Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Favorite Proverbs: #32 Beauty is as Beauty Does

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. Proverbs 11:22

Several women chose this verse from Proverbs as their favorite. How does it speak to you?

I loved the quote: "With great beauty comes great responsibility."  So true!  I work as a hairbraider at the local Renaissance Festival, and for those nine weekends I get to see that quote and this verse acted out front and center.  It never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to leave their discretion out of their dressing process. The braiders actually have a "Bad Costume Bingo" card as a way of taking a tally of some of the...let's call them choices (because that's what they are)...we see often enough that while they might startle us, they don't surprise us anymore.

Some costuming is eye-catching for all the right reasons, and those are on the Bingo card too: for being beautiful or creative or well-executed or fun.  But then there are the things that are eye-catching for all the wrong reasons.

Everybody and every body is beautiful.  I truly believe that.  And some people really do have stunning wrapping paper.  But something gets lost when they don't treat their wrapping paper well.  Each time I see someone Bingo-card worthy, it grieves my heart a little bit.  Because while I'm sure they want to be turning heads, I can't believe they want to be turning them for that reason.

Every body is beautiful, even mine!  But no matter how confident I might be in my outer beauty (a sliding scale to be sure!), it's my inner beauty that I want to shine through.

This season, I guarantee you I'll be thinking about pierced pigs, and good choices.

Friday, June 6, 2014

We All Fall Down

Favorite Proverbs: #33 We All Fall Down

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

When has pride plunged you headlong into disaster?
What did God teach you in the process?

I tried to outsmart kiwi.

One of my true joys is cooking for people.  And I like to think I'm pretty good at it.  I especially love to theme food to an occasion.  So when an opportunity arose for me to bring a dessert to a St. Patrick's Day gathering, I decided to put a spin on an old favorite and make Strawberry Pretzel Salad, but with kiwi's instead.

Confident in my cleverness, I re-googled the familiar recipe to make sure I didn't forget anything.  When I did, I noticed a cliff-note on the page informing me that kiwi can't be mixed into jello.  There's just something about kiwi that keeps jello from setting.  "That's ok." I thought to myself.  "I'll just put sliced kiwi's on top when I'm done."  Ha!  Take that you tricksy little fruit!

I had it all figured out.

I proceeded to make a beautiful dessert.  It was picture perfect.  And just before leaving the house to go to the party, I carefully arranged my sliced kiwis on top of their perfectly set gelatin bed.  Then into the car and away we go.

It wasn't three minutes later when, as slowing down to drive over a neighborhood speedhump, the whole top layer of my kiwi-topped dessert simply slid off...and onto the floor of the car.


I watched it all happen in slow motion; equal parts bemused and horrified. I guess they were serious about that kiwi thing.  But not only does it keep jello from setting, it will actually cause already set jello to become melty again. That certainly wasn't in the cliff-note!

So what did I do?  I pulled over to the side of the road, had a good laugh, picked up the floor mat on that side of the car, unceremoniously dumped the slimy green mess on the grass, and arrived at my destination with a topless dessert...and a story.

I learned to heed instructions. (and not to try to outsmart science...at least where kiwis are concerned.)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

She Speaks

Favorite Proverbs: #34 She Speaks

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Who needs to hear a word of grace, mercy, or love from you today?

This is the kind of question I end up pondering throughout my day.  The quick answer is, who doesn't?  But this proverb inspires me to actively look at those around me, and intentionally think about what I want to say before I say it.

Liz shared: "When our Proverbs 31 sister speaks, “her mouth is full” (CEB). She offers something worth hearing. People gladly listen, knowing her words will be “like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Most days, my words are like stale popcorn in a striped paper bag."

I would be fibbing if I said I didn't often feel like that too.  The "she" in this verse is pretty intimidating and sets a pretty high standard.  But I'm encouraged by another scripture that says, "What you say flows from what is in your heart" (Luke 6:45, NLT).  Taking verses like this one to heart and making them part of my internal dialogue is the first step to building that treasury from which my words can flow.  Because really, who doesn't need to hear a good word today?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cover Up

Favorite Proverbs: #35 Cover Up

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Since “love erases all sins by forgiving them” (NIRV), how does God’s love help you love and forgive others?

Well, knowing just how much grace I've been shown certainly helps me to turn around and show that love and grace to others. But in pondering over this verse, I kept thinking about the difference between "like" and "love."  I almost see the former as an emotion and the latter as an action. And as I've grown, I've come to view "like" as optional, but "love" as mandatory.  If I want to be a Christ-follower, I've got to show love.  The kind of love that is patient, kind, and keeps no record of wrongs.  And maybe that's how a Jesus-kind-of-love erases.  It doesn't keep a record and wipes the slate clean. Oddly enough, while our friends and family can most benefit from our "like", I sometimes think that it's those on the periphery that are most impacted by our "love" -- those counter-intuitive actions and choices that allow us to be the social center of God's kindness.  Those moments can touch a heart, smooth a conflict, and change the course of a day.

That's not to say of course that those close to us don't benefit from our love.  After all, that's often where we experience the deepest conflict, and where the intersection of like and love gets very real. (And where we have the very real opportunity to intentionally let go of the offense and hurt that can deepen into hatred and instead choose to keep no record of wrong, and show love instead.)  I guess what I mean is, when you're on the receiving end of something unexpected...especially when it's unwarranted...it stands out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

One Word

Favorite Proverbs: #36 One Word

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

How high up on your list is getting wisdom?

Growing up, one of the things I most admired in my dad was his wisdom.  No matter how complicated or conflicted the thing was that I was struggling with, he had this way of pausing for a moment and then finding the simple, wise truth in the center of the storm.  It never ceased to amaze me, and at the same time gave me a great model to look up to and aspire toward.

The critical piece of that puzzle is the pause.  My dad showed me not only the incredible priority that we should place on getting wisdom, but also the essential step of stopping to think (and pray) and put that wisdom into action.  As Thomas Edison said, "The value of an idea lies in the using of it."

I'm grateful that, like so many other things in scripture, wisdom is a gift.  It says in James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."  (Side note:  without finding fault.  How awesome is that?)

Like Liz pointed out, it does cost though.  It costs time. (The pause.  It's critical).  And if I'm honest, it costs a bit of pride too.  (Seeing the whole picture or a different perspective means zooming out of and off of me.  Sometimes that feels like it costs very dearly indeed.)

But the result.  Priceless.

And worth it every time.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Morning by Morning

Favorite Proverbs: #37 Morning by Morning

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

How did this verse encourage you today?

I needed this reminder. That we're not expected to get where we're going in one day.  It's a path.  It's progressive.  And it get's brighter.  Sometimes by the smidgiest of smidgens.  Sometimes direct and sometimes filtered through the clouds. But ever brighter till the full light of day. I find that incredibly encouraging. 

It reminds me of a lyric from an old hymn: "Sometimes it's good to look back down.  We've come so far, we've gained such ground.  But joy is not in where we've been.  Joy is who's standing at the end."

I think Joy is who makes the journey with us too.  Regardless of the weather and into glorious light.