Rick Warren Wrote “A Purpose Driven Life” and now . . .

July 13, 2008

Update: 

I received this interview on the internet just a few days ago, but as with lots of things, it’s apparently been going around for a lonnnng time.  So, while the insights and wisdom are spot on, the following quote from Rick Warren’s office should put to rest any immediate concerns any of you have about Rick’s wife’s health:

You reference Kay’s having cancer, but I wanted to assure you that the interview/article you cite is a few years old, and Kay is healthy and in remission.  Would you kindly make note on your site that Kay is currently cancer-free and that the article was not written recently?  (And I agree that there are definitely points in it that are timeless!)  As you can imagine, when people read that “Kay is ill,” they are burdened for her health, unnecessarily so, and it causes much confusion. 

End of Update.

Here are insights from Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” about his wife now having cancer and him having “wealth’ from book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with him. 

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw, Rick said:

“People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.  One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body — but not the end of me.  I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will d o forever in eternity.

“We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.

“Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

“God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

“We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

“This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore.  Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life .

“No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.  And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

“If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is ‘my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

“We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.  It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

“You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.  And, actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

“It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

“So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

“First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches , equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

“We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?  Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?

“When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, ‘God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better.’

“God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do. That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.

“Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.”

May this interview and its wisdom bless your Sunday.


Questions from Who-Knows? Answers from Me!

July 12, 2008

 

1. My uncle more than once: Uncle Jim would run down the steps with little-girl me on his shoulders, with me squealing and giggling!  I loved it!  It was while he was living with us, and Mama would send me up to wake him from his after-work nap and tell him that dinner was ready.

2. Never in my life have I: Eaten sushi.

3. The one person who can drive me nuts: is me.

4. College is: Absolutely worth it.  I’m sorry I didn’t go, but I’m so glad both of our children did.

5. When I’m nervous: I don’t make good decisions, and talk too much.

6. The last time I cried was: This morning when I heard that my favorite TV commentator, Tony Snow, had died.

7. If I were to get married right now: I would marry the same guy who first “caught my eye” when I was fifteen.  What are the odds!

8. My hair: Is definitely red (now).  At golf last week a new friend said something like, “Here comes my favorite redhead.” and I looked around to see who she was talking about. I forget I’m a “redhead.”  (Sometimes more red than others, depending on how long it’s been since a L’Oreal session!)

9. When I was 5: I almost drowned, thus learning an important lesson — Adult pools are NOT shallow around the edge, like Kiddie Pools.

10. Last Christmas: I really enjoyed viewing the Christmas House Tour on Boomama’s blog. (Although there were hundreds, so I didn’t get to see nearly all of them.)

11. When I turn my head left, I see: The cluttered top of my file cabinet — box of tissues, Kiwanis Club mug with pens in it, a hole punch and a stack of books — a dictionary, And I Quote, Roget’s Thesaurus, Daily Study Bible for Women, What’s In The Bible for Mothers, Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti and a copy of “Writer’s Journal Magazine,”  and about a half-dozen “important” pieces of paper scattered around.

12. When I turn my head right: I can look through the railing at the TV down in the living room.  Very convenient for blogging while watching a show that is alot of talk — so that you don’t have to be watching all the time to understand what is going on.

13. When I look down I see: My many-buttoned keyboard.  That, by the way,  I occasionally turn upside down and gently smack on the desk.  Amazing how much dust and dirt you can get out that way!  (Thanks to my co-worker at the Jail, Marie, for giving me that little tip.)

14. The craziest recent event I witnessed was: As I was shopping at the near-by super store, I noticed store employees in their matching red shirts slowly congregating in the produce section.  It soon became evident that a visiting higher-up was going to give them a brief pep talk, but when I first noticed it, somehow the slow gathering of the “red shirts” reminded me of the movie “The Birds” and it was a little spooky!

15. If I was a character on Scrubs I’d be: Really surprised because if I were them I would either be hiring a “hot young chick” for that role, or I’d want someone with excellent acting credentials — neither one of those is me! (I’ve never watched either show, but I think I would “fit in” better with the crazy guy on House.)

16. By this time next year: I’m hoping I’ll be an “old pro” at Photoshop Elements!

17. My favorite Aunt is: Was — they’re all gone.  I guess it was my Aunt Bertha, Mama’s youngest sister.  She had a daughter just a couple years younger than me, so I have great memories of spending time at their house in Kansas City when we would visit there.

18. I have a hard time understanding: Bridge.  My parents LOVED that game, and I’ve tried several times to learn it.  But, I guess I just didn’t get the “bridge gene.”

