Thursday, October 22, 2009

so Other

I want stability. You want my growth.
I want comfortableness. You empower me to stretch.
I want safety. You offer goodness.
I fear everything. You've conquered ALL.
I'm content with lukewarm. You want passion.
I don't know anything. You give the mind of Christ.
I wait for You to pull. You wait for me to step.
I've tried to do it alone.You never meant for me to.
I lean toward feelings. You supply perfect balance.
I think of the worst. You allow only the best.
I want shortcuts. You are the Way.
Help my unbelief. You are the Truth.

Friday, October 09, 2009

filial wretching

I'm so weary of being the more mature one in this relationship when my parents are supposed to be......... My mom, of all people, is the one who's the more mature, and my dad is the one I want to toss into a recycle bin and start all over with!

He's been pitching hissy fits whenever we've forgotten to call to say we're home safely or WHATEVER. Doesn't matter, he calls and lets us know in no uncertain terms that he is NOT okay with us not having contacted them in one way or another to fill them in on whatever.......

Bbblllllleeeeeeccccchhhhhhhhh............... I just want to retch right now.

No one reads this, so I feel pretty safe in putting out here that I have RE-acted in a patient way toward this man, and I believe it will not get any better in the near future just because I've apologized. Again and again. He's old and cemented and thinks he's always right. What do you do with that...? What in the world do I do now?!

Friday, October 02, 2009


Jylle wrote a song for me for my birthday! She was so excited--she ran downstairs and said, "I finished this song. You have to come and listen!" She fairly dragged me by the hand to her room, where she plopped down on a chair and started into it. It wasn't until I heard the name "Didier's" that the thought dawned on me that this song was about me. Like, for me. I totally interrupted, blurting out, "Is this song for ME?" She didn't miss a beat (literally), just kept singing and nodded her head 'Yes.' Tears flooded my entire face. Felt like it anyway.

Wish I could post the song here, but at least I can show the lyrics.


You could understand me when no one else could
You would stand beside me when no else would
You, you are mine

Drama filled my life when I was only thirteen
You were there to show me how to keep my heart clean
You, you are mine

Rainy days would come and I would ask to hold you
You were there to give me something to hold onto
You, you are mine

All those trips to Didier's we took on Tuesdays
They'll stay in my heart forever and always
You, you are mine

I don't care what they say, I'll always love you
I'll never forget all the funny things we do
You, you are mine

Hate to break it to you, but I've gotta leave sometime
Don't worry about it though, I'll be back in no time
You, you are mine

Start looking different at the start of September
Miles separate us, but just remember
You, you are mine

As I'm growing older, I hope just maybe
I could be a fraction of you, pretty lady
You, you are mine

You, you are mine.

Lord, thank You from the bottom of my gnarly little heart
for this precious gift.
And for the song, too. xoxo

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Musings on Aging and Changing (and Not)

Kev is 50 now. I'm going to be 49 in three days. This is way past middle age already. I remember when I was 38, thinking THIS is the midpoint of my life. To live much more beyond 76 is not something look forward to doing. But when I look at our parents, all I can think is how I would HATE for them to be gone! It's hard enough not having Kev's dad anymore.

My dad is 79, kev's mom just turned 79, and my mom is 71. It happens much slower and much less frequently, but I still have moments like I do with my children when I think How did this happen? how did they get to be this age already?

More and more I am convinced that we do not have the tools that would make it possible for us to love our parents as much as we love our children. As the child, there is much gratitude and guilt tied in with the love. As the parent, there is that unconditional love and abiding desire for their best, as well as the will to protect them as much as we possibly can. All too similar are both loves as they relate to my spiritual life.

Perhaps it is just this particular time in my life, but the gratitude and guilt part are nailhead
accurate. How can You stand by and watch me choose poison instead of nectar? How is it that You continue to pour mountains of spices on my already wealthy life? I fear the dropping of the other shoe, the last straw that will cause shouting from the rooftops of all I am guilty of and must answer for.

I am less of a pleasure junkie than I am just wanting not to feel much of anything. I don't seek out great highs and am not fighting great lows. I just simply don't want most of life to make me feel anything but okay. Perhaps "calm" is the best description. I want everything to feel all right, that there's nothing wrong or of great concern on any front.

Not much of a warrior, am I? Sounds like the enemy would be quite pleased with himself. Disengaged, self-absorbed, working for the status quo, I go about these days neither challenged nor challenging to anyone else. Lukewarm. Eeeyuck.

I'm looking for change around the corner though. There is a plan in the works that I know not of, one that will vault me out of this grave and back into the fray. I am made for Life, and Life is the business He is about even now as I consider this. And suddenly I realize that great highs are not so bad after all. It is the fear of descent that lurks and haunts, but fear is nothing to Him Who holds my heart and soul and Whose mind I possess. THESE are the truths I must choose to dwell on. The conversations I have with myself are as important to my mental discipline as drinking in the truth in His word. They carve and sculpt that landscape as surely as my experiences.

Hope. Hope is what I long for, and Hope is what I need. Fortunately for me, Hope is Who I have.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Lord, Kathy's Brandt had a stroke, and I can't believe it. They had so little of what I'd call normal time together so soon after their wedding. The fun and adventure and leisure I expected they would enjoy seems like a dull dream now, something only other people get to have. My heart is heavy, and I don't even know how to pray.

She needs You. For a thousand-foot need, You are her thousand-foot crutch. As we lower Brandt on a litter and ask expectantly for Your healing, I come to Your throne boldly and ask for titantic grace and mercy on her spirit, her mind, and her body. This is a hard one, Lord, and she needs the All of You to carry her. No one can do this alone. I don't know if she even has anyone in the area who can offer something to her as simple as a cup of coffee in compassion. She doesn't speak of tight friends, not that I can recall anyway, and her kids aren't in the area. My human tendency is to panic. Fortunately for her, she's nothing like me! Feed her Your truth and keep her steady and trusting.

Hold them firmly, Lord. Grant them the great, great grace of Your felt presence. Give her wisdom as she embarks on this new chapter. Let there still be generous helpings of Your surprise hugs, simple delights, and even joy--somehow, in the way only You can bring about. Grant her mercy, companionship, strength, knowledge, and supernatural peace--Your very own peace, You say in Your word.*

Help me to stand alongside her and offer her whatever comfort and compassion You would flow out through me. Use this thing in their lives to grow them up into a child, and do that in Your soft, tender way, for Your glory.

I'm rambling now... Please help her to get some rest. Give all the doctors, nurses, and helpers wisdom, skill, and compassion. Surround her with Your kindness, Father. XO

Thursday, September 24, 2009

a tiny money matter

Seems kind of silly to call one a credit card and the other a debit when they both reduce the amount of money you have. It's nice to have two different names for them though.

I was looking at the word "debit" and realized how extremely close in spelling it is to "debt." And then I realized that the reason my debt grows is because "i" spend money! Interesting, isn't it?! Well, maybe you've already thought about that stuff, but it was new to me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where You Go

Oh, Lord, You are so utterly unlike us.

He doesn't acknowledge the wrong I do because He knows He's already dealt with it, and it's a mute point. Instead He is all about drawing me on higher and deeper, always completely marinating me in His titanic love.

