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God Is Good All the Time–Or is He?

I often see posts on the internet that make me pause. For instance, today I saw a post from a Facebook friend updating her son’s health condition a few days after a surgery. Things are going well, and she added the comment, “God is indeed good.”

And, I believe that God is good. I will regularly respond to someone who says, “God is Good,” with the accepted-in-Christian-circles response–“all the time.”

But do I really live like I believe that? We hardly ever add the thought, “God is Good” after the announcement of bad news, do we? I have to say that this came to mind today because I got some disappointing news. It wasn’t earth-shattering, and I nor none of my loved ones are ill or facing tragedy. But it was a “no” answer to a prayer request that I was really starting to believe might be a “yes.” I mean, we had asked lots of people to pray about this. Everyone who heard our request seemed to be willing to pray about it, and enough time passed between the time we started to ask and the time we got the answer that people were checking in to see if there was an update. So I was starting to let myself hope it would be positive. So after this disappointing “no” answer from God, do I really believe God is good all the time?


I believe that He says no to us for a reason. I also believe that He says no over and over again to requests that seem like yes would be better.

I also know that I don’t have all the information that God does. He knows what He will do 1 month, 1 year, 10 years down the road. He knows that answering yes to this thing that seems so obvious to me is the best solution might really end badly. He knows. He knows. I don’t.

My knowledge of God’s goodness is a comfort. It is a balm to me when I get disappointing news or even when I get devastating news. But sometimes, I have to really lather myself up in the balm before I can let it sink in and accept it. Sometimes I have to take some time to process events in order to remember the truth that God is Good All the Time!

The hymn What E’re my God Ordains is Right sums it up for me:

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
His holy will abideth;
I will be still whate’er He doth;
And follow where He guideth;
He is my God; though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to Him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path:
I know He will not leave me.
I take, content, what He hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait His day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking.
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken.
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to Him I leave it all.

Family Devotions Fudge Sauce

We raised our kids with family devotions almost nightly for years. However, truth be told, the last few years, as the kids have gotten older, devotions have been hit or miss, with devotion times during the last year being often unheard of. In the last month, we have resurrected family devotions in addition to the reinstatement of eating all dinners at the dining room table (except for pizza night :)) . The audible groaning is only a taste of the inner turmoil these adjustments to the family schedule have wrought. But we persevere as we know our time for molding these young hearts and minds is shorter than we ever really believed in the early days of parenthood.

In an effort to ease the pain of having to sit with siblings and parents for meals and Bible reading, I am beginning to think of some “incentives” to encourage acceptance of the restored practice. Tonight, while we were waiting for some to finish eating or to go get the Kindle from which to read the Bible passage, I sneaked into the kitchen and whipped up a treat that kept the masses quiet while listening to God’s Word. Unorthodox. Perhaps. Necessary. No. But perhaps associating a surprise sweet treat from Mom and Dad with family devotions will give us some staying power.

Here’s my quick, easy, and dareIsay, YUMMY, recipe for:

Family Devotions Fudge Sauce (served over vanilla ice cream)

4 T butter
1/2 C cocoa
1 C. sugar
1/2 C milk (I used condensed)
1 t. vanilla

Melt butter over low heat. Add sugar, and milk, whisk together in pan. Turn up the heat to medium. Mix in cocoa with a whisk to get out lumps. Heat thoroughly until it begins to bubble, mixing regularly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

Serve over vanilla ice cream to your family, whether you are having devotions, or not.

A Frustrated Former News Junky

My first real job out of college was working for a large Christian ministry as an editor/writer.  In that job, I was expected to keep up with the political news of the day at least enough to write and/or assign and edit somewhat thoughtful pieces for the ministry’s political newsletters.  I used to read more than one news magazine a week.  I watched all the news shows.  I read the newspaper every day.  Hey, it was part of my job.

After marrying and having children, I still wanted to keep up.  But it became harder.  I got most of my news from Fox News and NPR (now, there’s balance for you!).  Reading news became practically unheard of in my world of changing diapers and keeping everyone fed and in clean clothes.

