A Top Ten from the Heart of God

After a good chat with a friend of mine who’s going through a hard time, I started thinking about some of the things I think the Lord might like to say to her, to speak to her heart in the place where she is right now. I thought it might be something a lot of other people need to hear, too, so I thought I’d share it.

I hope this is a Top Ten from the Heart of God…

10. You are so wonderful, so special, and so precious to Me. I knit you together in your mother’s womb, and there is no one else in the universe like you. (Psalm 139:13-14)

9. Before your life even began, I sent my one and only Son to die for you. I did this because I love you.  (Ephesians 2:4&5)

8. I know sometimes it feels like I’m a million miles away. But I told you I would never leave you, and I meant it. Even when it feels like no one is with you, I Am. (Hebrews 13:5)

7. Even during this time when you’ve felt so far away, I’ve been with you. I’m always with you. (Matthew 28:20)

6. My darling, you are so beautiful, special and precious to Me.  (Song of Solomon 1:15)

5. Even before you went away from Me, I forgave you. (Luke 23:34)

4. I don’t change, and My love for you will never change. (Hebrews 13:8)

3. You don’t have to do anything to earn My love. Please know that My grace is sufficient. In these moments when you are feeling so weak, My strength can be made perfect in you. (2 Cor. 12:9)

2. I miss you. I want to hear you speak again, and I want to see your face again — your voice is so sweet to Me, you face is so lovely to Me. (Song of Solomon 2:14)

1. No matter where you are, no matter how far away you feel, if you search for Me with your heart and soul, you’ll find Me. (Deut 4:29) I want to be found by you. If you look for Me, you’ll find Me. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens. Your faithfulness, stretches to the skies. Psalm 36:5

"It's in the Bible" Top Ten

Being from the American South, I’m intimately acquainted with cultural Christianity — the kind of Christianity that makes people feel sure they are Christians because they’ve been going to church all their lives and they don’t drink much.  One particularly interesting thing about the development of this type of ‘cultural Christianity’ is the development, along with it, of a number of ‘sayings’ and even ‘cherished proverbs’ that are most certainly God-breathed Scripture…ahem, not.  Upon responding to one of these statements with a “whereabouts in the Bible is that?” you might get a “I don’t know, but it’s in there” or a “Well my grandma said it was in there” or even a “somewhere in the middle part.” Be ye warned, friend — and put not your faith in the colloquialisms of the people!  They’ll nae hold their ground when times are tough!

Do note, there has also been a special development of a world-wide phenomena called Christianese. It probably finds its roots in the American South. This important and related topic deserves its own post on another day. In the meantime, I think we should take a moment to enjoy a few of these ‘cherised proverbs’ together.

Top Ten “Bible Quotes” Not Actually in the Bible:

10. Cleanliness is next to godliness!

9. Seriously. Black people and white people aren’t supposed to get married. [I don’t know if you’ve heard this one, but I heard it all the time growing up.]

8. This too shall pass.

7. To thine own self be true.

6. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

5. Money is the root of all evil. [Misquotation of 1 Timothy 6:10]

4. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

3. God’ll never give you more than you can handle!

2. Spare the rod, spoil the child. [This is a misquotation of Proverbs 13:24]

1. (A Personal Favourite) The Lord helps them who helps themselves.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: If you want to stand on the promises of God, make sure you know what they are!

In the Kitchen Top Ten

A friend of mine and I have been chatting about the food budget recently, hence the kitchen inspiration…

When Mark and I first got married, I continually asked his advice about whether water was boiling or not. I was okay in the kitchen but not great.  We’ve been married almost two years now, and I’ve learned a few things that have made my time in the kitchen a bit more enjoyable. And hopefully made dinner time a bit tastier.

10. A watched pot never boils. A forgotten pot boils over and makes a big mess.

9. Pay attention to the recipe you’re doing! You don’t have to follow it exactly, but (bless Mark’s heart) I’ve produced some funky cuisine simply because I got distracted and put the wrong things in at the wrong time.

8. Creativity counts for something. Leftovers can be amazing new creations with a little thought and a little love. There’s a lot to be said for old bread. I’ve made tasty appetizers and salad croutons with the end pieces of last week’s loaf.

7. Rosemary is my favourite … besides brown sugar, smiling and of course bacon. I’m buying it in bulk now. If it’s not supposed to be sweet, it might just taste better with a little rosemary.

6. Give your husband some credit. He does have ideas that can make kitchen life easier.

5. If you have a baby, pureeing and freezing large amounts of baby food in ice trays is the way forward. We’ve saved so much money and gotten Asher to eat the real thing that way!