I feel like I've been blinded by gaudy lights and baubles for so very long. This is like waking from a drugged coma where I'm rediscovering my legs and hands and neck. Movement is awkward and staggered. There is forward motion though, so I keep on.

I had a dream. I was up on a fence, straddling the top rail. Suddenly it started moving, smoothly and slowly like a horse. When I woke up I thought, "That's funny. I was riding a fenc-----."

Comfortable in my own little world. Content with mediocrity. Exploiting the gift of choice. Believing outside voices instead of God's Word. A dam of unreality is built.

I pray for "the gift of tears."*

The torrent of His purpose and love will not be held back though, and there is divine magma roiling. I pray sincerely and earnestly for the explosion, whatever comes, because He is always and only goodness, loving-kindness, and life.

"Where You Go" - Kim Walker/Jesus Culture

* "From the moment when we are brought face to face with our whole uncensored past and are forced to admit and to take full responsibility for all our faults and failures in thought, word, and deed... our release from spiritual aridity can begin. Only when we realize that self-will and its futile efforts are completely powerless to effect our deliverance can we finally abandon them and throw ourselves solely on the Compassion of the Other Power, which at last can respond to our plea and replace our impotence. Then we may be granted that most precious of confirmatory signs, the gift of tears, which spring forth from the eyes in spontaneous gratitude. Such cleansing tears are tears both of joy and of grief, of remorse for one's hard-hearted pride and perversity, and of purification from all egoistic defilements, but most of all of thanksgiving for the gift of Faith. Only tears such as these can break the drought of self-sufficiency, can water and refresh the barren anger and hatred that have gripped the heart and deprived it of tenderness, and can set free again the living waters of the spirit." ~Harold Stewart
Note: While I do not promote the writings of Harold Stewart, God uses whatever He wants to touch us and move us along in His purpose.

Monday, July 20, 2009

50 Years!

My folks celebrated their 50th anniversary on Sunday, July 19. The actual date is this fall on October 31, but they wanted to do it in the summer so it could be outside in the nice weather, and at least five of their seven grandchildren could come.

My mom wanted "lichon," which is a whole pig roasted on a rotisserie. My brother Alan was put in charge of that, and he found a place that would rent a huge grill and sell them the pig. He and Kev had to "take care" of the pig, and you can see in the picture that this was the way they chose to roast it. Unfortunately, this is not the arrangement my mom was wanting, but to her credit, she handled the bad news amazingly well.

Kev and I will celebrate our 27th anniversary next month. I can't imagine what it must be like to be married for 50 years and say the same things that we're saying now: Where did it go? How did the kids grow up so fast? How did we get this old? How can it be that this much time has passed?

We all share the same yearning to experience with another person love, acceptance, bonding, intimacy, and the pith of life. We want that someone to be there for us when we're vulnerable, shaken, or ugly. We want to be able to count on and trust that someone and likewise to be counted on and trusted. My parents have been extremely blessed to have known the satisfaction of this experience. They expressed their gratitude as well as they could at the party, and bless my mom, she did it with elegance, perfect sentiment, and a wisdom that comes from a personal knowledge of pain, exquisitive joy, and the Love of the Ages.

Like my friend Mae says about our bodies aging but never feeling older in our hearts, "It's a testament to the eternalness of our spirits." At the same time, there comes a deepening of our knowledge of what it means to know love, to be loved, and to be in love. I am profoundly grateful for these gifts in my parents' life together--gifts to them and from them.♥♥

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some LightsHigh...

I cried when we landed; it was love at first sight. I'm going to walk where You walked, see things You saw, and breathe the air where You grew up. Thank You... Palm trees peppered the area around the airport like my own personal happy greeters. Just the sight of them made me glad. "Oasis," I thought. Little could I know how this place would come to water my soul.

Our first stop was in Caesarea, and the surreal turquoise of the Mediterranean Sea was the kind of eye shock I needed to let go of the side of the pool and sink completely under into this trip. GeroniMO!

On the Sea of Galilee, which is really just a big lake, we sailed on the “Faith,” the only boat on the lake run by a Christian. The captain's name is Daniel, a Messianic Jew with well-sunned skin, long wavy black hair, and a simple, light-hearted manner of communicating. We sat on long benches lining both sides of the boat, some of us singing along lazily with the worship music. Except for Cathy who stood on the raised deck and belted her heart out.

Sitting there, I took in the heat, the people around me, the water splashing against the sides, the gentle hills to the east, and the felt presence of His Spirit. You taught here. You ate here. You walked on this lake and calmed its waves. Your footprints are invisible, but they’re there. I know it--2,000 years, and Your fragrance still lingers. Tears came uninvited, and I let them just be. The experience of His nearness always does that to me.

To place my feet on the same stones where Jesus walked to the Temple was fun. It wasn’t moving to me in the same way; it was something joyful and fun. I silently thanked the excavators and all the people involved with clearing and cleaning the enormous area that allows us now to literally walk in His steps.

The Western Wall (no one here calls is the Wailing Wall) brought about something I was not prepared for—grief. To see women in tears, some plastering themselves as tightly to the wall as they could, some seated and reading from prayer books for hours, my heart was crushed by grief. They want You; You want them more. They wait for You, and You’ve already come. They long for deliverance, and Redeemer has paid and risen. Lord God, show them Your Son. Open their eyes and relieve their pain. Karen held me and let me cry. When it was my turn in line, I scrunched my written prayer into a crag in the wall only as a token of respect and tradition. You don’t need me to write this down—You know me better than I know myself. Then I backed away in the manner they practice as one backs away from the presence of a king. I attempted to wipe my eyes and will away the red and then rejoined our group only to find their eyes all wet and red as well…

There are two places proffered as the place of Jesus’ resurrection. The one in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a huge, awkward, complicatedly decorated, Russian Orthodox shrine constructed in an incongruous fashion with its surroundings. The priest lets in five at a time, and there are candles and incense burning in the outer chamber. Beyond that is a tiny room with the stone where it’s believed He was laid. There are candles and a painting in the Russian Orthodox order.

The Garden Tomb is the other place, and we ended our tour there. From the get go, we were greeted by a lively British man whose excitement was contagious as he told us about why he believes this place is the grounds of Golgotha and then not far from that, the tomb.

It’s all outdoors in a beautiful garden setting with places for meditation or just enjoyment carved out in the flora and fauna. The explanations he gave grew on me as the facts and Scriptures he laid out seemed to gel and jive. We took turns going into the tomb, and as Mr. Corker said, “It is completely unenshrined, Hallelujah!”

We had communion afterward on our own, and after that a time of sharing as anyone felt moved. I felt it was the fullest in spirit our little group had been the entire time, actually the only time Kevin and I felt our motley crew was united. It was a truly beautiful place, and the serenity, joy, and humble thankfulness we experienced there was an exquisite seal on the priceless gem that was this visit.

