Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Tepid Tub

The Tepid Tub

I have a dear friend who is the mother of four children.  One of her teenagers is a son - the only son - and he has a fondness for long, steaming hot showers.  Even before he gets in the shower, he likes the bathroom to resemble a sauna.  In order to turn his plain bathroom into a sauna to rival that of any fine, luxury spa, he turns the hot water on full blast.  Once the steam is seeping out from under the door, he commences his near scalding shower.

And this is not an abbreviated shower.  Once the steam hits his brain, he completely and utterly forgets that he has a family that might also desire some warmth with their daily bath.  This teenage mutant child takes his time - reveling in the warmth - applying his manly scented body wash, shampoo and conditioner. He takes his time to make sure no soap or shampoo residue remains on him before finally shutting off the shower.

The freshly washed, relaxed and crisply dressed boy is ready for school when his father comes roaring out of the master bedroom.

"How many kids took a shower this morning?" he bellows.  His boisterous outburst falls on one pink-cheeked son who seems mighty relaxed. 

"Just me," comes the honest, feeble response.

The mother begins to position herself between the two testosterone driven creatures - one with steam rising off his skin - the other with steam coming out his ears.

"Well, son. I took a very, very cold shower because you used up all of the hot water!  Did you even think for a minute that someone else might like to have a hot shower this morning?"  He let that sink in before calmly adding, "For the next week, you will take tepid baths!"

"Yes, sir," the son replied to his chilled father.

That night, when the time drew near to the hour when the son would normally begin to create his spa inspired sauna, his father filled the tub with a mere three inches of very tepid water and then threatened him with all sorts of horrific consequences if he so much as heard a drip of water being added. A few minutes into the bath, the family heard noises coming from the bathroom.  The noises were coming from the teenager as he soaked in his tepid tub of discipline.

In a funny, Yoda-like voice the family heard him say, "Me doesn't like lukewarm baths."
" Me likes hot showers."
" Me thinks this punishment is too severe."
" Me thinks one night of a tepid bath would be sufficient"
" Me thinks it'll be a long week"
And on and on...

This teenage boy was taking his discipline, or "correction," with a degree of rebellion.  While not openly fighting against the punishment, he, nevertheless, used humor to make it known that he did not enjoy his correction. 

No one does.  NO one enjoys correction.  How many of us sit in our tepid tub of correction and fight?

~ Proverbs 12:1 says, "Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is      stupid." 
~ Proverbs 1:7b states, "but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
~ Proverbs 15:5 tells us that "a fool spurns his father's discipline but whoever heeds correction shows prudence and 13: 18 says "he who ignores disciple comes to poverty and shame but whoever heads correction is honored."

According to God's word - we should love correction and strive to be thankful for discipline in our lives.  When we are being corrected, we often sit and complain.

What if when the steam-sauna-seeker received his sentence he celebrated? 

What if he hugged his father and thanked him for saving him from stupidity?

What if he then planted a kiss on his mom's forehead, picked her up and twirled her around exclaiming, "Yippee!  I'm going to be saved from poverty and shame!  I will be honored." 

What if, as the teenager lowered his body into the lukewarm water, he yelled for all the house to hear, "Hallelujah!  I'm not a fool.  I'm prudent!"

What a difference. What if, when the Lord disciplines us, we embrace and celebrate it?  According to scripture, we should be grateful for the Lord's correction instead of grumbling in our tepid tub.

Lord, help me to celebrate the tepid tub of correction, as well as, the
warm shower of grace and mercy. 

Help me to soak in your gentle washing of discipline.

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Have a comment? Have you ever set in the Tepid Tub of correction and grumbled?

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Hate Pinterest

Back in the 90’s, there was a show on cable TV with a homely lady and a geeky guy.  I cannot even remember the name of the people or the name of the show.  But I tuned in to watch each week. I even programmed my VCR to record the show!  And then I went out and tried to emulate the projects they did on the show.  (This was before we had a kazillion channels with satellite, or HGTV.)

I loved one episode where they did a birdhouse themed room so in the kid’s room that was too young to protest, I applied a fence picket wallpaper border, hung birdhouses, painted the room blue with clouds near the ceiling. I loved it.  The daughter? Not so much.

The Craft gods must have been watching us stay at home mommies watching that cheesy show because the next thing we know – BAM!  HGTV! And we were glued to the screen to figure out how to craft our homes into some amazing show home for pennies on the dollar.  And then another channel popped up. 

But these shows were geared to us “older folks.” While we “older folks” were trying to paint and stamp and sponge ourselves into a wonderful home, the Craft gods were watching.  And they created Pinterest. (Actually, Pinterest wasn’t created as a crafting, decorating, DIY site but most everyone I know uses it that way.)

I hate Pinterest. Just today. Just this week.  The week of my oldest daughter’s wedding.  Why?  Before Pinterest, Mother’s-of-the-Brides-to-be just bought their daughter three or four of those big, thick wedding magazines.  That was enough to give you some ideas and pass them on to the cake lady, the florist, and the seamstress.

Now, with Pinterest, Brides-to-be can spend hours and hours comparing.  Comparing and comparing.  (And mother’s of the bride and groom can spend hours and hours at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby trying to gather supplies to copy the ideas that the bride and groom envision with the help of Pinterest.)

Information Overload.  Or should I say, Idea Overload.  Maybe too much of a good thing is  ~ too much. 

