Drink Only Water for Lent

Click to See Informative Slideshow

I don’t often get to listen to the KLOVE morning show these days.  My vanpool riders chat quite a bit, and with yesterday being a federal holiday, there was much to catch up on.  But after I dropped off the last two riders at Crown Center, I turned up the radio just in time to catch the DJs talking about giving up every kind of beverage except water for Lent and taking the money they will save on not purchasing lattes and mochas and sodas and donating it to the Forty Days of Water mission initiative.

40 days to bring clean water to Uganda! Give up that coffee, coke, juice, etc. & only drink water for 40 days. The money saved will go towards clean water wells in Uganda!

KLOVE Morning Show Facebook Status Update 2/21/12

For the details on how to participate in the Forty Days of Water, follow this link.

I haven’t decided if I will participate or not because basically I wouldn’t be giving up anything.  Probably eighty to ninety percent of what I drink every day is water.  If not water, then brewed tea or iced tea that I don’t pay for because I make it myself.  If I could convince Terry to give up Pepsi for Lent, now that would be an accomplishment.

Movie Review: The Encounter (2010)

The Encounter (2010)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Contrived and over-the-top preachy.  Yes, I know, it’s a Christian film so it’s supposed to be that.  But I disagree.  It could have been much better.  It barely rose above the level of what I would see performed at a local church as a liturgical drama.  I guess I just prefer a subtler approach and something that reaches people where the are right now with a bit more real world.  You can still tell a great story and send your audience home with a message, without giving them a concussion (from the two-by-four of theology or Bible quotations you hit them over head with).


Prayer Request

Yesterday, my husband received discouraging news from his doctor.  The sort of news, when piled on top of all his other health issues, that makes you instantly angry, scared and depressed.  We know more than we knew last week, but we know less than we need to know to deal rationally with the situation.  Now a specialist is needed and more tests, all of which will not occur fast enough to suit either of us, especially with the delays in scheduling that the normally joyful holiday season will inflict on us. Just when you need it most, patience and peace flee before the storm of doubt and uncertainty.

So, I’m sending out an appeal to family and friends to prayer for healing and comfort for my husband.

Healing Prayer

Dear Lord of Mercy and Father of Comfort,

You are the One I turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need.  I ask you to be with my husband during this illness.  Psalm 107:20 says that you send out your Word and heal.  So then, please send your healing Word to my husband.  In the name of Jesus, the Great Physician, drive out all infirmity and sickness from his body.

Oh Lord, I ask that you turn this weakness into strength, this suffering into compassion, this sorrow into joy, and this pain into comfort for others.  May my husband trust in your goodness and hope in your faithfulness, even in the midst of this suffering.  Let him be filled with patience and joy in your presence as he waits for your healing touch.

Please restore my husband to full health, dearest Father.  Remove all fear and doubt from his heart by the power of your Holy Spirit.  And may you, Lord, be glorified through his life.  As you heal and renew my husband, Lord, may he bless and praise you.

All of this I pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.


15 And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will heal that person. And if the person has sinned, the sins will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.

James 5:15-16 (New Century Version)

To Occupy Christmas or Not?

Hallmark Lobby Christmas Tree (with the Mayor's Christmas Tree in the background)

I drive a vanpool from Lansing to downtown, midtown and the Plaza areas of Kansas City, Missouri every weekday.  My final stop, before heading to my own work place, is Crown Center, the ‘home’ of Hallmark Cards.  As you can see from the slightly blurry cellphone photo I took this morning, the decorations at the world headquarters for Hallmark simply exude the Spirit of Christmas.  I need this extra immersion for Christmas cheer to confront the gauntlet of bland and vaguely wintery decorations my building lobby sports.  I left the house without my red and green ball Christmas tree ornaments, so I can’t ‘occupy’ the decorations today.   And I have my uncle to thank for that ‘Occupy Christmas’ idea, thanks to a comment he posted to my post yesterday about the prevalence of unholiday decorations littering the lobby.

