Friday, December 26, 2008
There were a hundred little moments when I would just look at one of these faces, drink it in, will the image to be burned into some photographic plate, and then with open hands, let it go and be whatever it would be. I refused to take notes, choosing only to marinate in the forthcoming, free flow of blessing all around me. I know this is a window of grace and abundance and a special kind of perfect, and with a fullness I have not had in so very long, I can offer it back--and remain full. XO
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
We did our one and only day of shopping today, had our traditional Christmas Eve pizza dinner, then watched "It's a Wonderful Life." We filled the stockings, albeit after three crashes from stuffing them too full and one hanger suffering two broken angel wings. Wah.
My precious ones are all home. I am completely content. In my tiny corner of the universe, all is well.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
We're going to a pawn shop this afternoon, and I have this feeling that Kev will look for a pair of snow shoes for me. He's like that. If he thinks it'd make me happy, get me outdoors, and it doesn't call for a second mortgage, he's in. Not to say that he wouldn't take out a second for something I just "had to have" though. He's like that too.
Monday, December 22, 2008
This is what I faced this morning going out to the hot tub. It's been nothing but snow and negative temps all week, so alas, we chose to turn down the hot tub and wait until more humane conditions.
It's tough to be a spoiled Westerner, but somebody's gotta do it. As long as we have your sympathy we'll get through these impossibly tough times...
Gotta go and get the cookies out of the oven before they cool off and we're forced to eat them--oooie--cold.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Yesterday I stayed based in the kitchen, baking four different kinds of cookies, R&J hunkered down in a room where J got some basic lessons in guitar, and B wandered in and out all day like he usually does, checking in on this and that and him and her and seeing how the cookies were coming along. K had a 2-hr late start, so he plowed the driveway before heading back to the salt mines.
We did lots of nothings--little side stories, youtube vids, putdowns, but mostly there was just a pervasive sense of content. It was a time for me to just marinate in them being under the same roof again. It's the only time I ever feel truly, fully at peace. I know I should be bigger and better than that, but it's where I am. We (the divine We) are working on it.
I am growing up as much as they are.
We still have no tree, no decos, no cards, no pictures, no gifts, and it's going to be one holy mission to get that all done with the snow assaulting this region. Kev's mom comes on Monday, weather permitting, and Christmas is six days away. But I feel no pressure. I am utterly and blissfully content. It is a supernatural gift, and I am profoundly grateful. We have one another, we are fed and warm, loved and loving, and I am enjoying this still pause in life.
Thank You, Lord, for Your Emmanuel. XO
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This is the first year ever that her whole life hasn't revolved around a party. Ever before, she lived to plan out the greatest party. We wouldn't see her without a notebook and pencil, and she'd cast out questions at all kinds of times, even seemingly in response to a question posed to her. She would plan and plan and plan, and I almost hated to see party day because she got so much enjoyment out of dreaming about it all. Her explanation for the absence of all that this year is "no time." That never stopped her before! She'd get in trouble for neglect of her chores or doing them poorly. My take: she's maturing. That both encourages and stinks.
Happy birthday, baby girl! You're my princess! Thank You, Abba, for this incredible JEM. XO
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
My poor husband... He gets smacked around, and it takes him all evening to settle back down. He'll tell me about some gross injustice toward him, and immediately I get my mama bear on, and I get all furious and soulish about it! I got a lot accomplished working out my anger though. Sometimes it is a raging battle trying to get that flesh whipped back down. My faith seems so small, and my self seems so all-powerful and present. My inside eyes are all about me-my-mine-I-me-me-me!
When I feel backed into a corner, bullied, threatened, maligned, or mishandled, my reflex is not to react in the WWJD manner. It's more like punch-you-now, maybe ask questions later. Perhaps some fine day my reflex will show the result of a mature spiritual life pursued, nurtured, and practiced, so I do have a measure of hope. I just wish 'someday' was like, ten minutes ago...
Monday, December 08, 2008
What hair, what wardrobe, what posturing...! These just crack me up!
My dad sent these pictures to me. I had asked him for some pictures of my brother, and I guess he thought it was just as easy to send some of me as well. These were all taken at Kirtland AFB right outside of Albuquerque.
While I don't remember these pictures being taken, what I do remember vividly are the grasshoppers there. They were like a foot long. Big, green, winged flying things with mouths that could devour whole flowers and leaves and maybe even little girls. I still can't hold a grasshopper with any degree of comfort. I'll knock you over if you try to stick one on my arm, I promise you.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
I know there's a whole lot of positive to this new stage of life and that there will be a new normal that I'll adjust to, but for now, this is what I'm dealing with. I'm acknowledging this latest incursion of the interior, the so very sad place in my heart that is mourning, and I'm profoundly grateful that I don't have to do it alone. Your nearness and ever-pouring-out love are my constant Companion and Hope. XO
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
It's been about a month and a half now, and I haven't wanted to shell out for Estraven, not this close to Christmas. I'm trying to ride it out, and I don't know just how hillbilly it is to have a little fan on my nightstand to switch on for the night flashes. I do know that I LOVE living in the toolies because whenever one comes on that's particularly broiling, I strip off my sweatpants, immediately cool off a thousand degrees, and go on about my business until I'm ready to put 'em back on. I'll spare you a picture. I love that my doggies could care less.