All of the ideas are beautiful but it makes the decision making process lengthy and difficult. 

The wedding is two days away so I think it is safe to put away my craft supplies and concentrate on the joyous day! 

Okay, I don’t really hate Pinterest.  Maybe after the wedding, I’ll have time to Pin. #pinterestfordummies  

One last note, because of Pinterest and my daughter’s amazing knack for creativity, her wedding will be much more lovely and beautiful than mine! J

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cheer Squad


One of my daughters recently finished a long month of “musical.”  She had practices every night after school until 8:00 or 9:00pm.  Then she had four days of performing the show. Lots of emotions at the end as it was the last time most would perform together and they were a “family.” 

                  I tried to cheer my daughter.

My husband came home from a long week of travel.  Several issues were pressing on him and weighing him down.

                  I tried to cheer him.

Two family members. One a teenager.  One a spouse.  Both exhausted and run down.  Both needed a cheerleader.

Enter, me.

Me, the optimist.

Me, the problem solver.

Me, the cheerleader.

But being the cheerleader doesn’t mean I agree with their feelings and emotions.  Sometimes being the cheerleader means saying, “Go to bed!”

Sometimes being the cheerleader means asking, “When was the last time you listened to uplifting music instead of the news or music that doesn’t calm your spirit? ”

Sometimes being the cheerleader means prompting, “Who is around you that speaks life to you? It can’t always be me.  You need others to speak LIFE to you.”

Have you ever seen just one cheerleader in front of the crowd leading the cheers?

No.  There is a whole squad of cheerleaders! One cheerleader would not be effective.  One cheerleader could not cheer loud enough or be seen by the fans.  One cheerleader cannot do formations, tosses or lifts that thrill the crowd.

We can’t have only one cheerleader in our lives.  We need a squad! 

If you only have one cheerleader in your life, you need more!  If your spouse or mom or dad or best friend or any other one person is the only one that speaks life to you, you are in trouble. 

You need other cheerleaders.  You need a squad.

I have a cheer squad.  And the members of my squad don’t even know they are on a squad.  In fact, until recently, two of my squad members for the past twenty plus years did not even know each other.  But they have been cheering me on for years! Without them, I would have lost perspective. Lost hope. Lost the ability to see the positive.


There is protection in numbers. There is promise in numbers. There is perspective in numbers.

If we are not on a squad, we can easily become isolated and that is dangerous.

You need cheering as you play this game of life. You need a squad.

How do you get a squad?  Join a church.  Join a group within your church. Attend a Bible study. Find life-giving people and “hang out” with them. 

Now, go to bed. J

“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on…” Hebrews 10:25 MSG
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Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Keep Your Valentine

How to Keep Your Valentine

Today is my 29th year with my Valentine.  We have been married for over 26 years but we traded silly bears holding hearts, chocolate and flowers for a few years before we married.

What is the secret to keeping a Valentine that long? Here are my top four:

1 ~ Go to bed mad sometimes.   Yes, I just said that.  And I can hear the collective gasp from the Biblically astute folks and know they are asking, “Doesn’t she know the Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger?”

Yes, I do know that.  I know it well.  It’s that teaching that caused one of the longest fights and sleepless, tearful night during my first married year.   But, I discovered that what is a big deal at 2am often is not such a big deal at 9am the next morning after a good night's sleep.  Sometimes you have to agree to revisit the argument the next day.  I know I have woken up the next day and could not remember what I was so upset about.  Fatigue has a way of making me mad!

Having said that, don’t ever go to bed mad two nights in a row!

2 ~ Have marriage short-term memory. The bible says that love keeps no record of wrongs. That is a wonderful truth to put into practice.

One time, my sweetheart and I got into a big enough argument that he got out of the car and started walking down the highway ~ with his briefcase!  To this day, neither one of us can remember what the fight was about!  Imagine that!  A fight big enough to cause such a drastic measure and we cannot remember what it was about.  Thank goodness for marriage dementia! 

(Though neither my husband nor I can remember the reason for the fight, I have a girlfriend that can. ~ And I have made her promise to never tell us!) J

Do not let little things become big things.  Do not hold grudges. Do not stew on things. Do not let things fester.

Develop short-term memory in your marriage.

3 ~ Be friends.  In most marriages, couples struggle at times to “feel the love” for one another. Life’s pressures and stresses have a way of bumping that loving feeling out of our day-to-day relationship. 

If my husband and I are honest, there have been times throughout the past twenty-six years that we have not felt the “newly married love” where we longed to stare into each other's eyes over dinner.  More often then not, we are wolfing down our meal in order to get to the next event or deal with the next crisis. 

But we have always been friends!  We enjoy each other’s company.  We like working in the yard together, cooking together, doing projects around the house together and, even, running errands together. 

We enjoy most of the same things but if we have different interests or hobbies, we try to share them as much as possible.  I'm not going to be as into football as he is and he's not going to crochet but we respect each other's choices.  We have had many years of going to football games together and, on the rare occasion of a cold game in Texas, we have stayed warm under the blanket I crocheted.  

We love to talk to each other about deep – and shallow – things. We love just being together. We are best friends.

If your spouse is not your best friend, change that!

4 ~ Be committed.  That’s all.  Just…be committed!

Recently, I saw a great quote that said:

“The couples that are “meant to be”
are the ones who go through everything
that is meant to tear them apart
and come out even stronger
than they were before.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!
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