Now that the children are older, I am starting to realize my excuses are gone.  So now, as most 21st Century Americans do, I read my news on the web.  Of course, NPR is still programmed at #1 on my van’s radio.  Admittedly, I don’t watch Fox News much anymore.

But even with the web and radio news, I still don’t feel confident that I have any right to comment on the events of the day.  There was something about the news being a part of my daily work that made me feel like I was worthy to share my perspectives on politics and what bills were being passed, etc.  Now that I am in the middle of a life that is really affected by what happens in Washington and Jefferson City, I don’t feel qualified to register my thoughts anywhere “important.”

With the Democratic Convention drawing to a close, I am thinking this fall is a great time to get back into the groove of political pontificating.  So you may have to bear with me as I start to get my political feet wet again and share some of my thoughts about today’s goings on.

BREAKING NEWS — I wrote this post yesterday, but now with the announcement of John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, I know it is time to get excited about politics.  The addition of Palin has been called a “game changer.”  I don’t care what you call it and whether you like her or the republicans or not, it was really brilliant political strategy!  It’s about time we have something fun to watch in this campaign.

Before my Camera Broke

As promised, here are some more pics from the cruise:

View entering the LA Port

This is the view from the road as we entered the LA Port

Inside our stateroom on the ship.   Every night our stateroom attendant created a new towel character like Sebastian to welcome us to our room.

This was taken from our stateroom window near the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Inside Lumiere’s Restaurant, one of the 3 on board the Disney Magic.

Calvin in the Atrium on the Disney Magic

This is Calvin in the atrium area outside Lumiere’s.  Notice Mickey’s ears in the decor.  Notice how my son is wearing a tie.  Nice, huh?

This is on the night of “The Golden Mickeys.”  I include this picture mainly because I have very few photos with Nevin in them for some reason.

Evangeline with Mickey.  I have several of Evangeline with ______________.

The two who were left behind.  This was taken a week before the cruise on my birthday with some of my gifts on the dresser in the background.

Here’s one more of “the gang” on my birthday.

There are more pics from the cruise on my camera phone, but I haven’t figured out how to send them to my computer yet.  If I ever do, I’ll post them.

More later.

Miss Bennett, May I have this dance?

When I open my web browser, sbcglobal/yahoo is my home page.  Very occasionally, I glance down at the links before I move on to what I logged on for in the first place.  This morning, when I should be doing work, was one of those times.  I came across this, and I thought some of my blogging friends who enjoy Jane Austen might have missed it.

Also, the writer of the above-mentioned post is the author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, which might be an interesting read.

Take a Box of Kleenex

I had the rare opportunity to attend a film in a theater last night. I went to see The Kite Runner with a couple of friends from church. The movie was excellent and elicited so many emotions, I haven’t really processed them all yet. Mostly though, I cried.

There’s a brief mention of the movie in this NPR movie review. Here’s a Christian review from Christianity Today. It critiques the story telling and cinematic elements of the film more than I think it merits, but it does summarize the plot nicely and offers good information on the issues in the movie that one might want to consider for a teen who wants to see it. (My personal take is that this movie is only appropriate for a mature older teen to attend with a parent and to then discuss it.)

I really liked The Kite Runner, and I encourage anyone who is trying to choose a movie to see at the theater to choose this one. But don’t forget to take a box of Kleenex.

Identity Crisis

As most of you know, our kids attended Lutheran school for the 2 years prior to this one. When they were there, they always felt a little on the outside because most of the students were Lutheran. Of course, the school was run by Lutherans, too. So they always felt their “differentness.”

This year, our children are attending a more broadly evangelical school. I was told by the principal that 25 denominations are represented in the student body, including Roman Catholic. So I felt that there would be enough overall “differentness” that our kids would not feel, well, different.

