Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Of Mice and Men

So a couple of weeks ago we had a mouse problem. Now, we usually get one or two when the weather gets cold every Fall - but they're usually caught quickly and it's over with.

Not so this year.

We had two mice, who were particularly comfortable living with us. They learned to 'glide' right over our glueboards. They avoided being seen for a few days - but eventually got a bit arrogant - even daring to saunter out right in front of us in the open - knowing we were too slow to catch them. Evidence was obvious that they had visited every room in our house.

Now for all the previous cute little furry mice who had innocently & mistakenly made their way into our home, we'd felt a slight big of disgust, and a slight bit of pity.
These two made us all mad. When mice begin to taunt humans ... it brings out a different side to us. Even the kids, who are usually unaware of our mice trappings - began to be more aware. (Especially because each one had taken their own turn at getting stuck on the annoying glue boards that seems to be placed more abundantly around the house. )

We eventually won and caught them both. No one felt pity. In fact - we all four celebrated when the last "snap" was heard. (Glue boards were old hat by that point.)

I hadn't realized how much this recent ordeal affected our kid's feelings about mice until Eli's teacher sent me this note about an assignment he had been given today:

Eli wrote a story today while I was in a meeting. :-) It made me laugh! :-)
He was told a mouse is living in your desk at school at night. Please write the mouse a letter. Maybe I should of let him paint today. :-)
We are sorry. We hate cheese so we don't have any. A friend hates mice, so he put mouse traps in my desk and all around. Inside our cat eats mice. Our house smells bad. The desk is poison. The desk is made to kill mice. The desk is messy. I hate mice. I kill mice. Get out now or else!

Now, I don't think he's scarred for life, but....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

PICS from Mountainview with AIM

Mom and Jules Dad and Eli

Dad and the kids
Jason, Steve, Kris, Julia and Eli (and an AMAZING view.)
Peace from Eli

Casualties by choice...

I'm blogging a little less, so please pardon my fewer posts - I've decided to not be "all or nothing" (wink wink) but in doing so I admit that inconsistency is something I'm consistent with, which for some reason in blog world, I feel extra guilty about!

Recently, Jason and I got to travel to the mountains of New Mexico. While there, Jason got to speak to the present AIM (Adventures in Missions) class - it was just such an amazing weekend. The lessons was transforming for me personally, as we worked through it, and just being around these kids as they let God invade their hearts on amazing and uncomfortable levels was inspiring. It's not easy, (I can say that since I have been there) - but it is worth every difficult moment - I'd never trade it for anything.

There were many highlights of the weekend, but the one that was most powerful came in between one of the classes, while the students had a simple assignment to just clear their minds and not think about anything for 10 minutes, then pray for 10 minutes, and then read a short passage they had been assigned from Matthew.

I climbed into the back of our Tahoe with the door open overlooking the field where many students scattered to find a quite place for themselves. The wind was blowing - quite a bit. Some sat curled by trees, others lay flat on their backs while still others lay face down on the ground.

It was eerily quiet, with just the sound of the wind despite the many people around. It hit me, (and that scene and moment are now frozen in my mind)...... this was reminiscent of civil war scenes I had seen on the history channel... of bodies strewn across a field. Except these bodies, in fact, were not the casualties of war, but the willing, self-sacrificial, and in a sense, suicidal, victors. Studying passages like "turn the other cheek", and "when asked to walk one mile, choose to walk two...",.... these kids laid themselves across a field to let God accomplish in them what their own strength and force of will can not.

Somewhere I read that in the end... they win.
Man's greatest victories have yet to compare to the eternal victory found in laying down your own life only to take up His. And what an unending victory we continue to discover that to be....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tough as nails...

Have you ever tried to hang something up?

I'm notorious for taking shortcuts when it comes to hanging decorations, pictures, etc. I like the finished look of a decorated house, but I don't like to take a lot of time to make it happen right. So I use whatever nails, screws or thing-a-ma-bobs I have on hand to get the job done, rather than go shop for whatever I need that would hold best. I'm not an idiot - most of the time it works - but I admit that every now and then, I pick a screw that's too long or too skinny or a nail that is too short, and sure enough, the whole thing pulls out of the wall. It leaves a big hole (that I can't patch with toothpaste), and I now have to move whatever I was hanging down or up or over an inch to cover up the mess.

So Jason and I have been wrestling with understanding some concepts this week. (And it does relate, I promise.)

One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
And He said to him, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:37-40

All of the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

These two concepts - Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself, are the nail in the wall. Anything else we attempt to do for Him has to hang on that nail. You can make your own analogies as to whether or not your love is strong enough or adequate to hold. We could spend a lot of time there. But my wrestling today just centers on love being the crux of it all.

Everything else we would do, in the name of faith and belief and devotion to him, must be hung on love. Love for Him and love for others. I didn't say it. He did.

You wouldn't think that would trip us up, would you? For some of you, it doesn't. I've met you - and you get it. And I love what I learn from you as you shape me and bring me closer to Christ. But for some of us, it's a longer journey. This "love" He references is almost so simple, we could blow by the critical depth of getting what He's saying. In fact that only thing that may catch our eye is that He says it's most important, so we know we're supposed to pay attention. I know at times I've read this and thought "Yeah yeah, love. But what after that? What's the next thing we're supposed to do?"

But if I don't internalize that He has a purpose in me understanding that this "love" is most important... I will decorate my house and my church and my faith with tons of nice looking things that I think will please Him but that will eventually pull out of the wall and leave everyone standing in a pile of rubble.

It's sad, but if we're honest, there is much we can do in the name of faith that can be done from beginning to end without "hanging" on this love that Jesus mentions. ....I can come to church. ... I can serve..... I can defend a doctrine or belief.... I can write a check........I can study... I can pray....

We can eventually do all of those things without genuine love for Him and others.

Maybe they started from love, but just slipped into habit. Routine. "Something we do because it's "Right". But the "Right" nail will eventually pull out of the wall, along with all the other acts we hung on it. ......and we wonder why our faith crumbled with it.

All because we underestimated the importance of what "most important" meant when we pursued what we thought God wanted of us. Love seemed to be something we just took for granted would always be there. Something we thought was present in us and that we didn't have to think twice about.

But if He said it was most important ... it's worth thinking twice about. It's worth thinking daily about. In fact, by declaring the utmost importance of love... he not only didn't assume it's presence, but went out of His way to educate us and heighten our awareness to it.

Obviously, we wouldn't ever just pick up a picture and throw it on the wall, without first checking to see what we'd use to secure it there. Maybe that's what Jesus was saying about every single act we do each day. Check your love... make sure whatever your about to "hang up" is going to stick.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I got tagged again!

Well, Toni tagged me! (Thank you friend! I love those! I don't know why, except that it makes me feel like I'm not the last kid picked for the team!)

Here are the rules. 1)Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (2) People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (3) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (4) Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I got to sit on the front row at the Stephen Curtis Chapman concert this last week! I was so nervous about being on the front row - but it was awesome!

2. I've eaten ants too. (For those of you who were at Memorial tonight.) Lemon ants, (which we got to eat while in the Amazon in Ecuador) really are not that bad.

3. I've also ridden in a boat on a lake with piranah. (Jason actually swam in the lake.) I can't swim in general, so putting a non-ability to swim with piranah didn't seem a wise risk to take to me.

4. I imagined & shared for most of my life that I had briefly lived in Germany, despite being corrected by mom and eventually even my husband that we had only visited for about 2 weeks when I was 2 or 3.

5. I often can't remember my own age, let alone anyone elses. I can't remember dates well.

6. I love dogs. I grew up with two and since I didn't have siblings, I felt a special connection with them. Maybe in my own heart I'm the "dog whisperer."

7. I also used to visit this little monkey in the zoo in Ecuador almost weekly. I loved to take a little compact I had to him, let him hold it and look at himself in the mirror while trying to find the rest of his body behind the mirror with the other hand. A guard once let my mom and I in a cage to play with lion cubs. This tiny zoo was a real escape for me in such a huge and busy city.

