Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Meta

About Eric’s Wife

Some may say I am a "Stay at home Mom," but that is not even close. I am Eric's Wife. I have exhilarating strokes of genius, followed almost immediately by paralyzing pangs of self doubt and, for whatever reason, here is where I blog about it - warts and all. I serve a merciful God with a clumsy hand and at the end of each day I go to sleep thankful to be His servant and Eric's wife.

On Memorizing The Word

January 17, 2014

“Believing God’s word is vastly more crucial than memorizing it. But O the mighty service rendered to faith by such memory.” -John Piper

Much has been written about memorizing Scripture.  I can’t intend to write a post about why you should commit to memorizing bulk portions.   What I can do, is tell you how it has matured my walk in ways I couldn’t have known when I started and then let you decide if maybe this is something you can do as well.

I began my efforts for no other reason than to see if I could.  I cannot pretend that I started with high spiritual reaches in mind.   I did include talks with God in my efforts, and I felt I walked closer than usual with Him while I worked.  I memorized the book of Ruth.  I chose it because it was that or Esther and Esther is 10 chapters, while Ruth is 4.  Seriously, I had no intentions that this would also be an exercise in my faith walk.   I am a very slow student, but God is a patient Teacher.

After Ruth, I added the first 3 chapters of Genesis.  The time I spent in those chapters remain very precious to me.  I felt like God was constantly saying, “This is My story.  This is Who I Am.”

Still, I plowed through my work as though it was more an assignment than important meal.  I added the book of Jonah, Genesis 4 and 22, Isaiah 51-54 to my list in this same way: Always treasuring the very real introduction I was receiving from God in His Word and how it was transforming my daily life, but not making the connection that the key factor in those seasons was that I was committing His Word to my mind and heart.

Such a slow learner.

During the time that I was cured of MS, I spent 9 days in isolation.  My nurses spoke no English and I spoke only during my doctor’s three times daily visits.  I entered that time with the full knowledge that God was in the middle of it.  I felt Him prowling that room like a Lion.  I woke up from my transplant with these sweet words on my mouth,

Awake, awake,
put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city;
for there shall no more come into you
the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake yourself from the dust and arise;
be seated, O Jerusalem;
loose the bonds from your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion.

I was healed.  I knew it and He had put His Words in my mouth to seal it.  That was about the time that it occurred to me that I had stumbled onto something much bigger than a simple brain exercise.  Slow and steady wins the race.

After we returned home, I began working on Esther.  Because I also present these Scriptures dramatically, I had decided to only do the first 8 chapters because it felt like it ended well there for staging purposes.  I worked on those 8 chapters with a performance date on the calendar.  If you haven’t read it lately, you should know that there are seven eunuchs, seven nobles, 2 regions and a lineage in the first three chapters.It was glorious work.  I don’t know that I have ever gotten it 100 percent right on stage, but I have all by myself and it’s a joy to have it rattling around in my brain.

By the time I got to Esther, I’d had my light bulb moment.  I knew that every word mattered, every name, every town.  These were people.  They lived and this is how God operated among them.  This is how God operates.  I took that Word and I memorized it, I meditated on it, I let it seep into my marrow.  More than any Bible study I’ve ever attended – and I’ve been to some great ones – more than any good spiritual book, more than any anything I have ever tried or had suggested, this has been the one thing that has finally settled my soul.

I have found much gain from fasting, Bible study, small groups, good books, and a host of other opportunities in this land of plenty.  Through it all, I still wrestled with wanting to really know Who God is.  Bulk Scripture memorization settled my soul.  I don’t know if it will do the same thing for you, but I wanted to let you know what happened to me when I did it.

 

 

The Trouble with the Holy Spirit

January 22, 2012

I would like to start by thanking the makers of flannel graphs.  Due, in part, to these fine artists, and the Sunday school teachers who love them, I grew up with a pretty solid working understanding of who Jesus is and who God the Father is.   You can grow up reading the Bible and hearing the stories, but nothing was as solid to me as applying flannel graph to both.  I could see Jesus in his white robe, blue sash (sometimes it was a red sash), brown hair, and sandals.  God was always a burning bush, a cloud of smoke, a pillar of fire, or a ray of sunshine.  It is easy for my brain to hold on to something it can picture and flannel graphs gave me a most vibrant picture.

