Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The 1920´s

Here we are, DH and I, celebrating a Christmas 1920´s party in our home. It was really fun! Big Sis and I even did a funny sketch....I actually think we had more fun preparing the sketch than performing it.... isn´t that sometime how it goes?

One always looks back on these years with a certain amount of nostalgia and lack of realism. As I was doing research for the party and designs for my dress, I discovered that the 1920´s were not all Charleston and gaiety! In fact the flappers were known in their day to be at the height of rebellion, breaking away drastically from the pictu
re of womanhood at the time. Not wearing corsettes, cutting their hair and dropping their waistlines, not to mention receiving the right to vote, fly planes, attend university and all sorts of unheard of activities for women at that time. You can only begin to imagine the uproar at such events.

Of course in the light of today´s generation all these things almost appear insignificant and we think that today´s generation is breaking all sense of morality and values. I imagine that is exactly how that older generation felt way back t
hen in the 1920´s.

But one does have to concede that there was a social etiquette/culture that still contained the roaring lion of rebellion somewhat better intact that today. Sadly today, there is no restraint of any kind whatsoever. In fact, if you have any sense of morality or values you are considered intolerant in a world where tolerance is everything.

But this aside, it seems that every 3rd or 4th generation, there is an urgency to look for the true reason for living. This hunger to find outside of what is culturally considered right or wrong, a surging to the surface of rebellion, which is just a camouflage, for the heart that is searching to find God. It raises the question, "What is life really all about?"

I think under this blanket of tolerance people again are seeking truth. Having whatever you want when you want doesn´t give life meaning.... there has to be more.

And thank God there is..... Life and fulfillment is not in getting all you want but in giving. It´s not in being loved, but in loving. It is not in having all you need, but sharing. The only thing that comes close to this today are the organizations made to achieve these goals .. the Red Cross being a good example, but there are many more that exist to to provide not help, support, water, protection, homes ...the list is endless.

Why do they have such success?

Because this is a principle that God himself set in motion. It is a law that can not be defied! It works.... because God made us like himself and that we are only fulfilled when we too are loving as He is loving.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him. We love Him because He first loved us.
1John 4:10, 16 &19

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The grass is always greener......

Yes that famous proverbial saying that often leaves us wondering....

Is it true? Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?

.."Something that you say which means that other people always seem to be in a better situation than you, although they may not be. "

Often whether it really is or not is irrelevant, because in most cases one would never know. That is what makes it so tempting or so easy to believe!

Why is it that in our human nature exists this space marked... "desire for that which I don´t have!!" Sadly I believe it never leaves us as long as we remain on this earth.

Maybe we can sum it up in one word:COMPARISON

examine and note the similarities or differences of;

We constantly compare ourselves with others: consciously, unconsciously, check if we are "up to par" with those we love and admire....Sadly this practice more often than not, leaves us with an aftermath of discouragement and a blanket of despair.
Contemplating the grass on the other side makes us discontent with that which we do have or who we are.

Sadly I do this often , comparing myself with other mothers. I find myself wanting in so many areas....and it is oh so easy to believe that everyone else´s kids are better behaved, more intelligent and loveable than mine. The grass is greener... Ouch... it even hurts to write it! Any area or walk of life can come under the scrutiny of comparison. Each one of us has his own personal battleground of "the grass is greener...."

So where does that leave us? Is there a way out of this vicious circle?

How well Jesus understands this part of the human heart when he exposes this very attitude in the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in Matt 20: 1-16.

To summarize... a landowner needs workers for his vineyard and goes out early morning, the 3rd hour, the 6th hour, 9th hour and finally the 11th hour to hire workers with the agreement for the day´s work of a denarius. When pay up time came around the stress began...

v12: These men who were hired last worked only 1 hour...and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.

Ooooh there it black and white.... comparison in capital letters.... yet the offer was fair to each with no deceit. The problem came when the workers started to compare what each of them had done for the same recompense. In Gal 6:4 we are told very clearly not to compare ourselves and carry our own load.

So what are we then to do? Could it be that the secret to not compare or constantly desire the greener pastures lies in Philipians chapter 4: 11, 12 ? Is there a key?

Here Paul tells us how he has learned to be content whatever his/the circumstance, followed by the promise given in v13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Does this not give us the secret to overcoming our wandering eyes to our neighbours greener field? If I am happy with who I am and learn to be content no matter what my fate, together with Him who gives me strength to walk out my walk.. is there not a possibility to live a fulfilled life with joy and peace?

