Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving #2

Yesterday went pretty well. I didn't cry this year. No major mishaps and only two threats from my mom. Too bad they were to the foreigner from China. They were somewhere along the lines of "If you don't bring pictures of your parents next time I see you, I'm going to hit you in the head. Then I'll make you walk back to your dorm to get them." In parting, she reiterated that same sentiment. Threat. Whatever.

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

lengthy but not exhaustive

Surely the world is not big enough, deep enough, or real enough to contain all the words it would take to thank You for everything You've given, done, and are. My tiny offering here is feeble in light of all that I am not and should be, but You don't see me like that, which is why I love You so much and keep trying. With my eyes closed and my heart full on, "I want to look right at You, I want to sing right to You."

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


Whoopi Goldberg on the list of the most annoying people at the table on Thanksgiving:

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

Sunday prayer

Please, Lord, my prayer today is that You would help me to realize all that it cost You to forgive me so that I might "be held as in a vice, constrained by the love of God," (My Utmost).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

morning giggles

I drove the kids to school this morning. When Jylle's friend, Catherine, opened her door to get out, she said, "My skirt was stuck in the door. It's all dragging and cold..... That's awesome." She went to get out and when she stood up, the elastic waistband of her skirt was stretched bigtime down her hip because the hem of it was stuck fast between the seat and her backpack. The look on her face was priceless, like "What the heck... Oh. I'm such a dork." She just smiled and said, "You should just take me back home, put me out of my misery..."

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

my admiration of a dear, dear friend

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

the deeper beauty

Birdie: Love somebody from when you’re nineteen, one day he’s the same as ever, next day dead. So many tears they seem to wash something out of you. They leave this emptiness.

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

another fill in the blank

Normally I don't fill out those pesky email questionnaires because I feel like I'm 19 or 20 on their list of "Send this to 20 friends." I just don't think they care about my answers, and I must be right because no one's ever written back and asked, "So why didn't you send back that questionnaire?" This one, however, is different. I like it for the novelty, brevity, the breadth it gives me to answer, and that it begins with "I am." Normally I see those two words as God's name, but this is different. This is about me, and that's always our favorite subject, isn't it? =)

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.
  1. I am unrepeatable.
  2. I am Loved.
  3. I am always a mom.
  4. I am easily influenced.
  5. I am capable of great good and great bad.
  6. I am on an upward journey.
  7. I am not a dreamer.
  8. I am fairly self-absorbed.
  9. I am grateful for the surprise of God-hugs in my day.
  10. I am missing something vital.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

divine launch

I am ever trying to lay hold of reckoning it as truth that, Lord, "all things are Your servants." In today's Joy and Strength, I read this:

THOU givest within and without precisely what
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

Trust. Obey. Pray. Suffer. Endure. Worship. Praise. Rejoice.

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

a child's heart

Taking care of a herd of three-year-olds for a group of young moms is something I do the first Friday of the month. This one particular morning I had about 12 little ones all to myself. It wasn't very long into the two and a half hours that I realized I needed some help.

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

the "s" word

Phooey, it's snowing. Not the kind of "first snow" with big wet flakes that cover a multitude of grays. The kind that's nearly horizontal on winds blowing from the north pole. The turkeys in the backyard are heading due north straight into it. Shouldn't they be heading south...? I know I should be.


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


I want to secede. As a kid, I remember Spokane had a mayor with an idea he proffered that I thought was loony--form an entirely different state from Eastern Washington, the Idaho panhandle, and Eastern Montana. As an adult, I came to see the sense it made. The results of this election have only cemented the idea now.  Thanks to the west side, we still have a governor who's done nothing for our own personal economy, a trend begun by Gary Locke, we're now the second state to approve assisted suicide, and now taxpayers will bear the burden of training caregivers. OH--MY--GOODNESS!

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

Ah, cwap...

Election Results

Election Day

I'm going to check in every once in a while today just to jot down some things. Writing helps me center. (Indeed, I've been praying as well.) I've been dreading this day for months now. I don't like history-making things unless they have to do with the world's largest burrito or consecutive days of sunshine. I'm as sick as the next guy of the political ads and the constantly talking heads. I'm tired of the assault on my intelligence and just as done with the juggling of stats to support whatever their position is. I can't stand confrontation, even if I'm not one of the involved parties. It offends my peace space. I just want everyone to get along. I feel sorry for the loser and for all the people who sent in money to promote him. As if TV stuff isn't bad enough, there's the Internet with youtube, myspace, facebook, and jillions of blogs with SO MUCH HATE. It's a gagfest!

I need some water and a walk.

I've known who the winner is for months

I woke up one morning shortly after the presidential candidates were officially nominated by their respective parties with one thought prominently settled in my mind:  Obama is going to be our next president. The thought stayed unvoiced for a few weeks until one conversation with my husband.

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

Thanksgiving in the Philippines

Brett called to say he had good news and bad news. The bad news is that he won't be coming home for Thanksgiving. The good news is that he gets to go to the Philippines. He applied for the exchange program, the same one that allowed him to go to Taiwan last year, and he was accepted. He'll go with a small contingent from the Academy and spend a week at the AF Academy of the Philippines.

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 am Librarian.

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.