Friday, June 10, 2011

Still Going . . .

Grace to you and peace from God, the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen Galatians 1:3-5

For those of you enjoying the lazy days of summer, just a note to let you know the Texas Legislature is still going. Like the pink EverReady bunny, the fun just never seems to end around here. After over 15 hours of debate on a bill yesterday, one of the final pieces of the budget puzzle was passed. It reminds me of the poster that hangs over my desk:


If You Think the Problems we Create are Bad,

Just Wait Until You See Our Solutions

My hope is not in man or government.

So, this morning I return to my desk and remind myself what a joy it is that I live at a time such as this so that I may see the glory of the Lord worked out on a daily basis.

Lord, may Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Now Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that will all boldness they may speak Your word, but stretching our Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus. Acts 4:29-30

Have you witnessed any miracles lately?

Do you expect to?

Would you recognize them if you did?

One of the joys of working in a legislative office that goes against the flow is the ever present reminder that apart from God we can do nothing. We know we are not playing by earthly rules. Our expectation has to be that the Lord will have to get involved for us to have any victory.

And He does.

On a daily basis.

He has blessed us with staff, with favor, with strategy and with boldness. He has intervened in the affairs of men on our behalf.

It is humbling.

Lord, thank you for the boldness to proclaim Your word. Amen

Friday, June 3, 2011


And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:13

My mind woke up before my body this morning. And with it, the words, ”I AM” were playing in my head.

The words were meat to chew on about the Lord we serve.

God says, “I AM WHO I AM.”

And man tries to figure out what that means.

It means, He is who He is.

Before your brain gets totally tied in a knot trying to figure it all out, remember that it is not for man to ever fully understand God. If we could, He would be a very small God indeed.

So, rather than figuring out who He is, reflect on who you are in Him. And then, rejoice in whose you are.

Lord, thank you for who You are and who I am in You. Amen.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Begin Again

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Today was supposed to be the first day of my recovery period from a contentious legislative session. Instead, after completing the constitutionally required 140 days of meetings, the Governor has immediately called the legislators back into a special session to complete the work they did not finish.

Special sessions can only be called by the Governor. The legislature can consider only the items the Governor states are eligible for consideration. And, they only last 30 days. Those are the good things. The bad thing is that the Governor can call as many special sessions as it takes to work out whatever needs to be worked out.

So, rather than sleep until noon - which has been my fantasy for this day for the past four months - my alarm went off as usual and I find myself back in the office. It is an understatement to describe the feeling as disappointment or frustration.

And yet, I find myself inexplicably content with the knowledge that this too shall pass.

Lord, You know our needs in this situation. I pray that Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in the Texas Legislature. Amen

Monday, May 30, 2011

Life is Not Fair

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . . . Philippians 2:14-15

Driving in to work this morning, I was engaging in mental murmuring as I digested the news that short of a legislative miracle, we will be adjourning the Regular Session of the 82nd Legislature today and convening the 1st Called Session of the 82 Legislature tomorrow. In other words, instead of having a down time to catch up on sleep and the daily details of life that have been pushed aside for the past five months, we may be coming back tomorrow to complete the tasks we have not finished.

It’s not fair! We have done our part. We passed the bills in the House (even the bad ones). Just because the Senate can’t get their act together we will all have to come back during time that should have been vacation time.

It’s not fair - the three words I never allowed my children to use without reminding them “Mom’s Mantra.” Life is not fair and some people are stupid. That simple sentence explains about 98 percent of all otherwise inexplicable things in the world.

“Can I stay out past my curfew?”


“That’s not fair.”

“Life is not fair.”

Then, there are the arguments for “some people are stupid.” Just read the newspaper and for every instance you can not figure out why someone did something, just whisper to yourself, “Wow, some people really are stupid.” You will be amazed how much time you will save trying to figure things out.

I was convicted in my thinking about fairness when I read Philippians 2. Even though my complaining and murmuring was mental, it was complaining and murmuring.

So, I repent.

And, will probably have to do it more than once.

Lord, thank You that life is not fair. If it were, we could not enjoy Your salvation. Amen

Friday, May 27, 2011

Press On

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

It’s Friday! And not just any Friday. It is the last Friday in the legislative session.

Last night our staff gathered in our office for a meal and some end of session fellowship. It was the final day for one of our interns and the last time we would all be together for a while. As we each discussed our plans, it reminded me of the last day of school when i was a kid. Nobody was concerned about homework or tests on the final day of school. They were looking forward to the lazy days of summer stretching out before them. It was not so much an ending of school as it was the beginning of summer.

And, so it is with this legislative session. When the Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor in the Senate gavel the final session closed, the legislators will go home, staff will all take a well needed rest, and . . . .

And what? Is this an ending for you, or a beginning? Do you think you are you finished with what you have to do? Or, do you have a new appreciation for how much more the Lord has for you to do?

Spend then next couple of days wrapping up the session and a couple of days catching up on sleep. Then, forget those things behind and press on to that upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

You don’t get to stop doing good just because the session ends.

Lord, thank You that You equip us and empower us to do all we are called to do. Amen

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hold Your Peace

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. Exodus 14:14

Like the end of the roller coaster ride, this legislative session is coming to an end. We experienced the slow climb up the tracks hearing the clanking of the chains, made a few loopy loops, and had a couple of gravity defying plunges ending in extreme turns that take you back the way you just came. Now, as the roller coaster is pulling into the station, you can feel those jerky stops as the vehicle slows down. It is time to think about prying your hands off the safety bar in front of you, taking a couple of deep breaths to get your stomach out of your throat, and stepping gingerly out of the car back onto solid ground.

If you are in one of the offices that still has legislation in play, you are waiting to see if the months of work you have put in will prosper or, with the stroke of a gavel or the tick of the clock be yesterday’s news.

Just a reminder.

All you can do is all you can do.

Duty is ours and results are God’s.

Let the Lord fight for you.

Hold your peace.

Lord, only by your grace can I hold my peace in this environment. Amen

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oopsy Doopsies

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Leaving my office last night after a mere 17 hour day, my energy was flagging. Things only got worse upon my re-entry to the Capitol this morning, a mere seven hours after leaving. My eyeballs are threatening to evict my contact lenses. My brain needs a couple more cups of coffee to remove the haze. And, the really sad thing is, I may be one of the more rested individuals in the building.

Yesterday one of the bills to be used as a key piece of the revenue puzzle to fund the budget was killed on a point of order - again. With tomorrow slated to be the last day the House can hear Senate bills, there is no time to resurrect the bill. So, while we have agreed (in theory) to a budget, we have not passed bills to generate the necessary revenue to fund the budget.

Or, as we say around the office, “Oopsy doopsies.”

The gossip buzz in the halls and around the building are all geared to, “Do you think we will have a special session?” Meaning, for those of you who are wise enough to stay arms length from this process, that the Governor could call the legislature back into session to deal with any issues they have failed to deal with during this regular session.

My response to the question is to shrug my shoulders and murmur, “I dunno.” My brain will not even go there. But, it is comforting to remember that all those uncertainties for me are already known by God. As the scripture today says, “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.”

He knows. He cares. And He will not lead us where He cannot keep us.

Lord, give us the peace and grace to rest in You. Amen

Thursday, May 19, 2011


The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. Proverbs 19:11

Slow to anger and overlooking transgressions. If you have difficulty with either of those issues, have I got a training ground for you!

We have 12 of the 140 days of the regular session of the 82nd Legislature left to go. Looking at the statistics for this session versus last session, it appears we have lost a tad bit of productivity. Now, don’t get me wrong, I rarely think passing more legislation is a good thing. But, it is an indicator of how relationships are on the House and Senate floors and how the two chambers are relating to each other.

Coming into the session there were a couple of really, really need to get done things. The first and most important, of course, was the budget. No budget no state government. While I concede that many government programs fall into that “non-essential” category (my job included), there really are legitimate functions of government we have to fund. And, since the budget is the only constitutional requirement of a session, it would seem to be prudent to get to it before the last two weeks of session.

But, alas, the fiscal matters bills that must be passed to fund the budget have been postponed on a daily basis each day for the past three weeks. Personally, I’m ready to get the six to eight inch stack of papers relating to those bills off of my desk and move on to something else.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes (and sometimes out in public), the Republicans are arguing with the Democrats about budget priorities. The House is arguing with the Senate about budget numbers. And the Governor is telling everybody his criteria for signing a budget. When I count my blessings, being a witness and not a participant in the discussions is one I count twice.