Well, let’s just say that they still don’t feel like they “fit in.” My oldest son has been peppered with questions about his eschatalogical views because he didn’t agree with everything everyone in his Bible class was saying. My daughter had a lesson about giving her testimony in her Bible class, and she told her teacher she became a Christian when she was baptized. Needless to say, they have drawn some attention to their differentness without meaning to. I have been answering lots of questions about what do Baptists believe? How are we different from Lutherans? I’ll be the first to tell you that answering these questions at a level understandable to elementary school children is not easy.

Through all this, I have tried to impress upon my children the need to focus on the things we share in common with these other Christians. But I certainly understand the uneasiness the kids feel because they seem so different.

The ideas from this blog post from Mark express where my heart is. I would love to come up with a way to share this concept with our children’s teachers without offending them or causing them to think we aren’t believers.

Just thinking out loud . . .

The One About the Big Purse

This is my new big purse. I got it for $4.98 on clearance at Target (Originally $19.99).

It all started because I decided I needed to get a better day planner for next year. With 4 kids, work, and a husband with various obligations, I need something a little more comprehensive than my date book from the dollar store (despite the comment I put on my sister-in-law’s blog a month or so ago.) Back in my “career” days in publishing, a great Day Timer was provided for me by my employer. It was the small binder type in which you place new filler pages each year. The one the company purchased for me was real leather and had my initials on it. Since it was pretty nice and personalized, I never threw it away. So I dug it out and decided I would put in new filler pages for next year. I bought the new filler pages at Target on clearance, too. They were on clearance because they are the kind that you have to write in the calendar dates for yourself. (And, yes. I will take the time to do this. I’m already on May.)

I knew if I was going to carry around this big planner, I needed to have a purse big enough to hold it. I felt it was providential when I went to look at the purses at Target, and this giant purse was available at such a good price. So naturally, I bought it.

I brought it home and proudly showed it to Mark. I explained my great plan of carrying the planner in the new big purse. He smiled and said, “You’ll outgrow it.” Now, I admit to vascillating between tiny purses, medium purses, and larger purses all the time. But I haven’t carried a purse of this size with this carrying capacity since the 90s. There’s part of me that hates to carry a giant purse. But I much prefer carrying one big bag to carrying a fairly large purse and another bag of some sort. The new giant purse can handle my new planner, my over-stuffed fat wallet (filled with everything but money), a few cosmetic items, my prescription sunglasses, and it still has room for an extra book to take along places you have to wait. Or, you can stuff a pre-schoolers sweater or jacket in the side pocket when she doesn’t want to wear it anymore. It really is functional.

So here’s the real question: do you, like Mark, think I’ll outgrow it? I really think it will make it through the winter for sure. If it doesn’t fall apart from being over stuffed, it may make it through summer, too, as it would be handy for all those fun outdoor activities of summer. Only time will tell . . . . .

A Strange Thing Happened on My Way to Domesticity

After you get past the fact that my stove looks like a page out of 60s nostalgia, look closely at the photo. Do you see the broken glass?

So, here’s what happened . . . I was feeling very domestic, so after I made 2 homemade apple pies (from the apple picking outing of last week), I made a large lasagne casserole for dinner on Saturday night. I over loaded the pyrex pan, and, knowing it would run over the sides, I placed it on a cookie sheet to bake.

After 45 minutes at 350 degrees, I removed the casserole from the oven to set for 15 minutes. Then, I served up the casserole in bowls since it was messier than usual. Since it was a laid back Saturday night, we let the kids watch tv while they ate. I left the kitchen with my portion, and I didn’t re-enter the kitchen until I was finished. I was taking my bowl back to the kitchen, and I found glass all over the floor and the casserole dish broken in several places. The casserole explosion didn’t happen until at least 30 minutes after being removed from the oven.

First I double checked that I hadn’t left a stove burner on. No, that wasn’t it. All the burners were off. Ultimately, I guess it happened just because the pyrex couldn’t handle the heat. In addition to the mess to clean up, I was sad because the casserole normally provides for 2+ meals for our family. Needless to say, I didn’t want to try to salvage any for fear of including a piece of glass in someone’s food.

I was thankful this happened while we were all in a different part of the house and none of the kids mindlessly entered the kitchen bare-footed.

It was just strange.