Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

What are you doing? February 24, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,humor,life — tlmiller82 @ 7:15 am

          The heavy pan falls from my grasp like a wiggling fish.  It clanks and clatters past the dish filled racks of the dishwasher before landing with a ringing thump on the kitchen floor.  From the living room I can hear a familiar refrain…”Teri, What are you doing?!”  Yep, that’s my husband.  For some reason his first response to many of my mishaps is, “What are you doing?”.  A graceless recovery from almost falling, the thud of  my head hitting a low hanging object, or emitting a toe-stubbing-induced yelp would not be followed by my husband asking “oh honey, are you okay?”, but rather….”What are you doing?”.   I used to joke that someday I’d be in harms way, waiting for rescue from my predicament and my knight-in-shinning armor of a husband would ask, “what are you doing?” before attempting to help me.  To be fair, I do tend to get myself into situations of my own doing that maybe should be called into question.  After almost 25 years of marriage, I am sure I have contributed mightily to my husband’s habitual, “What are you doing?” responses.

         This week I have found myself wondering if I should be asking that same question.  Is God asking it of me as well?    I probably don’t ask myself “what am I doing?” because I think I know the answer…I’m doing good things.  I’m serving God.  I’m trying to be kind and helpful.  I serve others.  Surely God is pleased with me…I am doing what He has given me gifts to do.   Well…with my husband’s favorite phrase echoing in my head…I am learning that maybe I do need to ask myself this question.  What am I doing and is it what God has called me to do?   Recently a friend shared Numbers 32:17-23 with me.   Two of the tribes of Israel decided to settle East of the Jordon River.  They were settled and ready to set up house…start enjoying their new home.  Instead of staying in their comfortable new land, they promised to join the others as they ventured West of the Jordon to lay claim to the rest of land God had for them.   They vowed to not return to their homes until every one of the sons of Israel had possessed their inheritance.(32:18).   Hmmmmm. Willing to leave a “comfort zone” until everyone had claimed their “inheritance”….They were willing to take up arms and gear up for battle to take hold of all God had promised.   Again the question…”what am I doing?”, and to each of us…”What are you doing?”   God has an inheritance for all of us!  Ephesians 1:3-14″…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sin, according to the riches of His grace…having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession…”  What am I doing to help others claim this promised inheritance of redemption?


Duke the Stick Getter February 17, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,humor,life — tlmiller82 @ 4:00 pm

        Duke is our wonderful, big black lab.  He is about 11 yrs old and is nearly 90 pounds.  Sometimes though, he can be a frustrating example of stubbornness mixed with stupidity.  You see, Duke’s a “stick getter”, he is a Labrador “retriever” after all.  When he was a puppy this cute aversion to “stick getting” sometimes facilitated negative relationships with our neighbors.  There was the time he brought home a land scape timber.  Our laughter at the sight of a our dog dragging a 2 foot log home was short lived when we noticed the 2 foot gap in the border of the neighbor’s freshly laid flower bed.  Unfortunately this same neighbor had one beautiful rose plant in their front yard.  Not a bush, just one small start of a vine near the base of their lamp post.  Lovingly planted in honor of their new daughter Rose and tended to daily, this plant’s first and only bloom was a joy to watch grow.  The sweet tight bud eventually opened and was a single beauty in their green lawn for many days…that is until Duke brought home a stick.  It wasn’t entirely his fault…the rose had opened as far as it could and the petals were destined to fall off soon, they were barely attached…honestly, the stick barely touched the rose.  The impact was unavoidable.  The petal-less stem, a bright bundle of petals at  its base and Duke less than innocently wagging his tail…this was the start of the stick syndrome.  Duke enjoyed fetching sticks and such as a youngster.   Over the years Duke’s stick getting has taken on a bit of a pattern.    In the morning when he is let out he is compelled to have a stick in his mouth.  (Some folks keep reading material int heir bathrooms, for Duke it seems he must have a stick.)  Once his mission is accomplished he deposits this stick at the front door.   Now that we live near the woods Duke’s stick getting has presented new challenges.  Every windy day creates an overwhelming choice of sticks for Duke.  Sometimes he struggles with which stick to pick up.  His indecision will often lead to him carrying several sticks home.  When the ground is covered with leaves or snow he sometimes can’t find a stick…his futile search prolongs our morning routine as we stand outside in the cold waiting for him to get done so we can have our coffee.  Many times he finds sticks too long which drag across our cars as he passes them in the driveway. 