Then, to add fuel to the fire - because we really need more people to get more offended - a Senate committee took a House bill on immigration, removed all language on immigration and inserted controversial language on homeland security. The Senate is allegedly holding the House re-districting map hostage, waiting for the House to move on the budget (or something). The House is slow to move on Senate bills in retaliation.

All in all, it reminds me of The Three Stooges where Larry, Curly and Mo poke each other in the eye, tweak noses and pull hair. Or, if you can’t picture that, just imagine a junior high group of girls.

And, as if that was not enough, everybody has been working 80 plus hours a week with too little sleep and high stress. That makes it a great time to point out what Proverbs tells us: the discretion of a man makes him slow to anger. Discretion is defined as “the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation.” Key words: freedom and decide. You can decide not to get angry at the actions of the other party. And glory is defined as “high renown or honor won by notable achievements.”

Put simply, it is an honor for you to overlook a transgressions and decide to control your anger.

Keep it in mind today.

Lord, it is one thing to know what we should do and another to actually do it. Help us today to walk this out. Amen.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Character and Hope

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope. Romans 5: 3-4

Fourteen days and 15 hours (give or take a few) remaining in the regular session.

If ever the Lord made a training ground to produce perseverance and instill character, it is the legislative process. Last Thursday was the final deadline for the hearing of House bills. Multitudes of bills languished on the calendar. Some issues which should have been debated were passed without comment, swept along in a frenzy to get to the next bill. Other bills which should have passed with no controversy were debated in minutia, trying to stall the next bill coming up.

Exasperation led some members to engage in conduct that makes you wonder if their mothers know they act that way.

Which brings me to my point today. Romans 5:3-4 tells us that perseverance develops character. It is easy to confuse perseverance with survival in this environment. Survival is continuing to live or exist in spite of an ordeal or difficulty. Perseverance is steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

We are all likely to survive the session. The question is, will we persevere?

Will our efforts on the last day be as energetic, thorough, and principled as they were on the first day? Will we be able to stand for the same things in the waning hours as we stood for on opening day? If so, then our perseverance will have produced in us character. And, our character will produce hope.

In these final days of the session, ask yourself where your hope lies.

Is your hope in tacking your legislation onto some other measure; in the Senate taking an action; or the Calendars Committee setting a bill? If it is, you may be in survival mode.

If, on the other hand, you recognize that nothing done in the Legislature gives you reason to hope, and that your only hope lies in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, you are probably persevering and not overly worried about the next two weeks.

Lord, it is a dangerous prayer to ask that you help us develop our character. But, that is what I ask today. Amen.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Good Word

Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25

Things are a bit hectic for me this morning. Fifteen extra minutes of sleep, rain (praise God!) slowing traffic, House convening 30 minute earlier than usual - my first thought was to forego the devotional due to a lack of time. The the gentle reminder settled on me, if
I don’t have time for God this morning, chances are I will not have time to accomplish any of the other tasks on my schedule. First things first.

Reading Proverbs reminded me that a good word makes the hear glad. So, here is my partial list of good words for the day.

Basset puppy
Yarn shop
Sine Die

You should keep a list of your own “good words,” but never lose sight of the best word of all.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Breathe in . . . Let it Out

But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God. Psalm 40:17

Deep breath in. Let it out. Repeat.

Keep it up and you will make it through the session. Just make it through today and you only have two more Tuesdays. But, if you are like me, you are no longer focused on the end of session, survival has become a day to day or hour to hour goal. With each major bill on the calendar I tick off yet another arduous task and praise God we can move on.

But, isn’t it awesome to know that even when we are so busy, poor in spirit and needy, that the Lord thinks about us. Even when we forget to think about Him. Wow!

Breathe in. Breathe out.

We can do this.

Lord, thank you that we are ever present in Your thoughts. Don’t forget us today. Amen

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rule of Law

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still Psalm 4:4

The Texas Legislature worked on Saturday. Let me rephrase that. The Texas Legislature was in session on Saturday.

We are at the time of session when people are operating with too much stress and too little sleep. Tempers are running high and patience is running low. Watching the activity on Saturday was painful.

To put things in perspective, let’s start with a recap. The Republicans represent 101 of the House seats. The Democrats hold 49. For business to be conducted, 100 members have to be on the House floor. Technically, Republicans could pass anything they wanted to without any Democrat vote. There is an extensive book of House Rules which dictate how the game is to be played. One of the reasons the rules are provided is to establish a clear playing field which does not allow the majority to run rough shod over a minority.

In practice, rules can be a frustrating thing. Just like in a game of baseball. If your team hits the winning run, but the ball goes out of bounds by a hair’s width, it is difficult to understand why the umpire doesn’t just give you the run. But, the solution is not to change the foul lines, it is to keep the ball in the field.

Likewise, the House rules have specifications on every detail of how committees and the activity on the House floor will run. Some of them seem trivial and nitpicking. But, they are the rules everybody adopted at the start of session. The time to change them is when they are adopted, not when the ball is in play.

So, we come to the Texas House. On one hand, Democrats have been frustrated by their lack of numbers to effectively block legislation. On the other hand, as bills have been stopped when a point of order (rule violation) has been called by the Democrats, frustrations for Republicans have mounted. There are some priority bills which are being delayed because of technicalities. But, that’s not just a Democrat tool. Anybody can use it.

Things came to a head on Saturday.

Working with only 116 members on the floor, the rumor all day was that we would drop below a quorum and not be able to continue business. Several times members made a motion for a “call on the House” to ensure enough people were there to conduct business. A call on the House is a procedure where the doors are locked and members who are not on the floor can be compelled to return. (Think nuclear option.) Each time the motion was withdrawn.

A bill was brought to the floor for consideration. A point of order was called. It was overruled. Then, motions were made to suspend all rules. Tempers flared.

It is a common motion to suspend all necessary rules to take up and consider a particular bill. That motion means none of the rules of procedure apply, and it is generally made to bring up simple resolutions that do not need to go through the committee process. On Saturday, the motions were to suspend all rules for everything, meaning there could be no procedural points of order called on any bill on the calendar.

Now, since a motion to suspend the rules is a legitimate motion, I suppose that means that one of the rules is that you can change the rules in the middle of the game. But, choosing to win by changing the rules in the middle of the game because you are frustrated does nothing to improve the climate on the House floor. After several hours of bickering and negotiations, the House adjourned until 10:am this morning.

So, this morning my prayer is that:

1) The players will show up to continue the game. We are not finished yet.
2) Tempers will be checked at the door. We can be angry, but we do not want to sin.
3) The business of the State of Texas will proceed.

Lord, by your grace and mercy our leaders can move forward an accomplish the purposes for which they have come to Austin. I pray that Your presence will be with them on the House floor today. Amen.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Number Your Days

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

In case you were wondering, it is 25 days, 16 hours, 45 minutes and 7 seconds until the end of session. But who is counting?

Sometimes when I am too tired to think analytically about what scripture to read, it is my habit to just fall back to the old favorites. And so, I found myself reveling in Psalm 91 this morning. Always a picker-upper, I knew that meditation on the verses would encourage me and bring a smile to my face. I wasn’t disappointed.

But while reading, my eyes wandered across the page and the verse “So teach us to number out days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” caught my eye. The verse is true in our lives and never more true than when you are involved in high stakes events that impact the lives of so many people.

I tremble to think that life-changing decisions are being made by individuals who have had less sleep than I have this week. It is beyond human capacity to read and digest all the information a legislator comes in contact with in a single day. With hundreds of bills and thousands of pages of information, it is mind-numbing. Even after condensing the information into tidbits and factoids, there is often not time to verbally brief on each item up for consideration. We do the best we can. And pray for the Lord’s grace and mercy to equip us and to fill in the gaps.

There are now 25 days, 16 hours, 31 minutes and 53 seconds.

Lord, I pray that You will go before me today, equip me to do all You have for me to do, and let me use my time wisely. Amen.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Things You Can Learn

...His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

Last Thursday there was a delightful respite from the cares of the office when Jerry and I joined Rep. Simpson and his family at an event held at the Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) Exotic Game Ranch. The weather was wonderful, the sun was still up ( a plus for those of us who have been working underground at the Capitol), and the tour of the animals was enlightening.

With thousands of animals on the ranch, it would be difficult to describe them all. But there were two very different species that caught my attention at the end of the tour. The contrast between them brings home a strong spiritual truth.

