Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fashion feelings...

Friday was a "Free Dress Day" for the kids. Since it's normally uniform dress, this is a big deal. So I stood trying to pick out a cute outfit for Julia.

A cute green striped shirt with winter mittens on the front. Perfect!

Apparently, not so much.

Julia, diplomatic but obviously disappointed says, "But mom, green doesn't really inspire me...."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mexico Missionary Retreat 2008

Bags are unpacked... laundry is started... and Eli's crying for the 4th time today because he already misses Mexico. :-) What an amazing trip!
We headed down to Guadalajara to spend a few days with Jason's brother Aaron, before traveling to the unique city of Guanajuato, Mexico for the annual missionary retreat. Jennie traveled to GDL a couple of days early so we could spend some extra time with her too, and it was just an incredible time and an amazing trip. There's so much to share and I don't even have pictures uploaded yet to share! So I'll have to do it little by little.

Friends, new and old. Wow. It's moments like these that we are so humbled by the quality of people we are blessed to be have a relationship with. Jason went to speak and encourage, and because of God's faithfulness I think he did, but we were the ones who surely felt most blessed and most encouraged.

Cindy - I did visit the Mummy museum - and left the fam behind. :-) Aaron, Jennie, Toby and Brettin went with me, but can you believe it- the only souvenir I got was the receipt for the handful of toilet paper I bought when I had to use the bathroom. It was pretty amazing though. I'll be sure not to tell you about it. ;-)

The kids did well. We were taking Acidophilus tablets in hopes of not getting sick while we were there - and one night Eli asked me why:

"Because they will help us stay healthy since the Mexican food could make us sick," I said.
"What does the box say?" asked Eli
"Sinuberase." I said. "Bacilos Lacticos, restaurado de la flora intestinal."
"What's that mean in English?" he asked.
"It means it helps the restore the good bacteria in our stomachs." I said.

"MOM...." Eli asked, "Why, if the Mexican FOOD can make us sick, are we taking the Mexican MEDICINE?!?"

I did have to think about that for a minute....

Monday, November 17, 2008

More reasons I love my 9 year old.

Eli's a teacher at heart. Sunday, he was working up a 'series' that he was going to teach. We have a little dry erase board at home, and so this particular class he was working was called the "Wipeoff Board" Class. :-)

When they came home from church, Eli had Jason sit down so he could hold his first class. It was on the topic of worshipping the 'real' God versus false gods. Somewhere in the conversation, he made this statement that Jason shared with me later.

"Now, a false god might say 'One sin? Not that big a deal.' But then, if you sinned a lot - they would say "That's it! You're OUT!"

OUR God? Our God says one sin is important - but He forgives all of them! "

There is so much truth wrapped up in that one little statement....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DNA & homework

Julia came home with a stack of uncompleted work today. As she sat in front of me working on it, she wasn't moving fast for all the stories she had to tell me as she progressed.

At one point I stopped her and pointed to the stack of work.

"I'm guessing that the reason you have so much undone work is that you are talking a lot at school. Are you talking a lot to your friends?"

"Only a little," she said.

"Well, I'm guessing we need to cut back to even a little less than that." I said.

"I got all my work done on the first day of school." She protested .

"Yes, but we we need to get all the work done every day," I said.

"Yeah, I didn't know anybody that day," She said.

Now, WHO's child is that?!?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Changing direction...

Some of you remember this post from last year.….. Prostitution

Well…. here’s another chapter.

She walked in today.

I’ve actually seen her since that last post. She’d come in once before & seemed surprised that I’d remembered her name. I found that funny, in my own head.
“If you only knew…”, I thought.
But then again, how could she? She’s used to having the shallow conversations most of us have when we just want to get out of an awkward situation. And that day, I was no different. I struggled to bridge the gap between casual conversation and cutting to the heart of real life and real relationship.

But today, when she came in, it was different, and so was she.
Clear eyes. She’s gained weight - not drug-induced thin.
She had work clothes on.
She smiled.
She was calm. She still talked fast, but it wasn’t the nervous fast that people speak when their just rolling their story off to you and trying not to get caught in a lie. It wasn’t the fast speak that says “I’ve told this story so many times I’m bored with it myself and I’m not even sure you’re going to listen but I’ve got nothing better to do than try so here goes…” kind of fast.

She was working nearby, and wanted to take some ice over to the site, if we would let her. So as we walked down to fill a couple of bags, we talked.

Sober for 31 days.
“I know you’ve seen me,” she said. “I’m off the street now.”
Got a job.
In a house.
Involved with a church not far from here.

She explains the cycle – having tried to get off drugs… but then needing money.. and hustling to make some… recommitting to get off… around and around. She uses language that’s different from our church jargon, but in it she’s candid and more honest than she’s ever been with me.

I tell her I’m proud of her. I tell her about the night that Jason saw her, and that I went looking for her. She cries. And lets me hug her.

