Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

To blink or not to blink?  Should people use their blinker when changing lanes or not?  It seems like some people don’t care whether they blink before changing lanes or not.  Sometimes I wonder if their blinker was an optional feature on their car.  A few weeks ago, I asked my Facebook friends to give me their insights on my blinker question.

It was unanimous – everyone agrees that you need to blink: for safety reasons, it communicates your intention on what you are going to do, it’s dangerous if you don’t do it and it’s the law.  I have always thought it was the law but I had begun to wonder when I had asked those who had recently completed drivers education and they couldn’t remember this being a manditory law.

Well, news flash, I did find out that it is in fact a law.  MN Statute 169.19 (5) says: “A signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning”.  (Sorry–my friends who answered from IA, WI, SD and TX…I didn’t find the exact statute from your state).

So why do people NOT obey this law?  Here are my guesses since I didn’t get any replies from those not in favor of using a blinker: they may think it is optional and not really necessary, they don’t realize it is the law, they think they have the right of way, and lastly, they think it is a stupid law.

Contrary to what they may think, I believe it is good law because it helps identify which way the driver near you is intending on moving.  It is a form of much needed communication on our roadways for safety reasons.  This communication is needed where ever you live –whether you live in a metropolitan city like I do or in the more rural areas of Iowa where my husband grew up (I was the ‘city’ kid from Iowa).

Similarly, God communicates his desires to us in His Word.  The directions He gives us in His Word are in the form of commandments.  The 10 commandments (Exodus 20) were given to us to obey…they were not listed as the 10 suggestions.  If we don’t obey these laws, there are consequences to not following them.  If we lie to a friend, loved one or co-worker, we lose their trust and it harms the relationship.  It will take a while for that person to trust you, if ever again.  If we steal or murder, then we end up paying a fine or going to jail for several months and even many years.  God has given them to us for our own good because He loves us.  He knows what is best for us even when we don’t know it or understand it.  Even our parents have taught us many things that we don’t understand but it is often for our own good.  God gives us these commandments as well – for safety reasons (like the laws our government has given us to follow on the road to help keep us safe) and to have us be example to those around us.  The new command He gives us to love one another (John 13:34 ) just as He loved us.  The Old Testament commandments keep us in a right relationship with God (commands 1-4) and in relationship with one another (commands 5-10).  The New Testament commandment is also a ‘relationship with others’ commandment but there is an additional requirement.  We are to be an example to others so they can see the Father’s love and they will know that we are His.  This example helps those who are lost find Him for all eternity.

The next time you obey the law and use your blinker…..think about how your obedience to God’s command to love others is reflecting God himself and continue to love on those around you.

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Note: I thought I’d post an older article I wrote in 2008 when we dropped our daughter off at college.  If you want to read about the adventure of dropping our son off at college in 2010, go to this article here: https://refreshinghearts.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=51&action=edit

Have you ever been given a gift, cherished it, nourished it & then “let it go”? Almost 19 years ago, Dave and I were given the gift of a beautiful daughter, Rachel Kay. Now after 18 ½ years of cherishing & nourishing, we moved her into her college dorm on Saturday, August 30th. It was and has been a ‘bitter-sweet’ time this past year leading up to this moment. I had decided last year as she began her Senior year that as we went through the year, we were going to ‘celebrate’ each moment and enjoy them as the ‘lasts’ we called them….the last basketball game, the last prom, the last semester, and then finally the last day of school. This kept Rachel’s spirits up as the soon to be graduate and alum of Fridley High School celebrated these days. We all laughed & congratulated on her ‘last’ of this and ‘last’ of that. It wasn’t until May that the ‘lasts’ started to get me down as I realized….I only had one ‘last’ week left with her when she can back from work at camp this summer & she would be off to college. Once she graduated and she went off to camp, we had a taste of the ‘empty nest’ with both Rachel and Kyle working at camp. It was quiet as Dave and I spent our nights relaxing or riding our bicycles to prepare for the bike trip to VCBC in July. I had good days and bad days with them both gone & realizing the ‘letting go’ day was coming near. On the bad days, I missed both of my kids terribly, cried, but then I prayed and rejoiced in the fact they were serving God in a wonderful place and affecting the lives of many children and youth at VCBC and the day wasn’t so bad after all. In August, I felt God calling me to spend more time in his Word so I began a new Bible study by Beth Moore, “Beloved Disciple” which is about the life of John. As I read about the calling of James and John, sons of Zebedee (Mark 1:20), I realized that Zebedee had trained his sons to do the family business of fishing and then one day, they up and left him to follow Jesus and fish for the souls of men. Zebedee knew my pain. I began to reflect on others in the Bible who had to ‘let go’ of their children and they did it even when their children were infants or really young! Moses’ mother put her baby in the bulrushes & actually nursed her son so Pharoah’s daughter could raise him as her own (Exodus 2:1-10). Hannah prayed for a son and God answered her prayer. She dedicated Samuel to God and presented him to Eli to stay in the temple once he was weaned. (1 Samuel 1:21-27). Even, Mary, who was given the privilege of birthing our Savior, had to ‘let go’ of ‘her son’ to roam all over and preach the Good News and later to see him crucified on a cross. God, the Father, understands. He watched His Son die on the cross and heard the excruciating words of Jesus, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). For centuries, men and women have been ‘letting go’ of the precious gifts that God had given them and ‘let God’ transplant them from here to their next destination. I think Beth Moore sums it up well, “Just about the time you get to reap some of the fruit of your parenting labors, the young, flourishing tree gets transplanted elsewhere”. I am thankful for what God has done in my life in the ‘last’ year and for the many friends who emailed or asked me ‘how I am doing’ and gave me hugs of comfort. We have officially joined the ranks of millions of parents who have had to “let go and let God transplant!” Blessed be His Name!

