My Husband, The Prophet

Jeff:  Ooh blueberry cobbler! My favorite. Is that what you are making for dinner?

We’ve been together for 22 years and he knows me. Having dessert for dinner on a cold icy snow-stormy night would not be that far-fetched. But not tonight. Tonight I wanted to impress him. Contrary to popular belief, I really do like to impress my husband from time to time.  I think he rocks.

Me: No, I’m making Cornish hens for dinner. The cobbler is for dessert.

Before you start thinking I’m this wonderful cook or something, I really need to tell you that my house has a kitchen because it came with one. And my family is well fed because, well… I try, but you know…I’m not Julia Child. I’m not even that other Julia chick that wrote the blog that got made into a movie. I’m the daughter of a baby boomer. I don’t sew and cooking is questionable. 

Granted I do have my days where I am able to cook fantabulous meals. I think I just made that word up. Fantabulous is a good word. It means edible.

Apparently though, today is not one of those fantabulous days.

In honor of today’s winter storm I want to be daring and cook a fancy meal. I want to cook the kind of meal that is great to eat by candlelight, in case the power goes out. With my Cornish hens thawing in a sink full of cool water, I whip up a mean blueberry cobbler thing — (Cheaters cobbler: canned blue berries with yellow cake mix sprinkled on top. Dot with butter and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.)

I bake the hens at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. They are brown and yummy looking. The legs wiggle when I move them and juices from the breast runs clear. They are P-E-R-F-E-C-T.  I carefully set each plate with one Cornish hen, mashed potatoes and steamed snow peas. Everything looks and smells wonderful! My husband smiles, I smile and my son (who is already cutting into his hen) asks, “Mom is chicken supposed to bleed red all over everything?”

You know, blueberry cobbler for dinner on a cold, snowy night isn’t really that bad.

To Save A Life, The Movie A Short Review

To Save A Life is the best best movie I’ve seen in a long time. If you have teens or work with teens, this is a must see movie. While not necessarily appropriate for youth under 13, (older themes, drinking, and alluded sexual content) I believe this movie will touch hearts and change lives. Everything from the core message (Christ) to the acting, directing, and musical score hits it 100%. It’s engaging, well written and bound to inspire everyone who sees it.

Thank you Hollywood for giving us another movie worth seeing. See the trailer and find out more.

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, “What do I want my life to be about.”

 Click Here for more information: To Save A Life Web Page

No Baggage Section Please

I love the stillness of private worship before corporate worship begins on Sundays. While visiting a church across town, I quietly sit in what is probably someone else’s pew, close my eyes and drink in the solitude and peace. My spirit is content, and I say a prayer.

“Thank you Lord for this church. The sermons are wonderful. The pastor is brilliant. I have yet to hear him say anything that I disagree with. I know he must truly be a righteous man. The music is uplifting and scriptural. The people are so warm friendly. No one has said or done anything mean or hateful. I haven’t lost my temper, got into an argument or let anyone down. No one gossips. This church is perfect Lord. But… we haven’t joined yet, and I know as soon as we do, that will all change… “

 It doesn’t take long for baggage to accumulate. A look here, a snide remark there. Misunderstandings, unmet expectations,  hurt feelings, gossip, lost tempers. There are all kinds of issues that can get in the way of worship if I let them. Geographical cures, while nice for a while, are not sustainable solutions.

The solution isn’t perfection, constantly moving, or avoiding all entanglements. The only real solution to baggage free worship, is Christ.

I really like visiting other churches. I especially like visiting churches that are nothing like my own. What I don’t like is when God has the audacity to speak to my heart in the middle of a service and tell me “You like it here because there isn’t any baggage.” Not to sound disrespectful to God or anything like that, but I was really annoyed that he would interrupt my denial and worship with truth that day.

I don’t suggest arguing with God while sitting in church. It might look funny. Nor do I suggest accusing his voice to be that of Satan. Communion doesn’t quiet go down right on those days. Who knew you could get indigestion from a little wine and bread.

The pastor asked me TWICE if I was okay as we were leaving. I’m not sure if I looked white as a ghost or what.. No I was not okay, I wanted God to agree with me and I wasn’t getting what I wanted. And how did he know I wasn’t okay?  

