Wednesday, August 13, 2008

AIDS Experience

I encourage everyone who stops by my blog to visit the above site.  Watch the trailer videos, spread the word, reserve your ticket time, and PRAY!  I truly believe this experience will change the lives of those who attend, and I want as many people as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.  Although our church is the host location, this experience is open for anyone throughout our area.  If you belong to another church, and you long for your church to grow in their love for the hurting, get everyone to come with you.  If you are a student, take a chance and ask your friends to experience this with you.  If you are a teacher, pastor, or even a human being (*smiley face), ask someone else to come with you.  I can promise you this:  you won't regret it!

We can become so insulated in our little safe worlds that we sometimes forget that we are a part of ALL mankind, and insomuch as one part suffers, we all suffer.  (At this time, please remember to pray for those in the middle of the Russian/Georgia war.)  Sometimes, we need a wake up call, and I believe this experience will not only wake us up, but it will enrich our lives beyond measure as we gain a glimpse of our Father's heart.    

I am serious; please, PLEASE, make sure everyone you know is given the opportunity to come to the World Vision Experience: AIDS.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Little Something Different

Yesterday, my daughter, Kari, and I made one of our favorite morning treats - banana muffins!  I've had this recipe for years, and we all love it.  It's easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  If you are looking for a recipe to use up those brown bananas, this will help you out.  I will often just throw (well, not literally throw, more like place) my brown bananas in the freezer to be used when we decide we are hankering for some warm banana muffins and a cold glass of milk.  I usually double the recipe to make 24 muffins and share them with the neighbors or the kid's friends.  They disappear in no time in our house!  Let me know what you think if you decide to make these.

Banana Muffins

Sift together and set aside:
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine:
3 large bananas - mashed
1 egg - lightly beaten
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C melted butter or margarine

Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Divide batter evenly between 12 greased muffin cups.  You can use cupcake cups. 

Add Topping: Before baking, top each muffin cup with the following topping:
Combine 1/3 C brown sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
cut in 1 Tbsp butter -until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over muffins.

Bake muffins at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hannah's Coming Home Tonight!

Just a little update:

Hannah will arrive home from the Dominican Republic at about midnight tonight.  She lands in S.F. and will be driven home by some friends.  I can't wait to get the call to go pick her up!  I know she'll be too tired to tell me much since she won't get to town until at least 3:00 AM, but after a good sleep, I look forward to hearing all about it!  She turned 18 while she was there; she left the U.S. a child and is returning an adult.  I missed her on her birthday especially; she was in my thoughts and prayers all day.  It will be good to give her a hug!  Tonight, I'm thankful for a great daughter arriving safely home.  :-)

The San Francisco Airport as Hannah will see it coming in tonight.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Final Bullet Points on Being Easily Offended - Finally!

Okay, I now know that I don't post often enough to do anything in a series.  I started doing some bullet points on being easily offended, first HERE, then HERE, and finally HERE.  Now it's been so long that I'm sure no one really cares, but I feel the need to at least finish my thoughts.  If you'll remember, this topic tumbled around in my brain after a conversation with someone who has a friend who seems to be easily offended.

Let's start off with somewhat of a companion subject:  People with chips on their shoulders.  We all know what that means; a person has some sensitive issue or circumstance that is an instant sore point so it causes them to feel angry (0ffended) when that issue/circumstance comes up or someone unknowingly says the wrong thing.  They seem to just be waiting for someone (in his/her ignorance of said issue) to say or do the wrong thing so that they can zing them with their sarcastic or stinging barb or they will instead not say anything, but carry that hurt/offense with them.  Why are they so sensitive about the issue in the first place?  I think many times it because that issue hasn't been settled between them and God. 

Listen, if someone is talking with you and they have no past knowledge of an issue or circumstance that you carry around, you need to grow up and show grace.  That doesn't mean that you can't in love state that the comment or situation was difficult for you because of this or that, but it does mean that you begin to let people off the hook and to show them grace, respect and love. 

Everyone in the world is NOT responsible to know your issue(s).  Don't take everything so personally.  IT ISN'T ALL ABOUT YOU!  And truthfully, most people are not out to do or say things that they think will hurt you; they honestly don't know that you are sensitive about that issue and would feel terrible if they knew they were saying/doing something hurtful to you.   

