Friday, January 27, 2006

I'm at home after all....

So I am not volunteering at Extreme Home Makeovers tonight. And yes, I'm sad. Oh well. I'm excited it is done!

Abbey - this is for you. You know. I know. It's okay. - Haha! I want you to know you CRACK ME UP!!! ( and Jason too!) we were just laughing out loud. And you have to know... the cooking and kids thing MUST be more genetic than either of us realized! (That was Jason's first comment about what we have in common!)

A random quote from Eli last night:
"Mom - I think you do a good job in your work. I'm not saying you DO a good job, because really I don't know what you do and if your good. I'm just saying I THINK you do good, because I like you."
Gotta love that honesty.

And for those doing the Beth Moore study - I just have to share this quote from day 3 that hit my heart so personally:
( Remember the scene at the beach when Jesus returns following the resurrection? I love the picture of John following along, and the whole discussion with Peter in which Jesus lays love as a foundation for any following Peter will do from this point forward...) She says:
"I am convinced that love is everything, but I wasn't the first one convinced. I simply follow in a long line of believers who failed their way into the discovery that love is the highest priority and motivating force in the entire life of faith."

That is so me. I am growing more and more passionate about what I used to consider weak, because it's power to change outweighs all other motivations. No wonder Jesus said all the law and prophets hung on that. We can think we get everything about truth, right vs. wrong, and be passionate about it all. But if we don't get love, we're just an annoying, and irrelevant sound "clanging" in the background of everyone's life. But when we "get" real love, and live with loving others as our highest priority, that can motivate change and cause others to respond to even the hardest truths because of the intrigue of real, genuine love.

Speaking of love, Steve Saint, (End of The Spear) who I got to hear Wed. night, shared part of an interview he had with a USA today reporter. The reporter came because he had to see for himself that the story, and these men, were real. When he questioned Steve about his relationship with Mincaye, he seemed somewhat appalled at Steve's choice. He said he could understand eventually forgiving the man that killed his father. But welcoming him into his family and calling him "grandfather" ? That was "morbid", in his words. But to watch these men relate, you know that not only has forgiveness resolved the offenses between them, but genuine love defines their relationship with each other now. It is obvious in their every move.
Morbid? No. I can see how it is foreign to a world that doesn't live this way. But I think it is a powerful, faith filled story that parabolically reminds us that Christ loved us while we were yet enemies of His. If He could do it, I think it would be only natural that the more we follow Him, the more we find ourselves empowered to do the same.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Stacey, Jason and I took our kids and went out to the site for Extreme Home Makeover today - it was pretty exciting. Apparently this is the biggest house they have done so far! We ran into Jason M. who was volunteering as well!

After talking to him, Stacey and I both wanted to see if we could volunteer, and signed up! If we could have stayed right then, they were ready to get us shirts and everything, but we couldn't with the kids there. Jason agreed to watch our kids to let us do the graveyard shift on Friday night. WOO HOO! What a man!
There is no guarantee we will get called, but I hope so. That's not normally my thing, but it really is an exciting thing they are doing, and it has made my mind run non- stop with spiritual analogies and thoughts and I would love more of that. It made me think more about things like Habitat for Humanity, etc, etc,.
There is something so impacting when you see tons of everyday people working together for a common purpose.
I think there is an element of this that Jesus wanted us to look like in the church, but that at times I fear we have lost. Bobby made the analogy lately about when one just feeds themselves, they get fat and lazy. Spiritually speaking, I know in my head that there is some maturing that can only come from serving others, but my heart is slow to serve in this particular manner. I have a passion for study, but I am challenged lately with how that is put to use beyond feeding myself spiritually. Today's experience aroused that more in me. So I am eager for more.

It was fun to take our kids out there. I don't know if they will remember it, but we prayed together for the family. I pray God will take something our kids are familiar with because of the world, and use it to make a spiritual impression on their (and my!) hearts!

I'm in.



Monday, January 23, 2006

Starting Bad Habits... but GREAT memories

Extreme Home Makeover is in Dewey, Oklahoma for a week starting today! I don't know how far Dewey is, (within an hour?) - But Eli LOVES this show. (The kid would watch This Old House on PBS all the time if we let him.)

So.... I think we are going to surprise him and take him out of school on Wednesday for a family day trip just to check it out. And maybe Incredible Pizza Co. afterwards. I'm thinking that these life lessons are worthwhile investments too.

