Monday, January 28, 2008

Stop! In the name of the law!

Long ago, when I was about 10 years old, I remember lying awake one night, unable to sleep because I was worried. I wondered if a 10 year old could be put in jail for removing the tag on her new pillow. You know... the tag that said, “DO NOT REMOVE UNDER PENALTY OF LAW”! In a moment of weakness, because I was annoyed at the unsightly protrusion, I cut it off. I read the ominous label, but thought... "who would know"?? It didn't occur to me until afterward, that I could have just adjusted the pillow case and tucked it away in the other end (but it still would've made that crinkly sound!!).

Since then, as a means of repentance, I never cut those goofy tags off pillows, comforters, sofa cushions, etc. Until this weekend. We got some new bedding and EVERYTHING, even pillow shams and sheets, has these unsightly tags sticking out of the seams. Except now... the tag says, "UNDER PENALTY OF LAW -- THIS TAG NOT TO BE REMOVED EXCEPT BY THE CONSUMER." So, I did a little research, and found that it was always OK for the consumer to cut off the labels; it was assumed that the consumer would know this. Turns out I didn't break the law after all. Whew!

Laws requiring these tags were passed to let consumers know whether the stuffed article they bought contained new or recycled materials. This is important because recycled stuffing material can be contaminated.

Way back when... clever men devised crude mattresses by sewing animal skins together, stuffing them with straw, and placing them in a wooden frame, cross-strung with rope. Because the ropes would eventually sag, they needed to periodically be re-tightened. Thus, the saying, "Sleep tight". In the early 1900's, laws were instituted to regulate 'stuffing', because it was a common problem for even new mattress to be vermin-infested, with bugs, bacteria and mildew. Thus, the rest of the saying, "...and don't let the bed-bugs bite!"

So, this was the reason for the goofy tags... and to protect the consumer, it was a law that all stuffed items had to have a declaration of what was inside. The ominous wording was to ensure the manufacturers complied. And, sometime between the time I was 10, and now, they changed the wording to clarify that the consumer may remove them. I went through the house yesterday and cut off those labels everywhere I found them, and I felt, ... redeemed.

Laws are usually made to protect us, from each other and from ourselves. While the law and governmental warnings may restrict us at times, in the proper perspective, they are for our good. A friend of mine recently sent me this photo which explains the reason for the U.S. Governmental Health Warning: DO NOT SWALLOW CHEWING GUM.

'Nuf said!

(Thanks, Jacque!)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ode to a Stud

If we'd had a son, I'll bet he would've looked a lot like this... This is Bruce as he looked 50 years ago today (1st grade photo). Happy Birthday, Bruce!

When Bruce was in college, he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. They were a lively bunch of guys! Bruce and his closest friends always sat together at meals, and they dubbed their table in the dining room, "The Stud Table".

I am, by nature, a conservative person. I like to 'blend in', and usually, I don't intentionally draw attention to myself. Not so these guys!! They were a fun group of friends who often got attention, which often was intentional. I was intrigued when I met Bruce, and found that being around him made me want to kick-up my heels.

Bruce was 25 when we got married, so I've been his wife for more than half of our lives!! He has calmed down a bit since those days at the Stud Table, and he has come to live as a man dedicated to Jesus Christ, and purposefully pursuing the furtherance of His Kingdom.

The initial 'intrigue' has grown to an abiding love and respect for Bruce. He has brought out the best in me, has been a magnificent husband and an exemplary father.

This is my ode to Bruce.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I now pronounce you...

OK... so, I'm STILL talking about this wedding ;-D
Bear with me...

One of the fun things about this wedding story, is Leah's new name. It is somewhat of an... alliteration! Leah Leach. It's like, Leah Leah, with a "c" slipped in there. One of her friends commented at the reception that her new name sounds kind of like a comic book hero! Leah would like that.

When our kids were born, we spent a lot of time and prayer 'giving' them their names. In fact, they were all "Baby Girl Edwards" for several days in the hospital nursery. And tho' we've since come up with many affectionate 'nicknames' for each of them, their given names are meaningful. Our 'surname' linked them to our family. Now two of our girls have new surnames which link them (and us) to new families!!

Author, Margaret Feinberg (The Organic God) tells of a time she took a class taught by the famed poet, Maya Angelou. Rather than delving right away into African-American literature, Ms. Angelou spent several classes having students learn each others' names. She even gave them a test in which the students were called upon to name each other. Her reason was "because your name is a sign of your dignity."

Often in scripture, we're told that people called upon "the Name of the Lord", and Jesus told us to pray in His Name. God reveals Himself to us by many names so that we can understand His character. We read in the Bible of several times that God changed someone's name to reflect how He saw them, and to challenge them to become what He intended them to be.