Okay, back to bullet points.  Last post, I said we have two choices: First, we can choose to hold on to our hurt (offended) feelings (our human nature response talked about in the last post), or secondly (and preferably) we can offer those feelings up to Jesus.  Today, we'll look at the second choice - letting people off the hook and surrendering our hurt to Jesus.
  • I think Jesus is calling us to grow up in our knowledge of, and obedience to, Him. 
  • When we choose to hold and cherish our hurt, we are choosing to not hold and cherish Him.  That may sound harsh, but it is truth.  
  • Jesus had lots of things happen that could have offended him: his friends fell asleep, Peter denied him, Judas betrayed him, his family didn’t understand him, and people lied about him and most assuredly talked behind his back.  Did He hold on to those things, or did He hold on to His father?  I hope you know the answer to that; He did the will of His father which was to forgive them, and He trusted that God would have the final say.
  • When someone does something that offends you, don’t think about what they’ve done to you, think about what they’ve just done to themselves. God is our avenger; he is in control. Why do we give that control to other people?  We can let them off the hook, and in the process free ourselves from the offending person/situation trusting that God will have the final word, even if we don't see it this side of heaven.
  • Sometimes we’re offended because we’ve given something to someone and when they don’t give or do back to us, we're offended.  That means we were giving/serving selfishly in the first place. When we do something for someone, we need to do it as unto the Lord knowing that our reward will come from Him.  
  • Instead of being offended, we need to be more concerned with whether we’ve offended God or other people. 
  • When we allow ourselves to be easily offended, we’re just following our feelings and not the word of God.
  • We have to just make a decision that we are not going to be easily offended. This is a central mark of spiritual maturity. 
  • We don't have to be easily offended, living in strife, anger, and resentment.  We can choose to live in peace.  When stated that way, it seems like an easy choice, doesn't it?
I have lived through some very hurtful situations, as I know all of you have.  I have wasted many hours being hurt or offended because I choose to keep my eyes on myself, wrongly thinking it is all about me.  And.....I know there will be situations in the future (probably as early as tomorrow morning) when I will be faced again with the choice to be hold on to a hurt or offense or to let it roll off of my shoulders onto the shoulders of Christ.  He alone can sympathize with my hurt, carry my hurt, avenge my hurt, and replace my hurt with His peace and grace.  And once I have grown in grace, He is calling and commanding me to extend that grace to others.  

I invite you to join me in a quest to grow up into the people God desires us to be. It will be difficult at times, but the end result is so worth it. Remember, we are all on this journey together, and we need to support one another as we travel. Having an easily offended spirit hinders and cripples us in our spiritual journey and keeps us from being in close relationship with others.

If you have a friend who seems to be easily offended, you may need to (in love and after much prayer) approach your friend with your concern in all gentleness. If you truly love your friend, you desire the best for him/her, and helping them grow in this area will be helping them to grow in the Lord. But I caution you, don't do this unless you first ask God to search your heart and you are willing to look at any planks in your own eye before attempting to share your concern over the speck in your brother or sister's eye.

I encourage you to read Ephesians 4 which talks about unity and maturity in the body of Christ, telling us how we should live.  Good stuff.  Hard stuff.  Let's all work at growing up!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Split Personality

I'm pretty much a split-personality!  Yep; it's true.  I think it's because I am left-handed, but do most everything right handed.  This is the life of most left-handed people; we must figure out how to survive in a right-handed world.  I write and eat with my left hand, but I do most sports and other activities right-handed because those that taught me to throw a ball, bowl, cut with scissors, etc... were right-handed. You can see how this would cause a gal to get confused.  Anyway, you can go HERE to check out the test.

Some of the info is surprisingly accurate, but I'll leave you to figure out what particular parts of this report describe me.

Here's the report: 

Gena, you are somewhat left-hemisphere dominant and show a preference for visual learning, although not extreme in either characteristic. You probably tend to do most things in moderation, but not always.

Your left-hemisphere dominance implies that your learning style is organized and structured, detail oriented and logical. Your visual preference, though, has you seeking stimulation and multiple data. Such an outlook can overwhelm structure and logic and create an almost continuous state of uncertainty and agitation. You may well suffer a feeling of continually trying to "catch up" with yourself.

Your tendency to be organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably well-established which should afford you success regardless of your chosen field of endeavor. You can "size up" situations and take in information rapidly. However, you must then subject that data to being classified and organized which causes you to "lose touch" with the immediacy of the problem.

Your logical and methodical nature hamper you in this regard though in the long run it may work to your advantage since you "learn from experience" and can go through the process more rapidly on subsequent occasions.

You remain predominantly functional in your orientation and practical. Abstraction and theory are secondary to application. In keeping with this, you focus on details until they manifest themselves in a unique pattern and only then work with the "larger whole."

With regards to your career choices, you have a mentality that would be good as a scientist, coach, athlete, design consultant, or an engineering technician. You can "see where you want to go" and even be able to "tell yourself," but find that you are "fighting yourself" at the darndest times.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I'll Get to Use the Measuring Cups!

As I have watched the news and read the newspapers this week, I paid careful attention to what was happening with the Telegraph fire.  In my last post shared the loss that I felt knowing our trailers were gone, along with the sentimental items that were my grandmother's.  However, tonight I received this email from my sister who just arrived home from a family vacation:

Hi Gigi: (That's what my nieces and nephew call me)

I just checked on your blog--we got back tonight at
8:00. I don't know if you have been in contact with
Uncle Warren, but he called Dan last night and said
that our trailers were saved and that the CDF is using
our knoll as a staging area. The hills look very
different because they used the cat, but our trailers
still stand.

Maybe you know this already, but I thought I'd send
you a note about it.
No.....I didn't know that, and I am so giddy that I want to just jump up and hug someone, anyone.  From all accounts, it looked as if the fire went right through our property, but amazingly, the CDF must have worked hard to keep the fire away.  It will be interesting to see how the hillside looks, as I'm sure many of the trees and manzanita are gone.  It will also be barren driving the dirt roads back in there because I'm sure the hillsides are charred.  I'm not sure when we will be able to get in there ourselves, but it looks like we still have a place to go.  I'll use my grandma's measuring cups with renewed thankfulness and wonder next time.