Thursday, December 28, 2006

If there's a bad smell in your neighborhood, it's coming from our house....

I just burnt a bag a popcorn, and now our house stinks and our microwave is permanently discolored.
Sadly, this isn't the first time I've done it. I've stunk up two different offices before by my popcorn burning abilites, even attracting the attention of the hospital President who worked at the hospital adjacent to the medical office building I worked at in Lubbock. (I'd never met him before until rumor of the incident somehow made it's way to his lofty office and he decided to stop by and bring me some already popped popcorn on behalf of the hospital.) He introduced himself by saying "I was driving along 4th street and could smell something awful...."
I was mortified. Smoke had filled the office full of already nauseous pregnant women, prompting employees from the floor above to come down and see if a fire had broken out. Our office microwave leaked black syrup for the next few months when you used it.

It's a sad little skill I have.

We've had the doors and windows open for an hour now, and I couldn't even put the bag of black goo in the trash can in the garage. I had to lay it in the driveway and shut the garage door. Hope no racoons die trying to get to it.

Movies and, well, chocolate, anyone?

In other news, I thought I would catch up on some cool pictures!

Here's our knockout "Christmas Queen". This picture scared us.

Our favorite teacher EVER comes to Eli's first Christmas program at church. He was a narrator, and we were proud!

Julia and our first snowman of the year. She was quite close to him. As the days got warmer, his head was the first to go, slowly lowering the hat day by day to his torso, and then to the ground. She was sad. But he was fun while he lasted!

I guess that's all for tonight.

It still stinks here, so I'm headed to the back of the house. Good night!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Well, Dusty kindly reminded me today that my two weeks is up. (And then added that whatever would be written after such a sabbatical should be especially good.) I don't know that I will measure up, or in reality that I ever have... but my kids give me great stuff to share, and I've been tucking the encounters away... so I'll jump back in. I was able to take a needed break from updating, but I had to keep checking everyone else's posts. I love this realm!!... and the connections it provides. What a blessing! Hope you all had a merry Christmas!

Christmas morning was wonderful. To be honest, I had been caught up in the seasonal stress that I didn't need to be, and was dreading it. I never thought I'd feel that way, but I felt like what I was giving wasn't going to be that good and I still had gone over budget to do it! Details and busy-ness had worn me down, and I'm embarrassed to say, but I was just tired and had lost the spirit of the season in all the details.

But with the early morning came the whispers and the quiet running down the hall. Whispers turned to gasps of excitement and raised voices exclaiming Santa HAD come! We were summoned out of bed, and urged to hurry through breakfast. (Who needs food on such a morning!? Really?) Priceless urgings...:-)

So we exchanged gifts, but after just a couple, Eli sat down calmly, and looking thoughtful, began to speak to all of us. Now talking is not unusual in our house, but his tone caught our attention and slowly everyone stopped what they were doing and all eyes were on him.

"You know, I've decided that this year, I am about the giving.
I mean, in the past, it's been all about getting stuff. And it's not that I don't like getting stuff, because I do.
But I think I'm learning that Christmas really isn't about the getting, but the giving. It's what it's all about.
So this year, I want to be about giving. I don't want to ask for any presents or say I want mine next, but I will wait until someone tells me to go get one, and I want to pass out presents to everyone else. Because that is what Christmas is about."

I can't remember all else he said, but it was enough that when he got done, he had sucked the air out of the room and my mom and Jason had tears in their eyes. I can't make up moments like that. But they humble me and make me so thankful for how God works in that little boy's heart already.

Of course, he has a humorous side too. Julia got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas. When Eli saw it, was fascinated because he had seen one at his school collected for a toy drive.

"Oh wow! They had one of those at my school for the poor kids. I guess an oven's a good thing. Except that they'd just be able to eat desert. But maybe they'd like that best anyway."

He was so sincere in thinking through it all that we couldn't help but smile.

I'm still working on posting some info from the Autism and Asperger's Conference I went to, and in true "Angie Fashion" will have some books to give away soon... But I'm getting caught up... and have missed blogworld!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Permission to pass on by!

Due to the busy-ness of the season, I'm checking out for about two weeks! Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Frosty Meets Polly Pockets

Julia wanted a Polly Pocket.
Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Jessica bought Polly for Christmas (which we celebrated together at Thanksgiving.) Along with Polly came 1001 accessories.

Always the eye for detail... Julia felt my Christmas decor lacked a little style.

And the joy... of finding these little makeovers happening all throughout the house....:-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Someday, I want to be tagged. :-) Not today, though.

Julia just fell off the bed.
When I asked her how, she said she was dancing, and had a pillow over her head.
She said:
"I was trying to stay away from the edge of the bed. I thought I was not near the edge, because I thought this was the biggest bed ever. But then, I took another step, and the bed was not there anymore. And I looked back at where I thought the bed was, and then I was scared of this side of the bed because it wasnt' there. "

I relayed this to Jason and he went and talked to Julia later.

Jason: "Julia, I heard you thought the bed would go on forever?"

Julia: "Yeah. I thought to myself, 'I was wrong!' That's when Momma and Eli came in, because I was crying.

Jason: "They love you very much!"

That's when Julia looked at Jason and said: "Where were you?!!"


Thanks for the prayers to and from Kansas City. It was an unbelievable weekend. We stayed an extra day due to weather, but even that was awesome.
The conference was on Autism and Asperger's syndrome... and I can't believe all that I learned. I am seriously in information overload... but in a good way. Coming home to my family, and espcially my son, was like coming home to a very different future....I heard him say things and comprehended them in a new light, and implemented some simple actions with immediate results. (Now consistencey is another issue....) I am amazed and excited, and will share more over the coming weeks as I have time!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A little ice...

Well, I am headed off to Kansas City, Mo in about an hour. I just saw the weather channel reporting that they are under an ice storm warning.

Pray for us as we travel. (Jennifer, Cindy & I are headed there along with another mom from Eli's school for a conference on Asperger's Syndrome.) I am excited about how God will grow me this weekend!

Thank you!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I can handle it mom.....

Theresa took some AWWWESOME pictures of our fam this week. I can't post them all, but thought this these fun ones would be so appropriate with the conversation that follows.

And T- you are AWESOME! I know you prefer still life photography, and we were anything but still, but I figured if you can make rocks look so good...:-)
And you amazed us! What a blessing! Thank you!

We had company for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful. The kids gave up their rooms (as all kids should have good memories of doing for family!). When Julia got her room back last night, she decided she didn't want the safety gate back on her bed. I was a little nervous... but so goes all strivings for independence. So after an accident free night, we had this little conversation today:

Me: "Wow Jules! I'm proud of you - you didn't fall off the bed last night"

Julia (with an air of confidence): "Yep. I just watched where I was going and stayed up really late!"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Well, not over spilled milk, at least.....

Well - this one's especially for you Marcy. :-)

This morning, shortly after I left for work, Jason had this sweet little conversation with Julia. It will be especially appreciated by my friends who have prayed and shared my burden to grow in areas of sensitivity and sharing my emotions more freely. :-)

Jason: (Pointing to a picture of me on the refrigerator:)
"Julia, I have the most beautiful, sweet wife in the whole world."

Julia: "I know. But she's not here now. "

Jason: "No, but you remind me a lot of her."

Julia: "That's because we look alike." .....

Jason: "Yep, you sure do."

Julia: "But we don't cry the same."

Jason: "What do you mean?"

Julia: "Well, I cry a lot, and Momma doesn't cry at all."


Well, I do, occasionally, though not as often as I'd like. Thanks to God, faithful prayers, (and Marcy!) I'm getting there though! :-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Back to serious.... (sorry!)

But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:7-12

I have this posted by my kitchen sink. However, over the months it has faded into decoration, and it caught my eye, and heart, differently today than it has in the past.

Others are better at giving than me. The "compare your earnestness with others" part really caught me, because I've got some great people to challenge me. And what's the basis of all that earnestness ? That profound realization and understanding that Christ, who had everything, gave it up in order to see me experience what He had.
Who does that these days? Do we even comprehend that?

If I've enjoyed that, ( which is an understatement.....) then I am called to ask myself this question:

How badly do I want others to experience that dumbfounded unworthiness and deep joy too?
Am I willing to give up what I have so someone else can have it?
The context is in giving... but can be applied in so many ways, as Paul was so good at.

I have knowledge... do I give it up in order for someone to be smarter?
I have material needs met... would I give it up to enjoy watching someone else not struggle for a time?
I have freedom... would I put it aside to allow someone who's never tasted freedom before to experience it?

I don't know that I've grown up and out of me enough yet. There's a me that still wants to see me happy before others, most of the time. Oh, not consciously... but honestly the day to day living reveals much more about the heart that the conscious thought.

