Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 days of blogging, day 10: Bible Verse

Like so many things on any "favorites" list, this one seems to change a lot for me. In fact, when I started this project, I included Psalm 23:4 on the list of 15 things about me, because it was important to me at the time. More recently, I've been thinking about this verse a lot, Ephesians 2:10 -

For we are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I've been doing some reading about spiritual gifts because of my work at church, and this verse is in the curriculum for the class I led a couple weeks ago. What this verse says, I can't truly comprehend. The first part is the easy part: "we are God's handiwork, created... to do good works." It's the second part that is beyond my understanding: "which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Why is this so unbelievable? Because it says that the God of the universe has such a detailed plan that He has prepared in advance specific tasks for His children to accomplish. Sometimes I find it hard to think that God, who surely must have many, many important things demanding his attention, has a plan specifically for me. Me?? Really?? Slowly, He's been teaching me this lesson (or perhaps more accurately, it's been slowly sinking in) - and for that, I am thankful.

-- Originally posted at:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Costco Generation

Last week, as I was sitting at a Costco food court enjoying berry sundaes with a friend, I remembered this story about Costco from when I was a kid. I tell this story a lot - as I did again last week - and so I decided to share it here. It's kind of interesting how something like a retailer or a restaurant can prompt a strong memory from childhood.

Costco has been around nearly as long as I can remember. They opened a location in Martinez, California (near where I grew up) when I was pretty young. I was maybe 8 or 10, I'm not exactly sure. I remember going there with my parents the day the decided to become members. But the really important memory has everything to do with the famous $1.50 Costco hot dog.

In the 80's, Costco didn't have food courts, but they did have a hot dog cart. What could be better for a price-conscious family than shopping in bulk to save a few bucks AND feeding the whole family dinner for $6? As a kid, I couldn't have cared less that this was a bargain price for dinner. What I cared about was that my hot dog came with a can a soda. Whatever kind I wanted. And I got to have the WHOLE can. This, my friends, was a rare treat. Soda made rare appearances at our house although I remember it regularly showing up on vacation and always being available in Grandma's refrigerator. I know, I know, kids sometimes can't finish a whole can, but seriously, you can't put a price on not having to share when you're a kid.

I'm now a Costco member because when you grow up as a Costco kid, it gets into you. My brother is even more of a Costco addict fan than I am. We tease him sometimes that if Costco doesn't sell it he must not need it. (Don't tell him I said that!) I still stop at the Costco food court now and then, and sometimes I still get a hot dog. How is it possible that something like 25 years later, Costco can still sell a hot dog and soda for $1.50?

-- Originally posted at: