Friday, March 21, 2014

Old City New

Last week, the kids and I tagged along for Ben's conference in New Orleans.
It was a week full of walking, coin salvaging, and Mardi Gras mess.

The rain soaked us our first full day.  Our old umbrella broke and we purchased two more from a camera shop on Canal Street.  Walking in torrential rain for several hours in a city with old water works meant that the streets flooded fast and furious.   

With a longer stride I could avoid some of the high spots, but holding an umbrella, Teddy's hand and trying to not get run over meant even my tennis shoes soon were gurgling and swallowing more and more water.   After one of our new umbrellas turned inside out, we decided we had enough and walked the many blocks back to our hotel.

In my room, we attempted to dry our shoes with the hairdryers.  I managed to short the entire hotel room and I had to wait for maintenance to come flip the breaker.  It was a memory making day.





Local or long distance?

Taken by a reflection in a window, it is a significant last photo where I can pretend to be taller than Alex.  Sigh.
Fritz and Emily started flash dancing on a street.  Alex was trying to disassociate himself from those crazy kids.

A cool retro Vespa

hot tub hair


Rest for the weary.


Even their animals were tired from all the walking.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Shark Problems

Sometimes life is full of scary moments.   This photo was taken and staged by Alex.  What a testament to strong rowers and fearless men.  That shark looks like he could eat you.

Waiting for the Doctor

With extra chairs temporarily in our house, we turned our living room into a waiting room.  All the kids pretended to be patients waiting for the doctor.  Since our preferred doctor has full days, you can wait quite a while till he can see you.   Therefore, these special patients passed the time with magazines.
Teddy knew how to wait in comfort.  Fritz got casted like a caterpillar.   Jane was engrossed in her magazine.  Alex received a sling and neck brace.  Emily must have been in x-ray.
A shoeless patient looking surprised by the magazine's lighting products; they look strangely familiar.

These three checked out A-okay.  Wink. Wink.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

What's a spiritual gift, anyway?

Among churchgoers, a spiritual gift can be limited to a Bible list or an inventory.  I do not hold to this and let me tell you why.   When I switched my mental thinking from a churchgoer to Christ-liver, all of this vast world became a sanctuary of worship.  Afterall, Christ, himself, dwells in me according to Ephesians 2.  When I am a walking church, I don't get to chose what are my secular gifts and what are my spiritual gifts.  All gifts come under the banner of Christ.  It is not that He redeems the "insignificant" gifts and makes them oh, so "spiritual", rather my Creator has changed my view of the gifts he has given me entirely.  Everything I am is bound up in Christ.

I might have once felt the pressure to internally review myself and deem my gifts spiritually undersized.  Now I know that my God of abundance never sizes anything wrong.

Once, I willingly meandered into the dangerous territory where gift comparison is acceptable.   Snicklefritz has a better spiritual gift than mine.  Logic tells me God is unfair.  However, 1 Corinthians 12 tells me God distributes gifts as he sees fit. Whether I like it or not, God is not bound by my perception of him.   (I recall Snicklefritz was listed in the Galveston phone book. Sadly, I never did meet him.)

What happens when I slip back into taking personal ownership of a gift?  From life experience, I know I won't be fooled for long, nor is Scripture mocked.  Romans 7 is clear that there is nothing good in me.

Without the resurrection power of Jesus the gifts he has given me are dormant seeds or seeds that disappointedly sprout weeds.  When I want something beautiful to grow,  I need to be planted in the highest spiritual gift which is the presence of God.   He gives himself without measure and he offers himself to all.    He is the richest of soils, a wellspring of water, a garden sanctuary for those turmoiled by the question: "What is my spiritual gift?"  Listen closely.  Hear him whispering,  "Me."