First, we met Rowdy. Rowdy is a 6,000 pound white rhinoceros. He came out of his enclosure when his name was called. That is about the extent of his desire to interact with humans. The rhinoceros, in the wild, is the “whats on the grill tonight” for crocodiles. Rowdy didn’t care that we were not a bus load of crocodiles. He snorted, kicked his back leg in the dirt like a bull ready to charge and generally double dog dared us to come any closer. We declined the offer.

Then we met Stretch and Spot. Stretch is a 14 foot tall reticulated giraffe and Spot is his nine month old pal. It is a little known fact, but giraffes have no natural predators. They are too tall to tangle with and they have the ability to kick 360 degrees around them. Nothing in its right mind would come near those hooves. But Stretch knows he has a natural protection. He is the most gentle animal you could imagine. We hand fed him carrots (the little baby ones) and he would gently take them out of our hands and crunch them. Even if you allowed your hand to go into his mouth with the carrot, he would not bite.

So, on the one hand, we have the 6,000 pound rhinoceros who you would think would be able to protect itself and then the long and lanky giraffe that you would think would be a sitting target (albeit a tall target). But, the one, knowing he had no predators was gentle.

And, so it is in life.

If you know that you sit in the palm of the Lord’s hand and trust that he is your shield, you can be as gentle as a lamb (or giraffe). The knowledge that you have no natural predators empowers you to view the world like Stretch, confident that you are safe.

On the other hand, those who are in constant fear of losing something . . . power, position, influence, money, . . . whatever, tend to act more like Rowdy. They figure there is a reason they weigh 6,000 pounds and dare you to cross their path.

I don’t recommend you take the dare, unless of course, you happen to be a giraffe.

Lord, thank you that you are our shield and our protector. Help us to walk in that knowledge with gentleness and mercy. Amen.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thought for the Day

Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; but by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged. Proverbs 28:2

Thought for the day:

        More sleep - Good.
        More traffic - Bad.

And, that explains why it was after 8:00 when I got to the office this morning. But, it is so not the topic of this musing.

Have you ever been reading Scripture and suddenly a bunch of random dots connect to show you something so obvious you wonder why you haven’t been preaching on it?

Here is my sermon on limited government.

When we fail to govern ourselves, the civil government feels compelled to come in and do he job for us. That isn’t new news. One of the frustrations of watching legislation is the myriad of overlapping governments we are putting on ourselves. We have the traditional federal, state, county and municipal entities. We have piled on school districts, municipal utility districts, special purpose districts, economic development districts, COGs (Council of Government), RMAs (regional mobility authority), the agencies with rule-making authority - the list goes on and on. To top it off, many of us live in areas governed by HOAs (homeowner associations). We think nothing of purchasing a piece of property and willing giving authority to another to tell us what we may and may not do on it.

When reading Proverbs 28 this morning it jumped off the page at me. Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes. We have all these people in authority over us because of our transgressions. Until we learn to govern ourselves, civil government will feel compelled to govern everything from our toilets and light bulbs to the menus at restaurants.

Tired of big government? Try a little self-government.

Don’t know where to start? Just begin with God’s Ten Commandments.

With knowledge and understanding, right will be prolonged.

Lord, have mercy on our nation. Make us men and women of understanding and knowledge so that right will be prolonged. Amen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

While we are waiting

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14

Have you ever wondered why the psalmist would put the same thought twice in a single verse of scripture. Was he reminding himself or future readers of the importance of waiting on the Lord?

The entire legislative process tends to create a hurry up and wait scenario. One minute you are rushing around with phones ringing, visitors interrupting, reading bills and trying to get everything in order. The next minute you are engaged in listening to debate on the House floor just waiting to see if anything is said requiring you to shoot information to the legislators to enable them to make a better informed vote.

Watching the floor debate can be boring. But not for me. That is when I knit socks.

I am pretty good at multi-tasking, but have never developed the ability to pay close attention to someone talking and reading something in detail at the same time. So, when my attention needs to be on floor debate, my hands are kept busy with my latest knitting project. Knitting is something that requires little thought, keeps my hands busy, and gives me a means to measure progress. For example, the debate on the House floor on the appropriations bill took 3/4 of a sock to complete. Frustration at the final outcome of the budget was dampened by the knowledge that the time had not been a total waste for me since there was a sock to show for it.

Most of life is spent waiting for some event to happen. But most of life unfolds in the waiting, not in the events. Waiting should not be a passive event - especially when you are waiting on the Lord. The psalmist reminds us that it is a time of strengthening.

So, for the next month or so as you find yourself just waiting for the next committee hearing, the floor debate to end, the session to be over . . . don’t be frustrated. Remember it is the time to be of good courage and look to see where the Lord is strengthening your heart.

You could also take up knitting.

Lord, help me to see You in the ebbs and flows of my daily schedule. Remind me to be of good courage when I am waiting on You. Amen

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! Psalm 146:1

Our office was closed for four days over the Easter weekend. It seemed that Monday would be a good day to come in and catch up on work while things were quiet.I’m not sure what it says about our staff, our work load, or our sanity that virtually every other staff member in our office thought exactly the same thing and we had a full house for a while.

Looking at the schedule for the coming week, I almost broke out in hives over the 202 bills that will be heard on the House floor today. With bad bills flying through with little or no debate, this 101 Republican majority is beginning to scare me a bit. There are so many bills that purport to do one thing while in reality they do the exact opposite. We have immigration bills that look good and do nothing. We have education bills to cut local mandates that only serve to cut teacher pay and increase teacher workloads, while leaving multitudes of unnecessary mandates in place. We have an appropriations bill for a two year biennium that only fund about 18 months of the period. And we have legislators who are like little boys whistling in the dark as they run past the woods, pretending they are not afraid and hoping the boogie man won’t jump out and get them.

My job is to read the bills, analyze them and make recommendations about the content of the bill. I used to think my job was to stop the bad stuff and get the good stuff passed. That understanding of my job description left me a total failure and utterly frustrated. It is much easier to fulfill my duty to read, analyze recommend and then tell God on ‘em when they do the wrong thing.

John Quincey Adam’s nailed it when he said, “Duty is our’s results are God’s.”

And, I praise the Lord that the results are in His hands.

Lord, Do you see what is going on around here? Just checking. Thank you that nothing is happening around here today that is going to take you by surprise. Amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dead Man

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

This is the week that we observe Good Friday in remembrance of the crucifixion of Christ and Easter in celebration of His resurrection. But for the man (or woman) who walks in the power of the risen Lord, the resurrection is not something that is celebrated once a year. They do it every day. Their lives are a personification of dead to sin, alive to God.

And, so we come to today’s theme - political suicide.

As many of you know, this session I am working in the office of a freshman legislator. He is an interesting fellow. He actually says what he believes and does what he says. He is a humble man - quiet and unassuming, but tenacious and persistent. And, those characteristics have the rest of the people around here completely confounded.

Why would a freshman legislator cause a ruckus on the House floor during the debate on appropriations. He was credited with everything from grandstanding to trying to set up an unfavorable vote to be used in future elections. The truth was, he actually believed that we should not be funding the Commission on the Arts and corporate welfare programs when we were cutting funding to nursing homes by 40 percent. Nobody put him up to it. He actually (don’t laugh) read the Appropriations bill himself and found the anomalies.

Then last week, he had the audacity to request that a bill on a Local and Consent calendar be put on the General State calendar so that it could be properly debated. The bill grows government by 14.5 employees at a cost of $1.3 million. It could not be debated or amended on the local calendar and under the House rules probably should never have been placed there in the first place. It was the principle of the matter.

The author of the bill happened to be the chair of the Local and Consent calendar committee, a seasoned legislator who has the respect and fear of her peers. With the ability to kill a member’s bill by simply refusing to place it on a calendar, few members are willing to question anything done in the committee. Some love their legislation more than their principles.

So, what is it that motivates or even empowers a freshman legislator to commit political suicide? It is the understanding that it is not difficult to commit suicide when you are already a dead man. When you know that the Lord has brought you here for a time such as this, you play to the Audience of One. When you come to this place to serve God, not man, the decisions you make can be different. And when you love the Lord and your home, the threat that you may not be chosen to return to this den of iniquity is not a credible threat when the other option is regular business hours and time with your family.

The part of me that wants to protect this freshman legislator from political pitfalls battles with the part of me that rejoices in the answer to prayer that a principled legislator is. I count it a privilege to be able to watch it play out. In the words of one of my political hero’s, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”

Lord, may Your hand of protection be upon those legislators You have brought here for a time such as this. Amen

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When in Doubt . . .