They don't care, right...?
Monday, December 01, 2008
- "Bill" is Ryan's college roommate. He chose this American name when he was 12 because he liked Bill Nye the Science Guy. He was a wonderful guest, and we had a lot of fun with him.
- Zeb, aka "my youngest son," hung out for 24 hours, including most of Thanksgiving Day. It was fantastic.
- When I asked Ryan if there was a food he'd like me to make for when he came home, chocolate mousse is what he really wanted.
- Jyllea was vacuuming the stairs, and it fell and hit her in the face. Urgent Care put a liquid bandage on it, and it made her look like she had a runny nose. It swelled too.
- I used a flour sack towel as a splash guard while whipping cream, and the beaters ate it the moment I stopped paying attention.
- Bill shot a gun for the first time ever, and clearly his instructors were ace because he hit the bullseye more than once! =)
I miss my family the most right after I've seen them. I want to be thankful for whatever time we have together. Having attended a funeral on Friday for a man killed in a car accident, this desire is more pressing than ever. Kev took the boys back to college yesterday. He drove them there and turned around and drove home, seven hours each way. I'm extremely thankful for their safety!
Thank You, Lord, for this past week. Help me to keep a thankful mind heading into the rush and press that the Christmas season can bring.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I made egg drop soup for breakfast, something a little more familiar to Bill (he pronounces it 'beel'). It tasted too much like peas and carrots and not enough like egg. I might try again this morning. It's interesting having a nonChristian here with us for such an intimate holiday, but I like it. He's a nice boy, and I'm learning a lot about Chinese culture. I pretty much like me some Asians. Oh, he liked my mom's Filipino egg rolls a lot, "most like Chinese, but definitely Asian food." He also liked my Jell-o with sour cream in it.
The turkey was a little dry, but that was my fault. I should've injected it to overflowing with injection juice (chicken broth, garlic, and butter), but somehow I only ended up making about half a cup, and I was too tired to make more and play mad scientist again. I worked hard all day, and I just wanted to pour myself into bed by 10:30. And I figured, "That's what gravy is for, right?"
My little brother brought pie. "One pumpkin, and one whatever-you-like." Well, he brought my favorite! And he didn't even know it was my favorite! I know that was from You...
We played Balderdash, and I came in second. Not bad. Losing to Ryan is like placing second in the global spelling bee. I was quite pleased.
Alan likes to go hot tubbing, so we did that to cap off the day. Lovely.
Alan's girls will be coming tomorrow for a ham dinner and our second Thanksgiving celebration. We've never done that before. I'm kind of not looking forward to cooking a bunch of food all over again, but I can get a little more demanding about some help if I need to. I have to make one of the desserts this time since Alan supplied the ham. Fortunately, I like making desserts. Don't believe my folks will be coming since dinner's later, and they don't like driving after dark. No more anecdotes from Mom this time. Hope we're not bored.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I want to step out of me and into Your life in me, and I want to want that not so much for me but because that would give You great pleasure and the world would see the supernatural on wheels--Jesus alive and well and going about the Father's business as a 48-year old woman and all that means.
Thank You for the desire for a higher life, for the abundant life, and for the next life. I'm thankful that this world is not my home.
Kevin: He is a wonder, Your love manifested to me in flesh and bone, heart and soul.
My children: They teach me more about how to live and love than any how-to book (save Your word and anointed books).
Dad: His integrity, humility, and steadfastness are a northern star for me.
Mom: Her generosity and capacity for love and fun are a constant inspiration.
My Ya-Yas: Their devoted friendship is an anchor in the wilderness of life. They have seen me at my nastiest and loved me along all the same.
Alan: His sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and genuinely loving heart makes me love him not just 'cause he's my brother, but 'cause he is my friend.
Wayneen: She makes my brother so happy, and she is a beautiful soul.
Sandy and Betty: Their Christlike lives and attitudes are incredible.
Debbie: Her deep kindness, intentional friendship, and real presence were a godsend and remain a profound blessing.
Kathy: With the heart of a poet and the spirit of a prophet, she ministers to me, encourages, advises, humors, listens, shares, and I don't know what I'd do without her.
Barb: She challenges me to be the person she thinks I am. The little girl inside her loves the little girl in me, and she just makes me feel so wanted.
Kim: We have solved the world's problems together and continue to work on each other's. I miss her next-doorness, but we will always strive to "pop through the hedge" whenever we can.
