Saturday, February 28, 2009

Upside Down you turn me.....

Life's felt a lot like this lately:

You you feel when you try to do things on your own? Without counsel......then you end up upside down, backwards and just awkward all around!

Not that I’m trying to exploit my daughter’s backside here…...most independence is gained through often painful spurts of growth......atleast she's trying right?

She was SO eager to dress herself, but she hadn't asked for the 'how' - so soon after she came to me to show me how well she had put her pants on.….and I just had to smile.

"Turn around," I said.

Her hands went straight for her hips as she waited impatiently.

"Mom, why are my pants itchy?" She asked

Um, well……….(for starters your underwear is upside down and sideways....
--don't giggle mom...this is NOT the time....

It all seemed so familiar.....Haven't you done this before?….jumped in headfirst, wanting to get things going…..DIY-style. Which is fine, we're capable people, but our ways are not God's ways.

In my case, I end up having no idea which way is up, which hole to put my leg into, where my next step will be. All because I dove i
n without a care, thinking I know what's best for me, trusting my reasoning, and then in the end I am left wondering how I got so messed up along the way....

Oh, I always reach a goal….get the job ‘done.’
But then I notice my pants are backwards and I feel funny.

So I waddle back to God and ask for some assistance. He always has the solution, though it won’t be comfortable….He’s gonna have to start from the beginning….and undo much of what I ‘accomplished.’

That’s fine Lord, I exclaim, “But can we make it pants itch.’

and next time I'll remember better His advice that came through the apostle Philippians chapter 4 verses 6-13 he wrote:

Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.

How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

Thanks for caring friends.....all is well....I'm off to go consult the Creator of the universe now
That's just how I (need to) roll.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writer's Workshop: An ABC Acrostic...

Anyone can write an acrostic
Because words come in every size, shape and letter
Could you imagine a world where there weren’t
Descriptive phrases for every feeling?
Emotions would stagnate inside our souls
Faltering our every move
Gagging each effort to communicate truth, love and passion
How could we move ahead with so many things left unsaid?
Ignoring what stirs deep within us, bottling all of our thoughts.
Just for a moment, imagine your day
Kept in perfect silence
Letters left to themselves to organize into streams of nothingness
My words would flip around in circles, disobedient and stray
Never stopping to wonder of their purpose
Or to obey a grammatical guideline
Perhaps they would slam into unsuspecting victims
Quite unsure of their target but damaging just the same
Ricocheting past those who need them
Swaying by loved ones who treasure their sounds
Try holding in those words too long and they’ll choke your breathe
Understanding their urgency I must open my mouth
Very sure of my purpose here
With care and devotion I’ll type and I’ll speak
X is my motivator and my King
Your passion with which I will create
Zeroed in on the goal of your glory, I will use words or perish finding another way…..

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kindergarten Conversations

son: Mom I want to be God one day

Me: Oh yeah? What would you do?

son: I would put all the angels to work planting grass and growing trees....

Me: Is that what they do?

son: And I would turn up the rain to make it grow. He has a big bowl that He pours out.

(pause) Or maybe it's like a shower.

He went on with his musings...but I got lost trying to see through his eyes. Who was this God he hears so much about? What does He really mean to my son?
Do I really have MY mind made up about who God is to me?
I know that I am loved, I know I was sacrificed for....valued enough to give up So much for...even His only Son.