8. I love fried rice. :-)

I tag: Cindy, Terry, Danna and Flee. :-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

"Everything" By Life House

My brother-in-law sent this to us. If you haven't seen it... take a minute to. It's powerful.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

You can't tell me what to do....

My first random question of today:

Is it ethical to let your daughter change her stuffed kitty's name from "Whiskers" to "Nancy" for show and tell on "N" day if you are in a hurry? Eli told me it wasn't.

And what is it about us that doesn't like rules anyway?

Friday I had to have an ultrasound ... the only thing I had to do was not eat or drink anything after midnight. My appt. was at 9 am. Easy enough, I thought. Right. When told I could not eat or drink... suddenly it was all I thought about. I obsessed over it!
The irony? I was having the ultrasound because I haven't had much of an appetite for about a month!

And it's not just me! Tonight, at bedtime, Eli asks me to help him decide between two books.
"Should we read "The Runny Babbit" or "Where the Sidewalk Ends?" he asked.
"Oh honey, I don't care. You pick." I say.
"No - You pick. It's your choice mom, " he insists.
"Okay. How about 'The Runny Babbit'."
"No. I really want 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' this time." he says
"Well then why did you ask me?" I ask.
"Because I wanted you to help me make my decision."

Its funny - and I laugh, but I get it, too. If Jason asks me where I want to go eat... and I'll say I don't know. It's become an ongoing joke between us that if he makes a horrible suggestion... I'll react as if I knew all along where I wanted to go and we get there a lot more quickly.

So what is that about us that doesn't like being told what to do?

Jason shared a great message (I'm not being biased - honest) on Sunday about how biblically, peace is always associated with authority. But it's caused me to reflect more this week on our nature: though it seems most of us are pretty desperate for peace... we resist the sovereignty that brings it to us. Even knowing God has our best interest at heart (and has proved it more extensively than anyone else we have encountered)... we resist Him telling us what to do... or how to do it, sometimes. We want peace tied up and tossed at us with no strings attached... It's a silly thought, really. When our whims and desires run the show and make all our decisions... we run in circles like dogs chasing their tails. Thank goodness our God offers us direction and guidance away from such a fruitless pursuit.

"I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.
" Psalm 85:8

He brings peace....so long as we don't stubbornly hear His words and decide we know better... or just simply don't want to be told what to do.

A hundred and one ways to sell 5 cheap chocolates for $10.00

School fundraisers are back in swing, and my kids are in on the action. We've always made them do this on their own, and honestly it's kind of fun for me to sit back and see who they work up the courage to approach. I rounded the corner at church the other night to see Terry Rush, our minister, ordering something from Eli. Since we've worked together for a few years, I knew that Terry generally didn't order from such things simply because of the great number of kids we have at church involved in so many different groups.
Surprised by his move... I asked him after Eli moved on what had made him change his mind. He laughed, and shared what Eli had said that changed his mind this time - you can read it on Terry's blog: http://terryrush.blogspot.com/2007/09/i-think-he-saw-me-coming.html

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A little trip to the principal's office...

So, last week my son made a poor choice while on the playground that rightly resulted in him losing recess for a couple of days. Today was the last day of that punishment, and while missing recess, he had to sit in the principal's office.

So he decided to write a paper. Here is exactly what he wrote:

"Whats the purpois of this class? To play? No! To Succed? No!
It is to play and learn.
God wants us not to learn without break! Or play without learn! He wants both!
More then that, he wants us to prise him!
But we cant do any of them without God in our hearts! "

He was so proud and excited to show me that he had come up with all of that on his own. ("I did have to ask how to spell a couple of words though.")

Simple, and yet profound. It's amazing what we can find in our hearts when nothing is there to distract us!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quotables from my kids

Well, I've not been feeling great this week. We're supposed to have a garage sale this weekend... and yet I'm once again out of energy... so I thought I'd sit down and catch up on some funnies from my kids this summer. It was inspired by one just tonight from Eli!

Jason was with the praise team tonight for practice, so in an effort to speed along bedtime I combined the kids rituals, and instead of each getting to read three books separately, they were allowed to pick one book each, and I would pick a bible story, and we would read them all together. As they were in the process of picking books, Jason came in and said "Hey guys! Can I read to you?" The kids went crazy with excitement - "Yea! Dad! You're awesome!! WE LOVE YOU DAD!!! WOO HOO!!"
I was still sitting on the floor, smiling, but Eli, being extra sensitive, didn't want to leave me out. "We love you too mom! I mean, YOU are great ... because you married a GREAT man!" Jason and I died laughing... at which point Eli realized it must have sounded funny... "I mean... you are great for other reasons too, like, uh..."
Eli quickly learned the symbol and meaning behind digging yourself into a hole. :-)

I've got some other quotables .. .in no particular order, from the summer. So even though I haven't been blogging... I've had you on my heart and all over in tiny scraps of 'scribbled on paper'....

Jason: "We've got to try that DVD out to make sure it's repaired."
Julia: "Yeah... because we don't got any plugger-ins."

(Julia, as we are in the frozen section at the grocery store one day..)
"Mom! We have to get some freezing dinners! We're all out of freezing dinners!"

(Julia - on a Sunday morning)
"I know where we're going today!"
"Really? where?"
"Church. You know how I know? (hands on her hips with a mysterious twinkle in her eye..) Because of the DRESS!"

One morning we decided to go to Golden Corral together. It was about 10:45.
I told the kids to get ready to go, that we were going to eat breakfast together. Realizing the time, I said, "Well, we will actually be able to have breakfast and then lunch. I guess that's why they call it 'brunch'.
Julia said: "I think we should call it "re-breakfast." :-)

Later that same morning, after she'd finished her "re-breakfast," Julia stood at the table telling me she had to go to the bathroom, while Jason was paying the bill. I told her if she could wait just a few minutes, we'd be home. a few seconds later, I look over as she throws up all over the table. (A theme for us this month...)

After I get her cleaned up, and we're all just watching her to see if she's okay, she says:
"Well, I knew I needed to be in the bathroom, I just wasn't sure why yet. Now I know!"

Now THAT's what we call re-breakfast.
(I feel like that's something my dad would say....) :-)


After the kids dog piled me on the bed one evening, they both jumped up and I said "Hey! Thanks for the huggins!"

Eli : "Sure Mom... but I only gave you one."
Me: "Oh... sorry for the improper pluralization of the word."
Eli: "It's okay."

(You know your kids are enjoying science too much when....)

One morning we were reviewing by memory the ten commandments. We'd only studied 7 and the kids we're forgetting one of them. Finally Eli just guessed:
"Always remain in a symbiotic relationship with dolphins?"
How do you answer that? (Besides "NO!")

One evening, Eli was cold and shivering after stepping out of the shower. I hurriedly tried to reach for a towel to wrap around him. As I was grabbing for it, he said "Man. Aren't you glad we don't have to use echolocation?"
(The manner in which bats find their way around though blind by using sonar.") ummm... yeah.


As we were driving to a birthday party, Julia began to beg me to tell her what we got her friend for her birthday.

Julia: " Mom... please tell me what we got her."
Me: "You don't need to know."
Julia : "PLEASE? I promise I wont tell her."
Me: "Sweetie, you can just find out when she opens it!" (Julia had just recently blown a surprise on accident.)
Julia: "PLEASE... PLEASE!! I PROMISE you I won't tell her!" (her voice begging to regain trust again.)
Me: "Okay... we got her Jenga."
Julia: "Jenga. JENga. jenGA. Jeeennnngggaa......"
Julia: "MOM! Now that word is sticking over and over in my head! I wish you wouldn't have told me because now I'm afraid I'll forget to not tell her!"

Eli lost his first tooth, FINALLY. However, it took just long enough that he had already begun to question the existence of the tooth fairy. He kept testing us, and we kept avoiding. Finally, one night, I heard him telling his sister that the tooth fairy wasn't real. It was just moms and dads.

I pulled him aside into another room and asked him why he was saying that. He said he really wanted to know, because he just didn't think he believed that. As a parent, I've always felt a little conflicted about what to do when we hit this stage. I want him to enjoy childhood, but he's getting pretty smart , and I also want him to have full confidence that he can trust us. So I tested the waters to see what I could get away with...I told him if he really wanted to know, we could talk about it.