BUT..... I'm getting there, more and more, with glimpses, through His Spirit; finding out what its like to be so enraptured with Him that the joy of seeing others delight in Him truly outweighs the satisfaction of any self indulgences I would provide myself.

Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Julia said today that she is allergic to the cold.

I think there might be a few of us who are!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fiction finally won me over!

A long wait at Ceasar's Pizza last night afforded an opportunity for me to get deep into my second book by Randy Singer. (The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney.)

I don't usually spend a lot of time reading fiction... but Singer has me hooked. (Thanks Stu!)

I've been through some heady apologetics courses... all of value, and I love that kind of study. But, honestly, it can sometimes be hard to translate that info to where the average person lives and talks every day...yet these two books do exactly that - and amazingly!

The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ puts the history of this man we claim as Savior on trial in a courtroom to see if "beyond a doubt" can really hold water.... and the Cross Examination of Oliver Finney puts the Christian faith on trial, in the form of an everyday man, not only up against other religions of our current culture, but against some of the doubts we ourselves grapple with in our journey . And he does all of this in the form of a mystery that has kept me as interested as the chunks of realistic 'aha' moments I walked away with in wondering how we gracefully deal with our convictions and doubts.

And if those layers aren't enough.... you can join in the mystery yourself... look for the code in "The Cross Examination of Christ"... get your pen and pencil and start deciphering the mystery. (I didn't find it until I read the second book.) At one point, when the books were released, there was a part yet to be solved...with reward involved ....I haven't heard if it has been yet or not...(Stuart - any news on that?)

Either way, this has been funnest and most valuable fiction I've read in a while - if you've read it, let me know what you thought. (But don't tell me the end...I'm not all the way through! ) If you haven't read it, and were wondering what to dive into next....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Reason # 11 - Why it's bad for elementary teachers to have TOO MUCH time on their day off

Cindy - (still my friend, I think.....:-) didn't want Jason to feel left out.

I did have someone tell me that I reminded them of Angelina Jolie once. At the time I wondered what they were on, but in this picture of us, I can see how they would be mistaken.

Reason #10 - Why elementary teachers are brilliant in their work with photoshop....

Cindy cleaned up my profile pic... hope that makes you all happier.

Of course, it took her a while to edit James Bond out of the original one for me...but, you know, that's what good friends do for you on their day off....

And I ask myself WHY I ever encouraged Rush men to blog....

Would this one be acceptable?

Thank you. Since my husband commented on the same thing... he will be pleased to see your posts. I'm not practiced at cropping,.... you know, with a family to take care of and all.....

While I don't mind posting pics of my kids on my own site.... I don't want their precious faces up on every site I comment on. That weirds me out a bit. And since I am the one who usually runs the camera, I don't have a great selection of personal pictures of just me, apparently unlike you all......

And, now that the criticism has "sprinkled" me enough, (Tim, Dusty and Terry), I'm trying to change it....and can't figure out how I did it the first time. That should also bring you great pleasure. :-)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Reason # 9- why elementary teachers need to focus on their curriculum more than Photoshop.

My friend Cindy, thought I needed an updated picture for my blog. So she did this for me.

I'd laughed so hard, the self degradation was worth the posting.

However, all those nice things I've said in the past about her being such a great teacher for my son.... blah blah blah.
'Sometimes God uses the desert as a refresh button for our hunger and thirst for Him.'

It was dark in the concert I was at last night when the artist on stage spoke those words. I fumbled through my purse to find something to write it down on.

I don't appreciate the desert when I first walk into it. I often look around bewildered, wondering how I got here. Then panic sets in. How do I get out? Seems that by the time I realize I've walked into the desert, I'm so far in that civilization looks out of reach.

What I don't like about the desert is that it's often my own misdirection that ended me up there in the first place. What I love about the desert is that it replaces my absurd and misplaced sense of self reliance with desperation for Him.

A little while later in the concert, we got a call revealing heartbreak and loss in the life of one we love here at Memorial. Today at work, calls came in from other directions as well revealing more significant struggles in the lives of other loved ones.
Life was under the magnifying glass. What would have stressed me out a few days ago seems silly. What I didn't have time for then, I desire to shift to now. Much of what I did invest myself in now seems to lack it's former significance. It's funny how true pain becomes the litmus test for petty agitation and stress.

It's not that I think we have to live in the midst of tragedy all the time to have a right perspective on life. I laughed today - and hard. I discussed light poles, carpet cleaning, and placed orders for copy paper. All of those were as much a rightful part of the day as the conversations I had about funerals, and cancer, and pain.
It's just that I am desperate to put those things in their proper place more today than I am other days. To have the conversations with the PSO guys, and appreciate them as a individual representations of my God's knitting than just a meeting to check off my appointment list. To take the stressed out phone calls, "backseat" my own abilities, insecurities or reasoning, and rest in God's presence having priority & purpose to drive the situation.
To boot insecurity and fear out the door because they leave me with a pile full of nothing for all the energy they extract from me.

Our God sustains us. He upholds, and frees and comforts and rewards us. He is worthy of praise... always.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

ONCE is enough, already!

Every Tuesday we have a staff meeting at church. I take notes. Following the meeting, I re-write the notes and email it out to the staff and elders who weren't present. It's not my favorite thing to do.

While I acknowledge the merit and purpose of the notes, I was explaining to Shane, our worship minister, why I don't like to do the notes.

"It's just that I hear it when we sit in the meeting and talk, and then I take notes, and then I come out and rewrite the notes. I don't even like to do the spell check by the end of it. It's just so repetitive and redundant. "

At which point he not -so- funnily pointed out that I had just done the very thing I hated.

That's reason #10 why I think worship ministers should stay in their office during the day. :-)

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm studying the Patriarchs right now, ( a Beth Moore study) which I LOVE. However, it is difficult to let it all sink in when you get behind and try to do six lessons in two days. My perfectionism wants to be caught up and 'on the right day' the expense of coming away without life changing insights.

I don't know if it's a girl thing or what... but it seems like I need a lot of organization & structure in my life. It's not even that I think organization is bad, but rather that my dependency on it can be sometimes as harmful as it is helpful.

I stress out at the interruptions of life. (As if they are ever going to stop!) I act surprised and have yet to adjust to the idea that daily surprises and interruptions are as predictable as my rountine is.

*Mentally* I know I need to be flexible. However, as with many things, the chasm between the way I respond in the little world in my head and the way I really respond is still pretty big. I get frustrated so easily. Shamefully so. I like the 'me' in my mind more than the 'me' I have to live with each day.

I believe beyond all doubt that the God's Spirit has the ability to remove that chasm...I'm just acknowledging that I'm not always willing to go through what it takes to get there. I hate the me that cycles through motiviation and self denial back into laziness or moodiness. I shamefully find myself praying for God to make it come easier to me, though I know that would lead to self reliance and hence self destruction pretty quickly.

So, for now... again, I struggle to take in all Paul shaerd in Romans 7 & 8. ..."in my inner being, I delight in God's law... but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind... What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! ... But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you.. ....."

I believe it. Now if I can stop holding myself back from it's transformation for all my petty fears and preferences!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Good Grief.

I do NOT wear big earrings.

I'm not even going to try and be serious till we get this out of our systems.
My son made up his own joke today:
What kind of tape does butter use?

That's pretty funny. :-)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Okay, OKay, I'll go back to answering phones.

Working today... (can't you tell?)

Terry came in a few minutes ago and said that Phillip Yancy sent him a new book called something like 'Does God Answer Prayer?'.

I asked him if he called him back and told him no.

I have to publicize it when I'm funny. As Terry said, it was the ONE time.

Jason and I went to McDonalds for lunch -and in front of us was a car that said CSI - Christ saves individuals.
I went on and on ( just joking of course) about cutsie-secular logos that we have to make into something spiritual and in the end don't come out looking all that 'cool'. When I got done I asked Jason if he didn't agree, and he said :

"Well, I usually just try and shut you out when you go off the deep end like that."

It's a rough crowd around here. :-)

Monday, October 30, 2006


So this morning, for us... was a beautiful morning. Sometimes Monday's are hectic... but not today.
Last night, Jason read a storybook on Joshua and the fall of Jericho. He ruined it... but it was funny. At one point in the book there is an illustration from the last day when all the women, children, animals, etc come out to circle the wall, and it is a close up of a few people obviously yelling, as they were commanded to.
Jason thought Julia was getting bored. So he changed up the story a bit, and commented on what he imagined each person in the picture was yelling.
The old man, he imagined was yelling to his wife "Get me some supper woman! "
The child yelled: "This is NOT my safe-side adult." * *(Had to be at Memorial.)
Julia then joined in - assigning the goat as saying "I taste like chicken!!" ( that cracked US up.) and about a donkey in the picture, "I wish I was a horse...."
I don't know if the silliness will even translate in the telling... but the laughter of the kids was priceless. Didn't do much for their theology, but honestly they knew that story pretty well.