He has had and AWESOME two weeks in school - some of the best ever.... and has been working hard for that.

Do you ever remember something that your parents did that was out of the ordinary and special to you because of it?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I don't know what this title is, and it's past my bed time.

Theresa - your not the only one who thinks too much:

Eli wanted to watch Disney's "A Highschool Musical". He's been waiting weeks to see it, and I wasn't sure what to expect so I watched it with him - and really enjoyed it. However, I did find myself wondering what he was thinking - since he's not really exposed to "cliques" and such that go on in highschool, and that was part of the storyline. We talked some and then I told myself to stop worrying and just let him enjoy the movie...

At the most climatic part of the movie , the lead characters are singing together :
"We're flying... we're soaring ... there's not a star in heaven that we can't reach..."

I'm sitting fully emotionally engaged in the moment..with a big goofy smile on my face, imagining I'm the girl in the movie.... and Eli says:

"That's not really true, right mom. There are stars in heaven that we can't reach. They're just saying this because they don't have a God in this movie. Because it's all just make-believe. It could be real.. but it's not really right now. Right?"

Right. Even as it kind of blew the moment for me, I was pretty impressed. I don't give the kid as much credit as I should. He was thinking way deeper than I was. It was a brilliant moment. I hope he can be so discerning throughout life.

And when it was all over, we got up and danced around the living room, singing together. Love these moments. And I love that God is always there.


End of the Spear was AWESOME!
And for those of you who watched it... the director told us a story at the screening that has stuck with me. I don't know if I have the details exactly right, but what I remember is this:

You'll remember in end of the movie the scene where Mincaye shares with Steve Saint that he saw the men "jump the great boa" while still alive? (referencing their spirits?)
The story these men actually shared with those involved was that they (those who killed the missionaries) had been out in areas surrounding the village while Rachel and Elisabeth were living among them. One day the women pulled out a record player, and began to play a record of a choral group, ( I believe it was the Morman Tabernacle Choir) or something along those lines.
The men, at hearing the sound, came running from all different directions to find them. After questioning the women about who it was and how they sang, and so on, they revealed that they had heard singing like this on the day that they killed the five men.



And one last note: on friendship.
How good it is - to find those who love you, and accept you at your worst. Who stick by you when you are no fun to be around. Who hang in there.Who make you laugh - even at yourself in this state. They don't judge you, they aren't scared off by you. They know who you are even when your not.

I read something about a friend being one who know how to sing your song back to you when you have forgotten how the tune goes. In eternal terms, that speaks to me. Thanks.


Don't forget your baseball attire at church tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

End of the Spear

If you haven't heard this story.. or been inspired from history by these men... please see this movie. And if you have... please see it anyway! Opening weekend is this weekend - send a message to Hollywood that we want more like this to come from there!

It is an amazing story... and if you see it, please let me know. I have some cool stories to share with you that aren't in the movie, told to us by the director at a screening we attended in Tulsa.

It touches close to our hearts, of course, because it took place in Ecuador, and in fact part of the story was taking place while we were living there. It is truly inspiring.

Almost 60 of us from church will attend Friday night, maybe more - what a fun night, and exciting faith challenge to walk through together as a family!

"He is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose...."

Sorry - it runs in the family, kid.

Life has been CRAZY busy.. and will continue to be I'm afraid through March. I feel guilty even posting this with the piles of "to do" sitting in front of me, but I just had to put this up there.

Madeline (5 years old) rode in the car with us the other night. Here's how the conversation went between she and Eli:

Eli: "Madeline, are you my friend right now? Because I just want to know. I mean if your not my friend, it's okay, but it just kind of feels like maybe your not my friend right now. And I just want to know. Are you my friend right now?"

Madeline: Long Pause. "Well Eli, it's just that you've been talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and I just got kind of tired of it. "

Eli: "Oh. Okay."

Jason: ( With his head bowed in guilt, and wispering:) "Dear God, I am so, so sorry....."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Autographs between 3 and 6 pm only please,...

This is one of those treasured moments with Eli:

Eli - "Mom, I have to tell you about a boy in my class, Matthew. Everyone was making fun of him and I did too. But I didn't do it to be mean - I just did it to be funny. They were singing "Jingle bells, Matthew smells.", and I thought that was funny. "

Me - "Do you think Matthew thought it was funny?"

Eli - "No."

Me - "If I did that to you, would you feel good, or feel like I was your friend?"