My rule of thumb is that when in doubt about what to read in scripture and short on time, turn to the Psalms. They never fail to comfort, inspire, stir up or reproach me as the day’s needs merit. This morning Psalm 60 seemed to be pulled from the headlines of recent days.

O God, You have cast us off;
You have broken us down;
You have been displeased;
Oh, restore us again!
You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
You have shown Your people hard things:
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth.
That your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and hear me. Psalm 60:1-5

Lord, I praise You that you know both our past and our future and love us anyway. I pray for your empowering grace and your unending mercies to follow your people today. Amen

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oh Joy!

...the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

Whew! I don’t know about you, but it seems like life is happening in fast forward these days.

Being a veteran of legislative sessions, this session has been a challenge to me as the information flying at me is maxing out my capacity to process. Add the melt down of the phone lines due to a particular vote, a bit of frustration over dropping the ball when I shouldn’t have, and lack of sleep and you are setting up the scenario for not good things to happen.

After carefully considering the options, I decided to nix the idea of hiding under my desk until everybody goes away. There is too much under there for me to clean out for it to be comfortable. I decided against locking the office door, also. One time I locked the door and forgot about it and almost whacked my nose from the momentum as I tried to go through it anyway. It wasn’t pretty.

So, my final option was to remember that the joy of the Lord is my strength, and I am fully equipped to handle anything that comes my way this day.

Praise God!

Thank you, Lord, that you do not lead us where you cannot keep us. And, thank you for Your joy that you give us. Amen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Call to Action

But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they rolled a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. Exodus 17:12

Let me just preface this piece with the admission that, yes, I have repented.

Whenever my schedule would get exceedingly hectic I used to tell my husband that if only my calendar had bigger squares on it I would be able to accomplish more. My philosophy was that if there was room to write an action on the calendar, there was time to do it. There is a flaw in that philosophy - which is not the topic of this missive. Back to the point, yesterday my calendar needed bigger squares.

Naturally, my response was to get offended on someone else’s behalf - like I have time to pick up someone else’s issue. Justifying it to myself as a righteous indignation allowed me to carry it a few hours longer, lose some sleep, get discouraged and generally irritate myself and those around me. Whining to the Lord this morning, He gently reminded me (I’m sure the two by four is gentle compared to other means He has) to shut up and start praying.

We have an incredible group of new legislators (and some seasoned ones) who are servants of the Lord Most High. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell that so far, but it is time to share the blame for their lethargy. A legislator who chooses to go against the grain in this process is setting him / herself up for a beating. There are a thousand ways that those who disagree with you can make life difficult. You are subject to ridicule. Your legislative package can be stalled. You are not invited to participate with the “in crowd.” You can be lied to and about. If that doesn’t help you envision what they are up against, think about the play ground in junior high. You have the counterparts to the cool kids, nerds and geeks around the Capitol - and they have been known to act accordingly.

So, what is the solution? When Moses sent Joshua into battle over the Amalekites, he stood on top of the hill overlooking the battle and raised the rod of God in his hand. As long as his hand was up, Joshua was winning. When he became too tired to stand there any longer, Aaron and Moses brought him a rock to sit on and held his hands up for him.

By virtue of our vote for these godly men and women, we have sent them into battle on our behalf. We have to be constantly raising our hands over them and covering them in prayer as they do battle. When we drop that coverage, they will lose.

There are a lot of bills that will be considered on the House floor today. I challenge each of you who are in the Capitol to take a few minutes out of your day to walk to the House gallery and pray over the Texas Legislature. Ask the Lord to give the members the courage of their conviction. Pray for divine wisdom and discernment as they are debating the bills. Pray that they will fear the Lord more than any man or constituency group.

God is not restrained by time or distance. For those of you who are not in the Capitol, accept your responsibility to help solve our state’s problems. Add your prayers to the chorus coming from here. Most importantly, remember that this is not a one time call to prayer.

Lord, stir up your prayer warriors. Bring them into the battle. Amen

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Forty Days

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Gen. 6:8

Have you ever tried to imagine yourself in the place of some of the great characters of the Bible? When God got fed up with all creation, He decided to destroy them with the flood. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He was the one whom God trusted to make the ark, collect all the animals, and literally bridge the gap between the flooded desolation and the new beginning.

It was no small task. His wife probably thought he was crazy. It had never rained before. Her neighbors had no idea what Noah and his sons were thinking with their new T-shirts advertising “We Scoop Poop.” And now be honest, if God had asked you to do the task, would you have been faithful to bring along the skunks, spiders, and mosquitoes? Or, with so much confusion and so many animals, would you just figure God would never miss a few of His “lesser” creations?

Yep, just thinking about Noah’s assignment makes me much happier that my next forty days will be spent here in the Capitol and not on that ark. Sure, it will rain legislation and my desk will continue to look like it has thrown up. My office is oozing reports, correspondence, resolutions and amendments. The poop we scoop is metaphorical. There is probably as much of it as was on the ark, but the stench is not so overwhelming.

With that, I have probably carried this analogy further than it needs to go. All to make two points.

  1. Noah found grace in the eyes of God. And so can you.
  2. There are only forty days left in session!!!!!!!
Lord, I do pray that You will continue to cover us with Your amazing grace. Amen

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Pig's Nose Ring

As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is lovely woman who lacks discretion. Proverbs 11:22

What is the first thing you think of when you read the above scripture about “...a ring of gold in a swine’s snout”? Did you get a visual on that? Was the pig also wearing pearls and a fancy hat? (Think Miss Piggy in The Muppet Movie.) Do you get the comparison between the pig’s nose ring and a woman sure to do the wrong thing at just the right time? Could you explain all that to me?

Actually, I just picked the scripture this morning because it made me chuckle. And it delights my soul that scripture has such enjoyable nuggets of treasure hidden from cover to cover. Who, if you told told them you were reading a book where the practice of giving a pig a nose ring, would ever guess you were referring to the Word of God?

No kidding. It is like a treasure hunt to read the Bible. I found my treasure for the day. Now, you go find you own. And don’t stop reading until you do!

Lord, thank you that Your Word has such precious nuggets to make us chuckle and the power to change lives. Open my eyes and my ears to receive the message You have for me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ever Been the Cat?

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. Psalm 9:1

Have you ever walked into a dark room and stepped on a cat? Immediately the silence is broken by the screech of the cat as it leaps into the air. It lands three feet away from where it started, with its back hunched, hair bristling and claws unsheathed. Have you ever been the cat?

For those who are unaccustomed to the pace at the State Capitol, the cat analogy is as close as it gets to explaining how a day goes around here. Things can be perfectly quiet and going along well until that phone call comes in or the visitor arrives that steps on your tail and you find yourself doing, if not physical at least mental, gymnastics that leave you with hair bristling and claws unsheathed. I will even confess to an occasional screech or two.

Then, there are those days when you feel like a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. You are just waiting for the inevitable.

I can’t tell you how to stop being the cat. But, I can tell you how to stop worrying about the rocking chairs.

Just look up and praise the Lord. One of the marvelous things He does is to give peace in the midst of chaos.

Lord, I will praise you with my whole heart and tell of Your marvelous works. Amen

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do the Right Thing

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord. Psalm 4:5

It is true in all arenas, but especially evident in the political realm, that life is lived in a multi-dimensional arena. Decisions made at the Capitol have political, policy, and personal ramifications. Each vote taken has winners and losers - and they keep score.

Years ago my short tenure on a local school board taught me that only the person taking the vote is able to count the personal cost of a decision made. It was a valuable lesson that has served me well as a policy advisor to legislators. Explaining the intracacies of a particular policy idea is simple compared to assessing the consequences of actually implementing it.

So, what do you do? My best advice, after all the facts have been shared, is to take the vote that will not keep you awake when you lay down at night.

Or, as the psalmist suggested, Offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord.

Lord, I pray the legislators who govern our state and nation will fear You more than anything else as they make decisions on our behalf . Amen

Monday, April 4, 2011

Running the Race

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares up, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

On Friday the House began consideration of the state budget at 8:30 am. On Saturday morning around 1:00 am, they had managed to get through the first three (of 11) sections of the budget. They called it a day, adjourned and came back Sunday afternoon at 4:00 to continue the debate. The budget was finally passed a little after 10:00 pm. The 23 and a half hours of debate came after well over 200 hours of meetings by appropriation committee members to construct the budget.

It was a long race. And, for many, a very frustrating one. The entire budget process has been designed over the years to protect particular fiefdoms of money through dedicated accounts of revenues. The result is that decisions of prioritization on how money can be spent are restricted. Suppose you believe that revenue funding corporate welfare programs would be better spent to fund nursing homes. The option of moving the money from the corporate programs is dedicated to those programs and it is not an option to change that.