Often the naked truth about that which we desire, actually it has a bitterness of it´s own..a unseen weight and trial which our rose tainted glasses did not allow us to see?

My experience has been that upon closer inspection that which I desired or admired isn´t at all what it was cracked up to be. What I had wished or longed for had "hooks" attached.... and God in His wisdom, unbeknown to me, protected me by not giving me everything I considered better.....

Nope... the grass is often no greener on the other side after all....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jet Lag


A condition that is characterized by various psychological and physiological effects

(as fatigue and irritability),

occurs following long flight through several time zones,

results from disruption of circadian rhythms in the human body called also jet fatigue fatigue and sleep disturbance resulting from disruption of the body's normal circadian rhythm as a result of jet travel.

The one thing about travelling that is not fun is jet lag..... it is a constant state of "the lights are on but no one is home!" status. Or you could liken it to seeing yourself from outside of your body! Opps that sounds scary doesnt it!

A good holiday is one spent among people

whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.

~John B. Priestly

It's true... you can't deceive your body.... no matter if you put lights on to provide day and sleep at right times, and drink alot of water to avoid dehydration..... it still knows that you've changed something even though you try to convince it otherwise! You can't get around it will take what it needs to adjust and that's that! Seven hours difference is....after all 7 hours difference. I mean people even struggle when we do the daylight savings thing for 1 hour....hello....

How long a minute is,

depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.

~Zall's Second Law

Yes the question of time is definitely important and we should value it and treasure it.... it has always held a certain mystery and challenge for the human species. God in turn, exhorts us to take ahold of time and use it to it's best advantage....

:Prov 90: 12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Who forces time is pushed back by time;

who yields to time finds time on his side.

~The Talmud

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Here I am with my oldest son , almost 16yrs, at the onset of the famous "changing of roles" that takes place between parents and children when a certain age is reached.....


As I looked at this foto, I thought how great it was that we had captured this moment on camera.

I appear to be somewhat less interested than I should be at No 1´ss intent to explain the intricacies of digital video cameras, don´t I? I don´t think I was as disinterested as I appeared, but this image has crystallized the end of an era.

The era when us Mum´s and Dad´s are no longer "all knowing" in our children´s eyes. It´s when we begin to ask the questions and they give the answers..... especially when it concerns modern cons like computers, digital cameras, gidjets and gadgets, and last but definitely not least: the latest generation of mobile phones!

I remember the feeling I had when this phenomenon happened to me. My chest burst with pride as I explained to my parents something they didn´t know and I couldn´t help but savour the feeling that somehow I was on par with them... at least on one level!

You have reached the moment when your opinon is valued in your parents eyes as that of a peer and no longer that of a child. If the parents respond well to this "reverse of roles", it can be a tremendous boost to the self esteem of any child, as my personal experience has shown me.

So, sitting on this couch with my son explaining the newest digital technology, I knew that he needed me to fill up the hot air balloon of his self esteem and let it soar high! I trust I did just that even though the picture appears to give credit to the opposite!

Sadly, not all areas of growing up and maturing are as straight forward as being knowledgeable in the technical department! As we look back at our teenage years, I have yet to meet anyone who would want to relive the hormonal, roller coaster ride of their puberty years!

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? (I can see that sparkle in your eyes!!!!) Do you remember first time your heart was broken? (how quickly that sparkle went!!!)How about the frustration of "what will they think?" and "what will they say if....." And the fear to top all fears .... not to stand out for whatever reason!

If we compare our "experience" of yesteryear with now, we realize that we wasted alot of energy suffering and agonizing over things that wouldn't even take a wink of sleep away now. How we wish we could have calmed our fears back then with the knowledge we have today.

The hard thing is when you are going through the trial, those classic pep talks and black and white one size fits all solutions, don´t seem to hit the spot do they. Like when your heart is broken, and with all the well meaning, heartfelt desire to help in the world they say, "Don't worry, there are plenty more fish in the sea!!" And you say..... "I don´t care about the other fish..... I wanted THAT fish!"

The reality is, that you are not really looking for an answer or a solution. You just want to have your feelings validated and then a hug that says.... I know how hard it must be. With that, you feel that maybe, just maybe this present pain will with time fade and maybe just maybe, there might be someone more wonderful than wonderful waiting around the next bend.