19. One time at a family gathering: I sent three year old Gunny to a bathroom that was a door in the side of a building on the other side of a large field.  As I watched helplessly from across the field, when he got about 10 feet from the door to the restroom he started pulling down his pants!  No wonder he enjoyed Boy Scouts when he got a little older — at age three he was already living their motto, “Be prepared.”

20. You know I like you if: If I tease you.  Friend, when I start being verrrry polite and kind to you, check with your Doctor.  You must be terminal. 

21. If I won an award, the first person I’d thank: It depends.  If it were an award based solely on someone or some group of people liking me, I’d sincerely thank them.  But if it was an award for something I had worked very hard for, and won because of some God-given talent, I would definitely first thank God!

22. Take my advice: Always have a Plan B.  The people I have seen the most disappointed and/or bitter in life have been people who had tunnel vision about something and never allowed themselves to think about what they would do if a particular desired plan didn’t work out.

23. My ideal breakfast is: All-Bran Flakes with a banana, some raspberries, splenda and milk.  Accompanied by a couple cups of coffee and the morning newspaper.  With Fox News on TV.  (If that “ideal” breakfast doesn’t just scream “old” I don’t know what does!)

24. If you visit my hometown: Walk the river greenway.  Tour the Vera Bradley (quilted bags and accessories) plant.  Attend the Three Rivers Festival.  Drive a few miles out into the country and visit the Amish community.

25. Sometime soon I plan to visit: Tulsa, OK where Gunny and his family have just moved.

26. If you spend the night at my house: We’ll probably eat out, then play some games or maybe watch a movie, along with lots of talk — and then I’ll probably go to bed before YOU do!  But the up side of that is that I’ll then be up wayyyy before you the next morning and have a nice breakfast ready when you finally come downstairs.

27. The world could do without: Evil, destructive, innocence-killng, God-less HATE!

28. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than: Total gross-out.  I can’t even think of an answer because I can’t get that picture out of my head. 

29. Most recent thing you’ve bought yourself? I bought stuff to make to sell at a garage sale I’m going to have with my friend Candy.  Hubby finds that strange.  I find it perfectly normal.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

30. Most recent thing someone else bought for you: A guest gave us a bottle of wine on the 4th.

31. My favorite blonde friend is: probably not really a blonde.

32. My favorite brunette /black hair friend is: definitely not a real brunette or black-headed.  It’s my age group.  If you’re not dying your hair — it’s probably gray or white!

33. The last time I was high: I’ve never been “high” like from drugs — my drug of choice is aspirin.  And I don’t drink too often, but on the 4th I drank a couple of small glasses of wine.  They didn’t take me to the level of “high” but they did leave me feeling “icky” the next day.  I hate that feeling.

34. The animals I would like to see flying besides birds are: Pigs.  Just to see if all those things came true that people had said would happen, “when pigs fly!”

35. I should have been: a more interested student when I was in school.

36. Once, at a restaurant: I was served BOILING soup!  When I put it in my mouth, I did the only thing I could — I spit it back into the bowl!  Linda says we were asked not to return to that Asian restaurant, but I don’t remember it that way.  I think they were closed by the Health Department for serving BOILING soup and burning out the tonsils of customers!

37. Last night: We went out to dinner with Linda and UD, and then came back to the “bowling alley” and bowled a few games.  Later, I had a computer “guru” come to our house and coach me on the computer.  Very informative.  He’s going to put more RAM on my computer so that I can do more “stuff.”  Sounds good to me!

38. A better name for myself would be: Sandra Ann.  My real name is Sandra Kay, but Hubby has called me Sandra Ann for most of our married life, so I really ought to just change it to Sandra Ann, so that he will be right.  (Just between you and me, he LOVES to be right.)

39. If I ever go back to school: Wayyyy too late now to bother with a degree.  But I have enjoyed and am enjoying taking classes in writing, golf and photography. 

40. My birthday: At this age, is a very pleasant, predictable, calm affair.

41. And by the way: Try this yourself.  It’s been surprisingly fun!  Have a great Saturday.


I Used to See “Storm,” Now I See “Photo Opportunity”

July 11, 2008

This is fun!  When it stormed a few days ago, it was beautiful.  I love the look of a blowing rain storm.  But now that I’m trying to learn photography, it was fun to try to capture some of what I saw during the storm.  Here are a couple of my tries.  Note to self:  Scenic pictures are alot easier than ones with “actors” in them that don’t do what you want.