When an attempt is made to discern why things are done the way they are done it is like the story of the little girl watching her mother cook a roast. The mother cut the end of the roast off and put the slab of meat into the roasting pan. The little girl asked why she had cut the end off the roast. The mother realized that she did it that way because that was the way her mother had always done it. So, she and her daughter called the grandmother to ask why she cut the end off of the roast before she put it in the pan. The grandmother was stumped as well. She cut the end off of the roast because her mother had always done that. Fortunately, the little girl’s great-grandmother was still alive, so the mystery was solved. When they called to pose the question to her, the response was simple, “The pan I had was too small for the roast I was cooking.”

And, so, what made sense in one generation no longer made since in future ones. When it comes to government budgets, some of those in charge have forgotten why we did some things in the first place. Then, on the other hand, there are those who realize that the system is broken. They just like it that way.

Lord, give those who govern over us to run the race you have put before them with wisdom and integrity. Amen

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Start Counting

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2

If forced to choose, I suppose that one of my favorite modern day inventions is the snooze button. Think about it. When people had to get up with the rooster crowing, the only viable snooze button was a fried chicken dinner. Today we have the luxury of rolling over, pushing a button and postponing the inevitable for a few more minutes. By the end of the day the extra twenty minutes won’t account for much, but It was a luxury I enjoyed this morning.

And today is a day to enjoy any luxury we can find.

Debate begins this morning on a supplemental appropriations bill and the full appropriations bill is scheduled for tomorrow. The past few days have been consumed with reading the bills and the proposed amendments. Personally, my brain is full and numbers are beginning to dribble out of my ears. But, not to worry, there are other much better qualified people who are reviewing the bill for the benefit of the citizens of Texas. (I hope.)

An eternal optimist, I’m not really expecting the next few days to be all that bad. But, just in case, there is a change of clothes and a toothbrush in my backpack.

Just a reminder to my fellow staff here at the Capitol:

1) This is not new, we do it every session.
2) The day will not last forever. It will just seem like it does.
3) You will win some and you will lose some.
4) The Lord will not fall off of His throne, regardless of what happens.

So, my advice to you is to start counting it all joy, because you will be tested today.

And, when you get filled with that joy, remember to tell your face. There will be a lot of long faces and short tempers in the building today. However, your joy can be contagious.

And, even if it isn’t contagious, it will keep people wondering what you are up to.

Lord, may your joy be our strength this day and forever. Amen

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love is in the Air

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 12:22

Love is in the air. It isn’t that stuff that is turning your car yellow and making you sneeze. That’s probably oak pollen. Love is that intangible feeling that turns otherwise rational young men into hopeless romantics. And, we got to see it in action in our office this week.

Our administrative aide in the office proposed to the woman of his dreams. He carefully orchestrated the event, gathering family members from both sides together for a dinner just blocks from the Capitol. Everyone was aware of the plan except for the lucky girl and the poor waiter who could not imagine why he was being rushed so much.

But, the plan was carefully orchestrated. After being seated at the table, the lucky man excused himself for a few minutes to go to the Capitol and make a trail of notes for the bride to be to follow at the appointed time. It began at the south entrance to the Capitol grounds and ended with a bouquet of roses at the front mic on the House floor. Upon his return, we scarfed down our food and all said our good-byes to each other.

While the special couple began the leisurely walk that would end on the House floor, the remainder of us rushed to the House gallery. We had all been invited to participate as spectators to that special moment when Michael went down on one knee and offered the ring as the pledge of his eternal love to that special girl.

The moment came as they walked into the House Chambers below us. He walked her toward the front mic and handed her a note to read. She paused to read the note with a smile on her face and turned toward him. Not wanting to miss a second of the action, her dad snapped a picture just as she was turning. She saw the flash out of the corner of her eye and looked up, startled to see both her family and his beaming down at them from the seats above her.

The secret was out. Michael went down on one knee, asked her something we couldn’t hear and offered up the ring. We had no difficulty discerning the answer, but just to make sure she shouted up to us, “That was a ‘yes!’” The rest of the evening was all hugs and smile as we congratulated the happy couple.

It was a delightful break in an otherwise hectic work day.

Did I mention that the girl of Michael’s dreams is my youngest daughter? He has found a good thing.

Lord, thank you for bringing Michael and Kristi together. May You always be at the center of their relationship. Amen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

An email was sent to our office a few days ago referring to the legislator with whom I work as an IDIOT. In the world of instant messaging and emailing the protocols have changed. No longer able to get nuances across with the choice of vocabulary, writers are sometimes led to use all capital letters to signify that they are yelling. I was made aware that the practice of using all caps was uncouth when one of my daughters told me to quit yelling in a text.


“Yes, Mom, you are.”


“Why are you typing in all caps then?”

. . . Because the caps lock was on.

Then, yesterday I received an email from a friend who was typing in all caps, venting over her frustration of a tough day, and she ended the email with YES. I AM YELLING.

I had to smile. When I was her age there is no way my frustration would have been vented by typing in all caps. There was a time when my frustration could only be appeased by making someone else as frustrated as I was. And, if I do say so myself, I was pretty good at sharing the pain.

But, one of the joys of growing in the Lord has been learning to accept the peace the Lord has given me. With a mentor who frequently admonishes, “Don’t let it steal your peace,” the lesson was not instantaneous. And, I often need reminders. But, like all other lessons, once it is learned and practiced it becomes more of a habit. When I feel my temper rising like the mercury in a thermometer, I repeat the mantra to myself. “It won’t steal my peace. It won’t steal my peace. IT WON’T STEAL MY PEACE!”

Generally, by the time I get to that point, I’m laughing at myself and well on my way to getting over whatever it was that got me riled in the first place - until the next time.

Jesus warned us that we would have tribulation in the world. It shouldn’t take us by surprise. For example, we will be working on the budget this week. But, be of good cheer, He has overcome the world. Don’t let the circumstances steal your peace.

Lord, thank You for the peace that passes all understanding. I pray for an extra portion of Your mercy and grace this week as we juggle responsibilities and prepare to debate the state budget. Amen

Monday, March 28, 2011

Are you Praying?

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 1 Timothy 2:1

Just so you know, my life is not particularly quiet and peaceable at the moment. I just wanted to make sure you are remembering to pray for all those people you are supposed to be praying for, especially the ones in authority. And, on behalf of my fellow staffers here at the Texas Capitol, could I just ask that you add us to the list?

The appropriations bill is coming up for consideration on Friday. Generally, we look forward to Friday because it tends to be a quieter day and we are able to catch up on those things that have fallen by the wayside. Instead, this week we are looking at the day we normally all collapse in exhaustion to be the day we will have to be at our sharpest. It might be OK if we got to rest in the first part of the week to prepare for the onslaught, but legislative time does not work that way.

So, just to make you feel better, please know that your legislators will determine how to spend the $164 billion budget at the end of a long week when we are all exhausted and everybody involved would rather be doing anything but working into the wee hours of the morning.

Now, if that does not motivate you to prayer, I don’t know what will.

Lord, I pray for your grace to go before us this week. Give each person involved in this process rest in You. Amen

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Closed Door

The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord. Proverbs 21:31

In a rare move, one of my staffers just shut my office door, leaving me alone with my computer to write the devotional.

For the past week the urgent has been taking precedence over the important in my life. My calendar no longer reflects all of my duties. The prompt to indicate whether an issue is of low, medium or high importance makes me chuckle. At this point, only the items threatening to go nuclear which are ranking as both urgent and important are making the list at all. I have to prioritize from there, determining which on can be pushed aside just long enough to complete what is right before me.

My weekend was sacrificed to preparation for a bill hearing we will have this afternoon. My afternoon will be spent in the hearing. Listening with one ear, working on another bill hearing for tomorrow and reading legislation that will be coming up on the floor in the weeks to come. Going home in the evening is not getting off of work, it is merely changing where I sit while I read. Doing only one thing at a time is no longer a luxury I can afford.

And, can I be perfectly honest with you? I’m not as young as I used to be.

After 18 years of this grueling schedule, I have to admit, I love it! It is a joy and a blessing to know that you are where you are supposed to be and doing what you are supposed to be doing. My job is to prepare the legislator with whom I work for the day of battle. But, after I do all I can do, I trust the Lord to do the rest.