So this morning, no book was needed, it just began all over again as a repeating chorus of :

"Get me some supper woman!"
"This is NOT my safe-side adult!"
"I taste like chicken!"
"I wish I was a horse...."

And the kids just played off each other. Cracked me up.

On another note, as we were driving to school, we prayed (early)... to stop the repeating chorus above:-) , and after that began singing with the radio. Some contemp. christian songs were on, and as we turned onto the street towards his school Eli asked me if we could hurry and turn the radio off and sing one of his songs. So I did, and he began:

"Powerful, so powerful,
Your Glory fills the skies
Your mighty works displayed for all to see
The Beauty of your majesty
Awakes my heart to see
How marvelous, how wonderful You are!

Beautiful One I love
Beautiful One I adore
Beautiful One my soul must sing..."

He was clapping, repeating the song, and singing, all of us, at the top of our lungs -and it was awesome, for just our three little voices.

As we ended the song, rounded the corned and pulled up in front of the school, Eli sat back, laid his head up against the seat and looked out the window with a content smile on his face, and said quietly:

'I can't wait for next Sunday!'

Me either. :-)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jumping up and down in my own living room IS a nice feeling......



I don't know that I have ever watched ANY sports game from beginning to end. It's sad.
So I'm a bit of a latecomer... checking in for the World Series.... I know. No comparison here to all the real fans....
BUT..... the THRILL of tonight has just turned around my 32 year run streak of non-sports interest!!!! AWESOME!

WOOO HOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006


"When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kindfom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not recieve the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it. " And he took the child in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:14-16

I wish I knew how many times Jesus was indignant. It would be an interesting study... to compare my "indignants" with His. Maybe embarassing.

Maybe it was being with children all weekend... but it made me wonder. How do little children recieve the kingdom of heaven? What are some of the differences in the way they accept it in contrast to how adults accept it? I watch my own children, and have pondered just a couple thoughts, .... but I am really interested to learn from thoughts you may have.

No more aspirin for our family!

In the van, on the way home today.

Eli : "Mom, I'm not going to May's Drug store anymore...and I hope noone else will either."

Me: "Why, Eli?" ( Thinking... it is a little early for anyone to be setting him up to boycott something?)

Eli: " BECAUSE...... (hear it said in a "duh" condescending voice) .. well, you know what the counselor said about it! "

I turned to look at him, confused, until I saw the "Partnership for a Drug free America" ribbon pinned to his shirt.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Catching up

Okay - would I have a life without you? For us never getting to actually talk much --I don't know of a person who has more influence or control over my life. At least you wield your power over me for good. Thanks for my new hair do! Your lady is awesome! ( Even if I didn't have hairspray this mornign! )
My son is addictied to Lego Star Wars. You'd be proud.

Spent the weekend with the Kendall kids... it was great, an apparently I'm not so tired I couldn't check blogs and take this * OH SO TRUE OF ME* test inspired by T. Love you!

You Are Jan Brady
Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.
What Brady Are You?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

'Beautiful 'Timing

I slept in late today. (9:45.)
I love sleeping in... with the tiny exception of feeling like your day is half gone.

I left the house at 10:30 for a quick run to pick up a shower gift before I started on all I had to do today.
I returned at 4:30 this afternoon......

I happened to run into my mom... which never just happens. We live in the same town, but seriously can manage to not see each other except for a quick hello at church on Sundays every week. We still know we love each other... we're just not big communicators.
So, today, we ran into each other at the $1 store which was having a "Everything's .40 sale". Of course that would draw both of us like magnets from anywhere. So we had lunch... caught up.... and just enjoyed the time. It was really nice. And meaningful. Sometimes I am just way too busy...

What I love about God is that He knows that about us.
I was reading in Acts 3 tonight... Peter and John are headed to the temple for the 'hour of prayer'. At the same time, a man is being carried there to beg. Crippled from birth... this has been his daily tradition too... begging at the temple gate called "Beautiful."

Peter, John, and this man just 'happen' to cross paths at the same time. You may know the story... they look at him, he looks at them expecting a handout, and they give him way more than that. He rises to his feet for the first time... and the picture given is of a man so overwhelmed with joy he can't let go of them.. jumping up and down, praising God, and drawing so much attention... for this crowd now watching the commotion also knows this man as the one who "used to sit begging at the temple gate called 'Beautiful'." Enough attention is drawn, that Peter and John respond to the crowd and direct the credit to God...and spend a night in jail.
They had just started out towards the temple to pray.
He was just being carried to the gate to beg.

The temple gate was called 'Beautiful'.

Do you know what I discovered the word for "Beautiful" here means?
HOORAIN ( from horaios) "belonging to the right hour or season (timely) i.e. (by implication) beautous.

That gate was indeed timely... the right season... and Beautiful. God's timing may not always be our own, but when you see His working in it...the schedule you had laid out for yourself that day pales in comparison to His divine working.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Quiet time

Two kiddos at home with Scarlet fever afforded a slow quiet day today. I am especially thankful that antibiotics make what used to be a serious threat now just simple recovery time. We are blessed people.

Eli and I sat and watched Extreme Home Makeover tonight. A headache sobered his normally talkative self, and I think made him extra emotional too.... he teared up multiple times during the show. But one moment was especially insightful.

This episode covered the building of a home for a mom who lost the use of her legs after protecting her young children during a tornado in Tennessee. While in the hospital following the storm, neighbors tried to salvage whatever was left of the family's belongings while dad tended to their young boys and mom in the hospital. Not much was left, but a cherished China set of her grandmother's, though shattered and broken into pieces, was preciously collected and guarded among their belongings.

One of the endeavors of the team was to take these pieces, and make with them a mosaic table top that became the focus on the front porch of the new home. Eli loved it. I loved even more his heart in the thoughts he expressed;

'Mom- look! It's just like Jesus! Sometimes he takes broken things and makes them more beautiful than they even were the first time!'

Praise God-- this is just so true.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Our own little dog show....

In our house we have some little dog figurines. I love them, since we cant have a dog and there are quite a few of them that remind me of pets I have had in the past.
They sit on a shelf right at Julia's eye level. She loves them too. It has begun to crack us up - no matter how many times I display them in a nice and orderly fashion, I will come out only to find they are living a completely different life in her little world.
I have decided to start taking pictures of the "rearrangements" I find after she's been in the room . I'll leave the interpretation of what's going on in her imagination up to you. And I'll post more as we find them. :-)

Catching up on pictures from Branson

This is an amazing rainbow outside our room in Branson. This was a weekend of many storms: most formed over us and moved out east.

I love weather!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Chicken Noodle soup for the soul....

Jules came home sick yesterday. Last night, she asked me to sing "that song you used to sing when I was a baby". Goodness. The girl is 4. Yet somehow, already, there seems to be a lifetime in those 4 years.So, I sang to her, and she drifted off to sleep. I love when the fluttering of the eyes gently stops, and rest takes over. I lay close enough to feel her whole little body move to the rhythm of her stronger than usual pulse as it fights off infection with fever. Peace in the midst of a battle..some how miraculous and more than I can comprehend. It's hard, to be so close, and know you are so limited in what you can do. I sit back and trust that God made her body to fight this off. Despite the fact that she is mine, and so little, ..and dependent on me day to day to feed her, clothe her (well, some days) etc. - yet in this, it's all in her. I can't make her little body inside work better or worse... It's a reminder of my small position in the world, and my ultimate reliance on Him.
This is just a little virus for Julia, but it made me think of the battles we watch others go through... we can offer measure of comfort, and some measure of healing, but ultimately, we cannot remove the battle just because we love them.
Ever had an experience with that? How did you feel and what what did you learn from it?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

1 year at this and I just learned how to really do the pictures~!

Okay - aren't my kids precious?
(They're asleep right now... I'm more inclined to say such things after a long day....)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Raising the Bar

Tonight over dinner Eli decides to tell us a little about his ETC class at school. Now,just so you know, ETC is the school's name for the gifted and talented program - and it is a great program.Just thought it was funny what Eli takes away ....

"Yeah, I really like it because we get to do a lot of crafts. AND we learned how to use a PAPER CLIP!!"

( Thanks Theresa - for the how to on pics,(WOOHOO!) and to Cindy for the shot of Eli's re-creation of his favorite shirt!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bedtime affections

Well, tonight was another quoteable night.

Over last minute glasses of milk before bed, Julia wanted to express her affection to us in a unique way, which led us down an interesting path of conversation.

