Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bucket List #3:GIANTS and the WORLD SERIES.

REMEMBER being a child and waiting with excitement and anticipation for Christmas?? We spent weeks pouring over catalogs and watching TV commercials, and then waiting for Christmas Day to see if Santa brought what we so desperately needed/wanted. And then squealing with absolute delight when we got what we asked for.

I can imagine the very first Christmas morning as the angels in heaven stood on their tip toes looking down for the birth of the baby. The baby that was God's son. They had been waiting thousands of years to see this!! The only other event that topped this was the first Easter morn, when that same baby, who grew up to be a man, gave His life for all of us so that we would escape the entrapment of sin we were born into. Easter morning, Jesus defeated death and rose from the Grave as the angels and saints in heaven cheered ecstatically that sin had been overcome .

WE all have had moments and memories of the excitement and anticipation of what we are hoping to happen.
THE monumental event in my life that I couldn't wait to happen was the day I married Scud. Like alot of little girls, I imagined and daydreamed about my wedding day. As the years progressed I wondered who this man would be? Would he be cute? Would he think I was cute? Would we like similar things? Would my family and friends like him? What would we do, where would we live?? Those kind of questions that one conjurs up in our minds wondering what it would be like.

My wedding day was absolutely wonderful.  The man showed up and there would be only two things I wish had been different: that my mom was still alive to be a part of this and that the weather would dip below the 106 degrees that it was. Other than that, I wouldn't change anything and I would marry Scud again and again all over again.

Did you see the movie "the Bucket List"?
I imagine that countless people saw that movie and began making their own bucket lists of what they would like to see happen before they leave this earth. I know I did.
Some of my list has happened already. I saw both Kristi and Katie get married (still waiting on Todd and Ryan). I became a grandmother.  I kind of maybe started writing. Some things still I would like to see or happen is:  going to Africa to work in an AIDS orphanage so that I could use my nursing skills, I would like to go on a family missions trip with kids, spouses and grandkids (got a taste of that going to Russia in the 1990's with our family), I really want to visit Ireland-because I'm an Irish girl. Those are a few of my bucket list, have you made yours?

Last night I got to cross off #3 on my bucket list.

I  became a GIANTS fan in 1958, thanks to my Dad who wanted one of his girls to become a baseball fan.
(IT worked Dad, it really did!). I was 5 1/2 yrs old when he took me to Seal Stadium and the two things I remember from that night was : it was cold and Ernie Banks (Mr Cub) hit a grandslam. My dad told me I would always remember that. I went to Candlestick in 1960 the year it was finished and then for the next 39 years, I went to so many games I can't remember how many there were.
I single handedly help make Scud a fan (ask him someday about our first baseball date!!) and dragged my kids to the games until they became fans in their own right. I actually went into labor with Todd at Opening Day in 1980. One of my favorite Giants memories involves Kristi learning what an intentional walk was. As our batter was being walked, she yelled out at the top of her lungs (which that too doesn't happen very much with her!) "They're balling him, they're balling him"!! The crowd around us roared in laughter.
We went as a Young Life family in San Jose every opening day for years-decreed a holiday by Scud.
Started a mother-son game with The Paine's and watched Todd meet his childhood hero, Chili Davis.
Scud, Todd and I also got to see the last game at the Stick thanks to Ron and Rick Conway.

I was tortured thru watching the Giants in three other world series. 1962 with all my childhood heroes playing. 1989 walking off the escalator as they earthquake hit, and when the series resumed 10 days later, I could not find any one to work my weekend shifts at the hosptial. In 2002, we had two kids in college and couldn't really rationalize spending the money.

Two years ago, we had tickets to Game 6. The Giants became the WORLD CHAMPIONS IN GAME 5!!!  But I didn't care-they WON.

So Monday night as I watched them become the National League Pennant winners once again, I began online looking for tickets but the prices were unreal. There was no way we could go.
On Tuesday while it was raining I decided to look again. I was looking for Game 2 tickets. After pages on Craigslist i found a listing for Game 1 that wasn't really out of our reach. I quickly called Scud to see if we could go and he said YES. So after texting and calling the guy I bought the tickets from, I got in my car to go to Chico and for most the entire ride I thanked God for this incredible gift and opportunity.
Many may say that this isn't what God cares about; going to a Giants World Series game is incidental. But for me, its been a lifelong dream and I couldn't quit thanking God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: "Give thanks in all circumstances".
Not sure if this is what Paul had in mind, but to me, God gifted me with this bucket list wish. When both of us work for YL, its obvious we aren't rolling in the cash, but somehow we were able to afford this.