Now, having carved five minutes out of my day to do the important, I am prepared to open up the office door and let the urgent back in.

Thank you, Lord, that you for the Peace You give in the midst of chaos. Amen

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I make it Monday through Wednesday without too much difficulties, but Thursdays are beginning to get to me. The alarm and I had words this morning. My body knows it has already put in more hours in the past three days than it will in an entire week when we aren’t in session. This regiment, like getting old, is not for sissies.

Some of the proposals other states have discussed as a means to reduce budget deficits include four day work weeks and employee furloughs. By working ten hour days, but only working four days a week, there would be efficiencies in utility and maintenance costs. Likewise, requiring employees to take non-paid time off, salary savings would be accrued.

My body is telling me that it would be good with either of those options at the moment. Working only 10 hours a day would be a reduction in my hours. And, instead of taking non-paid time off, it wouldn’t take much to convince me to pay the state for some down time.

And, while sleep would be a nice addition to my schedule, what I really need is rest. And, that only comes through a personal relationship with Christ.

So, Lord, here’s me coming to You.

Thank you, Lord, for Your rest. Amen

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Top Ten

There are tens of thousands of pages of legislation considered every legislative session. Generally (but not always), you can count on a legislative proposal either coercively taking your freedom or your money. The principal that rights are given by God and protected by government has become perverted over time.

But, God wasn’t confused when He laid out the laws. And, He only had ten:

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image - any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant my rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep theSabbath day.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

How wise would we be if we just quit trying to re-invent the wheel?

Lord, write Your commandments on my heart and help me to be ever faithful to You. Amen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Did We Take the Long Cut?

“It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.” Deuteronomy 1:2

My husband is notorious for adventures in traveling. He greatly prefers scenic back roads and the paths least traveled. To adults, that can be a relaxing way to spend a day. To a kid, not so much. While all of our children were excellent travelers, their patience had its limits. On one trip home to Austin from from Grandma’s house in Houston, Dad decided to take the backroads. When we turned off the main road, he announced we were going to take a short cut home. As time and miles passed, so did patience. Finally, middle child asked, “Dad, did you take the long cut?”

That’s probably how the Israelites felt as Moses spoke to them going into the Promised Land. Forty years after they began their journey, Moses announces, “It is eleven days’ journey by way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.” - the most direct route from where they were to where they were going. Great. Now he tells them. But, the Lord wanted them to take the long cut so that all of those who were unfaithful would die out along the way and the new generation would receive the promises.

I tremble to make the comparison between a legislative session and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Work with me. I’m not
trying to imply there is a Promised Land at the the end of the session. We are 64 days into the session and we have passed (let me do the math)- uh, one bill. It is true we spent two whole days on it. It is also true that it was passed with a scenario that makes it almost certain to die in limbo because the House and Senate are in a standoff as to which version of the bill should prevail. (Technically nothing has really passed, but we all had our press conferences and patted ourselves on the back.)

So, we are six days away from the half-way mark. Seventy-six days to complete the budget, re-districting, and sunset reviews of TxDOT, the Department of Insurance and various other agencies. Oh, and there are another 7,320 bills that have been filed for our consideration. Rumors of special sessions are already beginning to circulate.

From the back seat, it is beginning to feel like we are taking a long cut.

I suppose my husband’s example might work in this environment, too. Instead of worrying about the time in the car, I guess I’ll just focus on the scenery that is passing by.

Lord, help us to learn the lessons you have for us while we are on this journey so that we do not have to repeat them again in the future. Amen

Monday, March 14, 2011

Your Comforts Delight my Soul

In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

What do you say to comfort a person who has lost a loved one?

What do you say to a family who has lost a home or business to a flood or hurricane?

What do you say to a nation that has been devastated by earthquake and tsunami?

Throughout the weekend we found ourselves turning to hear the news about the earthquakes in japan. I find myself unable to actually comprehend the horror of the situation. One minute people were going about their daily business, thinking about what would be for dinner that night. The next minute buildings collapsed and soon after, entire cities were swept away in the tsunami. As if that were not enough, rescue efforts are hampered by continuing aftershocks with the potential for additional tsunamis. And, their nuclear reactors are melting down. The people need food, water and shelter.

Like Job’s friends, I find myself at a loss of words.

The situation does, however, put the Texas budget into perspective. Given a “crisis” to solve, I’d have to say our task appears easier than Japan’s.

Lord, we pray for your peace that passes all understanding to be with the people of Japan. My Your comforts delight their souls, even in the midst of this great tragedy. And, Lord, we pray that You will help us all to keep Your eternal perspective on each task you put before us. Amen

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Kidding

The Lord reigns; let the people tremble!

When my oldest child was about five she was having a particularly bad day. One thing led to another and I decided “time out” was my best resort. She was sentenced to five minutes of silence in her room. We are not talking about sitting in a chair for five minutes. Or, not having anything to do for five minutes. Just, go to your room and be quiet for five minutes. Three hours later I emerged the victor when she was finally released from her room, having just completed her punishment.

Lesson learned for child: Mom’s not kidding.

God isn’t kidding either.

Those Ten Commandments. Really, He is not fooling around.

Love your neighbor. No joke, He’s serious.

No gods before Him. Really, that includes all of our TVs and electronic toys.

The Lord reigns!

And, it makes me tremble to think of the consequences of where our society is leading us.

Lord, have mercy on us and on our nation. Amen

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Call to God

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

After struggling for over an hour this morning to write the devotional, I finally resigned myself to the fact that it just wasn’t happening and turned my attention to prayer, instead. My list of things to discuss with the Lord has gotten quite long over the past few weeks. I began with telling God there was just no way to do the devotional if it was going to take up this much of my time. How could I possibly get everything on my work list done, my prayer list done, and all the other things that are screaming for my attention?

He reminded me, “Call on Me, and I will answer you.”

Oh, instead of struggling with a topic for the devotional, I just have to call on You?

“That is correct.”

So, what’s the message for the devotional today?

“What did I just tell you?”

Oh, that’s the message?

“Yes, I will answer you and show you great and mighty things.”

Wow! Like what to write in the devotional?


OK, maybe God didn’t actually say, “Bingo.” But, that’s the message I got. And, I suppose that it is a good message for all of us to remember. Next time you find yourself throwing up your hands in frustration, just leave them raised for a few minutes of praise and worship. Call to Him, and He will answer.

Lord, thank you for the reminder. Amen.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Daily To Do LIst

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Romans 12:9-13

There are times to speak and times to let things speak for themselves.

I think I’ll move theses behaviors to the top of my To Do List this morning.

Lord, thank you for the reminders of what living for You looks like. Amen

Friday, March 4, 2011


He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. Proverbs 12:11

It is never a good sign when on a Monday morning I feel that internal urge to just settle for what we deserve in public policy. Life was less complicated 18 years ago when I was going through the motions of life with no particular regard one way or the other for government. The rate of taxation, environmental policy, foreign policy, health care, even pro-life issues were a mere blip on my radar screen as I went through the daily routine of the care and feeding of my family. I couldn’t allow anything like the evening news to interfere with my schedule.

It took a major breech of parental rights for me to comprehend the full power and reach of the government. I was not amused to find that while my peers and I had been engrossed in our day to day living, our government had taken on roles and responsibilities it was never designed to encompass. And so, I had my first understanding that the phrase, ‘Somebody ought to do something’ meant get to work.

This morning, listening to the appropriations committee, reading some of the bills that have been filed, going over the news clips of the state and nation, and reviewing the emails in my inbox asking for action on first one item and then another, I fail to see where we have made any significant progress in the past 18 years.

Our government is like a garden. The ground was carefully tilled and prepared with our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The appropriate roles of the various branches of government were planted, laid out like the neat rows of plants in a spring garden. But, as our nation began to grow and the government expanded to accommodate the times, weeds began to grow up beside the legitimate plants. The occasional misappropriation of funds for private gain, over regulation of business to benefit a specific special interest, or intrusion into personal rights and responsibilities didn’t seem like such a big deal in the whole scheme of things.

The little roots of those weeds took hold as the cultivation of our garden was ignored. Now, after all the years of neglect, it is like walking into a vegetable garden after a summer rain. The deer ate all the green bean vines. The cucumber plants have exceeded their boundaries and are trying to overtake the pepper plants. The tops of the tomato bushes have been beaten down and need to be staked to keep the fruit from rotting on the ground. Through it all the weeds are so thick that pulling them out puts the roots of the legitimate plants at risk. (And, did I mention the temperature and humidity are both in the 90”s?) Restoration of the garden is hard work.