Me: "Eli - I will always do my best to tell you the truth about everything. If you don't believe in the tooth fairy, who do you think it is?
Eli: " You."
Me: "Eli, do I ever have any money lying around that I'd be able to leave under your pillow?
Eli: "Yes."
(Me... scrambling since the sarcastic adult humor diversion didn't work....") "Well, who else might it be?"
Eli: (eyes widening....) " A stranger?"
Me : "Now, do I ever let strangers in the house?"
Eli: "Well, no. And there's the whole alarm thing."
Me: "Yeah..."
Eli: (Eyes really wide.. very serious, and now whispering..) "I know... is it Santa?"


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Okay...my unintentional summer sabbatical is almost over....

Thanks for the encouragement (?) to start blogging again. I had never really intended to stop!!... but the summer took a VERY busy turn! Anyway.... I kept a few things in mind and even jotted a few funny conversations with my kids to catch back up. So the summer summary....

1. We committed to working with the college group from Memorial for the summer. A highlight for us was 2 hours each Monday night spent with about 15 kids who wanted to study more on how to become leaders. It was challenging, encouraging and refreshing! What an amazing group... it encourages me for God's kingdom!

2.My husband's younger brother, Aaron moved from Ohio to live with us this summer before heading to AIM for the fall. - Wow. We've always loved him... but it was fun getting to know him all over again as an adult. He impressed and blessed us. And little did we know that God intended to use Aaron to address many of the hopes we had for the college group. It's amazing to watch our God work. He was a blessing to our family and this became a special summer because he was here. We seriously miss him already!

3. My husband's other brother, Jeremy, and his wife Jessica, and daughter Elizabeth, moved to Tulsa, and moved in with us until they bought a house.
How exciting to have them here! We are thrilled. God opened amazing doors for jobs and a house... making their transition quicker than I had ever dared to hope for. They lived with us for about a month.

With both brothers and family, the house was full and hopping with activity... but it was a special and unique time that I doubt will ever happen again....and I can honestly say I treasured every moment with them! Aaron's in Lubbock, and Jeremy & Jessica are now getting settled into their new home, but come this fall...we may get to have the whole family ( including Jason's youngest brother, sister in law and nieces, together for Thanksgiving. This will be a first that I can remember, so I'm thrilled at the possibility!

3. VACATION! The crazy summer was brought (nearly) to a close by a wonderful vacation in Destin, Florida.
We went with some dear friends... and it was wonderful! We sometimes ask our kids what the "highs" and "lows" of their day was... so I'll share a few of those for our vacation time....


Julia throwing up massively about 5 minutes before we left the house. Undeterred, we loaded the car and left. She continued to throw up about every hour, despite stopping in Russellville and then Conway for Rxs, (sorry we didn't call you Dusty...) until we finally stopped in Memphis, TN. At one point Eli was throwing up at the same time. Somehow I managed to keep the car completely clean. I was impressed with myself. That was probably a "HIGH" for me. :-) I'm a pro with baggies now....

Also, I got stung by a jellyfish. What's funny was that it was on the inside of my thigh, and it was painful enough that for a day I couldn't walk comfortably or gracefully.... My mother-in-law told Jason last night she heard you were supposed to "pee" on jellyfish stings to inactivate the poison. I'd say I wish I knew that then... but somehow I think I would've just put up with it anyway. :-)


No phones or email for a week... no "to do" lists... no makeup or fixing my hair....

Homemade Strawberry shortcake almost every night, AFTER the kids went to bed!

Swimming every day... naps every day...

Going to beach, enjoying the view and the sounds, then, after getting hot and sandy, coming back and jumping into the cool clean pool to swim for another hour!

a spectacular lightening storm one night!

our kids enjoying each others' company so much that they wanted to have a "sleepover" together... even though they were already on vacation together!

Eli lost his first tooth!
We not only 'remained' friends through the week... we enjoyed and were thoroughly blessed by the whole time together!
Overall it was a wonderful time and a HUGE blessing... really the first "major" vacation that I can think of that we have ever taken - purely for the sake of relaxing, with no agendas. It makes me appreciate more why God called us to rest at times.
Well... I have in front of me a stack of 7 papers on which I have jotted notes or conversations to eventually blog... but I think I'll save those. The summer is not quite over.. we have a busy weekend , school begins next week ( and my baby is off to Kindergarten!), and then a garage sale to plan for next weekend... but after that, things should slow down. I'll save my cute stories for then... and won't take so long to get back!
I'll leave you with this Julia-ism: (with me while grocery shopping):
"Mom... we have to get some freezing dinners. We are all out of freezing dinners at home."

Monday, July 09, 2007


A couple of months ago, my friend Jennifer agreed to teach the 1st grade at church on Wed. nights. She decided to do a video series for the kids - "Bibleman". (Available at Mardels). Little did I know how powerfully this would impact my children. (WOW! What an invaluable gift you gave us my friend! Thank you! )

The series in class has ended ... but it has only begun in our home. We are obsessed - and for once, I'm completely okay with that. In the last couple of weeks, Eli has randomly quoted verses that he's learned - and not without understanding of their application in life. I 've even learned a few verses from him! A few of my favorite random quotes coming out of his mouth recently .. ( and yes, completely on his own....)

(after a conversation about the devil and pride)
"Mom - that's just like what it says in Isaiah 2:17! " The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day"
(and yes... I had to look this up to see if it really said that!)

(after talking about why Jesus might have said to not even be angry when talking about the commandment to not murder...)
"Oh! that's like "Lead us not into temptation!"

(while talking about the heart in a bible lesson)
"Mom - I shouldn't have disobeyed you a few minutes ago. Because the bible says 'He who obeys the commands protects his life.' "

I love having a hero that my kids can emulate... our swords have become "swords of the spirit" - and the "bad guys" really are the ones they'll fight the rest of their life... pride, anger, disobedience, lies...etc. Bible man and Biblegirl fly around in their capes dueling and partnering against evil much of the day. And I feel safer. :-)

In a world FULL of subtle, destructive & heartbreaking influence on our kids... here's my shameless plug for the breath of fresh and energizing air Bibleman brings!

Grandmas have the touch.

Jason's mom and step-dad were here to visit this weekend, which was fun. The kids were sad after they left.

This morning Julia woke up, and wanted some breakfast. (Which usually has been a cold poptart and a glass of milk.)
When I set the poptart and milk down in front of her, she said "Grandma McCall makes the best ones of these."
I asked her why she thought that and she said : "Because she roasts them."

What a novel idea. :-) So we've begun 'roasting' them, in honor of Grandma.

Friday, July 06, 2007

37 things I love about Jason

I always have funny stories to tell on my husband, but I rarely take the time to share the wonderful things about him. His birthday today gives me a good chance to reflect on 37 years worth of wonderful… and share it with you!

1. First and foremost… my dream, before I knew much of anything else I wanted, was to marry a man who would love God more than he loved me. I knew that if that were a reality, our marriage could weather anything. God was faithful to that prayer!

2. Jason really does love God with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength. He’s not a perfect man, but he’s honest - and will put anything at all before God to be transformed and changed in himself.

Out of that love He has for God flows the love he has for people....

3. He roots for the underdog .. but not in the sense of cheering from the sidelines. He actually gets involved – and runs along side them.

4. He cheers on the overwhelmed. He has amazing patience with people who are tired and depressed or feel like life is too much. He’s never too busy to talk to someone who really needs it.

5. He serves tirelessly. (That might not seem like much until you realize he serves me almost daily and I am pretty difficult to live with!) I don’t know that a day can go by that he hasn’t done something kind and thoughtful for me or for the kids.

6.He offer and asks forgiveness to a degree that few people do. In fact, I don’t know that I even fully understood the importance of those concepts before I met him. The first few years of our marriage took quite a bit of modeling for me to get it…but since then I have been able to more fully understand the concept of the Grace of God. After I watched Jason offer grace so unconditionally for years, I finally began to believe that God offered me the same.