I hear His voice from time to time, whether in written words, or through the heart of a friend, the prayer of my hubby, or in a quiet still moment.
But those audible times seem far between and I am left to get to know this Friend, this Lover over my soul, this Provider, this King, all on my own.
He can't speak to a heart who is not listening....He can't give to one who's arms are not outreaching, waiting.
I think God does have a bowl, and He dumps His mercy on me SO many ways so that I might pay attention..........
But then He turns on the shower, and His ways are gentle....not dowsing my soul....
not inundating my thoughts......
but patient and waiting for ME to call on Him...
but still ever present.
No none of us could ever be God. But we could certainly draw close enough to see Him.
And I do see Him...even in the wonderings of my son-
because I know that he can meet the same God I have come to love, desired as my own, whom I long to serve with my every breathe.
He's not just a one woman God....He's big enough even for Kindergarteners.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Back in the day...when Jarrod and I were dating, we talked about how much we'd like our home to be a comfortable spot for people to come and hang out.....with revolving doors where friends would find warmth, fellowship, and good food. But since then we have thrown parties, and hosted dinners, but not as often or with as much purity as I would like. I have turned down many an opportunity to have people over because the house was too messy, or I had projects to finish, or whatever. (Yes, Des, I hear you....I'll stop nitpicking now! ;)

But this afternoon felt like old times and we gathered together two sets of friends; one friendship old (we're talking over 20 years old!) and one just begun last year. It's a beautiful thing to see parts of your world 'meshing'....and to still be joined by powerful commonalities. Ya know...the good old fashioned dinner party mind set!

But back to the beginning of our thoughts...we had no grand scheme for tonight, I had no menu, heck I didn't even have any meat defrosted. We just knew we wanted to get some friends together. It felt like a MUST. So with everyone coming I toasted sugared pecans in the oven, stewed up a meaty red sauce, and baked an apple cobbler.....I can't begin to describe how foreign that sentence was to type....those just aren't ME things! I consider recipes as mere suggestions...and cooking is a chore...not a joy. Though I must add here that my husband would like me to note how well we worked TOGETHER ;) on the entrees......him with the appetizers! His utter joy at prepping together comes from our time spent at this REALLY encouraging blog...check it out, but get ready for CONVICTION!

So his hard work took the Above and turned it into the Below.....Yummy!
So even if cooking isn't my strong point, by the grace of God I LOVE to get people we 'wrustled' up some grub and gorged ourselves on PLENTY o food. Oh yeah, unlike this time there was ENOUGH food! Ha ha!

We spent the rest of the night playing Dominoes......or Mexican Train to be specific....
Choa, choa (that's choo choo in Spanish!! ;) And our friends from different 'compartments' of our lives, got along beautifully. (Though I fear I kept one of them up too late ;) She was a trooper just the same!) The best part is how all 9 kids got along SO great! They played beautifully together for over 5 hours without a single sad sound! All but the two year olds will be playing baseball together soon so it was a fun orientation for them!

But I'm leaving the best part for last.....while we were putting dishes in the washer, my hubby leaned on my shoulder and said, "Remember how we said we'd do this all the time?" Yeah, I remembered, and I see now how I get caught up in the busyness of life,......ugh I get so selfish about my alone time. I would rather whip out some fish sticks and rice, and pop around a blog or do some craft, than ready my house for company, cook, and clean up afterwards.
I know I complain a lot here on this blog....but I'm just keeping it real people! I'm sure you've turned a blessing into a chore once or twice in your life....right? But REALLY....friends are who make it all worthwhile! (I totally blitzed on getting photos of actual people...but here are their beautiful grins from previous occasions....)
So back to my hang up with entertaining....God's been speaking to me LOUD and CLEAR! This morning the study was in Titus and it wasn't even a major part of the text, but it jumped out at me.....

Paul is writing about the qualities needed in those placed in leadership. And really, if you think about it, we're ALL leading somebody.....a friend, our kids, etc.........This verse stuck out to me:

Titus 1:8 ...he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.

They MUST be hospitable......ACK! ..........just the fact that Jesus had it written down tells me that He KNEW we'd turn hospitality into a chore. But when my heart is in the right place it will be like tonight.....a complete pleasure, a flood that fills the hearts of others and overflows to rejuvenate my soul! (oooo Jarrod is going to have a field day with that line...he thinks I'm SO dramatic online!) But's a joy to be surrounded by the noise, to share triumphs and prayer requests over dinner, to form new bonds in this 'family!' And I'll say that with drama intended!