As I matured in my own Bible study, those flannel graph images began to come off the flannel board and fill out to a more three dimensional view in my mind.  This was true for the persons of God the Father and Christ the Son, but the Holy Spirit never left the board for me because His person remained a mystery.  I remember learning about how the apostles received the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended into Heaven and I recall that it was illustrated in flannel graph with a single flame of fire above the head of each man.   We learned that the Holy Spirit allowed them to speak in all kinds of different languages so that they could be understood by all.   Not because my teachers failed, but because I never sought answers, I grew up believing that the Holy Spirit was the silent partner of the the Triune God, Who only occasionally pops in to assist in tongue speaking and (very rarely) miraculous acts.

The sole piece of information that stuck with me about the Holy Spirit was that blaspheming Him is the only unforgivable sin.  Terrified that I might blaspheme on accident, I decided to just avoid the subject altogether to err on the side of caution.  He remained a mystery and I remained cautious, but oh so desperately curious.

One of my best friends in middle school came from a family that attended a charismatic church.  She invited me to come along for a special service where “the Holy Spirit will be very active,” this according to her Dad on the way there.  He cautioned me that this meant there would be “speaking in tongues” and “miracles of all kinds,” things I likely never saw in my family’s “kind of church.”  My own church experience had been quite tame and rather sedate up until then (won’t you come, while we stand, and while we sing?) and I was a little nervous and a lot excited to see for myself.  I wanted to know about the Holy Spirit and these people spoke of almost nothing else.

The guest speaker for the event was a man who had just returned from a mission trip to Africa.  There was an African man who had returned with the missionary and he came to tell us all about how he had been miraculously healed from some sickness.   I don’t recall what the man had been healed from, but I remember well what he looked like.  He was tall, but not crazy tall, just tall and broad enough to take command of the stage.  His skin was as dark as coffee and his face was beautiful in a “must stare” kind of way.  He wore a brightly colored dashiki and matching cap.

He spoke in his native language and used an interpreter.   This interpreter was a short, round, white man and he wore wire frame glasses which he had to endlessly push up his nose as his pouring sweat forced them to slide down.  His demeanor was that of a man who had an English to Nigerian handbook tossed his way ten minutes before showtime with the instructions to “see what you can get out of that.”  He stammered a good deal as he tried to string his words together and seemed flustered when the man spoke faster and more animated.  There came a point when I felt certain that the “interpreter” was really just gathering information from the man’s body language and making up the words as he went along.

If the interpreter was correct in his version, then this African fellow came all the way to Austin, TX to tell us the good news that sickness is a symptom of no faith in the Holy Spirit and that those who have faith in the Holy Spirit are never sick.  There came a point in his talk when I tuned out the interpreter and just watched the African man speak.  He wept with streams of tears and spoke like one pleading to be heard.  I couldn’t help but wonder if he was pointing to something more beautiful and significant than the healing of the flesh and finances.

He was followed by the main speaker, the missionary.  This man looked unlike any missionary I had ever seen.  He wore a beautiful suit,  had a great tan, a white smile and Rick Perry hair.  It is true that I have met some good looking missionaries in my day, but this man was something else.  He spoke of how important giving was and, well, that was about it.  When you give, he told us, God unleashes the Holy Spirit’s power on you.

Stop right there.  This is how we get the Holy Spirit?  I’m intrigued, says 14 year old I.  Tell me more about this Holy Spirit.

When you have the power of the Holy Spirit (through the giving of financial gifts, he stressed), you can expect to never be sick and to never experience a financial woe.  He had a line of people come on stage and he laid hands on them to pray for healing.  These people shook and screamed and fell backwards into the arms of men who seemed to have seen such a thing on the regular.  I had only ever seen anything like that on television and I had always wondered if such things actually went on.   I was, quite literally, on the edge of my seat through this portion of the evening.  This was the part my friend’s Dad warned me about and I was bursting with nervous excitement to see what this Holy Spirit, the One rarely to be mentioned in flannel graph, could do.