I am thankful for salvation, hope, sunshine, cloud art, baby laughter, our church, our pastors, kind words, good food, good health, kindness, smiles, color, pets, clean water, fresh air, dessert, pictures, good movies, flowers, music, my kids' friends, heart shapes in nature, God-hugs that pop up when I need them most, funny jokes, great stories, being remembered, being relevant, just BEing.........
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The religious relative: "For the rest of us, it's the only day when we can sit down and not hear about God."
Excuse me? What do you think this holiday is based on?! She said later on about Obama changing his tax plans that "things change." We can forget or ascribe our own meaning to this holiday, but its origin is not changed. This holiday is the only one that doesn't get avalanched by or buried under secular meaning. I love this holiday for its straightforward simplicity. Give thanks. To whom? God. The Pilgrims started it with a feast, and that's what America still does to this day. Give thanks to God... for so many, many, many blessings.
I can even be thankful that Whoopi said what she did because it stopped me cold and caused me to remember the origin of this precious day. XO
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
That little scene has launched me into laughter and giggles all morning. It's one of those "had to be there" things I just had to write down so that I can giggle again when I reread this in some distant future. Thank You, Lord, for the simple, wide open gift of laughter. XO
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Sandy is the most remarkable, memorable woman. The hallmarks of her life are cheerful service, humility, and an other-centeredness that is utterly Christlike. When you speak with her, it's like you're the only person in the world, and you walk away cheered and truly cared about.
As a pastor's wife, she can always be found cooking for people, entertaining, visiting, sending cards, heading up drives, teaching, and serving on the worship team, the board of the crisis pregnancy center, and the benevolence committee. They have 3 grown children and adopted two young girls 3 years ago. She is a labor nurse and has helped countless people in this community for years with her selfless caring.
This year, Sandy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and has undergone a mastectomy, chemo, and now radiation. You'd think that would slow her down, but she embodies 1Cor 9:27, "I discipline my body and make it my slave." I noticed she is always trying to reassure inquirers that she is doing very well, that the Lord is incredibly gracious and merciful, and that she almost feels guilty about how well she's doing.
I am not exaggerating when I say there is never a time I see her that she is not ministering, feeding someone body or soul, or making an indelible difference in someone's life for Christ. She is the heart and hands of Jesus, the vibrancy of Life, and the true spirit of heroism. I know I would observe her more “human” qualities if I lived in the same house with her, but I believe that a great deal can still be noted by just spending time around her.
Thank You for this beautiful soul. She truly makes my world a lovelier place simply by existing. ♥
Friday, November 14, 2008
Odd: Loss is the hardest thing, but it’s also the teacher that’s the most difficult to ignore. Grief can destroy you or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone, or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time--so much meaning it scared you so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together, or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything. It was the why of life. Every event and precious moment of it.
The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time. You’re driven to your knees, not by the weight of the loss, but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there. But one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it is to disrespect the gift of life.
[From the novel Odd Hours by Dean Koontz]
I hear those words "the love your shared sometimes so imperfectly." Tending to dwell on imperfections, the wrongness and lesser qualities of things, or otherwise occupying my mind with downer thoughts, I relate well to the so-imperfectly part. I must not stay there though! The deeper beauty of our time here, our connection with the souls He brings to us, and how to grow into the yielded, abiding life are goals worthy of my entire time and attention. I fall into the untruth that an hour here and there are just trinkets of time--there will be more. While I cannot realistically spend every second appreciating everything so as not to take life for granted, I can call on my "mind of Christ" for the awareness of moments in which to savor the righthererightnow, which essentially is respecting this gift of life. We who know and are known by the Most High God, of all people, can appreciate the profound, elemental relevance of this gift.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Fill in the blank after "I am." The only rules are 1) don't use "and" [in an attempt to list more than 10 answers]; 2) be honest, and 3) complete it within five minutes.
- I am unrepeatable.
- I am Loved.
- I am always a mom.
- I am easily influenced.
- I am capable of great good and great bad.
- I am on an upward journey.
- I am not a dreamer.
- I am fairly self-absorbed.
- I am grateful for the surprise of God-hugs in my day.
- I am missing something vital.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
the soul needs for its advancement in a life of
faith and self-renunciation. I have then only
to receive this bread and to accept, in the spirit
of self-sacrifice, whatever Thou shalt
ordain, of bitterness in my external circumstances
or within my heart. For whatever happens to me each
day is my daily bread, provided I do not
refuse to take it from Thy hand and to feed upon it.
~Francois de la Mothe Fénelon
We bought a horse last summer. The owner kept selling her strong points as a brood mare. We wanted a horse that Jylle could ride comfortably. We were so dumb. We bought her without riding her, hauled her home, and unloaded her in the paddock. Jylle hopped on, and we led them around in a large circle. It was Kev who gave voice to what I could not believe I'd noticed and promptly shoved to the back of my mind, "Is she limping?" After walking her around about five more times, we concluded that she indeed was limping. We felt physically ill.