7. He loves to play NERTS and always beats me. (it’s his birthday, and the only reason I would admit it. )

8. He loves children. If any of you know him…. he hates animals. Early on in our marriage he let me know that we wouldn’t have dogs (though I loved them.) It was watching a little child enjoy a dog that eventually led to him to reverse that decision – and more than once, despite the health problems it caused for him.

9. He loves to laugh. He has disarmed me more than once in the middle of an argument simply by busting out in laughter at himself when it’s gotten way to serious. The first few years I didn’t know what to do with that. ( I thought it had meant that I “won”. ) Little by little, through the years, I learned to laugh more quickly too. Life is much better when you can laugh at yourself.

10. He loves to talk. He just enjoys people – interacting with them, experiencing life with them, thinking with them. And I love that about him.
And while there are many more things that I could write… I wanted to put a few things just for him that I love. (and yes Jason… some that I will miss if you die first.) :-)

11. your singing
12. your laundry skills & laundry "day"
13. your overcommitment to great things because you desire to serve people
14. your “killing time” conversation up that hideous mountain in Ecuador. That was good motivation for me to say “I do” to you. And it’s come in handy since then.
15. X men
16. your ability to drive 18 hours and let me sleep the whole time
17. your allergic emotional reaction to caffeine
18. your tireless energy with the kids
19. your willingness to lead if leadership is needed -no matter what the situation
20. your refusal to give up doing what you think is right – regardless of when life is difficult or unfair
21. your ability to think of a song for almost any occasion
22. your refusal to be deterred by my unending “looks” ( especially when you are singing)
23. your ability to have a big word for almost any occasion
24. that you are willing to introduce yourself to my family, and secretly tell me who they are when I have forgotten
25. your goal to present me without ‘blemish or wrinkle’ to Christ
26. your willingness to say your sorry when I’m wrong
27. your willingness to wait when it takes me too long to say I’m wrong
28. your desire to look people in the eye to make sure they feel cared about
29. your willingness to give up the Simpsons after years because of what you desired for our kids
30. your love of making a tent… or making snowmen… or buying table -top dodgeball.
31. you are simple.. you love rock tumblers, coin sorters and can read a book so deep I can’t even finish the first chapter –and finish two more books while I’m still trying.
32. your investment in mentoring
33. you are humble – genuinely – and will admit if you’re not being such in a moment.
34. your willingness to talk to a lot of people even if you are tired
35. your willingness to lead… even when you feel inadequate
36. your energy in the morning
37. You truly continue to strive to love God above all else!

Happy Birthday Jason! I lam a rich woman - and so are those who have you as a friend. I love you!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I don't know if anyone still reads this anymore. It's not that there hasn't been anything worth writing, ironically, it's that there's little time in the summer to share it!

I haven't posted in a while, and thought about taking the summer off, but Theresa tagged me! And I always want to be tagged. (Residual feelings from often being the last one picked for team sports at summer camp. ) So here goes!

Here are the rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

And so... random facts...

1. I love the weather channel. Because I love rain, and just to know it's happening somewhere in the world makes it a happy thing for me. I especially love severe weather.

2. Small talk is difficult for me. I struggle to have conversations with people unless it's serious - and since it's sometimes not the right place to to have a serious conversation, I make small talk, which I'm no good at. This makes me kind of nerdy and insecure at the same time. (Unless somebody already knows that about me and is okay with it. ) I think at least a quarter of the population feels the same, but it's good for me to say it out loud about myself, anyway.

3. I'm adopted. Which is funny because later in life when my dad adopted two kids I remember wondering how I would deal with someone adopted becoming a part of our family. (It worked out great, by the way. - Adoption's like that.)

4. At # 4, I'm struggling to come up with a random fact. Because I'm boring and don't do small talk well, which anything having to do with me is small talk. That counts as a fact, right?

5. I HATE talking on the phone. This causes problems because I'm a secretary / receptionist.

6. I'm good at faking. That's how I get by with #5.

7. I don't do the laundry in our family. I always ruin clothes and take forever to get them done.

8. I love lists. I also hate them. The organized me fights with the obsessive me. It's sort of the binge/ purge/ binge cycle that I imagine bulimics go through. (Except I'm no thinner at the end of it. )

So I tag: Cindy & Lindsey . ( I, like Theresa, don't follow rules all the time.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The "rest" of the story...

The end of the story, at least for that night, was that I got up from writing, got dressed, and told my husband I was going to go look for her. It was about 1 am and he looked at me trying to figure out if I was really serious. He believed me when I told him he might want to put some pants on . :-)

I left, drove around in the areas where I thought she might be, and never found her.

There's a part of me that wishes there was more to say, honestly. But the end of the story hasn't happened yet, I think. For me personally, the biggest thing that happened was to get up and go.

There are times that I have done something half heartedly, because I knew it "should" be done, but secretly hoping that whatever "it" was, it would be interrupted, so I could claim I "tried", but never really have to actually face my fears. When I finally made it out to the car that night, I wanted to look. I kept trying one more block, one more street over, just in case. For me, that was the hardest place to get to. I was actually disappointed to not find her.

My hope is that it won't take so long for my heart to get there next time. Because I really think there will be a next time. And I want to be just as passionate as I was that night.

I don't know why it took me so long, apart from fear. Sometimes I think I try so hard to distance myself from my own "proverbial street corner" that I lose touch with the part of my God that was confident to seek us "while we were yet enemies." I delude myself with thoughts of when I first sought God as if that completely overshadowed His coming to the street corner to find me years earlier. I over focus on what I have (or don't have) to offer and in the process completely forget this is all just a retelling of His story, of His greatness. I'm just a narrator. A witness. A recipient, too.

My failures don't negate God's truth or love, they just reveal all I have in common with the person I'm trying to share His love with. (Though Satan, and our own flesh would convince us otherwise.)
I believe He's capable of changing their life and their disappointments because He's changed mine. I believe a relationship with Him can turn a person's world upside down. Are there moments in my life that I haven't let Him? Many. And they only reveal my inadequacy, which we already took for granted. Not His.

You know what I have come to love about our God?

He's not afraid of all the days He didn't make a difference in our lives. He doesn't give up after a few tries. He lets us reject Him and lets us have days and years of apathy. And when our own tiredness with our self finally intersects with someone willing to tell us the truth about Him and His love for us one more time, and this time we're desperate enough to listen, He rejoices, without an ounce of resentment at how long it took us, and with no cynicism about the days to come when we might forget or regress.

That makes no sense to us. The vulnerability of it seems like suicide.

Which is why He stands out above us. Bigger than we will ever be. Worthy of our worship. Oh to connect to and be changed by the God who both rebukes us and embraces us; Who weeps over us and disciplines us. Who mercifully comforts us and gracefully doesn't compromise the truth for us.

Father, help each of us connect to that Wholeness in You.

And Chris - I don't know if I encouraged you, but you certainly encouraged me to let Him keep working on this in me. Thank you. Thank you as well, for not settling to let the wrong opinions define the worth of your life by your mistakes. They are sometimes loud voices to stand up against. Your witness to His ability to overcome ourselves may be the most reliable testimony your friend can hear.

"He who has been forgiven much, loves much. " Luke 7:47
"... these three remain, faith, hope and love... but the greatest of these is love. " 1 Cor. 13:13
"Perfect love drives out fear. " 1 John 4:18

My prayer is that your "forgiven much" is the catalyst for true Agape to spread to others as a hopeful reality you can genuinely testify to. And that all of us grow more, rather than less, in touch with our "forgiven much", for the same reasons.

Monday, May 28, 2007


A prostitute makes 'her corner' at the end of my street, tonight. She flashes her smile and shows interest to anyone slowing down.

My first thoughts were of anger. Of punishment. Of jail.

My second thoughts were of fear. Are we living in the right neighborhood? Is crime really on our doorstep? Are our kids safe? Do we need to move?

But most troubling to me is this:

I realized I know her. She's sat right across from me, in my home, on my couch. We've talked and eaten together and laughed.

She's a real person.

She's not the sum of her actions tonight.