So yesterday we left Woodleaf around 11:30 for the trip down and met two of my favorite Chico girls in Marysville and headed to San Francisco. It was really fun getting to experience it with Sam and Katie-something none of us will forget.

Zito?? The Opening Day , Game 1 pitcher of the World Series???
Barry Zito??? The same guy left off the roster 2 years ago cause he wasn't producing.
Yes...that same guy.

Webster's dictionary defines redeem as: to make up for; make amends for; offset (some fault, shortcoming,)
                                                                to recover by payment or satisfaction
                                                                to buy back, or pay back

Barry Zito redeemed himself for the past 4-5 years. He totally made up and recovered his status as a premier pitcher!!!

And the PANDA?? Pablo Sandoval...well he hit 3 home runs, two of them off the best pitcher in baseball today (Welcome to San Francisco Mr Verlander!). That was absolutely incredible to actually see in person.
And watching Gregor Blanco make 2 outstanding catches, Buster throwing out a runner, Timmy pitching like he used to , and so many other moments.

Going to the game was EVERYTHING I could have hoped for and MORE than I could imagine.
Walking thru the stadium an hour before the game started, watching the stadium fill up, the electricity and energy of the crowd, the friendliness of everyone, yelling MARCO     SCUTARO-like yelling Marco Polo in the pool as a kid, waving our orange rally rags over and over again...Everything was Perfect.

And to come away with the WIN in Game 1....PRICELESS!!!
For 54 of my 60 years , I have bled orange and black. They are the ONLY team I am passionate about...this was so worthy of my bucket list and so worth every penny it cost us.
I'm so thankful my husband knew how much I wanted to go.
And I am so thankful that God allowed me this opportunity.

I am also eternally thankful that I know what redeemed means in my own life. Jesus bought me back for the Father. He paid the price for my sin and made satisfaction for all of us.
I think us knowing Jesus is Number 1 on His Bucket List!!

TODAY'S BLOG IS DEDICATED TO: my wonderful husband Scud and my GIANTS LADIES: Samantha Stone and Katie Lee. Thanks for the challenge.

Monday, October 15, 2012


This morning I started reading 2 Chronicles in my quiet time. For the past 20 or so years, I have read thru the Bible every year. I don't start in Genesis and end with Revelation. I usually start with the Psalms or maybe Genesis and then just go from there.

Its also the time of the year when I spend a LONG time (long because I am still doing it) looking for verses to pray for each family member for a year. There are years when I won't stop looking for the verses until I have all of us covered. Or there are years like this one, when I have so many books of the Bible left to read by December, that I keep reading and keep looking for the verses as the days wear on.

Then, I sometimes hurry thru the books of the Bible because either : 1) there are alot of names that mean nothing to me (altho I know they mean something to God or they wouldn't be there!) or 2) I still have alot of books to read.
Today was one of those days. And after reading 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings and 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles, I feel like I know the story to some degree.

This morning I encountered a King of Judah named Asa.
In 2 Chronicles 14 it says: " Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God"
And in chapter 15 it adds: "Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life".

Isn't that what we would like to be said of us? That we were fully committed to the LORD all our lives? That we did what was right and good in the eyes of God?? That is my heart's desire, it really is. I know I blow it -probably alot, but my desire doesn't waiver-just my stubborn selfish self waivers.

Asa throughout most of his reign as king, continually sought the LORD and relied on God's direction and obeyed His leading. And then comes chapter 16 and Asa starts to falter. He becomes scared for some reason of the King of Aram. And Asa forms an alliance with him so that they will not war with each other. He has never done this before and its as if he has a brain freeze. Asa seems to have forgotten how the LORD has fought his battles (and his wars) and provided him with victory. Asa always went to the LORD first, up until now. And then as his life nears its end and he becomes sick with a severe disease, he first consults physicians, and never sought help from the LORD.

I know you may be questioning my logic here. Aren't we supposed to go to physicians when we are sick? Yes of course. But if you have spent your life going to the LORD first, why would you change it when you probably need Him most??