Her boyfriend comes in, and I see the same difference in him. And she relays what I’d just told her. He too is honest – even with admitting anger over a situation that had happened here and the violent revenge he’d envisioned. And yet, in the same breath, he relays what God did with that… and how “God is so funny about that stuff.” He tells with a genuine sense of pride about providing a few boxes of pizza for lunch to a business he’d stolen from for 2 years.
They both share their thankfulness for what we’ve done through the years.

I believe them.

I meet people every week that are begging for something and have “found Jesus”. (Hear the dramatic southern drawl that inherently is supposed to validate their salvation and ensure my response to their request that day...)
So there’s a part of me that doesn’t like being taken. Honestly, I hate being lied to. And I hear so many stories that in moments like this, my first response is always guarded, if not downright cynical.

But I realized today, that in her face, I saw the potential of recovery.

Complicated? Yes.
Long haul? Yes.
Set backs? Most likely.
More failures? Most certainly.

But, that’s what messy lives being transformed are like. It's what mine is like, anyway.
Two steps forward, three steps back. It’s still progress.

Most of us tire of walking that long road beside someone.
At times I feel other’s failure must somehow reflect my own. I’ve got to keep letting Christ refine that fear, as Satan is more than ready to hold my hand and walk me into complete in-effectiveness.

Thank God that He works all the time. Never tiring. Never cynical. Willing to use anybody… anywhere. Willing to take us at whatever sober moment we will give Him. Willing to walk the long road, and desiring to work in all of us that will let Him along the way.

As she walked out, we chatted some more. She told me I had permission to kick her butt if I saw her on the street again and I told her I’d take her up on it. (That's a funny picture - but I'm willing to try....)
I hugged her again. I told her that what was most beautiful to me about her today was her eyes. She looked down and then back at me.

“Thank you. I’m not perfect yet. But I know who is, and I’m trying to look more like Him.”

Today, she did.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Grandaddy Miller

My Grandfather died this last week, and so we travelled to Nashville to lay him to rest. I think that's an appropriate term for this particular man - as he continued his life's work until he couldn't possibly continue it anymore. My granddad taught Hebrew and Psalms for 25+ years at Lipscomb University, & authored some biblical commentaries among other things. After after completing the studies towards his PhD at the Hebrew Union in Ohio, he was never awarded the doctorate he'd earned... ultimately because he wouldn't compromise his convictions about Christ in his thesis. As we went through his email, we noticed that his latest work was sent just about 3 weeks before he died - he was working on an online commentary on the book of Isaiah at the request of someone else, and had finished another chapter. Lots was said at the funeral about him- things I hadn't realized about him and some of his accomplishments. (When someone's your granddad - you don't always think to ask such things as he's important to you for other reasons.....) :-) My appreciation grew even more from meeting people who knew him differently than I did.

Eli really took in this reality more than he could before. As we walked into the same house we've been walking into all of his life, he noticed that it wasn't the same. Granddaddy's chair sat there, but others sat in it, and that seemed weird. His walker stood in the corner. His desk and library still looked as if he could come in any minute and sit down to study or write. His razor sat on the counter in the bathroom. We wouldn't want any of those things gone, but they didn't help us believe that he was.
The house was filled so as we left the first day to head to a relative's place, Eli was somber. I asked what he was thinking.
"It's just so sad. It's just not the same without him there. All I could think about was that it wasn't the same and it won't ever be the same."
We all got teary at the truthfulness of that statement.
Except Julia.
"Well," she said, " All I could think about was ALL THAT FOOD!!"
We burst out laughing, (because indeed, there was a LOT of food!). And Eli once again so simply embraced another profound truth.
"I didn't think I would smile at that," he said awkwardly with tears still in his eyes. "But I did." :-)

Death has it's sting. But Christ is victory, and my Grandad fully embraced Christ.

The night following his funeral, I overheard Eli praying. He said, "... God, most of the time people spend their whole life trying to make the world think that they are somebody important. But Granddaddy Miller spent his whole life trying to help the world see that You are important."

This was the absolute truth. He accomplished the goal of his life among his family and many others.
And now, his generations that follow are attempting to do the same.

A passage from his favorite Psalm of all...
"But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts....Psalm 103: 17-18

Monday, September 15, 2008

More quotables from my kids...

Julia sat with my mom during worship yesterday. As communion was passed down the aisle, she watched Nana take some and pass it on. Afterward she leaned into my mom and said, "I don't believe I've seen you baptized in this church, Nana." Apparently mom took the time to explain that she was baptized a long time ago, in another church. "Was my momma there?" Julia probed. I guess she thought eyewitness accounts might be acceptable.
If anyone needs the communion police.... we've got one. :-)

Eli and I were discussing the appropriate-ness of calling boys "beautiful" and girls handsome. I was explaining that handsome wasn't really a word you could use for girls without making them mad.
Eli: "Mom, can you tell more laws between boys and girls?"
Me: (laughing at his choice of wording) "Well, I'm not really sure I could. There's quite a few!"
Eli: "More than for the president?"
Why yes, I think that might actually be true......