Julia - "Momma, I love you so much, and I'm never gonna kill you."

Me - "Uh, thank you Julia. I appreciate that, but let's not say kill, okay?'

Julia "But I want to say I love you special!"

Me - Well, I understand, but somehow saying the opposite of kill still doesn't sound that good. "

Julia - "I know! I love you so much momma, I'm never gonna make you go to heaven. "

Jason - (Trying not to laugh) "Julia, we all want to go to heaven...."

Eli now chimes in, "Yeah! Who wants to go to hell? Raise your hand."

Julia raises her hand.

Eli, Jason and I quickly explain some of why we don't want to go to hell.

Julia (as if canceling her raised hand.)
"Oh. Nevermind."

Eli goes on to explain, (as it has been on his mind lately anyway... )
"Now Julia, if you don't want to go to hell, you have to be baptized... put under the water... now Dad, if you want to go to hell,.... well, sorry, it's too late."

Sweet, simplistic faith and understanding.
And a new twist on bedtime rituals.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The good, the bad, and the little bit too personal..

Quotable day... that's what today was.

Tonight at bedtime, Julia told me she wanted to wait a little bit before she prayed. I asked why?

"Because I only pray on Tuesdays. That's what God asked me to do." She often speaks as the voice of God in our home.

Prayer time with Eli was significant too. In his prayer he said:
"...and God, would you please change Emmerson's heart. He doesn't want to be my friend, just because of that one thing I did, and I want to be friends...."

Oh so true. A heart cry of many. More and more,for this reason, I grow to love mercy.

And as I followed his prayer with my own, I was unusually short. Eli asked me why I was, and I didn't really have a good answer. (I didn't want to say I was tired.) He said "Mom... I want to know your heart. Not just your heart about me and the things you like about me... your heart about everything in your mind too. " Wow. That just really surprised me.

So I shared with him just a little piece of a struggle that I was having like his with someone I didn't think liked me, and how I felt much like he did. So we prayed together for God to change their heart, and when we were done, he said, "Now mom, you know sometimes God changes their hearts, and sometimes He doesn't. But either way, it's okay. Okay?" Such wisdom. I adore that boy.

And on a funny note, Jason and I were discussing books and reading today. He was sharing how he liked fiction, and I was explaining that I used to read a lot of it, and imagine I will return to it in the future as our kids move into different stages, but for now I didn't have time for that kind of reading. His reply?

"You would if you went to the bathroom more."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

Hee hee. Stole this from Theresa.

Westley / The Dread Pirate Roberts

Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

I love that movie.

And I love Pride and Prejudice.
I have watched Pride and Prejudice for the last two nights as I have entered database work on the computer. My head and nose are stopped up and I'm not very fun to talk or listen too right now, so it has been best to park myself here and get some work done. But I love that movie and never tire of it! (Even as I write now an English accent flows through my keyboard.:-)

Jason and I have an ongoing feud about the significance of the movie. Despite attempts, I have yet to adequately explain what is so romantic about it. Rarely does my husband have typical "guy" responses but he has a mental block against this movie. (His remark in jest last night was 'Okay... so if you want me to treat you poorly for two years and then profess my love for you, I will....')

So if you have seen it... what are your thoughts about what make it so classical?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

When "me" gets in the way of what I want.

I have often said that I am a recovering perfectionist. Not that I have ever been good at being a perfectionist - but I sure seem dependent on the pursuit of it at times. The sin of it in me runs deep. Ironically, like most sin, what I try to accomplish in myself by pursuing it only ends up creating more of the very pain I am trying to avoid.

What my perfectionism results in is depression, anxiety and anger. I can look around in 20 different directions and see things I need to do better.

- I need to be a better mom. More patient, more intentional. Less angry or frustrated. I need to play more.
- I need to be a better spiritual guide to my kids. They need to get the first of me, not the last of me. Why don't they have verses memorized yet?
- I need to be a better wife. And cook more. And not be grumpy.
- I need to be a better daughter, sister, daughter-in-law , granddaughter and friend. Besides this blog, I stink at writing and calling those I love.
- And if I would organize our finances better we could get ahead faster. And if I would clip more coupons, and shop at more than one store, and cook all of our meals once a month, then I could do more stuff.
- And I need to be a better secretary. And mentor. And Christian. And, well person, in general. I'm just not really good with people.
- And if I could get up every morning at 5:00 and get in both my prayer time, bible study AND exercise before my kids get out of bad, the whole day would go smoother.
- And if I could get in bed by 10:00pm and fall asleep by 10:30, I could get up at 5:00. Then I wouldn't depend on a nap because I get up at 5:45 and go to bed at 11:30. And THAT would leave more time to get stuff done.... Why do I always seem SHOCKED when dinner time and bed time roll around... because I'm not done with stuff!

You can see how my thoughts go on and on. I can't do it. I'm mad at the world because I can't do it. I get mad at the world because I can't do what I think it wants me to do. I can't do what I want to do.

Now I share all of that not because I need consoling or affirmation, but because I don't think I'm the only one who has those thoughts. They may take different forms, but most of us are pretty skilled at being frustrated with ourselves, and consistently aware of how we don't measure up.

But it's the measuring up that is at the heart of the problem. Why do I want to measure up? If it were some noble reason, and sometimes it is, okay. But really, if I'm honest to the core of my thoughts, .... most of the time my wanting to measure up is rooted in selfishness. I don't want to fail. I want to be a success. I want to accepted. I want to be liked. I want to make a difference. I want to mean something to somebody. I want to be important, good, appreciated, valued, credible, consistent, wise, worthy, nice, kind, personable.... I want to be valued..... I want to be loved. I don't want to be or do anything that could result in the opposite.

"I", "I", "I". There was a time when my grappling with this concept led me down the course of understanding our unconditional my acceptance and love from God was. How life changing that was and is. To know the consistency of His mercy! To trust His affection and acceptance. He covered me in His Son's blood. How more intimate can a relationship be?

And while I feel grounded in the understanding of His acceptance & love, I find that the battle with me is not over. Motivations may change, and become more noble, but "I" still seem to be at the center of them too often. Bible study would start with what He would teach "me" ( so "I" could become wiser), and prayer time consisted of what "I" would need to present to Him for intervention. The list begins again....

This week I have tried to focus on being done with me. I don't need more strategies on how to become better at more, but I need simplicity and decision to just make my life about worshipping God. My time in the morning... is spent with Him, but listening with humility to what He would change in me through His word. I have tried to take captive the first thoughts of the day.... so that they would be on Him, and not on me or what I have to do or what problems I think I face.

Do you know how hard that is? Have you ever thought about how much you think about yourself? All the time. I talk to myself more than anyone else, and I talk about me to myself more than anyone else.

I can choose to not think about me, and begin thinking on God, and without apology, 'me' will interrupt myself!!!!

Today.... I decided to sleep in. And I rationalized reasons why the day was okay for me to just go on and not pray in depth or read or study or meditate. It wasn't a sin. But it was enough room for "me" to take over the leading of my day, and the results were disastrous. Until this evening when my husband sent me off to pray. (Thanks Cindy - for the reminder through Eli that any day can be turned around....)

I want to be a nobody who just needs Him at any cost. Not because "I" will be better, but because He is worthy of my thoughts being on Him day and night. Ironically... it changes how I think... about my children, my husband, my relationships, my finances, my day, my problems, my time... my nothing. He is amazing, and puts all of life in perspective.

It will take practice to be okay with being a nobody. But the peace found in His Perfection is more than enough to compensate. I'm finding it is pure joy.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

For Mature Audiences only....

My son is hitting the age where he is becoming more and more aware of the differences between boys and girls.

Honestly, this is hard, because with his development he can be so intellectual, and yet often behind even Julia in his awareness of such things - and I enjoy that innocence. For example, it was only about 4 weeks ago that he became aware that Julia had no boy parts. He was trying to be a helper as we were teaching both kids to shower by themselves, and he stood outside the shower calling to her each part of the body she should wash next. When he got to that, he seemed shocked when I explained that she didn't have the same parts he has. "Well then what DOES she have?" he asked in disbelief. "How does she go to the potty?" ( All this in spite of the fact that neither of them have ever been very private around each other. )
I gave some answer. I think it was adequate, but all the times I told myself to figure out what to say before the moment came were now useless, as the moment was here before I was ready.

Tonight was another moment like that.
He seemed fascinated with that other part of women that he now notices is different. So here's how the conversation went tonight:

Eli- "Mom, what do you call those?"