 Sin exists in and out of the church. We are all sinful and fall short of the glory of God. It doesn’t matter if it’s a church or a relationship of some kind. Sooner or later, we will let each other down. There will be misunderstandings, differing opinions, anger, and hurt feelings. There will be opportunties as well for reconciliation, repentance, and forgiveness — IF I don’t run away every time I get my feelings hurt, or hurt someone else’s.

I can carry that baggage with me into church via resentments, or even shame and guilt. OR I can lay those things down in my confession, be fed and strengthened by the body and blood of Christ, allow the sermon to renew my mind and leave behind that which weighs heavily on my heart.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. –We aren’t changing churches, by the way.  My husband and I are very active in our home church and committed to our church’s mission plant. We do however like to change things up and really do enjoy worshipping across town at another church as well. It’s a high liturgy service and we think it’s beautiful.

I Love You Too Mom

Don’t over react. Just stay calm and smile. You can shout for joy AFTER you leave the school parking lot. Just don’t let him see you do it.

I tell my boys I love them every morning and every night before bed. For TWO Looooong years, my youngest (now 16) would pretend not to hear me, or roll his eyes. There isn’t a trick in the world that could coax him into saying it back. And hugs? Forget about it.

One week ago, the impossible happened. I dropped him off at school, said I love you like I always do and there it was. Mumbled, but there… “yeah, I love you too.” With that, he closed the door.

At least I waited until I was on the highway before I screamed.

And then Saturday he even let me hug him.

Wow.. every day he says I love you too.

Don’t make a big deal out of it, or he’ll go back into cool guy status.

I wonder if God ever feels that way.  I mean, he sends me things every day just to show me he loves me. Do I tell him I love him back, or do I roll my eyes?

Thoughts on Marriage

Now that I have totally silenced even the most loyal of readers with yesterday’s post, I thought I’d switch gears ever so slightly. Before I do, let me add that some women can be just as double minded and that post was meant to cover both. I’ve seen both sides, and probably played them back in the day.

You may not know this, but  I am a former member of the he-Woman’s Man-Haters club.  I loved female comics who ripped men. I loved it when TV shows made the wife out to be the savior of the day, and the man of the house a bumbling fool.

I wanted to believe myself to be a feminist.

Forget submission, forget marriage, forget all of it. I’m a boomer’s child and the world is my oyster. I will never belong to the First Wives Club. I’ll never be divorced, because I’m never getting married. I am my own woman and heaven help the man that tries to tame me. I won’t let him.

I had a chip on my shoulder the size of Fort Knox.

Truth is though, I didn’t hate men, I was afraid of them. I have a busted picker.  When I was younger, if our eyes met across a crowed room and my heart started pounding 280, he either had a flask in his pocket, or a record a mile long. I could pick a man sure to break my heart without even trying. So I stopped trying, which is how I met my husband.

I didn’t marry a man who wanted to tame me. I married a man who wanted to love me and there is a difference.  We’ll be married for 20 years this August.

My early career placed me as the only woman on an all male staff. These guys taught me a lot – mostly about smoking, drinking, and swearing along with construction. They also taught me about integrity, trust, safety, and smarts. Some of those lessons were easy to learn, others came from stupid choices.  Smart choice: Hang with the guys who are happily married and talk well of their wives. Not so smart choice: Letting your site partner come back to your hotel room to call his wife and let her know he’s running late. Once I figured out why he was running late — false hopes and ambitions — I kicked him out. I also paid for that by having to listen to my sight foreman rip me apart for an hour and a half the next day for being so stupid. The situation could have been a lot worse, and I’m thankful it wasn’t. I actually know other gals on the field who were raped by techs they worked with.

Personal note here: Rape is always about control and violence. My comments do not mean to imply that what happened to some of my counterparts was in any way shape or form their fault!

And before anyone comments on the unfairness of my sight forman — I’d been flirting with said partner the whole trip because I thought he was safely married. That was a huge mistake. My partner liked to dabble when he traveled, I didn’t know that. Besides, it isn’t fair to flirt with a married man. That was a lesson I had to learn a lot when I was in my 20’s. It was never about sex when I did it, it was always about fear, control and manipulation. I don’t have the right to throw stones. I’ve broken too many mirrors doing that.

