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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Forgiveness

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Humans have an innate need to feel good about ourselves. We want desperately to believe that other people make mistakes; other people need to change, but not us.

The Gospel is a wonderful, freeing thing. But is there such a thing as too much Gospel? I explore that in The Law We Don’t Like Hearing from the Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife blog.

Infestation

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My first clue was the bites around my ankles. Nor could I deny that our dogs seemed to be scratching an awful lot. I set out traps and caught nothing, which put my mind slightly at ease. But when I walked across the carpet in my girls’ bedrooms one day, I looked at my socks and saw about five little black specks. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were exactly what I was afraid they were. Fleas. 

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Replacement Tools

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It was not a good start to the week. My baby had been fussy all weekend long, waking multiple times during the night, which is unusual for him. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, and his crankiness during the day was not fun to deal with under such circumstances. Then on Sunday evening, my fifth grader started complaining that his ear hurt. That night was his turn to be up multiple times, crying because of pain in his ear. Come Monday morning, I loaded them up and hauled them off to the doctor, to find that both had rip-roaring ear infections, and that my ten-year-old’s eardrum had actually burst. My four-year-old had fluid in her ears but it wasn’t infected, but that evening she started complaining that she had “crumbs” in her ear. Off to the doctor we went again the next morning. No, she didn’t have an ear infection. She had strep. Lovely. With three sick kids, a house full of germs, and myself going on zombie hormones to begin with, it was shaping up to be a pretty awful week.

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Leaves of Three

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For as terrible as it got, it had a rather innocuous start. Two days after contact, I noticed two small bumps on my arm and wondered about them. Over the course of the next few days, more bumps appeared. Then more. Then there were some on my sides. My arms and both sides of my abdomen were covered with blistering sores, and during the dog days of summer I was relegated to wearing long sleeves to cover the gauze that hid the ugly red sores and scabs that lasted the better part of a month. What caused all this discomfort and pain? Poison ivy.

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Measuring Up

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I was almost done unloading my shopping cart when another lady pushed her cart in behind me. I glanced at her apologetically, saying, “You’ll be here a while.”

“I’m in no rush,” she assured me.

I smiled and continued unloading. Half of my groceries were already bagged and loaded into another cart, the entire conveyor belt was full of more groceries, and there were still some left in my original cart. The lady behind me observed all this, and tried to make small talk.

“Big trip today, huh?”

“We have five kids,” I explained. “And I try to do a shopping trip for two weeks at a time so I don’t have to come as often that way.”

Her eyes widened. She took in my three-year old and 15-month old sitting side by side in the double cart, uncharacteristically docile as they looked at her. She hadn’t been privy to their meltdown on aisle 8.

“Do you plan out your meals two weeks in advance, too?” she inquired.

I nodded in affirmation, and her eyes got even wider. With awe in her voice, she said, “You’re so organized!”

I sure had her fooled.

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To Sue for Pardon

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I love Lenten hymns.  Of all the church seasons, something strikes me about the penitential season of Lent.  The hymns are poignant and the melodies are often beautiful.  But sometimes it’s easy to sing through the words without really thinking about the meaning.  So with Holy Week upon us, let’s take a look at one such example.

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Keeping House

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Just once I’d like to prove myself wrong.  I have this theory that housecleaning is always a humbling and usually disgusting experience.  And I have yet to disprove that by my own experiences.  With five children and two dogs, my house certainly won’t pass any white glove inspections.  I steam-mopped the house this weekend, and even though I had done so the previous week, I went through multiple mop pads in the process this time, and every one of them was black afterwards.  The stuff I swept up beforehand was nothing to sneeze at, either.  And my baby crawls on this every day?  Disgusting!  I could clean my bathrooms three times a day and they’d still have toothpaste on the counters and who-knows-what on the floor.  No matter how I try to keep a counter clear of clutter, it seems like I turn around and there’s a mound of stuff.  Sigh.  Just once, can’t I prove myself wrong?

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The Double-Sided Nature of Guilt

The other day I had a panic attack.  It suddenly hit me that I was totally screwing up this whole parenting thing.  I wasn’t spending enough quality time with my kids, I wasn’t disciplining well enough, I didn’t hug them enough, I wasn’t teaching them enough responsibility with chores, I wasn’t keeping on top of what they were learning in school…  In short, I was generally failing at pretty much every aspect of my motherly duties, and I was pretty sure my kids would be completely messed up for life.  Bad parent?  Guilty as charged.

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Inconceivable 

How would you feel if you knew you would meet a Nazi in heaven?  Taken aback?  Horrified?  Resentful?  After all, some of these guys committed unthinkable crimes and implemented programs that caused the murder of millions of human beings.  Almost everyone you ask would probably come to the same conclusion- if anyone deserves hell, they certainly do.  And yet, like it or not, you will meet a few Nazis in heaven.  Inconceivable?  Absolutely.

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