Originally written 9/1/08

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I am such a dreamer.  I am not talking about the night time dreams that happen after you fall asleep and enter the REM stage of sleeping (see this informative article on the stages of sleep and dreaming- http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamresearch.htm).  I am usually thinking about the next event or day that is coming up and wondering with excitement about the events of the day.  It seems like Joseph and I have a lot in common with dreaming.  His brothers called him a ‘dreamer’ (Genesis 37:19b) yet his dreams came true.  These were dreams that came from God and he became 2nd in command of Egypt next to Pharoah (Genesis 41:38-43).
I don’t know if my dreams are from God and there is some merit in dreaming of big plans and putting them into motion. However, some of my dreams are getting in the way of living in the moment.  I should stop myself and enjoy the moment of today.
In Eccles 3:1, Solomon (the writer attributed to this piece of wisdom literature) says, ‘for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”. In the verses following,…Solomon talks about a time to be born, die, plant, pluck up, weep, laugh, mourn and dance, etc.  What he doesn’t say and I would like to add:       a time to dream and a time to live in the moment. 
There are definitely times to dream ….I love to dream….it usually makes me happy to be thinking of things to do, places to go, people to see, problems to solve.  But at some point, I need to STOP and come back to reality….the here and now.  And why does the dreaming need to STOP for that moment?
Because it is in that time, I am thankful for what God has given me. I can enjoy the worship time in His presence, I can listen to a sermon said by one of His servants and think about how it applies to my life, I can enjoy a meal with friends and laugh about nothing, talk about the things that are challenging and listen in on a friends new dream/project.
Yes, dreaming can be fun but sometimes living in the moment can be just as rewarding and bring joy to your heart.  I challenge you today to  STOP dreaming about the next big event coming up and live in the moment for today.

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‘SIGNS’ in Life

For the next few weeks, I am going to embark on doing a series. I figure…why not?   So here goes – here is a preview of what the series is about:
In life, there are many signs to follow. Do we obey the signs? Do we take a left turn, a right turn or do we yield? Do we ‘turn on our blinker’ to indicate which path we are going to take?  It all depends on whether we are following God’s lead and listening to His Holy Spirit. We know that if God let us in on the details, we wouldn’t be able to handle the results.  He gives us the answers when we are ready to hear them. Many times – there is no direction at all and we have to be okay with that.  Why?  Because we trust God for the outcome.  Sometimes, we never hear the answer or see the result – we have to totally obey the STOP sign. Again–we have to let that go & trust God with the outome.  There many Biblical charaters who lived this out….like Moses who did not get to actually walk onto land in the Promised Land.  He had to see it from a far.

Would you be able to do that?  Be promised something and then be so close to it yet don’t get to fully see it?  I have experiened something similar (not quite as spectacular as Moses) and it really hurts when you don’t get to taste that sense of victory but then God slowly unfolds some of the reasons why it didn’t happen that way.  He has His reasons…we just need to obey and trust Him for the outcome.

What about you?  Are you ready to trust God as you follow the ‘Signs’ in your life??


Check back soon….’signs’ will be posted two times a week.

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“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.”  I have always loved this quote and I found that it is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.  http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/File:Eleanor_Roosevelt_portrait_1933.jpg  Not to pick Eleanor’s quote apart, but this quote has me thinking and of course, I need to share my thoughts with you!

1. Great minds discuss ideas.  I  love this part of the quote because I love ideas.  I am a thinker and am constantly ‘thinking’ about something.  (However, I do wish my brain would shut down at night and give my brain a rest!).  I have all these great things that I want to do, helping solving issues at work by coming up with ideas, planning new and exciting fun things to do, etc.  In the Bible, there are many great truths and those are discussed by many theologians over the centuries.  One of my favorite quotes on truth is found in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” One thing I love about this verse is that it was on the wall as I walked in to my Junior High where I grew up in Iowa.  It didn’t ever have the scripture reference attached it but I am curious if it is still there today….I am betting some anti-Christian extremists figured out it is a scripture verse and it has been removed and replaced with something more politically correct. 🙂

2.  Average minds discuss events.  I am conflicted on this one….there are the events that are of no consequence that people talk about over the water cooler.  “Wow, it sure is a hot one out there today!” “Yeah, I am glad I don’t work out in this heat.”  Talking about the weather is not that exciting and I can see why Eleanor called this an average-minded topic.  However, there are events that so worth discussing….like Jesus dying on the cross for our sins for all of mankind.  To me, minds that discuss this event are truly great!