Me - (Thinking..... Dying. Did he really just ask me that? I'm in the middle of reading a book to him. That is SO like a boy! Why doesn't he ask Jason this stuff? Wait. I am the mom. It's okay. This is a normal question. Set the stage Heather, set the stage ... today is the day that determines how openly he will communicate with you for the rest of your life. When he is a teenager, this is the moment he will look back on and know whether it is safe or not to talk to his mom about anything. Long pause. Think, Think Think. Do I entrust accurate words with maturity to a boy who struggles sometimes with social interaction? Or is that too much for him right now? Think. Think. Think. Other words I could give him?? Oh wait, that's worse. No way. Ok. Got it.)

Me- "Eli, what do you think they are called?"

Eli - "Mom, I know what it is, but I don't want to say it, because it's a bad word."

Me - (Thinking... What bad word could he have learned? WHO IS TEACHING HIM BAD WORDS? I AM SETTING UP A CAMP ON THE PLAYGROUND AND SO HELP ME ANYONE OUT THERE WHO IS GOING TO BE TEACHING MY SON BAD WORDS IS GONNA... Oh wait. ...still in the moment Heather...Eli's still here. You're still setting the stage for all future communication - get in the game girl...."

Me - "It's okay Eli, just tell me what you've heard."

Eli - "Mom, I really don't want to ... it's bad and you know it. And I don't want to say it."

Me - "Eli, I promise you I won't be mad at you. Just tell me the truth and I promise you that you can always know I will do the same. "

Eli - "You know. It starts with an 'F'".

Me - (Not hiding the shocked and confused look on my face.) ( Have they come up with new 'bad'words that I am not aware of? Am I behind the times already in first grade? Wait! How can it be that I am failing miserably already!?!)

Eli - ( Picking up quickly on my obvious ignorance....) 'Okay, I will give you the next letter mom. 'F', 'A'....."

Me - ( My mind is racing, and anxiety is building. What? WHAT? WHAT IS IT? What do they call it now? )

Me - "Eli, I don't know what it is, I'm sorry. Please just tell me. "

Eli - (Rolling his eyes.) "Okay, mom, but I know it's a bad word, ( Now looking at me with great trepidation...) and I'll just give you the last letter, so don't be mad. It's a 'T'.

Me - (Thinking... okay, now what were the letters?...Oh... sweet air, as I take a deep breath in, smile lovingly (yet not so as to embarrass him), and rejoice that the bad word is "Fat". I was tempted to rationalize that as being a correct scientific term in some circles, but decided that wouldn't serve him long term, especially when he gets married.)

So, we had a calm, truthful, and insightful discussion after that, cut short by Eli's diverted attention to a poster on his wall.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hearing, thinking, cleaning up. What do these three things have in common?

In the car this morning, Julia told me she wanted to go to heaven. Being up for insight, I asked her why.

"Because I want to talk to Jesus."

I, taking hold of the opportunity to encourage her, said "Julia - you can talk to Jesus every time you pray!"

"Yeah, but I want Him to hear me better."


Dad.... I want you to know, I've overthought it some more, :-) ... and after living in denial I now admit you are right after all these years. I do think too much. (We have a friend here who has said the same.)
Now the only problem is that if I stop, I won't have anything to write about..... (Just kidding.) God used what you said to make a point ( actually a few ) this week. Thanks.

Well. Jason just took me on a "guided imagery" journey in preparation for the youth ralley class he is doing this weekend. (Literally - he interrupted my blogging to do it. ) For any of you who did it last night, my room was a brown dusty attic looking area, with a lot of clutter..... it told me a lot. :-)

Good night!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A fun moment

No real point to this post, except to share a moment of amazement. Jason's been reading Chronicles of Narnia to Eli each night. ( Eli has also been listening to the books on CD).

Tonight the boy quoted by memory a page and a half of dialogue from one of the chapters.... british accents and all for each of the characters.

It cracked me up.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Flying, Swimming , Reasoning.

Thanks to all of you who commented last week. Every single comment blessed Jason and I so much. We are rich because of your friendship. :-)

I flew to Nashville this week for my grandmother's 80th birthday. Julia flew with me. She was eagerly anticipating the takeoff, and after an extra long taxi down one of the runways, she looked at me and said with disgust "We're going to drive there?!?"

The weekend was fun. It always takes a while for that side of my family to warm up to each other. I'm usually not there long enough for that to happen. But I prayed that God would speed the normal dynamics up for His purposes and He answered that prayer amazingly. Too often I forget to pray for such things. A friend recently told me that she prays for God to give her extra hours in the day. I've done that recently - and His faithfulness amazes me.:-)

Eli told me today that he wanted to be baptized. I've known it was coming. He is so intelligent... so logical, and so sensitive. He's questioned everything about it - the reason, the logistics, and "What happens when you go under the water?"
It's funny when a physical mind tries to dissect the spiritual realm.

I asked him why he wanted to do it. He replied "Because I believe in Jesus and I want to know God better."

It's a hard place to be as a parent. It's the thing I desire most for him in life - to give himself fully to Christ,and to embrace Christ as his Lord, his Master, his Rescuer. But to celebrate this decision in the lives of others, and yet walk patiently through Eli's desire to experience it, knowing it is so much more than he even has the capacity to grasp right now is hard to do.

I've been trying to put into words all day how to affirm his heart towards God, and yet help him delay his decision until it can truly reflect a desire to lay down his own life and embrace Christ's. Yet I don't want him to feel rejected by God or by us as we pursue that patiently. And I'm not the most sensitive communicator. So your prayers are cherished.
This morning, I told him I loved him, I was proud of him, and that we could study it some more. He didn't bring it up again, for now.

Last week at a swim party, Eli didn't pass a test to swim to the deep end of the pool. The lifeguard said he could retest, but I knew he wasn't ready. Yet he was determined. I told him to practice, and he did diligently. After about 30 minutes, he called to me to get the lifeguard's attention so he could retest. I told him to wait, and practice a few more times. He resisted, and motioned for me to get her. After 2 or 3 more exchanges, he finally bypassed me and flagged down the lifeguard himself. She generously passed him and kept a close eye on him.
I love that spirit of determination in him. I pray it will help him refuse to take no for an answer when the time is right and he really knows what it means to own this decision.

Thanks for your prayers over him.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Water is a good theme this week. :-)

Yeah!! Now I can feel like I'm in a fishbowl when you read this!! Haha! I am so excited to change the look of this blog - (Thanks Theresa! ) but in the process I cut my picture in half, and I guess after that completely off. It took me two weeks to figure out how to put a picture on in the first place! So just look at the fish.....

These last few weeks have been busy, challenging, and messy. I don't like to write when I feel like my life is messy, ... and life is often messy, hence the long gaps. It's still messy tonight, but I am a recovering perfectionist, so this is therapy. :-)

Of most significance this week was my husband's decision to be baptized Sunday.
(Julia told him later that night that she was so proud of him. - Because he went underwater! That takes on new meaning when it was the very thing you feared about swimming lessons all summer!!!)

For many, I'm sure, this was a surprising event. I certainly know he didn't wake up Sunday morning with that on his "to do" list either. I can remember the first discussion about some of his thoughts & doubts surrounding about his baptism as a young person occured even before we were married. There haven't been many discussions about it, maybe 5 or 6 "mental wrestlings" about it over the last 10 years, but nevertheless, it has always been there.
Jason shared later that God used the bible class that morning to prepare him and deal with his pride, and the sermon to deal with him directly over this long struggle - every argument he presented was answered by God's Spirit, all the way around. When the lesson was over, he was already in tears, and as he stood up to walk forward, he just leaned over and said "I'm done."

What victory in those words.

I don't know how to vicariously experience someone else's freedom or salvation, but I feel like that moment was the closest I've ever been, personally. The beginning of freedom is found only at the end of oneself, and that was as much at the end of himself as I have ever had the privilege of knowing Jason.

It reminded me again of how much I am my own prison guard, when my God calls me to freedom. Sometimes freedom, in its purest form, doesn't look fashionable to me. I'd prefer a nice, clean, competent look over a messy, mistaken, desperate look. The irony is that the fashionable look is just a imitation overcoat, - never the real thing, inside or out.

"I'm done."

While being cleaned and sealed and redeemed is a beautiful gift poured into us in an instance, "I'm done" is a phrase worth repeating daily in the life of every follow of Christ. To begin every single morning at the end of ourselves is to accept the invitation into true freedom and life, every day.

A special thanks to those of you who celebrated this day with us.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sex education - on the right track.

Jason's been reading a old but good book on raising kids, and protecting their purity. It sparked off sex education conversation with Julia . I loved how it started....

Jason: "Julia, do you know where babies come from?"

Julia: "Yep."

Jason: "Where do they come from?"

Julia: "The babysitter."

I liked that answer. :-)

Movie Night

Tonight, our kiddos were invited to spend the night and that left us with an opportunity for a date! WOO HOO!

So after dinner, we hit the movies.