Interestingly enough, it was one of the few place where I didn’t cry. I think Joy, Peace, Victory, and Love were there in abundance and served to make me simply utterly content. For that reason, I hold it forever hugged and smiled on in the room of my heart set aside just for this Garden.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Re-entry is almost always a little tricky, and this is no exception. It's not like I didn't have enough time because I had plenty. It's not like I wanted to stay or even that I'd turn around and go right back if I could. The only thing that comes close to nailing it is how you seem to grow another heart the day you have a baby. It's like that heart belongs entirely to that child, and he can be anywhere in the world--Madrid, Texas, or downstairs in his room--but inside that heart that resides in your core, an essential part of you is somehow righthere with him. I had a connection intellectually with Israel before, but now it's grown arms and legs and skin and hair and blood. I've had a small taste of His longing over, protection of, and passionate history with the people of this place, and something inside me has changed.

I never wanted to be one of those people who constantly makes references to the exotic place she's just visited. That gets old f-a-s-t. Chances are however, that I'm probably more like the things I'd rather not be, so I hope you'll give me grace and maybe a gentle nudge if I lapse into that behavior. You'll know that even though I'm right there in your living room or commenting away online, there's a wadge of me away across the sea...

Deuteronomy 7:6-9

Monday, June 15, 2009

a sad intermission

There was a tiny baby bird that lay dead in the road on my walk today. I felt sad after spotting it. No idea how it ended up in the road since there weren't any overhanging tree branches. Strong winds could've blasted it out of its nest and into the road yesterday I guess. I took two sticks, tried to look at it only peripherally because I didn't want to see its dead face, and hoisted it into the bushes. I just couldn't stand the idea of it getting run over by a car. It just didn't sit well. This seemed a reasonable option. Ending up dust to dust or even being a meal for another critter was a better option than getting run over.

On a brighter note, I'm jogging more than half my walk now, so somewhere around 2 miles. That's happy-making!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


It was a rush of activity, but all of it so amazing and wonderful. We were SO happy to have my folks and Kev's mom there. The presence of the Lord was so obvious and almost tangible the whole time. It was a tremendous gift to all of us.

We stayed the night in a Sheridan (WY) hotel on the way there, and it was a great experience. If you ever need a hotel there, we highly recommend the Wyndham. It had everything we needed, it was clean and attractive, and the service was excellent. I made a big loud point of asking Kev to make reservations this trip because I'm sick to death of pulling into a town at 11:30 p.m. and pouring everyone into bed in either a dive, or a hundred-dollar six-hour stay. He outdid himself!

My folks went in their RV and Ryan went with them to share the driving with my dad. They left on Fri, we left on Sat, and we both arrived Sun afternoon. Brett had already had a bunch of his stuff sent to Sheppard, and the rest he stuffed in his car or moved to his host family's house.

The weather for the parades both Mon and Tue was so cold! We brought blankets and stadium seats, and Ryan and Jylle huddled under them for a while trying to gather some warmth. I have never seen my father shake from cold before. He was cold to the very core, but so obviously glad to be there. I was thrilled that he could enjoy being there. (My mom just finished radiation treatments the 13th of May, and she was still weak and in pain, so she didn't attend anything until Tue night. My dad of course stayed with her, but Mom and I both urged him to come to the parade since it wouldn't be long.) I didn't even think to ask him until we were on our way to the base, and I'm SO glad it all worked out.

The swearing
-in ceremony on Tue night was so impressive! We loved it! It was just our squadron, so it was the most intimate gathering. The cadets sat with their families until the last 15 min when they got up to make room for guests. It was a formal event, so it was lovely to see everyone dressed so nicely. The cadets wore their tux uniforms. One at a time, each cadet stood by the American flag, raised the right hand, and repeated the oath of office read to them by an officer of his/her choosing. After that, someone (usually a family member or significant other) changed the shoulder boards on the uniform. Having my dad change out Brett's was powerfully meaningful, poignant, and memorable. I loved seeing all the different people the cadets chose to do that particular thing.

The only dim spot in the whole weekend was
when Kev's mom fell when we got back to the car. It was dark, and there was a curb, and she didn't have reliable shoes on, so when she went down, it was a scary shock. She broke her hip and shattered her wrist seven years ago falling like that. But she recovered nicely and ended up with a baseball sized bruise on her shoulder.

Finally, Wednesday arriv
ed, and here it was the big day. Graduation Day was the perfect temperature--sunny and breezy! Thank You, LORD! God was generous and gracious! The cadets marched into their rows in perfect precision, and the band blared something that was probably its equal to Pomp and Circumstance. The most obvious difference in their uniforms is the golden sash around their waist. It's striking, and at least to me, yet another symbol of accomplishment, pride, and patriotism. They all looked smashing! Seated at last, the speeches began.

Joe Biden's speech was actually a pleasant surprise. He poked fun at Obama this on
e time after mentioning how windy it was as he implied the potential for something to happen to the equipment. "What will he say if I tell him his teleprompter is broken?" That brought both laughter and applause--and a new appreciation for Biden that I never thought I'd have!

We stayed in Brigham City on the way back since Dad wanted to take a flatter route home to ease the burden on his transmission. There was one time when "82" kept going through his mind. They needed gas, so he turned off on exit 82 in LaGrande. He kept driving into town looking for cheaper gas but finally stopped at a 76 s
tation when they couldn't find anything less. When he went to refill the transmission fluid, he found that it'd been leaking and was almost dry. A mechanic from the repair shop right next door saw what was going on and came over with this very specific tool for the job that made it so much easier! A total God-thing! Dad said if he hadn't stopped there, they'd probably have gotten stranded somewhere along the interstate. Eeeyuck.

I drove the last four hours home, and it was fun when Jyl
le and I were up front and wondered aloud about all the plans we might possibly make if we actually do get to go to SoCal together as her senior present. The Pacific Coast Highway and then all the way to San Diego, baby! We're all talk, but it was fun to brainstorm and dream...

When we pulled up to the house, we were so surprised b
y how much everything had grown! The lilacs were in full bloom, the grass needed mowing big time, and the plants on the rock wall were full and round. My doggies were wagging their butts off, whining and "doggie smiling" if you can picture that. I do love my doggies...

Brett came home for almost 48 hours the following Mon and is in Kenya now for 2 weeks, teaching and helping out at a school in Nairobi with anoth
er Christian friend, a fellow graduate. He'll fly to Europe after that and then to WA early in July. Kev and I will be getting back Israel shortly after that, and we'll all meet up at his mom's for a family reunion in Seattle and a trip to visit Kev's aunt in Victoria, Canada. Brett plans on seeing as many people as he possibly can before he leaves for Sheppard, as well as go camping, rock climbing, and boating as much as possible. I'm praying for good weather for it all!

Sooooo, it's over--the Academy experience, graduation, and all the concerns that accompanied that for me as a mom. Of course there are brand new concerns now that he'll be in pilot training at a base known for raising up fighter pilots, but I won't future trip, just take it as it comes. I'm already trying not to anticipate how much I'll miss him now that training makes it almost impossible to come home for anything but Christmas. Even then, I'm not quite sure...... One day a a time, Lord, right? One day at a time. Thank You for just one glorious day at a time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We're going to Israel!

When Andy, our youth pastor, announced at youth group in March that he's taking a group to Israel the end of June, my heart lurched. That is the one place on the globe I have always had a desire to visit (well, that and the Philippines again). When I heard the cost, reality slapped me silly. But I never lost hope. I would pray, "Lord, You know what has to be done here. There's the money, and there's getting past Kev. And I think Kev is the bigger obstacle here."