So I'm sitting here wrestling with my's not that I don't like to entertain, I'm just too disorganized to enjoy it. And if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that that is a theme for me this lack of organization..... Man! When will I learn how many things would be better if I got my act together here at home!

But if you glance back to Titus -there it is.......I actually told Jarrod that I wanted it taken out of my Bible...I mean really first I'm burdened by the thought of needing to be more hospitable but now you're adding: self-controlled, AND disciplined?!?!? Do you see it at the end of the verse? Double Ack!

Can you believe that something as simple as throwing together a dinner party could be SO profound! ;)

Jarrod and I are back on our mission to be open door hosts....not worried about the 'what' or the how, or the dirt or the clutter, the budget or the planning.....and it's reflective of where we are as a couple.....facing forward...ready to work together again. We were in a rut, too frustrated or preoccupied with life to be able to work alongside each other.....but we're back! Oh, it's the little things God that make my heart happy!

Thanks for the lesson, the friends, the time and space to make it all happen....and for your Truth God! We NEED hospitality, discipline, and to simply remember to LOVE what is good.
Nights like this are just plain GOOD!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I long to be like a little child....

From my perch on the stage I see alot of things....I see the sour expressions of couples who are clearly irritated with each other....I see that person who is too stiff to clap, or that lady letting loose with her hands in the air.

It's the reason I tend to close my eyes when I'm singing on-stage. After all, my point in being up there is to help lead others in worship....not to be on display. So when I close my eyes, I can shut down all the distractions that are merely feet away. The adorable babies cooing in the back, the random college aged man who insists on dancing to the fast songs......and also from the emotions.
This past Sunday I almost lost it, as I often do. There really isn't anything MORE emotional than praising the God of the entire Universe! So in the midst of the majesty, the Power and Glory of the Almighty, I often tear up. Now add to that the faces out there, standing and looking over my shoulder at the words on the screen. Those faces, those souls, have SO much going on.....
  • There is the man whose wife suffered a stroke and who he visits each day by taking an hour long train ride each way.
  • There is the grandmother whose daughter just miscarried, and she can barely stand before her God as she struggles with questions and anger.
  • There is the young man who attends this church each week, more faithful than many others, but who struggles with questions of Divinity versus Science. He is not a believer, but a faithful questioner.
  • I see the woman who is struggling with a chronic disease, an illness which took her mom at a young age. And now she stands here mere weeks away from starting dialysis to save the kidney function she has left. Her pre-teenaged kids flank her on each side.
Every person out there has a story, a struggle, a heartache. Yes, there IS joy on many of the faces, but it's the other faces that overwhelm me when my defenses are down.
And boy when that happens, my heart races, my palms sweat and my throat constricts. I SOOO don't want to be a distraction if I start crying. That would defeat my purpose in being up there. I'm not alone on stage, but the focus is there....I am alone at the mic.
So I silently pray for those hearts as we sing. I pray against the attacks they are under, against the weights they carry. I pray for this moment to be pure, and purposeful. For them to see Jesus without the distractions which they carried into this room. Regardless of the style of music, or the song we're playing, or the clothes we're wearing. Even those things can detract from our purpose. To bow our hearts:
Open up the skies of mercy
And rain down, your cleansing flood
Healing waters rise around us
Draw us near Lord, meet us here........
Yes, Lord, those healing waters are needed, both physically and spiritually.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve here, on this stage, but I'm also overwhelmed at times by my humanity. This weak body that is so quick to poor out tears.........
But tears are not needful right now,
Come now is the time to worship.....
Come now is the time to give your heart
Come just as you are to worship.....
Come just as you are before your God......Come
I just want to enter your presence like a child. In awe and wonder of your splendor. Oblivious to the hurting and trials. But stayed by your Strong Arm, Your Righteous Right hand!
And Lord if I can lead two or three into your Presence, without them even seeing me, not even noticing I'm a silent pied piper; then Lord I believe this gift will have been used.
Sometimes I just feel so's then that I need you to shore me up....and steady my course.
Then I think.....thank you God that I am Able to FEEL.....
That also is a gift. That each service is a new time to offer to you. To long for your presence for all of those people, and in my own heart as well.
To be like a child, raising pudgy fingers.....arms outstretched, and welcoming a lift.
Fully surrendering my right to walk or run this race, and longing to rest my head on your hear the beat of your music Lord. The sounds that echo around your Throne.
Now unto to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 1:24-25

