My New Friend Victor

This video was the most beautiful showing of grace I experienced this week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvP_SPw7Mwo It is 12 minutes that I think you will find more than worth your time. Victor went to my church. I never had the privilege to meet Victor in person but I look forward to getting to know him in heaven.  I think we will be fast friends.  I love his calm, strong presence in the face of adversity. I love the freckles on his nose and his big grin.  I love his heart for his friends and family.  What a beautiful soul he has. Thank you God for showing us a glimpse of the beauty of Christ and all that it means to Hope in the Lord in the young life of Victor. I hope Victor and I get to be friends someday.  I hope you will get to meet him someday too. Love and prayers to the Watters family.


Statistically Speaking

A friend and I were recently chatting and something came up in the conversation about a statistic or the highly unlikely percentage that an event would happen and my response to her was “and that may be true, but remember if God intends for it to happen it will happen.” Which got me pondering, and I then came up with the conclusion that I would like to put forth that on the whole, statistics don’t really mean much if you are a Christian. In fact, I think statistics tend to take God out of the picture almost completely and this is quite an injustice to the character of God.

First of all, I’m wary of most statistics/polls anyway because I feel you could take any statistic and find 100 people to prove it true or 100 people to prove it false. How accurate is that “random” sample really?? But for the sake of this argument, we’re going to go ahead and say ok, even if most statistics are true…such as the following…

The chances of winning a lottery in which six numbers are drawn from 49 is 1 in 13,983,816. In a lottery in which seven numbers are drawn from 49, the odds of winning are 1 in 85,900,584

100 people a year choke to death on ball-point pens.

35,000 people in the U.S. will die from the flu annually.

9 out of 10 lightning strike victims survive!

A chance of a woman having twins is increased after the age of 35. About 1 in 27 women will give birth to twins after this age. After 50 the chances of having twins is 1 in 9.

A recent study at Harvard has shown that eating chocolate can actually help you live longer

A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans

Car accidents rise 10% during the first week of daylight savings time.

Every 45 seconds, a house catches on fire in the United States

More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes

In any given month, your chances of getting pregnant at age 30 are about 20%. At age 40, your chance of getting pregnant in any given month is just 5%.

( info from infertility.about.com, allfunandgames.com and einvestigator.com. I spot checked some of these but don’t sue me if some of these are inaccurate. See my previous paragraph)

But in the face of all of this information, I would like to say God is Sovereign.

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the people of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.

The lot is cast into the lap but its every decision is from the Lord.

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.

If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

(Scripture references: Rom. 11:36, Psalm 115:3, Psalm 33:10, Psalm 135:7, Prov. 16:33, Matthew 10:29, Matthew 17:20)

God is Sovereign….over the weather, the animals, the lottery, the presidents, and every single thing and person you can think of. If His will ordains you do or don’t get a disease or get pregnant or win the lottery, you can claim the most favorable statistic in the world and it won’t matter because God doesn’t care about statistics, He cares about His glory. And what better way to show how big our God is than to have the “50 point favorite” football team LOSE to the “underdog”. Or the 45 year old woman of faith have a healthy baby. Or the man dying of “terminal” cancer to have a full recovery. These displays of God’s hand happen EVERYday. So I just wanted to write an encouragement that wherever you are in life, if statistics or majorities or "realities" are staring you in the face and have you down, you have access to a God who is bigger than any and all of that. The effective, fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much (James 5:16). In a world where supposedly 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce, let’s be a generation that refuses to succumb to that statistic. Let’s fight for better marriages and better families. Let’s live by FAITH and see what God will do… instead of giving up the battle because the “facts” or the “stats” are against us. If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. That’s God’s promise to us, 2 Chronicles 7:14. And if you end up on the other end of that statistic, one of the rare cases of disease or disaster or death by ball-point pen…know that it has been filtered by God’s holy hands. God gives and takes away. This is a whole other topic for another day but for now, I hope it helps to be reminded that God is in control, He never sleeps, He never forgets and He will never forsake you.

So all this to say, I would argue that the majority of statistics might be interesting and/or something to consider, but on the whole not by any means an indicator of fate if you are a Christian (or even if you’re not). However, during my research for this topic I did come across some rather funny and amazing “statistics” and I thought I would throw in a couple here for your reading enjoyment J Have a great week!

A survey reported that 12% of Americans think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife

Americans eat nearly 100 acres of pizza every day - that's approximately 350 slices per second

First-cousin marriages are legal in Utah, so long as both parties are 65 or older!