This caused me to really wonder and ponder this morning.
WHY do we not go to God first?
WHY does this happen? Especially to people who have followed Christ so closely throughout their lives? Why would we go to others before Jesus??
Yes they are "physically" there, but can they uphold us, strengthen us, encourage us like the ONE who created us? I think not.
HOW does this happen?

Albeit very slowly. Little by little we become "too busy".
Too busy to take the time to spend with the LORD.
Too busy because work is so busy.
Too busy to go to the bible study we have been going to.
Too busy to hang out with fellow followers of Christ because we have too much to do.
Too busy to go to church. Because we were out too late the night before or we don't feel well or we can't find a church that we like. We have alot of reasons.

HOW it happens is that we let "life" get in the way of us seeking OUR LORD.
Busyness is really a tool of God's enemy.
Satan would do anything to get us to slip gradually away from God.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't let the lies and schemes and offers of better things from the enemy get you off track with Jesus.
MAKE THE TIME to be with Jesus.
GO to church-even if its not the "perfect" church-none of them are.
GO to your bible study or small group.
GO be with other believers.

And if you don't have friends that follow Jesus, ask HIM to bring you them.
Check out bible studies at your church or small groups.
If you don't have a church body to fellowship and worship at, ask God to help you find one and THEN GO.

NOTHING is more important than your relationship with Christ. NOTHING.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says:
"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him".

Don't let life and whatever is going on with you keep you from being committed to the LORD. This verse above promises us that He will strengthen us for whatever we are going thru.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those kind of days

Its a day like most every other. You get up and get on with whatever you know you are to do-whether it be going to school or work, watching the kids, doing housework and errands, looking for jobs, following up on your "to do" list.

And then without a moment's notice, your life is turned upside down.

The doctor called and told you to come in, and discovered its cancer.

You get a phone call and find out that someone you love has just died.

You get called into the boss' office and find out your job has been eliminated, you are laid off immediately.

One of you children has been bullied so much and the principal calls and tells you they have been hurt.

You show up to class and your prof passes out an unexpected exam and you haven't studied or been to class in 2 weeks.

Your spouse tells you that they are out...never really loved you.

Or perhaps its a breakup with someone you thought was "the One".

A suicide attempt turns your world upside down.

You can't bear another day without work, or in chronic pain, or children complaining and demanding of you.

You or your spouse is being immediately transferred and all of a sudden you have to leave friends and family.



There's a story in the Old Testament about a very good King named Hezekiah. He truly was one of the few kings over hundreds and hundreds of years that wanted to follow and obey God. The story comes from the book of 2 Kings chapters 18-19. Hezekiah has done exactly what God has commanded, everything . He seeks God continually and others begin to follow his example.
Then one day he gets word that the King of Assyria is going to come and destroy Jerusalem and offers Hezekiah a way out if he will pay him and basically bow down to him.

Hezekiah has done everything the LORD asked of him. Way more so than any other King in all of Israel's history.
And this is what he gets?? You are going to be routed, destroyed and possibly killed.

Have you ever felt like that?  I have.
I've tried to pursue God passionately. I really do try to obey Him in all things-altho I do slip up and have the occasional "I want what I want when i want it" attitude.
And yet, there have been multiple multiple times when life has come crashing down on me. Just doesn't seem FAIR.

What did Hezekiah do?? He tore off his robes, put on a sack cloth and ashes ( I know a bit drastic for us, but the custom of his day) and goes into the temple of the Lord and spreads out the papers with all of the Assyrian king's threats and promises and cries out to God for help.

This is a fundamental life lesson for me; and I have to admit it has taken me years to learn to do this.
When life throws you the ultimate curve ball: GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE LORD.
Don't go to your spouse, or your parents or your siblings or your best friends. Altho you will need them during this tumultuous time, our first inclination should be TO GO TO GOD.

After all, GOD is not surprised by ANY of WHAT HAPPENS to us. HE KNOWS. HE KNEW.
And HE wants to be there for us. He wants us to come to Him first.
He may not give us the answers of why or when this will stop or how can we possibly endure. BUT HE WILL BE THERE.

That may not seem like an immediate comfort. But really it is. Because He also promises to provide us with strength to endure and cope. That may come from our friends or family. It may come from just reading/ skimming thru the Bible-but IT DOES COME.

