Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm Coming Back

It's so hard to get back into blogging when I've been away for so long, especially since I tend to be ultraspective where even when I want to write a post I start thinking questions like "Why do I blog?" And obviously that gets me far...

But I started this Facebook group where we're going to be praying and fasting throughout the month of January. It's called 30 Days of Praise and in addition to fasting from sugar and bread, we're going to be fasting from negative thinking and complaining (I won't tell you my husband's response to this...)

So, that's where my blog comes in. I'll be writing daily meditations focused on praise and thankfulness.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ooops...

I didn't mean to neglect this blog for almost a month...

What happened you may wonder...

I'll tell you what happened...

~Summer!~

Sleeping in, going to the park, going to the beach, my children being around all the time, my house being messy, planning meals, going for walks, lounging in my kid's pool, cleaning house, folding laundry, drinking lemonade, planning camping trips, planning our Hawaii trip, obsessively and mindlessly browsing facebook, reading great books to my kids, keeping junior high aged girls busy, attempting to keep my eleven year old's energy used up, staring at the weeds in my yard, sniffling away my allergies, and so on and so on...

I will write soon :) I promise....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

John Mark's CD

This is a good CD. I preordered it at the concert and downloaded it today. Go pick up your copy at itunes.

Here's some lyrics that might convince you. This first song "Ten Thousand" is the one that really touched both Bill and me at the show...

Ten Thousand

Ten thousand glimmering like coals in our chest
Ball bearings drawn to the magnetic breath
Of ten thousand weeping with wings on their tears
Amidst ten thousand voices for ten thousand years
For ten thousand graves yawning unlocked and unlatched
Now ten thousand holes with rocks on their backs
Ten thousand tombs gaping wide singing the praise
Of ten thousand bodies unlaced and unlaid

As the ten thousand highways unfold their doors
For the ten thousand standing on Nineveh's shores
Where the blood of a husband silences wars
For the girl who rises to meet him
And she sings

World, I have overcome you
World, I have overcome you
World, I have overcome
By my song and the blood of a son

Ten thousand rivers
Run red like my veins
Where the bones of men hum
Like a rattling cage
For sinew to cling to
And wind to remain
In ten thousand lungs
For ten thousand days
Breathing like a choir
Of holes in the ground
Where the cynical have lain
Where the cynical go down
Save the gravity of time
Lets go of her drowned
Like ten thousand sparrows
Unlocked and unwound

As the ten thousand highways unfold their doors
For the ten thousand standing on Nineveh's shores
Where the blood of a husband silences wars
For the girl who rises to meet him
And she sings

World, I have overcome you
World, I have overcome you
World, I have overcome
By my song and the blood of a son

And this song "Between the Cracks" is pure poetry...love it!

Between the Cracks

Hope grows between cracks in the asphault
In the downtown ghetto streets that contour
The government housing intentions of my heart
No one notices the daisies don't care
About gang related violence
As long as they get enough air and water and sun
They're all just fine

Who would've thought it but life is finding a way
Through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain
There's a man down here somewhere between
The Saturday cartooons and the dirty magazines
He's raising the dead in the graveyards
Where we've laid down our dreams
His name is Hope

Hope stands high on the 15th floor
On a Christmas tree perched about the ledge of a fortress
A steel that's trying to hard to be somebody's home
As it sees my attention from I-85 though the throws of the day
Were still writhing inside
I lifted my head as I drove home that night and knew
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
Everything was gonna be fine

Who would've thought it but life is finding a way
Through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain
There's a man down here not worried or afraid
That some politician forgot all the promises he made
And he's raising the dead in the graveyards
Where we've laid down our dreams
His name is Hope

Can you hear him outside he's been singing all night
He's saying when you gonna come out from behind
These paper thin walls, your cardboard box realities

Who would've thought it but life is finding a way
Through this wasteland of cynics, concrete, and pain
There's a man down here not worried or afraid
That some politician forgot all the promises he made
And he's raising the dreams in the graveyards
Where we've laid down our dead
His name is Hope

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend With My Sister

My sister has passed her six month mark at Teen Challenge and was rewarded with a weekend pass. And needing rest she packed up and came and visited my house! Can you imagine a house full of five children being restful?

We actually did have a very good time though and lots of good conversations that were waiting for years and years to come about.

On Friday I picked her up in Seattle and we headed to Costco to pick up some pizzas and Capri Suns to feed the entire neighborhood. Then we arrived home and I cleaned up the house while my sister took my oldest daughter and her friend down to a coffee house down the road for devotions and Jones sodas. This was the third week of "Disciplets", Azzie's middle school age girl group and I thought my sister would like to be a part of it.

