10 Minutes Peace
by Susan McGrath
I'll be honest. I don't always want to take up my cross and follow Christ. Sure, in my heart I want to be who He wants me to be. In my head I know it's what I should do. But some mornings when I get out of bed it's all I can do to carry myself to the bathroom and face the day. Carrying crosses takes a lot out of a person.
Then I heard in a sermon last week that we should be helping others carry their burdens as well. Hmm . . .
We read in Matthew, Mark and Luke that we are to take up our cross and follow Christ. In John 19 we read, "Carrying his own cross, he went out ( Click for more )
When was the last time you sat on Santa's lap?
Do you remember the anticipation of trying to make the perfect Christmas list? The squirming as you waited in a long line? The candy cane you were handed after reciting your wish list for Santa?
Traditionally our society uses Santa as an incentive and even a threat to get children to behave this time of year. "You'd better watch out!" "Santa is watching!" We tell them they must be "good" and "nice" if they want Santa to bring them anything. We give them the impression that they must earn ( Click for more )
Last fall I was helping with a Cub Scout campout and my five-year-old went along with me. We stayed at the camp site to help with the Scouts until my husband could get there after work.
In the meantime, my son was running around with the big kids, pretending to be one of them and trying out the tent where Dad would sleep. As it got later and we sat by the campfire, he snuggled on my lap and once again begged to stay and sleep in the tent. I explained to him that since he had a soccer game in the morning, he needed to get a good night's sleep in his own bed and get up early to ( Click for more )
(Here's a favorite from last year. Hope you enjoy it again while I tame my busy schedule.)
You have one, don't you?
That small pile of mate-less socks that grows almost imperceptibly with each load of laundry. Eventually the pile needs a home and gets plopped into a container of some sort. My pile kept multiplying until it required the use of an entire laundry basket. This basket mocked me each time I passed it in the hallway. It sneaked up on me as I folded laundry, daring me to pair its inhabitants and put them neatly back in their sock drawers. It aggravated me when its ( Click for more )
Some weeks I feel like I'm caught in a bad proverb - "a day late and a dollar short".
This time of year is always a challenge with less income during the summer and more expenses with the beginning of school. I have heard and been touched so many stories of God coming through for people in a crisis - and the financial ones always seem so dramatic because I struggle with handing over my finances to God. You've probably heard some of the same stories:
A man on his way home from work is inspired to buy a gallon of milk, turn down a street he never travels and deliver ( Click for more )
On a recent road trip I noticed an SUV pass us with a bumper sticker that I thought I was reading wrong. (I'm near-sighted even with my contacts in.) So I asked my husband if it said what I thought it did. He said, "Yes. 'Pray for a secular society'." I then noticed the license plate, which said "3 HORSES". I joked with my husband that I was glad it didn't say "4 HORSES" - that would have been a bit too freaky!
But the bumper sticker disturbed me. How sad that there are many who believe we can solve all our problems by taking God out of society. Our ( Click for more )
Are you a morning glory?
Do you bound our of bed before the sun and marvel as it rises, have a meaningful prayer time, cook breakfast, shower and look presentable all before 7 a.m.?
Are you a sunflower?
Basking in the warm afternoon rays with your face turned heavenward, never late picking up your kids and able to complete four errands between school and ball practice.
Perhaps an evening primrose?
Are you at your most alert at 7 p.m., feeling inspired by the moonlight streaming in the window and feeling only slightly guilty as you read late into the night while ( Click for more )
Most of the world now knows the name Michael Phelps. Because of he won more gold medals than anyone else in history and set new world records in swimming his name is known not only by the general public but by marketers hoping to use his notoriety to sell their products.
Name recognition has been emphasized throughout history as it appeals to our longing to be important. I was watching a game show recently where, as an incentive, the contestant's favorite celebrity called to cheer for her. This woman was more excited about the "star power" than about winning money. She ( Click for more )
Have you ever heard the "Fruit of the Spirit" song? Until I learned that song a few years ago I had trouble remembering all the fruits, especially in the correct order.
