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.

Friday, February 20, 2009

a better brie

Ile de France Cheese

I just tried, then proceeded to eat half of, the best brie ever. It was so simple too. It was heated, then topped with apricot jam, dried cranberries, and pecans. Swiped across either Waverly crackers or toasted bruschetta, it was eeeeyum!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I've seen a lot of surveys flying around lately on facebook. I rather like them because they provide a little insight into who and how you are. People I'm interested in answers questions I wouldn't think to ask (although some are just dumb). What strikes me is the presence and seemingly infinite availability of so many words. Most of what we use on the Internet are words, by necessity. Some of us use more than our share. Some we wish would use more. They allow us to entertain, instruct, inform, excuse, release, embrace, expound, nurture, confound, navigate, and process.

Sticks and stones, dude. Words can hurt you. How I say something to you says more than the words themselves. Words in the hands of an angry sinner can shred and blast my insides. Words in the hands of a loving artist can create life terrain in my deeps.

I am certain that after I am gone, most of everything I ever said or wrote will be as chaff and straw. Only words spoken in faith and love will remain. "In these last days He has spoken to us in Son" (Hebrews 1:2 Amp). He is a language. How remarkable to be said of someone, "I love her perfume. It is the fragrance of Christ." That’s what His words are to me, and I’d love to represent them like that.

I know me, and it’s an ongoing challenge. I speak Sarcasm and Banter. I like to laugh and have fun. I hope I never hurt you. (If I do, I hope you’ll tell me. As gently as possible. More than that though, I want to build you up. I want to encourage and nurture and learn you and--bottom line--honor God.

Words. There are 329 in this note. They’ve helped me process. Just a few more in closing: “The Lord gives the word of power; the women who bear and publish the news are a great host” ~Psalm 68:11.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the committee strikes again... and again

I was grocery shopping the other day, and I was in the produce department. I stood waiting for a grandma who scanned and picked, scanned and picked. When it was my turn, I did the same thing, scan and pick, scan and pick. It was in the scanning that I 'heard' my thoughts. I wonder if she picked some of the ones I would've picked if I'd gotten here before her. I wonder how clean her hands were. I wonder if anyone's sneezed around these apples. Gross. I hate it when people don't sneeze courteously. They should provide dentist gloves for people to wear when we pick produce. I am so washing these as soon as I get home. That's it. I don't want to touch any more of these.

The committee was at it again.

There's a man who sells buffalo jerky along the highway sometimes. He sets up signs so you can anticipate his stand as you drive along and get closer. There's a table, an umbrella, and an old truck with a canopy. Where does he get buffalo meat? Does he raise them? Does he smoke it himself? How much is it? He never posts that. Must be expensive if he doesn't advertise the price. Is this his only job? He's kind of oldish. Maybe he just does it for extra money. What if this is his only source of income? I wonder if he has a wife to support. I wonder if she helps him make it. What would he put on a job application under Experience? "Buffalo Jerky Vendor." A jerky clerky. That kind of doesn't work. But it was amusing.

Some days they're noisier than others.

My dog was sleeping, and he started having doggy dreams. His legs started kicking, and he made these little whiny whimpers. What's he dreaming about? Running? Chasing something? What's he chasing? He better not be chasing deer. Dogs get shot for doing that. Turkeys. They started running after some turkeys on my walk the other day. They better not be doing that either. I think they can get shot for that too. I wonder if turkeys have ticks. Yuck. How far do they go anyway? I've had to whistle and whistle to get them to come home these last few days. Bad dogs. Why can't they just stay around here? Kev said he was going to get an invisible fence. I can't wait to see them get shocked when they first run into it! Oh, but I don't want them to suffer, just stay home. I don't want them chasing anything.

"Hey, wake up!"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

the little things

Last night at youth group, there was an open mic for praises. Two of them were for what they deemed "little things," the gift of a replacement iPod and that God answered prayer for finding lost guitar picks. Both commented on how God cares about the little things as well as the big.

It was kind of cool because I lost my cell phone for about an hour the other day. I went snow shoeing and took a few pictures at one point. About 45 minutes later I dug for my phone and after searching all my pockets, determined that I indeed did not have it on me.
When I'm sick or terribly stressed, my lip makes these involuntary contortions. I did a 180, contorting and scanning the entire landscape for any sign of my phone. I went back to the last spot where I knew I had it, praying all the way. But it wasn't there. I did another 180, figuring I'd go back and forth as long as it took to find it. Fifty yards from the last place I had it, I spied a familiar spot of maroon in the crevice of a snow shoe imprint. Fortunately, this was corn snow and plenty cold enough that my phone wasn't phased by lying there for an hour.

I snatched it up in both hands, held it to my chest, and literally cried me a small puddle.They were tears of relief and great, great thanks. It was such a little thing in light of what is really important, but in that moment, it was important to me.