At 5:30 about 20 kids packed into our living room to eat the pizzas and watch Avatar. The oldest kids were sophomores and Brayden and Ruby were the youngest, with all the other boys and girls in between. Crazy? Why yes I am;) 5 pizzas, 40 Capri suns and a long movie later and I was ready to plan that every week....see?

On Saturday we woke up, got ready and headed over to our neighbors yard sale. My sister was given a cool shoulder bag from Cambodia and I found some cute little coasters with pictures of Europe.

Then off to the Farmers Market. I have to say that I think this is how I'm going to spend every Saturday during the summer. Did you know that most booths at the market have samples??

After that we went home and everyone took naps. My sister seemed to enjoy the rest and enjoy a little freedom. Actually she went a little wild and crazy doing stuff she hasn't been allowed to do for the past six months. Sleeping in, chewing gum, taking naps, checking Facebook, watching movies that are PG-13... We got in the car and my dial was set as usual to the local Christian station. She immediately turned it to a station and blared Led Zeppelin. I prayed that we'd get a lot of laughing in this weekend and we definitely did about her "crazy" behavior. After dinner we went for a walk and enjoyed a view of the bay with an amazing sunset over it.

On Sunday we went to church and she enjoyed seeing people. Then we came home, watched more movies and took more naps. For dinner we cooked our farmers market meal of minestrone and brushetta. We finished just in time to leave and have her back by 9:00pm on the dot.

It was really great to be able to really talk to my sister with no walls between us. We've never had that as adult women and I felt like it was healing for both of us. For me because I sort of saw how far I'd come since I'd been in the same position of really "owning" my dysfunctional childhood.

The bulk of our conversations centered around one thing...being real. We talked about how sad it is that in a lot of churches and Christian communities you're only able to talk about your issues if you've overcome them. Then they can be your testimony, but if you're in the middle of it, then you'd better keep quiet. So then we just build up walls and no one really knows the real us. That's followed by feeling shameful about our "secrets" and it's just this bad cycle that leads no where good.

So I'm pondering today what it means in my every day life to keep it real.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Testing....

Sorry for the somewhat mess here. I'm figuring out some of blogger's new design features and obviously they haven't worked out all of the kinks! ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Still Long Enough To Listen

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a

He who has ears, let him hear. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. Matthew 13:9, 16-17



My house is super still right now. The sun in shining beautifully on what was supposed to be a rainy day. My two older girls are helping at the Annual Boxcar Derby, hoping to raise some money for camp. My middle child is playing outside with her friend and my two youngest are sleeping off their sugar crashes upstairs (we just got back from a birthday party). The house is quiet.

I think it's a part of our culture to love noise and I usually fill up quiet times like this with at least the radio.

But with constant noise when do we have time in our going going lives to just be?

There are two activities that encourage me to be still. Reading and journaling. Well, going for walks in the country is a close third. Reading usually leads me to quiet reflection or contemplation and journaling is a great way to listen because I write down what I've heard.

This is an entry from a few months ago that kind of came out of a desperate prayer. I was in desperate need of some time to be still.

"Dreary day, depressed mood, lacking motivation, headache, so much built up, how do I speak? How do I write? Aching heart..." (I couldn't even form complete sentences!) "Lord I have nothing without you, but why does saying that feel hollow and fake? I need to know today how you view me because I'm feeling like I'm all wrong. Like I'm too much. My emotions, my thirst, my hunger, my longings and desires. It's too much. But not good enough at the same time. I'm deflating...

What is your answer?"

Come my daughter into the sun. Warm your face and stay awhile. Feel me wash over you satisfying your emptiness. Filling it beyond what you can imagine. Rest in me and close your eyes while I fill you with my love. Lay everything aside and in my love abide. Draw near and listen to the sound of my voice as I sing sweet melodies over your aching heart. I am the healer and I'll mend your wounds. I'll calm your fears. I'll give you new dreams from my mind and my heart. You've heard your name when I called you so very long ago, my delight is in you. When you wander I breathe your name, in the gentle whisper of the wind it rides. Listen and I will give you freedom. Listen and you'll see my face.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guess what!

My lil' sister in law, Katie, is engaged! The whole story is totally sweet and would make you cry if you heard me tell it (possibly because I'd be crying) but I'll save that for another day;)

I took some engagement pictures of the cute couple yesterday and thanks to my friend Lemonade Makin' Mama being so sweet and sharing her secret *free* photo editing website, Picnik, I have them to share with you today.







