Friday, July 29, 2011

On Today's Jelly Telly Blog...

We all know that media impacts our culture--and visa versa.  How can we Christians use our voice to make sure culture is impacted by things that are written and produced using a Biblical worldview? 

Go to Jelly Telly and read my latest blog on Impacting culture through media.  I'd love to hear your ideas...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There Go Those Nutty Atheists...Again

An American atheists' organization is suing to keep a cross from being part of the exhibit at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City.
In the suit, filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court, American Atheists claims “...the inclusion of the 17-foot, cross-shaped steel beams, found in the rubble of the twin World Trade Center towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, would promote Christianity above other religions.”
What I find ridiculous is not that our Atheist friends are once again upset that God is taking center stage, but that they seem to be forgetting that this cross was not made from remnants of the World Trade Center but actually took form as the building was falling. These girders literally fused together in the shape of a cross.  
I’m sorry my unbelieving friends that these girders didn’t fuse together in the shape of whatever you hold dear.  What would that be, anyway?  The peace symbol? A Cro-Magnon man? An amoeba with legs, perhaps?  I mean, what do you guys really cling to in times of trouble?  For many of us, it’s our faith in God.  This faith happens to be symbolized in a cross.  A simple cross, which reminds us that through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, we have been given the gift of eternal life. 
There’s more than just this life. And that, my Atheist friends, is what makes waking up every morning feasible for many of the families who lost so much on September 11, 2001. It is because of their faith in something far greater than themselves...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Revisiting a Page from the Past...

Today is Sunday, and our day of worship and rest.  We're all having a lazy afternoon, and doing stuff that helps us relax in order to get ready for the coming week.  For some crazy reason I decided to re-read my old blog, "Strnad Family Digest", where I documented Dave's illness and recovery process.  It was sort of scary revisiting these moments.  I caught myself holding my breath many times during the reading, and tearing up at certain memories.  Gut-punched and then reminded that we, unlike so many others who struggle with life-threatening diseases, were allowed to have a happy ending!

I was reminded how ill Dave got, and I was also reminded that it was at some point during this time that we came to realize that we needed to completely depend on God. You know that moment where you simply stop in mid-step and realize you can't take another breath without His help?! I remember that day!

Thank you Lord for the struggles you place in our lives to help remind us that YOU are the one we must run to for strength, safety and refuge!  Thank you for answered prayers... and for second chances!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Setting Boundaries to Protect Our Hearts

Over the course of the last several years, I've come to realize that I've been involved in some pretty unhealthy relationships.  Finally accepting that I had self worth in Christ was the first step that allowed me to understand that I needed to step back and evaluate these relationships.  But, like many Christians, I felt guilty about creating boundaries in order to protect my heart.  Would Jesus do that?  I struggled with the idea that I needed a safe distance from some people, but I also needed to figure a way around having to still associate with them.  

It was at some point along the way I came to the conclusion that I just needed to take care of myself and be an example to my kids that I mattered; the way I was treated mattered.  Unacceptable behavior, unkind actions or destructive words about me from others were not welcomed or tolerated.  It is through these difficult lessons that I hope my kids will recognize, much earlier than I did, that their hearts are worth protecting. And yes, that IS Biblical.

The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves.  We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us.  A first step is starting to know that we have a right to protect and defend ourselves.  That we have not only the right, but the duty to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us.

The Bible teaches two sides of love. One side of love accepts and forgives people just as they are. The other acknowledges truth and requires righteous behavior.

God cares enough about us and His relationship with us that He will not allow destructive behavior to hurt us or to destroy the relationship. His righteous nature has requirements for behavior in relationships.  Loving kindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). God wants us to be like Him. He wants us to have boundless love for one another. But at the same time, He wants us to require righteous behavior from one another in our relationships.

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23)
According to Dr. Henry Townsend, co-author of Boundaries, "We are to take constant, diligent ownership and stewardship over our souls, and be careful what is going on there."
Dr. Townsend goes on to further discuss the principals of setting boundaries:
"In the Bible, many principles of boundaries are given to help us develop righteous character. Here are some of the more prevalent ones:
  • Limits-The requirement to live within one’s own limits, and to enforce limits and consequences with others.
  • Truth-The ability to speak the truth and be honest clears up a lot of boundary problems.
  • Respect-Not only must we enforce and live out our own boundaries, we must learn to respect others’ boundaries and freedom.
  • Sowing and reaping-Our choices and behaviors have consequences and reality outcomes, and we must enforce these and allow them to discipline others.
  • Activity-Boundaries are an active way of living. To be someone with good boundaries, the passive position in life and relationship must be surrendered."

Setting boundaries allows our healthy relationships to continue to grow in love and Godly righteousness!  They allow us to experience joy as we work for His Kingdom--together!  

Sadly, I had to realize that there are some relationships that are just so toxic that no set of boundaries will protect me.  It became clear that I needed to walk away from these relationships, continue to pray for God's grace and healing and just move forward.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bring Your Hurting Hearts to the Cross

There's a scene in the movie, Forrest Gump, where five year old Jenny is outside playing.  She stops and prays, "Dear God, turn me into a bird so I can fly far, far away..."  We learn that Jenny's daddy is sexually abusing her and even though he gets arrested and she's finally away from her physical abuser, her pain doesn't end there.