Friday, February 6, 2009

Super Bowl Birthday and Brews

Last Sunday we partook in that National pasttime of eating and sitting and eating and laughing and drinking and eating and singing......(Happy Birthday that is! but more on that in a minute)

This family gathering and foodfest involved some taste testing when my sis and BIL came armed with some of our favorites from the Russion River Brewery - We've sent the guys there tasting when we go camping....and we have never been able to keep straight who likes which brew. We were taking a poll of my BIL's Christmas brew, His Misc. brew, or one of the RR brews: Redemption, Salvation or Damnation. Irreverant names, but SUCH great taste. I Gotta love hearing Dad say he'd like some more Salvation, and he'll pass on the Damnation..... Now for my non-thrilling drinking story: I grew up with a keg on tap in the garage. Budweiser was my dad's drink of choice. He customized this big yellow fridge so that a keg fit inside and the tap hung on the outside of the door.

Needless to say, our house was the spot of choice when we would cut classes in high school (sorry dad!) Did I mention I hung out mostly with guys in high school?.....And we had a pool table....too tempting!

Now all this exposure to alcohol could have landed me in AA, but I inherited my mom's 'lightweight' tendencies. My distaste for beer in general was further solidified one night when I was having a sleepover. My friend and I decided to try and get drunk. So we crept out to the garage, filled two HUGE glasses with Bud (with very little foam I may add.....years of pooring my dad frosty mugs had fine tuned my skills ;)

I took one big drink and BLEH! (little did I know how universally distasteful Bud is!) So I decided to rectify the situation by adding cherry koolaid to my glass. A bartender in the making, right? Gag, Bleck, double BLEH! I had created a Liquid Cherry Cough Drop!

I never touched that tap again......and to this day I hate canned beer. Hand me a mixed drink, all fluffy and sweet and it's on (a blended margarita is a fav.... see how easy I am to please??), but a beer has to be nice and blonde for this wimp. I've also discovered I don't have the taste buds for an IPA, but I'll try most Belgians....

Now I say all this because I still don't drink often enough to really put most of this information to use....and I don't really ever think I've been drunk.......buzzed maybe but not sloppy........that said we tend to be a pretty 'dry' family.......Jarrod was a functional alcoholic from his teen years through his twenties and just before we fell in love.....and for him it's less of a need and more of a sad thought to drink too we only do in social circles and even then pretty rarely.

But that's just us, there is no judgement here. I personally think everything is permissible with the proper company (don't want to make anyone stumble) and in moderation (NOT daily-I'm overly sensitive because my dad was such a big drinker) So now you know, and I'll hop off my soapbox to tell you about the rest of our Sunday :D

BTW- I like Redemption in case you were wondering.....

My family had gathered to celebrate my amazing hubby. I really couldn't do much this year to prepare for his birthday since our truck was in the shop and I was stranded with sicky kids the weeks before. So thankfully my mom put together this triple chocolate creation......of which he's STILL nibbling away the remnants each night. She sure does know how to keep Jarrod happy:

I will qualify....he's so easy to please...really he is, a football game, a few thoughtful presents, family AND chocolate cake makes him mighty happy! And I was glad to see the exciting end to that Super Bowl game, and to share an uneventful (read no fighting) day with those I love so much.