The first church member to testify was a woman who said she was healed from a bad sinus infection.  She held the microphone up to her nose so we could hear her breathe freely through her nostrils.  I guess her nostrils sounded clear.  I had no reason to not believe that she did indeed feel better.  I just hoped to witness more dramatic healings in the next several testimonies.  (Like: “I came here tonight with only ONE eyeball in my head and I just now grew a whole NEW eyeball!” or something similar.)   Another testimony came from a man who said he was healed from chronic insomnia (he was awake when he said this.)  He said that he was certain that his 20 second on stage power nap had set him up for the first of many good nights’ sleep.  He was very positive that he was over his insomnia and I wouldn’t argue that he wasn’t – I just really wished I could know if he did sleep like a baby that night.  The only other one I recall was a young boy, maybe ten, who said that his arm (which was in a cast) was broken but that the pain is gone and he is sure it had been healed.  We all cheered for each one, though I grew more and more jaded as each invisible illness was “cured” before my very eyes.  Where’s the blind man who can see and the walking paralytic?

Finally, as the handsome missionary was wrapping up his time of healing people and accepting donations (which were being poured out on the stage from wicker baskets that were constantly circulating the crowd), I saw this older woman hobbling down the center aisle, making her way to the back from the front row.  She was a rather large woman and she used two very tired looking forearm crutches which were covered in medical tape around the hand grips and had the rubber stoppers on the bottoms worn to the metal.  On her feet were the orthopedic shoes and braces that I remember my grandmother wearing.  She breathed very heavily from the effort of her few steps and I felt more than a bit concerned that she might fall down when the preacher yelled out to her, “Stop!”

She stopped right beside my row of seats and made a quarter turn to look over her shoulder at him.  He asked her why she would leave when she clearly had not been healed yet.  She yelled back to the stage in a thick voice that she was unable to get on the stage because of the crowds and the stairs.  She breathed even heavier after the exertion of speaking.  For me, they could have been the only two people in the room – the shiny missionary and the woman with infirmaries I could see.

She turned to leave after a moment’s stare and he thrust his hand in her direction as though he had thrown a fast pitch softball and said again with all the authority of God, “I command you to stop and be healed!”  She froze at the first words he spoke and then slowly turned to face him.  He told her to drop the crutches and walk up and down the aisle to show us that she had been healed.  She drops the crutches and starts to hobble unsteadily towards the stage.  The audience goes wild with cheers as she reaches the stage and then comes back my way with the same unsteady gait.  She occasionally reaches for the backs of chairs along the way to steady herself.  My mouth falls open at this point, not because she is healed, but because this woman is clearly whatever the opposite of healed might be and walking far worse without the crutches.  What I was looking at, as far as I could tell, was a poor disabled woman in need of assistance who was getting no assistance, but instead was getting wildly unhelpful applause.

At this point, I am certain that the preacher wants her to disappear quietly so the ruse doesn’t become anymore strikingly obvious than it is already, but he continues on and commands this woman to RUN up and down the aisle.  She remains hobbling as before, this time even more unsteadily, if that was possible, at the same slow speed and makes a trip up and down the aisle.  He says, “See!  The Holy Spirit has healed this woman!  Can you see the ease with which she runs up and down the aisle?”  And the crowd goes wild with chanting and yelling and tambourines.   She comes back to the spot near me where she shed her crutches and starts to bend down to pick them up.  I can hear her struggle for breath and grunt as her body shifts from walking to stopping and then bending over.  The preacher again thrusts his hand in her direction and tells her that she does not need them and that she is to go home and leave those crutches in the church dumpster because she is healed.

I could feel her hesitation.  I think it is possible that she and I were the only two people in that room who knew that she no more ran that aisle than a newly learned to walk toddler could.  She allowed one of the men who had previously been catching fainters to carry off her crutches and she continued on her way out of the back doors, with two of the other men assisting her with their arms on each side of her.  The preacher dispensed with any doubting witnesses by saying that her illness came on by years of neglect of the Holy Spirit and that her complete healing would come over time as she fully repents and receives more of the Holy Spirit’s power.

“And, don’t we all want more of the Holy Spirit’s power!?” he yells to a hot room packed full of people jumping and yelling in sounds I didn’t understand or recognize as any language I’d ever heard.

My friend yelled over the noise to me, “A lot of these people are speaking in tongues.”  I yelled back, as the volume of the speaking in tongues grew louder, “Do you?”  She shrugged and joined the chorus with her own noises.  Seeing my perplexed face, she leaned in and says, “I just like to make the noises.  I’m not sure if any of this is real.”

And thus began my introduction to the Holy Spirit as an active part of Elohim, worthy of our recognition and actively working through me to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.   I have titled this little essay “The Trouble with the Holy Spirit,” not because the Holy Spirit is any trouble, but because of all the trouble I have had finding Him.