Okay, actually I am surprised that I had them to show you today. Picnik does take kind of long, but I really like all of the features and will definitely use it in the future. Maybe I'll just have to pay for the premium version when it comes time to take pictures of the wedding.....





in.....





I'm so excited.....






Beautiful.....






.....






Oahu, Hawaii!!!!!






Aloha;)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Resting Today

I was just reading Amy's blog this morning, which I now have over at the top of my sidebar by the way, and I was struck by her making it a point, as she has again and again, that she is her husband's advocate since he cannot speak for himself right now.

Then I decided to check up on another friend who blogs about being a mother and advocate for her autistic son. I met Jenni at my wedding because she was friends with my parents. We became friends and I rejoiced when she announced she was pregnant for the first time. I remember seeing her sweet little boy at a play date and wondering why when all the other kids were being rowdy and destructive, her little Andrew quietly played by himself in a corner.

I want to share her story with you in hope that you would find encouragement and also pass it along to any parents of autistic children. There's so much healing in understanding and there's so much hope in knowing you aren't alone.

So, there again was the theme of advocating for someone else and it makes me think, who else out there cannot speak for their self. Children in slavery? Babies yet to be born? Hungry orphans? Drug addicted teenagers? Despairing single mothers?

Now we're in difficult territory. It's hard for me to see needs and long to respond myself. I've heard a couple of quotes that I try my very best to remember...

"Just because you see a need doesn't mean you are supposed to meet it." -Pastor Lindsey Rude said this to me and she may have gotten it from somewhere, but wherever it came from, it was good advice for me.

"Pray first and wait for God to call you to action." -My friend Jill who also has a sensitive heart and I know she struggles with wanting to meet every need herself also.

Lord, let me today act on the needs of those who are near and dear to me, and like Amy sitting by her husband's bed, and Jenni, moving to a different state to find the best education for her little boy, let me meet the needs of my family by bringing them love and encouragement, a gentle answer, a needed hug, a warm dinner and my time and energy. You have the needs of the world in your heart and your tears so give me the strength to rest in where you've called me to be.

I am thankful today for where I am. I am thankful for the opportunity to be home with my children. I am thankful for being able to serve them by making the home a place of peace and rest. I am thankful for being a carpenter's wife and being able to dream and remodel. I am really thankful for this blog world, in which I would have never expected to find the support, inspiration and encouragement that I have. Lastly I am thankful for my God who cares deeply about every single one of His children and who's grace is everywhere around us, but sometimes takes us making it a point to see it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Should I Have Stayed Home?

Let me tell you about my day yesterday...

It was my first day volunteering at Teen Challenge. Have I talked about Teen Challenge? Do you know what it is? It's a year long drug treatment program and my sister just passed her six month mark of being there.

I really hadn't heard of it before she signed up for the program but Teen Challenge is an international ministry, helping people of all ages and lifestyles, overcome their addictions and live their lives as they're called to be. Just seeing the results in my sister has been pretty amazing for she's healthier than I can ever remember seeing her, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The coolest thing about Teen Challenge is that they will treat their residents free of charge, no money to get in and no money to stay in. The ministry relies on the donations of family members and other donors. They also rely on volunteers and after praying about it for quite a while I met with the house director and signed up.

I'm going to be helping girls who are close to graduation, to learn how to set goals and accomplish something before they graduate. T. who I'm helping right now is wanting to go back to school so I'm going to help her do that, navigating financial aid, learning about work study, choosing the right degree or certification and all that. I'm really excited. I feel like God's really prepared me for this.

Even in some ways that I didn't expect. Years ago when I was in school I remember taking so many useless classes like job searching and resume writing. Actually I remember having to write resumes in several different classes and then I got a job from one of my teachers and never had to use an actual resume. But that's one thing that the director asked me to do...to help the girls write resumes. Yeah, I think I can do that...

Anyway, my day...

I woke up, got ready, printed out some information that I was planning on taking with me. My mom got here to watch my kids and I headed out.

I love a long drive in the morning. I sipped my coffee, listened to some music, listened to a little bit of Family Talk (Dr. Dobson's new radio show) and just enjoyed the time to myself. I prayed some for T. the girl I was going to meet with and all seemed good.

Then I got off the freeway and I started to sneeze. I HATE taking allergy medicine and usually can divert an attack with a big class of water, but I was in the car and the coffee wasn't helping. My allergies were going crazy and I needed something to wipe my seriously watering eyes, which were also itching like crazy.