Being tough, thinking I can always make the right choices and take care of myself without anyone’s help isn’t an easy road.

Learning how to trust my husband comes and goes. The more my husband and I grow in our relationship with Christ, the closer we become to being one.  I am always amazed at how God can take two very broken people and make them into his likeness.

While I may have spent our early years totally wrapped up in “him,”  I am also developing me right now. We are learning to follow the ebb and flow of life and maturity, rediscovering ourselves and eachother. We are polar opposites and I like that today. He keeps me grounded. It’s a fun journey. He’s the one who teaches me about the kind of man who can be trusted, and I listen to his insticts. He also teaches me about the kind of woman who can be trusted. I introduce him as well. I make sure that people know we are together. Nothing sets him on higher ground than my arm on his when we walk into a room.

As I was working on these two posts, I recieved a phone call from my husband telling me that his mom had a stroke and he is leaving Denver to be with her in Florida. She didn’t know he was there yesterday and my heart broke for him. Today, her eyes are open, she is trying to talk and even though she is weak, she can move her legs. The only real damage right now seems to be her left arm and her speach. Mom is 86. We have decisions to make, and we’ll make them together. I don’t know when he’ll be home, but I’m holding down the fort taking care of our son and praying.

I’d Like you to meet my wife.

I refuse to be anyone’s “dirty little secret.”

I don’t care who you are, or what you do. If you are married you will introduce me to your wife, or I won’t trust you and we won‘t have much of a relationship. If you don’t introduce me to your wife, I’ll do so myself.

 

I did something out the ordinary this week. I chose to intentionally thank a man for consistently introducing me to his wife whenever we run into each other. Why? Because men don’t do that anymore and I really wish they would. I always introduce my husband when we are out together, and he does likewise.

We are a unit, and I want people to know that.

I used to assume everyone operated that way. As I get older, I’ve learned not to assume those things anymore.

I went to an office wedding several years ago and I brought my husband with me. I wanted him to know the people I work with, and I wanted them to know him. The saddest moment of the night was when a man I regularly joked around with at work, chose to ignore me in front of his wife. This wasn’t a simple case of the room was so full he didn’t see me, and while I won’t go into the details, he went out of his way to keep the two of us apart. Even my husband noticed.

Red Flag Alert: If a member of the opposite sex trips all over themselves to talk to you when no one is looking and ignores you in front of their spouse, RUN don’t walk to the nearest exit.

For some  reason I suddenly felt dirty. And then it hit me, I have a family member who was a notorious womanizer. I also recognized that the shame I was suddenly feeling did not belong to me and I was able to give that back to God and find a solution.

Now, I’m not saying the man in this story is a player, and I’m not saying he isn’t. I am saying I that I was allowing him to treat me one way at work and another way in front of his wife and I needed to change that. His actions left me no reasonable choice but to change mine.

I found a way to politely ask what was up and I listened to his explanation. I then informed my office friend that I will always make a point of seeking out his wife and speaking to her at events. This is a non-negotiable item.

I’ve also learned in life not to make false threats.

It isn’t enough to set the boundaries. I have to keep them.

Another party came and he tried the same thing. Keeping my word, I grabbed my husband and walked over to my office friend’s wife and introduced myself and my husband. We spoke briefly and left the party shortly thereafter. I made a point of talking to her every time I saw her.

I’d really like to say that my boundaries helped build a healthy work relationship with my friend. But they didn’t. What my boundaries did do, was build my own esteem and worth in my eyes, and my husband’s.

I don’t have anything to do with said gentleman today. I actually resented being the one who set the boundaries that should have been there all along, and that took too much of a toll on the relationship.

Avoiding men altogether isn’t the answer, although I did try that route for a while.

Today, I watch and I listen and I trust my gut..

Watch:

  • Does he introduce his wife to people he’s talking to or does he leave her standing there?
  • Is he publicly affectionate? – Putting his arm around her, communicating they belong together.
  • How does he look at her? Does he look at her?