It is a journey that I am still on and I have written this not to offer answers I have found along the way so much as to encourage any one who may have, like me, ignored the pivotal role of the Holy Spirit because He seems unknowable, confusing, and all too easily mishandled.

That flashy preacher almost convinced me to part with my hard earned baby sitting money for the chance to have more of the Holy Spirit in my life.  If I have learned anything along the way that I can share with certainty, it is that the Holy Spirit is a free gift given in all fullness to all who approach God the Father through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.   The Holy Spirit changes you to make you look more like Christ and there is nothing you must do but submit to His work.  What that means and what it will look like in your life is, I believe, a highly personalized answer.

It was reading the book of Acts (of the Holy Spirit) this past summer that renewed this curiosity in me to know more about the Holy Spirit.  Reading Acts forced me to fully examine the full scope of teachings I have heard and how many of them had quieted my desire to want to know more.  If you want a good recommendation for getting to know the not-so-quiet-as-I-thought member of Elohim, I would strongly suggest you read Acts.

Acts 1

To the Ends of the World

… As they met and ate meals together, He told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from Me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”

Click here to continue.

 

2011 List of 100: Things That Make Me :)

November 28, 2011

When I started to do a list of 100 for this year, I decided to complicate it by giving it a narrowed topic.  This made the list become a real monster to write.  I cannot believe how much effort it was.  It was also a lot of fun.  I highly encourage anyone to attempt such a task.

If you see me with a smile on my face at any given time, it could be caused by any number of things. To help you in your sleuthing, here are 100 things that make me smile.