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Julia overheard a conversation Jason and I were having about guardianship and wills. I didn't think she was paying close attention until she asked me:

"Momma, if you and Daddy ever die, should Eli and I just get our sleeping bags and go to the church building?"

I don't know if that speaks poorly of us or well of our church family....:-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


My son experienced real betrayal for the first time.
I think the more painful part for me was that it was my choice to let him.- I could have protected him from the truth.
It broke my heart to watch him vacillate between confusion and rage... from self doubt to desiring vengeance. The questions he asked had answers, but not ones that really satisfy. I heard from him this guttural groan of anger from the depths of a place that can't be measured physically. I didn't know that his body held within it that groan, yet.
And, at one point, he told me he wished he didn't even know about it.

I wonder if this is what God experiences when we groan against our painful realities? The truth is, even if I hadn't told him, the betrayal would still have been real. And, the truth is, I knew that there was an even greater reality beyond his pain.
He's experiencing that reality now... working through the options that come with each emotion. And ultimately coming to the conclusion that yes, he can trust God.
I think 9 year olds feel the same as 30 year olds. They ask the same questions... fight the same fights within themselves. But I think they more quickly get to the end of themselves...they rely less on their own strategies and begin to trust God again a little quicker.
One more way I think he meant for us to be like them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Facts of LIfe

I knew it was coming, but I kept thinking I had just a little bit more time.

Never doing anything exactly like you'd expect - Eli didn't ask where babies come from, but instead he asked about how children get their physical characteristics. So I take that opportunistic phrasing of the question to see if I can avoid the conversation I keep telling myself we need to have.

Me: "Well, the DNA of the mom and dad come together, and that's what determines what each child will look like."

Eli: "Yeah, but how does it come together?"

Me: "How does what come together?" (Like I don't know.) (Like if I say "What? dumbly enough, he'll forget and go back to playing with Legos.)

Eli: "The DNA."

Me: "You mean, how does the DNA come together?"
(Duh. Of course that's what he means. Has he ever seen you play this stupid before?!? Repeating the obvious?! Could I possibly make this more awkward? )

Eli: "Yeah."

Me: "Well, the man has what's called sperm, and the woman has what's called an egg, and those each carry the DNA."
(Jason walks through with the laundry at this point. I look desperately at him, but while he notices me, he just smiles, and keeps on towards the bedroom to fold clothes.)

Eli: "Yes, but HOW do they get together!?"
(He's now speaking in a voice that tells me he's on to my stalling technique.)

I get up and move from where I'm sitting to sit beside him. "Are you asking me where babies come from?"

Eli: "Yes."

I look around to make sure Julia's not in earshot and then look back at him.
He leans in, knowing this is serious, and whispers, "Is it the kiss?".
It's with the exact same voice that he used when he told me he figured it out - it was just the reindeer part of Santa Clause that wasn't true....

I smile, contemplate saying yes, and then realize that will only create trouble.
Me: "No. It's something that comes after the kiss."

I look him squarely in the eye, preparing to tell him what I have not figured out how to tell him yet. What he seems too young to know, yet what I know the world will irresponsibly and self-centeredly share in ungodly fashion regardless with no regard to his age, or to his God.

Eli leans in, his eyes wide. "Is it bad?"

Me:(jumping to a response as I realize my pausing and contemplating could have the same effect as the rest of the world telling him...) "Oh no, no! It's a gift! It's just that, when I tell you this, I want you to realize that it's something serious. It's important to God, and so it won't be something we joke about or talk about with others. Many parents haven't talked to their kids about what you and I are about to talk about, and they need to have this conversation with their parents, not you or other kids, okay?

Eli: "Well, if other parents haven't told their kids, then why don't we just wait till I'm nine?." Then he laughs, awkwardly, looking at me realizing he just turned nine. "I mean, 10.," he says.

Me: "You want to wait till you're 10? Great. Done! When you're 10, we'll talk about it. Great idea."

We both smile, a bit relieved. I can't believe I'm such a lame parent. But, I've got another year, or so I think. I'll do better the second time, surely.

The next day, Jason is tucking Eli into bed. "I heard what you and Momma began to talk about yesterday. Did you understand all that Momma said?"

Eli emphatically replies: "Not a WORD of it!"

Jason then does a masterfully simple job of sharing God's design for life and marriage. And correcting some 2nd grade misinformation.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Follow up

Okay - It's VBS week - and I haven't had time to post, but YES, I have time to floss. As for a follow up on the Dentist appointment, let's just say it wasn't just my dentist watching the blog... when I arrived at my appointment, Susan, (the self-proclaimed "Floss Nazi") responsibly did her job, - I left well educated, well motivated, and flossing regularly. :-)

And thanks to Cindy, who sent me (from her family vacation in WI) a package of fruit flavored flossers, and smiley toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as a step by step instruction sheet (with pictures) and a chart to follow my progress. This is why my friend is a special ed teacher. And she's good - I'm using them!

