A Tribute To My Mom

Dear Mom,

I read a post of Facebook the other day where a mom was telling her adult kids what she really wanted for Mother’s Day.  In short: Time with them.  I agree.  Being a mom myself I feel the exact same way.  But since we’re far apart and don’t spend as much time together as we both would like as moms, I wanted to take a minute to tell you, and the world just a few of the reasons I’m so thankful that God made you my mom.

#1  Your songs.

Now that I’m a grown up and have spent years pursuing my own walk with the God of the Bible, I realize there are a lot of messages I swallowed growing up that weren’t so Biblical.  Some things taught as truth were just misunderstood.  Some were mis-taught.  Enter grace.  And hymns.  No matter what I learned about God and life that wasn’t so right growing up, what I learned right I heard in your singing.  When you sang the words, “I need thee every hour...”  you taught me dependence upon the grace found in Christ.  When you cried out in song around the house, “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand.”  You taught me to cry to God and not pout to myself.  When I heard you worship at bedtime, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me...”  You taught me to awe at the salvation found in Jesus.  Your singing planted truth in my soul mom.  And now it has sprouted and grown into it’s very own tree, planted by the same streams of water out of which my soul sings with you, “And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own.  And the joy we share as we tarry there.  None other, has ever known.”

#2 Your brokenness

Mom, honestly I used to wish you weren’t broken. I used to wish, with you, we had a neat, tidy, healthy family.  I wanted a yellow house with a picket fence, two happy healthy parents and siblings who got along too.  Who doesn’t want that?  But brokenness has come upon us all.  Even those I thought had that picture perfect family.  And it’s through the brokenness in your life that I have learned to see God’s miraculous way of making beauty out of ashes.  I used to be angry with God for the brokenness I saw everywhere and in my own life.  But the beautiful masterpiece God paints by taking the very cracked up thoughts and emotions, bodies and relationships we all live with everyday and out of them painting a whole new Christ-imaging life makes the beauty of that Norman Rockwell life I had in my head look like a 5 year old’s water color.  God has painted Christ-exalting majesty and glory out of your broken life mom.  Christ in you is beautiful!  Through you Christ has shown himself to me as the Great Physician who has come not for the well, but the sick, like me.  Through you, he has made me to know him as the great bearer of burdens.  Because you have turned to Him, time and time again, I have learned to see myself and others as broken people in desperate need of the love of Christ.

#3  Your creativity

Paper dolls cut out of any piece of cardboard or paper on hand.  Marbles and Jax.  Stories that should be written down and printed as captivating children’s books.  Biscuits to die for.  Your interest in our lives and your creativity and handiwork drew us as children to you.  Your creative, happy, liveliness was Jesus in you causing the little children to come to him.  And he is still at work in you drawing your grandchildren.  God has given you the gift of touching the hearts of young children mom.  Your love of life and interest in investing in the young souls around you has forever changed the course of many lives for God’s glory.

#4 Your diversity

In a small town where everyone was a shade of pale and most people spoke red-neck English, you were a wise woman with a world-wide awareness and a vision for honoring the diversity of God’s people in every tongue, tribe and nation.  Before we could even speak, you were hanging cut out magazine images of babies with different skin-tones on the wall next to our crib.  When Cabbage-Patch dolls were all the rage, you bought your white, freckle-faced children black Cabbage-Patch dolls.  When people of darker pigment came into our our town and didn’t speak much English, you welcomed them into our home and learned to make tortillas from scratch with them.  In a culture that was ignorant to it’s xenophobia, you were planting the truth that in God’s world there are peoples of all cultures, pigments and languages.  And that’s a beautiful thing!

A Woman To Be Praised!

That’s only four reasons out of many for why I thank God every day that he made you my mom!  I celebrate you mom.  I want to pass onto my children the gifts you’ve given me.  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman like you mom, who is in awe of Christ Jesus our Lord, is worthy to be praised for generations to come!  May God bless the work of your hands mom!

I love you,

Your Lil’ Toad

Road trip day #1

Today after church we began our annual road trip to “Oregon”… We always say that but really it’s initially a road trip to Redding, CA where my sister lives. Eventually we get to Oregon.

