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Small Things Matter

Sharing some thoughts about a lovely morning that my husband and I experienced three years ago because I didn’t get anything new written this week.

“Sunday Morning Submission”                 Lisa Frisch                            June 22, 2014

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

Here’s what mutual submission looked like in our home and marriage this morning.  My husband and I were sitting at the breakfast table when five “beeps” from the microwave indicated that my tea was ready.  He quickly got up, retrieved my cup for me, and resumed eating his cereal.  Then, while he was in the shower, I noticed that the Sunday newspaper was in the driveway.  Knowing what an important part of his morning the paper is, I went out and got it, took off the bag and rubber band, and laid it on the kitchen table before heading upstairs to get ready for church.  While I was showering, he made our bed, a chore that is mine on weekdays.  As I entered the bedroom, I remembered that he leaves on a business trip tomorrow and asked if he needed any laundry done today.  Never mind that I was glad the answer was “no” since I don’t usually do laundry on Sundays.

Here’s why these small things, done with the other person’s comfort and happiness in mind, are so important.  Having him get my tea for me and make our bed made me feel loved and cared for.  Not having to go out for his newspaper and realizing that I would help him prepare for his trip gave him the assurance that his needs are important to me.  Neither of us demanded or even asked the other to perform these acts.  But, by doing so, we have built a foundation of loving trust that our spouse is looking out for us and wants to add to our contentment.  That becomes very important when any sort of conflict or difficult decision arises.  At that time, each of us can be sure that the other is not only concerned about his/her opinion or desire, but that there is goodwill toward the other and an intention to seek and do what is best for both of us.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
 Philippians 2:4

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My Cringe-worthy County Fair Memory

Born and raised in Ohio, my husband and I both looked forward to our respective county fairs.  One of my earliest memories from my family’s trips to the fair is picking out a souvenir as we were leaving. I managed to find an e-bay picture of one that I chose, a furry monkey attached to a stick with elastic – creepy.

Image result for 1960s carnival prize monkey

I remember riding the pony ride and the Ferris wheel  and gobbling up fair food, particularly the sweet, crispy waffles – tasty.

Image result for fair waffles

The fair in Wyandot County ( Where I Come From) is held in mid-September. I remember it being really hot on some days and pretty darn chilly on others. Whether it was hot or cold, rainy or dry, the fair was the place to be, especially for those of us in 4-H clubs.  I focused on sewing, photography, and crafts and have often appreciated learning to mend and sew. Here’s one of my sewing projects from the 70s – bright.

I remember helping my 4-H advisor decorate our fair booth. My right hand blistered and ached from cutting out corrugated cardboard four-leaf clovers – painful.

Image result for cardboard 4-H clover

Four leaves for Head, Hands, Heart, and Health.

I remember going to the fair with my girlfriends and walking around with the hope of seeing certain boys.  It was usually pretty fun. But one night I got myself into quite a predicament – cringe-worthy.

In thinking about what happened that night, two song lyrics come to mind – “I am fifteen going on sixteen.” and “Why must I be a teenager in love?”

It was county fair time during September of my junior year of high school. I was still desperately wanting to reunite with the guy I had dated in the spring. He was moving on. I needed to get his attention.

I happened to be at the fair on the evening when 4-H lambs were being judged, and was hanging out with a girlfriend who had lambs. We were in the sheep barn talking about personal stuff before her time to show her lambs for judging. Realizing that a certain guy might also be in the vicinity, a plan was hatched. I have a hard time thinking that it was my idea, so it must have been hers.

As I mentioned, I took sewing 4-H projects, never animals. My only experience with sheep had been adoring the tiny bottle-fed lambs at my grandma’s house and occasionally touching a sheep at a petting zoo. Still, my fifteen-year-old mind, prompted by my broken teenage heart, agreed to TAKE ONE OF HER LAMBS INTO THE ARENA FOR JUDGING. She made it sound easy. It was not.

I guess I assumed that the sheep would know what to do. It either did not, or it somehow realized that I was not its shepherd.  When a 95 lb. girl tries to control an 80 lb. lamb in front of judges and an audience that possibly contains a certain guy, she finds herself wanting to disappear. Hope arose when I spotted another guy from my church youth group helping with the judging. I can’t even imagine what he thought when I begged him to help me. There wasn’t much he could do. I either managed to stay on my feet and fake some semblance of doing what the judge asked or have blocked out an incident of being dragged around by a lamb. I don’t remember how we got out of the ring. I also did not see the faces of anyone in the stands.

Later, when I asked my friend what her project score was, she told me that she expected that pen of lambs to get a B anyway. She’s a good friend. No one else ever mentioned the incident to me.

So why would I tell  you about it? It just seemed good to keep my post light this week. There are still a lot of serious thoughts rolling around in my head, thoughts that may be collected and shared soon. But for now, you can laugh a little and know that while at that time I felt certain that the two of should be reunited, God had a wonderful plan for me to meet and marry my husband.