I reached over and grabbed what looked like a clean gray sweatshirt. I wiped my eyes and was totally rubbing them because they were itching so bad. Then I pulled out one of the sleeves which was inside out and noticed quite a bit of dust come off. "That can't be good" I thought, but I kept using it anyway.

I got to the place and looked in the mirror. Good thing I hadn't put on any eye makeup I thought and I dusted a little powder on my reddened nose and headed in.

The girl who I was supposed to meet with was not there. She is the only resident with a car and had to take another one of the girls to the hospital so I went into the kitchen to get some water and talk to my sister for awhile. My sister was kind of looking at me weird and suddenly I felt like I felt like I could barely see out of one of my eyes, like things were getting blurry. I went into the bathroom and almost screamed. My left eye was almost completely swollen shut and the right one was pretty bad too. It looked like I'd been stung by bees or have you seen "The Mask"? It was bad. Luckily I had my sun glasses so I went in the office, left the info for T., wrote down some stuff I was going to tell her and then I had to head home.

So, I'm heading home, spending some more time thinking, listening to music. It was okay how it turned out I felt but then I'm driving along in the left lane of traffic and my car starts to sputter and lose power.



Seriously??? Thankfully there was a little break in traffic and I made my way over to the right shoulder just as I lost all power to the car. All I could think about was that a police officer was sure to pull up behind me and see what was going on. He'd come up to my window and want me to take off my glasses and then what??? Ahhhh....

I quickly called my husband and you know what? He'd just been thinking about me and was going to call me....awwww....soul mates....;)

Also thankfully he happened to be heading my way and would be there in just a few minutes. He didn't have a gas can though. I sat there and waited while my car rocked back and forth from the wind of traffic. It's always kind of scary to be stopped on the side of the freeway. I called and figured out something for my kids since my mom was supposed to be heading to work and finally my husband arrived.

I got in his car and lowered my sun glasses to show him my face....he was like "Whoa, Babe! Can I take a picture with my phone?" "NO, you can't take a picture! I look like the Mask!" "Haha, yeah, you kind of do..." Hmmm....such a sweet sensitive response from my lover....

Anyway, it all worked out from there but I was instructed to go home and go to bed after freaking out when I thought my suburban had been towed (I remembered it being a little further south than it actually was). I think the exact words were "Honey, it can't be good for you to act like this." Hahahaha (me laughing crazily...)

So, I did actually take a couple of pictures, but this was after a couple of hours when the swelling had actually gone down significantly. In addition to calling me "the mask" I also heard the name Warf.



(My nose is pretty swollen too..)

Everything was too ridiculous for me to be offended though. It really was so sad it was funny.

And although I felt pretty discouraged and like I should have stayed in bed and not ventured out anywhere, I realized that's exactly what Satan would have loved me to think and instead I think the truth is that God definitely has good things planned for this experience and those girls at Teen Challenge!



Matthew 10:26-31 says this "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Just Thinking...

Keep praying for Adam. I've learned some things by keeping up with Amy's blog. When she first started writing about Adam's recovery I pictured him suddenly waking up. I thought it would be really cool if he awoke on Amy's birthday (a couple of weeks ago) and I prayed for that to happen, probably along with quite a few other people. But it's not like it is in the movies and the process is actually a lot slower, longer and drawn out. Amy shares about it here and between the emotions, the prayers, the hope and the pain, it's also kind of an interesting process. I also came across Kathleen's blog, who's husband is recovering in the room next to Adam's. Keep her and Amy and their families (especially Amy's young daughter Mackenzie) in your prayers as they go through this process of healing.

* * *

Recently at our women's retreat it was my job to talk about purpose. I really didn't want that job and initially would have rather talked about something else. I mean, there's been so much written about purpose in recent years and what could I say that the ladies hadn't already heard?

Thankfully God, through different circumstances and His clear voice, asked for my eyes to be focused on Him rather than finding something "new" and exciting to share. Over and over I kept hearing about sharing the "plain and simple" message of the gospel of grace.

So that's what I spoke on. I mean, I did ask quite a few times "that's it? There's nothing else you want me to share?" "That's it!" I almost heard laughter coming from the heavens as I realized that "it" encompassed everything and anything of importance worth speaking about in this world. That "it" is the center of everything and should be the center of our lives. That "it" is the essence of power and life and wholeness and healing.

Even then when I put my talk together I included quite a witty introduction that I'm sure would have people laughing and loving me more for saying it...

Then before my turn to talk some stuff happened and, after looking at my speech, I realized I'd need to cut out my whole introduction. Wit, humor and all!

It was the most freeing thing I could do before getting up there!