God knows about that kind of pain and our need to hear that voice of reassurance. I remember one of those moments and this was the verse God gave me which soothed my heart ache and comforted my soul.

John 13:7

You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

I remember how it felt to the ache that was in my heart....It wasn´t a made to fit solution, not you will get over type of answer, but it gave me the assurance that God knew what I felt right now. I didn´t need to have the details... just know, that someday all this hurt, confusion and even pain that I was feeling, later He would let me understand.

It´s hard to see children, family and friends suffer, but they don´t always needs answers or solutions...just to know that we understand their present pain, that it is real and valid. This is the greatest offering of friendship one can give.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thank Heaven for my Husband!

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~Rita Rudner

Today my husband and I have been married for 19 years. I know that I would not be the person I am today if it would not be for God´s work in me and the love of this wonderful man....

His love makes me feel free to fly like a bird, to reach for my dreams yet he is always there to catch me when I fall.

He is the one who sees me at my worst, yet loves me anyway.

He never forgets to be the first to congratulate me when I do well.

He makes me feel like a million dollars even though I´m only wearing sweatpants.

He helps me to laugh at myself when I´m too serious.

His gentleness leads me to see the jerk I´ve been and makes it easy for me to say I'm sorry.

He is the greatest companion on any trip to any country.

And yesterday he bought me roses because he wanted to surprize me and not wait until today!

I love you honey.... happy 19th Anniversary


Monday, September 18, 2006

The unofficial end of summer

The calendar tells us that summer ends in mid-September, but we all know that the unofficial end to summer is when the kids go back to school!!!

That is when those lazy mornings and late evenings come to an end and are replaced by the routine and structure that the school schedule demands. Often this change of pace is welcomed with open arms by us mothers after a long summer. Usually a few weeks before school begins, children unconsciously "beg" for school and the regularity it brings, by their boredom . Never of course admitting that this may be the fundamental reason for their discontentment! But we parents know, don´t we!

There is though, a certain tension that arises at this point. It involves the feeling of wanting to hold on to those relaxed mornings and free days and yet it is counteracted with the longing to finally have order and schedule back in the picture. It´s
an interesting phenomenon! There is a certain sense of loss coupled with an element of dread about facing the daily grind.

Tension :

a balance between and interplay of opposing elements or tendencies,a stress that produces an elongation of an elastic physical body;the physical condition of being stretched or strained; a state of mental or emotional strain or suspense;

It´s a well known fact, that many after their holidays fall into depression just thinking about returning to their daily responsibilities. But this healthy tension is something we can´t avoid. There will never be the one without the other. Each season has it´s pro's and contra's and the success lies in focusing on the positive of each to survive with some degree of mental health! We might not want to admit it but this tension actually helps keep us in balance and it helps us grow.

This morning while I was contemplating this tension I remembered Paul talking about a particular tension common to us all....

Romans 7:15......

I do not understand what I do.

For what I want to do I do not do,
but what I hate.... I do....

....For I have the desire to do what is good,
But I cannot carry it out.

So I find this law at work:
When I want to do good, evil is right there
with me.......

For in my inner being I delight in God´s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin.

What a wretched man I am... who will resuce me from this body of death?


In Chap 8 Pauls gives us the a way to de
al with this tension, in that he describes the only way to be free from the law of sin is to live in accordance with the Spirit.

This is a very real tension for us all and I know that until we get to heaven, we will battle with it constantly. The very fact we struggle with sin
will keep us humble and close to Jesus who helps us overcome by the power of His Spirit that lives within us.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

When life doesn´t always have the right shape!

I had a very similar toy like this for my boys when they were toddlers. The object of the game being to put the right shape into the container using the right shaped hole. In the process of the game you obviously also learn that the square shape DOESN'T fit into the round hole and so forth.

This also happens in life doesn't it? We want the square peg conflict to fit into the round hole solution and it just doesn´t. Sadly, we still keep on trying the square problem with the round solution anyway, becoming exhausted and frustrated at every unsuccessful attempt!

God reminded me of this game just the other day in respect to my relationship with my son. I keep trying to put this square peg into th
e round hole and it just doesn't work. I need to find the round hole for him! If not, I will end up breaking my square peg.

For some reason, we find it hard to let others be who they
are. Not because we don´t like them, or because we think they should be like us (ha, ha...) but more because we don´t understand them. This lack of understanding makes us afraid and insecure which con result in an issue of control. Sometimes in our "afan" to want others achieve their fullest potential, we forget to realize that this might happen in ways that differ from what we might deem to be the "right" or the "best" way.

