends. They began their assignment here just before us and we have been right beside each other the whole way. They moved on to their new assignment in December, just a week after this Fini. We definitely miss them a lot, but have plans to "see you soon" often. The friendships are definitely the best part about the Air Force from a spouse perspective. You meet a lot of great people, and even though you move apart, you know they will always be there for you and vice versa.

Courtney with little Jacob all tucked away napping.

The squadron commanders spoke about James and Matt. It was great to hear their words of affirmation about James' and Matt's work here as well as the faith they have in them for what they will accomplish in the future.

After all the formal stuff had passed, it was time for Qdoba tacos and beer. As usual, Matt teaches Connor all kinds of valuable life skills. I know Courtney and James will sorely miss these life lessons while they are away. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The one where I really, truly, this-time-I-mean-it catch up and stay caught up

Grandpa and Grandma visited in early December and we were so excited to have them! They were on there way to Arizona for the winter, and stopped to visit with us for several days. They arrived on Tuesday, I believe (if I can remember that far back...). We enjoyed dinners, walking, talking and laughing, and Rummikub playing. On Thursday of that week, Matt gave us a tour of his squadron. Here we are out on the ramp in front of Matt's former plane, the T-6.

We were able to go out to the ramp, check out life support, see some T-38 take-offs and landings, and see -of course- many static plane displays around the base. We attempted to do a simulator, but let's just say we ran into a few technical difficulties. Nonetheless, it was a great tour (the husband is an excellent tour guide), and Grandpa especially enjoyed it.

Matt and I out at the jet. This is the day before the Fini Flight.

Question and answer time.

Pretty soon he'll be flying something with two real jet engines and sans propeller again!

Grandpa and Grandma also stayed for the Fini Flight, which is coming in the next post. Thanks so much for the great visit Grams and Gramps:)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Jealousy and envy

I have about 25 things I would love to write about right now. So many ideas and pictures are swirling through my head; things I want to share, things I want to show, things that are just fun or new or cute or happening.

All of that I will set aside now to share one thing with you that I learned five minutes ago. Praise God that he has revealed this to me! I hope he has already shown it to you as well. Thank you, Lord, for finally getting it through my head (at least this time) that often the internet isn't the best source of information. Sometimes I should go to The Source first. It might take a little looking, but like all treasure, it is clearly worth the HUNT!

Yesterday and today I spent a lot of time on YouTube because I was captivated by one Francis Chan sermon after another. Today my clicking led to a depressing video about Oprah, which basically portrayed her as the antichrist. I don't want to talk about that right now, but something she said was intriguing. She mentioned that the moment she began to question God and seek alternative philosophies came when she heard in church that God is jealous. She interpreted this as God was jealous of her, and because that didn't seem right to her, she went looking for hope somewhere else.

Anyhow, this got me thinking: how can God be jealous (Exodus 20:5) if God is love (1 John 4:8) and love is not jealous (1 Corinthians 13:4 **this is not exactly right as I will describe in a few paragraphs)?

Good question, right? Well, I thought so and I definitely did not know the answer. The question stewed in my brain for a few hours today before I decided to look up the answer in Scripture. Funny how I considered looking all kinds of other places first. As if Wikipedia or something would know better than God himself! I knew this seeming discrepancy could not be true, and I wanted desperately to understand it for both my own sake and the sake of anyone else who might ask me or wonder it in my direction.

Sorry for such a long story, but I am a rambler:) What else can I say?

I turned to the concordance in the back of my bible and looked up "jealous". All of the references (in my small concordance) refer to God's jealousy, no one else's, and are mostly about situations in which people's behavior has made God angry in the old testament. Except one. The one that is not about God and is not in the old testament is 2 Corinthians 11:2 (I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.).

Now I'm curious, what is godly jealousy? I look up the verse and the cross references and study notes on that verse and so on. I find that God's jealousy involves situations in which people are not honoring him or each other as they should. They are not showing love. I come upon 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 **(see note above), which is well known for the way it describes the truth about love:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8a

IT DOES NOT SAY LOVE IS NOT JEALOUS! It says love does not envy. This is new to me. In my head, they have been the same. Jealousy and envy, synonyms, right?

I thought they were synonyms, but when you look them up in the dictionary, they clearly are not:

Jealous: "1 a: intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness b: disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness 2: hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage 3: vigilant in guarding a possession"
Jealousy: "1: a jealous disposition, attitude, or feeling 2: zealous vigilance"

1 Envy: "1: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage 2 obs: MALICE 3: an object of envious notice or feeling"
2 Envy, envied, envying: "1: to feel envy toward or on account of 2 obs: BEGRUDGE, to feel or show envy"

This is the point at which I think I must be the only fool who has seen this incorrectly. I am humbled. I thought I knew what this famous verse said, but I really didn't. And my arrogance in thinking I knew the meaning of it could prevent me or others from real belief, if gone unchecked (Like Oprah, for one! It makes me wish I could call her up and say "your disbelief is based on a misperception". How different might things be? How do we tell her? She is so influential, but she desperately needs this grain of truth. It could change her life!). That's scary and really shows me the importance of not just kind of knowing scripture, but really knowing it.

God is jealous because he has a zealous vigilance for what is right, justice and faithfulness. He is intolerant of things that are not loving. He works for the good of all because of the greatness of love. Envy, on the other hand, is wanting something you do not have merely because you want it for your own sake. This is not love. This is the opposite of love.

Two different things. One that is true of God and is good; one that is not true of God and is not good.
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