Anyway, just today I was thinking about specific purposes that I've sort of forgotten about because my focus has been on other things. But like I said before God has a way of bringing our focus back to Him and even though it's difficult to wrap my brain around, when my focus is on Him I see my calling clearer. My calling is to be who He created me to be.

~He created me to be a helpmeet to my husband. Isn't helpmeet a fun word? It reminds me of swap meet and makes me think of drudgery, but that's totally the opposite of it's meaning in Genesis. The word "helper" comes from the word "ezer" and actually means something along the lines of life saver. So, I'm called to be my husband's life saver. (I should add that I do not have a Hebrew dictionary beside me, am not a Hebrew scholar, so I'm going off of how I have remembered what I've read about helpmeets).

~He created me to be a mama. This ones pretty obvious, but sometimes I need to be reminded. I was reminded recently while at a fundraiser banquet, the main speaker was talking about how each of us can make a difference in some one's life. I can't remember exactly what he was saying, but I started pondering my purpose and gifts, etc. and it hit me like a big sloppy kiss on the cheek...I'm a mama. That's what my heart is and that's what the world is in desperate need of right now. Kids need mamas to speak into their life, to give them hugs and make them cookies. And that's what I like to do....for everyone. Okay, so as far as the cookies go, I still have to read the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips, but they do turn out good.

~I'm supposed to be praying. Instead of criticizing. We have some people, quite a few actually, that have some pretty heavy things going on in their lives. Sometimes it's easy for me to see how they can fix it. Then it's easy for me to go quickly to criticizing them for not doing it my way. God's been pretty clear that my prayers are the most powerful thing I can do and after I do that I need to leave things in God's hands.

So I was just thinking even after talking about my purpose and our purpose and all that at the retreat, I am realizing that I still have a lot to learn.

....and isn't it funny how we learn stuff so well while we teach it?

....and isn't it crazy how we find our purpose by living it?

....and (just one more thing) isn't it cool how our healing, wholeness and power comes, not when we're sitting waiting for it, but when we're seeking to serve others?

Yep, that's "it".


Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A View From My Room in December



Okay, I'm sorry I can't do the wordless thing completely. This just made me think of a Psalm that I read yesterday morning.


Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Healthy Soup and a Little Sweet Tooth Satisfaction As Well

Interested???




I have added some things back into my diet, like meat and a little sugar. But I'm really trying to not go back to my cake loving ways. Also, after my prolonged gluten detox I got the point that my body was happy to get rid of it so I'm now living life gluten free!

And you probably won't thank me for mentioning this but after I ate soup and Caesar salad for lunch a couple of days ago, both filled with dairy, I found myself very digestionally sorry about that choice of lunch so no dairy either...

Anyway, I have found some good recipes and healthy options for meals. Here's my lunch today...

This soup I made last night. A friend showed me how using pumpkin puree in soup makes it really filling, which when I'm cooking for my husband especially, is a good thing.


Chicken Veggie Quinoa Pumpkin Soup

(Keep in mind I make a big pot for a big family. I'm sure you can cut this in half as well as make it a vegetarian recipe by cutting out the chicken and using veggie broth instead.)

8 cups chicken broth
1 chopped onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 cup chopped carrots
2 medium sized zucchini's cut into small chunks
2 cans diced tomatoes
8 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup of cooked Quinoa (I guess you could cook it in the soup, but I cooked it separately)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp of coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp oregano
Mrs. Dash if it's not flavorful enough

Saute all vegetables and chicken. Put in a big pot with diced tomatoes, pumpkin and spices. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat to allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Add quinua and serve.

If you're wondering what exactly quinoa is, it's similar to a rice grain but according to the bag (purchased at Costco) and wikipedia, it's a complete protein with a high content of amino acids as well, easy to digest, gluten free and actually closer to a seed than a grain.

I've used it as a side like rice, in a salad similar to tubulie and in soups. Again if you're a vegetarian it will make the soup a complete meal even without the chicken.

And onto my sweet tooth satisfaction. My smoothie is organic frozen strawberries, almond milk, yogurt (the one dairy product I seem to be able to digest), honey and vanilla. Mmmmmmmmm....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

An Amazing Night of Worship

I think I'm a little obsessive about things..... I don't have the compulsiveness at all, but obsessive...I think yes.

I've mentioned stalking people and that's what I'm talking about here.

So, ever since I found John Mark McMillan, I've been checking his blog, facebook, website, etc. for news of him and his band making an appearance in the Northwest.