Happy birthday babe, you're a chocolate munching, microbrew tasting, hands-on daddy, hardworking hubby, guitar playing, God's word teaching man and I love every bit of you! Muah!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Giving you a Piece of MY MIND- This week's Assignment

Something tells me I spend WAY too much time over at Momma Kat's...
But there are only SO many people who I'll let tell me what to do....

So this week I picked the assignment to:

4.) Write a list about what's on my mind this week (Ah, a list seems a tad more laid back than my longer ramblings...)

So this week I've been thinking about:

1. How to 'encourage' the Allied claims adjuster to give me a free rental car. No, it was NOT included in our policy. But, it WAS his fault for outsourcing our appraisal, taking a vacation and then sittting on our estimate all weekend....effectively stranding this sweet mom of three for over TWO weeks before they even touch our truck. I have legitimate complaints here people!
2. How disgusting it is that the 'affordable' earrings Talia got for Christmas managed to embed themselves into the back of her ear. We're talking gaping, infected hole....and she NEVER complained! I just went to take them off and actually had to surgically remove the backing from one ear. Thank God I had the urge to change those earrings......sooner rather than later! Please don't call CPS- her ears Really ARE clean, I swear!

3. How I've been stuck at home for almost 3 weeks and yet my laundry STILL piles up! I guess I should get organized with my laundry. Really....washing for five is non-stop, and if I decide to take a couple days off, SOMEONE starts complaining about not having socks or underwear.... Good grief...I need to give that maid a raise!
4. How it's inevitable that when you book a large vacation, everything around you needs to be repaired....and STAT.....our printer, our bathroom sink, our truck, my laptop...oh and the list goes on!

5. How eager I was to clean out my fridge when I heard about spores from my friend who studied microbiology.....(spores= what made the food in my childhood fridge constantly grow fur) .......I don't have spores thank you, but don't WANT them!
6. How fun it is to have 'Fourteen Days of Purpose' to shake things up a bit!

7. How this round of unfortunate events has taught me alot about the value of staying home and focusing on my 'jobs' rather than my 'social' engagements. Don't get me wrong...we will remain social butterflies...that's the nature of our homeschooling adventure....but I'm also finding a contentment at home now too!

8. How beautiful it is that my friend is expecting again after having a miscarriage earlier this year. God made our bodies SO amazing...and what a gift for a woman to carry a child!

9. How blessed I am to be going to Maui, and to be able to use random Christmas gift cards/returns to buy clothes, etc for our trip :D

10. How blessed we have been to live here for the last two years.....though we thought we'd have moved away by now. I wouldn't trade the friendships (old and new), or the time with our familiy, or ALL the memories we've made in that time frame...for anything in the world!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

With an apron like that...who needs clothes??

Wanna cute apron....check out this giveaway at MommaKat's....

I just HAD to enter....and now I want this one for my mom, a black and red one for my daughter, my sister would probably pick a purple one, and Maritez needs to own this pink one:.....Tom could probably use the striped one....or NO, the yellow polka dot one.....Trina needs a bandeau one... and *gasp* did you see the gloves?!?!Hmmm..Joan do you think this would help us WANT to cook more?? and the list goes on and one..... Ok, I'm done shopping with my imaginary credit card......
Which one do you *heart*??

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Saturday Night Bliss

Why is this little guy all dressed up??? Read on..... In the timeframe since my last post I:
  • hosted preschool, (whew my month is NOW over ...sigh)
  • got a traumatic haircut
  • sang at my uncle's funeral,
  • helped decorate a church,
  • made favors for a baby shower,
  • witnessed a high speed police chase and suspect beat-down
  • got my son to basketball pictures,
  • watched his first EVER basketball game,
  • coordinated a wedding,
  • celebrated my hubby's birthday and
  • kicked back for the Super Bowl.
SO many things about those three days are memorable AND blog worthy.....but whew....WHO has the energy to type it all out???