In the past, I’d wake the kids early in the morning, load them in the car, and we make it closer to Sacramento before stopping for the night. But since we didn’t get on the road till about noon, after church, I decided to stop for the night in Thousand Oaks, CA.

I like Thousand Oaks. Everything grows here! Only the Santa Monica Mountains separate us from the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to go to the beach tonight but I’m just toast. Working night shift Friday night and then getting up early this morning has my body pretty fatigued. I plan to go to the beach either in the morning with the boys or on the way back home to AZ on Thursday.

I love road trips! There’s just something about the open road. I guess I like the feeling that I’m going somewhere. Sometimes life feels like you’re going nowhere. When you’re on the road, you’re going somewhere.

I’m glad I stayed for church this morning. I needed to get my compass pointed the right direction before I hit the road. It’s hard to hear the preacher preach on a subject that is a specific point of sin in your own life. As I listened today, I wondered if this is how folks feel when they hear a sermon on divorce after they’ve gone through one- or more- themselves. It’s hard, but it’s good.

I’m confident not a single person who’s gone through a divorce would hear a sermon on what God has joined together let no one separate and be opposed to what they heard. They, in fact, would probably be the first to stand up and say, “Amen!” They know the pain themselves. They know the damage. They know God hates divorce. They know… they hate it too. The same goes for the woman, who married an unbelieving man, who listens to the pastor preach from Ezra 9 and 2 Corinthians 6. Amen! The damage is extensive. There is no fellowship. The heart is drawn away from God, and then, when won back (if won back), is faced with the heartache of being separate in what God designed to be joined together.

During the sermon my oldest son looked over at me with a, “You’re busted,” look on his face. He knows. He grieves. He feels the ripping apart that comes with living with unequally yoked parents. Even though I hate it for my kids, I pray that the mercy and grace of my good God will use the pain they experience now to prevent them from going down the same path and cause them to love God’s ways, which are good. All the time.

We’ll talk about it tonight before we go to sleep.  Which is in about 30 minutes.  Time to sign off.


I need a Leak Healer


Periodically I’m reminded…

I’m leaking
Out my eyes
Out my mouth
I can produce nothing without the miracle of God.

I’m like a bucket full of holes
I can’t hold water
I can’t achieve my sole purpose
Fill me!
Fill me!
Fill me!
I want to be filled.

But I keep dripping

I’m an ancient city, strong walls breached and broken down.
Build me!
Build me!
Build me!
I want to be strong.

But I keep being found weak

I need a Leak Healer
A Wall Builder
A Life Giver
A Living Water Springer
Aw, forget the bucket
I need a spring in me!

And each time I look square in the mirror at the reality of my inability
Just when I seem most hopeless, or most aware of my hopelessness
Just then I’m most hope filled
I hope like good-as-dead Abraham hoped
In Him who calls into existence the things that do not exist



Marveling at our history of grace

It’s my fourth year doing it. You’d think I’d be on track by now. I don’t know why I thought that today was November 31st. I guess I forgot that old rhyme I learned back in first grade.  When I ran into my friends from church who are about to have their first baby in a few weeks, and Michele, the mom to be, mentioned her baby shower tomorrow, my brain instantly began searching my non-exsistent mental calender.  I seriously need an iPhone with Siri for the sole purpose of having it vocally remind my of appointments and dates.  Written calendars do me no good.  They’re not right in front of my eyes!

Anyway, so when I got the stuff for making our Jesse Tree ornaments a little more permanent from the craft store and started putting them together this evening at home with Ryland, I realized we were supposed to start the Jesse Tree on the 29th.  So, tonight we’ll have an extra long reading.

I’m just a little idealistic.  I’m convinced I was meant to be a wife and mom in the 1940’s.  I would like to have meaningful traditions and a little decorum in our lives.  I’d like dinner to be… special and manner-filled.  I believe, as Elizabeth Elliot said, that manners speak of that pattern shown in Christ which says, “My life for yours.”  And to some degree I believe meaningful traditions are a medium to teach truth and impress those truths on our children.  Of course the meaningful tradition is only as meaningful as the everyday life that accompanies it.  