These ducks had been sitting along the edge of our yard, but as soon as I got the camera and opened the door, they skeedaddled.  Okay, Plan B required.  But, no matter how many times I called to them, “Turn right! Turn right” they just kept on swimming away, so I didn’t get the picture I wanted.  So, here is a picture of my “subjects” swimming away from the camera just as fast as their little webbed feet would take them.  And, you can’t even tell it’s raining!  I’ve got alot to learn.

Here’s a picture that was much easier to take — no problem with camera shy bricks or hostas!

The rain was beautiful.


Hamburger Cookies Look Like This!

July 8, 2008

Ta-Daaaaaa!  I don’t want to toot my own horn.  BUT, I actually scanned this picture (that my friend Candy had taken on the 4th and gave to me yesterday) and uploaded it!  Now, I just pray you can see it!

I think this photography class is going to be worth taking, if nothing else because it’s giving me the courage to try things like this AGAIN!

Have a wonderful day.  May you each have some small success, like this one is for me, that brightens your day!

Hmmm. I think the box around the picture was my attempt to make it bigger.  But, hey, I can live with the box, as long as you can see the picture!


Fourth of July and Food — Duh

July 7, 2008

The Fourth of July is, of course, unique to the United States.  And the food that we serve on that day has a uniqueness to it too.  Tradition meets creativity.  When you’re having a large group on the Fourth, don’t you sometimes bring out that I’ve-wanted-to-try-this-but-didn’t-before recipe and decide this is the perfect time to experiment?  Maybe it has something to do with all the fireworks — makes you want to live dangerously! 

So, here are two recipes I made on the Fourth that I actually had made before, but are a little bit unusual, so thought I’d share them with you.

Cornbread Salad

 

Bake one box of Jiffy cornbread as directed on box, cool and crumble.  

 

In large glass bowl, layer in this order:

 

half of crumbled cornbread

 

– 2.25 can of sliced black olives, drained

 

– 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

 

11 oz. can of corn, drained

 

– 1/2 C. Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Dressing

 

– 1 C. diced bell peppers, assorted colors

 

– 2 C. crumbled bacon or cooked chicken

 

1/2 C. diced red onion

 

1 C. seeded, diced tomato (2 medium)

 

– other half of cornbread

 

– 1/2 C. Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Dressing

 

–  1/2 C. shredded Cheddar

 

Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

 

This cornbread salad keeps wonderfully, in fact, improves as the flavors blend.  So we finished it off two days after the Fourth!  It also looks beautiful layered in a cut glass bowl. 

 

Of course, I didn’t think to take pictures of either one of these dishes when I got them made, so you’ll just have to take my word for that. 🙂

 

This next one is unbelieveably realistic looking.  Also, I am not a big fan of coconut, but I still love the taste of these.  So, don’t let the coconut put you off — and DON’T leave it out!  I think it and the sesame seeds are what make them look so realistic.  I put them on little plates in the middle of each table at our cook-out (all adults, by the way) and they were a big hit — looks and taste-wise.

 

Hamburger Cookies  (makes 40)

 

Ingredients:

 

One box Vanilla Wafers (80+ cookies).  You need 80 fairly whole cookies, and you can get that many from one box, if you’re willing to use ones that might have some nicks in them (I did and I don’t think the imperfections were noticeable.).  If you’re a perfectionist, get two boxes, so that you can use just “perfect” ones.

 

One package Keebler Grasshopper Cookies (40 cookies)

 

One cup of flaked coconut

 

Green Food Coloring

 

One egg white from a fresh egg (because it won’t be cooked)

 

Sesame Seeds

 

2 Tubes of Red Frosting

 

2 Tubes of Yellow Frosting

 

Prep:

 

Lay 80 vanilla wafers out, half face up, half face down.  (I do it on a cookie sheet to make clean-up easier.)

 

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush egg white on the top of the upright wafers.  Then sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Do this a few at a time so that the egg white doesn’t dry out before being sprinkled with the seeds. Set aside to dry.

 

Put the coconut in a small bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of the green food coloring.  I put in as little as possible because I don’t want it to be uniformly green.  I think when it’s variegated green, it looks more like lettuce.

 

Building the Cookies “from the ground up”:

 

Put a squirt of frosting on each upside-down wafer and then gently press a mint cookie on top.  The color doesn’t matter here, so I suggest you do 20 of each color so that you don’t short yourself on either.)

 

Next, on top of each mint cookie, run a thick line of frosting near the edge, red along one side and yellow along the other.

 

Press some of the green coconut on top of the frostings, most importantly making sure some “hangs over.”

 

Put a dollop of frosting (color doesn’t matter) on the underside of the top “buns” and press on top of the “lettuce.”