If there is anything that I have learned especially my boys, that is that there is more than one way to see life.

Have you ever seen those pictures, those optical illusion drawings, where some people see a lady and others see a saxophone player? See the pic below.
If you see the one it´s often very hard to see the other. It takes training your eye to see it. Nonetheless, the two co-exist within the same picture. Often due to our "closedness" about seeing the "one", we very rarely can conceive the other object in the picture at all. This translates in real life too.

Life can be seen from very many different perspectives which can all be correct! If you understand are well on the way to enjoying the differences rather than having them cause stress and frustration. If we can learn to respect, honour and value these differences in each other, life can take on a much more positive and enjoyable view.

That reminds me of the passage where God talks about the one body being formed of many parts: 1Cor 12:12

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.

If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.

And if the ear should say "because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body....

v.19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand , "I don´t need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don´t need you!"

On the contary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honour...

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that it´s parts should have equal concern for each other.

May God help us to appreciate the squares, triangles, rectangles and circles in our lives and enjoy them for who they are.....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Zeal without Wisdom

It is not good to have zeal without knowlege,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.
Prov 19:2

I knew when we got our Fox Terrier, that the only elegance about her would be her name: LADY! Renown for their hunting instincts and nervous character, Lady fits the bill of the breed to the letter.

This morning as I took her out on her iniciations to walkin
g with a leash, the above verse came to mind.

What Lady does not lack is zeal. Zeal to discover the world, smells and naturally other K9's! She has already developed an amazing distain for a family of
3 dogs 2 houses down from us, and pulls with the strength of 10 horses to get in front of their faces and tell them how stupid they are for being behind the fence!(At least that is my human interpretation of the events!!)

Lady is 7th months old and still very much in the process of being trained. She has acquired the sit position and laying down position quite well, although any sign of training seems to go out of the window as soon as someone new walks on the scene, i.e. visitors! Lady ca
nnot seem to contain her zeal of meeting someone new and have them "experience" her excitement too by consequently jumping all over them, whether they like it or not!!!

Zeal: excessive fervor to do something or accomplish some end

Yes , Lady is another reminder to me of the Process, and that Process involves time and energy. It is often true that the process involves more time and energy than we would care to dedicate to it!

Not only that, Lady has a natural zeal on the onset of her discovery of life that will dissipate as time goes on. It will dissipate due to training and learning what good dog manners are, but also because of maturity.

Lady's zeal expres
sed itself in full apparel this morning as her nose led her bounding (or at least as much as I allowed it as I continued to firmly yank her backwards saying "heel" whenever the leash tensed more than I wanted it to.) towards the gate of a neighbour, where obviously another K9 aboded.

Her nose tucked under the gate as much as possible, trying to make somekind of a statement, but to Lady´s surprize was met with what I assume to be a much larger dog, who literally scared the fur off of Lady´s back and she jumped away as fast as lightening! Her zeal had lead her somewhere where she didn´t want to be!!!! Wisdom and knowledge learned
from this and other experiences, will teach Lady to curb her zeal and not be so quick to investigate another K9's territory next time!

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Rom 10:2

So like Lady, my zeal needs to be based on knowledge. There has been many a time in the past that it has just been based on zeal itself...

Lady is beginning to show signs of responding to the training (process!!!) and the rest of the walk was done at my pace rather than hers! But due to her breeding, I don´t think Lady will ever loose all of her zeal. She will always be a bright and nervous creature. Like the saying goes, she even makes coffee nervous!

Likewise, the Bible says we also should not loose our zeal. So even though we mature, may the traces of our breed, that of being in Christ, be that we never loose our zeal in knowing Him.

Never be lacking in zeal,
but keep your spiritual fervour,
serving the Lord. Rom 12:11

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the
Fear of the Lord.


"...a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus 2:14

Friday, September 01, 2006

The importance of the process

When Pharaoh let the people go,
God DID NOT lead them o
n the road through the Philistine country,

For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds
and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.
EX 13:17/18

During the Service on Sunday these two verses literally jumped out and grabbed me! I wouldn´t be the least bit suprized if my body language would have reflected both my surprize and amazement upon my discovery of this truth to those distracted enough during the sermon to notice!!!!

Isn't it wond
erful when you begin to see that "connecting" thread that God weaves through your life? When you begin to recognize a certain "sense and continuity" to the lessons and experiences God is bringing you through?