A person would drop out here or there, and people would rise up to take their places. There was never any angst or restlessness or impatience. Just always an abiding sense of "If this were to happen for me, it would be so great."

On Mother's Day, after my traditional, beautiful, kid-prepared breakfast, Kev leaned on the bed and asked, "How would you like to go to Israel?" I asked, "How?" I knew a spot was open, and that the cost went down from $2500 to $2100 because of the fundraising that had gone on, but still--that's almost no change at all. He said, "A spot has opened up, and the price is down to $1700 now." One incredible boy donated some of his over-and-above funds so that I could go! Kev had been on the phone for the last two weeks working on seeing how I could go! Bigger obstacle, my eye! I knew this was the 20th seat, the minimum number needed pricewise overall. But I also knew of a 21st seat that Kev knew nothing about. Ryan and Jylle were in the room too, and one of them asked, "Why don't you go too?" I rushed in and told him about that last seat, "It could be for our 25th! We never did anything for it!" You could see the wheels turning as he slowly smiled, considering, and said, "That'd be pretty cool..."

When I was young, I would play this game with God. I called it "Go Ahead and Try." (He is so indulgent to engage us on any level!) It's impossible to outgive God, and this probably sounds loopy, but I found it fun to try. I would call Game On and then venture into some new way of giving, whether it was money, time, or effort. I would envision all the myriad ways He could outgive me, knowing that He never, ever came through in any of those ways. Eventually, He'd execute some coup de grace, and I'd know it was Game Over, and it was always so delightful to see how He came through because it was always a complete surprise, ridiculously clever, and utterly sweet!

In February, I started the game again. Every week, I would give all my coins to the SS offering, no matter how much or how little. I know it's not much, but it's something. If I missed church, I'd just let it add up, and I'd empty it all the next week. Until then, collecting my change was something that would render about $100/year, which I always enjoyed either spending or adding to my savings (I'm always saving toward one thing or another). It dawned on me the day after Kev presented the Israel trip to me that He'd done it again!This is My gift to you. Game over.

Maybe it's an STP thing, but it didn't fully hit me until Sunday that this is really going down. Kev and I are going to Israel! He's so fun too because he says this at some point every day now, "I can't believe we're going to Israel!"

Me too, but WE'RE GOING TO ISRAEL!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

USAFA Graduation at Hand!

Only 10 more days until Brett graduates! Incredible!

Seems like just a year+ ago that I was an emotional pile from having dropped him off and thrown him to the wolves...

My folks will leave on Friday in their motor home with Ryan in tow so that he can share the driving with Dad. The three of us will leave on Saturday and just meet up all together in Colorado Springs.

We have shopping to do in the meantime though since whatever we attend requires dress clothes. I can't believe how okay my Kevin is with all the expenditure--not one word of bemoaning or shade of complaint. But then, he's good at forecasting, so he probably thought all about it already and was braced for this four years ago! He and Ryan need dress slacks, shirts, and ties, and Jylle and I need cocktail dresses, of all things, in addition to sun hats.
They don't allow umbrellas, so I'm looking for a proper sun hat, whatever that is. Can't help but picture "Kentucky Derby." Where do I buy a classy sun hat?!

Sooooo thankful for having lost a little weight so I can fit into some of the pre-heavier clothes I'll be packing now. Less expense, and I just plain feel better. Not being able to taste or smell anything in two weeks has been harder than I thought it might be, but it's like a fast--whenever I feel like complaining, I pray instead, and truly, truly, I have mountains of blessings to thank Him for. Still wondering when the ban will be lifted (I see it as a divine discipline), but without panic or anger. Again, see?--so much to be thankful for!

Buying snacks and planning a couple of lunches are still on the agenda. Working the two days before we leave wasn't smart on my part, but it's an easy gig, and I knew we could use to the money for our big trip next month. Honestly though, whatever we forget or don't have, we can just get down there, right?

Off to try on more clothes. Just wanted to dash off a note while I had time. Kev and Ryan are out horseback riding, and they'll need dinner soon.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

swine, schmine

Wouldn't that be a bit o'news if I DID happen to have swine flu? No documented cases in this state, and yet somehow, never-gets-sick, hardly gets-out, mostly stays-at-home me gets the disease of the year?! Kev keeps reading these little tidbits on it in emails, the news, school flyers, and he always says something like, "Yeah, Cyn, you're right here. You've had all of that." My standard reply is "Tell me how that's any different from regular flu," and there's just a shoulder shrug in response.

The media and the WHO have completely blown this out of proportion--but nobody asks me. Pandemic?! Seriously?! Are they that bored?!

Now, I do NOT believe I have anything more than a standard case of flu-turned-sore throat-turned-hacking cough, but if I did have to have something exotic and related to a pandemic, this is a pretty good one. One consideration of ebola, and I am all over the swine option. Excuse me, the H1N1.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Packed for 2009

Three weeks ago I planted a bunch of vegetable seeds. Being the impatient gardener, I opted to use the seeds I had instead of waiting for the ones that were coming in the mail or buying some new packets in town. Psshaw, old seeds will do fine. I'll just give them some extra water. And horsie poop. Got it covered.

NONE of the beans came up. NONE of the radishes either or the carrots or the cucumbers. Seven snow pea plants sprouted out of about 40. The lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard seeds were only from last year, so they came up pretty well. I'm hoping that doesn't fuel the inner voice of impatience that wants to say, "See, it was mostly fine!"

I reseeded the peas yesterday with the seeds that came just a few days after the initial planting, but I lost three weeks' time because I chose not to wait for the good stuff. Phooey.

Makes me wonder how often I sell out for the "right now" instead of the eventual best.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

new superpower

Sometimes a certain truth will become crystal clear to me. The revelation bursts into being without warning, and I am a comet of joy. Recently I've sensed that I am to keep these things for myself, to ponder them in my heart and not "hurry up and go write them down before I forget them." Immediately I obeyed, immediately came the revelation. Doesn't always work that way, but that's how it went down this time.

I have a couple of friends who are experts at getting me to say things I had no intention of sharing. I think one of the reasons might be that I trust their heart toward me. But another reason is that I hate to disappoint people. That usually doesn't work for me in the end.

Discernment is something We've been working on for most of my adult life. To speak or not to speak. To whom or not to whom. I'm thinking this new Nearness will be the Gift of a lifetime.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

...or something like that

Seems like there should be a word specifically for someone who's more than a friend and more like a sister. I have several of these women in my life, and "friend" just doesn't cut it. One does prefer to call me "Sis," which pitches people into mental fits trying to see how we could truly be sisters when she insists on declaring that we really are--same mother, same father, what's the problem.

Sister-friend? Sounds too much like those extreme Mormons.
Friendster? Sounds like a facebook app.
Soeur-ami? (French.) Sounds like "sore at me"--way off base.
Sorella-amico? (Italian.) Kind of like a quick stop.