  1. I always try to smile when I am leaving messages on people’s voicemail because I want the person I am calling to hear it in my voice and you can’t fake the sound of a smiling face.  You just can’t.
  2. There are a lot of reasons why we got rid of the television.  One reason is Tyra Banks.  The day I sat through an entire episode of her show is the day I realized that I had a problem and needed to get off the junk.  The episode that I watched was about how to properly apply make-up.  Two lessons that stayed with me forever:  powder is a must AND smile when applying blush to just the apples of your cheeks.  I’ve tried to do it without smiling and it doesn’t work.  There’s no guessing where that apple is.  Sometimes, when I am putting on my make-up, I think with shame about how I came across this information and it is hard to smile, but I soldier on.  Tyra Banks makes me smile (to properly apply blush.)
  3. Having all my nails the same length brings a smile.  My sister-in-law, Tonya, showed me this marvelous past time and I am happy every time I look at my hands and see that order has been restored in one small corner of my tiny kingdom.
  4. Having sister-in-laws that I talk about nail care, among other things, with is smile inducing.  It is a real treat to know that I do not have a single in-law I would change.  Love, love, LOVE them all.
  5. Walking into the laundry room right as the load in the washer or dryer finishes brings a grin.  This makes me feel like a homemaker ninja.
  6. Picturing myself as a ninja righting the minor wrongs that occur in my loved ones lives is a fond daydream.  You’re just wrapping up a story with me about how your neighbor parks on your lawn and I’m lost in a fantasy about me as a ninja stealing his garden gnome.  I’m pretty sure that I’d be an awe inspiring ninja.
  7. Floating in the pool always makes me happy.  I could just lay there all day.  Getting onto the float is graceless and mortifying, so once I’m locked in to that bad boy I am pretty committed.
  8. A precisely made bed is heaven.  When I see a bed that is not just made, but made with pristine lines and a certain crispness, I feel immediately relaxed and smiley.
  9. Vacuum lines on carpet invokes ordered peace.  Nothing says, “Top notch cleaning happened here” more than lines in the carpet from the vacuum.
  10. While I’m on this train, I also LOVE a clean and dry kitchen sink.  Dry says that someone is on top of their game.  Don’t mess with that person.
  11. Spell check make me happy.  I would have gone my whole life spelling it vaccum instead of vacuum if it wasn’t for spell check and its angry red squiggle lines.
  12. Back scratchers are fantastic tools that you never appreciate until you get one as a gag gift and then it turns into a prized possession.  My back scratcher makes me unitchy and this makes me smile.
  13. My husband smokes a pipe.  This makes me neither happy nor unhappy.  However, when he makes an especially brilliant point and then smugly clamps that pipe between his teeth for emphasis?  This makes me giggly.
  14. Paying less than three dollars for an awesome wardrobe piece makes me over the moon happy.  I LOVE to shop and I especially love to shop at thrift stores on sales days.  There’s nothing like a huge bag of retail therapy for under twenty bucks.
  15. Dental floss picks.  They made flossing a reality for me and I can’t make a list of 100 things that make me smile without giving them a shout out.
  16. Knowing that Oprah Winfrey’s network, aptly named “OWN” is floundering.  She doesn’t know this, but she is my chosen nemesis and I’m just enough of a jerk to grin when I read about her low viewership.
  17. I met some real life ladies one time who were on Oprah’s Favorite Things one year.  They both got cars and Ipads.  I asked both of them if their lives were more awesome today than before and they both said, “not really.”  Having my long held suspicions proven makes me smile.
  18. My wedding ring tan line makes me happy.  Even my skin cells are committed to this marriage.
  19. I like buying those cute little stickers for my finger and toe nails.  When I look down and see that little white flower on my big toe, I first get confused and wonder what on earth it is on my toe, but then I look closer and remember the white flower sticker that I glued on there the night before.  Remembering my fiscal cleverness makes me smile.
  20. When Facebook first introduced the “like” option, I thought it was lame.  But now I smile every time I see that I got another “like”.   I don’t “like” as often as I should.  Serious Facebookers might appreciate it if I did.
  21. I am not a serious Facebooker.  But, I totally am.  I’m not.  Well, maybe a little serious.  Socializing on Facebook makes me smile.  Seriously.
  22. Gum that whitens teeth AND freshens breath.  I feel like I am multi-tasking when I chew gum like this.
  23. I know that my Dad hates my brussels sprouts so much that I am only allowed to make them if he is in Alaska and I am not in Alaska.  His complete honesty, even at the risk of offending me, makes me smile.
  24. I also do not like my brussels sprouts.  Being a grown up and eating them anyway makes me smile.  In a gaggy kind of way.
  25. When something ridiculous is said in a large gathering of people and I can get a girlfriend’s eyeballs from across the room and we can say, “Did you see that!?” “Yeah.  I am so offended and also amused!” with only our eyes, that makes my heart grin.
  26. I like it that my husband sends me regular texts that say, “I love you”, but when he gets all romantical and writes something from the heart I get all giggly and smiley like a teenager.
  27. I really enjoy using words that aren’t words and not explaining myself, but rather assuming that my reader or listener appreciates my creative use of the language.  Fake adjectives are way awesomer than real ones.