        These days we try to keep a pre-chosen stick at the front door for him.  This usually reduces the time he requires to be outside.  Each day he picks up the same stick  for his efforts and returns it to its place at the base of the steps when done.  Today was not to be so carefully orchestrated.  The pre-chosen stick was not in it’s place.  In the dark hours of the morning Duke wandered out to locate a replacement and accomplish his task.  I stood outside and allowed my eyes to adjust to the darkness.  I could barely make out the outline of our big black dog in the woods, but I could tell he had indeed found a new stick.  I let myself be fooled into thinking I would soon be letting him, and myself, back into the warm house.  Nope, not Duke, not yet.  I began to call and walk toward him.  By now the sun was starting to glow a bit and I cold see through the trees the cause of his delayed return…a stick.  He dropped what he had found at first because before him was a stick which can best be described as a small tree.  I watched as he struggled to pick up this fallen branch.  Approximately 7ft long with numerous, leaf filled branches extending from it, it was tangled in the underbrush.  Duke tugged and pulled till it was free, but as he walked it soon caught on every bush and tree he attempted to pass.  We live near the woods. there were many other stick options, but he would not be dissuaded.  I called him, offered treats and even scolded and threatened him…nope, today he would bring this mighty tree to the door.  I finally had to go into the woods in my slippers and PJs to assist this stubborn dog of ours.  I knew he would hurt himself trying to bring it home.  I knew he could have chosen a better stick.  I knew if he would just listen to me we could both be inside the warm house and enjoying breakfast.  Duke only knew of his stick, his new big wonderful find.  He was not letting go.  I wonder how long he would have faught with the stick if I had not interviend?  I finally had to break his chosen stick  into a more manageble size.  Once freed from the weight of his own choice he wagged his tail and headed for house.  

           As I write this Duke is sleeping at the door, his morning stick getting adventure/crisis is far from his mind I’m sure, but not from mine.  I was thinking about big sticks in my life.  Like Duke, sometimes I take hold of things that may not be the best for me.   Do I stubbornly hang on to things God is telling me to let go?  Do I think I have something good, when God knows I could have better.  Does God sometimes come into my life and break my sticks to free me from things I don’t even know are holding me back?  I see Duke’s example and I do not want to live my life the most difficult way.  I don’t want God to have to intervene just to get me to follow His will for me.  But I am thankful for a God who gives me grace abundantly.  I have a God who will help me carry my sticks in life.   He forgives me when I choose the wrong sticks and  He will whittle my sticks when needed so I can get home.   Once more I find comfort and strength in IPeter 5:7-11…casting all my worry on Him, because He cares for me…


Hammock Time February 10, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,humor,life — tlmiller82 @ 10:48 pm

cancun-090I LOVE hammocks!    There is nothing like precious hammock time.   What really surprises me is the lack of hammock enjoyment I have witnessed at various vacation locations.  When ever we travel to any tropical resort or hotel, my second order of business (after putting our bags in the room) is to verify if any hammocks are on site and their location.  Sometimes I get up early and try to be the first one to put “dibs” on what I perceive is the BEST place of all…a hammock.  I have noticed on several occasions that many of the hammocks sat empty, hanging and flapping in the breeze.   At one  hotel I could not believe my luck!  The property had a small grassy court, between its pool and the beach, lined with nine pristine, crisp cotton hammocks!  I thought for certain I would need to race out each day to reserve my hammock spot…but I was wrong.  Most days the hammocks sat neglected like hollow shells.  To my delight I had access to any hammock any time!  I soon discovered why.  The hammocks were no where near any shade. The intense Florida sun made resting in them like laying under an oven broiler.  No matter…I love hammocks under any condition…I laid in my hammock each day with a towel pulled over my head and most of my body.  I was not going to let a little sun keep me from enjoying one of life’s great pleasures.   If there is a hammock on the property where we’re staying , it is my goal to have hammock time at least once each day.  I can’t imagine why anyone else would not do the same! 

         Last year while in Mexico we stayed at a nice location that seemed to be lacking hammocks.  One day while exploring the rather expansive grounds I discovered a pool side location which had two hammocks.  The cotton rope hammocks  hung from carved wooden poles and had just the right amount of shade cast over them.  As I surveyed the situation I wondered why no one was in them.  Did some one else have “dibs” on them?  Were the prior hammock users only up for a drink and expected to return?  Were they reserved for “special” guest?  I hesitated and tried to assess the situation before making a move.  To think there were such sweet resting spots not being enjoyed, to me, was unfathomable!  The area was packed with people choosing to lounge on plastic chairs and wet towels.   I tentatively  approached the hammocks, making sure as to not encroach on someone elses hammock rights.  Eventually I settled into one and considered never getting up.  It was such a delight!  The music from the resort was playing just above the "whoosh" sound of waves crunching onto the shore.  From then on, each day I would wonder to the far side of the resort and enjoy my hammock time.  For the first few days I never had to wait for a turn…they continued to stay empty.  On around the third day or so I found one of them being used.  Eventually the open time for the hammocks lessened.  I adjusted my hammock time to a less crowded morning hour. 