For the entire drive in this morning, I kept thinking of picket sign slogans I could hand paint for such an occupation, such as:  “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” or “Put Christ Back in Christmas” or “The Cross (X) Marks the Spot” and so on.  Rather than being the 99% we could be (and are) 100% loved by Him.  I know I’ll be saying “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” for the next thirty or so days (until Epiphany anyways).

I’m also curious about the decorations in the lobby of your workplace buildings.  Snap a photo with your cell phone and comment with the link to participate in this unofficial and informal survey of corporate expressions of Christmas (or unHoliday) cheer.

With a Grateful Heart

Today, I reach the end of my ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ series, but by no means have I reached the end of my blessings.  I barely scratched the surface of all the people, places and things I’m grateful for.  Each morning when I wake up, I’m thankful for my life, my family, my friends, … the list is never ending.

I had grand ideas to post an appeal for world peace in this final entry, beseeching each of us to ‘Just Love’ each other.  And I don’t mean the people who are easy to love, like your family, your spouse, your kids, your friends.  I mean the people who make you boiling mad, who make you foam at the mouth, the stranger (or country or ethnicity or religion or political party … you fill in the blank) that you verbally abuse or berate via status updates.  It’s not enough to wait for them to change or extend the olive branch.  It must start with us.  It must start with you and it must start with me first.

As much as I detest admitting it, the Beatles (and John Lennon in particular) got something right with ‘All You Need is Love.’  Jesus, though, is a hard act to follow:

He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence – and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

Luke 10:27 (The Message)

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

Luke 6:27 (The Message)

I never said it would be easy (and neither did He).  I can do my small bit to bring about peace and hope in my small corner of the world.

And as we approach the season where we celebrate the Greatest Gift ever given to such unworthy recipients, I would like to share two final quotes.  The first I consider my ‘life verse’ and refer to it frequently when I need a reminder of where to keep my thoughts and the second is an excerpt from the lyrics of a contemporary Christian hymn that often plays as a soundtrack of thanksgiving for my mindscape.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks unto the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

Give thanks.

Give Thanks by Don Moen

* * *

And I wish to thank all of you who stayed with me through this month of blogging.  I assure you I will now return to my regularly scheduled programming, meaning the occasional book or movie review with an occasional odd tidbit tossed in for some added vim and vigor.  I sincerely appreciate that you took the time from your busy lives to peruse my musings.  I pray each and every one of you has a wonderful life and spreads good cheer to all you meet.

Oh, one final suggestion.  I thought I’d share our family tradition (since the mid 90s) of re-watching the Muppet Christmas Carol each year around Christmas time. How can you go wrong with Dicken‘s classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, and Muppets?  The music isn’t half bad (I even bought the songbook) and the narrators are always good for a few laughs.  Once Derek, Royna and Rachelle arrive (two before and one after Christmas), we’ll sit down one evening and re-live the ‘good old days’ with Scrooge and Bob Cratchit.

So I’ll close with the lyrics to my favorite Muppet Christmas Carol song, written by Paul Williams, called ‘A Thankful Heart‘:

With a thankful heart, with an endless joy
With a growing family, every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me (Nephew and niece to me)
Will bring love, hope and peace to me (Love, hope and peace to me)
Yes and every night will end, and every day will start
With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart

With an open smile and with open doors
I will bid you welcome, what is mine is yours
With a glass raised to toast your health (With a glass raised to toast your health)
And a promise to share the wealth (Promise to share the wealth)
I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart
On A sea of love and a thankful heart

Life is like a journey, who knows when it ends?
Yes and if you need to know the measure of a man
You simply count his friends
Stop and look around you, the glory that you see
Is born again each day, don’t let is slip away
How precious life can be

With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise, every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise (Used now to sing your praise)
And to beg you to share my days (Beg you to share my days)
With a loving guarantee that even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart

I will hold you close in a thankful heart