And he did. Friday night we went to see him at a church in downtown Seattle and it was soooo amazing. Like, I was brought to tears several times, especially when the whole audience sang together to his most popular song "How He Loves Us". It was powerful!

And we've been talking about it and pondering the power of music ever since.

....because there is something mysterious about the power of music. Yes, I know worship can take so many different forms and shouldn't be put be put into a box of singing and music, blah blah blah.... (sorry I've just heard that a few too many times)

....but there is something about the notes, the coming together of melody and harmony, that is as my husband put it, magical...yep he seriously used that word. We couldn't think of any other way to describe it.

One of our first dates was to see Jeremy Enigk, who was best known for being the front person for Sunny Day Real Estate (I think they're known as being the pioneer emo band) and had a sort of short lived other band called The Fire Theft. So, there we were packed into this little hole in the wall venue and as we listened to the music, I remember feeling so close to Bill and knowing right then that I loved him, truly loved him and he truly loved me. I think that was the night I knew we'd get married. I don't remember exactly what made me think that because we were just sitting together, holding hands and listening to the band...but it was then that I knew.

So, lately we've had a difficult time coming together. We're just so busy and it's been a fight to have us time instead of each of us just making sure to have me time and his time....am I making sense? (I'm really tired)

But at the show on Friday there was one point in this gorgeous song where the lyrics went something like this....

"And she says 'Whoa-oh I have overcome, whoa-oh I have overcome the world, by the song and the blood of the Son.'"

I was leaning against Bill, crying as we all sang together that line over and over. Bill took my hand in his and we raised our hands together in worship.

And I knew God was giving us that moment together as a glimpse of what he's doing in our marriage and in us. A glimpse of purity, oneness and a love that encompasses that.

Oh and I can't leave out telling you about meeting Mr. John Mark himself. I just had to plow down a couple of people and went up to him, dragging my poor husband behind me. I just stuck out my hand and said "Hi, I'm Jewel!" (picture big happy grin on my face.) "What an awesome show...thanks for coming to Seattle". Then I introduced Bill and we went on to tell him about how my brother in law looks like his bass player's twin....

But...I forgot to have someone take a picture of us. I was in the car kicking myself and going back and forth between going back to tell him that I NEED a picture for my blog and him thinking I'm a stalking freak. I ran out of time thinking about it and our friends drove off...

Oh well. But I should mention I stole the above picture from his facebook page and it's not in Seattle. My husband took a couple of pictures on his phone but they were all of the guy who looks like my brother in law...sheesh!

What do you think of music being "magical"? Have you ever experienced that?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ahhhhh.....

That's me breathing a deep breath of no stress....

Except I do actually have a lot of it...but I'm just not feeling it. I'm choosing to breathe today instead.

I'm going to write soon about our lovely women's retreat and all sorts of other fun stuff that's been happening around here.

But my house is messy and I feel the need to keep to my priorities today of taking care of my home first and then "playing" with all of you;)

In the meantime, please keep praying for Adam and their family. He is still in a coma and Amy is faithfully updating her blog. Grab a box of kleenex and read through the whole month's worth of posts. I feel like I'm watching a love story unfold...

ahhhhhhh........

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Off Again

First of all keep praying for my friend Amy and her husband who's in a coma after a motorcross accident. She's updating her blog daily now and seriously I can't get through a post with tears in my eyes! Go visit Ramblings of a Root to join people in prayer and see the story unfold.



* * *





And yep, I'm off again...

Well, tomorrow, but as it approaches I'm really feeling the hours counting down quickly.

Hours to do loads of laundry.

Hours to finish writing my talk for Saturday night.

Hours to grocery shop, pack, clean, you get the idea.

Not enough hours....

I am getting excited about my talk though....and nervous. I know that if you've read my blog for awhile you would think I did this a lot but if you know me in real life you would know that I'm actually pretty quiet and have a hard time even speaking up about things in a group.

It is definitely one of those things that just gets better with practice though. I don't visibly shake anymore...at least I don't think I do.

Anyway, the theme this weekend is "For Such A Time As This" and we're using the book of Esther to show women the process of preparation, positioning and purpose. Although the three people speaking will probably talk about all of those things we're each supposed to focus on one aspect and mine is purpose.

That might sound kind of easy since all I would have to do is find my old copy of "The Purpose Driven Life" and quote random chapters, but I like to complicate things:)

I don't even remember the Purpose Driven Life but I do remember the first line...."It's not about you..." I know what the author was getting at. That we should stop figuring out our purpose with our self-centered ideas and focus on God since our lives were His plan.