I tried Google Translate for "sister of the heart" in Spanish, French, and Italian, but it was all too complicated. I'm looking for something sweet, simple, and accurate. I know the word exists somewhere. Even if it's just in heaven. I'll know it someday. And it'll be perfect.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm Worried About You

Mom, you are so filled with worry and concern over Dad's health when yours is the one that's deteriorating. You don't tell him some of your pains because you don't want his blood pressure to keep rising, but that only adds to the fire of your Gehenna that lit you into the fiery place you are now. An adult lifetime spent nurturing worry, frustration, offenses, and raw deals results in the less than mediocre health you now have. All my life I've heard Dad urge you to let things go, to give them to the Lord and let Him keep them. I don't think you know how. You tell me that you trust Him, but that worry is something you do when you love someone. Not because you love them, but something that results out of the very great love and concern you have for that person's well-being.

My sweet, sweet mom....... that's not how it works. When you place your trust in your Heavenly Father, it's a whole different ballgame. He is not even just the best promise keeper you can imagine; He IS the promise. He IS the keeper. He IS the vault and the heart and the brain that keep the thing you're so afraid of and do with it whatever His deep love knows to do. If we polled the entire family and asked What is the one thing you wish she could have?, I believe the unanimous vote would be Trust in God. To not handle absolutely everything in your own strength--doesn't that sound divine?! To be relieved of the tremendous burden of this thing we call life can be found on this earth. Your think your desire for heaven will be met when you finally take your own life, which you've held as an option ever since Apo opened it up for you, but that's twisted, evil thinking that you say you can't help when you get enraged. But isn't that what wife beaters and child abusers say is that they can't help it...? There IS help. The enemy wants you to believe that you can't help it because then you believe there's no other option but to go there. The enemy takes a bit of truth and then contorts it so that it becomes a miscarried embryo passing itself off as the real thing. Mom, don't settle for less than GOD's Truth. Seek His heart and compare what you believe to His Word and see for your own self what's true and what's not. You'll see with the eyes of your soul that what's not is meant to kill, steal, and destroy. Implicit trust in the Almighty God I know you love is our surest, most thorough and complete fortress.

I love you, Mom. I wish you Trust. I wish you Peace. I wish you Joy. I wish you Jesus, because then I've wished you Everything.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

on being sick

I've had the flu since Monday night. It was like some kind of viral bomb suddenly kicked off inside me. I was standing there doing dishes when suddenly my face and neck got hot, I felt achey all over, and I was freezing in my core. I finished the dishes and went and put on a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and my softest, fuzziest socks. I curled up on the couch in a couple of blankets, but could not get myself warm. As the evening went on, I felt a little worse.

Kev kept asking me if I was okay and if he could get me anything. "No." Jylle was funny. She kept kissing my cheeks every few minutes kind of mechanically and rhythmically "because I've never felt anyone with cheeks this warm before."

My fever was the worst ever last night, and I just couldn't quit shaking inside. Kevin finally bundled me up in a comforter and heated a neck warmer. A second one finally put me over the top. Whew.

How like You to use sickness to pull me nearer. I've heard it said that "your favorite child is the one who needs you the most at the moment." I know You don't have favorites, but I can take that saying and see how I have needed You, and You would have me need You like that all. the. time. There's been a difference in my need too. It lacks that kind of hopeless desperation that's marked some neediness in the past. Instead there has been the most intimate sweetness about how near You are and how intensely You love me. Although the piercing pain of the intermittent headaches tends to knock me out, there remains that exquisite draw to Your sweet spot.

Yesterday I helped some friends, but by the time I got there I was feeling puny again. I laid down once, put my head down at the counter a few times, closed my eyes occasionally, and each time I did something like that, I was self-conscious about not wanting anyone to think that I was posturing for sympathy or attention. Certainly I have my moments, but even my Kevin (yes, "even") knows that when I'm sick, I just like to be left alone, not asked often how I am. I tried not to do any of those things in front of one friend who disdains pity-fishing. Then I tried not to be sad that I cared so much that she not think badly of me, and then felt frustrated when I couldn't stop caring. Finally, I just felt better, so that problem went away. Thank You for rescuing me from myself.

This morning, a headache had me in a vice, so I couldn't help my people off to school. They set me up with what I needed before they left, and Jylle even fed the horses without being asked. I'm upright and except for still having a headache of a lesser ferocity, I've managed to get a few things done. Mostly, I've just enjoyed nestling with You. Thank You for singing to me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the way it was

I went to coffee the other day with a friend, and I saw something I'm not sure I've ever seen before. These two older men were next to us in the café, and as soon as their lunch was served, they bowed their heads, and one said a prayer. I was as surprised at my surprise as I was at what they did. I thought of how that must have been a rather commonplace act at one point in time in this country. I wondered what their families were like and if that's something they taught their own children, and if their children were in turn teaching their children by example. Praying over a meal in public is something I do with my friends, but it's not something I see often. When I do, I instantly fall madly in like with them. I want to hug them and thank them for taking the time and stand to thank God for the food they're going to eat and the Heart that supplied it. I want to take a picture of their faces and put it in my scrapbook.

This is the next best thing. These guys were all right...

Monday, April 20, 2009


My mom has a type of cancer of the plasma cells that her doctor is treating with 20 sessions of radiation. The plasma cells are growing abnormally fast, especially at the vertebrae she damaged when she fell. Those cells can put a protein into her blood that can spread throughout her body and cause tumors at the joints. This is the less aggressive type though, so we're extremely grateful for that. She won't need chemo, so she feels like she dodged a bullet.

Her last treatment will be a couple of weeks before they leave in their RV for Brett's graduation. We're all praying she feels well enough to travel. I think Ryan's going to help my dad drive, so just having him around will be a huge boon to her. His bedside manner is comforting and genuine.

Lord, hold my sweet mama ever so tenderly. Sing Your love into her, and swathe her in Your velvet grace and brightest sunlight. Position her thoughts to be toward You and shield her mind from sad imaginings. Use this to make her more alive to Your realness and power than she's ever known. And thank You for her.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"The Motions" by Matthew West

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life


take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

(Chorus 2X)


I don't wanna go through the motions...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

my sweet mama

My mom fell and hurt her back this winter. She's been in terrible pain and has had to wear a brace when the pain gets extreme. She damaged a vertebrae, and when she went in to have the damage repaired, her doctor noticed an abnormality in her blood. He immediately referred her to a cancer specialist and sent her a letter stating that based on the increased plasma cells found in the vertebral biopsy, he suspected a cancer of the plasma. I'm waiting now to hear which kind she has--multiple myeloma or plasmacytoma. I'm finding conflicting reports online as to which is the more serious.

My dad is a fairly calm person, not prone to worry or overreaction, so I can see why he wasn't too excited about this news. My mom is another story, however. As soon as we got to their house, she came up to me and whispered, "Cyndi, I think I have cancer in my blood." Not having any information one way or the other, all I could do was ask questions and pray for her.

I don't know if it's His protecting hand on me that I'm not freaking out about this, or if it's that all my life, my mom has always had something serious going on with her body. She's had something like 20+ surgeries, and there's literally always been something wrong with her body. It's why I've referred for years to her 'mediocre health.' I'll just wait and see what the results show before I decide whether or not to schedule a meltdown. That's what I did back when my dad had colon cancer. After I called Cheryl.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Day

Easter Day was LOVELY! Brightest sunshine woke us up, and Jylle and I wore our new dresses. (I was a little disappointed that the only dress she found that she really liked and that fit was black. For Easter?! I know, right?! I told her to try accessorizing with some color, and she pulled it off. I forgot to take a picture though...)