  28. Anytime I am in a car or a plane and I get a glimpse of some awesome view that belongs on a calendar or a puzzle, I feel like God has given me that view as a special present just for me and that always make me smile.
  29. One time Mackenzie and I were going for a walk and we came up over a little hill that exposed a beautiful view of the city just as the lights were coming on.  Mackenzie gasps and stops in her tracks to take it in.  “Just look at it, Mom,” she says.  Sharing something I love with someone I love makes the something I love and the someone I love even more cool and that makes me smile.  You know?
  30. After militantly sweating out every Texas summer in my adult life in jeans (because I am a cutter of a different breed, evidently), I announced that this summer would be the summer of the skirt.  Aside from looking a little like a devoted Mormon, I have stayed cool and comfortable all summer.  Skirts that don’t make me look like a devoted Mormon make me smile.
  31. I do not enjoy watching any of the “Star Wars” movies.  My kids have a fantastic working vocabulary of every one of them because they have a Dad devoted to their well rounded cultural education.  Parenting with someone different than me makes me happy.
  32. My kids diligently avoid saying the b-u-t-t word around me and likely suspect that I’d never say it.  Their adorable belief in my virtue makes my heart smile every time I hear them stammer and say, “uh, bottom”.
  33. When the weather starts to get a little bit cold, but the sun is still shining, I smile and feel all sorts of cozy to climb into a hot car.
  34. Big, feminine hats make me very happy.  There are no words than can describe how awesome I feel about myself when I get to strut into a room wearing a fabulous hat.
  35. I like to wear big, chunky heels, but they have to be very light weight for me to manage them.  When I find such a pair priced under twenty dollars I happily take them to the register with a glow about me.
  36. Any time I wake up in the morning already knowing what I am going to make for dinner I float through the day in a haze of happy.
  37. I am always happy to offer unsolicited advice to strangers I meet along the way.  I walk away feeling like I have made the world a brighter place.  They may not feel the same way, but I wouldn’t know because they are an unknown stranger and ignorance is bliss.
  38.  I don’t know who it is, but there is a member of my household whom I can always count on to replace the toilet paper when it runs out.  Having a family that produces such diligence can only be a good thing.
  39. Due to poor packing for a recent trip, I now have two toothbrushes in play.  When I go to brush my teeth and have my pick of the brushes, I feel quite luxurious and that makes me happy.
  40. My family just received season passes to my high school’s sporting events and the encouragement that, “Any time a Dodd walks on this campus, it’s a good thing.”  Being one of the Dodd kids has always made me smile.
  41. I ran across my high school drama teacher a few months back.  When I told Mackenzie who she was, Mackenzie says, “You were taught to be dramatic?”  Mackenzie is my biggest believer and my biggest fan.  She makes me smile.
  42. When I was a senior in high school my friends and I would pass notes back and forth about our senior government teacher and joke that we were all dating him secretly.  We tore those notes up after each class and threw them away.  He NCISed us, read the notes, and began making sideways comments about them during class to make us squirm.  I can smile about that without blushing bright red now.
  43. I have a pet goose named Gertrude and my neighbor has a pet goat named Snickers.  Gertrude and Snickers get into honking/bleating back and forths that can go on for more than ten minutes.  Animals communicating about living conditions and escape plans is funny to me.
  44. Eric bought me Gertrude as a Mother’s Day gift because I thought she was the cutest thing ever and I guess my smile made him think that I HAD to have a pet goose.  Having a husband who diligently reads my face to see how he can please me makes my heart smile SO very big.
  45. We have a chicken that we thought was a girl until “she” began cockle doodle doing.  His face is so earnest and his need to belt it out so desperate that it makes me smile.  When it stops making me smile, well, people eat roosters for less.
  46. Our hens make the exact same clucking sound as the Cadberry Bunny every time they lay eggs.  You cannot not smile when you hear that.
  47. My three year old niece, Avery, often says, “Yeah!” in the affirmative like Wayne Campbell on “Wayne’s World”.  Sometimes I ask her questions with an obvious answer just so she will say it and I can smile.
  48. I live a literal stone’s throw from my parents and also from my younger brother and his family.  Sitting outside in the common area and having random family and kids come by to sit for a visit is a highlight of every day and it makes me and everyone who gets to come and visit this place smile.
  49. Living as we do has given us the freedom to run to the grocery or out for a quick lunch date with no worries about the kids not having a grown-up nearby.  It can’t last forever, but it sure makes me smile while we’ve got it.
  50. Here in a minute, I am going to say to my kids that it is time for bed.  They will brush their teeth, put on pajamas and go to bed with no parental intervention until it is time for prayers.  Getting kids to this age would make anyone smile.
  51. I have made life long friends on the internet.  Finally coming to terms with the fact that I am one of “those people” makes me smile.
  52. Whenever I get asked a question about something I am an expert in (like parenting, for example) I always get a smug smile across my face before I answer.
