Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bubbles of Prayer

I don't know what it is about bubbles that makes people so happy! The children I used to nanny for loved to blow bubbles! When big sister was barely 2 years old and the boys still napped a lot, sister and I spent many hours on the balcony of their apartment with a bottle of bubbles.

At first she couldn't blow them by herself, so eventually we decided I would blow and she would chase. That worked pretty well, actually, until I got winded! From the time the boys could walk they have wanted to be able to blow bubbles. This past spring they finally mastered it to varying degrees. They just giggle and run after the bubbles as if they were grasping for valuable treasures.

The trend now is also to blow bubbles as the wedding couple leaves the reception hall. We did that for my daughter's wedding and it was very festive.

The site, explains:
"Bubbles are round pockets of air or other gases in liquid (such as boiling water, fizzy drinks) or solid materials (plastic, glass). Bubbles can also be a thin, ball-shaped film of liquid that has gas trapped inside. Soap bubbles are shaped by an equilibrium between their outward air pressure and the inward surface tension of the soap film.

The detergent molecules tend to line up with one end pointing inward and the other outward, making the liquid surface more stable. The thickness of the soap film layer is due to these detergent molecules and is uniform for all size bubbles. Colors are seen because of the light diffraction through the soap film."

I don't know what it is about bubbles - the beauty, the wonder, the colors, their floating in the air, having the feeling of creating something unique and beautiful . . . Sometimes the children just stand and watch to see how high a bubble will float, or how far away it will go before it pops or disappears from site.

Years ago now, a small group of us gathered at our church sanctuary for intercessory prayer. We prayed aloud the name of every single person in every single family in our church as well as any particular prayer requests that had been lifted up during Sunday service.

We typically met on Sunday evenings. The church was quiet, the lights were low and we centered ourselves to pray the names of our brothers and sisters in Christ prior to beginning our sacred ritual.We divided up the pages of the list and each of us read our own pages aloud, simultaneously.

One of my praying companions said that sometimes she would just stop and listen to the others of us reading names, each of us at a different place on the list. She said it had a beautiful sound to her and when she closed her eyes she imagined that each name was encased in a bubble, floating up to heaven.

I love the idea of that imagery. It really made me tingle when she shared that vision with us. I felt as if we were encasing the souls of all those whose names we read in a type of supernatural force field --sending them directly to the Lord's throne.

Bubbles are just round pockets of air. Something about them though brings out the child in us. Something about intercessory prayer made me feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps that is what transported those names into the heavens. Perhaps a round pocket of the Holy Spirit surrounded those names and guarded them on their journey.

Even now, many years later, I think of those times we gathered and sent bubbles of prayer aloft to heavenly realms.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't Eat That Cookie. You'll Ruin Your Dinner

God's word is sometimes hard to hear. His instructions are challenging. Though we may fully believe God wants only what is good for us--what is best for us--spiritually, emotionally and physically, we don't always do as He commands.

Because I realize I have spent a great deal of time being disobedient to God's instructions, I generally demonstrate a tremendous amount of patience with toddlers who are testing limits and trying hard to find out how far "too far" really is! God gives us a great deal of latitude, I think. Because He is all knowing and all powerful, He often manages to get us to His desired place for us in spite of our own actions. He invented time and space itself, so His purpose and plan are never undone.

Like parents telling a child not to eat a cookie 30 minutes before lunch, God tells us how to live and act in accordance with His plans for us. Of course, disobeying a parent, snictching a cookie and gobbling it down in spite of our parent's instructions has a far less significant consequence than does our defiance of God's instructions!

That is how we learn though. First we learn that eating that cookie will, indeed, ruin our dinner. Then we learn that leaving our toys in the driveway could result in their being run over and broken. Not picking up our toys will result in their being taken away or getting lost.

Not doing what God tells us to do often results in our feeling disappointed in ourselves, guilty for our disobedience, and leads to our remembering (hopefully!) the next time we decide to defy God's word how badly we felt the last time! Just as we give children leeway and allow them to make choices, God gives us free will. Sometimes that results in pain, discomfort, sorrow. But it always leads to a deeper understanding that God's will is what we should strive for.

"This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success" (Joshua 1:8 RSV).

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drama? Who Doesn't Like Drama?

PhotobucketI don't know about you, but I've witnessed some pretty intense meltdowns in my day! There is no more woeful site than a 2-year old who is so utterly frustrated with life that the only option is to get on the floor, cry, kick and scream. It can either melt your heart or add to what was probably an already mounting frustration with said 2-year old!

I haven't made many blog posts this past week or so because I've been caught up in some drama of my own. It's not really my drama, but I took possession of it. I coddled it, nurtured it and fed it all week long!

I allowed some of my coworker's issues to become my issues and so I allowed them to pass along some of their drama to me. I don't know why I allowed this to happen! Well . . . I guess I do! I took my eye off Jesus for a while. Oh, every morning in my prayer time I gave my day to Him and begged forgiveness for taking it back within 2 hours of arrival at work each day.