We prayed. After an hour of deliberating, wondering if we had any leg to stand on, Kev finally called the sellers to talk about returning her. Only two minutes into the call, it was no deal. We prayed, accepting whatever happened. One minute later, the guy called to say he'd take her back.
Promptly upon arriving, both mom and pop laid into us. You know who's losing here, don'tcha? What'd you do to her? What'd you do? How'd you mistreat her? Did you run her into a fence? Run her blind? What'd you do to her?
Kevin went with pop to put her back into the pasture. Mom stayed behind and continued the diatribe. It was excruciating. I took it for a bit, but eventually burst into tears and cried out useless defenses: We didn't do anything to her! We put our daughter on her and led her around! We love our animals; we would never do anything to hurt them! She could not hear me. She spewed the entire time and gave me no ear. It was awful. It was only when she finally spit, "Shut up, you stupid woman!" that I turned around and got into the truck. I locked the door and sobbed. I was reduced to a fetal state inside and couldn't do anything more than pray Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...
On our way home, Kev carefully tried to determine why I was crying. He never heard what the not-very-nice lady said to me and was shocked. I prayed fervently, desperately all the way home. Lord, let me forgive her. I take of Your forgiveness for her. Bless her. Pour Your blessing out on her, and let me forgive her.
By the time we got home, not only had I forgiven her, but I was thanking Him for her, for being the catalyst to launch me straight into His bosom. I pictured her vicious face and felt nothing but gratitude and love. Absolutely incredible and other-worldly. I drive by their place about every other week now on business, and I remember. Then I pray for her again.
If I had refused the "bread" that day as from His hand and failed to feed on it, I would have completely missed this divine experience that has since served as an altar of remembrance. Lest I sound smug and self-assured, I add that this was one isolated event, a gift to recall so I might remember it is possible to thank Him for the thing I would call bad. I refuse bread all the time because I don't believe it is bread... It's a wart or foul milk or a gouge or some other ill thing, but it isn't bread...
Know. That is the business of the day. Every day in my quiet time I see these words and others close to it, "Then you will know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord." Know, understand, realize, reckon. Alive to God.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Before I knew it, a little girl I barely knew started taking care of kids who were asking for things. One girl wanted me to take the top off a Play-Doh container while I was already taking off one boy's jacket with another one in line and with a kidlet on my lap. Meredith jumped in and said to her, "I will do it for you." When a girl was kind of sad because she wanted her mommy, Meredith handed over her own dolly and said, "You can hold her." A boy wanted the bathroom, and Meredith said, "I will show him where it is." When two boys were fighting over a car under my radar, she told me about it without alarm, and I got the sense that she was simply trying to help keep order, like There's a potential tsunami going on over there, just so you know. During snack time, she helped pass out the string cheese and fruit while keeping an eye on the still sad girl with the loaner dolly.
My kids were decent little people, but the degree of caring service this tiny child showed just floored me. I felt like she would've gladly given a kidney if anyone had needed it, just reached in and pulled it right out. Or shaved off all her hair for a leukemia patient with a wig need. The depth of her compassion and thoughtfulness was a source of both inspiration and conviction.
I realized that my assumption was that this caliber of virtue was something I might find in an occasional mature believer seasoned by great periods of suffering, divine revelation, and a lifetime of deliberate dying to self. But like the Babe who came silently, unexpectedly, and upside-downedly, this sweet babe did a number on my world in the most ruthlessly loving way--in innocence, absence of self, and total other-centeredness. And I am profoundly grateful.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I heard Chuck Swindoll say that the most important conversation you'll have all day is the one you have with yourself. At first I was shocked that he didn't say "with God." He was doing a series on Grace, so I decided to give him some room for artistic license and just keep listening. I was hesitant to fully buy in because I just couldn't get it to settle in and sound right. But casting my caution cloak aside after praying for big fat stop signs and ears to hear a word that might actually be helpful, I realized the measure of truth in what he was saying. People who play negative tapes often are a bummer to be around. I fight that battle everyday against my inner Eeyore.
If I spend too much time speculating on the results of this election or even listening to my husband yell at the TV, I go ape, so I like the idea of positive conversations with the committee in my head. Lord reminded me that I'm an encourager. Encourage yourself. I gave you that gift--it's not just for everyone else. You can have some from you too. New thought! Never entered my mind before!
- On Nov. 4, our country will have a new president. But on Nov. 5, Jesus Christ will still be on the Throne.
- God's word admonishes us to pray for those in authority over us. Check.
- No use future trippin'--there's no grace there. Stay righthererightnow.
- God is at work in this as He is at work in everything. This cruise ship is going that-a-way no matter who or what's on deck.