I don't know if M. Night Shyamalan has a cult following, but if he does, I'm in it.
I have yet to walk away from one of his movies and simply say "That was a good movie."
On the surface, every movie of his merits "good" just by it's story, suspense, surprise, and the point in every movie where he gets you to gasp out loud in just a good old fashioned scary moment.

I know some people don't get them or like them, but if you follow the symbolism in each, you know why I think he is brilliant.
Jason and I drove home tonight reflecting on the spiritual and symbolic theme of each movie he has made. I'd put the contents of our discussion down, but I don't want to ruin the current movie. If your a fan though, find another fan.... and enjoy the discussion that ensues as you think about the themes.

Sixth Sense
The Village
The Lady in the Water

Jason thinks that 10 years from now he will make a movie that will tie all of his previous movies together. I don't know what that would look like, but I know I would love it!

Monday, July 31, 2006

This insight of 24 hours

Had a garage sale this weekend. It didn't go great, in the way of sales, but went GREAT in the way of clearing out junk in our house. I am all over simplicity. I can't always get life to coordinate with me, but this was a great effort. My house is actually staying a little cleaner, and I'm no longer overwhelmed by piles of stuff I "need to get to". I just threw them all away.

I love the motto at church, - "A place to start life over." Funny that I found myself having to do that at home too. I love that, though. I can look back and identify periods of depression in my life linked to a false sense of hopelessness that I could never start over - I had messed up, and there was no turning back. Too much junk to wade through.

I'm pretty sure everyone feels it at some point.

I love learning that God gives us new mercy, every single morning. We as people are much harder on each other. How many relationships do you ever wish you could just "start over", yet realize, even then, another point of failure would just arise again.

Piled up junk defines too many of my relationships.Junk I long to throw out.

I long for grace and mercy to define my relationship with others, like God infuses it in to His relationship with me. I long for us to be more free in the forgiveness and compassion offered each other.
Even when it is offered freely to us, we are sometimes wary of it. We are suspicious that it may come back to haunt us. As a result, many relationships just end, thinking happiness is just too far out of reach.

What wisdom God offers us in our in our pursuit of acceptance from one another. 24 hours. ... new mercy every morning. A sun that doesn't set on anger. Freedom, that inspires us not to abuse grace but to love more deeply than we thought we were capable of, and more compassionately than we ever thought was safe.

I love that about Him.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blue Like Jazz

Hello to whoever is left out here!

I have had to lay off of blogging, first because I have been out of town, but secondly because when I sit down to write my thoughts, I found myself getting irritated if the kids would interrupt me. Then it hit me that this was a pretty selfish & stupid move on my part. So I have done some reorganzing of time and priorities. I like keeping up with everyone this way, I just may be a bit more limited in what I say. ( Some of you are thankful!)

Well, we are back from the NACC ( which was a wonderful experience!!) and from Lubbock to see my niece! ( WOO HOO!) It was awesome. I am so thankful for the many ways God blesses us.

I just finished the book "Blue Like Jazz" last night. I'm slow on the bandwagon but I certainly know now why everyone piled on.

Donald Miller so simply and convictingly says things that were in my subconscious, that I wouldn't even allow to the front of my mind, let alone say out loud. Yet when he gave words to the depravity I struggled with within myself, I found myself relieved.
Not relieved to be this way, but relieved to not be alone and know that it is not some grand anomoly in myself. I knew that... but still wasn't quite sure that I wasn't a freak. I feel confident I am being transformed, but at times am discouraged by the pace of the transformation- as he mentions, much more like a stroll.
No doubt some of that is in fact due to my reluctance to admit how deep the problem of my selfishness and self absorption runs. I tend to want to stack up my improvements and compare them with where and how I used to be, rather than just admitting the reality that remains - speaking it out loud so as just to deal with it.
Uggghh. That book delightfully stepped all over my toes. I love God's discipline, because I really do want to be like Him. He is graceful in that He doesn't overwhelm us with the realizatoin of how depraved we are all at once - though Satan certainly tries to do that. God seems to rather reveal it incrementally - only as our awareness & understanding of His love and treasuring of us grows proportionally.
How freeing to not confuse Satan's accussation with God's conviction. They feel completely different, but I didn't always know that. They bear completely different fruit in my life as well. ( My husband is appreciative of that. :-)

Well, the refrigerator man is coming and I'm going to be ready. He wasn't happy with us last week, so he moved us off the emergency list and pushed us to this morning. ( Moving our groceries to the garbage.) We made a mistake that messed up his schedule. Though I apologized, because it was our fault, I found myself (in the 'play about me' for those who read the book...) being tense about his arrival this morning and trying to defensively anticipate how the conversation will go.
How freeing to have this stuff fresh on my mind. Jesus is a genius. Seriously.
If I can get my heart to embrace what my mind philosophically comprehends, and I can get my mouth to fall in line with my heart, then I get a little closer to tasting the freedom He always promised His truth brings.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Rock vs. Sand

Came across this from Mike's blog.

Go to

Unbelievable. It's worth the read back through a couple of past blogs to get the picture of what happened - I hadn't heard until I read this.

The faith of two families who trust in God beyond unimaginable circumstances made a huge impact on my heart this morning. It saddens, inspires, encourages, and increases my hope in what's to come.


I read this morning from Luke 6:27 - 49.
I'm trying to pray each day a little more of His word and less of my own thoughts and wants.
This morning's was tough passage to swallow. A tough passage to pray out loud and ask for Him to accomplish in me.

Jesus calls me on the carpet for thinking that being kind to those I love will in any way draw attention to Him in my life. The world walks right beside me in the same actions!
It's not until I do the unthinkable - the unimaginable - the unreasonable, that I demonstrate that I walk by faith. Nothing else will draw attention of unbelievers to our lives and ultimately to the One in Whom we have faith. No wonder many call christians hypocrites. He tells us himself that we are if we don't get this.

I struggle to put into words what I understand Him calling me to, but here is a starting point for me:

When someone criticizes or mocks me.... I turn around and bless them. (A start for me would be to not complain about them... but blessing them moves from that into much bigger things.)
When taken advantage of, I don't run and hide ... but rather I face them to see what they needed that motivated the offense / attack and offer more of it until I see their need greater need filled. I have to look pas the fear, the ugliness, and all that intimidates me to do that.
I loan my things. No... rather I give. It's not until I don't expect it back that it looks different from the world.

I see this passage ask me to comprehend the heart of God that pours out goodness even upon those who aren't thankful - and in fact ungrateful... and develop the same heart in trying to be His child.

I am farther from it than I would like to let myself believe.

Remember "the wise man built his house upon the rock?"

For as familiar as this children's song rings in my head... I didn't realize until this morning that it follows this passage. It is these very words... some of the hardest to swallow and live out daily... about which Jesus said:

"... but the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built his house on the ground with out a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and it's destruction was complete."

The picture of all my rationalizations for not practicing this concept suddenly shows itself to be a foundation of sand that I trusted in a bit more than I let myself realize.
I don't know that I even love 'well' those who I really love... but it's obvious to me today why He's convicted me about loving those whom I haven no reason to love... and even more those whom I might have more reason to resent rather than love.

He is worth it. His truth is rock...even when it makes no sense to my nature or instinct.... I am changing that over anyway to be His nature. I'm reminded that this is why faith is defined as trusting what you don't see rather than what you do.

So I'm going to keep letting Him call me on the carpet
until my mouth and actions begin to reveal a heart more like His.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An almost- compliment

Doing the morning ritual of make up and hair, with Julia faithfully by my side. ( Oh the memories this ritual will make...)

Upon fininshing my hair this morning and flipping it up, Julia's attention is caught by the motion - and she looks up wide eyed and amazed at the transformation. ( There is a big one.) :-)

'Wow mom! You look almost like Belle. Except Belle don't wear those flip-flops. '

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Reading / Respect

Been reading a ton lately.... and have wanted to blog about it - so I'll commit myself publicly and come back as I can... but one of my new favorite books is "The Cross Examination of Christ", by Randy Singer.
It's worth it's own post so I will come back to it.

Also, Jason and I got to go to a Family Life Marriage Seminar a couple of weeks ago - and while there we picked up two books by Shaunti Feldhahn - "For Women Only' is the one I am reading, and Jason is reading the one for guys. ("For Men Only." Of course Jason, being the overachieving reader - is reading both.
I have to admit, I'm always embarrassed to read things that sound so simple but they are for me a 'lightbulb' or 'aha' moment - but I embrace them the same, and for me, today, I read a little part in this book that turned the light on.

In the book, Shaunti sets forth the results of a survey asking men whether they would rather feel unloved and unwanted, or inadequate and disrespected. Results overwhelmingly showed that while the majority of women would rather feel disrespected, most men would rather feel unloved. And there is a difference. That alone made me think twice.