Sometimes life seems neater when that stuff stays on the other side of town. Or when it only happens in the movies.

I don't know a lot about it, I realize. I imagine she gets hungry. She wants out. She wants to be numb. She won't think about it. She'll do what she has to do.

And she still has the capacity to wonder if God could love her. Will she find out? How will her story end?

I'd love to say I know what to do tonight, but I don't. I don't want to contribute to the white picket fence version of Christianity. But I sit here nervous as I think about walking out my front door and down to her "workplace" to talk.

I don't know how successful her night will be, but I know at the end of it, she will still be hollow.

And I know that the God she's at least sometimes seeking understands prostitution. After all, His people have prostituted themselves for years.

His concern for us as prostitutes, while at times did involve punishment, never involved fear. He wasn't compelled to move away from us...but rather to pursue us. I now realize it wasn't coincidental that God led me to read the book and retelling of the story of Hosea recently.

Now's the question:

Will I choose to look like my God? Or will I just theorize about it?

Will I be that "minister of reconciliation" that He calls me to be? Or will I just seek the healthy, the safe, the reasonable?

Will I let her know that He offers "freedom for the prisoners, and release to the oppressed", though I fear she'll not believe it for all she's experienced in life? Will I trust Him to answer for her the questions I can't?

Do I risk my own safety to do so when there's another man across the street, likely watching her and making sure she does her job?

It's comfy here in front of my computer.
It's past midnight.
It won't make a difference, really.
I have kids to think about.
No one would blame me for not going out. Some would call me stupid and unwise if I did.

But if I don't go.... if WE don't go.... "crime" does creep up to our doorstep. Crime in the form of people, making desperate choices, missing out on something more. On Someone more.
Because we're too scared to offer the name of our God to transform the "lawbreaker". Because we've decided the prostitute probably wouldn't be open to Him changing her life. Because that's just a bit more messy than we like to deal with.

A reminder to myself, and to you, if you need it.

The gates of Hell will not prevail against that Name... so we have nothing to lose.

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

And she has everything to gain. Such is the preciousness of the gospel.

She, though she doesn't believe it yet, and may consider me a fool to suggest it, is the target of Christ's affection. I don't have to prove it to her... He has, and will.

But He has entrusted the telling her of that to me. To let her in on it. To show her. To help her believe He could love her by showing her I can and do. To love Him more than I think about myself so she has a shot of receiving all He offers her. To invite her back into my home... back on my couch. To eat together, and laugh together again.

And maybe, to give her a chance for freedom.

If she doesn't take the offer... I've nothing to loose.

If I don't make the offer... she's got nothing better than the corner at the end of my street.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I thought that was a boy thing....& other paradigms turned upside down...

About a week or so ago, we got together with a few couples to explore an opportunity to serve together in a ministry at Memorial. At the end of the evening, all of our kids were playing or asleep and so the adults gathered around on the floor to pray together over the discussion and possibilities.

Little did we know, while we were praying, Julia, of all people, was (VERY!) quietly tip-toeing planting fake spiders, bugs and scorpions all around us. It was when we finished and opened our eyes that we learned Shane May doesn't like spiders very much. :-)

I have to admit, I was half way impressed with her practical joke skills, until today. I was cleaning out a few closets to make a room ready for my brother-in-law to come and stay with us for the summer. Then I ran into a few of the fake spiders myself.

I decided I might prefer her being afraid of them after all.


I had said on the previous post that I would share some of the conversations that Eli and I had surrounding the discussion of "many gods" in the first grade classroom. The last week hasn't afforded extra time to do so until now.

It was an interesting discussion, to deal with Eli's convictions and doubts that the class at presented at the same time. His simple questions included many deeper ones that we grapple with in trying to either believe in or understand God. Sometimes we fear the questions. I have learned though, that fearing the questions results in shallow faith, which isn't what I want to hand on to my child. I won't share all of the questions that came up... but I encourage you to hear the other questions encompassed in the ones your kids ask. And I encourage you to not be afraid to explore for the answers. What I learned from this discussion is that God is right.. His word is living and active... and sticks.

"Mom? The teacher said that the Indians prayed to the rain gods and it rained?"

It just doesn't make sense, does it? We are tempted to think the best move on God's part, if He's trying to convince the world He's real, would be to make every experience like Elijah's...(1 Kings 18)- to only pour out rain to the one who asks the right God. But thankfully, God doesn't fit our shallow mold. We opened Eli's bible and read in Matthew 5:45:

"He causes his sun to shine on evil people and good people. He sends rain on those who do right and those who don't."

There is such depth for our kids and for us alike to understand in that simple verse. If our God can pour out the essentials of life to those who despise or disbelieve Him as equally as to those who love Him...we can too. Ironically that would be one indicator of this God not being created by man... He doesn't fit any paradigm of ours. Those who believe in Him spend most of their life submitting themselves to being transformed to His way of thinking because it doesn't at all come naturally! (I loved someone making the point once that we never have to be taught to sin...but we do have to be taught not to.)
... God takes us far beyond the superficial "being good" that people first think of associating Christianity with. If we let Him, He moves us into absolutely illogical realms of self denial and love that don't come "naturally" to anyone. It is an other-worldly love.

In the conversations we had, Eli became conflicted about feeling that the truths we were reading needed to be shared, and yet he felt a little afraid that his teacher would get mad at him. I told Eli that Jason and I would go in and talk to her about the discussion.

"No Mom... I want to talk to my teacher about this. By myself."

I wondered why he became very adamant at this point. So I asked him, at which point he began to flip through his Bible to explain himself. He flipped throught Proverbs and searched for a minute before pointing me to Proverbs 12:1 and said "Here - this is it."

"Anyone who loves to be trained loves knowledge. Anyone who hates to be corrected is stupid." - Prov. 12:1

I laughed out loud and then explained that while that verse had great truth and merit to it, I didn't think it would be the one he would be taking in to his teacher. But he was already looking again, realizing it wasn't exactly what he had meant.

Finally, he found Proverbs 12:24:

"Hands that work hard will rule. But people who don't want to work will become slaves."

Now this was the interesting thing for me. About 3 weeks earlier I had explained to Eli the concept of plagiarism while he was researching and writing a little report. I walked away, only to come back to a completely "copied and pasted" work he tried (intently) to pass off as his own. The consequence of the action was to spend a little time each day on the report until it was due, (about 5 days later) and in addition he had to write this verse out each day.

And this was the verse that came to his heart... uniquely applied to a different situation ( which is huge in the Asperger's realm of thinking!!). It was not for him to pass off a difficult situation to mom and dad. It was for him to own it.

I hadn't counted on the verse sticking and making an impact like that. But what an incredible lesson I learned when it did.

We talked a lot more, and finally he went to bed.

Eli woke up the next morning, agitated and angry. I quickly realized from conversation it was because he was conflicted... wanting to share truth of his understanding and wanting to avoid tension he felt he would encounter. So he was caught somewhere between wanting to not go to school and wanting to leave and go straight to her room.

Been there too?

We had also poured over his conflicted emotions the night before about encountering someone you like and yet believing their teaching to be in error. How do you balance conviction and truth with respect and love, especially in the culture we live in today. It's not easy. It is a balance, (especially with the way Eli's mind processes things), to teach why we firmly believe the existence of God is undeniable, - and worth sharing with others, and still help him navigate social interaction with confidence about those beliefs and genuine love and respect of others. One doesn't have to have Asperger's to blunder in that department, (!) but it does make teaching sensitivity a little trickier without watering down convictions.

We drove to school having decided he would wait until Jason and I could set up a time with this teacher to talk together. We arrived at school and as he was getting out he changed his mind, and grabbed the bible out of my purse, intent on showing her what he'd learned right away.
(Again, the beauty of Asperger's is that it doesn't have to wait for a rational moment to discuss what's important. That's one thing I honestly love about him...:-) So I parked and came back in to the school to take him and find the teacher . It was a great experience. It was a real experience. And we continue to grow, and learn.