It's weird too because even though I'm eligible for an upgrade, I have this obsession about waste. I just can't stomach it. I mean, I wring the crap out of my Carmex tube to get the last smidge and THEN snip off the top to get another two weeks out of it. You'd think I'd grown up in the Depression I am that good. Or weird, whatever. Guess it's just how I was brought up. For as long as I can remember, I knew that the word "frugal" didn't mean "cheap." It means that nothing goes to waste. It's being economical in the use of resources. A perfectly good cell phone out rusting in the woods is just a sad, sad thought.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

3 Notes - WWC

Day 1

I’ve been praying for you all week. From what I hear, you’ve been prayed over for quite a while now. You gave up lot to do this, but we prayed about it together, and it sure didn’t seem like we were imposing our agenda in making it happen, right?! We’re trusting that our loving God had this in mind for you—for us—a long time ago to serve a holy purpose, something bigger than just ourselves. We know Romans 8:28 (all things work together for good), and Psalm 119:91 (All [the whole universe] are Your servants). Everything that touches our lives is ordained or allowed for His only-good purposes. I hope we’ll get to see what that is.

You might think I’m not missing you or even thinking about you much—but I am. I always do when you go away. It’s like removing one of the bulbs from a strip of lights—it still works, but there’s a vital part of it that’s very obviously missing, and it’s just not whole. In fact, it’s awfully dim in the room! I need you—you’re my brightest bulb!

Below are some verses that have recalled you to my mind when I pray for you these last couple of weeks. I first wrote them to you about ten years ago, but they always come to mind whenever an injustice happens to you.

Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. h

~2 Cor. 4:6-10 (The Message)

I hope the food is good, your bed comfortable, your sleep restful, the company decent, the messages relevant and personal, and mostly that you have a truly wonderful time of relationship with Jesus. May He bless you profoundly in your deeps. i

I love you and miss you,

Day 2

I’m praying for you. Although I have no idea what you’ve seen, heard, or been part of, but I know the One who does, and I hold you up, asking Him to give exactly what it is that you need. Maybe it’s reassurance that Jylle and I are all right since something always goes wrong as soon as you leave. Maybe it’s contentment in spite of you having to miss the Gonzaga game. (Gee, thanks for reminding me! ) Or maybe you’re uncomfortable and still unsure of why you’re spending your time doing this. Whatever it is, I’m asking the Lord on your behalf for His own peace that comes from His felt presence. May His nearness provide soul-deep peace and intense satisfaction in the center of your being.

In writing these notes, I spent time in prayer, asking for His Word that might mean something to you. I can’t help but think that even if they don’t right now, right there where you are, then maybe they were for me, that I might pray better for you and see you with His eyes through these Scriptures. Here is the portion for today:

For I always pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, of insight into mysteries and secrets in the deep and intimate knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints, His set-apart ones, and so that you can know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe. ~Eph. 1:17-19 (Amplified)

I’ve been praying that the Lord will guard over your emotions. He gave them to you, and He knows best what they’re for and when they’re appropriate, so I hope you are all right with whatever happens there.

Love you, miss you, praying for you,

My wonderful Kevvie,


By now you will have survived practically the whole weekend! Good job! Wish I could’ve been there to help you if you needed me, but I guess that’s not how it works, eh? We’ve come to be a real team after all these years, and it’s just the normal posture of our two hearts to be ever-reaching out one to the other.

We’re doing it, Love, living out the vows and hopes and dreams and plans back when we were so young and in love and wanting all the life we could chase down. It’s because of you—and of course our most wonderful Heavenly Father, which goes without saying but still must be said—that we are so mightily blessed. Your hard work, perseverance, intelligence, integrity, willingness, and for me personally, your Christlikeness, have been tools in the hands of the Carpenter to mold our lives and entwine them with His. The outcome is more wonderful and beautiful than I could ever deserve, and you are forever my hero. That you have loved me these years with patience, tenderness, and loving-kindness is a testimony to the fact of His life being lived out in and through you, which blesses and embraces me in the process. I am truly incredibly blessed to be your wife.

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind , both its inclination and its character, is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord, commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock, the Rock of Ages.” ~Isaiah 26:3-4

Set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on earth. For as far as this world is concerned, you have died, and our new, real life is hidden with Christ in God.

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule, act as umpire continually in your hearts, deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in our minds, in that peaceful state to which as members of Christ's one body you were also called to live. And be thankful, appreciative, giving praise to God always. ~Col. 3:2-3, 15

You’ll be home soon. Can’t wait to see you. Love you to da moon & back!

Monday, February 02, 2009

a Stone's throw away...

Our pastor's sermon yesterday built up to the announcement of his resignation. It's a long story (a whole sermon's worth), but now we're all praying to be receptive and obedient to wherever the Lord leads in all this. Almost everything is up in the air. They don't know how they're going to pay the bills or even where they're going to live, except that they're going to Dan's hometown (about an hour and a half or so from here) where he'll help his 73 y/o dad on the farm. The exact date he'll resign is still undetermined, but I hear it could be around spring break.

Dan teared up and even fought a full-on cry a couple of times, and I was holding up just fine--until Sandy took the mic. Her broken voice shattered whatever composure I'd mustered up to that point. The entire congregation was one in this. She is the dearest thing, and I will miss her from that place inside me where everything is good and sweet and true. Just knowing she will not be in the same town makes me ache down to my marrow.

Hugging her, holding her, looking into her watery, hazel eyes, I refused to consider that she will be less a part of my life. I might call her more now. We have facebook. And it's only an hour and a half, right? Maybe less if Kev drives... Mentally I list the good and potential good things about this for them. Our only-good God is holding them fast and sure and wisely. Trust Him, Cyndi, trust Him. Look forward to what He is working.

God is good ALL THE TIME.

All the time GOD IS GOOD.