Which would you rather feel?

When it comes to respecting my husband, I think much of the difficulty with this for me personally is defining respect. Most often we start and work from the definitions in our own head - which is great if your definition matches up with the one who's expectations you are trying to meet. But it's takes a while in life to discover you might need to check in and make sure your definintion is the same in the first place before you start trying to plan all the ways to live up to it!

She mentions that if we want to be clued in, a 'disrespect barometer' in men is anger.

Very simple.
Very a-ha for me.

I know we do it to men .... a simple comment and all the sudden they find themselves in a muck with us they didn't see coming and want desperately to get out of, and they can't even figure out how they got there in the first place. It's so clear to us, and to every woman we might later share it with. :-)
But as intuitive as we think we are, we just don't get that we do the very same things just as cluelessly.

'I'm just trying to help'.
'It's so obvious what needs to be done...'
'If you would just...'

And if you are like me, (and female), you may read those phrases, think of the last time you thought or said them, and can justify exactly why you were right.
Umm Hmm.

That's what I didn't get. I'm a help meet... a ' helper' - thats what I DO... I'm supposed to help! Right? How in the world can I offer help and not come across critical?!? Doesn't the very nature of a correction or help suggest some level of inadequacy? Hmmm.. I wonder... does it have to ? Or do we just carelessly let it?

"The funny thing is- most of us do respect the man in our lives and often don't realize when our words or actions convey exactly the opposite. We may be totally perplexed when our man responds negatively in a conversation, helplessly wondering, What did I say? Combine this with the difficulty many men have articulating their feelings (i.e., why they are upset), and you've got a combustible - and frustrating situation." ( p.24)

I recognize the anger when it happens.... but am just now learning to backtrack to the last few things I said and recheck them for something that could be understood as disrespect or condescension. Sometimes it's obvious... I know what I meant and I know how it sounded. And he's got a reason to be angry and I've got a responsibility to repent. But sometimes it is a genuine mistake - and checking in with him on how he understood what I just said helps - offering different words as well as encouragement helps lessen the tension and keeps us on track of what we really want to talk about rather than tripping us off into an emotional 'discussion' neither of us really enjoys of the past and present mistakes we make with each other.

Most of all, from the seminar and these few pages - I loved learning about the source of respect, again. It's counter-cultural, and so I needed to be reminded of it. The world doesn't often set out to reinforce God's truths... so if we just 'go with the flow' of what's around us, we will find ourselves quickly as unhappy as the rest of the married couples we are called to be a light to.

"Just as you want the man in your life to love you unconditionally, even when you're not particularly lovable, your man needs you to demonstrate your respect for him regardless of whether he's meeting your expectations at the moment. ( A-HA!)(Duh - I know... but still A- ha!)
'We've become such a love- dominated culture,' Dr. Eggerichs says. (Of Love and Respect.) 'Like the Beatles said,'All you need is love.' So we've come to think that love should be unconditional, but respect must be earned. Instead, what men need is unconditional respect - to be respected for who they are {i.e. our husbands}, apart from how they do."
"... Just as our men can choose to demonstrate love towards us even if they don't feel it at the moment, we can and should choose to demonstrate respect toward them. In fact, the Greek word translated as 'respect' in Ephesians (5) , phobeo, means to be in awe of , to revere. It's not just a matter of bland regard. We are supposed to be highly valuing our men! " ( pgs. 26, 27, For Women Only)

God gives us the ability to do that - to offer respect unconditionally and to highly value - based on worth much more than just in the moment. We might not be practiced at it, and it may seem foreign, especially in those moments of conflict or disagreement, but that is when it is all the more applicable. After all, we are thankful when they choose to love us in our unloveable moments.... and we have a lot of them. We might find a lot more of our unloveable moments covered by unconditional love as we offer the same kind of respect.

God's wisdom is amazing. When we give up on the game of 'who goes first'.... and just obey God in relating to our mate for the sake of HIS worthiness.... we find alot more of the peace, hope and genuine contentment His truth promises.

When I sit down and think about it... I have no problem with respect. I think my husband is wonderful, and I can think of non-stop reasons why. Now, however, to let that be the mindset of every moment, not just the ones with an absence of conflict.
To let God's wisdom be the guide of my role in marriage... so that He can be more fully glorified. ( And Jason and I both would reap the fringe benefits of that...:-)

Random catch -up

I have slowed down in posting some... just rearranging schedules and priorities some, and in doing so I haven't been able to get to this as much. But I will try and be a little more frequent!

Got to go to Branson with my dad, Meme, Susan and Charles this weekend .... it was tiring but fun.
I can remember as a kid hating the heat, hating the lines, but LOVING the atmosphere.... and I think that is a pretty universal feeling for kids. And growing up hasn't changed it. We loved it and the kids were wiped out. It was great. I can see how the passes we bought are a much bigger investment that we realized at the time.
Fun... laughter.... they all lend to a family cohesion and appreciation of each other that can get lost in day to day routine. I love making these memories.

Julia is always deciding what she wants to be when she grows up. Usually it's a doctor and a cowgirl.
This morning however, she announced that she wants Eli to be a Captain and she will be the first mate that gets to say "Aye Aye, Captain." Hee hee.

(I'm betting that won't last long, though.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Checking out of reality.

Saw "United 93" Last night.


Movies are usually an escape. Or so I say. I can honestly say I have never sat through a movie physically uncomfortable and shaky from beginning to end. It is sobering, especially in the fact that for once you have no room to talk yourself into the possibilities for the ending.

It seems to be a very objective movie when it comes to the possibiliteies it makes conjectures about and it fills in the blanks realistically.
Much like I imagine the news is supposed to be, but never comes close to being anymore. You witness the events- without the commentaries.

Ordinary people making extraordinary moves ... because *life* demanded it.

I couldn't sleep last night. There is something about movies that let you check in and out of reality easily, but when the movies reflect life and there is no 5 minute thriller wrap up at the end... you think a long while on that.

It makes me wonder, even though I don't watch a ton of tv or movies anymore, how many real moments I have checked out of for the convenience of a "nicer, more pleasent" reality. It makes me wonder why we as a culture are so easy to take by surprise, and left dumfounded by evil.

On different scales, the moments that shock us continue every day. Darfur, Invisible children, and the man a few blocks away that that tried to kidnap a child.
I don't want to become more aware of the depths of evil in this world or paranoid by what I see as I open my eyes. But I certainly want to become more passionate and connected to the power of our God and His ability to change it.

He wants to use us to do it. I wonder how available we make ourselves? Or is it easier to check out?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sherlock Holmes wears the panties in our family. (Or not).

I can't tell you how encouraging you all are.

I'm out of my league in friendships. God just works that way though. Thanks for blessing me with your thoughts.

Have to share this one... straight from Julia.

Apparently, she couldn't "hold it" tonight.

She brought the wet clothes to daddy, with guilty face and apology ready.

Jason asked her where the 'accident' happened. She pointed in one direction in the kitchen, but Jason saw a puddle in another spot. He cleaned up what he saw, and then asked her again about where her "accident" was, because looking around, he couldn't see what she had pointed to.

She matter-of-factly said:
'Daddy, if you take your shoes and socks off, you can find it.'


Apparently he didn't.
Sure enough, about an hour later, I did. :-)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lost gameboys and worshipping God...

Eli lost his gameboy a week ago.

If you know us, you know this is traumatic. He loves that thing. I do think it is a blessing, for the time being - even as I do hope for his sake we find it.

The painful part was his prayer tonight.

"Dear God, Please Please please help me find my gameboy. Please help me find it right away in the morning, when I first wake up. I have asked you every night for three nights to please please help me find it.
You can do it. You have all the power. I don't know why you don't want to? It's sort of confusing to me. But please help me find it. In Jesus name, Amen."

He walked away, blew his nose ( Allergy season!) and as he threw his tissue away, he began to pray again.

"God, thank you for mom and dad and Julia. Thanks for this day too. Amen"

He looked at me and said;

"You know mom, every time I go to pray, all I can think about is my gameboy. But I know those other things are important and God wants to hear about them too."

I remember somewhere along the way learning not to pray such things. Much like the disciples told the children not to approach Jesus. Jesus taught them otherwise. I'm once again learning to pray for help to find my keys when they're lost. :-) Eli's already got the lesson learned from the persistent widow in practice...:-)

Bigger than that though, is the process of learning that God isn't Santa Claus. He's better. And I would say that my pain is because it is hard for a 6 year old to comprehend that, but in reality, his prayer is so touching because it is so honestly where we all have been at one point or another, even as adults.

