Redeeming Death and Darkness

In our stores this month, death has been for sale. Have you seen it? People actually pay their hard earned cash, people actually spend REAL money… on death. I don’t get it. Here’s what I know about death – it stinks, it rots, it decomposes and it’s ugly. So why do we pay to display and dress up in it? At Goodwill recently, I ran across a statue of a vampire holding a head. The lovely piece of “Art” was on sale for $79. Yes, you read this correctly. It was once sold somewhere else, then donated, then re-sold at Goodwill, where everything is supposed to be ‘cheaper’ for $79.

We buy death. We decorate with death. We display death around our homes and neighborhoods. Halloween has become an opportunity for companies to make money off of selling items, which if portrayed in real life, people would be arrested for. One would be incarcerated if found dressed up and holding someones cut-off head. It is disgusting.

The United States of America is a very interesting place. In many other countries Halloween is not celebrated. We have friends who live in Austria where Halloween has only gained popularity in recent years. We are confusing our neighbors across the pond with our obsession with darkness, death, fear, scary costumes, gore, horror, and the list could go on and on. We spread it around our lawns and like this house I often go running by, we hang it from our treeeeeeeeeesssssssss.

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Yes, visiting our neighbors houses is fun. Collecting candy is fun. Decorating is fun. Costumes are fun. Games are fun. But glorifying darkness, death and fear? Not fun. And this goes beyond Halloween… What are we portraying day to day with our time, energy, actions and money? Life or death?

“Oh death, where is your sting? Oh death, where is your victory?” Jesus conquered death. We have no reason to fear. If we are Christ followers, we no longer live in darkness, we live as Children of the Light. We are called to walk as sons and daughters of God, as children of the Light. The same power that raised CHRIST from the dead LIVES within US!

Friends, this is our time to shine. Shine with the light of Christ. In a season where death is glorified and darkness overtakes our neighborhoods, we have an opportunity to shine as fierce as the sun! In the past our family has hibernated and hidden away from Halloween, and we’ve missed opportunities to talk with our neighbors. I’m not proud of this. A few years ago, we spent Halloween being a “fun house” on the block, and hosted a carnival style party where games, candy and fun spilled out of our house and driveway and onto our neighbors. At our house tonight, we are planning to shower our neighbors with friendship thru games, candy and fun as we shine the light of Christ thru our actions.

Perhaps nothing will change from this simple blog and these humble ideas. But perhaps… perhaps some of you will decide to do something different next year. My one suggestion would be – trash it. Don’t pack it up and donate it to Goodwill to be re-sold. Perhaps there will be a new generation of Halloween participants who will share light instead of darkness, fun instead of fear, and shower this world with the Light of Christ proclaiming LIFE over DEATH!

Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey! In Him, LRB

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I {Heart} Sleep….. but now I have a “REAL JOB”.

A few months ago, this fabulous article was posted.

I need one of these desks.

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This year I began working outside the home and church again. I’m teaching Elementary Art and working as a Teachers Aide. I now have a “real” job… Besides being a Mom and a Worship Leader and Pastor…..

My school job is taking up a lot of time. I’m exhausted when we come home. After helping the kids with their homework, talking thru their days, cooking dinner and clean up, all I want to do is sleep. And I need rest. Or I’m cranky. When I am awake past 8pm, I long to use this time to be creative, but instead we are in a season of house hunting. This is practically another part-time job in itself. And it steals away from any extra moments we might have for creativity… We were created by a creative God. Created from the breath of God. We were designed to be creative. And we were designed for rest. We need time for both. I’m reminding myself. We need time for both. It is essential to make space for both.

In this season of house hunting, new school year and new job responsibilities, creating has taken a back seat most days to sleep. Because we’re so tired. I love sleep, so this isn’t a huge problem… except that it is a huge problem. I can rarely stay up late anymore! It’s like a part of me has died. The creative part of me… which comes alive at 2am. With this piece of me so dormant now, I have grown frustrated. Occasionally, I take a nap from 8pm-12am and then stay up until 3am creating. I come alive again. This is probably sounding super dramatic. But I am a dramatic person. I was created this way. If I am not creating, I am empty. When a creative person does not have moments to create, they might as well be sleeping all day long…

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*The following was one of my first posts after I began this blog nearly 4 years ago. Enjoy!

I can fall asleep anywhere, in nearly any position, and under almost any condition.
I can drink espresso in the evening, and fall asleep with in minutes of the last gulp.
I can fall asleep in the middle of a conversation.
I can fall asleep while reading out loud to my children.
I have fallen asleep in school.
I have fallen asleep on the job.
Against a wall. At my desk. In the car. On a subway.
Almost Anywhere.
At times, I would watch our cat sleep and long for that ability to curl up at anytime, anywhere and nap.

