Sunday, January 31, 2010


Last weekend we took a road trip to Abilene.  Ryan made fun of me because given the opportunity, most people would travel to Austin or Dallas.  There isn't much in Abilene, but I am drawn to places like that.  I like to find the interesting in the ordinary.  Besides, I haven't been much west of where we live, and I wanted to see the landscape. 

The drive was 2 1/2 hours.  Beginning about 45 minutes from here, the land became hilly and had these unique tree-filled plateau formations.  The town of Abilene itself has around 100,000 people and is not very pretty.  There are some interesting attractions, like Fort Phantom Hill, ruins of an abandoned army fort and Frontier Texas!, an old west museum.  Our short visit didn't allow for trips to these places, but we'll be sure to put them on our agenda next time.  We did visit the children's museum that is part of the Grace Museum and the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature.  We were really impressed with the latter.  There is no admission charged, and we showed up in time for a free children's art activity.  There are visiting exhibits, and we heard that the Berenstein Bears exhibit would be coming soon.

According to Trip Advisor, the best place to eat in town is Harold's Pit BAR-B-Q.  We were a little taken aback by the appearance of the building and the neighborhood in which it sits, but we loved the brisket, flavorful sauce and especially the pan-fried corn bread nuggets.  They didn't contain any flour, so Ryan could enjoy them, too.  We had a nice time chatting with Harold as it was 4:00 in the afternoon, and business was slow.  This meal alone was reason enough to go to Abilene. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Mountain of God

I like to read the Bible online at  This morning, I read Exodus 24.  The chapter starts out as God says, "Come up to the Lord."  He is referring to a mountain when he says "Come up".  Later in the chapter, this is what it says:

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.
11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction.”
13 Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God.

What was it like hanging out with God on the mountain?  Mountains feel like holy places.  There is something about their immense size that makes me feel so small and in awe.  For some reason, God wasn't standing directly on the mountain but was on a jewel-like material.  Interesting.  The author also tells us that God did not raise his hand against the people.  The assumption is that He would have been justified in doing so.  So, God had gracious intentions as he called the leaders to be with Him.  They saw God, and they ate and drank.  What was that like???  What did they eat?  Were they nervous and formal?  Or was it comfortable and celebratory?  I'm sure it was the latter.  In God's presence, I'm sure they experienced fullness and immense joy.  Then, God calls Moses up to the mountain alone, to stay there.  Wow!  To have the privilege of taking a solitary mountain climb sounds perfect to me right now.  This summer on our family trip to Wyoming, my parents watched Molly so Ryan, Tim and I could take a morning hike in the foothills of the Tetons.  The air was clean.  There was a stillness and calm that evaded everything.  I'm sure this is what Moses experienced but with God himself! 

While reading I was overcome with a desire for more intimacy with God and also with nature.  There is a nature center near here with 25 miles of trails, lots of wildlife and wetlands.  I need to make visiting this beautiful place a priority and make nature a constant in my life. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

White Horse

This is the first of my dad's birthdays that he's spending in heaven.  (He would have been 68 today.)  Molly and I headed out this morning to spend some time with my mom and brother - and to eat catfish in honor of Dad!  Shortly after leaving our house, Molly began throwing an abrupt and intense tantrum.  Trying to distract her, I pointed out the cows on the right-hand side of the road.  In turn, she told me that there were horses out the window.  I looked to the other side and saw several horses in a beautiful field (I've written about this sight before.)  There were horses of many colors and a couple gray burros, too.  As we continued driving, Molly said, "There's a white horse!"  I didn't recall seeing a white one.  I asked her if anyone was on the horse.  She said, "Yes."  "Who's on the white horse?"  I inquired.  "Papa.  Papa's on the white horse.  Papa's on the white horse."  I asked if he looked strong and happy.  She said, "He's feeling better!" 

While I'm sure that much of this image was in Molly's imagination, maybe it wasn't.  Maybe God gave her a glimpse of her beloved Papa doing something he fully enjoyed.  He did use the words of a toddler to increase my faith and show me His love on this day of remembrance. 

I'm thankful today for my two Fathers in heaven.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Language of Love and Respect

As a Book Review Blogger for Thomas Nelson publishers, I occasionally get a complimentary copy of a book to review on my blog.  A couple months ago, I requested one titled The Language of Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs.  I was excited to read this book because Emerson pastored the church I attended in Michigan.  Now he and his wife have a marriage ministry called Love and Respect.  Several years ago, Ryan and I attended one of his marriage conferences and read his first book entitled Love and Respect

For some reason, the book did not arrive within a month.  I contacted Thomas Nelson and was told that an error occurred.  They sent a new one out immediately.  Ironically, the book arrived just about the time Ryan and I started experiencing some difficulties in our marriage.  One of the major reasons for our troubles is that we misperceive each others' words.  This book is written to confront this situation head-on specifically stressing the communication differences between men and women.  It was previously released as Cracking the Communication Code.

I love the writing style of this book.  It is rich in principles, scripture references, illustrations and real-life examples from readers and marriage professionals.  The book begins with a "Short Course on Love and Respect" to familiarize new readers with the basic concepts of his first book and seminar.  The underlying principle is that husbands are commanded by God to unconditionally love their wives and wives to unconditionally respect their husbands.  He skillfully explains how husbands and wives can move from the "crazy cycle" and enjoy a richer marriage in the "rewarded cycle" by employing specific acts of love and respect, respectively!

The remainder of the book motivates readers to effectively communicate with their spouses with a goal of experiencing the "rewarded cycle".   Like in his first title, Emerson pulls from his Ph.D. studies in Child and Family Ecology to educate the reader on the differences between men and women, specifically in marriage and communication.  I find the writing very motivating, and the practical applications are helpful.  I especially like the basic premise throughout the book that your words need to be honoring and loving as an act of obedience to God and regardless of whether your spouse deserves it.  The wisdom in this book would benefit any marriage.  This is one worth reading!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm Not Waikiki!

Molly often pronounces the "L" sound in her name like a "W". This evening Ryan was teasing her that her name sounds like "Maui". He was making comments about her being Hawaiian. Then he said, "We should have named her Waikiki."

I'm amazed she processed what he said and instantly retorted, "I'm Maui; I'm not Waikiki!" It is probably the first time she's heard the word, and her pronunciation was perfect!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Random Pictures from my Phone

These are a couple pictures that I just uploaded from my phone. Dan and Katie, my cousins were here visiting this past week. Molly loved them! They all enjoyed playing with the 100 balloons Uncle Tim gave Molly for Christmas!