- Nobody voted out lattes, chocolate, good books, warm blankies, soft chairs, and laptop blogging. I'm good!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Lord, You love to work inside of what looks to us like a kind of big ol' Rubik's cube--a twisted, mixed-up tangle of bad news. Good thing You know what to do with us!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I need some water and a walk.
Kev: McCain had better step up his campaign, or he won't stand a chance.
Me: It kind of doesn't matter what he does. Obama's going to win.
Kev: What do you mean?
Me: I woke up with that "fact" in my head one morning, and the only other times that's happened, it's come true.
Kev: Ah, maaaaannnn.......
Are you sure......? I mean, you always say your dreams don't mean anything.
Me: I don't know anything for sure. I'm just sayin'.......
Now whether God fixes these very few events in my head, or I just get a clear whim once in a great while is up for discussion. The Eeyore in me always lists to the most depressing option, and I'm not one of those people who maintains a clear bead on His voice, so again, I'm just sayin'. It's not like I'm wishing it so, that's for sure.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Initially I was excited for him. Then I thought Wait! That means we don't see his sweet face until Christmas... WAH. But that's only another three weeks, and this IS a fantastic opportunity for him to see "the homeland." So I'm back to being excited for him. It's too bad that all my relatives are here in the States now. Between TX, VA, and IL, they're all established with new citizenship, famillies, careers, and retirement plans. The cadets will be escorted to designated destinations by their sponsors there anyway, so it's a pre-arranged week.
I hope he can call us. The table will be set, but there will be one chair empty in my heart on Thanksgiving Day, no matter how happy I am for him.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
I really like books. I also enjoy seclusion. When those email questionnaires ask what three books I'd want with me on a deserted island, I want to skip that question because it's so difficult to limit my answer to just three. That's like selecting the three best colors on earth. When the school librarian called to see if I could sub for her for a week, I did a little happy dance while yelling YES! YES! YES!, but only in my head.
The library is its own building apart from the school proper, so students have to make a concerted effort to get there. There is intention involved, which cuts way back on loitering and curiosity. It's a well-kept space and reeks of order, structure, logic, and knowledge. Plus the wood tables are really shiny!
I can't believe they paid me to do that. What a gig. I feel like a rock star. "Librarian." That's the name of my band. Envy me.
Friday, October 31, 2008
He came in the door tonight and announced that he got a speeding ticket. Déjà vu.
When I get in trouble, if that had been me who got a ticket, my response totally would've been I am so stupid! How could I have let that happen?! Oh, that was so stupid!
I'm thinking it might somehow be easier to blame someone else for my blunder. Being a victim allows for indignance, righteous defense, and my pride to remain intact. Sounds like a good deal all the way around.
Just can't do it though........... I'm SO clearly at fault in my mind. I can't even think that someone else might be to blame until someone either suggests it, or I stew about it so long that some telltale sign finally falls into place so as to be completely obvious. I'm talking instances like speeding tickets, dodging jury duty, snarking sarcastic replies, bellowing clever insults, evading undesirables, all things in the RCW as well as the KJV.
This sounds so judgmental. Maybe I'm half-venting, half-judging, half-confessing...... =) I must state here that I LOVE my husband. His manner toward me 99 percent of the time is so kind, patient, loving, and caring. I just wanted to mark this difference. He might disagree with it or say it's not really accurate. Whatever--it's my blog. My view, my vent, my blog. I get it out, and then I'm over it. Just so y'know......
I have to work today. I also have to drive. I pray I will walk deep inside the Vine today so that I might not speed, dodge, snark, bellow, evade, or otherwise bring any manner of unglory to my Lord, whose smile I live for. †
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Lord, hold me perfect.
Sing me righteous.
Dance me holy.
Whisper me strong.
Power me deep.
Rock me awake.
Vision me hopeful.
Love me real.
Carry me Home.
Salty sweet happy tears,
I pray Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Your presence insettles
So intimate I blush.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My darling mama is 70 years old today. She was 30 forever when I was growing up. When I was in college she finally turned 40, and now here she is heading into her golden years. Her health is fairly mediocre, but she still works like a horse. My dad has to kinda babsit her to make sure she doesn't keel over, which she did last week. She is now recovering from a fractured vertebrae. Oh, Mom......
I love that she still makes us laugh, loves jokes and the simple yet complicated beauty of God's earth. In that picture, we're in front of a purple clematis (long out of bloom), and she's trying to jack something out of my bag! She surrounds herself with flowers and lots of color (even in her language, ahem). Her generosity is exceeded by no one, and her love for family borders on the psychotic (I mean that in the nicest possible way =).
My prayers for my precious mom: 1) the ability to trust God implicitly; 2) peace instead of worry; and 3) the revelation of seeing herself through the eyes of the One who created her, loves her, and Who alone can care fully for her.
Love you to da moon and back, MyMom! XO
Monday, October 27, 2008
It's definitely a Monday. My hair looks ridiculous. It's completely flat on top as if I slept ON my head last night. The phone rang at six this morning, and I knew it was for a sub assignment, so I didn't answer it. I'd have to wear a hat, and I don't have anything but baseball caps, and that's not very professional, right?