You get the picture.
I need a lot of sleep, or I’m cranky.
It has been nearly 8 years since I’ve “slept in”. I am a mom.
I have responsibilities. I can’t sleep whenever I want to.
But I used to.
When I was in college, I was employed at the University in the HR department doing grunt work – filing, stuffing envelopes, data entry, etc…
This was not a glamorous job, but it paid the bills.
I would faithfully do my job, but still had idle time to fill.
I worked in a small dark room, with no windows, one table, one chair, minimal supplies and a phone.
So, I wrote letters to my best friend (then fiancé) Adam, and slept.
Yep, a few times I curled up under the table and slept.
Occasionally, my supervisor would come in to the room to hand me more tasks, check on my progress, or my finished work.
Though I only napped a few times while working,
Adam asked me if I ever worried about my supervisor walking in on me sleeping?
For some reason I never did.
But then again, it’s possible she saw me sleeping and never said anything.
I probably looked too peaceful to wake.
I inherited this gift of “falling asleep anywhere, anytime, anyplace” from my parents & have passed it onto my daughter, Soleil.

I also inherited a good work ethic from my parents.
Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I can fall asleep on the job. I can take naps.
Sometimes we all have a chance to nap – even Adam.

Even though I nap, I am still a hard working mom. Naps do not affect my work ethic. If I am up late procrastinating, or woken up in the night by one of the wee Bab’s, I hope the next day for a nap.
I {heart} napping.

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Feel free to share and join us by following halfwrittenrecords! In Him, Leslie

Pursuing Love

We’ve been given nineteen years of love days together. This Valentines day was our best. one. yet. We had a wonderful date of adoration and conversation… No, this date was not filled with fancy clothes, flowers, jewelry or a lavish dinner… none of those things, really. We did not give each other gifts… we gave each other ourselves. We knew ahead of time we would not exchange gifts, we rarely do. Our expectations of each other were met, not by wants of material things we do not need, but the ease of an evening simply being together.

Our kids were well taken care of, unbound by any time frame, thankful money was no worry. We set out for a hole-in-the-wall middle eastern restaurant… Adam had a coupon for, of course. I love my thrifty man 😉 We prefer our own home cooked food to most restaurants, and enjoy cooking together, so we typically have low expectations of food when we eat out… yet we always hold high expectations of the coffee shops we frequent. We’re weirdos, I know.

We meandered our way thru downtown Portland, enjoying moments, even those we spent in traffic. Parking spot scored, with coupon in hand, we strolled on over to the restaurant. The owners greeted us and we settled in at our table. Their place is tiny, with only 5 tables, bustling with local customers coming and going. After we ordered, we observed everyone in the space was speaking Arabic, and greeting the husband and wife owners as if they were their own parents. Even though we were the only Caucasians in the restaurant, and I was the only female, besides the owners wife, we felt at home.

As we waited on our food, we were both in awe of what God was orchestrating. We were in the middle of another country, in the middle of Portland, Oregon, we were on our mission field. After we finished our food, the owner asked us how everything was. We told him the truth – they were the best gyros we’ve ever had. He began sharing about the restaurant and how he has been running the business. As we talked more, he came and sat down with us and we talked more. He was hilarious, sharing stories of how he took over the restaurant a few years ago, and made many changes, including not accepting coupons anymore – darn! 😉 But we didn’t care about the coupon, we only cared about the fact that our Valentines date was now being spent with an old Arabic man sharing his life story…

As we continued the conversation, we asked him, “How can we pray for you? How can we pray for your business?” He opened up, and we began to share with him our walk with Jesus. Adam told him he was a Pastor. Their response – “A priest? You’re too young to be a priest!” He hears that a lot from people, and he’s been serving in ministry for 20 years. He shared his own convictions and how he sees his relationship God… how he honors Jesus, Moses and Allah. I asked him more about Jesus… “How do you see Jesus?” He did not see him as equal to God or as Lord, but a prophet. We agreed to disagree, and after talking more, Adam shared with him John 14:6 and Jesus’ claim to be the only way to the Father. We talked with him for an hour, He kept saying, “I love talking to you about religion. It makes me feel good!” Their business began to pick up again, and he had to start cooking again. We thanked him for the wonderful food, said our good-byes and practically floated out of the restaurant.

Our date was spent sharing the pursuing love of Jesus with this precious man. Afterwards, we went to a coffee shop and had the honor to meet and pray for 2 more people the Holy Spirit connected us with. Throughout the whole evening, as Adam and I worshipped and talked about God’s furious love for us, His love could not be contained within us. The overflow of His love poured out of us and onto those we came in touch with.