By Friday I found myself mentally, emotionally and even physically drained. It was about being right! It wasn't about some big cause or a major issue. It was a battle of wills and I just wasn't willing to let it go. Oh my, what a drama ensued!

It wasn't until this morning that I realized I had not taken the high road. I needed to just let "it" go and give it to God. I should have been just focusing on my job, my responsibilities and not taken things so personally. That's what happens when we fail to make God the center of our lives and replace Him with our own egos.

Two-year olds usually recover pretty quickly and get on about the business of living their lives. I need to follow their example, get my sense of humor back and get on with what I need to do.

"How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame ? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods ? Selah" (Psalm 4:2 NIV)

"Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods." (Psalm 40:4 NIV)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's Raining. It's Pouring.

It has been raining for several days in my part of the country. I mean relentless, continual rain! Anyone who cares for little children can learn pretty early on to dread rainy days. Rain means it will be an "inside day."

I'm not a big fan of allowing children to be entertained by hours of television. Even good children's programming can be overdone. But I do take advantage of one or two rainy days in a row by working puzzles with the children, coloring, playing with playdough and yes, getting caught up on the new episodes of Dora, Diego, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and several other favorite programs.

By the third and fourth days, though, everybody is bored. Even a two year old can only tolerate watching the same episode of Dora the Explorer so many times before he loses interest. Those days can be troublesome if I don't have something up my sleeve to entertain everyone.

Follow the leader, making music with household items, doing stickers, pulling out a new puzzle or a new book is a must! The children look to me and rely upon me to keep them from acting up and acting out from boredom and lack of outside play and sunlight.

I get restless like this when I haven't spent enough quality time with God. Even if I do devote some time to prayer and reflection and lean on familiar scripture for encouragement or guidance, sometimes it just doesn't seem to be enough.

When I start getting anxious, allow worry to overtake me I know the "routine" isn't working. When I begin to snap at my husband and be short-tempered in traffic and impatient in the check out line at the grocery store, I begin to resemble a two-year old on the third "inside day" in a row!

Those are the times I need to do more than the routine. That is when I need to open my bible and delve into its wisdom and beauty. I need to turn to God's word to get me back on track. I need to ask God to lead me to a new understanding of the scripture to which He leads me.

I can't control how many rainy days God allows. But I can control my attitude. Just as the children turned to me for guidance and help staying on the right path, I turn to God for His strength and wisdom.

"To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his" (Job 12:13 NIV).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics

One of the things the three children for whom I nannied loved the most was to play outside. They didn't care how cold it was. The heat didn't bother them. They wanted to be outside every single day. They would have gone out in the rain had I allowed it!

One of the twins is a train and truck man. The other twin loves planes. Whenever we hear a sound that could even remotely be the sound of a helicopter rotor or a jet engine, we all look up! "Airplane, Mary!" Then we all look up in the sky to see if we can be the first to spot the plane or helicopter. "Do you see it?" one of them will inevitably ask. Whoever is the first to see it, calls out and points, "There it is!"

Did you think a lesson on flight was coming? You're right!
What is aerodynamics? The word comes from two Greek words: aerios, concerning the air, and dynamis, which means force. Aerodynamics is the study of forces and the resulting motion of objects through the air. Judging from the story of Daedalus and Icarus, humans have been interested in aerodynamics and flying for thousands of years, although flying in a heavier-than-air machine has been possible only in the last hundred years. Aerodynamics affects the motion of a large airliner, a model rocket, a beach ball thrown near the shore, or a kite flying high overhead. The curveball thrown by big league baseball pitchers gets its curve from earodynamics. (

I had the idea for this post the other day as I sat on my deck. In the sky a hawk appeared to just hang in the air as if in suspended animation. There was a slight wind, a bit brisker than a breeze. At first I thought it was an optical illusion - that he just appeared to be suspended, stationary in the sky. Then I realized he was indeed "just hanging out" in the sky, wings extended, head out.
What a vista he must have had.

I'm sure he could see our entire neighborhood and beyond. I don't know if he was just tired and had stopped to take advantage of the aerodynamic event of the wind blowing in two different directions, thus allowing him to stay where he was, or if he just paused to enjoy the beauty of God's creation from a vantage point nearer to God than if he had been earthbound.

I am afraid of heights and I don't particularly enjoy flying in a plane. But I do enjoy craning my neck and looking up to the sky any time I see or hear a plane. I very much enjoy watching the birds fly and coast and soar through the sky. I marvel at the world God has created, just as the boys are learning to be aware of and appreciate God's world.

God's world expands beyond the earthbound vantage point from which we view our lives. Every time I look up, I think of God "up there" in heaven. I think of the world beyond myself and beyond the box of the space I occupy on the earth. I think of heaven and the promise that I will be there one day.

The boys have taught me how to make it through every single day: LOOK UP!

"God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day" (Genesis 1:8 NIV).

"These are the visions I saw while lying in my bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the beasts of the field found shelter, and the birds of the air lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed" Daniel 4:10-12 NIV).