Recently, I started to wonder if they were "in order." I mean, did God inspire them to be listed this way because this is the order in which we should or are better able to cultivate them? Hmm . . .
I know that the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control counter the acts of the sinful nature listed in the verses above; ( Click for more )
Our school has a wonderful art teacher; she is fun, creative and even dresses the part and sings silly songs with the kids. More importantly, she makes each child feel like they are a born artist, and their work reflects it. She is teaching them the art of contentment; not that each is a master artist by the standards of the world, but that each is the only artist who can be uniquely that student.
I feel so blessed that my children can have a teacher who will show them each step, yet encourage them to create from their own hearts. I remember dreading art each week when I was in ( Click for more )
Have you ever come across something that just blew your mind?
Most of us moms probably can recall a few things our children have done that merit this description. Walking into a room which minutes before was tidy and seeing that a child-shaped tornado has spun through might be one. Even scarier, a room which looked like a disaster and now is clean with a child standing in the middle sporting a big grin. (You might want to check under the bed and in the closet.)
But even more incomprehensible than my children happily picking up a room is trying to comprehend who God is - through ( Click for more )
The cleaning at our church is done on a volunteer basis and divided into three sectors. As I was looking at the sign-up sheet last week I noticed that the sector which includes the basement youth room is always the last to fill up. This is actually the sector I always choose because it brings back good memories for me of working with the kids and it is more picking up than actual cleaning.
However, I have been frustrated sometimes when I go in to do the weekly cleaning and nothing has been picked up. This area is mostly used by the teens, who should be old enough and responsible ( Click for more )
Does guilt ever get you in a headlock?
Do you ever feel pinned by your routine or that the obligation not to miss a single ballgame, recital, school function or bedtime story has you in a full-Nelson?
I have felt that way this week. I've been wrestling with motherhood. I have no idea what round this is, but I do know that I need a water break and I intend to emerge the victor!
God assures me that I can be victorious in motherhood. Society and Satan are not always so accommodating.
Though we are in the midst of summer events - camp, VBS, sports practices - we are entering ( Click for more )
Imagine yourself in an existence where your job goes smoothly, your paycheck covers all the bills and a nice vacation. Your family gets along most of the time. You have a nice circle of friends. You attend church on Sunday mornings and help out with Vacation Bible School when asked. You remember to thank God every couple of days for all your blessings and ask Him to continue to bless you. You donate money to a few favorite causes each year - it's the least you can do.
You have entered The Comfort Zone! (Hum the music in your head.)
The Comfort Zone is where we would all ( Click for more )
"God uses reverses to move us forward" was the message I recently read on a church sign. Hmm . . .
Perhaps that's why I sometimes feel like I am slipping. Ha! I guess this little proverb made me think of my driveway in winter. We live near the top of a hill, so we see our share of drivers attempting to forge their way up the icy brick street. Then there is our driveway. It slopes downhill from the street - great for coming in. It's the getting out that is often a challenge. There have been many times when I have gone to back out of the drive only to find I don't have ( Click for more )
I will be the first to admit that my body is out of shape. I can barely walk up a more than one flight of stairs without breathing hard and I'm a long way from running a 5K to support any cause. I can't bend over as far as I could in high school and I certainly don't look as good doing it!
Our society puts so much emphasis on how the body looks. Fitness is a multi-billion dollar business. I know, I know - it's important to be healthy. But let's be honest; most of us care more about how we look than how healthy we are. (It's okay; we can blame our sinful nature.)
Having a fit ( Click for more )
I'm always amazed by what can be made from Legos. Every time I visit a Lego store I wonder what type of person has the imagination to come up with this stuff - and the patience to assemble it!
