Monday, May 26, 2008

far from home

Guido found a turtle in the driveway this morning. He wouldn't stop herding something, and I was shocked to see this thing "running" in circles (of course, I use that word lightly). Neighbors have a pond, and that's probably where he came from. It's laughable to think of this water creature making his way half a mile through forest, pine needles, tall grass, around logs and boulders to where we'd find him in our driveway. He was 100 yards from field fence he would not have fit through, so he would've had to go hard left or right for another hundred yards, and then who knows where?!

I wondered if there was some cool spiritual analogy here, but other than wandering in the dust when I could be livin' it up at the beach, I don't see anything else. Not that that's not a worthy meditation; getting lost is no fun. Having absolutely no internal GPS to get you back home--yuck. I felt like a bit like a Pharisee as I thought,
Thank You, Lord, that I am not like him. That only intensified as Ryan scooped him up into a bucket and trekked back through the woods to the pond. All the while, Turtle scraped vigorously at the slick bucket walls and strained to escape this new confine, his neck at a constant, uncomfortable-looking 90 degree angle.

Thank You, Lord, that I am not a turtle far from home. That's a prayer I never imagined I'd pray with such sincerity.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

maria chapman

In memory of Maria Sue Chapman

We woke up to this news on the radio, and my whole family feels just sick. We almost lost Jylle this way four years ago, so to actually have it happen--what an unholy nightmare. I went to his website, and there were almost a thousand comments from people who wanted to offer some kind of support and encouragement. Words never feel so worthless and empty than at a time like this.

We're all praying fervently for them. Lord God, please cradle them tenderly in the palm of Your hand... †

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


When I saw my banana plant this morning, I thought it was dying because it was all tipped over on top. But when I checked it out, I saw this blossom sack thingy! How cool is THAT! After about three years, we might have baby bananas... Im so excited! (I know, I have a small existence...) The only thing that concerns me though is the weather. Its going to be cooler and overcast for a while, and I just hope she doesnt panic and go all survival on me and drop her package!

Friday, May 16, 2008


I subbed at the elementary school yesterday, and I had first graders, then second graders, then third graders! I just get my "mom" on, and that works great. The third graders kept saying that I was really nice, which is kind of alarming to a sub because that sounds like a platform into being taken advantage of, or they're going to at least try. I figured out that it was probably because I acted a lot like their moms--smoothing a head of hair, swiping a crayon shaving off a shirt, reminding them to use manners, granting permission to do certain things, giving directions and just generally guiding them through the day. There were a few moments where firmness was called for, but mostly it was do-this, do-that.

When they came in from recess, most were red-faced and sweaty since it was our first really warm spring day. I did what I'd do if they were my own children. I picked up the spray bottle and asked the nearest kid if he'd like me to spray him. "YES, PLEASE!" He squeezed his eyes shut, and I misted his face and hair. Suddenly a swarm of eager red faces aimed up at me begging for the same thing.

I sprayed and sprayed, going from face to face, then en masse. (I was careful not to spray the papers on their desks or anything electronic.) The ones who were the hottest went to the sink and further showered themselves with more water to cool off, but I had to stop that because they were getting the floor all wet--too dangerous, and I didn't want to have to clean it up.

Simple pleasures, simple kindnesses. I had fun playing mom-for-a-day to about 50 kids. I thought I liked the middle school best, but this experience has me reconsidering. Maybe I just like it when we can all get a little respect and have some fun...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I received this gift from a friend, and I was shocked. Not because I don't love her back, but because I would've thought she had at least one friend closer to her heart than me. At first, I thought She must mean this in a general way, like "You're one of my best friends." I even considered that she must not get out much so she must not have much to pick from. Truly, not false humility, but quick mental research into the validity of, to me, such a bold statement. The more I thought about it though, the more I thought Just give it to Him. The best friendness we love is the stuff of Him that pours into us. Let her love the embraces of our Abba that she gets from you.

It's an awesome thing to be spent by Him (and I only and always ever use that word in its original meaning: Something inspiring awe; remarkable; outstanding). To be used in a divine equation, for a glorifying occasion... Jesus used mud to open blind eyes; He can use me to hug a friend's insides.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

my new bff

YAHOO!! I needed an inexpensive cure for hot flashes, and I have one! Black cohosh is an ingredient consistently found in treatments for menopausal symptoms, and since this is the only symptom I needed relief from, I bought a six-dollar bottle at the health food store, and voila! Took about five days for them to stop completely, and I've been back to normal ever since! Thank You, LORD! Hallelujah! No more waking up five times /night, no more getting totally distracted in the middle of something because I need to find a fan or cool off outside. This little gem gets to wear my tiara. We are officially best friends. I mean it. I'm getting the better bargain here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


From My Utmost: The only thing that will enable me to enjoy the disagreeable is the keen enthusiasm of letting the life of the Son of God manifest itself in me. No matter how disagreeable a thing may be, say - "Lord, I am delighted to obey Thee in this matter," and instantly the Son of God will press to the front, and there will be manifested in my human life that which glorifies Jesus. There must be no debate. The moment you obey the light, the Son of God presses through you in that particular… You must keep yourself fit to let the life of the Son of God be manifested, and you cannot keep yourself fit if you give way to self-pity… If God puts you there, He is amply sufficient.

O, Lord, You ARE enough! You are everything I ever need, ongoingly available to me in the moment, all lined up one after the next and the next and the next. You are my portion—“that which is allotted to me,” the ALL of You is my inheritance. I can spend You—You cannot be squandered or frittered away! “Tax Me! See if you can!” You are my Refuge, my Stronghold, my High Tower, my Deliverer, my Way, my Purpose, my Life. Though the path seem demanding or boring, You are my Enough.