Overall what I learned again was this: don't be afraid to put the Bible in your kids hands at every opportunity. Don't be afraid of their questions. They might ask one you were afraid too. Don't be afraid of the God who will answer and don't be afraid of where He might take you with the truth or His timing. You may learn your fear was holding you back from the best reality ever.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Eli was in a class at school where they were making rain sticks, and in learning about the culture, learned that the Indians called on the rain-gods by using these sticks to ask for rain. He challenged this idea, saying that he believed in only one God. And he came home having to grapple with the voices of our culture, even in 1st grade.

That’s okay for you to believe, but others believe differently, and they are right too.”

“I believe in many gods – whatever you believe is fine, but don’t try to make others believe what you do.”

“Well, the Indians prayed to their rain god and he answered them, so…”

Eli was really troubled by this, especially since it had come mostly from a teacher. (Not Cindy, for those of you wondering, but another teacher we love and appreciate greatly….) And honestly, as he recounted the phrases that stuck in his head, I was troubled too.

The questions the world will ask of our faith are hard. And legitimate.

As a momma, I, like everyone, felt conflicting feelings.
I want to protect him. I revisited considerations I’ve had of private school and homeschool. I wanted to confront the teachings…and remind the staff member that separation of church and state means they can’t teach my child what to believe or not believe… I wanted to avoid. Because I hate confrontation altogether. And, I wanted to take advantage of a great opportunity.

Eli had conflicting feelings too.
I don’t want to go back. What if she gets mad at me again? I want to teach her about One God! I don’t think I should learn anything from her if she teaches a lie. I don’t like her anymore…

Ever been there? It doesn’t just happen in 1st grade.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… (1 Peter 3:15)

The problem is that too often, we settle. We tell God He’s not worth the fight. Or we let culture tell us it’s not polite to assert our faith in the presence of others who think differently. Or we run over people so fast with our beliefs that they can barely catch their breath, let alone catch a glimpse of where they fit in it all. Sometimes we hide behind law, or we let others tell us we have to. Or for some of us, the conflict is so intimidating, we let the struggle be killed by worries and anxieties in our mind before it ever has any effect on our actions at all….

This led to some pretty insightful conversations between Eli and I that I will share over the next few posts… they may not be profound to the world, but the two of us learned a lot from God’s word and His spirit…and had some funnies happen too. All good things from Him are worth sharing. So are weaknesses sometimes. None of us are superheros. Raising our kids to be “in the world but not of the world” can be painful, challenging, confusing, and rewarding...but it's a worthy pursuit.

1st grade’s not to early … to be asked hard questions, or to learn that faith really can answer them.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cindy has been Eli's teacher for the last two years - and will be a dear friend for many to come. I said before - she is a blessing directly from God. She has more talent and ability than should be alotted to one person... but as long as our family is blessed by it I'm okay with it...:-)

For my birthday, she put together this fun video of Eli's firstgrade year. She is so special to us - and is a good one for tear-jerker gifts! Thank you Cindy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catch up

So tonight is my short chance for catch-up. I think Angie calls it a blog blitz...so that's what I'm doing tonight!

* * *

Tonight, Eli picked up a Kaleidoscope of mine from when I was little.

Eli - "Mom, this is a good way to look for God."

Me- "How so?"

Eli- "Because you have to look at the light - and when you do, you see all sorts of new colors in life."

That kid is seriously cool, sometimes.

* * *

If you want to crack up, check out another Eli's videos !! Eli's a friend who we got to hang out with for a couple of days - a rare treat for us. He's a minister in California, and he and his wife are just people you know are pretty incredible from the moment you meet them. You can pick any video and crack up, but the two on the bottom, left-hand side of his home page are my favorite. My kids can't stop watching it. :-)

* * *

My birthday was Tuesday, and for the first time, Eli bought me something that he completely picked out and paid for on his own. It was a huge jug of purple lavender bubble bath. He told me he hoped I could " at least get two bubble baths out of it." :-) It was the best gift ever. I seriously didn't know how precious that would be.

* * *

I'm sold on two books that I have to share.

First, - as I've said before, I'm not a fiction reader, normally. But I'd heard a couple of times that I really needed to read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers.

It's a retelling of sorts of the book of Hosea, set in the 1850's . I have fallen in love with it. I'm not even sure I can come close to doing it justice in reviewing it... but the gut wrenching journey it takes you on as you live out each character is amazing... bringing me to "a-ha" moments about myself at every chapter. The many opposing emotions we grapple with in ourselves find a voice and a character - and the illogical, unreasonable pursuit of us that God initiates despite our best efforts to thwart Him take shape - and begin to make sense -both inspiring me accept love and to offer love to others with equal abandon.

The second book that I've been really challenged by is called "Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Las Vegas", by Jud Wilhite.
I'll be honest... as I stepped into the first chapter - I was frustrated with where I thought the author was going... & wanted to throw it away. But knowing my friend Stu doesn't waste time with the books he recommends, I decided to keep going - and it turned a lot upside down for me, - thankfully so.
At one point I was appalled, only to have my hypocrisy gently revealed to me. Truth wrestled open the door of some convictions I had left untouched and un-dealt with - unravelling the false sense of security I had built around them and making the uncertainity of grace not only more certain and but more justified.

Here's one of more than a few underlined passages in the book:

"Too often we mistake grace for weakness, forgiveness for giving in. We see strength only in pointing out sin and stomping on it until it's dead. But in Jesus we find someone who has no patience for those more concerned with enforcing the rules than helping others. Though He was perfect and, therefore, in a position to judge and punish all of us, Jesus showed us a different kind of strength, a strength found in grace, compassion and forgiveness.
Jesus had a way about Him that caused people to feel they could approach Him. Children ran to Him and sat in His lap. Women were drawn to Him and His message in a culture that oppressed women. His inclusiveness shook people. He related to those of another race and religion (Samaritans), those of questionable professions, and members of the religious elite. He challenged all to love their neighbors, care for the poor, and live toward God. He showed grace to those who needed it most. But, if I may be blunt, He was not a wuss...."

Both books do an incredible job of inspiring one to step up to the plate with the difficulties of offering grace.... and firmly reminding us of the reasons why.

* * *

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Who needs cable when you have kids?

2 Funnies (from Julia) and a neat one (from Eli) for the night.

This morning Julia runs her finger from her shoulder to her wrist and says:

"I think my brains are coming down my arm."
I look at her for a moment, confused, but knowing she will never leave a void of air unfilled... so I wait.
"It makes me sad that other people can see their brains and I can't see mine."

"Do you mean 'veins'?" I ask.

"Ohhhh... yeah,"
She laughs.

Tonight, in her prayers, she prays for the chance to babysit Ms. Stacey's new dog. (They affectionately refer to it as the psycho dog.)
"But God, I hope he's not scared because then he might bite me, and I been bit before. In Jesus' name, Amen."

She then looks at me and decides to explain.
"You know one time Clancy (My brother-in-law's BIG dog) was around me. And I was by him, and then I didn't see my finger inside his mouth. Then he accidently bit me."

I hate it when that happens. But I do think we could go on the road with her show.

Eli prayed the sweetest prayer tonight, about our worship minister, Shane.
It started off like a pretty routine prayer, but became quite lengthy (for Eli) and centered around Shane. I can't remember all of it, but here were some of the things he said:

"God, thank you for Shane. I just really like him a lot and he is a nice man. When I am around him, He makes me just always think of God. He's like a robot. "

When I first heard him say that, I didn't know what he meant. But when he had finished praying he sort of repeated all of it to me, sharing his thoughts a little more. He said:

"Mom, Mr. Shane is like a robot because every time I'm around him, he always makes me think of God. Not everyone can do that, but with him, it's every time, I just automatically start thinking about God."

I thought that was a pretty impressive compliment. - And a true observation. :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ahoy there!

Sadly, I think I've passed on whatever it was I had to my family.

Tonight, Julia was whiny and complaining of feeling cold. I asked her if she was feeling bad.

"Yeah. I think I'm seasick."


Wednesday. (Because sometimes you just don't have the energy to be creative with a title.)

I'm a few days late in catching this, but DOUG had some great insight into why AIM-a-Palooza was so special to some of us...

