Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: Commit Yourself To God

by Dan Gallagher
It has never been really too difficult to put a teaching together from the Bible that confronts a variety of sinful actions and attitudes. In this teaching, rather than confront sin, Dan Gallagher goes directly to the root of the sin problem and examines what it means to “commit our way to the Lord” (Psalm 37:4). Dan demonstrates that being committed to God is, in the Hebraic mindset, being “rolled up” with the Father, which is well illustrated by the way that the red and white parts of the candy cane are twisted together to become one. We become committed to God when our words and actions demonstrate obedience to Him. We must be honest about our sin, calling it truthfully what it is, then confessing it, repenting of it, and once again moving forward.In this teaching you will also see how increasing in our commitment to God happens when we obey the leadings of the gift of holy spirit in each of us as it nudges us to do His will. We believe you will enjoy the fresh perspectives that this teaching gives as you learn to “roll yourself up in God.”

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Just Write

Just Write {1}

I walked into work today and the place was dark.

It was also quiet, but not in the way you might think. People were laughing and freely talking as opposed to the sound of fingers typing on a keyboard, or footsteps in the hallway, or clothing rustling as patients passed by us and were shown back to their rooms.

The time clock was dark – I couldn’t clock in to work this morning. Which was actually a blessing considering I was nearly ten minutes late.

The emergency lights were on and under the carefree conversation it was quiet – like the quiet that happens whenever electronics have been turned off. It was more than an audible quiet, it was more of a tangible quiet.

I walked toward my cubicle, but there was a small crowd surrounding it. I put my stuff down and laughed, “this reminds me of my house,” I said.

“Oh? Did you lose electricity at your house, too?” Our IT guy asked me.

“Nope. But it’s dark, like my house. We’ve been keeping all of our curtains drawn and our lights turned off in order to try and keep our house cool.”

The clinic had been without electricity for nearly 20 minutes before I arrived. And yet, we had a waiting room full of patients. The doctors were on site, but couldn’t do much without the patient’s electronic charts or the lights that house various xrays and other tests to be examined and explained.

I sat down and waited. There was nothing more I could do. I listened to various conversations around me, (there were several smaller groups of women clustered close by) and I would occasionally smile at a familiar face, or offer a polite chuckle or even offer my own two cents worth, depending on the topic.

The air was still and quite close. It began to grow hot and I grabbed a folder to fan myself.

I was hot.

I was always hot.

Though a power-less clinic with no air conditioning on a 95-degree day certainly didn’t help.

Ten minutes later, the lights came back on. Everyone started clapping, myself included.

I laughed. WHY do people clap when the lights come back on? I’m sure there are many psychological reasons.

Patients got up from their chairs, (most of them sat in chairs next to windows for light), and made their way up to the front desk to check in. It never ceases to amaze me how positive people are when they come to see us. First, they are in pain. Second, they had to know that their appointments with the doctors were going to be delayed because of the power outage and yet, 99% of them smiled and were pleasant.

I turned on my computer and began to work. The morning’s excitement died down and I found my groove – I began to pick up the pace and before long, my surroundings blurred around me, the sounds faded into the background and I was focused. I had just cleared a veteran to have his x-ray when *POP*, the power went off again.

We all sat motionless for several surprised seconds before someone broke the trance and moaned in annoyance.

The lights didn’t stay off as long the second time around and the novelty had worn off – we just wanted to get on with our day. There was some talk about canceling the clinic that day, but luckily, the lights came on shortly after the suggestion was made and we once again resumed our routine.

It’s amazing how helpless we feel whenever we lose power. It’s amazing just how much we take power for granted.

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Chicago

See All the Main Attractions of Chicago for Only $35 Per Person

That’s $35.00 per person for three days!!

Not bad, eh?

Okay. So about our trip to Chicago… correction, our SECOND trip to Chicago.

We took our first trip with our boys. Which was fun, but we really didn’t get to do anything WE wanted to do. We spent our time touring museums, which was fun, but I know Kevin was disappointed because we didn’t have time to actually tour the city.

So we went back. Just me and Kevin. And did I mention this was our first trip, just the two of us, in twelve years?? Every other time, we’ve taken the boys. Which was fun, don’t get me wrong, but getting to hang out with just my husband and best friend in the world?

Awesome sauce.

We flew out of Branson. We had planned on using some of our frequent flyer miles (we have so many now that Kevin and I can take THREE round-trip, er, trips now), but honestly? It was actually cheaper to fly out of Branson than it would have been to cash in our miles. And besides, we wanted to cash those miles in on longer flights, like to either coast, than to a city only a little over an hour away.