4. Double up and do yourself a flavour. For a lot of meals I’ve been cooking twice the amount and freezing half of it for another night. This has saved so much money and been super handy. Instead of feeling like you should eat more so you won’t have so many leftovers, you save it for next week or the next emergency. Great for spaghetti sauce and chili.

3. You’re right, Mom — washing dishes as you go along does make cooking time better.

2. When in doubt, don’t throw it out. Alternative uses for old stuff always seem to pop up — baking banana bread with very ripe bananas, throwing old veggies into a pot with chicken stock — and I haven’t killed anybody yet!

1. Always set a timer. You might think you can remember you have something in the oven, but then your Mom calls and ten minutes later you’ve burnt your buns.


My Single-Handed Top Ten

Being a parent has taught me a lot. Already. Including how to do a lot of things with one hand, while holding the baby with the other. I think part of the reason I’ve had to learn this is because so many folks spoiled Asher in America, by holding him all the time. I’ve included pictures of said miscreants with this post. They can be very dangerous, so TAKE CAUTION when letting them near your baby. Your baby might return to you SPOILED.

At any rate, I have some new skills to be proud of. So in honour of the excitement of developing my ambidextrous abilities, and my biceps… along with the malefactor mugshots, here’s the top ten best things I’ve learned to do with the baby in tow.

10. Tie — Unload the dishwasher. Strain and puree baby food. These are very difficult with twenty-some pounds on your hip, people!

9. Of course, you have to learn this one: mix and heat baby cereal, fruit and veggies for baby’s dinner. AND Feed the baby with one hand while holding him, and both his arms still with the other. (We haven’t found a high chair we like yet.)

8. Apply mascara.  Careful with that one!

7. Eat my dinner. Lunch. Breakfast… you get the idea.

6. Send a text message.

5. Push the stroller with one hand and carry groceries home with the other.

4. Blog, Facebook, and send emails. I can even drag and drop attachments!

3. Wash and dry my hands. (One at a time.)

2. Cook a spicy stir fry (and other meals) while keeping baby’s hands away from anything hot. [Folks, do not try this at home.]

1. Pull a plate off the shelf, toast a piece of bread, grab a butter knife, spread nutella over the toast AND enjoy some toast with nutella… all with the baby on my hip! Necessary skills!

The New Math I’ve learned:

2 weeks with South African grandparents + 6 weeks with American grandparents = 1 internationally spoiled baby!


Please note: This is obviously completely in jest! I am so glad the cuddlebear has gotten to meet his South African and his American family in the first six months of his life. Except for Uncle Vaughan!

If you would like to see more pics of our delightful time with family in South Africa and America, click these links:

South Africa, South Africa Part 2, America.

Top Ten Reasons It’s Great to Be Back in Scotland

So, as previously mentioned, I snagged this Top Ten idea from my soon-to-be brother in law. I love it! And imitation is the highest form of flattery. Thanks Andy! You rock.

We are safely and happily back in our own place in Edinburgh. And it’s good to be here.  I thought I would compile a nice treat for you — a few reasons why it’s great to be back in the land of pipes, kilts, castles, Nessie, and the most wonderful and difficult to capture accent I’ve come across in all my 27 years.

{Isn’t Scotland bonnie?}

10. This Sunday, I walked to church in the pouring-down-heavy-snow, and walked home in the sunshine! All the more chances for Asher to wear his fabulous H&M snowsuit! And me to sport my favourite earmuffs.

9. I saw a bloke crossing the street in a kilt with a gallon of milk yesterday. You don’t see that in every day in Venezuela!

8. I missed getting a regular dose of Polish while grocery shopping at Tesco.

7. This is a beautiful, beautiful country, seriously. It’s a good thing the weather’s rubbish or else everyone would move to Scotland!

6. I missed getting a regular dose of Hindi or Punjabi while grocery shopping at Tesco.

5. My hair straighteners are British and they don’t work in America.

4. Some exciting stuff is happening at CentrePoint Church, and I’m glad to be here and be a part of it!

3. In a couple of months, I’ll never be far from a lone piper rocking out “Flower of Scotland” should I be inclined to stop for a listen. And if I wait a while, he might make transition to a song from Star Wars or the Lion King. Seriously.

2. I’m only a short drive away from Glasgow, where folk’ll “set aboot ya” if yer getting tae be a bit roo’dy.

1. I’m nae tired of learning the language o’er here — ya kin?