  53. My smug smile is almost always followed by an, “I’m sorry.  I had no idea it was combustible.  I’m sure your Grandma will understand” smile.  It’s a weak smile, but a smile nonetheless.
  54. When Mackenzie says, “Mommy?” I cringe because I know she is about to ask me to do something that will require me to get up.  When Mackenzie says, “Mama?” I smile because I know I am about to hear something very interesting.  She doesn’t know that I know the code.
  55. When I’m feeling blue and in the dumps, I have girlfriends who will dare to look me in the eye and say, “Seriously!?  Get up!  Let’s do this!”  Friends like that make me smile.  A few days later.  After I kicked them out of my house.
  56. I like bright and colorful knee high socks, but they can’t look like something Kenzie should wear.  This makes finding such socks a very difficult chore.  When I find them, I smile big.
  57. Holy cow, America!!  Are we only on 57!?  This is going to take me FOREVER.  That reminds me:  My kids recently saw “The Sandlot” and have since only said “forever” like the kids in the movie.  “For-eh-vur” makes me smile.
  58. My brother-in-law (I only have one) is a hipster and this means that he brings all things cutting edge into my life.  I’m too much of a doofus to be a hipster, but because of David I have the inside scoop on their music and coffee.  Drinking my super good, hipster approved coffee makes me smile.  Smugly.
  59. David is the one who showed my kids “The Sandlot” and I am pretty sure he caught that segue.  Smart, hipster brother-in-laws make me smile.
  60. My current Facebook profile picture really bugs Eric; but it makes me smile, so it stays.
  61. Eric is rarely very active on Facebook or my blog, but when he does come on to give me a little praise, I get all kinds of smiley.
  62. The start of a new school year means that it won’t be long before the college underclassmen start posting their Facebook pictures of their super awesome tattoos and/or piercings.  I smile when I see those pictures because I got one too and I remember what it was like to be unique and clever.  Just like everyone else.
  63. I presented Isaiah 51-52 to a ladies group recently.  A baby believer told me that she was going home to read Isaiah like never before.  That is why I do what I do.  That baby believer made me smile and still makes me smile.
  64. Any time I go to present memorized Scripture dramatically, there is always one person in the room who whips their Bible out to read along.  Those people used to make me break out in a cold sweat and cry a little inside because I know that they know when I mess up.  Now, I smile while I break out in a cold sweat and cry inside – and that’s progress.
  65. I smile when little toddlers do the long stumble and fall down.  And then I immediately wipe the smile off my face and say, “Aww.  Poor Baby.”, even though I am still smiling in my head.
  66. Angry teenagers loaded with piercings, cigarettes, and black nail polish make me smile.  Mostly because I want to hug them and smiling just seems like the safer alternative.
  67. Tiny little dogs are just about the cutest thing ever and they make me break down into a puddle of smiling.
  68. I just spent a whole hour of my life that I will never get back trying to put a funny picture of Oprah on number 17.  I failed at getting it centered and finally gave up.  Being honest with my ability level make me smile.
  69. Sometimes, while I am working on this list, I think about certain people reading it and I smile because I know they are going to be smiling.  Working on this list is making my face hurt.
  70. Read Isaiah 61:10 out-loud and with a thick Southern drawl.  Do this without smiling.  I can’t.
  71. I have Febrezed my dog.  Confessing to tiny crimes makes me smile.
  72. Confessing to the really deep dark ugly sins (like lust, envy, gossip and greed for example) doesn’t usually make me smile right away.  The confession itself is very uncomfortable.  Repentance follows confession and I smile a whole lot about that.  I prefer to stay there.
  73. One day I was feeling especially blue and I went to the Salvation Army for a retail therapy session.  I found a t-shirt that said, “Happy Camper” and bought it right away because I was not a happy camper and the irony of it made me smile.  I am now a happy camper and I have the t-shirt to prove it.
  74. Another time, when I was looking for some retail therapy, I found a fabulous blazer from Nine West for only four dollars.  Listen y’all, I think I could do a whole list of 100 deals I’ve gotten.  Being fancy and looking cute makes me smile.  Doing it for pennies on the dollar makes me smile even bigger.
  75. This past summer I decided to go ahead and own the fact that I am Miss Fancy Pants.  I like to wear blingy jewelry and cute pants.  I am a daughter of the King (real talk, y’all) and it is okay if I sometimes dress like it.  Owning the truth of who I am makes me smile even to type about it.
  76. I had a George Clooney crush back in the days of ER.  I happened to marry a fellow whose eyes crinkle JUST like George Clooney’s when he smiles.  When his eyes smile, I smile.
  77. I remember well how smugly I smiled when I got the pre-marital advice that, “Marriage is a lot of work” from well meaning old people who had no idea how much I loved Eric and that Eric and I were going to be different.
  78. Can I use one of these to repeat that smug smiles lead to chagrined “my bad” kind of smiles?  This is always true.  No smug.
  79. Being married is not a whole lot of work – being married happily is.  I freely give that advice to all beaming young girls with fresh faces and clean engagement rings that haven’t seen real duty yet.  I forgive their smug smiles because I know.  I know.  Knowing makes me smile.