Eli - "No. I guess I should tell him I'm sorry tomorrow. But I can't just tell him I'm sorry -I need to prove I'm sorry by not doing it again."

More conversation passed, and then Eli said:
"Mom - you know I didn't want to tell you about this because I thought to myself 'She will be mad'. But then I thought in my head (he changes his voice to that of a sulking child) "I really want to do what God wants."

I shared I was so proud of him, shared the story with his dad, and then Jason said "You should blog that." (As we use the blog for a family journal too.)

Eli saw me blogging this and said "Are you sending out my story?"

I said "Yep."

He asked - "To who? Who will get it?"

I said, "Well, I guess anyone who has the internet could read it."

He smiled really big, and said "Do you think a lot of people will come to our house now and ask for my autograph?"

He then assured me he was just kidding. Sometimes I'm amazed he is only 6.

Life just got joyfully bigger.

Okay - so I have to explain where I have been for the last few days,and also confess to T & D that I MAJORLY blew my points for the last two days. ( I told you that you would know when I dropped off the face of email!)

Well, my family has 'officially' expanded.
Most of you know I'm adopted, and I have had some contact with my birthmom over the last six or seven years. I got the exciting news yesterday that over the weekend she shared all of this with her daughters, Abbey and Katie, who are both in college. This sort of sets a different tone and direction to all of our interactions... and it is such a blessing.

A flurry of emails, and a phone call with Abbey has just intensified my feelings of excitement and privilege at getting this opportunity. It's all new, and as Abbey commented, there aren't really "Etiquette" books on how to do all of this, but I feel pretty rich, to inherit at this stage of life a whole new family in addition to all I already have. I'm hoping to get to talk to Katie soon - as life & comfortability on her end allow.

It's hard to put into words what all of this means, but I feel again, way out of my league in their generosity and in the richness of being invited not just to be known, but to be known as a sister.

It conjures up all new emotions at the idea of how we are "adopted" by God. :-)

So all that to both share with you my fun celebrations over on this side of town, ( because I love how you celebrate with me!) and to ask you to pray for God to be blessing all of this and working in anything that might be difficult in all the newness. He is so good!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

For Resistance, add a 3 year old to your work out!

Today was a totally fun day.

Eli's first basketball game!
We knew it would be fun when the lights went out, a fog machine and spotlight came on, a loud speaker played "Let's get ready to rumble" and each player ran out to his name and loud booming music to generate excitement. ( Yes, some kids did look overwhelmed themselves as they ran to their spot.) This church does AWESOME in how it invests in kids and families through this program. The game was exciting to watch, and the competitive side I always try and squelch TOTALLY came out in me.

Then on to the Curtis's birthday party - which was SO fun. Our kids ran around while we, okay I, played games. Got to play SKEEBALL... a hidden obsession of mine. My best games are played when no one is to the left of me, but I did pretty good, still. Okay, that's too sick obsessions confessed in two days. No more.
Best of all was just being with friends. I love that, and am totally blessed by that. I feel thankful for all that God has given me in so many wonderful friends. I remember times in my life having felt so completely alone, that I wondered if things like this ever happened besides in the movies. I'm eager for many who I know are out there that still feel that way to find out, even in simple ways how rich life in Him and with His people is. Even at a birthday party. I still never take a minute for granted.

And lastly, I totally blew the "points" for today (pizza at the birthday party...) so a loss there but I felt good about portion control - so I still count the day a victory in overall life style change. I just snacked for dinner.. and exercised tonight.

It was funny - in doing my exercise routine, Julia wanted to join me. She was trying to make it a bit more of a spa than a workout though. Every time I would lay down to do crunches, she would run and slip a pillow under my head while I was up saying "I got you mama" and then throw a blanket over me. I would switch to the other side for sit ups, and here she would come, carefully waiting for the rhythm and moment to slip that pillow under me and throw the blanket on top. I don't have weights yet, so she was ready at each interval of the workout to bring me my waterbottles to lift. Gotta love that girl.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Oh, sweet widgets....

My son is staring wide-eyed and still at a blank wall right now, sitting on his bed, completely engrossed in a CD Drama of the Chronicles of Narnia. For one who loves anything with a screen, this is a most precious picture to me.

He listened for an hour and half straight last night.

We bought the 19 CD set of all 7 books online for $29. It may have been the best purchase this year. ;-)

In other news, silly news, I LOVE widgets.