But I think our purpose is somewhat about us. It's about us being reflections of the gospel of grace, or in other words our purpose is about us reflecting Jesus. That's such a simple message but one I think we take forgranted. We (I) tend to over complicate life, over intellectualize God, or just forget about it.

But when I was thinking and praying about what to share this weekend I just kept coming back to the simple message of the gospel.

My friend and I were talking and despite the fact that I'm going to be talking this weekend about love, Jesus, etc. I was kind of going off about a particular mother who has a boy in Emma's class. The mom drinks all day and I was saying how it is so sad that her son is not properly cared for.

My friend told me the story of this woman who grew up in an environment filled with drugs and abuse and then chose that for her own life as well. God brought her to a Christian organization because she was homeless and had been kicked out of the local women's shelter. Well, it's been three years and she's off the streets and graduating from the community college as a certified drug and alcohol dependency counselor. She said of the organization "They loved me until I loved myself".

Wow, that could totally be the mom I was criticizing!

And God totally did that for us!

So, a part of reflecting the gospel is remembering how exactly God loved us until we loved ourselves, or if we aren't there yet (c'mon none of us are completely there) surrendering to that process and surrendering to His love. And then we're supposed to do that for others.

Simple but hard right?

Well, I've also been learning about the fruits of the spirit and the thing about fruit is that the tree doesn't put forth effort to grow it. An apple tree produces apples because it's an apple tree. That's it...

The first fruit of the spirit is love and if we're filled with God like we're supposed to be as His children, love is going to be produced in our lives without effort.

So, that's along the lines of what I'm going to share this weekend. I get to go last so I can also add in a bunch of stuff, repeating and reiterating what the other two speakers said so that's taking a lot of my stress away about this.

If I don't get the chance to write tomorrow, be praying for me please. And have a good weekend!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Please Pray!

My friend Amy's husband was in an accident on a dirt bike track on Saturday. She now has the story on her blog. Please stop by Ramblings From a Root and pray for Adam's healing and peace and comfort the Amy, her daughter Mackenzie and the rest of their family.

Thank you!

~Jewel

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All Or Nothing I Say...

I've avoided telling you this but I'm afraid I have to spill it so bear with me and try not to roll your eyes.

I'm on the extreme eating plan once again, otherwise known as a Daniel Fast. Fruits, veggies, rice and beans is all I'm eating. I've cut sugar, gluten and dairy and well, quite frankly, I'm miserable!

I must be going through withdrawals or something and I don't even know which thing I cut out is to blame. I think maybe gluten because last time I did this I still ate whole wheat flour.

I'm moody!
My throat hurts!
I'm feeling super bloated...
I'm moody...
My body aches...
My restless leg syndrome has returned (?)

But I'm on day 4 and in a couple more days I should be feeling great! And hey, I am obviously an all or nothing girl, along with my all or nothing husband so this is what we gotta do.

You may be wondering what is it about this particular diet/fast that keeps me coming back again and again. Well, when I was talking to my mom about it a couple of days ago the reason came to me.

While I was growing up our diet consisted mostly of beans, lentils, veggies, rice, soups and well that's about it.

Every once in awhile we'd complain...probably when it was lentil night...and my mom would tell us the story of Daniel and his friends and how they refused to eat the Kings rich food and instead ate "pulse" (beans and veggies) and when it came time to test the men, Daniel and his friends were found to be stronger and smarter than the men who had eaten the Kings food.

The story was told so many times that it just stuck I guess.

I didn't realize that another reason we ate that way was because we were pretty darn poor and that's what we could afford.

Until when I was about eleven years old I went to a friend's house for dinner. This friend's mother knew what my mom served at our house and she made it a point to serve my brother and me steak for dinner. She informed me that steak was "real food" and I should go home and tell my mom how much I enjoyed it. Then she went on to yell at her children for accidentally tapping their forks on their plate.

Yeah, to this day I'm not a big fan of steak.

And sometimes I'm scared if my silverware clinks on the dish.

Stay tuned for some yummy vegan recipes....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pink With More Freckles

That's what I become during summer. No tanning for me. This girl's Irish skin is meant for rainy weather I guess:)

My friend Dejah came over today and we had such a lovely afternoon sitting outside, sipping coffee, laughing together, crying a little, sharing our experiences, thoughts and hearts with each other.

And now I'm smelling of aloe-vera because my arms are completely pink!

Some conversations are just worth a little sun-burn...

(Wow, dermatologists would love me for saying that!)