After working in some mousse, gel, a little water, and silicone spray it looks much better. I'm happy now. Only I have nowhere to go. Maybe I'll work on my makeup.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Reading Isaiah 45:2-3, I ask: Abba, will You please make my crooked places straight? Are We together leveling the mountains--or do You do the absolute totality of all the doing? Am I engaging only half-heartedly? Show me where I'm slacking, and give me the courage to hear the hard things.
The old ways tarnished the success yesterday. HE is always there, flaunting and waving that bedeviled carrot. I like it when WE win. I am sad when I cause ground recovered to then again be relinquished.
I remember the days when I hardly slept and hardly ate. I read ravenously, and You spoke often and profoundly, deep-feeding roots that You wanted broadened, strengthened, and cemented. At that time I learned "I have called you by your name, I have surnamed you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is no one else; there is no God besides Me. I will gird and arm you, though you have not known Me." (Isaiah 45:4-5 Amp) Indeed, I did not know You as I know You now.
Always You would bring me higher and deeper. I am excited that maybe We are on the brink of another exciting adventure after such a great long span of self-inflicted desert. The anticipation of excitement though disappoints because I know that means I value highly the good feelings and memorable moments--the sensory fruits of being with You instead of simply loving the knowledge of the joy You have at just being together. Help me not to over-analyze and complicate things. Help me to enjoy the beauty of simplicity.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
His hair's gotten long and kind of shaggy, and he grew a goatee to surprise us. When we got close to his dorm, we called him, but he didn't answer his cell phone. I called his room phone, and he didn't answer that either. I tried the dorm desk, and they hadn't seen him, but would keep trying his phone. Finally someone found him. He went to play cards and forgot to take his cell phone with him. Sorry, guys, I'm really sorry.
He seemed genuinely excited for us to be there and introduce some of his friends. We met "Bill," his roommate from China. There was also Nick, Brian, Ben, Adam, Jen, Peter................
The food service used two of the three recipes I submitted for the week before parents visited, so Ryan saved us a piece of "Triple Chocolate Fudge Zeb Cake" (after Ryan's pet freshman, my "youngest son"). It was pretty different from what I serve, gooier, with a touch of institutional taste, but it was fun to be able to see and taste it. (The other recipe was "Slap Your Face Good Blackberry Cobbler." Hey, they asked for creative names...)
The football game was against EWU, our alma mater, so that was kind of fun. We sat in the end zone in seats that weren't ours, but were conveniently up front for Kev's sake. I fretted, but no one asked us to vacate. Jylle played with her phone most of the time. We don't have free texting in our plan, so she takes pictures and renames them. During a bathroom break, I bought a cup of peanuts and asked for a second cup so I could share. The young guy accommodated me, not without questioning eyes from the older employee. She was right to question though because I used the extra to get water from the bathroom. Bottles were $2, and we're on a tight budget, so c'mon, I had to get a little creative.
EWU won, and we were off to visit the brand new fitness center. Ryan taught Jylle the basics of racquetball, which just about killed Kev who was restricted to mere verbal instruction, bah. Wish I could show them. Wish I could get down there and demonstrate how to do it!
We took Bill to dinner with us, and that was fun. He was cute, polite, witty, intelligent, and family-oriented. (I do like me some Asians...) Ryan might invite him to come for Thanksgiving, and that'd be fun for Brett as well. We recommend Famous Dave's if you're ever in Bozeman. Good food, good portions, reasonable prices, and decent service.
The president spoke at a breakfast for families on Sunday morning, and we left shortly after that. We wanted to get back in time for Jylle to make her weekly basketball clinic. The weather was beautiful all weekend, and the fall colors were glorious. Mountains and treed hills in full regalia, yellow and green peppered forests, and the bluest skies with cloud creatures everywhere, one after another for hundreds of miles--so fun! I even saw another heart-shaped cloud, only this one was winged!
My Ryan has changed even in this short time. He's more independent and confident, less reverent and careful. I hope he doesn't change too much. I like him just the way he is. If he does have to change though, I hope it's in his deeps, where change is Good and lasts forever. He's having a great college experience, meeting inspiring people, rising to invigorating challenges, and looking at the future through young eyes large with hope, and heart ready to run, climb, swim, battle, question, and fly.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Think I feel a little better now...
I'm still gonna flog her though.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Here now for your viewing please, I give you-- IVY (left) and EVE.
I have been a great aunt for 11 years, and in that time I have collected seven great-nieces and -nephews. This is the closest I've ever gotten to holding twins, and it's so cool that we're related!
From the time she was tiny and I melted into those gorgeous blue eyes, to the day she called to advise me to sit down and then sprang the news that they were going to have twins, Brianna has charmed my heart. Now she has three beautiful cherubs to charm hers (didn't forget you, Ambria =). Lord, You are. so. good.