Everyone should be so lucky to have good friends who truly care about the longevity of their teeth!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm flossing. I'M FLOSSING!!!

(Can I make up for 6 months in 3 days?)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 1:15

This verse kept coming to mind this morning. (As I brushed my teeth diligently!)

I tend to guess that most people think that what will speak to others around them about their faith in Christ is their morality. And while I think the way we choose to live certainly does speak to what we value most, God tells us here that it's our hope that will cause people to look at us and wonder what's different about us. It's our hope that will open an otherwise closed door to talk about Christ.

So I have to ask myself, "How is my hope speaking to the world around me?

Do I look so different because of my hope that people ask a question about it?

Or do I blend in with the rest of the world with it's complaining, hopelessness and cynicism and because of it actually camouflage the effect Jesus has had on my reality?

I'm glad His Spirit brought it to mind. He disciplines those He loves...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Look! A post!

I've been drinking so much sweet tea, I can't eat food of any temperature or even breathe without pain in my teeth. Do you think that's a problem?
Worse- I have a dentist appointment Monday.
Even worse - my dentist is my friend. And I haven't flossed except twice since the last time his hygenist told me floss daily. (I know everyone says to, but she MEANS it.)
On top of that, I can't lie about what I've been doing.
AND, my kids will be in the room when I have to admit it.
Not gonna be good...

In other heartwarming news...
My kids got in trouble tonight. In adult terms... Julia started it, Eli kept it going, so they both got in trouble. What was fascinating was that after a series of apologies and make ups, Eli sweetly invited Julia to sleep with him, and even got an Elmo CD for her to listen too. As they crawled into bed together, I told him I was proud of him. He said "Why? She's my sister!"

Then he turned to her and said:
"Julia, I'm your brother. I will always be here for you and will protect you. And when I get a little grumpy, just remember tonight and give mercy to me."

I told him I'd always wanted to hear something like that growing up, and that I thought that was pretty cool.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I was sitting outside on our swing, enjoying the air and sun and reflecting on the day. Julia came out and asked if she could join me.
"Sure!" , I said, "but I really don't want to talk right now. I just want to enjoy the moment quietly, if that's okay."
"Yeah," she said, "I just want to be quiet too."....." So how was your day?"
I laughed out loud and rolled my eyes at her. She began to laugh and said " Just kidding!!"
Ever her daddy's girl. And witty, already.

It's my birthday, today. It was a normal, plain day. But I think it was absolutely one of the best birthdays I've ever had in my life.

I was allowed to sleep in.
My husband made and brought me French toast in bed.
When I got out of bed, I got a call from a dear friend and her children singing 'Happy Birthday' to me on the way to school.
I got an email card from a friend first thing this morning that cracked me up.
I went to work and got a card from my co-workers who said just some genuinely nice things.
I got a call at work from another dear family of precious friends singing 'Happy Birthday' to me.
I found a gift from a friend under my desk at my feet.
I got an email from my mom that meant the world to me. And a call. And a visit tonight.
I got a call from my kids singing "Happy Birthday" to me.
I went home and found some wonderful, meaningful cards from my father-in-law, my aunt & uncle, my friend, and my birth mother.
I found a wallet from Africa that my son spent his last dollar on for me. ( With an apparent price reduction from the precious couple selling them,) and even more meaningful since he was saying just yesterday he didn't have much money.)
I found a collection of hearts, signed by my all kids' classmates and teachers. And 2 notes from Eli, one painfully written in cursive, which he hates, but knew I would be proud of.
I found a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the porch, from my birth sister, who I've never even gotten to meet yet.
My son just came in the back door and as he ran past me, slapped my shoulder and called out over his, "I love you, Mom".
And the day's not even over.

I write this for no one in particular. This is just the place I spill out my heart, and it's overflowing right now with feelings of being the richest person in the world. I can remember a short-sighted time when I thought that the best birthdays included the most memorable gifts. I never imagined that one day the simplest moves would completely overshadow such gifts and so completely fill my heart.

Thanks. :-) If my life is marked & measured by the quality of people I'm surrounded by, it's indeed worth celebrating well.

Monday, April 14, 2008

You know it's allergy season when.....

We pull up to Walgreen's tonight to fill a prescription - and since we hadn't been there before, we got a water bottle filled with some little goodies as a new customer "appreciation gift". As we drive off, we start pulling the items out of the water bottle to check them out. A little bottle of hand sanitizer.... crayons ... a pill box... chap stick.... and when we pull out the small package of tissues, Eli begins to excitedly wave his arms and yell "Oh Yeah! It's my birthday... Oh yeah! It's my birthday!"