On my most recent foray past a Lego store my brain was assaulted with a giant dragon in the lake out front - we're talking 20 feet tall and more than 30 feet long; a family out walking a menagerie of dogs; a 12-foot Transformer-thing; and miniature window displays with the skylines of several recognizable cities around the world. So cool, yet so strange to think someone would spend weeks ( Click for more )
Ancora Imparo - Italian for "I am still learning", this phrase was reputed to have been spoken by Michelangelo at the age of 87.
Although I can't afford to be a perpetual student of the enrolled variety, I certainly hope I will remain a student of life and realize there is always something more I can learn or improve upon. My sons have been taking swimming lessons this week and my 11-year-old keeps telling me, "I don't need to practice that stroke. I know how to do it." I can't seem to convince him that he might learn to do it even better with some instruction. ( Click for more )
As a mom, I don't often get to experience things that are "just for me." When we eat out it is usually somewhere that fits our budget or appeals to the taste buds of the under-12 crowd. When I shop it is with the goal of getting to the check-out line before the cart is overloaded with "pleeeeease, Mom" items or a sibling argument ensues. Even bathing is usually a race to shower, dress and make my face and hair presentable so I can rush out of the house to deliver someone somewhere. When was the last time I had a bubble bath? Hmm . . .
Well, my family and ( Click for more )
We've all heard our country called a "melting pot" and this is a good thing - the foundation on which our country is built, but for which some groups have had to struggle to be included.
I believe our country also has become a "religious buffet" where we can pick and choose what we want to believe and everyone's belief is equal, whether they put their faith in a tree, a statue, an unproven scientific theory or some form of god. Having deep journalistic roots and being a firm supporter of the First Amendment, I would never contest anyone's right to choose their ( Click for more )
Most of us have run it many times. Some of us may just be starting the first leg and still be going strong, not yet having hit the wall. Eventually every mom can relate to the endless, joyful, dreadful, always-the-same-yet-never-a-dull-moment event of the Tri-mom-a-thon!
The first leg often begins at an indecent hour before the sun is even awake. Here's the event roster:
*Leg 1 - Wake up early to sneak in some undisturbed bathroom time. Awaken everyone else who needs to be somewhere in the next hour. (Use individualized methods for morning or not-morning personalities.) Convince ( Click for more )
Several months ago a young family began attending our church. The woman had already given her life to Christ, but her husband had not. When he made the decision to accept Christ she wrote a letter which was read before his baptism. I was so touched by her letter that I wanted to share it with all of you.
She emphasized the importance of family and a loving marriage and made me see that it is part of my job as a mother to help create a stable home. I realize there are many single parents out there who don't have this scenario, but I pray they also will take the positive aspects ( Click for more )
As I was sitting with my best friend in a women's conference this week I reached in my purse to get a notepad and pulled out one that my six-year-old had used for entertainment during church on Sunday morning. There was some unidentifiable drawing on the first page. A few words covered the next page. As I flipped through I began to wonder if he had left me any blank pages. Finally, about half-way through the notepad (a new one, I might add) I found my first pristine page.
I rolled my eyes. My friend leaned over and said, "I can tell you're a mom!"
Yep, you can spot ( Click for more )
The other day my six-year-old came to me wanting a snack. I was in the middle of something and wanted to finish, so I said, "Could you wait a minute?'
With a very serious expression he said, "Yes. I'll count!" And off he went. I opened my mouth to reply and then decided not to. I laughed instead.
After thinking about it for a minute I wondered if I ever do the same thing to God. "Lord, could you please fix this and bless that. Amen." Do I then start the time clock for God to answer my prayers as soon as I open my eyes?
Although I try to be patient, especially when waiting ( Click for more )
The church across the street from my congregation recently had this bit of wisdom on their sign out front: "The most important vitamin for a Christian is B1".
If we are to "be one", a Christian, that is, don't we need to be giving others a boost with an encouraging word via our favorite medium (A note sent through the postal service is fine for those who are technologically challenged, or whose mothers raised them to write letter like proper ladies). I can think of several times when I have felt really low and overwhelmed by all my obligations and projects, and a note of encouragement ( Click for more )
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