The eternal optimist in me leads me to plant a garden every spring, knowing the frustrations i will face in the summer. The occasional fresh tomato, squash or cucumber makes the effort worth while, even when the price of the produce in the grocery store is less than the cost of the garden. But, alas, there comes that point where I throw up my hands and concede that the weeds and the deer have won at the end of each season.

Looking at the “government garden” this morning makes me shake my head and question the effort to fight back the weeds. But, alas, the alternative is not an option.

Lord, help us. Amen.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Die Quietly

And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Romans 8:10

Late last evening I received an email from a friend who took exception to my devotional yesterday. Apparently, it hit a nerve. And, I still owe that friend an email to remind them that there was no offense intended. The devotionals are my way of sharing what the Lord is doing and showing me in my life. If everybody agreed with me it would be a boring life, indeed. I’m OK with different opinions so long as they can be reconciled with the Word of God.

But, that’s not my point this morning. My point is how the Lord uses the devotional in my life. When I first received the email about yesterday’s entry, I chuckled at the righteous indignation that was oozing from the pages. About 15 seconds later, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the fact that I had spent most of the day in a righteously indignant huff myself.

I didn’t even try to reason with the Lord and explain to Him why my huff was warranted and my friend’s was not. I know better. A dear friend and mentor of mine spent quite a season in my life explaining to me that you cannot offend a dead man. If Christ is in me, then sin is dead. When that offense rises up, it is a clue that something else needs to die.

Once the general principle of ‘you can’t offend a dead man” was ingrained in me, my mentor moved on to a shorthand reminder of my sin. When I whine and complain about an offense I should never have picked up in the first place, he gently reminds me, “Die quietly.”

Lord, help us all to die to self and to live for Christ. Amen

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Entitlement Dog

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Thirty minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off this morning my basset buzzer sounded. It is attached to the 65 pound hound who stole my heart as a puppy. Unlike my alarm, Sam has no snooze button. Ignoring him is futile.

As a youngster, Sam had “doggie door” privileges. He was allowed to come and go as he pleased. However, it pleased him to take things outside that shouldn’t go outside (my glasses, snacks, knitting projects, socks, etc.) and bring inside things that shouldn’t be inside (mud, etc.). That didn’t please me so much, so the doggie door remains closed most of the time. The result is that Sam has to ask to go out and come in, and I get to check to make sure no contraband is coming in or going out - it is like a border crossing, except you don’t have to have the mud wiped off your feet to cross the border.

So, this morning I drug myself out of bed and opened the doggie door so that Sam could both go out the door and come back in without disturbing me, yet again. No sooner had I returned to my bed and settled in, then Sam was whining at the door to be let back in. Yes, he had gone out the doggie door. But, he has become so accustomed to whining to get someone to open the door that he totally missed the fact that he had been empowered to do it on his own.

And so, it hit me. My dog is a liberal. He wants food, shelter, health care, and doggie treats, but he doesn’t want to have to work for them. Even when he is provided with a means to take care of himself, he whines and expects me to do things for him.

Here’s the really scary part. I know better. An annoying basset hound is not the fault of the dog. It is the fault of the owner. When I pay attention to exercising Sam (a tired basset is a good basset) and training him to do things the right way, he gets the message and complies. After all, his whining to get in and out is trained behavior as a result of his poor doggie door protocol. I have gotten exactly what I asked for. It is just easier to get up and let him in and out than it is to re-train him.

Anybody seeing where this message is going in relation to government?

Let me just say, it is time for us to start checking to see if the doggie doors in our life are open and we are expecting something we should be able to do for ourselves. It is time to pick up the slack.

Lord, thank you for Your Word that clearly articulates the principles under which you expect us to operate. Amen

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hope in the Lord

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

Well, the lull before the storm is over. This week the legislative committees have begun to meet with a vengeance. Flipping through channels and catching tidbits from here and there, it appears there is a common thread. “We understand money is limited, but don’t take away from our program.”

It seems easier to motivate a crowd to object to having a program or benefit taken from them than it is to get the general public to object to their money being taken to pay for the program. Of course, that could be because the people whose money is being taken are at work trying to earn a living and can’t afford the time off to come and complain. But, whatever the reason, it does seem that there are more people who would prefer to be kept than who would prefer to be free.

And, that makes me sad.

But, I’m not discouraged. Our Lord is a kind and merciful God who has richly blessed our nation. He is not raising up a new generation of leaders for nothing. My job is not to change things. My job is to be obedient to the purposes and plans of the Lord.

So, regardless of what my eyes see or my ears hear, I will continue to place my hope in the Lord.

Lord, give me courage and strengthen my heart to continue to pursue Your purposes regardless of my circumstances. Amen

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hug a Tree

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

Over the years when I find myself too busy to read scripture or write the devotional, I have learned that it is time to stop and practice one of the rules we taught our children when we would take them camping in our state parks.

The rule? If you get lost, hug a tree.

The principle is that if you are lost and running around in circles, it is more difficult for rescuers to find you than if you stay in one place. We assured our children that we would come and find them if they were lost, but that they needed to do their part.

So, rather than running around in circles pontificating on the issue any further, I am going to do my part - hug a tree (be still) and let the Lord help me get my schedule under control today.

Thank you, Lord. Amen

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wars and Rumors of Wars

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation must rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:6-8

Have you been watching the news lately?

Wow! You would have to be living on a desert island or totally engrossed in a legislative session to miss that something significant is going on in the world. The Middle East in melt down mode, earthquakes in New Zealand, riots in Greece, union protests in Wisconsin - the list goes on and on.

What does it all mean?

That was a rhetorical question. I have no clue.

Does it look like we are living in the end times? I suppose every generation has thought so. Eventually one of them will be correct. Personally, the issue is not one that concerns me too greatly, because there is no doubt in my mind that my reservations for eternity have been confirmed through the salvation of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will be in the “no smoking” area.

If you find the news of the day unduly distressing, take some time to ensure the certainty of your salvation, pray for the Lord’s mercy in these difficult times, and carry on with the work the Lord has given you to do while here on earth.

Other than panicking and running around in circles, those are really the only logical options.

Lord, may your mercy and grace envelope us and give us the peace that passes all understanding in these tumultuous times. Amen

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Must You Do?

“Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do’?” Numbers 23:26

Balaam, the prophet of God, was hired by Balak to come and curse the children of Israel. In his defense, Balaam warned Balak that he could not curse the people. Apparently Balak was what we would call a “slow learner.” Balaam, on his first two prophecies, blessed the Israelites. Not content to admit defeat and cut his losses, Balak asked him to move to yet another spot and try again.

It was at this point that Balaam reminded him, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do’?”

It is easy to see in the political realm the tendency of people to do the wrong thing for the perceived right reason. Voting to please constituencies, rather than on principles. Supporting an issue or person for private gain. Remaining silent when you should speak up in defense of a principle or person for fear of reprisals.

But those actions are not reserved for the political arena. They happen every day in every environment. The best way to avoid doing the wrong thing is to keep Balaam’s rule in mind.

Two questions:
  1. Would you say you are a Balaam who believes that ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do’?
  2. Would the Balak’s in your say it about you?
Lord, help me to hear You speak and do all that you say. Amen

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

Numbers 22:22-40

One of the joys of reading through scripture is finding stories that make you wonder how you would have responded in similar circumstances. Take the story of Balaam and his donkey.

Baalam was a prophet of the Lord who was called by the king Balak to curse the children of Israel. He was reluctant to go, but finally succumbed to the pressure, saddled up his donkey and, with two servants in tow, proceeded to go meet Balak. The Lord sent his angel to block Baalam’s path. Three times the Angel of the Lord blocked the donkey, and three times Baalam struck his donkey because it would not move. After the third time, the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she asked, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?And, so Baalam and the donkey proceeded to have a discussion, after which the Lord opened his eyes and he, too, saw the Angel of the Lord. Come to find out, the donkey, in its perceived belligerence, actually saved Baalam’s life in her refusal to pass by the Angel of the Lord.

So, let’s think about how we might have responded in similar circumstances. In the first place, I don’t have a donkey or servants, so I will imagine a basset hound and some grandkids. Now, unlike Balaam’s donkey, basset hounds frequently refuse to move, so it is not uncommon to have to drag them from place to place. Chances are, I would miss seeing the Angel of the Lord as surely as Balaam did.

But, here’s the part of the story that intrigues me. The donkey opened her mouth and spoke to Balaam. And, rather than marvel at the fact that his donkey was speaking, he carried on a conversation with her.