Listen:

  • What tone of voice does he use when he speaks to her?
  • Does he speak well of his wife or does he put her down and complain? (my mother taught me that a man who speaks poorly of his wife to other women is fishing. — don’t take the bait.)
  • A good married man will never compare you to his wife in such a way that you come out on top — if she doesn’t “understand him” and he’s telling you that you do, that isn’t a compliment — it’s a deadly trap. Don’t fall for it. Understand that he is a snake –
  • A good man will praise his wife in your presence.
  • A good man will talk about her and let you know she exists.

My Gut

  • The Holy Spirit speaks volumes to our heart when we are open.
  • Past experience can be a good teacher sometimes as well. It’s from those trial and error days of being naive that I’ve learned the most. Those times when I didn’t listen to my gut and got in hot water have taught me to trust myself more often.

My husband follows the same walk — we are a unit. I love it when he introduces me, sends calls to voicemail whenever we are on a date or in a conversation. I love the way he looks at me, the way he puts his arm around me in a crowd and includes me in his life and with his friends. I love the way that he communicates the fact that I am his, and he is mine.

I love the trust that grows from those seeds.

Question: What actions do you and your spouse take to communicate to others that you are one?

This post written by Deana O’Hara, for Redemption’s Heart. January 20, 2010

Finding a Place to Begin

Working out to stay in shape is a lot more fun than working out to get back in shape. Just saying.

Do you remember last summer? I knew I needed to get back in shape. My bout with depression several years ago has left 50 pounds that I need to deal with. Rather than allow that to depress me all over again, I’m taking a more positive approach.

I have friends and acquaintances who inspire me. One wrote a book on climbing mountains with his daughter. Another ran a triathlon and placed third in his age group. Another became an Iron Man. Another, recovering from a heart defect and surgery, is fighting to really get in shape and run a marathon. Another friend ran her first 5 K.

A surefire way to fail your goals is to set them so unrealistically high that there is no way to meet them. I said I wanted to do a 5K, but I treated it like I was training for a full marathon, definitely not the smartest thing I’ve done.

I was a martial artist at one time. I’ve competed nationally in Tai Chi and Shaolin Kung Fu. There was a time when I could rock more than this chair I’m presently sitting in. I’m a long way from where I was and getting back will take more than just a day or two. I have to work my way back up to that level of training.

It is okay to allow these people to inspire me, but last summer I took that inspiration and set goals so high and so unrealistic that I crashed and burned very quickly.

I set out  on my own. I downloaded information on how to train for a half-marthon, joined Zumba, promised to join a church fitness class…blah blah blah.

I didn’t see my doctor. I didn’t do anything about my left knee that is not stable, or my right ankle that no longer tolerates my weight because of a childhood injury. I didn’t check my blood pressure, blood sugar or anything else. I just jumped into the deep end without the proper gear.

And I didn’t last a month. I failed.

Good thing about failure, is you can learn from it. I found a trainer and joined her class on Wednesday nights. She is harder than my physical therapist when I blew out my ACL six years ago. Her class is a three fold experience, mind, body, and spirit.  It’s the best workout I’ve had in a long time.

I saw my Doctor and she is treating my blood pressure and helping with my diet.  I’m wearing the right gear for both my knee and my ankle.

Can I keep up with the class? No. Heather showed me where to begin.  I used to love working out. I’ll get that back. Beginning is half the battle.

I’m in Nashville watching a friend of mine film a comedy video and will be back on Wednesday. Have a great week everybody.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. No part may be copied or redistributed without express written permission of the author. January 16, 2010

 

Compassion for the victims of Haiti Earthquake

The phone calls, tweets, and spam mails have already started. Everyone it seems is collecting donations for Haiti. How can a person sift through the fake from the real? By being a good steward and doing a little research.

The good news is, there are real organizations out there that are offering real time support. They are who they say they are. One such organization is Compassion International.

My husband and I support Compassion International and while I’m not trying to compare – there really is no comparison.  One of the ways we support Compassion International is by being a Compassion Blogger. I only recommend organizations I believe in. So please if you are moved to help the people of Haiti financially, do so through Compassion International.

HOW TO HELP: HAITI EARTHQUAKE

WHY GIVE TO COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL:

 

 FINANCIAL INTEGRITY: The FBI is warning of several Haiti charity scams that have popped up in the wake of this earthquake. SEE SCAMS WARNING They are suggesting that donations only be made to organizations monitored and rated by CharityNavigator.org and The American Institute of Philanthropy. Both organizations have given Compassion International their highest approval ranking. Compassion International is the only non-profit in it’s category to receive eight consecutive years of four star rating from CharityNavigator.org.

