Sunday, November 30, 2008


1 a: one's place of residence : domicile b: house
: the social unit formed by a family living together

It's good to be home. After a brutal seven hour drive last night through rain and fog, we arrived home after midnight and crawled into bed at 1 AM. My head was pounding with a cold and lack of sleep when K woke us this morning at 7 by banging on things. Still, it is good to be home.

We spent Thanksgiving with my parents, which is a different pace of life. In many ways, it's good for me to spend some time in a rural area with no agenda for the day. For one thing, it makes me appreciate our life here in Nashville. In another way, it forces me to relax, allows me to read more and calms my mind. I made the conscious decision not to check my e-mail for a three day period and when I did take the time to check it, I handled the things that had to be done and left the rest until later. I didn't spend time thinking about work, upcoming parties or decorating for Christmas. This was healthy and good for me.

However, it drives J crazy in less than 48 hours. He wants to do something. When we visit his parents, we experience a different pace of life than our own as well. It feels as if we are constantly running from one place to the next, doing something. This is a bit hard for me, I'll admit.

What I love about being home is that it's our home. We get to do things our way, whether that means staying in our pajamas until mid-morning or showering immediately after getting out of bed. We don't live our lives like my parents, or J's parents, and I love that. Not because there's anything wrong with their way of doing things, but because we have found our own rhythm to life that works for us as individuals and as a family. My daughters all love spending time at their grandparents' houses, but they love coming home as well. Even when we drag them out of the van after midnight to put them in their beds, they are glad to be home. As am I.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


1 : to provoke to loathing, repugnance, or aversion : be offensive to
: to cause (one) to lose an interest or intention

Vanderbilt lost today and disgust just about sums it up. Our play during the game provoked loathing, repugnance and aversion more than I can adequately recount and I only wish it could make me lose an interest in future games. You see, we didn't just lose. We lost to a terrible UT team and lost our last chance to beat a Phil Fulmer coached team. To properly put this in perspective, this is a UT team that lost to Wyoming, yes Wyoming (!), at home a few weeks ago.

It's hard to know exactly where to start processing my thoughts on the game. We admittedly played terrible and didn't look anything like the team that managed to beat UK last week to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1982. It's been so confusing to be a Vanderbilt fan this season. We have sometimes been improbably good. Early in the season, our players seemed to believe they could win - and they did. Then things went predictably, terribly wrong and we lost four games straight including a mind-numbingly painful homecoming loss to Duke. As a Vanderbilt fan, I am used to my team losing. It's the five wins followed by four losses that cause confusion. When I had given up all hope, we beat UK last week to seal the deal started in the 5th week of the season.

Even with losses to teams we should have beat like Mississippi State and Duke, today's game was the worst of the season. While watching, I was in the kitchen working on dinner, so I wasn't watching the game closely. When I heard the crowd roar, I would check in to see what was going on. This was a home game for Vanderbilt, but more often than not, the crowd roar was for a UT play. It sickens me for there to be more UT fans at a Vanderbilt home game than VU fans. This should NOT be the case. It's bad enough to live in a state that swathes itself in a hideous shade of orange for a large part of the year. To not be able to fill our own stadium with black and gold for a game like today's is a travesty.

During the fourth quarter, I had to restrain myself from telling A, "Don't be a Vanderbilt fan. Cheer for a team that wins, honey."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


1 a: dawn b: the time from sunrise to noon c: the time from midnight to noon

I have the great fortune to have married a wonderful man. He loves me, he loves our daughters, we share many interests and enjoy each others company. While I could go on and on about his wonderful traits, you'll have to take my word for it if you don't know him because this post is about one of his few faults. Namely, he is a Morning Person.

We have been married for over twelve years, so it's not like I just learned this about him. However, the last three weekday mornings have made it a bit more glaringly obvious. We are having a new roof put on our house (not the most exciting $10,000 we've ever spent, but necessary nonetheless) and dear J wanted us up, showered and dressed before the roofers ever arrived. Sound OK? Until I tell you that they arrived at dawn! Yes, literally at daybreak. Now, while J goes from completely asleep to completely awake in 2.5 seconds flat, it takes me a bit longer. To say that this is annoying doesn't quite capture the behavior. He doesn't just wake up. He talks. He expects responses from me. He sings. He whistles - whistles! - before 7:00 in the morning. This is just not acceptable behavior.

Sure, I will talk to you in the mornings. Preferably after a shower, a cup of coffee or tea and even then only in one word answers. I'd prefer to just coast through the first hour of the day with no verbal communication at all. Instead, I have two daughters who treat mornings much like dear old dad. They wake up with the sun, read for a large chunk of time before ever letting us know they are awake, grab a snack, hang out and are ready to talk the minute I walk down the stairs.