I was reminded that God is much more interested in the
PROCESS rather than the goal. It´s how I get to where I am going that matters.

My two boys have be studying for 3 hours daily during this past month to prepare for exams that start today. In Spain, the Secondary School System provides the opportunity to recuperate a given subject by sitting an extraordinary exam representative of the year. If you failed the year in several subjects, to recuperate them all is quite a task, considering the amount of information that needs to be studied.

Our boys had many exams to recuperate and the likely hood of them passing them all is somewhat unlikely. In all fairness, it seemed unrealistic to even attempt to make them study with very little hope of passing and the inevitability of repeating the year anyway.

But we felt it important for them to learn the value of trying and giving one's best
in the light of the opportunity rendered to them, and not just resign (gi
ve up) to the inevitable.

a particular course of action intended to achieve a result;

the action of going forward,
the condition of being carried on.

As parents we are looking to the process. The process of learning disciplin
e towards our responsibilities in life no matter what the outcome. It´s not a question of grades. (Hey, but I would love to see those too... believe me....!!!)

This takes me back to how God doesn´t lead us to the short cut through the Philistine country because He knows us and how we would change our minds! God´s mind is on the process and not just the goal.

Their goal was to reach the promised land, a land filled with milk and honey! But the process lead them the long way (reminds me of my long and winding road...) because for God, the goal isn´t the prize, rather it is what we learn in the process.

The process prepare
s us for the prize.

During the process, our dear Father is laying important building blocks that prepare us for life and the Promised Land....(even if it is filled with giants!!!!!)

But the process isn´t all learning and discipline....."God led the people aro
und by the desert road toward the Red Sea." We have the privilege of looking back in history already knowing the outcome, unlike the dear people of Israel. They were unaware that they were about to encounter one the the Bible´s most spectacular recorded miracles : The parting of the Red Sea.

If we would go the short road, we would not only miss out on the process, but also the miracles! God is interested in the process, because he is interested in us. His interest is based on his tremendous love for us and our character, laced with his awesome pow
er and delight in being the God of the impossible.

And there runs my thread again, weaving itself in and out of my thoughts and the process He has been leading me through over the last days and weeks. It is of the utmost comfort to see that God´s dealings in my life have both purpose and meaning despite the difficulties and pain. This understanding encourages us to go on doesn´t it??

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Am I lost?

When the road is long and the scenery doesn´t change,often one can become consumed by a sinking sensation that the road is not going anywhere.

If you have ever made a journey that took you hours across a monotonously, repetitive landscape, there comes a point in that journey where it´s easy to begin to doubt you are actually going anywhere... or that you will EVER arrive!

This usually happens after enduring miles upon miles of long road and unending fields. Along with the boredom you begin to wonder... you begin to doubt..... Is this really the right road? How long is th
is going to take?

I guess I feel like I´m at that point in my journey of this thing we call life. Things are starting to appear the same around me and I find myself on an interminable, straight stretch in the same direction and doubt if I am actually going anywhere at all.

Doubt is healthy. It tests one's convictions.

In an article entitled "The Long Straight Stretch
," written by Joni Ereckson Tada, she says the following:

"Someone once said that the challenge of living is to develope a long obedience in the same direction. When it's demanded, we can rise on occasion and be patient... as long as there are limits. But we balk when patience is required over a long haul. We don´t much like endurance.

Right now you may be in the middle of a long stretch of the same old routine. There are miles behind you and miles to go. You don´t hear any cheers or applause. The days run together-so do the weeks. Your commitment to keep putting one foot in front of the other is starting to falter.

Take a moment and look at the fruit:

Your life is not a boring stretch of highway. It´s a straight line to heaven. And just look at the fields ripening along the way. Look at the tenacity and endurance. Look a the grains of righteousness. You´ll have quite a crop at harvest... so don´t give up!"

These words encouraged me so much this morning on my long and winding road. Even though it feels like I´m getting nowhere... God is doing something, producing something in me. Hey, whoever likes to learn patience? I don´t see anyone ever standing in the "patience" cue, eagerly waiting their lessons!! Let alone the perseverance cue......

Our "instant" society doesn´t place much value on these things does it? Why am I all to eager to bypass these lessons ? Even though I am struggling right now with a feeling of being lost on my long road, I want to believe that God is putting some valuable treasure inside my clay pot!

"Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up."

Gal 6:9