Today I was reading thru the genealogy of Christ in the book of Matthew again to prepare for the last women’s Bible study we’re doing at my church on the five women mentioned in that genealogy.  I’ve really enjoyed digging up these women from the pages of scripture and learning more about the God in Whom I put my hope through His work in their lives.  The message that He delivers in delivering His Son through such brokenness and… messes.  Grace.  Total grace.  Unearned favor.

Anyway as I was reading thru it this morning I ran across this easily walked-right-past section in a dry genealogy:

“…and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah…” – Matthew 1:10

It caught my eye.  Hezekiah.  I remembered him as being that king who begged God not to let him die.  It seems like he might have looked back on that time after his son Manasseh was grown and wished he had have died rather than lived to see his own son do such evil.

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem.  And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.”And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger…The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention… -2 Chronicles 33:1-6,10

You should really go read the rest of chapter 33 actually. Sad. It’s the way we are. Without a gracious God who can even turn Manassehs around we’d be toast!

I bet if I investigated those listed in that genealogy I’d find a never-running-dry well of grace!

This is why I enjoy the Jesse Tree so much… takes you clear back to the beginning of our benevolent Creator’s gracious relation with us, His fallen Imago Dei ones. 

There are a lot of lies about God that float around, or rather aim and shoot like poisonous arrows at our minds.  But the Bible records a gracious God relating with us not as we deserve, but as He is.  Good. Period. 


The saying I shall practice

I wasn’t trying to be defiant or difficult. I knew the answer and I believe the answer, I just, I don’t know, the cracking dam that wasn’t holding back my tears very well this morning was going to totally give way any moment and I had to answer the way Paul did:

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  – 1 Timothy1:15

I believe that Christ has made me righteous.  By faith, I am no longer a sinner.  I am a saint.  And I say that with much trembling and feel as though I should say it while on my face.  It is the truth that gives me such hope… that Christ has done it all to make me right.  Righteous.  Yet, I still live in this decaying flesh and am weighed down by the gravity of this fallen world, and out of me still comes the falling short and missing the mark which should result in my judgment, but by the amazing grace of my Savior, I have freely received His perfect goodness and abundant life.  He paid the costly price to put to death all my sin in Himself so that I could live.  I have not earned this.  I still fall oh so short.  More than I fall short of jumping to the moon. 

Some of my sin I can frankly see and agree with Him about, and know He will graciously wash away.  I look to His light to expose my way and lead me.  I feed on His faithfulness and goodness and truth.  I trust that He never ceases to intercede for me.  And even still there are some depraved ways in me that I never knew were there 10 years ago.  Some twisted ways I don’t have any idea about are yet to be exposed. 

Today, when I was cleaning my car I stuck the skinny tipped vacuum attachment in a crevice between my seat and the middle console.  There was no way I could see in there, no matter how light it was outside or what kind of contorted position I put myself in to try and visualize where I should put the vacuum hose.  So I just shoved the hose in there as far as I could, moved it around, and out came a fork, a band aid, and a piece of old, dried up something that used to be edible. 

I have fallen for the lie that because I can’t see the junk in hidden places in me and seem to be pretty cleaned up that I’m… righteous.  By the grace of God, He’s sucked the junk out into the light and shown me that I have no right to call myself righteous based on what I see or know.  When I answer the loaded question, “Are you a sinner?”  I am scared silly to say, “No!”  Even though I know I am no longer a sinner but a saint.  I don’t want to give my enemy the open door to tripping me up with self-righteousness ever again.  I know that’s not the reason behind the answer, “No,” my pastor (who I look to as a loving dad in the Lord) was looking for.  I just need to keep at the very forefront of my mind an answer that will stave off any notions of earned holiness.  I think I shall practicing saying:

 “No, by the work of Christ alone, No!  I am not a sinner.  By Christ alone.”

Many forces were at work in me this morning: fatigue, the catharsis of writing a novel based out of some of my own experiences in life, the search for the heritage of grace and mercy that weaves itself through history that I’m finding glimpses of in the women’s Bible study, the long obedience in the same direction I’m walking daily in for the past 22 years, years of longings unfulfilled.  Many waters.  Deep calling to deep only expressed in waves of salty tears.