I know that I know that God has given our daughter a new name. I know that it is a name that is a sign of dignity, and delight. I know that she will embrace the challenge to honor her name and to become all that He has intended her to be as Brad's wife.

Here's a picture of that moment in time...
"May I now introduce...
Mr. and Mrs. Brad Leach!"
Isaiah 43:1 "...I have called you by name; you are Mine!"
There are some additional pictures and reflections posted on Kim's blog.
Check them out!! (Thanks, Kim!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Prepositional Phrases

I spent some time a few years ago teaching 8th grade English. We spent a lot of time on grammar, which seemed somewhat 'dumb' to the students, but which was essential to learning how to communicate their thoughts in writing. One of my favorite units was on prepositional phrases. We did a few exercises in which the students had to go through sentences, and pull out all of the prepostional phrases, and then realize how important they were to the meaning of what was being communicated. The prepositons clarified the relationship of ideas within the sentence by 'pre-positioning them'; changing, re-positioning, or omitting them changed the meaning . Such little words as 'in' or 'on', and 'by' or 'for', when switched around, were powerful catalysts to communication.

A few weeks ago, our pastor, Jeff Leake, gave a sermon message about pre-positioning ourselves to be in line with God's plan for our lives. In the Saturday evening service, he recapped the 'story' of how our daughter, Leah, and her husband, Brad, purposefully pre-positioned themselves to learn God's Ways, to listen to His Voice, and to trust His Direction, even when it didn't make sense, or wasn't easy. Over the years, I watched Leah take God at His word, not changing it around to suit her own meaning, but waiting and trusting that His plan for her was best, even in times of fear, discouragement and disappointment.

That's one of the reasons why their wedding a few days ago was significant. It was a living representation of Matthew 6:33... seek God's ways first, and He'll take care of the rest. The whole story really does sound like a good romantic comedy/chic flick, but the best part about it is ... it's true.

A good friend, Mary Beth, has a blog posting with a great photo from the wedding, and some of her personal thoughts. Here is a photo of Leah and her bridesmaids. Samantha was Maid of Honor, Ashley was Matron of Honor, and the others were Betsy (sister of Brad), and Megan and Jen (very special friends of Leah)... look at all of those prepositions!!

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

*Click here to listen to Pastor Jeff Leake's message

Monday, January 21, 2008

Party Time

This past Saturday I attended a party. I refer to it, most sincerely, as "God's Party".

It was a the wedding of our oldest daughter, Leah, and the man of her dreams, Brad Leach.

By referring to the wedding as "God's Party", I don't mean to sound pompous or self-righteous. My intention is to declare God's goodness, and faithfulness to His promises. Months ago, when I first started praying about wedding details, I believe that God spoke to my heart and said,... "I made the match, I'll throw the party!" From that point on, we watched as amazing plans came together, and so much favor was poured out by such kind and generous individuals to bring it all to pass. I know that God will bless all those people for taking part in His party. Tho' I, too, was very much involved in executing details, I often felt as if I was watching God at work, and joining Him. So, by the time the event arrived, I was able to thoroughly enjoy it and be personally blessed .

I don't have any photos right now, but will be posting them periodically in future blog entries as I get them. Many friends and family members were able to join us in this celebration of answered prayer and new beginnings, and the atmosphere was charged with joy!

Leah and Brad wrote their own vows, and drew us into their special commitment to one another. Pastors Jeff Leake and Jay Passavant gave profound wisdom, with just the perfect touch of humor and humanity. And, our other two daughters, Ashley and Samantha, blew me away with their musical rendition of "In Christ Alone".

When our first child, Leah, was born, our "normal" became different, but good! Now, once again, normal will be come different, but it is good.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 1, 2008

And so another year begins! I was just getting used to writing 2007 on my checks ;)

Many traditions and resolutions are associated with the beginning of the new year. Some people bang pots & pans or shoot off guns at the turn of the year to ward off evil spirits. Some people have special menus for their holiday meals... When I was growing up, we always had pork and sour kraut on New Year's Day. It was a tradition, but I'm not sure why.

This brings to mind an interesting fact about pork that Samantha told me recently. She had a course this past term on cultural anthropology, which she really liked. But she shared the tidbit of information that pigs weren't indiginous to the "new world" when the first Spanish explorers met the residents of Latin America. The natives were cannibals, and the new guys felt it was in their best interest to introduce an... alternate meat... for them to enjoy. So, they gave them... the other white meat. While just about everything else in the animal kingdom tastes like chicken, it turns out that in both appearance and taste, pork is most like, uh, ... people.

Who knew?

So anyway, on that note, I wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year. Hope your New Year's Day is filled with fun, football, and food!! I think we're having tuna fish for dinner tonight!