Links regarding Compassion International’s financial integrity:

FIRST RESPONDER:  In this disaster it is crucial that first responders receive support quickly. Because Compassion International ministers through local churches to meet the needs of that church’s neighbors, and because these church partners are respected aid workers in their communities, Compassion is uniquely positioned to assess and meet the needs of it’s sponsored children quickly. This is an advantage of our church-based model in practice for more than 50 years.
HOW DONATIONS WILL BE USED: All funds raised in response to the Haiti earthquake will be used immediately to provide for Compassion-assisted children and families affected by this crisis. Any funds raised in excess will be stewarded by Compassion for additional and future disaster relief efforts.
You can provide immediate relief today.
  • $35 helps provide a relief pack filled with enough food and water to sustain a family for one week.
  • $70 gift helps care for their needs for two weeks.
  • $105 helps provide relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain two families for two weeks.
  • $210 gift helps care for two families’ needs. 
  • $525 helps provide relief packs filled with enough food and water to sustain 10 families for two weeks. 
  • $1,050 gift helps care for 10 families’ needs.
  • $1,500 helps rebuild a home. 
  • $2,100 helps supply 20 families with the basics for three weeks.

Due to the high number of responses it may take longer than normal to process your transaction.

Please join us in helping Compassion International reach the Haiti Earthquake Victims. Donate Today by clicking this link.

 

FOR SPONSORS OF HAITIAN CHILDREN: Children most likely to be affected by the earthquake are in projects in and around Port Au Prince. For continued updates go here:  SPONSOR UPDATES

To connect with other sponsors of Haitian children for prayer, support, and information join OurCompassion.org (our social networking site for sponsors) and follow this link to the group “Heart For Haiti” that has formed there: http://bit.ly/91pIXk

Here is the donation link again:

HAITI EARTHQUAKE

Thank you so much for your help.

I only recommend organizations that I support myself and I believe in. No goods or services were received in exchange for this post. Posted by Deana O’Hara on Redemptions Heart, January 14, 2010

Another Milestone

If God were to line up all of the teenage boys in the world and tell me that I could pick whichever two I wanted, I’d pick mine again and again.

My oldest son turns 19 today. Gone are the days of balloons in his room and banners on the garage door. He’s in college and this is the first birthday away from home. We celebrated last weekend by eating at Joe’s Crab Shack, a family tradition. I’m sure he’ll survive the day just fine. 

Even so, is it okay to say that for today, I wish he were here?

Mission Moments: Ablaze Church Update 01/11/2010

It has been a while since I’ve posted any updates on our mission start. At my last report I stated that we are now considered a satellite of our home congregation, The Lutheran Church of Our Savior. I also shared that we are waiting for the results of our marketing survey. Pending reports look promising for a preschool in Eastern Broken Arrow, and we will have the  finalized report in our hands in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait.

In the meantime I wanted to let you know about some important happenings at Ablaze.

1. New Time — Pastor’s Bible Study on marriage still meets at 6:00 pm and worship now begins at 6:30 pm.

2. New Staff — Ablaze church is happy to announce the addition of a paid nursery worker. Rene is our nursery director at OSL and has happily accepted the position of caring for our little ones at Ablaze. Please note that Our Savior does background checks on all people who work with our young children and youth.

3. New programs for the kids. — with so many youth now in attendance (20-30) we found the need to split them out into new age groups.

  • Tina (our keyboardist) is teaching grade school.
  • Erick is teaching middle school.
  • And my husband Jeff as well as  our senior high youth leader, Jennifer, will be teaching the high school classes.  High school will be studying Foundations: 11 Core Truths to Build Your Life on by Tom Holladay and Kay Warren.

4. New Member’s Classes : Pastor Dreier is teaching his Christianity 101 class on Thursday evenings. You can call the OSL church office for more information.

That’s it for now. I’ll post again when I have more information to share regarding our preschool, the search for a full time ordained pastor, and a new location. 

This blog is written by Deana O’Hara, http://www.deanohara.com, no portion of it may be copied without my express written permission.