Bless this precious family, Lord. Help these girls to grow into incredible princess-warriors whose faith and strength in Christ rocks this world for Your Kingdom. Protect them. Let them know Your nearness. Lead them surely and tenderly. XO
Me: Make sure you don't pet the cat on his tummy because he doesn't like his tummy touched, k?
Josiah: (shocked) I like MY tummy touched!
My cousin has the movie "Chihuahua," but that's stupid... Stupid is a bad word, so I forgot.
(With wet pants after his nap) "I forgot to go potty." (I think he was afraid the dogs were in the house. There was a small wet spot right inside the bedroom door... )
Do you... do you think... do you... do you, can you... Never mind.
Do chee, cheepy yong chuppy in da safe, chooyong, speakin' Chinese, speakin' Chinese!
Me: What do you call my Jylle? (His baby sister is named after her.)
J: Big Jylle. But she likes "Fat Jylle."
Me: Who's the fattest person you know?
J: Jay Mitchell! [A man who is not at ALL fat!]
Me: Who's the tallest person you know?
J: Guido! [He's the smaller of our two dogs!]
Me: Is your mommy your best friend?
J: Yeah, but you're my bestest.
I do so adore this precious little boy. He makes me laugh, cry, pray, and enjoy the adventure of a walk through the woods. I saw again the wonders of "a beaver hole" (ground squirrel), "cool light sabers" (sticks), the thrill of climbing up and jumping off a log, and one really good, accessorized Lego hero-man. I make things so complicated. Thank You for little eyes to see the truly big things.
Monday, October 13, 2008
She groped among the boulders to steady herself while she made her way along the shoreline barefoot. She could hardly discern outlines in the moonless night. The wind was stinging her cheeks and moving in more fiercely now. The water, while not terribly cold itself, made her even colder because of that merciless wind. She had to find shelter, but where? She had wandered too far from her familiar stomping grounds and had no mental inventory of this area. She was freezing, and her shorts, t-shirt and thin hoodie did almost nothing to provide any warmth, especially now that she was almost completely soaked. She muddled her way forward, trying not to slip and fall or step on something sharp.
She had done it again. She had determined she would not do it again, but here she was, in the midst of another pathetic mess, and all because of what? That blasted dragon. Always now, it was that blasted dragon.
When she'd first happened upon it, she thought it cute and fun and marveled at the novelty. It was such a delightful experience to handle it, hold it, watch it. Of course, she knew better than to spend too much time with it because she'd seen and heard all the dangers and pitfalls of befriending such a creature. No good ever came of it. Some people could maintain a healthy distance when living in fairly close proximity to a lair, but that’s where she had failed. She had not exercised self-control and gave in consistently to the desire to be near it. She could have stayed away. She should have stayed away. But she did not. That had happened so much that now she was no longer the visitor but the visited upon. It sought her out in unexpected places, and always, because of the wonder and sense of peace it seemed to give her, she would wile away the time with it, even taking it with her when it could hide in the darkness.
She thought of how she had done this to herself. Whenever she began self-pity, it was smothered by the acknowledgment that she was solely responsible for her plight. She began the relationship with the full realization of what this creature was capable of. Because of what she had sown, she was now reaping the wind.
She sloshed along slowly, one careful foot feel after another. In the distance she saw a light twinkle, and she realized she must be close to a house. Father Joshua lived on the northernmost part of the beach, so that must be his place. She continued the arduous trek, a tiny bead of hope tracing the thoughts that circled in her mind.
Father Joshua will let me stay for the night, and I’ll be safe. Someplace warm. That’s all I want right now!
Wait . . . . . . He’ll ask what I’m doing in this condition at this time of night. I can’t tell him what I’ve been doing. I’m too ashamed. He’s not a gossip, but this is a small town, and somehow these kinds of things get shouted from the rooftops. I could never do that to my family—or to myself. What could I possibly tell him?
She thought. Clever scenarios presented themselves one after another as she entertained what she might possibly offer as an explanation. Little by little, feeling a misery she was all too familiar with by now, the firefly of hope that had lit her mind just a few minutes before now quietly gasped out of existence, quenched by a knowledge as profoundly cold as her skin. The safety obvious to any other person was not ultimately safety to her. She could not concoct a story reasonable enough to satisfy this good, intelligent man. He was kind and full of grace, but this was too complicated. Her mind was muddied with fatigue and worry edging on desperation. She could not think fast or well. And she could not simply tell the truth. The fear of that was graver and more daunting than her fear of the elements.
She would continue to search for a cave among the rocks. She would be all right. She had experienced cold, hunger, and discomfort worse than this. She determined to begin anew tomorrow. Tomorrow would be another day, another start, another chance to leave behind this wretched mess of habit and start fresh. She would be glad for this night to be over and would consider the memory of it payment enough if it helped launch her into the life she knew she was meant to lead, the life she was living before she met the dragon. That blasted dragon.