And it was genuine enthusiasm. :-) I think I should be embarrassed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


This morning I awoke to memories of our first daughter's death, almost 12 years ago. They aren't predictable, but they're consistent.... it's always on a morning when sunlight streams in at just a certain angle, just as it did one morning following her death.
I remember the moment vividly. Days were dull and numb. It seemed a bit stupid to do the normal things people do, but you didn't know what else to do, because it equally felt bad not to do anything. So you went through whatever routine the day required, as if to appear normal to others, and just didn't assign meaning, or emotion, or enthusiasm to the actions you took. By night time, you were ready for bed, because it meant an end to the day, but falling asleep was not easy, because it seemed the one time when your mind didn't have to be subject to routine, so as if against my own will, it would journey through the emotions I had successfully avoided during the day.

Eventually exhaustion gave way to sleep, and it was usually a heavy sleep when it came. So heavy, that when the morning sun shone in, for just a brief second or two, it felt like a fresh start. For just that brief moment, I didn't remember. My mind associated previous happy memories with the sun streaming in, and for that precious moment, my spirit was free from the burden that surrounded us. Of course, it was just a second or two, before I did remember. And upon remembering, the darkness associated with loss seemed to bring a dark fog quickly over me that blurred even that bright sunlight. I remember telling Jason, as he lay beside me, about the brief second of freedom, and wondered out loud if we would ever have mornings that were good again, that we didn't remember, ... that felt fresh....

When I remembered this morning, I thought it timely that to realize it was Easter.

Jessica's funeral had presented some challenges. Her funeral fell on Labor day. Maybe it was a problem, her funeral being on a holiday and all, I don't know. But the funeral home was late that morning. We had a long line of guests being held outside closed chapel doors, past when the funeral was to begin. Calls to the funeral home. Waiting. The crowd grows. More calls. Finally the director shows up. He rushed hurriedly in the back door with a briefcase in one hand and Jessica's little casket tucked under his other arm, like he was late for a business meeting. That was another time where I'm sure what actually took seconds seemed like extended moments, but I know the shock of his actions hit everyone in the room instantly as my dad, and I believe Jason's dad, walked briskly back and met him halfway down the aisle to take her body from him. They carried it gently, respectfully, and quietly to the stand in the front. We had requested that the casket be left open, so we could put some personal items in with her body, but we found they had sealed the casket already that morning. So we tucked our letters and items away, and opened the doors. The service was beautiful, friends and family ministered greatly to us.
There is something still stomach turning about that morning to me. Not the funeral, but the fact that the care of her body had been given over to people who really didn't care. Because this is such a custom we're used to here, I never made the connection until this morning.
As I read the account of Jesus' death, and burial, and resurrection, I understood what Mary felt when she couldn't find his body to prepare it. (John 20:15) When she asked the 'gardener', "Sir, if you have carried him away, just tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
There is something about knowing a body may not hold the spirit anymore, but because of what the spirit of the person meant to you, you want to honor that shell, even in death. Maybe it doesn't look appropriate for a woman to carry a dead body back from some place it was mistakingly put, but you don't care. It was yours. It housed the soul of one you loved. Cold, discolored, empty, or not, it is the vessel, or bridge, between the here and now and the eternal.


How I love that voice. It is the voice of the One who proved in that moment He can and will One Day unseal the casket of my daughter. It is the voice of the One who makes light chase away darkness, and not the other way around. The Voice of One who brings fresh mornings, of not remembering. Who promises to bring an end to preparing the bodies of the dead.

It is because of the truth of His resurrection that I give my life to serving the God who has the power to do such a thing. All else that would demand my time, or my attention, or my affection, pales in comparison to such a One.
There is no blind faith here, in fact, for a time Jessica's loss had me convinced that a God who would allow such things to happen wasn't worthy of my time, if he even existed. Thankfully, God doesn't give up when He has been misjudged. In fact, it was while we were yet enemies, that Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)

Eli asked me this morning : "If God is God, and He could do anything, why didn't He just forgive us. Why did He have to let this happen to Jesus? "
I told him that God had to be just, and truthful about the evil things we, as His creation, have done. He couldn't just pretend we hadn't done it. Righteousness doesn't lie, and pretending doesn't make a thing go away or not real. Even Eli understood that. The only thing that has the power to outweigh the things we have done was the absolute perfection and unadulterated innocence of His obedient Son. To sacrifice, on our behalf, such an undeserving One does surely cover even the multitude of tens of millions of sins we've committed. And to raise Him, and give us the promise of His righteousness, proves His grace on top of His justice and righteousness.

Easter morning brings much reason to celebrate among those who have heard, and believed, and decided to follow Jesus Christ.

Now, when the sun shines in on mornings like these, I remember that there are good mornings. And this, was one of the best in History.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank you, friend.

One thing I value most in close friendships is someone who loves God and His truth way more than they love me. Someone who will talk about tough things - and who isn't easily swayed by their emotion, (or mine), but who will speak His truth to me, with love that I'm confident in. Sometimes that's tough to find (and tough to be.)
But I love the challenge of someone loving Him and coming away with things to share because they spend time with Him.