Years later, as an adult, she is visiting Forrest.  Taking a walk together they come across the old shack where she grew up and where her abuse had taken place.  Without uttering a single word she begins to pick up rocks and throw them at that shack!  She then takes off her shoes and throws them, too.

It's at this that Forrest responds, "Jenny, sometimes there just aren't enough rocks."

Left undealt with, the old pain in our hearts turns into a scar, but is never truly healed.  Maybe we've buried it so deeply we think it's gone.  But it really isn't.   Jenny buried her pain, but never really dealt with it.

Do you have a pain buried deeply wthin your heart that you're scared to look at again?  Have you forgiven the person(s) who caused you this pain?  Forgiveness is part of the walk of faith we take as Christians. The good news is that we aren't alone.

Jesus invites us to walk with him in this life, and that walk of faith is sometimes very much like the walk He took heading down the Via Delarosa and up the hill at Calvary.  Our walk in life is full of many hurts, regret, pain, anger and even shame.  We can feel alone and abandoned at moments, just as I'm sure our Lord must have felt. We stumble and fall. We want to give up because that road is sometimes so difficult.  But not only is Jesus with us every step of the way, It is HE who welcomes us to the foot of the cross.  He offers us mercy, love, acceptance, and complete healing.  He is standing there with arms wide open.

If you've been dealing with a lifetime of pain, it's time to let it go and bring it all to the cross.  Let Jesus make you whole, and love you completely. Only Jesus can heal us from every pain! Bring him your heart...
Because in this lifetime, friends, there just aren't enough rocks...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


There are days since our move that I miss California so much.  I miss the familiarity of my home state, the places I grew up around, the fact that we could hop in the car and go to the beach first thing in the morning, then drive up to the mountains for lunch, and then end our day looking at the stars while sitting on the desert.  It's always going to be "home", I guess.  But then comes a gentle (or, ok...sometimes a not so gentle) reminder(s) of the many reasons we moved.  

As I sit here this morning, I watch my 13 year old sipping a cup of mostly milk and sugar with a little coffee added for flavor--as he reads The Hobbit.  He is up and ready for a class that he had signed up for at his new school...and he's not complaining.  He's not even remotely upset that he's up so early on this balmy summer morning, because he really likes it there!  He likes the people there, and he finally feels at home. He's looking forward to going away to camp with his new friends and starting this adventure of a new school, new classes, new teachers and new church!  

We may not be familiar with Franklin, yet.  We're still busy learning how the streets connect, and finding out where the closest book stores, skate shops and ice cream parlors are located.  But even in this lack of familiarity, there is a comfort that can only be described as being "home".  

I'm thankful we listened to God's direction and moved so very far outside of our comfort zone!  I'm so happy that He has blessed each one of us in a way that makes us feel this move was for us--individually.  But it wasn't.  It's just that only God can bless four different people, with different needs, at the exact same time within one move!  

**Thankful** is the word of the day.  

Monday, July 18, 2011


Dear Readers,

I don't take threats made on this page lightly.  As the mother of two children I just don't feel that it would be the responsible thing to do.  Please know that no one is truly anonymous via the internet...and if I feel a threat has been made to me or to any of my readers on the comments section, I will go to Google and request action be taken against you, and if need be I will bring in law enforcement.  




Sunday, July 17, 2011

Another Marriage Ends...

So after seven years of marriage, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have decided to end their marriage.  Irreconcilable differences, no doubt.  Maybe the Hollywood sect hasn't heard that marriage is tough.  It takes work, devotion, and commitment.  Why is it so easy for people to end a marriage?  Should it be easier to get out of a marriage than it is a car lease?  Surely not!

My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years.  While I'd love to tell you it's been easy, that would be a lie.  Marriage is hard work.  Then you throw kids into the mix, and things get even trickier.  But if we had gone into this marriage covenant with the belief that if things get too difficult, we could always just walk away-- then I suppose we might have opted-out many times before now.  But, we both knew that this was a life commitment, and because of that, we decided to work through some hard times rather than packing our bags and calling it quits.

Before we got married, my then-boyfriend and I discussed the two "unforgivable sins".  These are not necessarily Biblical, but for us these were the two issues that we might have had trouble working through and healing from.  They were:  Infidelity, and physical abuse (of each other or our children).  We decided we could work through anything else, and unless we were faced with the Big Two, we never had a reason to use the "D" word.  This included money issues and family on one side who (believe it or not) actually desired to break us up.  We weathered some big storms, and because of that we are no longer shiny and new like in the dating years, but stronger and much more resilient.

I'm grateful that I married my husband almost 20 years ago.  He still has the one set of arms in which I feel the absolute safest.  He loves me in a way that I know is real and complete.  Yes, we drive each other crazy at times.  Yes, like most couples, we argue over somewhat silly stuff.  (Yes, he does realize I'm mostly right--which alone makes him a keeper!) But seriously... we have decided to remain together.  In good times and in bad.  In sickness and in health.  We've had all four of those during the last 20 years!!

While I didn't say the words, "OBEY" in my vows, I DO love him more today than I did all those years ago standing in front of our friends and family vowing to love him 'til death do us part.  Hmmm...wait. "Deeper" might be the more accurate word.  Yes, over the years we've just learned to love more deeply.  In spite of our weaknesses, faults, and excessive baggage we still choose each other.  Most days.  (Hey, I had to add a little humor to the end...)