Branson airport is tiny. As in DINKY. And it looks like a lodge. In fact, it’s so small, that it has one runway – for both take offs and landings. And it was a heck of a lot better than having to drive all the way to St. Louis, which is four hours away, as opposed to Branson, which is only 45 minutes away.

We flew Air Tran and, meh, there wasn’t anything exceptional about it, but then again, I wouldn’t really want there to be. It’s cheap for a reason – don’t expect the royal treatment, but we got up there and back safely, so that’s all that matters.

I actually wanted to stay up there a bit longer than we did (it worked out to be 2 1/2 days), but Kevin didn’t feel comfortable leaving the boys alone for longer than that and it actually worked out better this way anyway – Chicago is great, but we were ready to come home after two days.

We stayed at the same hotel – the River Hotel on Wacker street. (I know – what a name!!). It was $179.00 per night (we booked it through hotels.com), and though that sounds expensive, actually, that IS expensive, it was worth it to us because the hotel is right across the street from the Chicago River in the heart of downtown Chicago so it was close to everything.

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The room itself is small, but we actually upgraded to a room with a kitchenette when we got there, so we saved ourselves breakfast money by just eating cereal every morning.

The hotel has a filtered water station (FREE) near the elevators on each floor, so we also saved ourselves money on bottled water while we were there, too.

We flew into Midway Airport in Chicago. Which is actually a little ways from downtown. I was a little worried about how much money we’d have to spend in taxis while we were there, but I needn’t have worried – when we landed, I noticed that we could take the train directly from the airport all the way to downtown (the orange line). It cost us $2.25 per person to take the train, thereby saving us probably close to $30 or $40 dollars (including tip) if we had taken a taxi from the airport to our hotel. True. We had to lug our suitcase around, but we only took our one big suitcase, since it was only Kevin and me, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact, Chicago’s public transit system is pretty efficient and we didn’t take one taxi the entire time we were there.

BONUS!

We arrived at our hotel around noonish on June 6th. We checked in, then set about collecting brochures from the lobby and walking around the area to familiarize ourselves with the layout. Kevin noticed quite a few trolleys parked across the street from our hotel and a kiosk with people surrounding it. It was the Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Company. For $35.00 per person, you could ride the trolleys and Double Decker buses around Chicago for three days.

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They stopped at 14 popular attractions around the city and you could get off, and get on, as many times as you wanted within that three days time. They even had a few night tours so you could see the city lights. Since we wanted to see many of the places the trolleys/buses stopped at, we thought it would be the perfect mode of transportation for us – and it was. We. Had. A. Blast!!! I HIGHLY recommend taking the Trolley/Double Decker Bus tour if you’re in Chicago.

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You get to see so much within a small amount of time and you really DO get your money’s worth. In addition to the rides around town, you get a free t-shirt, free popcorn at a famous theater and free candy at one of their best-known candy shops. It was like a scavenger hunt.

The weather was perfect the entire time we were there. (Unlike last time, when it rained on us the entire time). In fact, we rode the Double Decker bus late afternoon on June 6th, just to get an idea of the route, and I got downright cold. (Which is saying a lot, considering I’m NEVER cold).

The next day, we hopped on and got off at Navy Pier.

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We were both a bit disappointed with Navy Pier. You hear so much about it and indeed, it’s touted as the most popular tourist attraction in Chicago, but I guess I was expecting a little more … SOMETHING. Nearly all of the buildings were empty and the picture above? Is pretty much it. I think one reason it’s so popular is because of the Children’s Museum, otherwise? There simply wasn’t that much there. Still. I’m glad we went and the view of the Chicago skyline was certainly worth the trip.

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We hopped back onto the trolley and hopped off at Millennium Park. It was packed and I loved it.

We saw the coolest fountains:

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Sculptures …

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And little parks within the park …

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An outdoor amphitheater …

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And of course … the Bean.

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That pretty much pooped us out the first day we were there, but we were ready to go on the second day. We got up and around early on Friday, our last day there, and took an architectural boat ride down the Chicago River.

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We wanted to take this tour because it would give us a different perspective and it was really interesting to hear the stories behind all of the fascinating buildings in Chicago – it was well worth the money.

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Afterward, Kevin finally got to eat a Chicago-style hotdog …

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… (did you know that if you put ketchup on a Chicago-style hotdog, it’s considered an insult to Chicagoians?)

I actually ate at Wal-Greens for lunch because of my funky diet and really, all I wanted was some fruit.