         So here is what I have been thinking…why were so many people not enjoying the hammocks?  Why isn’t everyone as excited about these perfect places of rest!  Hammocks symbolize vacations, peacefulness, lazy days,  and freedom from stress!  I have a few  theories: 1. I think a lot of people fail to take advantage of hammock time opportunities because they have never experienced it before….maybe no one has shared with them the joys of hammock time.  2. Maybe they’ve had a bad hammock experience(I find that hard to imagine. I have fallen when one broke, tumbled out on my tushy and have been spun upside down by people who think it’s funny…yet all hammock time is good to me.) 3.   Maybe they’re concerned about how to get in or out of the hammock.  Admittedly entering a hammock of any sort in public does present opportunity for an America’s Funniest Video clip.  (I am sure I have provided plenty of entertainment to those nearby by my more graceless entrance and exit techniques.)   Could fear of failing, or being made fun of, keep folks from such a nice time?  Looking back at last years hammock encounter I think there is evidence to support my theories.  You see, until those around the hammock stand saw someone enjoying it, they may not have considered it for themselves…but trust me, I looked VERY happy in the hammock.  Also, after viewing my technique for getting into and out of a rope hammock  for a few days, no doubt some decided it was not too difficult…after all, if I could do it without face-planting anyone could.  I like to think I enabled my fellow vacationers to discover a love of hammock time.

         I think it is unbelievable that others do not love hammocks as I do, yet when I think of others who do not love God or know the love of God, I do not feel as shocked.   I should be!   God is greater than anything this world gives us, including hammock time.  He gives us perfect rest, comfort, refreshment.  My God and my relationship with Him through Christ is the most important thing in my life.   Why would anyone NOT want to know God through His Son Jesus?  Who would pass up a chance to find rest and love unconditional, full of mercy and grace!    1. Those who have never experienced His love.  Maybe no one ever shared with them how great He is or fullness of His grace? 2.  Maybe they’ve had a bad experience.  Are they hurting inside from wounds from the past? 3. Maybe they do not know how to enter into a saving relationship with God.  I have no problem setting a good example for proper hammock entry/exits, yet do I set an example, provide encouragement or guidance for those around me who may want to know my God?  The Bible tells us that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, WILL be saved.  Jesus died for our sins so we can ask  forgiveness and have a saving relationship with God.  This”GoodNews" is so much better than hammock time and tons easier to get into!  Here is our challenge…Lets’ not pass up any opportunityto share how great our God is to those around us.  Can others see the joy it gives us?  Do we help others see Him beyond their hurt? Do we set a living example of how to know Him?  Every hammock I encounter in life will always remind me of this challenge.  I hope you find many opportunities for hammock time!


Mom would not be pleased February 3, 2009

Filed under: Christianity,devotionals,humor,life — tlmiller82 @ 3:47 pm

       Today I went out without my coat on, mom would not be pleased.  My mom was the “mean lady” who insisted I wear my coat even on Halloween!  Imagine my horror, and subsequent pouting, when forced to don a winter parka over my costume.  In my pre-adolescent opinion covering my costume (an overstuffed pumpkin made lovingly by this same “mean lady”), would simply make me look like a big, fat kid.  Go ahead, get the image in your mind…short kid, big bulky parka (with fur trimmed hood), green stocknig covered legs protruding from underneath and a head topped with a green felt beanie complete with stem and leaves…done giggling yet?  Of course in her defense I should mention we did live in North Dakota at the time…and in October there may have been a bit of snow on the ground.  Yep, I was obviously raised to know better, yet there I was out and about running early morning errands without my coat.  According to my car it was a balmy 33F.  As I sat contemplating the shortest path from my car to  the store, I am pretty certain I saw a few rogue snow flakes float past my windshield.  I would not want to blame this situation on my own poor judgement so I’ve come up with a few excuses.  First of all, no one told me to put a coat on!  If only mom would have been there to alert me to the need, instead she was probably enjoying the warmth of her home in Florida, unaware she was neglecting her child.   Without a doubt, most of the blame is to be placed on the toasty, well insulated location of my car…the garage.  In my dash from house to car I was not exposed to the elements lurking beyond my driveway.  In the safety of my garage I unknowingly entered the world unprepared.  I’ve made this mistake before.  At times the shelter of my comfort zone has caused me to not adequately prepare for the journey ahead.

       Sometimes God allows difficulty, hardship and heartache to impact our lives.  I may struggle to understand why God would allow such adversity, but I never doubt His love for us.  Maybe these times are like God lifting the roof off our garage…we can start our journey better prepared/equipped for the opportunities or challenges He has for us.  I Peter 1:6&7  reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, even if now for a little while you have been distressed…your faith, which is more precious than gold…may be found to result in the praise and glory and honor at the coming of Jesus Christ.”  As we face each day with the happiness and hurt it may bring, we can have confidence in these things:  1. A sovereign God loves us!   2. Mom’s always right, put on your coat!