Oh that we would be like Hezekiah. So that when life tends to blindside us, we run to the LORD and let Him know we need Him...need Him desperately.

That outcome to Hezekiah''s plea? The Assyrians heard that they were being attacked elsewhere and fled from Jerusalem. I don't think that was a coincidence. I truly believe it was a GOD INCIDENT.
I pray that we see and become more aware of those God incidences in our lives.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gifts come in so many different ways.

We returned home yesterday after being gone for two weeks.
It was one of those vacations that I will always remember.
Our entire family went to Kauai for celebrating my 60th birthday.

60 was the age I never wanted to be. You know when you are little and someone asks you what old is...I always said 60. So I dreaded this birthday more than any other. I didn't want to be old. I thought I would become old right away.
Fortunately for me, I have been blessed by four children who love me and know me.
They got together and decided that going to Kauai as a family would be one present and surprise they could give me.

It was truly truly wonderful.
Scud and I got to spend 10 days on my favorite place on earth.
Its the place that everytime I go, I see so much of the beauty and diversity of God's creation.
The ocean seems endless-which I am pretty sure it is, and the colors that come out in the sun: from aquamarine to crystal blue make my heart swell.
I am a beach girl. I have loved being at the beach since I was a little girl. I was so blessed to spend every summer at the beach at my grandmother's beach house in Ventura. I learned how to dive thru waves, being taught by my mom. I learned how to body surf, I learned how to surf. I even learned how to become friends with a seal.

The beach is where I always would choose to vacation. Its the place I want to go whenever I want to mull things over, contemplate life or just be with God. Getting to spend 10 days in Kauai is  my idea of a vacation.
And to be able to experience this with the ten members of our family and a girlfriend was just what I needed to ease into the 60's.

I really did learn that age is a state of mind. Walking the beach with my grandsons, looking for shells, laughing at the huge sandcrabs, picking up sticks that turned into alligators, and playing in the water -well nothing beats that.
I got to play with these little love bugs on the exact same beach that i played with their mom when she was three.
It made me realize how extremely privileged I am to be able to see the ocean because there are millions of people who never had. To gaze continually on the magnificence of God's creation brought shivers to me morning after morning as I watched the sun rise thru the clouds. I am so thankful for the thoughtfulness of my children to give me such an extraordinary gift.

We came home a day early to attend the memorial service of a friend of ours. This special man knew for 34 months that his time was limited and he was real and honest with his thoughts and emotions. But he faced his mortality fully trusting in the goodness of God, that God knew the perfect timing of his life on earth. I loved how Kevin did everything he possibly could to take care of his family while he was living and for after he was gone. I loved how he encouraged me in my faith and provided me with more opportunities to believe in a loving , grace giving God.

Then when we finally arrived home, there was a call telling me that one of my dear college friends, who also was one of my bridesmaids, had 3-4 months to live. My friend Sharon and I have lost touch over the years, but she's one of those friends,  the type who will always have a special place in your heart. So my heart hurts once again.
I'm staring my own mortality in the face having friends my age end life on this earth.

So right now I am making plans to go to southern California to visit my friend, who will always be known to me as "Garb". I want to tell her i love her, that I appreciated how she made me laugh like no one else. I want to remind her of what a phenomenal friend she is to her friends and what a fantastic daughter and sister she is.
Garb always cared deeply for the people in her life and now I have the chance to tell her how graterful I am that she impacted my life.

We don't always get the opportunity to say good bye to people who we know are not going to be with us much longer.  So for me, this is another gift that I have been given. A chance to tell someone how much they have meant to me. Which got me to thinking how many opportunities do I miss in telling those I love how much they mean to me. Of encouraging and cheering on people who I care about. Its a gift we can give to someone everyday-if we choose to.
And everyone loves gifts!
They don't have to be a fantastic trip to Kauai. They can be saying goodbye to a dear friend. They can be thanking someone for their thoughtfulness, Going to someone's game. Encouraging someone in their work, their crafts, their sports abilities, their gardening skills, their musical ability. We all have needs to be encouraged, to be thanked.
Why don't you think of who you could give a gift to today?? That's what I'm doing and really going to try and do this daily.
How about you?? Gift giving is so rewarding.