Growing up in the 80’s, one of my favorite toys were Smooshees.  Smooshees were mostly flat, squishy dolls that could be “smooshed” into their things.  For example, a bear Smooshee could be smooshed into a honeypot.  An elephant Smooshee could be smooshed into a circus tent.  A raccoon Smooshee could be smooshed into a garbage can.

You and I are not like Smooshees.  When we try to smoosh ourselves into our stuff . . we never fit.  God didn’t make us to conform to our possessions.  So many times we are hampered from God’s will because we are “stuck” in our belongings.  We make “stuff” our hiding place from God–and we find ourselves so squeezed in that we can’t get ourselves out.

I don’t want to be squished by what I have.  I’m made to be more than that.  Things can never give me the gifts of the Spirit.  When I think about it, all I really want are those gifts.  And only God can give me those gifts.  And He gives them freely through His Son Jesus.  So there’s no reason at all to be cramming myself into material goods.

Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5c, NLT)

Published in: on June 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,


Over the summer I stayed with Ben’s parents, Ben and I found our dating spot: Sal’s, a pizzeria close to his church in Elizabethtown.

Sal’s had the best pizza.  The best burgers.  The best Caesar salad.  And the best dessert pizza.  And all of it was made better because I was with Ben.

We’d pick a booth and crowd in together on one side.  Or, for serious conversations, we’d sit across from each other.  We spent hours in Sal’s talking and talking and talking.

I miss Sal’s.  The laughter and the closeness we shared there make me long to go back.

Do you have a Sal’s where you go to be with God?  God isn’t a mystical force or a leaf in nature.  God is a very real Person, not in the sense that He is a human (although Jesus is), but in the sense that He feels, He thinks, and He acts.

It might be hard to think of a friendship with God.  But the Bible tells us, when we receive Christ in our lives, the Holy Spirit lives within us as a gift.  Anywhere we are, anytime, we can talk with Him more personally than we can even our closest friend.

If you’ve been a believer for a long time, it’s possible you’ve forgotten just how special this communion is.  Although we can and should go to God any time of the day, it’s important to have a special Sal’s planned to be with Him too.

For you, it might look like 7 o’clock in the morning over coffee.  Or, it might look like 7 o’clock at night after dinner.  Your Sal’s might be your bedroom, living room, patio, the subway, or your office over lunch break.

Why have a Sal’s?  It’s a matter of the heart.

“Devotional time” when you read God’s Word and pray to Him and listen for His leading isn’t about a check box or a task on your to-do list.  It’s a time to get together with God and show Him how special He is to you.  And you need this time–desperately.

Can you imagine dating someone once a year to get to know them?  Or marrying someone and facebooking them every couple months?  Relationships deepen with time.

Since we ache to be around sinners like us who we love, how much more should we ache to be around God who is perfect and who has imparted His perfection on us at the cross!  God was willing to die for us–how heartbreaking it must be for Him when we don’t make a Sal’s for Him to be an honored part of our lives.

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8, NLT)

Published in: on June 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

The $3 hummingbird key chain

On the souvenir day of our Guatemalan trip we traveled to Antigua to an outdoor market stocked with kiosks.  I sprang too soon on goodies and found myself $1 short of being able to buy a hummingbird key chain.

If it was a word problem, it would read: Teej has $2.  Hummingbird key chains cost $3.  How much money does Teej need?


And I am talking about an adorable, a treasurable, a keepsakable hand-beaded, long-nosed, wings-in-flight hummingbird key chain.


I gave up hope on the hummingbird key chain, but on the last morning of the trip–very early in the morning–waiting outside the airport . . .

. . .was a man selling hummingbird key chains . . .

for $3.  😦

Ben was walking next to me in the airport, and I decided I would try a girl way of getting that hummingbird key chain.

“I would really like to have one of those hummingbird key chains,” I confided in him gleefully.

And then, (hint, hint) “But I have only $2, and they are $3.”

He made very little, if any, remarks.

I was so disappointed.  I was sure he was probably not the man of my dreams after all.  (Okay, I might have blown the hummingbird key chain out of proportion.)

If you’re wondering Ben’s side of the story, he tells me that he hadn’t slept at all the night before, and he’d barely slept the whole trip.  He says he doesn’t even remember me asking him about the hummingbird key chain, and he certainly didn’t realize I was nudging him to buy one for me!  Since then, the $3 hummingbird key chain (I never got) has become a running joke between us.

There’s a sweetness in relationship of saying just a few words that wouldn’t make sense to anyone else (like $3 hummingbird key chain) and laughing softly together.  As insignificant as this little story is, it reminds me of the intimacy I can share with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  When I pray, I can talk in shorthand.  I can say only a few words, and Jesus will know exactly what I mean.  I can bring all my memories to Him, and He remembers them, too.

You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
 (Psalm 139:2, NLT)