Our youth pastor, Andy Fox, brought a powerful message about how shocking and offensive some of Jesus' words in John 6 were to the crowds and to the disciples. We like to think that we'd be people who took in everything He said with a Yeah, and a Right, and a Preach it. But if you put yourself in their shoes, totally unaware of the big story and the ending, you just have to believe that you'd be just a little offended or repulsed, or pretty confused at the very least.

"I Myself am this Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever; and also the Bread that I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh" (51).

"Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me"

I love that we ended the service with communion. There's something about coming together in unity around the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is profound and moving in its symbolism
and meaning.

We went to the early service to allow more time to get ready to go to my brother's. I made a lovely salad and a couple of dressings, and the Jell-o was ready from the night before, orange with sour cream and mandarins mixed in it. We changed into more comfortable clothes and took off.

I called both boys on the way there (an hour plus drive). Brett's fighting a cold that's going on a month old now. He already went to the doctor, but nothing seems to help. I told him to eat some wasabi or Chinese hot mustard if he gets desperate for at least some temporary relief. Motorcycle safety class got canceled because of snow, so that'll be rescheduled soon. He didn't go to church because of the road conditions, so he was listening to something online. I'm so glad I mailed his Easter package in plenty of time so he could have his jelly beans and chocolate bunny on Easter!

Ryan went to church and was just sitting around practicing guitar when I called. He was going to have a little jam session with Keira later. She's in his Texts and Critics class, puts on a dinner for students once/month for $3, and plays a mean violin in the MSU symphony orchestra. They're just friends, and he admires her mad music skill. He was thankful for the Cheez-Its and jerky I sent. Have no idea if he'll actually eat the chocolate bunny, but I had to send it for me. He thanked me for not sending him Peeps. I haven't given him those for years though because they just don't do anything for him. When he said that, I immediately thought of how I did send some to Brett, but I didn't give any to Jylle! I gave her a bunny and a bag of jelly beans, but no Peeps! She didn't say anything, so she either didn't care or didn't want to complain.

The air smelled absolutely delicious when we stepped out at my brother's house. As the turkey fried in boiling oil, we stood around the pot just catching up. The girls were inside, and the guys stayed outside, so I went into the room where Jeslyn stays when she's in town and joined in the conversation between my mom and her. Jylle came in a few minutes after that, and it was kind of fun to all be in one room like that. Jeslyn's toes were really cold, so I started rubbing them, and that evolved into a foot massage. "This is only the second foot massage I've ever had, and I am really enjoying it!" It was so satisfying being able to bless her like that. I don't get the chance to bless those girls...

When Alan brought the turkey inside 15 minutes later, the aroma was completely captivating. We were all SO ready to eat! Alan said the prayer, and I always love when he prays. He sounds like he does in the cards he writes--sweet, straightforward, poignant.

Surprisingly, my folks left shortly after dinner, just like they do when they come to my house, even though they only live 15 minutes from my brother. Jylle's hopes of playing a game of "Apples to Apples" was dashed. She's a quick recoverer though, and we decided to leave shortly after they did. Jeslyn had to get back to Pullman for work in the morning, and she was already tired, so we didn't want her to stay any later.

We just snacked a little in the evening and went to bed after eleven. It was a simple day with a blend of routine and some new stuff added. I realized that it's awfully nice to have family in the area and to enjoy them as well is truly a wonderful blessing. The only thing that would've made this better would have been to have ALL the kids with us. We gave thanks for their safety though, and I look forward to seeing Ryan in just a few weeks, then Brett the end of May. We'll be all together again, at least for a few days.

It's for unity, love, and Your glory that we thank You this day. Thank you for what we could never have done ourselves, so that we might meet around You together in spirit if not in body. Thank You for this precious day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

David Garibaldi: Portrait of Christ
Painter and performance artist David Garibaldi uses his unique style and gift to create The Portrait of Christ.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Prophecy, a Dutchman, and More Hope

We had a guest speaker at youth group last night. Peter Helms is a Dutch man with who speaks all over the world, conducts retreats and workshops through faithbuilders, and happens to be friends with a couple from our church. He wore a black beret, black shirt and jeans, and a long red scarf. Cosmopolitan, self-deprecating, witty, and engaging, not only was his message peppered with pictures, music, and humor, but he made certain Scriptures vitally relevant as he encouraged the kids to live empowered with the life of the Holy Spirit indwelling them. It went long, but nobody noticed. I know I would've loved more! He spoke about how he became a Christian, witnessed to and loved on by two older Swiss ladies named Heidi and Helga as he was touring in the musical "Hair" in 1972. It was great! I wish I could tell it all like he did, but I'd only insult his sweet testimony.

At the end, he prophesied over four kids, one at a time, and each time laser-point-relevant into their lives. There was nothing mystical or emotional about his prophesying. He spoke over the first girl and then explained to everyone that the spirit of prophecy is just the revealing of the heart of Jesus. He said it's all about family because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all about relationship, and we are One in Christ, all part of the family of God. He spoke to three more kids, all in the same calm, gentle manner and then asking if that seemed right to them. To the last girl, he said that her creativity would affect many for Christ and that music and dance were particularly important to her. "Is that right?" he asked her. With some tremor, she replied, "Y-e-s..." Truly, it was the way I believe Jesus would have prophesied--no hullabaloo or fanfare, just straightforward wisdom, knowledge, and encouragement from the heart of God to His people with the aim of revealing Jesus.

This is the third time I've encountered this message of prophesying into someone's life in the space of a month. Could it be that God is up to something in this small corner of the world?!

Monday, April 06, 2009

April Thought Salad

The sun is OUT!!! I'd forgotten what it feels like to be warm outside under total blue and what feels like a full suit of sunshine. Glorious...

Went riding for the first time this year yesterday afternoon. My horse is da man! I was pointing him into woods that didn't have any clear path, and he just went wherever I directed. That's a big deal because it means he trusts me. I remember when he used to shy at painted arrows on the road! I can't believe he's 12 this month. I still call him "baby horse!" He's like a puppy, always has been, so I'll probably always call him that. My friend is going to teach me how to ride him without a bridle this summer. It'll be within the confines of a round pen so I'll be safe. Kev's been making great strides with his paint, who is so lazy and stubborn it's ridiculous.

I wish my insides matched the weather, but I still struggle against melancholy. I try to "choose joy" like they say, but it is a struggle! What am I doing to nurture that...... I'm hoping the sunshine will help a little there. It's been gray and blah for months!

Brett's graduation announcements need to get mailed out. Dad printed a picture to include, so I just have to address them. Oh, Jylleeeeee...!

We're redoing the raised beds out back so they won't look like giant graves.
I wish I could acknowledge my Self in a grave, dead to sin, alive to Christ all the time. Is this a lifetime struggle? Or the struggle of a lifetime...?

The front flower bed needs to get cleaned out. I did a little yesterday, but it needs more, and some Preen too. I thought parsley was a biennial, but this is at least the third year, and there are a billion plants just like last year. I've lost track of when I first planted it, so maybe it's just reseeding itself.