I prayed the same words when I desperately wanted to be free of panic attacks, & anxiety. I've prayed it over lesser wants. I prayed it when our daughter was dying.

There is something painful about the process of comprehending just how great God's power is, and then understanding it's not always "up for grabs" in the manner that we ask just because we ask for it.

Some experience that, and upon learning it, walk away. I did, for a while.

The temptation comes when we perceive a "no", or at least a delay in God's response to us. We begin to tell ourselves that maybe He doesn't really exist, or maybe He's not so powerful. Or maybe we're not worthy. And then our anger is directed to God for making us this way and then not accepting us.... the lies all take different forms, but they are all pretty powerful.
In my case, I tried to talk myself into being an atheist. I wasn't successful in the depths of my heart, in spite genuine effort and motivation at the time. His presence and existence are just undeniable, and was so even in my anger. So I settled for believing in Him, but refusing to worship a God that would allow such things to happen and refuse to answer such simple prayers.

What a common spiritual battle... God battles for us to really know Him. Satan battles for us to shallowly believe we already do.

I'm thankful for the story of the prodigal son. And Peter. And the sinful woman. I'm thankful I had precedence to come back after such actions.

Somewhere along the way we begin to limit our image of God to our own sense of justice and logic. No wonder we would quickly tire of worshipping Him. If He didn't call us to a greater understanding of Himself outside the perimeters of ourselves, we would most likely end up worshipping the mirror... being impressed with all the good things we could call God into action for.

But His "No's", and His delays... His permission for pain to enter our life; they all make us take a second glance at who we think He is. The doubts bring about right questions... and if hang in there and we really grapple with them, we get deeper, better, answers than the superficial ones we often satisfied ourselves with previously.

No doubt, this is a risk.
Some walk away, for a time. Some walk away forever.

But for those that grapple with it - for those that begin to understand their place in relation to Him instead of His power in relation to them...they win. He gains worshippers who truly serve Him and not an image of Him in their own mind, and they find what they had always hoped was there...

Invincible power.
Eternal love.
Presence and working in every situation.
Promises and Trust.

Real peace.

Even when the gameboy stays lost and the daughter remains in the grave. (For now....)

I grew up learning of God. I thought I knew God was powerful. I thought I understood His love and goodness.
But in His refusal to instantly gratify some of my wants, in His willingness to tell me no, I began to understand a depth of His power and the intensity of
His love that far superseded my imagination.

And the peace I rest in daily because of that assurance is more satisfying than any artificial peace I would have created by having every whim my limited imagination could dream up answered and put into place.

God has said yes to things I never even dared to pray out of embarrassment. He has said no to things I desperately pleaded for.
And I have learned He is worthy of every last bit of praise I have to offer... everytime.

Pain in the neck. (Yep, really.)

So I woke up this morning with quite a bit of pain in my neck. ( Not proverbial.)

Our dear, wonderful friend Shawn (who's a physcial therapist) came by and worked on my head, neck and shoulders, helping immensely ( THANK YOU!) , and informed me once again that my computer and posture is the culprit behind my pain.
Somehow his suggestions for improvement evoked feelings in me much like what I imagine an addict being told about what they have to do to rehab feels like.....

But I'm still blogging for a minute.:-)
Just one more time. I can do it. It won't hurt anyone!
I'll start being better tomorrow.

Oh yeah. I do have a problem. But if admitting it is half the problem... I'll just start there tonight.

Just kidding. I'm sitting up tall, and facing the screen directly RIGHT NOW!

Monday, April 10, 2006

You know she really likes you when....

It cracks me up, but when Julia feels especially affectionate, she doesn't use the normal "I love you" or similar terms to express it.

No, instead she slides up beside you with a side hug and says to you:

"I like your shirt."

Doesn't matter what you are wearing. Doesn't matter where you are... church, in the yard, cleaning, just got done exercising, if you are mom or a stranger.
If she just feels like she likes you right then, she says it.

"I like your shirt."

And she says it so cutely, you sort of feel happy- like you really do have a nice shirt on, and are pretty special since she thinks so about you.

Oh that I could use that line with the same power & influence whenever I wanted to!

Kindergarten has the best diet plan

Sitting at the table yesterday, Julia decides to assert that apple juice is her favorite drink. In typical sibling fashion, Eli decides to see if he can take issue with the appropriateness of her choice.

Eli - "I don't even know if apple juice is healthy Julia."

Me - "Well, it's not as healthy as eating an actual apple, but it's a lot healthier than a Coke."

Eli - "Yeah, Coke doesn't even have vitamins. It goes in the fats and oils, and sweets category."

Leave it to the good old food pyramid to blow my vision of my favorite drink!

Monday, April 03, 2006

How much do we trust Him?

Been catching up on good reading lately. I have been captivated by reading the book "End of the Spear" by Steve Saint - a much more in-depth look at the story portrayed in the recent movie. It is captivating to me...and I wanted to share a little of it. At this moment, I am reading Steve's writings of the conversation with the Waodani that took place following his aunt's death, and revealing the actual details of how his father and the other 4 missionaries were killed, and by whose hand. I guess this is especially fascinating to me, because as this was occurring, I was in the same country learning the original story of what had happened as well. I'll share the parts that have impacted me the most this week.

"Several years ago, my dad's brother Sam died. His daughter told me that he wanted me to have a spear that had been found in Dad's body. She gave me several, but did not know which one it was. When I got them home and was alone, I finally looked at them closely. It was hard to do, but one of them caught my attention. The tip had broken off. I noticed a speck of white near the tip. I examined it closely and saw that it was a tiny fragment of a New Testament that had been taken from the beach. It is customary for the Waodani warriors to decorate the spears they are going to use on their enemies with something that belongs to that enemy or something that would be associated with that enemy. There was little doubt that I was actually holding the spear that took my dad's life.
....The Wadoani had one more burning question for me, and then we were all anxious to change the subject. One of the men who had not been a part of the spearing party asked me, " All the other foreigners being speared, the smallest one got to the far side of the river; what about that? What about what? I wondered. "What did he do?" I asked. Another warrior answered, "Not fleeing, he just stood their and called to us, 'We see you well; why are you spearing us? We see you well; why are you spearing us?'" ... Their question was, " Being on the far side of the river, why was he not fleeing?"
"Surely fleeing, you would have just tracked him down and speared him anyway?" I meant it as a question, but I know the Waodani are expert trackers. Even I could probably track someone wearing tennis shoes.
The Waodani said "Baa"- No. One of the warriors told me, as though he was revealing a dark secret, "When we speared, first we were furious. Then having speared, we were afraid. If he had fled just a little, surely he would have lived. "
I could see the pain on their faces. They were all wishing that at least one of the five had survived their hatred. I think they would have liked to have been able to explain to at least one of the men that they had gone to spear them because hatred was the only way they knew to live then. As Mincaye says "We acted badly, badly until they brought us God's carvings. Now, seeing His markings and following His trail, we live happily and in peace. "

(** Now I know this is long, but the following is the part I love. It carries weight because it is not a flippant, untested statement, but one rooted firmly in love and faith that has been weathered and born though the reality of pain and loss. - h )

It is only my conjecture, because none of us can know the will of God, but I think it fit God's plan that all five men died. I know that might offend some who have a narrower opinion of parameters within which God must operate, but I don't think what happened to my dad and his four friends caught God by surprise. Nor do I think God simply allowed it. No, after learning in detail what happened on January 8, 1956 - while I was so anxiously waiting to see the speck of my dad's little 56 Henry airplane appear over Penny Ridge- I believe God was much more involved in what happened than merely failing to intervene.
... If I could go back now and rewrite the script, I would not change a single scene. I have come to understand that life is too complex and much too short to let amateurs direct the story. I would rather let the Master Storyteller do the writing. I don't say that casually....

The details Steve Saint shares of the impact and results of that day are profound.

The scene John records in Revelation 6:9-11 in fresh on my mind because of a recent look at his life and writings:
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brother who were to be killed as they had been was completed."

What I love is that the picture of God is one of patience because of His eternal vision and faithfulness. He knows of our capacity to change and turn from even the darkest lifestyle because of the power of love and faithfulness.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." ( Rev. 21:4)

Gikita, the Waodani Indian who fueled and led the spearing raid on the five missionaries that day, got a taste and a glimpse of this peace & promise of God because of God's holy patience and the faithfulness of men willing to die for what they knew to be true of God. They were ready to die. The Waodani were not.

After Steve shared with Gikita the news of Rachel Saint's death, Gikita responded:
"Babae, being old I, too am soon going to die. Going to live, then, in God's place, I will wrap my arms around your father, whom I speared first. There we will live happily together."

What an amazing God we serve. What an amazing gift He offered us. What an amazing story He continues to tell the world through us, if we let Him.