I was feeling pretty bad & spent a rare day in bed today. Julia, always wanting to "pretend play" and yet wanting to be sensitive, had the perfect idea:

"Momma, I know! Why don't you be the girl who's sick and sleeps for many hours?"

Thanks Jules... I think I will. :-)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rainbow Hands

So in December, our fam went to Branson. We'd been a couple of times, but never in the winter and it was BEAUTIFUL! We had a magical time. With the exception of the rainbow hands.

It was one of those souvenier booths that I usually pass right by ... but this one really caught my eye. You dipped your hand ( or hands if you wanted one of you & someone special) into a vat of wax until the mold formed, and then they painted and decorated it for you. They were really cute, and though a bit overpriced, I thought it was worth it. Not like it's a t-shirt you spill chocolate milk on and then throw away. No... I had visions of it capturing history. I asked Julia if she'd do it with me. What a picture for years to come!?!... my precious little girl's hand tucked sweetly in mine capturing the moment she would quickly outgrow....

The process was simple enough... hold hands, then dip them for about 20 seconds in the warm wax, then holding the form dip them into ice water for another 20 seconds... and repeat this about 4 times back and forth until the mold forms. Then slip your hands out, and they paint and decorate it right before your eyes.

Julia was on board. At first. Then she got scared. Then she started crying and didn't want to do it. I talk her into it, step forward,only to hear the owner tell me he really didn't let kids as little as her do it because they usually weren't still enough. Then she starts crying because he won't let her do it. Another customer steps forward and we move off to the side... Jason wants to forget it and walk away, I really want to do it, and Julia is still crying - now because she wants to do it yet is still scared, and mad.

When the other customer is done, and no one is around, I ask the owner if he would just try for us. He agrees, and Julia reluctantly steps up, Jason rolls his eyes, and I try and talk excitedly about this fun thing that were are about to do together!

So we put Julia up on this little stool so she's high enough to dip her hands into the two barrels, and get started. We start with the ice water so the wax only feels warm. Now understand... neither sensation is really extreme or uncomfortable... just funny feeling as you went from one to the other. But as we start... Julia decides that she doesn't want to do it any more... and starts pulling away and crying. I however, have determined that we have made enough of a scene that we are not turning back. So I grip her hand to hold it in form, she cries ( loudly) and I smile and offer encouraging words as I fake appearing completely oblivious to the whole thing.

When we finally complete the process and remove our hands... there it is: that sweet beautiful, history capturing moment of me death gripping Julia's hand.

Somehow, it seemed the appropriate moment to catch in a permanent mold.

That little mold sits on her bookcase in her room, now. This morning she randomly pops up and says, "Momma, some things I want to stay with me forever."

"Like what?" I ask. "My Rainbow Hands." She answered.

She takes them down and often shows anyone who visits. I catch her playing with it every now and then. (Even when she's not supposed to.) She loves it.

Isn't that ironically true of some of our more traumatic moments in life?
If we let them, they become the moments that redefine us. God gently walks us forth,despite the fact that our heels are dug in and our protests loud.Our fear becomes so overwhelming and our cries so adamant that we become oblivious to the comfort of His presence beside us and His hand holding ours, experiencing everything we are desperate to get away from right along with us. And then it's over. And as tears clear and time passes, one day that moment which we had feared becomes the moment we value. Sometimes we even treasure it. It some small way, it is a humble symbol of what we learned that we could survive -when we learned that He really did create us differently than we had always seen ourselves.... When we realized that the death grip showed that He was bigger than what we were afraid of ..

Those rainbow hands were worth the price... and ended up capturing way more than just a moment for us...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

You know your child doesn't get out much past 8 pm when....

Julia and I were reading her Bible for bedtime last night. She got a new Bible , and so we decided since we were "upgrading" from the story books to her first real "big" Bible, we'd start at the beginning... so creation was covered the first night. She knew a lot already so we were having fun "filling in the blanks" as I would read.

We got to day four...
"God made two great lights. He made the larger light to rule over the day. He made the smaller light to rule over the night. He also made the stars."

Me : "Julia, what was the bigger light God made to rule over the day?"
Julia: "The Sun!"
Me: Good! And what was the smaller light God made to rule over the night?"
Julia: "The light switch?"

Tonight she couldn't go to sleep. So after a few futile attempts to get out of bed, she brings me this conversation...:

"Mom, my finger feels funny."

Me: "Okay."

"It feels like there's blood in it."

Me: "Well, Jules, there is blood in it but that's a good thing."

"Maybe it feels that way because of the ketchup I'm eating."

(Those of you with 5 year olds know you can't laugh in their face.) So I swallow my laugh and suggest that maybe she should quit eating ketchup.

"No!! I love ketchup!"

Me: "Well..."

Julia : "But if it happens again in the morning, I'll stop eating ketchup."

I don't know what we'll do if she decides to do that. It's her only daily vegetable serving....

A must read for this weekend ( and any time you want to Worship.)

Lindsay is a friend.... a teen mature and wise beyond her years, (and often my years too!) and gifted by God in her ability to write... not just write, -but communicate from and to the heart. Her privacy and humility run deep and yet her submission to God runs deeper ... her desire that He be glorifed outweighed her desire for privacy in her worship of Him in writing this. And I'm thankful that she let us share in it. You will be blessed. It is a poem she wrote after she watched ?THIS VIDEO
on Brenda's blog. If you haven't watched it yet, do so... then read Lindsay's heart... and let it fill and speak to yours.

What can I do but thank You?

What can I do but thank You?
You gave Your life for me
In spite of all the wrong I do
Can I anything but grateful be?
Humbling Yourself to death on a cross
Painful, horrible and cruel
Giving Yourself that I might not be lost
Lord, forgive me, a fool
A fool for knowing the price You paid
And doing my own will anyway
A fool because on You my sins were laid
Yet I give you not even a part of my day
How undeserving I am of this love
This marvelous gift of Your grace
Heaven’s perfect Lamb, come down from above
Meeting me here, face to face
Though You were perfect, for me You were crushed
We tried to destroy heaven’s best
Taking my sins, You ground them to dust
And carried them farther than East is from West

What can I do but thank You?
In spite of our very best swing
Up from the grave You arose like new
Taking away all death’s sting
You triumphed over death
Your victory can’t be denied
Let me praise You with my every breath
You have wiped away all the tears that I cried
Jesus, Your Father has lifted You high
Your name is exalted eternally
At the sound of Your name, all creation cries
“Holy, holy is He!”
Seated, now, at the right hand of God
You wait patiently there on Your throne
But You’ll jump to Your feet when He gives you the nod
And come back to take all Yours home
Until then I’ll wait, blessing Your name
Praising You for all that You’ve done and You do
Because of Your love, I’ll never be the same
What can I do but thank You

Good Friday

Tonight we had an AMAZING time of worship at a friends home.

On the way there, since this was out of our usual routine, I explained to Eli and Julia what the evening would be like.

Julia said: "I know! Let's praise the Lord first, eat second, and play third! "

We all laughed. I asked the kids if they knew what today was, and was getting ready to explain it to them when Eli surprised me by saying "I know! I know! Today is Good Friday!"

I was honestly surprised that he was aware, so I asked him how he knew.

He replied, "When Emmerson (a friend) and I got to school, we looked at our calendars and it said Good Friday. Then Emmerson told me all about it and then we went to the Lincoln Logs center and played Jesus and the cross.... Emmerson really reads his bible!!"

What a sweet blessing I almost didn't even know about. I'm thankful that God calls and teaches our children even when we are unaware.

Tonight we sat around a living room and sang, prayed, shared communion, and listened to thoughts on why indeed this was a good Friday. It was so good to be with friends who celebrated the redemption we have in Christ. It was a night I won't soon forget, commemorating a sacrifice we can never forget.

Friday, April 06, 2007

A post I wish I'd written.....