I think I will ask the ladies at our next study to write a doxology with me.  A doxology in response to the truth about God we will have learned thus far thru Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba.  They don’t have to read it or share it at all if they don’t want to.  But an exercise in putting to words the truth we’ve been changed by, intimately and individually, would be really good.


I don’t want to miss the point

Finally everyone is in bed and its quiet. I sit to reflect on the day and try to really live it again. The day was full of baseball, cleaning, spending time with the dad and husband who’s gone every Saturday, watching the 3rd game in the World Series, feeling really shocked that Detroit hasn’t done…anything. And now, as everyone’s finally in bed and the house is quiet (minus the washing machine finishing the spin cycle and the distant sounds of the mariachi band playing for the Day of the Dead somewhere in the vicinity) I’ve got a minute to record some of what I’ve been meditating on today:

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. -Psalm 130: 4-6

I used to work nights at a hospital.  Waiting for the morning is waiting for rest.  Finally. With anticipation and longing and fatigue.

I don’t work nights anymore, but I’m waiting for rest too.  When I start to get bogged down in the weight of my fallenness, and the fallenness all around me, and get my eyes off the watch for the rest and on the trying to make rest out of the labor I’m in, I tend to loose sight of the point.  The point isn’t my iniquities or anyone elses.  The point is the tremendous mercy of the Son.  The Son who I wait for to give me the rest from this struggle to stand.  Who will rise like the dawn one day.  With Him there is forgiveness.  He is my only hope.

In studying Tamar, we marked her iniquity and wondered why the Lord didn’t.  Didn’t she do something immoral and wrong?  In studying Rahab, we marked her iniquity and wondered why the Lord didn’t.  Didn’t she lie? We tried to figure out what to do with these women’s sins. But the point wasn’t their sin.  Who hasn’t sinned?  Who hasn’t lied? Who hasn’t manipulated?  Who hasn’t acted or thought immorally?  The point isn’t our sin.  If that was the point God marked out on us, none of us would stand.  The point was and is God’s mercy.  The point is the greatness of God’s forgiveness.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins… But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. -Ephesians 2:1,4,5,7

One day, when I stand before Him, it’s not the mark of my iniquities that will stand out.  Those will be totally washed out by the immeasurable riches of His grace.  I won’t be pointing out the sins I see in others (but am so blind to in myself).  I’ll be basking in the warmth of the rest of the mercy and grace that has saved me.

When I look at my sin and the requirements that I fail to meet and begin trying to make those less by doing more I miss the point.  No doubt I fail, daily.  No doubt you do too.  No doubt none of us can say we have no wrong in us.  None of us can say we have hit the mark of God’s glory with our lives.  Our hope is not in being iniquity-free.  Our hope is being forgiven.  And with the Lord there is forgiveness.

I sat down to write out the theme and characters for the novel idea I have working in my head.  I don’t know.  This will most likely never be read by anyone other than my dear friend who will be kind enough to give it a read and let me know what she thinks in a very kind way.  But, even if it’s never read and its a total lemon, I’m excited about it.  So far I have characters and inspiration from A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Family Man.  And no, it’s not a Christmas-themed novel.  It’s a get-a-little-perspective-themed novel.  I think its self-therapy.


Book report day

What a day. A Husband out of town day. A 3rd grader book report day.  A PERFECT Phoenix-area fall weather day!  Its a tease though.  I wish it would stay that way.  Next week it supposed to be in the mid 90’s again.  I’m ready for sweaters, and spice candles, and pumpkin spice lattes. 

I googled pumpkin spice latte recipes this morning and found this.  I modified it to this:

1 c. whole milk
1 T. canned pumpkin
1 T. honey
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. strong brewed coffee
a dash of ground cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon

Heat milk, pumpkin, honey, vanilla and spices in a saucepan over med. high heat until steamy.  Wisking constantly.  Pour into mug.  Add coffee to mug.  Top with whip cream if you want to.  I didn’t have any but it was still delicious!

I like book reports.  When my kids have to do them I always have to try really hard not to take over and do it for them.  Ryland’s doing a really good job considering this is not his forte.  If only he could do a math report instead.  As much as I don’t comprehend his affinity for math, even more I don’t comprehend his disdain of retelling a story.  How can you not love retelling a story?  At least this book report, he gets to make a mobile with the characters he drew from the book.  The actual “report” part is only writing a brief description of each character.  So far he’s got, “So and so was a boy.”  And ” So and so was the science teacher.”  We’ll have to work on details later.  He’s got the skeleton. 