Let me tell you about my friend Lindsay.

She's 17 years younger than me.

That might not be significant in the grand scheme of things, but when I'm looking for the things I mentioned above, just honestly, I don't go looking for it in people that are much younger than me.
But, through her, God has certainly shown me the foolishness of my ways.

I might be revealing my shallowness here, (and maybe the confession is where God is leading, ) but I tend to refer to kids her age as "the teens," or " a student" or "one of the girls/guys" -but in this case, God has left me feeling uncomfortably comfortable only calling her my friend. I'm supposed to be a mentor. Sometimes I'll enter into a conversation praying about what to bring to the table for her benefit, only to leave having heard from God instead for myself through her. It just messes with my paradigm of "how things are supposed to go." (Probably a great faulty paradigm FOR God to mess with in me.)

Recently, Jason & I have been praying about homeschooling, but feel the struggle with getting finances in order as well. We desire to honor God with both, and know that one doesn't have to sacrifice the other, but it's not an easy decision. And in general, I just like to know what to do, and move on it, one way or the other. At the same time, Lindsay's family has taken in a second foster child, whose time with them is limited, but they don't yet know how limited it will be. They don't take in a child without giving their hearts to the task, and child, completely. Lindsay is no exception. It would obviously be easier if they had even a clue for how to prepare their hearts for her time among them, but that's not a luxury they have at the moment.

So we shared thoughts, struggles, and emails back and forth this weekend. From that, Lindsay challenged us both with this poem, and it brings such glory to our God, that I wanted to share it.

Don’t Ask Me to Wait

Her family was facing
An important decision
The Lord God had given them
More than one vision
But which one to follow
They could not choose
They wanted to chase one
But neither to lose
Knowing He knew
They pleaded with Him
Praying He would reveal
His perfect plan for them
His seeming silence
Nearly tore her apart
In desperation she lifted
A prayer from her heart:

Tell me yes
Tell me no
I trust in Your plan, Lord
Just tell me how it will go
Tell me “Do it tomorrow”
Tell me “Do it next year”
Only speak to me, Lord
I need Your voice in my ear
I’m ready and willing
I’ll do what You say
I’m longing to follow
Just show me the way
I’m trusting in You
To make my paths straight
I have just one plea, Lord:
Don’t ask me to wait

She cared for this child
But for how long
She had no way to know
Still she tried to be strong
She loved her more
As day followed day
And prayed that for now
The child would stay
She knew it was coming
Though she knew not when
She begged Him to tell her
So she’d be ready then
His seeming silence
Nearly tore her apart
In desperation she lifted
A prayer from her heart:

Tell me yes
Tell me no
I trust in Your plan, Lord
Just tell me how it will go
Tell me “She’s going tomorrow”
Tell me “She’s going next year”
Only speak to me, Lord
I need Your voice in my ear
I’m ready and willing
I’ll accept what You say
I’m longing to follow
Just show me the way
I’m trusting in You
To make my paths straight
I have just one plea, Lord:
Don’t ask me to wait

The Lord smiled down
Knowing what they must learn
That answers don’t always
Come at every turn
In His great love
He reached down His hand
And gave their hearts peace
Though they did not understand
He was teaching them patience
Trust when they’re blind
In His perfect time
Is when they would find
He promised not to leave them
Alone in the dark
And whispered gently His answer
Into their hearts:

I won’t tell you “Yes”
I won’t tell you “No”
Just trust in my plan, Child
I know how it will go
Whether tomorrow
Or whether next year
I will speak to you, Child
When I want you to hear
I know you are willing
To do what I say
I know you will follow
When I show you the way
Keep trusting in me
I will make your paths straight
Here is my answer, Child:
I ask you to wait

Just in case anyone else out there struggles with waiting like us.......:-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's okay if there's only 20 lbs below your neck.

It looked so easy. There I am, helping Julia learn the simple childhood basics of a head stand.
"Okay, flip up your legs,.." "Yep, yep, now point your toes to the ceiling,...Good!! It's okay... I've got you! GOOD JOB! That's it girl! Good job!"

The only problem was coming down. She kept pulling her hair and hurting her head. I tried to explain how to bend her knees to come down slowly, but in the end, I just thought it would be easier to show her.

So now I sit at this keyboard, unable to turn my head to the left or the right, and cringing if I so much as sneeze.
The saddest part? Julia kept saying "It's okay mommy! I'll catch your legs!" -But I never even got my legs up in the air, let alone, down again.

It seemed easy in my head.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Hey all! It's Workshop time again, and for all former AIMers, it's AIM-A-PALOOZA time again! If your going to be in Tulsa - please join us! And let us know you're coming at the Aim-a-palooza website:

Please pass the message along to all you know that might be interested!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In case you need to feel smarter than someone today, let me be that person.

Words of personal wisdom from today....