Just when I think I might be getting a foothold on new ground in my walk, it's like the old stuff from last year has reseeded itself, and there's as much as ever. Ripping up the garden sounds so painful and daunting. I'm not a fighter. I don't even try a game if I think it'll be a fail. But this is Life. This is everything. Everything that goes on here will have implications forever, and I don't want to end up in the remedial room, catching up on what should've been "gotten" here. I'm not worried, just thinking as I write.....

Before I talk myself into another Eeyore web, I'm just going to go pray now. I am in desperate need of my Jesus. He's the most joyful thing to think of in all the universe now, isn't He?!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

guitar man and girls with guitars

Ryan took up guitar when he went to college. Expressing a lifelong desire to learn how to play, a friend urged him to borrow an extra he had, and thus began the love affair. When he brought the guitar home over Thanksgiving, Jylle picked it up the night before he was to go back and spent hours picking out a Taylor Swift song. She had to be told to go to bed, and at seven the next morning, Kev found her out on the kitchen deck at it again. This was late November in the Pacific Northwest. It was cold out. I don't think she felt it though. She was in love.

She got a guitar for Christmas, and over that break and this last week's spring break for Ryan, he's been able to spend some time teaching and encouraging her in big and little ways. He wants to teach her basics, and she wants to jump in and start playing specific songs. I guess they find their own ways around the other because I don't hear any tuffs. It's so sweet for me to see them together. Ryan alternates instruction with making music, while Jylle listens and tries to imitate. I love the sight and the sound of it all.

I hear soft music behind Jylle's closed door sometimes. It makes me smile. Also makes me miss Ryan for yet another reason.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

behind and beyond the gift itself

One of my most memorable Christmas presents is one that I still have. There was a giant box at the tree--'at' because it wouldn't fit underneath. We opened all our presents, and I saved this one for last. I had no idea what it could be. The only things I ever wanted at Christmas and my birthday were dolls and clothes, and I'd already opened plenty of those. I recognize my dad's handwriting, so I know it's from him. I strip off the paper, and there's another box with a note on it, "Good job! Keep going!" This box is wrapped too, so I peel off the wrapping. Another box. Another note. And so on. Each box has a word of encouragement to keep going with only slight variations like "Isn't this fun?" and "Are you tired yet?" and "Almost there!" (Wish I'd saved all those notes now; they were cute.)

FINALLY, I get to a package the size of a shoebox. It's wrapped in the prettiest paper of all, and the note says, "This is it!" I unwrap this last box, and lift out a hand-tooled leather purse with my initials on it in the middle. It has a gold clasp, woven trim around the edges, an adjustable strap, and the inside has a red and black patternless fabric and three pockets. I remember the smell of leather and whatever that liquid is he used to preserve it. Kind of a "high-pitched, medicinal sweetness" and a touch of rubbing alcohol.

Immediately, I think back to the Saturday afternoon that my mom told me to take a Coke to my dad, who was in the rec room. It doesn't have a door on it, so I just walked in and said, "Mom said to give this to you." He seemed a little disconcerted but thanked me, and I realized I'd startled him. I've never liked bothering people, much less my dad, so I stole out as quickly and quietly as I'd come. I realized that this purse is what he must have been working on that day. I recognized the tooling on what was then a large piece of flat leather.

I've often thought of how many times life is like that. I think I'm going to do something and it'll be over, but I do it and for whatever reason, I find that I'm doing it again. And again. And again. And while I wouldn't choose to keep repeating this action, there are usually various degrees of amusement, encouragement, or instruction sprinkled in, which make the whole experience less of a drain or monotony, most especially when I look back on it.

The look on my dad's face when I lifted it out of the box and examined it with a full-on smile is what I remember even more vividly than the present itself because his joy was such a great gift! My Abba's joy over offering gift after gift after gift is a present I hope to more fully appreciate as We grow closer and deeper.

Monday, March 16, 2009

stand on the promises

This is from Springs in the Valley. I really like it and wanted to save it in a place where I can find it when I need to.

“Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given to you.” ~Joshua 1:3

This blessed inspiring word greeted Israel as they faced the promised land. They had the promise of it before; now they must go forward into it and place their feet upon it. The promise is in the perfect tense and denotes an act just now completed –“That have I given to you.”

Our Joshua gives us the same incentive for conquest: every promise in the New Testament that we put our feet upon is ours! The upland of spiritual power is yours though Anak may live there! It is yours if you will be go against him and drive him out of his strongholds, in the might of The Name.

If we dare to place our foot on anything God has promised He makes it real to us. So take Him as the supply for all your need: believe He is yours and never doubt it from this moment.

It may be your need is for spiritual cleansing. His promise covers this: Now you are clean through the word I have spoken to you.” If you can believe this you shall be sanctified and kept.

Take the promise that suits your need, and step out on it; not touching it timidly on tiptoe, but placing your foot flat down upon it. Do not be afraid it will not hold your weight. Put your whole need on the Word of the eternal God for your soul, for your body, for your work, for the dear ones for whom you are praying, for any crisis in your life: then stand upon it forever!

All the blessed promises of the Old Book are yours, and why are you so slack to go up and possess your land? The size of your inheritance depends upon how much land you have trodden under foot, really stood on or walked over. Between you and your possessions that huge mountain looms up. March up to it and make it yours! Go in this your might and God will get glory; and you, victory.

~Dr. A. B. Simpson

Footprints mean possession,, but it must be your own footprints.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Speak to Me" by Mark Harris

It's quiet
I'm listening
I need to hear You speak
I'm broken
I'm desperate
Here waiting on my knees
The whole world around can shake
but I will not leave this place

Until You speak to me
I'm desperate for You Lord
Speak to me
My heart cries out for more
Here am I
On my knees
I will stay, I will not leave
Until You speak to me

My heart beats
I long for
All that Your presence brings

Your greatness
Your mercy
Is life and breath to me

One word could calm my seas
Then bring sweet peace to me

Sunday, March 08, 2009

things on the church front

Our youth pastor gave the message today, and the HS knocked it outta the ball park. It was a great time of truth, affirmation, conviction, praise, worship, encouragement, prayer, and humor. He did a great job. Our pastor and his family sat in the second row, as opposed to the first row which has always been Sandy's weekly spot with the girls. I just can't imagine what it'll be like without them there every week. I digress... Andy did a fantastic job, and the Spirit rose up in full bloom everywhere. Yum!

I missed my Kathy's birthday in February. That always makes me feel terrible when I miss an important occasion. I really do feel awful when I do that. She said I'm too hard on myself, but I hate it when someone says that. If I just committed an epic fail, then that's what I'm maligning, not my own personal selfhood, which I apparently am not hard on but rather adore, nurture, and protect. Anyway, I sent her something I have a set of myself. "Now we're twins." (Remember saying that to your friends?) I really hope she likes it.

Keeping in touch with Ryan's friends on fb has been so great. Zeb came over the other day. We mentioned this one kid at youth group whose conversations I've always enjoyed. I said that I wish he had a fb page so I could get to know him better. Zeb said, "See, that makes me sad that you said you wish he had a fb page so you could get to know him better." Knowing exactly where he was going and not wanting to be misunderstood, I launched into a monologue about how I know that face-to-face interpersonal communication is where it's at. I have a degree in communication. I know that as a Christian, God is all about relationship, and it's in that establishing of connection between people that we truly get to know them. I use fb as supplemental material. It's there that I've come to know things about people that I never would have otherwise. The personal preferences of people I care about might not be important to everyone, but it's important to me. Some people might be reticent or hilarious or intellectual on paper, but you'd never know that in person. I'm tired of people trashing Internet social networks, grouping them into the same category as chatrooms, ie. a conductor of shallow, artificial communication for people who are too lazy or unskilled to communicate in person.