And there’s another song lyric. “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.” He’s a much better shepherd than I am.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Faith Like a Fisherman?

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to watch my brother cast his fishing line into a Wisconsin lake. Standing on our uncle’s boat dock, he baited the hook and sent it flying through the air into the water. At a measured distance from the hook, a red and white bobber was tied to the fishing line. When the bobber hit the water, it refused to sink, keeping the hook at a predetermined depth and alerting my brother when a fish was biting.  Each time that bobber flipped over, the fisherman would work to set the hook in the fish’s mouth and then reel it in.

As I watched, he pulled in a number of fish which were sorted by size to be put in his basket or tossed back to the lake. Interestingly, I have on my mind today what happened when the fish did not bite and the bobber did not flip.

This morning I was considering some familiar words from Jesus Christ’s disciple, Peter, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) In Psalm 55:22, David expressed it this way, “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” When I think of the word “cast”, fishing is the first activity that comes to mind. However, according to Joyce Meyer, author of Battlefield of the Mind, “The word ‘cast’ actually means to pitch or throw.” As I watched my brother fish, he would cast his hook into the water. If no fish tugged on the line causing the bobber to flip, he would reel the hook back in, check to see if the bait was intact, and then cast it out again. While it would appear to the fish that a worm was swimming through the water unattached, the line was keeping the control of the hook soundly in the fisherman’s grip.

Are we to cast our cares, worries, anxieties, and concerns to our Lord while keeping them tied to a line that we can reel back to our own hands and minds? Not if we trust Him to handle them and want to be free of anxiety.

What if we pitched each care to God at 100 mph like the best major league baseball pitchers throw the ball to the catcher? Joyce Meyer continues, “You and I can pitch or throw our problems to God and believe me, He can catch them. He knows what to do with them.”

Our next move would be to wait. We would not reel the problem back in, work on the knot or the bait, and send it out again. The next move would be from God’s hand, not ours.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

 

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Why I Bought These 3 Books (when I still had 3 to read)

I am not a voracious reader. Reading doesn’t seem productive enough. Fiction isn’t my thing and nonfiction takes effort. There are books that I think I should read or even want to read that I don’t read. When I have “spare” time, I’d rather pick up my crochet hook. Unless you find them at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet or Half Price Books, books are expensive.

Nevertheless, I’ve just purchased three new full-priced books. And for good reasons.

  1. An Author I Love.  When Emerson Eggerichs, PHD, publishes a new book, I add it to my library. Dr. Eggerichs is a pastor and master of communication whose Love & Respect message  has impacted my marriage, my faith, and the lives of others with whom I have shared it. His new book, Before You Hit Send, is not just for social media users, but for each of us to learn “how to prevent misunderstandings and, when verbal or written blunders are made, allow for understanding.” Who couldn’t use a little help in avoiding communication disasters that bring headache and heartache?
  2. A Desire for Greater Understanding.   As I wrote last week, I’ve decided not to bury my head in the sand and go on believing that the problems people have are usually of their own making. There are serious issues that need to be addressed in America. One of those is racism. After I determined to do some listening and reading , as well as  praying and pondering with regard to racial tension, a podcast episode from Phil Vischer, Skye Jethani, and Christian Taylor highlighted historical reasons for today’s sensitivity. During the discussion, Jethani again recommended Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, and this time I headed to our bookstore and bought a copy. Now to take the time to read it and possibly finish a blog post that I keep starting about racism.
  3. A New Favorite Psychologist?  The first words of my first blog post were “In the winter of 1990, a man who I was paying to help me through some depression…” I was in my late twenties and the counselor I was visiting suggested that I might enjoy reading some books about psychology. (I had called him out for trying to trick me into labeling my fears “irrational.”) Twenty-five years later, I found a psychologist on the internet who calls himself Iron Shrink and writes books about relationships and the human mind. I ordered a couple books, but while I agreed with some of his analysis and advice, I didn’t feel confident that he sees God as the creator of our bodies, souls, and spirits.  Then, last month, one of my Facebook friends shared an article about the effect that screens (TV, computer, phone) can have on young children. I clicked on the link and read the article. I noticed that I was now on a website called Mad in America. Interesting. So I poked around a bit on the site and scrolled through the list of writers, thinking that Emerson Eggerichs would be a great contributor. Among the experts’ bios, James Schroeder’s caught my eye. His book entitled Wholiness: The Unified Pursuit of Health, Harmony, Happiness, and Heaven was said to “focus on the ways in which the pursuit of holiness is synonymous with the drive towards wholeness.” Dr. Schroeder practices in Indiana and is possibly my new favorite psychologist. Of the three new books, his is the one I’ve started reading. Wholiness addresses the integration of the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of our being, something that I believe would greatly help the hurting people around us. Schroeder’s advice is to read only one chapter a day, but I’m having trouble complying.Three chapters in, he says, “If anxiety is the biggest deterrent to love, then pride is the biggest deterrent to truth.” That seems worth unpacking!

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—

this is your true and proper worship. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,

but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

Romans 12:1-3

 

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