We had the best Valentines date… in fact, the best date of all time. The evening ended with a deeper understanding and revelation of God’s love for us and His love for others. We were rested, refreshed and renewed from the amazing moments we shared with each other and others we met. We are honored to be used by God and look forward to the next person Holy Spirit leads us to!

For Valentines and every day, I am a girl who longs for the presence of God in every moment. Flowers will die, clothing will become outdated, jewelry will fade, fancy dinners will go down the toilet… but God’s furious love is everlasting and is the only treasure worthy of my pursuing. 

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

Do you know God’s love? His love changes everything. The pages are open to share your story… feel free to comment, ask for prayer, ask questions and share this blog. Our stories rage on… In Him, Leslie

Seeing without Pictures

These are my random thoughts from Tuesday, March 4th ~ read at your own risk.

It is 1am. I have recently consumed a pot of coffee and several tablespoons of sugar biscuits in the form of monkey bread, so there is no telling what might funnel out of my mind and onto the keyboard. I should probably go to bed, because in approximately 8 hours, 10 women and their children will walk up my front steps, knock on my front door and enter my home. How do I know this? Am I physic? No. I have Bible study at my house tomorrow… err… today.

Alas, I am not going to bed yet. I am writing what you are now reading. This was the only time for me to write. Earlier today, I opened up my trusty ol’ Mac. Apple. Tosh. laptop. We’ve been in each others lives for 10 years now… we’ve shared many memories, stories and photos. It’s been a good relationship overall, but today my Mac failed me. The screen was black. I was growing anxious. I really wanted to write this morning… About my thoughts from Monday, because my Tuesday thoughts hadn’t happened yet… So I re-started, I tried, I prayed, I cried… and darkness. The screen was still black. I knew this day was coming. The dinosaur Macbook was going to expire sooner or later.

I stared at a black screen. Wishing, hoping, praying it would come back to life. Panicking over the memories stored on its hard drive, I grew increasingly frustrated as the moments ticked by. I only care about my photos. Nothing else on the laptop matters. We talked with the Apple store and there is a good chance they can recover the data. There’s still hope. Yet I was past the point of recovering from my anxiety. I was so caught up in recovering the past. I must have my photos, to preserve the memories! My mind swirled with thoughts of frustration and anxiety. There was nothing I could do to change the black screen. I was wasting time fretting, worrying over saving the past, while ignoring the memories to be made right in front of me.

My youngest daughter was playing happily in our living room, while her brother and sister were in school, and I was internally freaking out, sitting a few feet from her. What’s wrong with this picture?! Me. I was missing a myriad of moments to be cherished with her. I was missing her hugs. her questions. her stories. her laughter. her toothless smile. My heart was convicted. The cloud of anguish over (possibly – hopefully not) losing our family photos lifted. The Holy Spirit gently nudged me to close the black screen and let. it. go.

So I did. We played and talked and ate lunch together. We created memories. I didn’t need to take a picture to be saved on my phone, transferred to my laptop, or uploaded onto social media. My heart preserved the moment. 

I really really really -did I say really- hope our photos will be recovered. I love taking pictures. I love looking at old photos. The kids and I love looking at pictures from when ‘they were babies’. They are still -and always will- be my babies. Everyday I have to hold them is a gift. I don’t want to miss these gifts, because I am staring at a screen.

There are still future stories I hope to capture in photos to be saved and shared. In the meantime, I am coming out from behind the dark screen, into the light, where I can see. I can see without pictures. My children before me. My husband beside me. My friends around me. My life ahead of me. I see. And I really need to go to bed now, so I can see the women who are coming to my house for Bible study in the morning. After they leave, I will definitely be taking a nap. Amen.

Follow Me…

Hello.  It’s me again.  Now bear with me… I don’t want to cause anyone of you any undue stress.

But…

In the interest of forsaking all boredom, and for a random reason to stay up all night, P.A. and I have decided to merge our blogs and make a Babs family blog.

You might be thinking “Oh No!”  I won’t read as many hilarious stories from Les Babs, or get to look at her silly picture every time I read one of her hilarious stories.

No Worries.

You will still hear from me, should you choose to accept this task…

Please, follow us on over to www.halfwrittenrecords.com

This is our new family webpage.  Full of hilarious blogs by Les Babs, more hilarious blogs by P.A. Babs, and even more hilarious blogs we write together… Plus, recipes, DIY/Home Decor and fashion pages.

All in one fabulous location!

So… should you need a stay-cation, come on over and visit us at…

www.halfwrittenrecords.com

See you there!

Note-this page will stay active for a while.  If you are linked up to follow me by email, please add your email to the http://www.halfwrittenrecords.com site.  It’s super easy to do.  Thanks!  It means so much to hear your comments and have you as part of our lives.

In Him, Les Babs ♥