For years, I’ve read through the book of Psalms every month. It got so that the day of the month became synonymous with me for the first few words of, or a verse from, a corresponding Psalm.
But this year, wanting to mix up my reading a bit, I took a break from Psalms for a few months. It’s hard, though, to leave such a well of worship, so I’m back to reading through Psalms monthly. (I’ve include the schedule I use at the bottom of this post.)
As I reentered the daily intake of Psalms, what surprised me anew was the intensity of David’s emotions. Whether it was in his longings for God, adoration of God, cries of fear, resolve to praise, or any other expression of his heart, he articulated them with acute intensity. Continue reading
When I was growing up, we actually had “the Joneses” living next door. Only, it was just Mrs. Jones—a sweet, elderly widow who had cookies and Kool-Aid for the neighbor kids.
I didn’t know anything about the cookies and Kool-Aid, however, until the day that my sister Michele and I were riding our bikes near her house and ran over her yard decoration. It was a wooden cutout of a redbird on the top of a wooden stake painted red. One of us (I won’t say who because it might make Michele feel bad) ran over the cardinal, and the stake broke.
We quickly hopped off our bikes and examined the broken decoration, hoping there was some easy fix. Nope, the wood was unmistakably broken, and the splintered top half was too short to stick back in the ground. We propped it up against the bush and sadly rode home to tell Mom. Continue reading
We didn’t eat sugar in our house growing up. But we did eat cloves. Okay—we didn’t eat cloves; I did.
It all started when my mom gave them to us in church (instead of breath mints) to help us stay awake. She recommended that we suck on them, which my sisters did; but I found they were much more effective when chewed.
Years later, in college, I found I was often struggling to stay awake during class and even at work. With a very full schedule, sleep was at a premium. I remembered the value of cloves, and I filled a small container to keep on my person. It really helped—even if some people did make fun of my odd habit. I always offered they could try one, but they usually declined. At least I could stay awake—when I really needed to!
But the ultimate in clove-eating came this week when I ate them…because I was hungry! I was waiting on someone for lunch and experiencing starvation-like pains in the meantime. (Well, maybe not starvation-like, but pretty severe!)
In desperation, I searched my desk drawers for something…anything…to eat, and that is when I saw my old container of cloves. And, yes, I ate them—not just one or two, but probably fifteen or twenty. (Incidentally, I found that cloves have a way of warming your stomach on the inside—quite helpful for short-term hunger control!) Continue reading
In the context of a larger conversation, a friend happened to mention last summer that she had completed a moderate workout the evening before—running for forty-five minutes on a treadmill at 5.7 mph. Without much thought, I noted the comment and reminded myself that I really needed to be exercising.
Less than a week later, I determined to begin, and I set a goal for myself of forty-five minutes per day. I decided that I should start my new plan with moderation, and remembering my friend’s earlier statement, I decided forty-five minutes on the treadmill at 5.7 mph would be good for the first day. (She said it was moderate!) It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a strenuous workout! I chalked it up, however, to being very out of shape and determined to persevere.
Four miles and forty-five minutes later, I staggered off the treadmill and collapsed on the floor. The next day, I could hardly walk. (If you’ve not been much of a runner, let me encourage you that this is not a good start!)
During those grueling forty-five minutes, I grasped for something to occupy my mind—anything to distract myself from my exhaustion. I thought of Hebrews 12:1, “And let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Continue reading