Well, lovely to have gotten all that off my chest. Off to bed with me now.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

my author friend

One woman I met last weekend is an author. She wrote a devotional filled with poems, essays, verses, and the beautiful photography of amateurs. It was the day it was to be sent to the publisher when the Lord spoke to her heart and told her that the book wasn't finished yet, that she needed to include the part of her life from which this whole book would be more clearly understood and received. It was His project, His book, so it must be included. Turned out to be the easiest portion to write, at least as far as the mechanics.

We sat there at breakfast, and with equal parts hesitation and determination, proceeded to tell us her story. Her brother had a friend who offered to give her a ride home. He dropped off the other person, then drove her into the country and raped her. She didn't tell
anyone because she was a nobody, and he was captain of the football team. She was only 16, and she didn't know how to tell her parents. She didn't know how to tell anyone. Everything she felt was a gobbledy gook of she didn't even know what.

She dove into drugs and alcohol to try to silence the demons and simply cope with an inner landscape that had been brutally bloodied and left to vultures. "I should be dead from all the things I've done. I remember roller skating backwards down a freeway on-ramp--at night." Like that wasn't eye-popping enough, another gal at the table starts laughing and nodding her head, clearing relating and saying, 'Uh huh! Uh huh! I'm with ya!"

The emails she's receiving from women whose lives have been shredded by this horrific violence are pouring in and confirming that God knew what He was doing. Without that background in the book, these readers wouldn't have been able to relate like they can now--and perhaps move toward the healing they so desperately are looking for. And even readers who haven't been through what she has can see the tremendous power and grace of God moving along with her on the road to "peace
and purpose."

We were total strangers 12 hours earlier. She was amazed too. She shook her head and said, "I had no intention of telling that story this weekend. I've only told this out loud one other time." It's easier to confide in strangers though, don't you think? I don't know that she'll ever see us again. Very present, however, was that inward knowledge that we are siblings, sisters who hadn't met yet.

I did ask if she brought her book with her, but she said no. She gave me a bookmark and wrote down the website. I checked it out when I got home, and I couldn't believe how expensive it is for a paperback, $30+... Maybe I'll see if the library can get it. I'm just glad to have met this remarkable woman whose spirit was absolutely charming. She has that childlike quality tempered by a season in the crucible, ultimately a beautiful work of art in the Potter's hands.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brain busyness. And my mom.

The Walk theme verse is right there in today's Joy & Strength! (Luke 24:32)

My head is still filled with images careening around, competing for attention. The cacophony demands to be addressed at certain times, and I can't wait for the calm that comes with time when all the rice has settled around the walnuts (click here for an explanation if that's unfamiliar). Come to think of it, that's not even an accurate visual, but that's how my brain's been acting lately! At least I can blog about it now. I'm still fatigued from the sleeping three nights in a strange place. Well, I think that's what it's from...

I still have thank you notes to mail. I want to personally thank everyone who took the time to get notes of encouragement and inspiration to me. That was really great. I looked forward to that. Plus we got candy and chatzke too. Fun.

My mom called in the middle of my quiet time, all full of fear. Dad was so frustrated talking to a serviceman about Mom's VCR, and in trying to manage three remotes and the phone, he spoke into a remote two different times. She tried to tell him he was talking into the wrong thing, but he told her to be quiet. (In fairness, she often asks questions while he's in the middle of a conversation.) She said she's never felt so sorry for him, all confused like a little boy. She future trips about him getting Alzheimer's, which terrifies her.

Actually, I think she was really feeling sorry for herself because seeing him like that filled her with such great fear and dread, not that that's something she could probably understand. She wakes up sometimes and is so afraid that she'll find him dead. I told her that satan wants her to be afraid and when she prays, to pray for a trusting heart and for the fear to be removed by trusting in God's perfect, fear-slaying love. She cried... For the first time ever, my mom asked me to pray for her, that the Lord would heal her of this horrible state of always being afraid. This is BIG.

I was sitting there reading Psalm 55, and as she was laying out her prayer request, my eyes fell to verses 4 and 5--perfect. "My heart is grievously pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come upon me; horror and fright have overwhelmed me." Then verse 22 is there to call for action. "Cast your burden on the Lord, releasing the weight of it and He will sustain you; He will never allow the consistently righteous to be moved, made to slip, fall, or fail."

O, please, Lord, lift up my mom out of this pit of fear that tangles her insides and robs her of the simplest peace. Envelop her in Your life-giving arms and breathe solace and comfort into her heart. Grant my dad a clear mind and a gentle tongue. Press them together and against Your heart. In Jesus' name.

In finishing up my reading, I turned to Psalm 145. I read verse 18 and thought That's my bracelet verse! Hey, that's in 165! ...................... Wait, there IS no Psalm 165! All this time I've been thinking it was in a psalm that doesn't even exist! Derrr..........

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

my Walk With Christ weekend

A week before my Walk weekend, I was so done with it. I was completely annoyed by Kev’s vagueness, incompleteness, or total avoidance of questions and comments having to do with the Walk. What are we--ten?! I just wanted it to be over. Totally fleshy. Nasty stuff.

My sweet, sweet sponsor picked me up and had a friend in tow who wanted to “join the party.” Sigh… We went out for dinner, which actually is always fun. A new Mexican restaurant I’d never tried. Good stuff.

We arrived at the church, and they got me all set up, boot camp style quarters with everyone lining both sides of the room like ladyfingers. An icebreaker provided opportunity to meet people, after which we said goodbye to our sponsors.

From that point on for the next three days were series of instructions, speakers, surprises, bathroom lines, formatted prayer, hard nights, worship, discussion, and great food. Keeping you off balance is one key to the impact of the surprise. Okay, I’m a little more understanding now of the reason behind the vagueness. No one wants you to open your Christmas present until the proper time.

Along with wondering about Kev’s reaction to whatever event just went down, I kept thinking the whole time of how each of my Ya-Yas would react. I kept noting what you all probably would and wouldn’t like. If you have trouble not being allowed to do something whenever you want, that’d be a negative here.

Kev said God's timing was all over this because he can’t think of any other time he would’ve been open to going. There was prayer all over this weekend starting months ago, for the event and all the people involved. We feel like we’re part of a kind of club now. The sound of that word “club” is distasteful, but we can’t think of a better word yet. It’s not a secret society, but not wanting to expose the surprises truly is a worthy aim, and it's what you all have in common now.

I’m still processing, but at least now I’m not waking up with faces, moments, and random thoughts from the weekend racing through my mind. It’s a little calmer, and I’m looking forward to an even greater calm, the kind that comes two weeks down the road after all the mental stuff has lost steam and wants to just hunker down somewhere now. Routine is the sanity of life.

We’re glad we went, and although Kev probably won’t be involved with any Walks in the future, I might be. Probably the control girl in me. I've read this book, and it's a pretty good one, so I might like reading it again sometime.