You might have noticed that I said "two daughters" above. Yes, dear B is a bit more like me when it comes to mornings. Today, I came downstairs to find A & K sitting on the sofa, dreaming aloud about recipes in Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook, while B was still asleep. Not only was she asleep, she was curled on her side, cuddled under her blankets, blissfully unaware that school was less than an hour away. I wanted to whisper to her, "Never marry a morning person." Instead, I looked at my beautiful daughter, who wouldn't be who she is without the wonderful dad she has, and I kissed her softly to wake her up. Maybe mornings aren't all bad.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


1: the quality or state of being secure: as a: freedom from danger : safety b: freedom from fear or anxiety

4: peace of mind or spirit

1 a: one's place of residence : domicile b: house
3 a: a familiar or usual setting : congenial environment ; also : the focus of one's domestic attention <home is where the heart is> b: habitat

Ruth 3:1-9

Ruth and Naomi have been through a lot: they've each lost a husband, traveled together across many miles and survived by gleaning left-over grain. At this point in their story, Naomi suggests a completely new thing: rest, security, a home. The Hebrew word actually used is
manowach, which is translated in various versions of the Bible as security, rest or home. Any translation is imperfect because not all words have an exact correlation in another language. When I come across a word that is translated in three different ways, I think the way to get the best definition for myself is to look at all of them together.

Ruth was in need of rest, security and a home. Physically, she had been working very hard over the last seven weeks to glean enough grain to feed herself and Naomi. For the poor, then as now, rest was in short supply. A day of rest meant a day without food. Ruth had been blessed to find herself in the fields of a generous and honorable man, so perhaps she had managed to observe Sabbath during the barley harvest. Regardless, rest must have been an appealing concept, as was security.

Security was in short supply for a widow in Ruth's time and Ruth was especially lacking in this since she was a foreigner in Israel. She willingly left her own family to stay with and support her mother-in-law, Naomi. Even the reasons outlined above that led her to long for rest show the lack of security in her life. Ruth had been blessed to find favor in Boaz's field, but even that favor could not ensure the continued security of food.

We are told that Ruth lived with Naomi during the barley harvest, so while she technically had a "place of residence," it may not have been "
a familiar or usual setting" or a "congenial environment."

What Naomi is pointing Ruth to is a home of her own, a place of
true rest and lasting security. Naomi proposes that Ruth find manowach by marrying Boaz, a relative of Naomi's and owner of the field Ruth has been gleaning in. Naomi instructs Ruth in how to approach Boaz and Ruth obeys without question. While we don't see it in this passage, Naomi's instructions work. Ruth not only weds Boaz, but gives birth to the grandfather of David, a man after God's own heart.

In thinking about how to apply the lessons from this passage of Ruth to my own life, I have thought a lot about what I think manowach truly is. Where in my life do I find security, rest and a home? How do I define these three things and where do they meet, since manowach encompasses them all? At the start of the week, I spent a lot of time thinking about my home and whether it is a peaceful place where my children not only make their home, but feel at home. I want them to feel rested and secure here.

That led me to think about what security really is. I've decided one personal definition of security is to be truly known and loved anyway. This is why our ultimate security is with God, why we can find our rest in Him and why our home is not of this earth. I want to know my children for who they are, love them as they are and see them with God's eyes. One of my prayers is that God would extend that desire so that I would seek to truly know others (friends, family, neighbors) and love them as God does. The only way I will ever be able to do this is by resting in the security of the truth that God knows me even better than I know myself and loves me anyway.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


1 : the day after the present (the court will recess until tomorrow)
2 : future (the world of tomorrow)

It's been a week since the Presidential election and I've needed that long to think before composing a post. Part of the reason I've needed so long is that I've had a difficult time choosing a word to title my thoughts. (The disadvantage of being WordGirl is the never ending search for the perfect word.) I finally settled on tomorrow because the election gives me a different attitude about tomorrow and I feel the results of the election were that people voted for tomorrow instead of yesterday.

Yesterday, we were a country that said you could do anything, be anything if you worked hard enough. Tomorrow, we will be a country where that is actually true. A friend commented last night that it is so easy to form an opinion and then work to fit new facts into that already conceived opinion instead of starting all over when new facts appear. I believe that yesterday we thought a president looked a certain way (white and male, without fail), came from a certain background (generally patrician, certainly not single parent or biracial) and did things a certain way (the way they have always been done). I hope that tomorrow, a president will look like a picture of this diverse nation we live in, come from anywhere in this broad land and do what is best for our country and our country's future.

Yesterday, we were a country gripped and crippled by fear. Fear of those who look different than us, those who believe different things than we do, those who are not "us." This made and makes me sad. It makes me sad that I am sometimes afraid of people who are different than me. I am sometimes afraid of rough-talking, physically large people (especially men and especially black men). I am sometimes afraid of people who don't smile back at me or won't even make eye contact with me. I am also afraid of people who walk through life confident that they have all of the answers. These are, perhaps, the people who scare me the most.

Tomorrow, I hope we will be a country that stares fear down and chooses boldness, courage and confidence in what our country is and who we are. I hope that tomorrow fear will play a very small part in the way my daughters approach the world and their lives. I hope they will not be driven by fear, guided by fear or led by fear.