My friend Heather makes a great point about what we're "comfortable" with...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I don't know how to do You Tube yet... but

Brenda has this video on her blog. Wow. Take the time to watch & listen. It's worth it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

AIM-A-Palooza pics

AIM-A-Palooza pics

Monday, April 02, 2007

AIM -a-Palooza

I'm a little slow (okay a lot slow) in posting on what was one of my highlights of the week but in my defense... I'm honestly still catching up on sleep!
God blessed us immensely over the last two weeks..... I have six potential posts floating around in my mind, but I owe some who couldn't attend AIM-a-Palooza some photos, so I'll start there!

I will post pics soon... but for now, check out the fun slide show Jason and Michelle did! http://team-harris-happenings.blogspot.com

I can't even begin to convey how cool the weekend was. Tim - I really think it was the name. (Thank you.) :-) It outgrew our house before we even knew it. I put out fliers out at the AIM booth around 10 am on Thursday at the Workshop and was back by 1 pm changing the address on all the fliers to move it to the church building. Good thing, too....I never took a final count, but I know we had over 70 in attendance from what we could count.

The night, to me, was just one more example of our God and His goodness - making things bigger than we dream, blessing more that we imagined, - doing the unthinkable out of simple thoughts. I don't know how many classes were represented ultimately, but for sure 18 classes from the last four decades. ( Thanks Jay and Sherry for making that statistic possible...:-)

What amazed me the most was to see the faithfulness of our God. For many of us, AIM was such a pivotal point in our life... and in our faith. And from there, the journey for each of us is quite diverse...with joy, pain, celebration, disappointment, confusion, uncertainty, confidence and ultimately, profound change.. etc - as any walk that faithfully pursues Him will eventually have.
Jason made a point that if we had a glimpse at where & how everyone worshipped..some of us might be surprised. But I think that's what I loved most about the night. When we piled into the room late that night and began to sing, the passage of time and the different paths were irrelevant. In fact, it seemed better to me... because I knew the hearts that were singing were even more mature and in love with our God than when I first met them. The songs held more meaning.
I sat next to some I knew well, and some I had just met that night. Didn't matter. When God takes you on a journey... He bonds you with others you don't even know... because you both know Him. Most exciting to me was the thought that heaven holds such feelings for us. Except add in everyone who couldn't make it, a few other generations of believers, a heavenly host and songs that we don't even know yet but will love... and wow. Who wouldn't want a taste of that once a year?

I'm not a crowd person... so the one frustration to me was wishing I could have had coffee & conversation with everyone (and by 2:30 am I NEEDED coffee) .... but just seeing everyone & chatting was amazing. Thank you -EVERYONE... for coming and for making it a blessing to so many by your presence. And make plans next year!!


Angie... My heart smiles in your presence. CONSTANTLY. Thank you for making a huge impact on this world and in our lives - you touch so many. Your sensitivity breathes His life into people. You continue to grow me up and inspire me, friend.

Tim... thanks for always dreaming big - esp. for this weekend. God has blessed our lives through you in particular over and over and over and over again. Thanks for your faithful pursuit of Him.

Jason and Michelle.... I don't know at what point you all decided to come, but when you did, it was like a shot of adrenaline to me - and I KNOW it inspired others. Thank you - that move of faith I really believe added momentum as only He can to others deciding the same - and made the night so special. You both are wonderful.

Heather - Again, I could say the same to you as I just said to Jason and Michelle. I know He worked in your presence bigger than you realized. And even though I didn't get to personally spend time catching up with you like I really wanted to ... the chain reaction of your presence blessed so many. I'll get my time eventually... and between now and then I will keep being inspired from afar by your blog.

Flee ,Selandra & Stuart.... I love that time passes and yet with you it doesn't. Your singing was hoped for ... and a treat. Thanks for always making your voices available for His using along with Ang and Jason to bless others. You enjoy each other, and you let us enjoy you. Thank you.
Flee- I love and miss your directness.. He gifted you in your ability to skip small talk and get straight to the heart. How I love that about you.
Selandra... it's all coming back to me now ( the whole thing about you caring for Eli for the WHOLE first year of his life!) You can laugh out loud at me. Good grief...I've always been a mess and you have always loved me faithfully in spite of it. You were one of the biggest leaps my heart made in the whole weekend. How I have missed you... and could use a good dose of you every day.
Stu... We didn't know 15 years ago how special you would become to us. You continue to eternally invest in our souls. There are friends, and there are friends. You will just always have a special place. Thanks for making the night fun with the books... but know that you have taught me things both through your generosity and in the very books you have passed on that really have changed both of us. He is at work in you always.

Steve - every time we see you... no matter how long or how little we talk, our heart swells with pride in a way it does for few others. In fact, I'm not an overly emotional person - but every single time I get a brief glimpse into your life and what He's doing in you... I feel immediately thankful and overwhelmed - He grew us up through you , and you still hung in there with us. More importantly - you pursue Him. I love that - and I love you.

Donovan and Sharon - You've been doing this connecting thing long before the AIM-a-Palooza night got here. Thank you. I don't know if you get thanked enough - but what you do is bigger than you realize - way bigger. And I would have never guessed that what would get my kids through the night would be the connection they made with yours. What a blessing.. what a glimpse (hopefully) into the future. Thank you so much!

Kris & Barb - Again, I needed lunch... not just a brief hello. (But I will NOT pick the restaurant.) Our hearts are connected to yours permanently though - so we will take time when we get it, and even hugging and standing next to you fill us up. Thank you for shaping us and continuing to bless us.

Kim (Solis) - I can't tell you how many times I keep reflecting on that moment of staring at you over the registration counter - and later thinking that I must have looked either really funny or really rude!! I'm SO glad we figured it out - and so glad our God crossed our paths again. Only He can create such depth of feelings over such a short span of time. My friend, you spurred me on in inspiration bigger than you could have imagined years ago, and it brought such joy to me heart to see where He has taken you since then. Your family is beautiful - and your heart always has been and continues to be. Thank you for being a highlight of my week.

Amy & Jeff - - Again - another shot of adrenaline to hear you were coming. Jeff - thanks for sacrificing and making it so special for so many by sending Amy all that way. Amy, your laughter and stories kept me entertained (even as my body was begging for a pillow) - and you have always been that way. One to balance humor and genuine faith and devotion so wonderfully. I love you and LOVED seeing & listening to you again. I think I could do a thousand late nights with you in the room.

Oh my goodness.... I have so many more to write. But I don't know if they ever read this blog... so I'll save my energy and go to bed at this point. Although I do want to point out it is now 2 am. I don't know why it seemed so hard to stay up that night... I've been able to do it just fine ever since!!!!

Thank you for making my life so much richer...each one of you. I am so out of my league in the blessing of friendships.
Our God is so good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Julia!

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb." Ps. 139:13

My baby is five years old today. It amazes me- not only what God does in knitting a person into existence, but what He knits into your family through their presence. The whole process of a family growing and His intentionality in it is absolutely amazing.

Have you ever thought about what each individual brings to the family as a whole. About what they bring to you?

When Julia was first born, she had a pretty bad case of colic. I can vividly remember one early morning (or late late night!) up bouncing & walking with her while she screamed away, as she had already done for the 3 hours prior to my shift with her. She had already gone through Jason's shift and my mom's shift with no relief. I was tired, and this was pretty much the Julia we had known up until that point, and I found myself tiredly, but very seriously wondering, "Will I ever even like this child?"

I hated having that thought. I have reflected on that moment many times since the colic passed, and laughed. Not only would I like her, ... I had sorely underestimated how much she would capture the heart of everyone in our family.

With her, God knit into us as a family a WHOLE new level of affection. With her He brought us new sensitivity... new artistic talent.... conscientiousness.... hugging.... drama....mischeiveousness...more hugging.... singing.... confidence.... shyness..... laughter....DRAMA....and more hugging. Jason's always been affectionate, but Julia managed to drag affection out of Eli and I that we didn't know was possible, -simply by her existence and expectation of it's normalcy. I remember the first few years when it became apparent that she gave and expected a lot of affection. You can't tell a two year old that her brother doesn't always like hugs or being touched. And to this day, she can draw more spontaneous affection out of him than just about anyone. God knew we needed that... and knit it in her. :-)

She is an amazing creative, beautiful blessing. She is one more manifestation of His creativity, and His goodness towards us.

Happy Birthday Jules!