When you have to sit down and write out or talk out a retelling of what you read or learned it really makes it come alive!  At least it does for me.

This is why I write, or blog, or email, or talk.  I live it in the second-living.  The writing.  Today, I second-lived via talking it out with a dear friend I haven’t seen in  year.  I am witness to the amazing grace and work of God in my friend and her husband!  And she was such an encouragement to me as she listened to me and could really say she knew exactly what I was talking about.  Apparently I’ve  been a hose through which water has poured.  A spout where blessings have flowed out.  A Living Water fountain.  Oh amazing grace how can it be?!  Today she was the spout and the hose and the fountain!  Thank you Lord!  Let me be a blessing. 

I got a good portion of my Rahab study done while the boy worked on his book report.   The way of God is amazing!

And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”- Matthew 9:11-13

Try to retell the One True Story.  Try to retell God’s mercy and grace.  I’m dumbfounded.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”- John 7:38


Trying to get into the habit

I got sick a few weeks ago. So much so that I couldn’t bear the thought of drinking hot coffee in the morning. A week later, my coffee habit was broken. Since then I’ve had a cup or two, but now I’m mostly drinking hot tea.

When my life was torn in two for the second time a few years ago, I couldn’t blog. I couldn’t keep writing. All that I had been writing was about being a wife and marriage and homemaking and it was very…bold. But at the time that I stopped blogging, my boldness was painful and nauseating. Like drinking strong coffee when you’re sick.

 I got out of the habit of blogging in the same way I let go of the coffee routine. It was good, even though it was hard, for both coffee and blogging. Now I drink hot tea. It doesn’t leave me with all the yucky side-effects, no cream is involved, and more antioxidants are involved.

 Now I blog less and more transparently. I’m not hung-up on talking points and the grace of God in Christ is my over-arching desired theme.

It’s late. I can’t write much but I want to begin getting back into the habit of sharing. I have been chastened. I have been afflicted. But I don’t want to pout. Not writing is pouting for me. I want to humbly be a pointer His direction. I have no great talking points. By the grace of God, I am what I am. I get to use what He’s given me for shining and magnifying HIM!

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”- 1Cor.1:26-31

The food blog was a short-lived attempt.  The re-telling of the Bible to my boys blog is still a very strong desire and I don’t plan on giving up on that one.  Currently working on a study on the 5 women mentioned in the genealogy of Christ in the Bible.  Totally fascinating!!!  I think the above verse may very well speak to the reason those women are mentioned.

Our first study was on Tamar.  The grace and mercy that saved me humbled Judah and redeemed Tamar.  The next study is on Rahab.  The prostitute in the wall.  These studies will be my focus for the next few months.  These women and I share a calling that none of us can boast in and a Lord we all point to.


You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things out of us. -Gungor

I took my boys out to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green yesterday. From the previews I thought it would be cute and kind of silly but I did not think I would ball. Yes ball. Catch-my-breath-face-wrinkled-up-dripping-nose-dripping-with-tears-wet-faced ball. Sometimes the dam that holds back the flood is broken with a flicker from a Disney film.

If you want to see the movie and haven’t yet, SPOILER ALERT!

 A husband and wife, longing to have children, unable, faced with the reality decide to write down who their kid would be if they were able to give him birth. They place their dreams in a wooden box and bury it in the garden. A stormy night waters their wishes and a 9 or 10 year old boy covered in mud is delivered. Sounds silly I know. But I guess God could have designed kids to be born out of the garden if He wanted to.

The creation obeys the Creator. He commands birth out of bloody wombs. It’s no less a wonder. No less magical. Maybe we’re just used to the magic of birth by wombs.

For some, their children were born just as magically as Timothy Green, out of dreams, prayers offered, longings buried. The Creator places the fatherless in families. Yes, many times the fatherless are the ones being rescued from a terrible place, but the Creator also gives barren women a family, lifting her out of her hopelessness.