 

All done!  Fun for kids to do, and they taste good too!

 


Who are You Singing For?

July 6, 2008

When I was growing up in my parent’s church, I considered the hymns kind of a pain, and I couldn’t wait for them to get over.  After all, I thought of them as just “filler” that made the service longer, and I was always in a hurry for it to end.  Luckily, we usually only sang a couple of verses — seldom, as far as I can remember, the whoooole thing! 

Then, when I joined Hubby’s church when we married, I quickly found out that they sang every verse of every song!  If I had known that before we got married, it might have been a deal breaker!  Well, not really, but I have to say, it did seem like all those verses of a hymn just went on f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  But, gradually I learned some things that changed my opinion.

It took me a while to figure out (with the help of Hubby, the parochial school grad) that hymns are like stories, and each verse is like a chapter. I had never thought of a hymn as a story.  In fact, I have to admit, that I had never paid much attention to the words of a hymn.  Of course, all the familiar words were usually there like, Jesus, redemption, heaven, temptation, salvation, etc., but I had never taken the time to actually read the way the composer had used those and other words to tell a story, or make a point, and ultimately, to praise God. Yes, you can read just the most important chapters of a book and get the essence of its story, but if you read all the chapters you get the fuller, more complete story that the author intended.  The same is true of a hymn.  Once I realized that, and started actually listening to the words that we sang, a hymn had alot more meaning for me, and I didn’t mind singing (and hearing) everything the composer had to say. 

In order to tell the whole story about hymn singing, I need to tell you a little of Hubby’s history.  He may be the parochial school grad, and the life-long Lutheran, but he doesn’t sing in church.  He follows along and read the words, but seldom actually sings.  In fact, he hardly ever sings anywhere, and here’s the reason why.  When he was in 8th grade and preparing for confirmation with his class, his voice was changing.  You know how unpredictable a pre-teen boy’s voice can be.  Anyway, when they were practicing for confirmation, the 8th grade teacher told Hubby not to sing, just mouth the words.  Right then and there, Hubby decided that he couldn’t sing, and he has avoided singing if at all possible every since — anywhere.  He knows realistically that there’s nothing wrong with his voice, but he has not sung regularly for so long now, that it just doesn’t feel natural to him.  I tell him that he is going to be soooo surprised when he gets to heaven and God puts him in the choir!  He laughs, because he knows he could sing in a choir, but it would take “heavenly intervention” for him to be able to get past his singing “phobia.”  And by the way, in the teacher’s defense, I’m sure he was just thinking about getting the group prepared for confirmation, and would never have intentionally had the life-long impact he did on the one 8th grade boy whose voice was changing right then.

So, in church we both hold the hymnal and both read the words but I am the only one who sings most of the time. (Once in a great while, Hubby will sing a song he’s very familiar with.)  And when I sing, I never think about who is listening — you know, you’re just one of a bunch of people singing — you certainly aren’t a “soloist” who needs to make sure she’s singing the words the way they’re meant to be sung. 

But then, last year, when Hubby and I had very small parts in a theatrical production that the school puts on as a fundraiser, there was a little ditty that needed to be sung during our time on stage and I was asked if I could sing it.  I declined.  Saying rehearsed lines in front of an audience is one thing, but I certainly didn’t want to try singing in front of them by myself!  But, later Hubby told me that he thought I had just as good a voice as the woman who did sing it, and that I should have agreed to sing.  I was really surprised that Hubby actually had an opinion about what kind of singing voice I had, and then it struck me.  He has stood next to me in church for forty-three years while I sang, in essence, for both of us!   So, yeah, I guess he does know pretty well what my voice sounds like!

Loooong story short:  I now sing with new resolve because I’m aware that I’m singing those words for both of us — and that Hubby’s listening!  But, if you carry that one step further — who else around me in a service might be listening to what and how I am singing — after all, isn’t it a little like reading a story out loud?  So, when I sing a  hymn now I try to sing it clearly and with inflection that best portrays the meaning the composer intended.  If he took the time to write those verses, I guess that’s the least I can do!

And, the other person you are singing the words to a hymn for is God.  You are glorifying Him.  And is there anything more beautiful than the sound of a group of people singing hymns like “Old Rugged Cross” and “Amazing Grace.”  How pleasing that must be to God’s ear.

So, next time you sing a hymn, remember to sing it loud and clear and with meaning.  Because you never know whose listening!

May your voice be clear, your salvation be secure and your Sunday be beautiful!

Surely this is a day the Lord hath made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.