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Then we hopped back onto the bus and got off at the Sky Deck at the Sears Willis building.

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We were 103 floors up and we got to step out onto a glass box that extended outside of the building.

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It was weird and exhilarating at the same time. It felt like you were literally walking out into nothing. But the view was spectacular …

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… and it was worth the money. (We got a two dollar discount by buying tickets through the Chicago Trolley/Double Decker bus people. Yet ANOTHER reason to take this tour if you’re ever in Chicago).

After the Sears Willis building, we started walking.

And walking.

And walking.

We were trying to find these stupid things …

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They’re called “Headless Torsos” and though they were sort of cool to walk among, I’m not really sure they were worth walking two miles and sweating off lunch for.

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I knew the Buckingham Fountain was close and we HAD to find it. Remember the impressive fountain at the beginning of the “Married with Children” series? Well. We found it.

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And it was even more impressive in real life. (It actually shoots water straight up into the air like that on the hour, every daylight hour).

By the time we found the fountain and took some pictures, we were both pretty tired. So we sat down and dangled our feet off the edge of a pier to relax and breathe in some Lake Michigan air.

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It was so peaceful.

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We topped off the day by taking one last ride on the Double Decker bus to see Chicago at night.

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Our flight left at noon on Saturday, so we had plenty of time to check out and ride the train back to Midway airport. The train was practically deserted on Saturday and it was a relaxing trip back. We got back into Branson about 2:00 and we were back home by 3:00 in the afternoon.

The house was still standing and the boys didn’t look too malnourished, so I’d say this trip away from them was successful. 🙂

Chicago was fun, and we really enjoyed ourselves, but I’m not sure if we’ll ever go back. There are still a few things we would have liked to have seen (the Planetarium and the Natural History Museum), but it’s not something we can’t live without.

Next? We are planning on taking a short, three-day cruise down the Pacific coast in October … of this year. Oh yes we are.

And next summer? We’re thinking about renting a cabin in the Rockies and hiking some trails. And maybe taking a quick trip to Las Vegas next year, too. We’ll see.

Life’s too short to stay in one place for long, don’t you think?

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Chicago – June 2012, a set on Flickr.
Can We Talk?

Question …

Today’s question is …

Have you ever had something stolen from you?

Well. Sort of. Kevin had his model airplane stolen.

It wasn’t one of those small models you put together from a box; the wing span was the distance between your arms … outstretched. The sucker was huge. Kevin (though he SWEARS it was me and I SWEAR it was him), left our garage door open all night one night. That is a rare occurrence because whenever Kevin goes to bed, he makes the rounds to make sure the garage doors are closed, the house doors are locked, etc. But somehow, this one particular night, he missed his garage door was open on HIS SIDE OF THE GARAGE. (We have two individual doors with separate motors as opposed to one big door with one motor).

Anyway. His model airplane, complete with fancy (and expensive) remote control was hanging on the wall of our garage. It was a bright orange airplane … in other words, eye catching. And it caught someone’s eye that night because they took it. It wasn’t worth that much, though Kevin had put a lot of money into it, but rather, it hurt because Kevin spent HOURS building it and only had a chance to fly it like once (maybe twice).

He was heartbroken.

We never did find out who took the plane and we didn’t feel like it was worth reporting it to the police, but we always suspected our neighbor did it. (Not our current neighbors, the people who lived there before them). He was sort of a shady character and we caught him watching us several times.

People who steal things, suck. You want something? Buy it/build it yourself, lazy bum.

Your turn …

Sunday Scribblings

Sunday Scribblings: Eureka!

Eureka! I have discovered that my house will still stand, that it’s not the end of the world, that the universe will not collapse upon itself if I DON’T clean house on the weekend.

*GASP*

I KNOW, RIGHT??

WHO KNEW!!

*SIGH*

Now that I’m working full-time, the only time I have available is on the weekends. And I’ve been spending all of my time on the weekends cleaning house, and I’m starting to resent the hell out of it. So. New plan. I’m going to start cleaning house, a little at a time, after dinners during the weekdays. I won’t feel like it. I’ll be tired. And I will likely moan and complain … but it’s better than not having any time to do what I WANT to do on the weekends.

Also? I need to teach these young men, who are my offspring (I still can’t believe my children are taller than me and on the verge of starting their own lives [with a big little push from us, of course]), to clean house. I keep saying that, I need to start doing it.

Hello reality, meet my sons.

Tell me YOUR Eureka moment.

(P.S. Hey RSS readers – I’m using a new blog template. Nothing fancy, but it’s different. Different is good … most of the time).