Whether we have children from our wombs, or from prayers and others’ wombs, the number of days we get with them and our inability to perfectly parent them is a reality we fight against. Just like Timothy Green’s parents.

The truth is the time we get to plant seeds of love and truth in the lives of the children we’ve been miraculously granted to raise is a great gift and responsibility. We are forever changed in the process. We get the privilege and high calling of guiding a life. We try so hard to do it right but we don’t.

We have to entrust our kids to the Savior of children of raised by sure-to-not-get-it-all-right parents.

My kids are gifts. Not because they are gifted. Not because they’re my trophies. Not because they make me look good. They are just gifts from the God who makes life grow out of dirt and wombs and messed up parents.

 I treasure every moment I get to be a mom. I pray for the grace to make right decisions in raising them and I fall on the grace that saves us both! What a gift. What a gift!


“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

We’ve been gone for 17 days on our annual trek to Northern Cali and Southern Oregon.  It feels like “three months”- as my youngest announced today.  We made a ton of memories.  I wanted to blog my way through the trip, by posting each day, but Internet wasn’t always available and when it was it was dreadfully slow.  It was kind of nice to take a hiatus from the Internet, blogging, facebook, etc.  But staying caught up on writing and email I think might out way that long of a technology vacation.  Especially for a must-second-live-everything-by-journaling type of person like me.  Now I feel sort of mentally constipated.  Too much to try and catch up.  So I won’t. I’ll let the pictures do the talking (most of which I posted on Facebook).

Spiritually I grew on this trip.  I finished a probably-controversial book on the road trip to Oregon by Brennan Manning- All Is Grace, A Ragamuffin Memoir.  It was controversial to me!  It challenged me to see that my life speaks a message of utter reliance on the grace of God that saves me through the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our lives are all pock-marked and twisted by our sin or other people’s sin.  None of us earns any of God’s grace.  All my life should simply be a response to the priceless, yet freely given grace of God.  Every one of us lives in this grace everyday.  

 He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:45 

The book, some recent teachings from the Bible, and a glance back over my life also got me thinking, “Which is true? Sinner or Saint?”  Am I a sinner saved by grace, thirsting daily for true rightness, hungering to be who Christ is making me to be?  Or am I a righteous one, a saint, perfect, complete, a daughter of the King, a daughter of God?  YES!  
They’re two sides of the same coin.  You must be a sinner to be made a saint.  You must hunger for righteousness to be filled with righteousness.  But I find (and this may not be good theology, just my experience) that when I focus on the daughter of the King view of who I am, I start to get spiritually snooty.  And there is no place for spiritual snootiness in the grace of God that takes me from sinner to saint.
God has titled me with titles I have not earned.  He has called me what I am not.  But that is the grace of God that I live in,  breathe and am thankful for everyday.  It is the very grace that saves me!
God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. – Romans 4:17

I love how John Newton said it:
Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior

I lost my wallet on our trip!  Grrr.  I’m in the habit of taking my wallet out of the car with me to the pump at a gas station, rather than just taking out my debit card.  It’s a habit I hope is broken after this experience.  

I was in the mountains on a country highway between Trinity Lake Center, CA and Yreka, CA.  I stopped on that highway in Etna, CA to get gas, hoping to make it to Yreka to fix the slow leak in my tire (which I noticed while my car was parked at the campground we had been at the previous 5 days).  I guess I took my wallet out and either left it on the pump or on the hood of my car, because after I paid for my gas, I drove on to Yreka and while trying to hunt up my wallet to pay for the fixed flat I realized it was nowhere to be found!  Thankfully the nice people at Les Schwabb in Yreka were planning to not charge me for the service anyway.  I drove back to Etna, 20 something miles away, and talked to the manager of the station, looked all along the roadside, on the pump and ground…. gone! Out of my control.  
Fortunately I did have my checkbook, which won’t help when trying to cash a check with no I.D., but will help when writing a check out to a family member who can cash it for you.  Thanks mom!

I’ve spent yesterday and the better part of today getting caught up on ordering a duplicate license, new debit cards, grocery shopping, laundry and all that back-to-life business.  But my heart is longing for home.  My real home, where my real I.D. is, and the home of my parents, grandparents and my kids’ aunts, uncles and nephews.  I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend with them, ever so short as it was.