A salt scrub after shaving your legs is NOT the same as a sugar scrub after shaving your legs....

Add that to my "don't test a curling iron's heat with your tongue just because your hands are full" list.

Yeah. Really.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kid funnies

Eli's been really been praying a lot lately about a good friend at school who doesn't believe in God. One discussion led to Eli telling Jason:
"You know, some people say apes built the world."
Jason: "Yeah, but you know that's not true, right? We go see apes all the time at the zoo - and they don't build anything like that.
Eli: "Yeah. Apes are interesting. And we can read about them....
But they can't read about us!"

Somehow I thought that was the simplest refutation of evolution I'd ever heard.

Julia prayed tonight: "God, thank you for making my mom good at aiming for the trash. Please help me be as good as her one day. "

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tagged again-

Thank you VANESSA!

The Rules: Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 5 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, OR
Share the 5 top places on your “want to see or want to see again” list, OR
Share 5 things you never pictured being in your future when you were 25 years old.

Tag a minimum of 5, maximum of 10 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. The tagees have a choice of which they want to do.

I've shared random facts about myself before, but I like the "5 things you never pictured being in your future when you were 25" idea - and since that was only 7 years ago, I can mostly remember.....:-)

1. I never EVER dreamed of living in Oklahoma. It's still a little weird when I say it out loud. "Ok-la-hom-a." See what I mean? Even now I think I should have a pilgrim dress on when I say it.

2. I never thought I would raise my hands in worship. (Don't tell my grandparents.) :-)

3. I never thought I would have gone away on a weekend trip with girlfriends -and genuinely had the time of my life. I grew up generally enjoying friendships with guys more, just because they were less complicated. But I've got some friendships formed with ladies I adore -and who love God deeply, and I'm loving that change.

4. I never thought my kids and husband would bring me THIS much joy. I mean, you always hope, but then one day you look around at reality and realize just how good you have it, and know you were too stupid to have arranged it yourself, so you just thank God for His blessing - and try to honor them as such.

5. I never thought I'd write a blog. In fact, if you had suggested the possibility, the name alone would have made me think it was immature or goofy. :-)

I tag Lindsay, Wendy!!, Terry, Jill, and Cindy!

Bye bye Mario. Hello Little House on the Prairie.

A few nights ago, we packed up all the game systems in our house. Including the DS Eli just got for Christmas. It was a long time coming, really. But games have been Eli's FAVORITE thing to do. It's how we kept him drinking water when he was on the verge of being admitted to the hospital once. ("Drink 3 sips and you can play for 5 more minutes..." ) It's how we potty-trained him. (Yeah, he's gonna love that I shared this when he can read.) So you can understand, that when he loves something that much, I felt guilty taking it away. But limiting time, and limiting games, and trying different tactics wasn't enough. His mind just gravitates to it. And if he gravitates to it, he'll obsess over it. His game skills are far more honed than his people skills, and that's not what we're about.

Some incidents occurred that led to taking the games away, so he didn't complain at the time. The amazing thing? He hasn't complained since. We're only two days and counting -but I'm amazed. And relieved. And I think he is too.

We had been planning an indoor camp out night this weekend. This morning, Eli decided he wanted to ask his 2nd grade teacher to borrow her DVD Season 1 of Little House on the Prairie. (She's awesome - and has been reading it to them at school - which I LOVE her for!) She said yes - and so he came home saying "It will only take us 16 hours to watch the whole thing!" Well, we're not doing that, but the campout theme turned into a "Little House" theme. I had to run to get groceries, and when I came back - they'd built a little house in the living room - complete with loft and ladder. We had eggs and toast and sausage on tin plates, and ate by candlelight, and "Jack" (a wooden toy dog that was Jason's when he was little) guarded the house.

And Julia and Eli informed us that for the rest of the night, we were to be referred to as "Ma and Pa".

I could totally get used to this. :-)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

All the bones we’ve thrown out…..

I can’t remember who first said it, or how often it was repeated, but I remember growing up with a conscientious conflict about reading anything that by an author with my religious background. And I remember having the feeling that if I did attempt such an unwise action, I should do so with suspicion and at the minimum be prepared to “eat the fish, but throw away the bones”.

I don’t carry the same conflict I grew up with, and I’ll admit, nowadays I may read authors within my faith with as much discernment as I do any author. God seemed to make it clear that His words were the standard by which we compare anything “new” that comes our way, and it’s infallibility over the centuries has been impressively consistent.

Recently, I picked up a book called “girl meets God”, by Lauren F. Winner.

If any book is completely out of my realm of experience or background, this one’s it. A memoir on her personal journey from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, the brand of Christianity she enters into is almost as foreign to me as the Judaism is. I find myself reading chapters on liturgy, lent, the Eucharist, Sabbath, and Sukkot. (Words about which I had already made up my mind, while ironically knowing little about.) But what I love is that she gives flesh and bones, and a real humanity to some of the traditions I grew up being suspicious of -and meaning to some of my own convictions & traditions that I didn’t know existed.