So what does this talk of yesterday and tomorrow mean for today? It means that today:
-I will encourage my children to get to truly know other people before forming an opinion of them based on one or two visible characteristics.
-I will get to know my own children and who they are in order to encourage them to do anything and be anything they want to be.
-I will try to live my life in a way that shows what I believe rather than just talking about it.
-I will set aside my own fears and love others instead of judging them.
-I will try to raise girls who are strong, bold and courageous, not fearful.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


4: the line or course on which something is moving or is aimed to move or along which something is pointing or facing
6 a: a channel or direct course of thought or action b: tendency , trend c: a guiding, governing, or motivating purpose

RUTH 2:17-23

I have been doing inductive Bible studies for three years and it has been a pathway for spiritual growth. I've not only learned a lot about God, but about myself as well. I didn't realize how important words were to me until I started spending a good deal of time studying God's Word.

As a part of inductive Bible study, I usually start pretty early in the week by looking up the Hebrew for the text we are studying and seeing what words stand out to me. For the first time that I can recall, this technique failed me this week.

The passage did contain some interesting words, but for the most part I had explored those words earlier in the book of Ruth. Normally, a good word leads me to other verses with the same word. That obviously didn't work this week, since I didn't have a word to use as my diving board into the passage. After failing to find a good word or a good cross reference, I finally happened upon an expositional sermon that examined the passage verse by verse.

In that sermon, the author pointed out that Ruth abides in Boaz's field for the entire barley harvest. Ruth didn't hop around from field to field looking for the best circumstances. When God led her to a field where the owner protected her, fed her and provided abundantly for her, she stayed put. Now, it may seem obvious that the thing to do when handed all of these blessings is to stay put. But how often in your own life do you receive a blessing, only to look for the next one? How often do you put in a hard day's work and just keep on working without seeking lasting reward? The gleaning Ruth was doing wasn't easy work. She spent all day bending over, picking up grain from the ground and then beating the grain to get the edible portion. She did this because it was the way God provided for her.

My picture to illustrate the lesson I learned from this week's passage was a series of traffic signs: A Yield Sign, A Stop Sign and A Traffic Light. I wrote below each that we are to yield to God's will, stop where he sends us and go full out at the work he places before us. I'm not sure which of these is hardest. Sometimes it feels pretty easy to yield to God's will. I believe I am currently in my job at Rejoice because I followed God's traffic signs to it. That part wasn't really all that hard. I love Rejoice. I believe God is using it to do great things in the lives of the children who dance there, including my own daughters. I believe God has a plan for this ministry and that he wants to see us dance before him with joy as these students do. I have seen that Rejoice is God's ministry, so it was easy to yield to God's direction to work there.

Right now, what's hard is stopping where God has me and staying there. I feel responsible for our budget shortfall. As Development Manager, I believe I should have been able to somehow prevent this. I should have found more time, more energy and better words to solicit funds for us. One of my first reactions upon hearing about our financial situation was that perhaps I should resign. My salary, small though it is, does have an impact on our budget. It might be better for the ministry as a whole if I were to just go to another "field" instead of stopping where God has me and continuing to go full out at my work.

I think this doubt about God's direction for my life stems from a lack of belief on my part. Specifically, a lack of belief that God can and will use me to do his work. I have for so long believed that I am incapable of producing worthy work that when faced with a challenge like this, I instantly begin self-recriminations regarding my worth, my skills and ultimately, my value. Interestingly enough, I've taken some solace and instruction from a song that my daughters danced to at Rejoice this summer. It says in part, "If you are who you say you are, then I am who you say." If I am going to believe that God is who he says he is, then I must also believe that I am who he says I am... and right now that includes Development Manager at Rejoice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


satisfied (as a need or desire) fully or to excess

RUTH 2:8-17

There's a scene in the book of Ruth where Boaz calls Ruth over to join him for lunch. They've met not long before this as she gleaned in his fields and he shares his meal with her. Boaz gives Ruth a portion of what he is eating. Most importantly, Boaz gives Ruth enough food that she ate until she was "satisfied" and had some left over. One definition for the Hebrew word used here (saba) is satiate. I prefer satiate to satisfy because of the fullness and excess implicit and explicit in the word satiate.

This made me think about where in life I am satisfied and where I am satiated. Am I
spiritually satisfied or satiated? Am I settling for just enough or filling my soul to excess with God's goodness, mercy and love? Even more convicting, am I satisfying myself with earthly fare or holding out for the truly good stuff? It's hard to deny the satisfaction I get from reading a well-written novel, but that should not be what satiates my soul.

If I'm satiated with the things of God, what am I doing with the excess? What Ruth does with her excess is share it. So I think I'm called to not only seek my satisfaction and satiation from God and His Word, but to share the excess with others. What does this mean practically? That's a bit harder, but I think for a start it means remembering God's patience with me when I err over and over again and offering grace to others who injure, insult or merely annoy me. It also means forgiving whether it's sought or not, loving those who are less than lovable and setting aside my own self-interests much more often than I currently do.

But first, I need to satiate my soul. There's no denying that I currently feel calm in the midst of storms at work and that is from filling my soul with God's Word.