Yes, this is a sick side of me, but I am obsessed with weather. Through widgets, I now have a radar screen of Tulsa, along with a weather screen / 5 day forcast on my desktop screen. Oh, and I have a digital clock, a calendar and a picture frame.

You can get anything from games to live video cams scientific laboratories. I could become obessessed if I didn't have a life. So I'll stop with the weather radar.

Not like I need it much right now anyway.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

Okay... I said I would put these up here, so here goes. I don't know why this is hard... but I am inspired by Theresa ( who usually takes the lead in upfrontness and honesty - thank you friend!)

I think I fear that they would be considered cliche or boring.. or worse that having them out there only makes any failures that much more public, but at the same time I realize there is something powerful in accountability. It was the perfectionsistic part of me that would never claim to have goals just so I would never risk failure. I don't necessarily succeed any more than I used to, but I am less afraid to try now. I won't include all the specific "hows" for the boredom factor, but here are mine....:

1.Daily time in His Word.
I want to really learn to love Him with all of my heart. I can only love Him if I know Him...I can only know Him by spending time with Him & in what He reveals of Himself, not with who I think He is in my own head. I want to "grow up in (my) salvation". I see there is so much more... I want to take it in. I acknowledge that doesn't come by just "wishing" about who I want to be in Him... but by pursuing Him.

2. Daily Listening and Prayer.
This is tied together with the next one, but I too, am tired of the "falling asleep" prayers I tend to attempt. Or self centered prayers. I want to understand more wisdom & peace that grows out of a relationship to Him in prayer.

3. Pursue Peace.
The "be still and know" kind. Be anxious in nothing? I think much of my compulsive eating or silly financial decisions, or irritability with others, esp. family come from my refusal to sit back and identify with the peace of my Father. I stay wrapped up in my own little "type A" personality, with a little bit of "it's all dependent on me" drama thrown in there, and hence.. the mess. Usually, I'm the only one who thinks something's a mess, and I make it a bigger mess by me stress. I don't think that part of me is "in His image". I see Him able to rest, to wait, to be patient. I have to grow in this.

4. Pursue Health.
For me this is not just weight loss ( although that is a major component,) but a change of sleep habits, exercise, etc. I can only serve one master. In this area, it's usually not Him, or at least the fruits of who or what I serve don't seem consistent with the fruit of my Father. I want to honor that my body is His temple, and ultimately made for His use. My 12 am bedtimes and 5:30 risings leave me irritable, and grouchy. My lack of exercise and poor eating habits only add to the lack of energy. I fight with myself over my attitude, yet I am really at the center of the cycle in the first place. I know He created me for more than this. I'm afraid it starts with more peace and simplicity than I would like to admit or pursue.

5. Pursue a debt free life.
How many seminars? How many books?
'Let no debt remain outstanding except the unending debt to love one another... ' - Oh how I want to get there. I have been so blessed by other's generosity... I long to live more on that side than where I am at now. There is something valuable to be said for the longing in my life... it wasn't always there... the longing was for other things.. hence the debt. But I really desire to be out of debt ... and freed up to be in that realm of giving.. spending less time thinking of saving and paying. There is a joy.. an abundance in those who aren't tied to their bills. I realize that the "meantime" ( THANKS STUART...) finds me needing to pursue contentment & faithfulness, to pay off what we owe to whomever we owe it... and integrity & contentment is a worthwhile pursuit - so much He has for us to learn and give even now. Maybe it's just that I'm more and more on board with not being tied to this earth.

Well... there it is. 2006, or maybe life. ;-)
I'm most thankful that He says every morning His mercy is new. A good start, a new start, is always refreshing. Thankfully, we don't have to wait once a year... or be depressed when we already blew it.

He is always the place to start life over, anyday of the week.

Well - it's almost 10:30. Bedtime. ;-)

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year Email Bible Study

Hey! Just putting this out there for any blog readers who want the info:
I think we will shortly be starting another daily email Bible study - if you are interested please let me know and I will send you the details.

Well, (after years of not making any..) I made 5 New Year's resolutions this year... with a flow chart of how & why I want to accomplish them. Disgusting... even to me, but I am excited at the same time.
I blew part of it already today... but I am finally giving up on the perfectionist part of me, which frees me up to start again, even on day two.

Diet Coke. Yes. Bleecchhh. But yes.

Teresa - I'm still up for the accountability if you are. I was thinking of emailing my Weight watcher points to you every day - then you would know when I dropped off email what I had just eaten....;-).

Just kidding.

Hope everyone feels their own fresh start today.