So I'm gonna hit on my favorite highlight....the wedding. These 'kids' are like family. I love them for their individuality ......but also for their soft spoken natures. Not only do they have great taste in music, but they have a kind of old school romance about them.....she's a little shy and demure......he's take-charge and humble. I've known Corinna since she was in grade school, and Mo plays bass with me on the worship team. Together they are as charming as they are pretty:Until about a half hour before their rehearsal, I was an ordinary Joe on their guest list. I had offered my help during the months and weeks of planning, but the beautiful bride didn't see fit to cash in on that offer until Friday night........Well, as you can see, I only had a few things going on already, but how can you turn down a sweet girl with larangitis who has lost her voice and is on the verge of tears the night before her wedding?? So armed with two kids and a DVD player, we headed down to the church with a box of Christmas lights. She wanted ambiance and by golly I was going to find a way to give it to her! Besides there is nothing I love more than the behind-the-scenes of a big event! This wedding was jam-packed with personal touches....from the fushcia highlights in the bride's hair, to the giant Giant's baseball shaped grooms cake.
The bride walked down the aisle to a song full of guitar riffs rather than violin strings......I loved it! So much personality, and so completely appropriate for THIS couple! This was the exquisite flower girl. But back to the rehearsal......I had no idea how to execute Corinna's desire for more moodlighting.... but knew better than to ask too many questions. (I ultimately spent a couple hours the next day hanging lights with pushpins...right on the can see the results of my mini 'waterfalls' behind the bride and groom.) The simplicity of twinkly lights added a little something...however rustic the results. It wasn't perfect, but the bride and groom were thrilled, (so who could ask for more?)
It's here that I'll apologize for my photos....the lighting wrecked havoc with my sad photographic skills.....but their expressions are priceless. Here you can see the tears in his eyes.He cried So much that I must say that I've always liked Mo.....but over this weekend I grew even MORE fond of him for all of his tenderness toward his bride and others during his wedding day. He was extremely thankful to anyone who helped out with preparations.....and when he walked in to see my newly strung lights- he gasped! He said it looked beautiful!......what groom usually cares about stuff like that?!?

It was obvious that he was a ball of emotions all day long. My hubby observed that Mo looked as nervous as Jarrod felt on our wedding day. And just like me, Corinna left all the crying up to her groom. Mo truly seemed Honored that he could begin a new life with this stunning bride by his side.
Back to Friday night....while I was there trying to figure out the lights....Corinna asked if I would coordinate the ceremony.....(um, ok,......this could end badly.....or not...but how hard could it be to get her wedding party lined up and make sure the music starts on time??...sounds simple enough.....) She's seen me go into 'boss' mode for YEARS I fell right into the biggest challenge?....making sure her young groomsmen could execute the simple step-together-step walk down the aisle. (unfortunately my husband said they looked like they were waltzing!) Oh well, they went slow which was the bride's ONLY other request..... And other than some VERY late family members...the wedding went off without a hitch :D
We set off leisurely for the reception.....stopping for coffee with friends, knowing that our assigned seats would be waiting for us when we got there.......(and keeping an eye out for the wedding party to return from taking pictures)
It was SUCH an easy, casual night with friends. Oh, and did I mention this was Jarrod's actual birthday? So a dinner out with a hint of dancing fit right into our pre-Maui budget ;)
Weddings can either be torturous or magical and this one fell into the later category!
It's funny, the whole wedding made me think of our kids. So I prayed, God, help these little ones as they grow so quickly. Let me fill up my marriage in the meantime. That neither sleep deprivation, or stress, or illness could strain us beyond repair!

God please protect Mo and Corinna from all that will be thrown their way. May they find quiet moments together now and even after they have their own kids. You're the one that dreamt up all the beauty and love we could possibly experience here on earth. Thank you for reminding me of the exquisite nature of love.....and how it can be framed in fushcia or padded with diapers, but in the end, you created us to love and be loved. There is no greater beauty we can ask for in this life!