3.  Small minds discuss people.  Whenever, I have heard this quote….I have agreed with this part because when I think about minds discussing people it is usually gossip and in my mind, these people DO have small minds.   But when I think about some great people in history – like Abraham Lincoln, Billy Graham and even, Jesus, himself….minds who talk about great people are truly great as well!

So where do we end up with this quote?  Great minds discuss great ideas, great events and great people….yep, that’s it!  I can agree with all of those…but then the ‘greatness of the idea, event or person’ is in the mind of the beholder.  My son, Kyle, says that I picked Eleanor’s brain…nah, just questioned the validity of each part of the quote.

Ahh, I will leave the quote the way it is…way to go Eleanor!

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“Necessary Roughness” is a show on USA about a psychologist who works for a professional football team.  Each show, she solves the person’s issue while dealing with her own….recently devorced, parenting two teenagers and balancing work, love and money issues caused by her ex.  What I like about this show is that the plot matches the similarities of the issues that she counseling a patient with to the issues in her own life.  The part of me who studied sociology and psychology is intrigued by a therapist is also struggling with some issues of her own.  So the tag line that ‘everyone has issues’ is so true.  So many times, we are looking at the issues or sin in another’s person life yet we don’t stop to take a look at our on lives and where we need to correct the same thing.

Matthew 7:3-5 says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from the other person’s eye.”

How often is this true of me?  More than I’d like to admit.   It seems like each time I am complaining, I need to take a look at my own life with some ‘necessary roughness’ and ‘tackle’ or remove that BIG plank from my own eye.

Hut, hut…time to tackle those issues!

NOTE: Pluggedin.com review of this show is not as glowing as my thoughts on it: http://www.pluggedin.com/tv/mno/necessaryroughness.aspx  due to the sexual content and language in this show.  You will want to read the review and make a decision as to whether this is something that you or your family will want to watch.

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I have not been blogging recently and many of you may have not noticed or cared. I don’t say that to get attention or make you join my pity party. I say it mostly because blogging really is ‘practicing’ writing and doing it whether no one cares should be fine. Since I am an over-achiever at times and WANT to do well in everything…I am disappointed when I don’t get the gold star, the A, the accolades of ‘well done’ OR in this case, # of hits on my blog post. Why is that so important? Our society has placed the importance of going over and above, looking out for #1 and doing ‘it’ to make you look important, achieving the A’s on the test or top of the class. So why are these things important to me? I think several things come to my mind. 1) I was trained as a kid in our culture to look out for #1 and ACHIEVE! Now getting A’s is not all that bad and in fact, I even encouraged my children (ok, STRESSED!) the importance of getting A’s and B’s in school. Why? Because good grades mean more scholarship monies for college AND most importantly–I knew that they could do it…that they were above average students. 2) I am definitely your typical Type A ‘first born’ kid. I take charge in group discussions because no one wants to be responsible and get it done. I see a task and want to complete it so I can get onto the next thing. And of course, in the midst of this discussion group/project for the class, is that I want the A grade & don’t want everyone’s non-participation to take me down! 3) This last one is the hardest to admit…I am selfishly doing this to see how many hits I can get and get awareness out for me to speak more about the truths God’s Word speaks about. I can put out the sinful nature disclaimer but I might as well call it what it is….I think I need to make myself feel or be important.  Now, it is good that I want to speak more about God’s truth, BUT, it should be done to glorify HIM and ONLY HIM!  Not me.  God does not CARE about hits on a blog and likely doesn’t care much about me writing a blog.  What He does care about is me doing it to Glory Him and NO ONE ELSE.

If I am going to do this right, I need to do a ‘disppearing act’ (not for the 5 months of non-blogging, of course!). Jesus said in John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.”

In blogging, the focus NEEDS to be on Christ and not on me.  Essentially, I need to disppear into the back ground and God shoud appear in the forefront.  It is not that achieving should be down played, we need to acheive and do well (get those A’s for better scholarships, do well at a task at work to improve your pay, get promoted, etc.)..but the point I am trying to make is what we do is not for our benefit but to bring Glory to God.  In Matthew 5, one of my favorite verses talks about this.  “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (5:16).  We are to be salt and light to the world in our deeds and bring glory to God.  By doing so, we lead others to Him and that truly is what the work on the Cross was meant to do.

I am hoping that I will continue blogging more but I can’t guarantee that I won’t ‘disappear’. 🙂

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