In the darkness, a black smile twisted the features of a scaly, silver-green face. With seeing eyes and knowing mind, it watched the girl. Tomorrow, yes. There is always tomorrow.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Romans 8:26-26 "Therefore the Spirit supports our weakness; for we know not rightly what we should pray for, but our own spirit itself pleads with stammering sighings; and the Searcher of our hearts sees the object of our spirit when He intercedes with God for the saints." (Fenton Version)
Isaiah 40 - Who God Is
Isaiah 53 - Cost of Redemption
Romans 8 - Christian's True Life
"If you have displayed your folly, and if you have blundered, keep still." ~Proverbs 30:32 (Ferrar Fenton Version)
Look up, the moment you feel irritation, and say, "Thy sweetness, Lord!" Take the opposite of your temptation and pray that! "Thy kindness -- gentleness -- patience -- courtesy -- calmness -- unselfishness -- Lord!, etc." But the secret is instantly.
Aren't You just so caring to give words of life to the suffocating and needy?! XO
Saturday, October 11, 2008
When you are sad, I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!
When you are blue, I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
When you smile, I know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
When you're scared, we will high tail it out of here.
When you are worried, I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby.
When you are confused, I will use little words.
When you are sick, stay away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
When you fall, I'll pick you up and dust you off. Right after I finish laughing my butt off.
Friendship is like wetting your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.
Friday, October 10, 2008
By Cyndi Mulligan ©2006
- Girlfriends laugh, even when they don’t get it because it’s simply fun just to be together.
- Girlfriends snuggle and cuddle and get great comfort from that closeness, and there’s nothing unnatural going on.
- Girlfriends listen with their whole hearts even when it’s not about their own selves.
- Girlfriends care about every little thing that’s going on in their girlfriends’ lives, and if you don’t tell them the deep stuff, they might even get their feelings hurt.
- Girlfriends love their girlfriends’ children just like their own. And they wouldn’t mind whoopin’ on ‘em a little for ya if ya don’t wanna do it your own self, but only if they really deserve it, but by the time they tell you all about it, they don’t really want you to anymore, and really, neither do you.
- Girlfriends take up an offense and stick up for one another even when it goes beyond reasonable and sane and for the gazillionth time.
- Girlfriends remember the special dates, even the bad ones, and mark them on their calendars.
- Girlfriends love looking at pictures of themselves being all together, and even if they look the best in the picture, they don’t say so.
- Girlfriends love when one of ‘em tells how wonderful they all are, and each one knows quietly deep down inside that she is the most special to that one and the real reason that just got said.
- Girlfriends love to eat together and don’t need a special occasion to do it. Even though it always tastes better when someone else fixes it, they are willing to actually make something their own selves for the sake of community. And just to have more stuff available for all the girlfriends to eat.
- Girlfriends love to soak in hot water up to their chins even after their skin gets all pruney, just cuz it’s so good to all be together.
- Girlfriends love to listen to one of ‘em read out loud to ‘em, especially if it’s a book about other girlfriends.
- Girlfriends get under one another’s skin so deep that even after carrying one of 'em for miles and miles, they'll carry her another thousand just 'cause they can't live without her.
- Girlfriends look the sweetest to one another after they’ve just told you they not only know about the sin you’ve just confessed and have been trying to hide, but that they love you and want you anyways and have all along.
- Girlfriends will go to great lengths not to hurt one another’s feelings, even when it would be more helpful to everyone if they went ahead and did.
- Girlfriends love to stay up late and talk and talk and talk before they finally pour themselves into bed. And they still look beautiful to one another when they wake up all wirey haired in the morning just cuz they love each other heartloads.
- Girlfriends love to sit and swing and hold each other’s legs and kinda rub on ‘em a little, just to be touching, especially when there aren’t any kids around and it’s a lovely, warm day. Swinging only makes it lovelier.
- Girlfriends don’t hate the husband one of ‘em has a legitimate complaint against and has just railed against for the last two hours, because they all know he is a man and as such, automatically may not do the right thing at the right time in the right attitude, and we all know that and have one of ‘em our own selves and understand the venting thing, so we save our hate for things like spiders and wrinkles and people who are downright mean.
- Girlfriends love to help one of ‘em get all dolled up for a special occasion, especially when she’s not used to getting all dolled up. We are just sure that our personal touches will ensure that she is the bell of whatever ball she will be attending and that her queenliness is evident to all just because of our assistance.
- And last, girlfriends are the most precious when they tramp through your muck with you, and you find yourself on the shore of Hope with the horizon of Joy just ahead, and you have arrived there propped up by their weary yet faithful arms, and although you are all limping some from the journey, they have loved you into your Abba’s arms, singing and dancing all the way, knowing that you will sing and dance in the end, too.