Emmanuel Never Overwhelms UGo2 Him! (for my poetic friend)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

well done

I saw one of Ryan's old buddies the other day, and it was such a joy. He's a man now with beard stubble, he's all muscled out, he carries on a conversation like an adult and is very personable. What I loved was that he had to make a concerted effort to get to us to say hi. That touched me, and I wanted to fling my arms around him and say, “Thank you for growing up so well!” His girlfriend made him promise to say hi to us for her too. How sweet is that?!

This is the kid who every time he came into the room, I’d say, “Say, ‘Hi, Mrs. Mulligan,’ “ which he promptly did, if not a little under duress but which I still totally appreciated. I hope we can go to his graduation party, just so I can fling my arms around him and say, “Thank you for growing up so well!”

Friday, May 09, 2008

flowers and such sweet things...


my double-bloom hibiscus
wild strawberriesmy bougainvillea

Flowers, flower, flowers! I am such a girl, I just love ‘em. Got ‘em blooming in and out of the house right now, and they make me happy! Sharing their pretty li’l faces just seems like goodness. . . There’ll be more to come if the deer don’t see ‘em as dessert . . . I cover the tulips with big ol' pots to protect them through the night. Found out the inside plants would totally be a meal if they were relegated to the outdoors. Lucky for them . . . Just do not get aphids, or you're goners. I am an aphid hater.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Acquire the Fire

Phil Joel, formerly with the Newsboys

at the Dome with Zeb, Ryan & Jylle

Rock fists!

Up all night, finally caught up with ‘em. They knew
people would snap pics, but tired doesn’t care.

"Acquire the Fire" in Tacoma was this last weekend. There were 35 kids (including two of mine) and four adults. We took a charter bus and had a blast. The speakers and musicians were great, and the drama was thought-provoking and well done. Ryan said it’s the best youth event he’s ever been to so far! There was all the freedom in the world to worship however you wanted. I didn’t do the mosh pit, not because I didn’t want to, but because I loved the freedom to move on every side since most of the kids were up front. The music wasn’t so loud that I needed the ear plugs I brought, so that was a lovely surprise. I loved the upraised hands, the One-on-one time, the lyrics, and the easy movement from LET’S ROCK to Let’s worship the Holy One. I am ready to keep on and am invigorated for battle. This is the gist of what I shared with the congregation, to whom we all gave some kind of testimony of the weekend:

"I took some notes because my brain turns to oatmeal... We did the regular teen things--made new friends, sang, played games, laughed a lot. We also went to Starbucks three times, rode a trolley, ate pizza in the cold, didn’t sleep enough, and laughed and laughed.

"One line from a song in the worship was “You are my portion.” Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” When I think of portion, I think of Oliver Twist and the scene where he holds up his bowl and says, “More, please.” The dictionary defines portion as 1) a part that is allotted to a person or group, 2) a dowry, 3) A person’s lot or destiny. God is my portion. He doesn’t give us a bit of Himself—He gives us the ALL of Him. He gives us the ALL of His nature, He gives us the ALL of His Son, Jesus Christ, and He gives us the ALL of the power of His Holy Spirit. That is my portion. These 35 kids want the ALL of God, and that was exactly what I needed.

"I can’t watch the news but once/week because I get so bummed, so disheartened (my new most-used word). Witnessing the passion of these young people was a tonic to my soul, a balm in Gilead. There was not a dispassionate soul in the bunch. Being around that, I was 18 again--and that’s been a hundred years... God sent me on this trip for my own personal revival and refreshment. I have a new hope for our community and our nation as I see the fire in these young people. Pleeease pray that satan would not steal the glory and inspiration of this weekend from these kids because that’s exactly what he’ll be trying to do. And thank you so much for your support of this youth group. May God bless you."

Honestly, except for my air mattress going flat almost immediately, making for fitful sleep, and not being able to find a comfortable position to sleep in on the way home, it was a wonderful weekend. I even got "a new bff" into the bargain (smile). I’d do it all over again. Next year. After I get some sleep.

I have continued to receive comments on my “preaching” (not in an unkind way) and can totally see how Tina would love a platform from where she could preach and exhort and lift up and put out there the Love of God and the Name of Jesus and the Life He has available to everyone who would believe! I am content to have been a part of this weekend and to have met with God and done business with Him. My battle is in the ordinary everyday, the boring, the uncomfortable. These are my challenge areas. I am grateful for abiding, ongoing Love & Presence. “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind, both its inclination and its character, is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You,” ~Isaiah 26:3.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

a new home

This afternoon "Bo" went to live in the home of an empty nest couple from our church who’ll love him and give him all the care and attention he needs. They’ll see him through to the resolution of his family’s situation, however long that may be, which is why they call this move "permanent." Currently, the situation is a nasty mess, so it'll be a good, long time until it's all said and done.

After lunch, I took him for a walk to see the neighbor's pond, something we intended to do last week, but between bad weather and making time, didn't do. I asked him if he was a little afraid of going to live with "Bill and Mary," and he said he yes, a little, not really knowing them and all. He seems to adjust so well and seems really flexible, and I trust Bill's and Mary's hearts toward both this boy and esp. the Lord. He can't make a decision to save his life, but that comes from living for ten years according to an exact schedule, ruled by a timer, no exceptions. We sent him off with a decent basketball and a dozen chocolate chip cookies. A pittance compared to what I would've liked to have supplied him with--protection for his heart and mind, the assurance that he is precious, wanted, and loved, and a boatload of goodwill. I'll see him at church though, and that'll be nice.

Thank You, Lord, for providing just in time and in exactly the right fit. They're good people, and he's a good boy, and You are the Good God. †