Forty percent of Americans have never visited a dentist

'The 7-Eleven Extreme Gulp is 50% bigger than the volume of the human stomach


Old Faithful

A couple days ago I found a kitten in a parking lot and brought him home. We are NOT keeping him. Seriously. He is just here temporarily so we can find him a home. (I know you think we’re going to cave and keep him but for real, we’re not keeping him.) BUT…He is ADORABLE.  Just cute and friendly and happy and so itty bitty! For those of you who haven’t gotten to enjoy a kitten in awhile, here’s a sweet little home video...
Could you die? He is just too cute right? Now we already have a cat, who is no longer a kitten, but almost 6 years old now.  His name is Thomas.  Thomas sleeps a lot, just kinda hangs out most of the time, and has gotten really good at the whole Garfield-style of living. (eat, sleep, get fat, repeat) But yet there is something so sweet about this cat, who has been a part of our family for so many years now, that just can’t compare to the cuteness of a kitten.  Sure he’s not as playful and spry as the parking lot Kitten (although he used to be) but there is nothing like laying down at night and having him curl up in that perfect spot in the crook behind my knees. Or sometimes he comes and puts his head on my pillow next to my face and I kid you not puts his paw on my hand and falls asleep. Then in the mornings while my husband drinks his coffee, Thomas comes and sits in my husband’s arms, the way you would cradle a baby, and just wags his tail and smiles (for real). 

One thing I have thought a lot about is how important it is to recognize the sweetness of relationship.  I once saw a quote that “love is spelled T-I-M-E” and at the time didn’t really agree or understand.  The older I get the more I understand and actually do agree. (Funny how that happens). I encourage you to think about appreciating the animals and people in our life that may not be as “new” or “cute” or “exciting” as others but yet there is something stronger, deeper, sweeter there instead.  It makes me think of a quote from Lord Lyttleton “How much the wife is dearer than the bride”.  What a wise, beautiful saying. So take this however the Spirit leads you…maybe take a moment to seek out a widow or widower and love on them. Call a grandparent or write a letter to an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while.  Maybe it’s just to spend some uninterrupted quality time with the dog or cat that has gotten kind of “boring” and perhaps neglected. Kittens and babies are cute and easy to love and trust me, I am so grateful for the privilege to hang out with a kitten this week. But the “Garfields” and Grandmas are the ones who have been there through everything right? Doesn’t it seem that we ought to celebrate them even MORE? An engagement or wedding status on facebook  gets a million billion comments with exclamation points and celebratory gushes, while a 40 year anniversary status gets 6 “likes”.  Can you think of any other examples that come to mind? Would love your thoughts in the comments!

I have a note in my Bible from a great study I did on Ecclesiastes that says “the end is better than the beginning because there is certainty and value. You can step back and see God’s hand in the matter.” Let’s pray God would grant us the time and wisdom and excitement to step back and appreciate the things and people in life that are under-appreciated. I pray we can see His hand in all of it. May these pictures inspire you to a different perspective of beauty today!


Rain Appreciation Day

When I think of rain, this is how I picture it: gray, dreary, gloomy, not so fun unless you are curled up under the covers sleeping in.  

But then I see these pictures 

And I find myself struck with the contrast that these artists were looking at rain too.  And in the middle of the same dreary, gloomy, rain, a photographer discovered beauty and a painter created it. Aren’t these pictures amazing?

And really, isn’t rain amazing in and of itself? The rain comes down and the snow from heaven and waters the earth and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.  (Isaiah 55) How often am I too selfish to think of God’s purposes for the rain and simply see it for how it affects my day? When in actuality, rain is a good thing! In some places in some seasons they beg and plead for God to send rain. I think we often take for granted that rain makes the plants green, gives us food, and washes my car ;-) .  So this is a reminder to see beauty and purpose next time it’s gray and rainy out. When's the last time you had a day that you stopped to appreciate or even admire the rain? Let's remember to give thanks in all circumstances to a God who is kind enough to give us rain. And here are a couple more cool rain pictures for you! Be sure to ponder the one with the umbrella J

Photo credits: rain on window from weheartit.com by Veronica G.  Rain Reflections, Barcelona spain by Jordi Meneses. Painting of couple in the rain by Leonid Afremov. Diamond rain from Sunsurfer.com, girl in the rain from dannystaechs.wordpress.com, umbrella photo via The Beautiful Mess on tumbler