I may not subscribe to every conclusion she has – but I’m learning the value of not throwing out her conviction as “bones” for she has, in fact, enlightened some parts of my own beliefs that for a lack of understanding had formed more skeleton-like in me than I myself had ever realized. She opens her mind & heart, good and bad, flattering and unflattering, to the reader, about her journey – and I find myself highlighting and cheering at the end of each chapter. I have about 93 pages to go – and anticipate it like meeting a refreshing, genuine and honest friend who is both like me, and challenges me, while being entirely different.

I’ve included a sample below – and encourage you, if your needing an amazingly simple yet profound and encouraging read… this ones worth it.

“Holy Communion is another name, and there are good reasons to speak of taking communion. Those words remind us that we are not only drawing near to God, but that we are doing that most basic and social thing, we are eating together, we are drawing near to one another. This has been a long, slow lesson for me. I am just starting to learn that the people I take Communion with are the people who count.
I didn’t like most of the people at Clare College chapel. I loved my priest. And I loved Becky, my godmother; Anna; the ordinand sent over by her seminary to be our priest in training; and Helen and Olivia, two short haired eighteen-year-olds with lively minds and brassy giggles. . Other than those few, the people at chapel weren’t people I would have chosen to socialize with. They weren’t up to my standards. I didn’t think them clever enough, entertaining enough, whole enough. Mostly, at the Clare Chapel, I met broken people, needy people, people who were in church for a reason.
In fact, some people of the chapel repelled me. They were pale and pasty and watery drips of people, inarticulate and shy and nerdy and downright tedious. I had nothing to talk about with any of them, though Lord knows I tried, not even theology, a concept that seemed foreign to these students, students for whom everything about Jesus was perfectly clear-cut. “These are not,” I sniffed to Jo, “people I would ever invite to a dinner party.”
Jo, in her wisdom, didn’t point out the obvious fact that I was, indeed, having a dinner party with them every Sunday morning. She pretended to sympathize. She pretended to be every bit the snob that I was. She said whole days elapsed where she had to speak, hour after pastoral hour, to people she did not like very much or find terrible interesting. “There aren’t too many people around here like you,” she admitted conspiratorially, as though it were just us two charming and sophisticated Christians pitted against the rest of the sorry, benighted church. Then she sighed and said, “But I realized awhile back that if I built a church filled with my friends, it would be a rather small and homogenous church.” I blinked. “Dull, really,” said Jo.
So much for sympathy.
The day before I left Cambridge for good, I saw Paul and Gillian, two of the most annoying of the annoying Christians, on Clare bridge, and I hugged them. I said I would miss them. I thought I was lying, to be polite. But I wasn’t. I have missed them. I do. No one else I ever meet will have pledged to support me in my life of Christ, which is exactly what Paul and Gillian pledged at my baptism. My friends at Columbia, the friends I meet for drinks at trendy bards in the Village, the friends with whom I chat about post-structuralism and Derrida- those people didn’t witness my baptism. They didn’t cheer at my confirmation , they didn’t pray with me every Sunday for two years, they didn’t hand me Kleenex when I burst into inexplicable tears in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. They aren’t my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are merely my friends.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

For my best friend, Wendy.

Dear Wendy,
Thank you for your comment-pliment. (Haha!Some how that word seems like it should have come from your dad.) I've been feeling guilty about not blogging for about 3 weeks, (not consecutively, but all together) - so your encouragement (or discouragement?) inspires the approval addict in me, hence my post, just for you.

I am wondering, however, what it would take to do the same for you and get you to START a blog?

Well, from the last writing until now, we have been busy with having non-stop visits or traveling out of town ourselves, and catching up or regular life in between. I have some AWESOME books to blog about. I also have some funny stories to tell - but since I'm trying to think of one right now, I can't... :-)

So many of my funny stories are not really mine - but Eli's. 2nd grade continues to be a growing experience. Last week we had been talking about respecting authority at home, and so I challenged him to find unique ways to show respect to the people at school who were in authority over him, and to come home and tell me what he did. I encouraged him, then, each day afterwards to do not only the things he did the day before, but to add a new attempt each day to build on the others and I would be thinking of a reward for him. In my attempts to be very concrete and specific, I said I wanted his actions to be something that was obvious enough to those around him that they would notice a difference, even if I called his teacher to check on his behavior. He seemed to respond to this challenge, and reported something simple each day. I was excited!
It was ironic then, when a few days later, word made it back to us that he was driving his teacher nuts. When I finally checked on it, I found that my instructions had translated to him having a tally sheet on his desk to mark every time he said "yes ma'am" to his teacher, and that he'd told her that he needed to say this "two-hundred times" so his mom would give him a prize. And apparently, he made sure to check with her every time he said it, (just in case I called and asked.)

My next book will be called "Social Skills Suicide: How to set your child up for failure every time....".