And nobody thought that was odd?

I’m thinking words coming out of the basset’s mouth would leave me speechless, not conversational.

Take aways from the story:
  1. If the Lord can use a donkey, he can use anybody.
  2. Listen to the donkeys in your life. They may see something you are missing.
  3. Don’t beat up on the ones who see something you missed.
  4. Use caution carrying on a conversation with your donkey (basset) in public. While it may be the Angel of the Lord, there are people who would call the mental health officers to come check on you in today’s world.
Lord, open my eyes to see those things I am missing. Amen

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Journey

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged. Numbers 21:4

Are you one of those people who likes destinations. Or, do you like journeys?

Never could two people be more different as travel companions than my husband and me. He loves every portion of a journey. He likes to plan it, map it out, pick all the spots to see, have travel brochures, a book about the place we are going and interesting tidbits of information of the history of the road traveled.

I, on the other hand, travel as a necessary means to getting to a destination (and because Jerry loves it and I love Jerry). If it is a road trip, napping is my favorite pass time. Like an infant in a car seat, five minutes into a trip, I am out like a light. Early in our marriage I bought Jerry the book Why Stop? because it has the text of every historical marker in Texas in it. When he would want to interrupt my naps by stopping at historical markers, I would just remind him to read about it when he got home and go back to sleep.

Over the years we have had some incredibly memorable vacations. Most of them were good really good trips. But, one of my favorite to reflect on was the year we took our three children to west Texas for a week of camping in the desert. Jerry had regaled us with stories about Balmorhea State Park, home of the world’s largest spring fed swimming pool, located at the foot of the Davis Mountains. We were planning to camp out, swim, check out the observatory in the Davis Mountains and see the local sites.

The only thing between us and our glorious destination was about 550 miles of Interstate 10 going through the desert in West Texas. Three children in the car meant that my nap time was interrupted by my duties as chief referee. Each time I would rouse myself to intervene in the argument of the moment, I questioned if we had made progress or if we were on a giant treadmill. Nothing ever changed. Nothing that is, until we were almost at our destination. Then the weather changed and it began to rain.

And it rained.

And it rained.

And it rained.

Do you know what there is to do when you are camping in the desert and it is raining? NOTHING! And, that’s pretty much what we did for the week. We couldn’t swim because of the lightening. We couldn’t go to the observatory because of the cloud cover. We couldn’t go through the forts because it was too wet. So, the whining and complaining started. Once Jerry shut me up, we had to address the whining and complaining of the children. My fondest memory of the trip was counting the mile markers on the way home. When we pulled into the drive way, my then 14 year-old daughter jumped out of the car and kissed the driveway.

It was a horrible trip. But, it made a great memory for us to laugh about in the years since. And, so it is with many spiritual journeys. If you find that the trip the Lord has you on is not the one you planned, don’t let your soul become discouraged. Check out the mile markers along the way and prepare to kiss the driveway when you get home. This trip will be one you will always remember.

Lord, do not let us become discouraged with our circumstances. Amen

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm Back

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 118:1

As mentioned in previous devotionals, my family can tell the Texas Legislature is in session by the plagues that hit us. Jerry’s pain from the herniated disc in his neck went from bad to worse. After two trips to the emergency room, a visit with a pain management specialist, and a consultation with an orthopedic neurosurgeon last week, he opted to undergo surgery on Monday.

He is home and feeling better. He survived my coming into the office for half a day yesterday. And, I know he is getting better because he thinks I should be at the office instead of at home with him.

So, today is just one of those “Praise God Days.”

Praise God for modern medicine. And pain medication. And a full night of sleep.

Praise God for the boss whose primary concern was that I be there for Jerry.

Praise God for the wonderful staff in the office who picked up the slack while I was gone.

And, praise God for babies and puppies and kittens, because they are so cute and cuddly. (Just thought I’d throw that one in ‘cause I’m in such a good mood.)

Lord, You are good and Your mercy endures forever.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bloom Where you are Planted

Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice for man comes from the Lord. Proverbs 29:26

Committee assignments came out yesterday. If you aren’t heavily involved in this process, that probably means nothing to you. For those of us who live and breath the process it is rather like the first day of school when you find out who your new teacher is and which other students are in your class. And, like most school placements, you are pretty much stuck with which ever assignment you get. Not everybody gets the most popular picks and you have to play with the cards you are dealt.

During the controversial speaker’s race, there was a lot of discussion of retribution and consequences for choices that would be made in that race. One fear was that there would be retribution for decisions made and that the punishment would come in the way of committee assignments.

Now, committee assignments came out and not everybody is happy.

News flash!!! Somebody is always unhappy about something. And, regardless of whether or not there has been a speaker’s race, committee assignments cause discontent.

But, before you feel too sorry for those poor legislators who didn’t get the committees they wanted, remember that people actually have options. They can choose to be unhappy and disgruntled or they can choose to be contented and joyful. And, the choice for looking at the bright side of things transcends politics. Consider the driver who cuts you off in traffic. He may be distracted and just failed to see you. Or, he may in fact be a jerk. But, how has it hurt you if you choose to say a little prayer for his safety and drive on without honking your horn and shaking your fist?

Politicians look for success in committee assignments, statesmen are content to bloom where the Lord plants them.

Lord, help us to remember to keep Your perspective in mind. Amen

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eternal Vigilance

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord, for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. Numbers 11:1

When watching the news or talking with your friends, do you ever find yourself grumbling and complaining about the state of our nation? Better watch out. God doesn’t like complaining.

In his 1837 Farewell Address, President Andrew Jackson said, “But you must remember, my fellow citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. . . . May He who holds in His hands the destinies of nations make you worthy of the favors He has bestowed and enable you, with pure heart and pure hands and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge He has committed to your keeping.”

In light of that quote, I ask you:

1) Have you refrained from complaining about the state of our nation?
2) Have you been willing to pay the price of liberty?
3) Have you been vigilant to guard and defend this great gift the Lord has committed to our keeping?

If your answer is “no” to:

Question 1 - shut up.
Question 2 - put up.
Question 3 - stand up.

In my humble opinion.

Lord, forgive us for whining and equip us to pass the torch of freedom to the next generation. Amen

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Two Front War

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4

Over the years it has become apparent that preparing for a legislative session is like preparing for battle. It is a known fact going in that there will be battles over politics and policy issues. For those battles you arm yourself with the most facts, the best arguments, and the wisest strategy available and take your best shot. You win some and you lose some. As each battle is over, you prepare for the next one.

But, the more difficult battles are the spiritual ones. Without fail, those who work in this arena will experience spiritual battles both here in the Capitol and in their homes. It has been during legislative sessions that the most difficult attacks have come against me and my family. Back surgeries, diagnosis of cancer, terminal illness of family members, health issues with children, gall bladder attacks - those are the ones off the top of my head. Each legislative session in which I have worked has been marked with a significant detractor of my attention from the things at hand.

And, while I hate to give Satan credit for anything, he’s back. For the past couple of weeks my husband has been suffering with a pinched nerve in his neck. An MRI revealed he has several bulging discs in his neck and back. He has gotten progressively worse, to the point that it disturbs his sleep and plagues him every waking moment.

Just so you know, few things disturb my sleep - except Jerry not sleeping. You can lean me up in corner and I can go to sleep. The cares of the day do not concern me when my eyes are shut. That’s a good thing, because I like nine hours of sleep a night. It is possible for me to function on seven hours. If I get less than that for any extended period of time, I become downright cranky. Consider this your notice. I AM CRANKY.

We spent all day yesterday in the emergency room experiencing the marvel of our incredible health care system. Jerry experienced several hours of pain relief - better living thorough chemistry, but at the end of the day, he was released with a new prescription for steroids and a warning to return him to the hospital if certain symptoms appeared. (They were, by the way, all the symptoms for which he came to the ER in the first place.) My brain almost imploded trying to understand the logic of going home and trying what what we had been doing for the past two months for another week and then coming back to see the neurosurgeon. After sharing my feelings with the ER personnel (relatively nicely for the circumstances, if I do say so myself) we returned home.

Now, after a full six hours of sleep, my perspective is better. The circumstances haven’t changed, but I have been reminded that God is sufficient to meet all my needs. And, my crankiness has prevented me from remembering to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”

This isn’t cranky time. It’s time for joy!

And, I was just surprised with a venti Starbuck’s with whip cream (thank you, Michael) to prove it.

Thank you, Lord, for the joy that comes with the trials and tribulations of our lives! Amen