Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On Being Happy

A catholic teenage boy that I know from the bookstore, commented on this picture of me with this statement: "You are always in such a good mood! I wish I could be happier more often." I was totally caught off guard by that remark (after all, doesn't everyone smile in pictures?) and it started me thinking about being in a "good mood".

I realized I am, quite often, happy! I prayed and asked the Lord for a way to reply to this kid, and how my deep joy and it's outflowing of happiness might be a way I could minister to him.
The Lord, being so wonderful, gave me an answer. Not with my words, but with His:

In Psalm 21, David says "for You have made the King most blessed forever (or a source of blessing forever), You make him glad with the joy of Your Presence." Blessed is another word for "happy". So when we say the Lord is blessed, we mean He is happy! I personalized this verse for myself: You have made me most happy, and a source of happiness forever; You make me glad with the joy of Your Presence.

Oh, that I might be a source of happiness -- not trite, glib, shallow thoughts, but deeply wrought joy -- to everyone around me! And that my delight might point all who are affected by it to the Happiest of Beings!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Family Pictures

Here are some family pictures that we had taken with Josh's family a month or two ago. I really liked the way they turned out, thanks to digital cameras that lets everybody see how they looked right away! The group one is my favorite. I think it is so funny to live in a family where everyone is adults! I know that won't last forever!

I know I am blessed to get along so well with my in-laws. Josh's sisters are some of my best friends, and I know that Josh's respect for his parents and family have made it easy for them to accept me -- the first outsider to marry in! So this is the Neisler family (although, they are not all Neislers anymore). The back row is Ryan (Jerry), Josh's only brother and the baby of the family, Aaron, Melissa (Josh's next youngest sibling and Aaron 's wife), Kari (the middle of the fam), and her hubby Lukas, then Josh on the end. On the bench is Laura (in the yellow) who is Ryan's twin, Josh's mom, Lennis, and his dad, Gary, then me! I think this will be a fun picture to show the kids one day, of when we were all young and fun! :)

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Myth of Boredom

Lately I have been fed up with hearing the kids and teens (and even some adults!) around me talk about being "bored". I just got a mass-forwarded message from a girl in our youth group that said she was bored and invited anyone to come make cookies with her, or do anything (and it got rather racy after that), as long as it entertained her.

WHAT? You are telling me that in our world where millions of people are screaming for aid, we here in America are so spoiled that we are sitting around throwing a tantrum and screaming for entertainment? This is just a symptom of the epidemic of selfishness that we are happily feasting upon. We help ourselves to Narcissism by posting pictures of ourselves on My Space or Facebook, hoping that people will post about how lovely we are. We analyze and typify our "look" and do everything we can to be unique with our overly casual clothing from Abercrombie (et al). We eat and drink and watch and listen to whatever we want, whenever we want. And then. . . we are bored.

It is such a mockery of what we are created for! Of course we are bored! God did not create us to make much of ourselves, but to make much of HIM! I mostly find myself bored when I have run out of things to do that serve myself, and I am usually putting off what I really need to be doing. The next time we feel bored, we ought to fall on our faces in repentance and ask the Lord to inspire us with a joyful service for Him!

Here are some ideas (this is what I replied to the girl in my youth group): read your Bible (or read it again, or start a new study in it), paint a picture that characterizes an attribute of God, ask a family member or neighbor if they need help with anything, read a book, write a letter, play a game with a child, pray for unsaved friends, contemplate a way you can save money (or make money) to help a really unfortunate portion of the world's population, such as AIDS orphans, research an organization that works to rescue girls from the brothels in Bombay, go for a run, clean something, go through your stuff and get rid of a bunch of it. . . the list goes on and on.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Simple Things

I am such a sucker for simple, clean, organized tricks and tools. Right now, as I am going through every drawer and cupboard, trying to make it easier on us when we move, I have been pondering the materialism that is so prevelent in our life.

I am attempting to purge our lives of junk, clutter, and the need for STUFF. But it's funny how often thoughts creep in my mind while I'm cleaning like "I really need to buy this cool bin, or those nice hangers, or this fancy cleaning product". Sometimes I catch myself in these thoughts, and it dawns on me -- "this is JUST what I'm trying to get away from!" So what is it, exactly, that attracts me to those simple, cool things?

Pretty much the same pride-of-life materialistic motives that motivates a mother to spend hundreds of dollars to wardrobe her child in Oililly clothing: a love for things, and finding my identity in the things I have. What is the good of purging the stuff out of your life if your motive is to accumulate better, and cooler stuff? It is the same trap, falling into bondage to wanting more.

I don't want more. I want less. Simplicity just for the sake of a simple image, is no gain at all! "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word will not pass away." I want to purge my life not only of the mess and clutter of my home, but also purge my heart of evil desires to build my own kingdom. Purify my heart, Lord! Make me sensitive to those unclean motives as they crop up. Further instill in me a burning desire to make Your Name great, and lose my identity in You!

Monday, September 04, 2006


This morning I went for a run and I was listening to my MP3 player that Josh got me for my birthday. Besides being able to power myself a little faster because of the upbeat tempo of the songs, I was able to "transcend" above just a common outing -- and into a true time of worship.

The sun was streaming beautifully in the late summer sky. The trees were lush and green, at the peak of their summer glory -- magnifying God with every leaf. The song I was listening to was "Lifesong" by Caedman's Call in which the refrain "let my lifesong sing to you!" is sung over and over. I truly felt that the work of my muscles and sweat on my skin was singing to the Almighty God above, because my thoughts were so stayed upon Him, and I was so thouroughly happy in those thoughts. I wasn't thinking about my strides, pace, breathing; I wasn't stuck dwelling on my body and how out of shape it is. I was just glorying in Christ. And then I realized. I couldn't hear the sound of my footsteps. I couldn't hear myself breathe. I was able to break into a HUGE sprint right at the end, and sense nothing except the words of the song, and speed of the wind on my face. It was amazing! The closest I have felt to flying!

It dawned on me that our Christian life would be just like that -- we would be able to go for tireless sprints -- if we could completely block ourselves out of our minds! I think I get more and more muddled when I am over-self-analyzing. Trying to be "perfect" is so secondary to just worshipping the One who is Delightfully Perfect!