  80. Anytime a camera gets pointed at me, I always smile in this super fake, very uncomfortable, awkward way.  I don’t know why.  It’s a sad condition that I have never been able to shake.  This concerns me when I think about my plans to be the next Oprah (What!? Yeah.  I said it.)  Imagine the unflattering covers on National Enquirer.
  81. Two weeks ago my son made the leap from reading because I said so to reading because it is an activity he enjoys.  It was a long road with him and I smile every time I walk in the room and see him cross legged and lost in a book.
  82. Ian asked me a few days ago if he could please have a job because he needed some money “real bad.”  Why was he jonesin’ for cash?  “So I can put it in the bank.”  Being the next Donald Trump’s Mom makes me smile.
  83. I recently developed a case of trigeminal neuralgia, related to the multiple sclerosis.  This causes me to have an occasional and excruciating face tic.  Smiling can bring on a tic.  Also?  A breeze, a love pat, the brush of my hand to move my hair, the pulling on of a sweater, a big yawn, and also, smirking.  I continue to smile, though a bit like Popeye.
  84. I am certain that multiple sclerosis is not going to be the undoing of me.  I am so very certain of this, that sometimes I imagine myself running to the tune of “The Eye of the Tiger” and I smile real big because I feel pretty confident that could happen.  “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight…”
  85. Right now though, I don’t run.  I don’t even walk very pretty.  This might make some people frown, but I get the joy of wrapping my hands around a cane handmade for me by a dear soul because she wanted me to know that she is rooting for me.  I’ve got stands full of people rooting for me.  My whole life is one big high five and “atta girl!”  There’s no reason not to smile.
  86. Let’s use number 86 to revisit “The Eye of the Tiger”.  See if singing it in your head doesn’t make you smile.
  87. I recently got to make a phone call to a hospital in Israel.  Because of the time difference, and having to get my phone plan changed to allow international calling, it took me 24 hours before I was able to get through and do my two minutes or less of chatting.  I was SUPER pumped.  Here I am, some poor little Gentile kid, calling ISRAEL.  It really wasn’t that a big of a deal, but having to wait gave it a sense of huge something.  I’m pretty sure I sounded like a grinning doofus when I said, “My name is Amy Peterson and I’m calling from Texas, USA.”
  88. This summer, my Eric planned a two week road trip for our family that was lovely and smooth from driveway to driveway.  It was a dream of a journey and he was the best captain ever.  I smile every time I think about sitting there beside him while we drove through the midwest.
  89. On our Christmas trip to WI some years back, Eric and I started a silly car game where we competed to see who could say “Iowa” with the least amount of mouth movement.  We crack each other up every time we pass through that lovely state saying it over and over.  “Eye-Yuh”
  90. Eric has a collection of hats that he wears according to weather and mood.  I love walking around with a fellow in a smart geezer cap.
  91. A recent visit to a physical therapist has me doing some crazy weird daily stretches and eating (gag) bananas.  I dislike exercise AND bananas.  Knowing that I can do my body a solid favor by giving it good food even though I dislike good food makes me smile.
  92. Why on earth would I consult a physical therapist? Deciding to get off my rear end and do something about this multiple sclerosis makes me smile.  Like Popeye.  Take that, MS!
  93. When I’m not busy eating bananas, I enjoy the occasional Dove’s dark chocolate.  I’m always embarrassed if the cheesy little Dove’s message of celebrated mediocrity makes me smile.  “Flawed is fabulous!”  Yay!!  Boo!!?  I’m so confused.  Maybe flawed is simple bearable, Dove’s.  Did ya think of that?
  94. One day I would like to see a more engaging Dove’s wrapper.  “Congratulations on not getting eaten by zombies.”  That’s how you grab the public’s eye, Dove’s.  That’s how you make the people smile.
  95. Sorry about the above rant, but boxing against giant, faceless, corporations makes me smile.  Occupy Dove’s!!
  96. Being as sedentary as I’ve become over the past few years has meant that my son has an easier time pinning me down for an hour long play by play of something funny he saw or read.  Right now, I smile and nod even though I can only understand every third word through his rushed, high pitched retelling.  I smile and nod because my son is spending his time telling me about something that matters and my crushed body is just the thing I need to force me to sit and cherish it.  Thank you, crushed body.  I mean it.
  97. Eric just sat down beside me with a delicious sandwich made with Thanksgiving turkey.  He makes the best sandwiches hands down among anyone I know.  He is making me a sandwich now and I’m totes smiley face.
  98. Seeing old men who are old school gentlemen to their little old ladies makes me smile.  I just love seeing that.
  99. My three year old niece walked into the room recently and said this sentence, “Guys, I’m not wearing any pants and I’m sorry about that, but my Mommy is going to get me some new pants and when she does I will be wearing pants, but right now I am not wearing pants and I am just really, really, so very sorry about that.”  When I am ninety, I am pulling that bit in a Burger King.  Thinking about that plan cracks me up and gives me something to live for.
  100. My 83 year old friend told me some time ago that, “You don’t have an inner child.  You have an inner old lady and I suspect she smokes.”  I think she’s on to something and that makes my inner old lady smile.  And wheeze for a breath.