One of the things we discovered was that, in coincidence, we are both stalking the musician/songwriter John Mark McMillan. He wrote the song "How He Loves Us" and from his facebook, website and blog, not to mention his music, he seems like such an interesting guy. I'm not saying we're gonna drive by his house or anything....well if he only lived in Seattle we might. But pretty soon he's coming to the Northwest and we're gonna be there!

I know I might sound a little ridiculous being a married woman, but do you read the Twilight books? Then you have nothing to say to me;-P

Here is a little documentary about the song. I realize that I've added music to my blog so you'll have to scroll down and press pause on my playlist.

Now I'm going to go and tend to my disturbingly warm skin

P.S. The single for "How He Loves Us" is available at itunes

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flip Flops & Painted Toes

We had a great Mothers Day yesterday. We went to the beach, ate, sat on blankets and watched the water, hiked barefoot through the woods with the little ones and spent quality time with the family. I was so relaxed I forgot to take pictures!

My mom and dad and brothers came so it was good to spend time with all of them.

With the nice weather this week while at Old Navy I bought everyone their first pair of flip-flops and even before we went to the beach I was noticing everyone (me included) was in dire need of a pedicure.

So, this morning I got out my stuff.



I soaked each child's feet, used a sugar scrub, soaked them again because they were really filthy, patted their toes with tea tree oil, massaged with mango lotion and polished in the color of their choosing (okay Brayden didn't get to choose). It was so much fun.

Sometimes it makes my day to do a little something extra for my sweet little tornadoes;)



And I didn't say Brayden didn't get his painted. I just said he didn't get to choose to the color. Here he is again showing off his "manly black" toe nails;)


Did you have a lovely mothers day?

Friday, May 7, 2010

For All The Other Mothers

It is absolutely beautiful outside right now and I don't want to be a downer in any way, but I've got some things on my mind.

Mothers Day is honestly sort of bittersweet and this afternoon my girls were reminding me why, so after I spent some time in my room with God (lots of tears as usual) when I still didn't feel complete release I thought it better to tell someone else. So, lucky you;)

For me Mothers Day is bittersweet because our daughter, Ahzryia, goes to spend it with her real mom. On this day I'm reminded that I'm just the step-mom and honestly I don't really like that role. When we go have fun at the beach or wherever we end up, it will feel like someone is missing and that will be on my mind the whole day. Then when I look at the pictures later or post them on here I'll be reminded again and feel sad all over.

I've heard that the pain of childbirth reoccurs again and again throughout the life of each child. Have you ever heard that? It's so true. Because every time they break away from you or say something that reminds you that they're really not yours it hurts like birth over again. Actually (I hope I'm not going too far into melodrama here) it's worse. Because the pain is not physical and something you can clench your teeth and bear through. It's cutting through your heart, the core of who you are as a mom! And I don't believe you had to physically give birth to the child to feel this pain.

So, on to my positive conclusion (are you still reading?)...

Do you see that lovely bouquet of roses at the top? They remind me of the roses that the greeters hand out at the church doors on mothers day. Well, if you can relate to what I said then those flowers are for you.

They are for you if you've lamented that there are seriously NO positive examples of step-mothers out there. (Oh wait the movie "Step-mom"...but still, only one???)

They are for you if you've understood why there's no positive ones out there after you've reacted badly and are feeling like a total failure once again because of it.

They are for you if even though you've raised the child, cared, cooked, cleaned, worried about and loved the child, you've never felt truly appreciated and think that possibly you never will.

They are for you for holding back on all the things you could say about the real mother.

They are for you if you've had difficulty loving the child after feeling rejected yourself.

And onto another topic because this has me thinking of other mothers who aren't step-moms but also might see the holiday as bittersweet.

They are for my best friend, who was seriously born to be a mother! She is going to be an amazing mom. But her and her husband have been trying to get pregnant for 7 years. I wonder if she goes to church on Mothers Day.

In fact if you consider yourself an "Other Mother" somehow and this holiday devoted to "real mothers" is either bittersweet or your least favorite holiday, then these roses are for you.

I have to rest now in knowing that God has things figured out. Also He knows the pain of wanting and he knows the pain of rejection.


You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts On Prayer



Since it's the National Day of Prayer I thought I'd share one of my favorites, The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. We sing this song during worship. It's beautiful.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Oh, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen


How could he write such a beautiful prayer? Actually according to wikipedia (my 11 year old daughter scolds me for it not being a reliable source) we aren't sure if St. Francis wrote it or if it was written by others in "the spirit of St. Francis". I like to think he wrote it as he was living his communal life and walking through fields of tall grass with butterflies landing on his hands (Have you seen Brother Sun Sister Moon?).

When I was little, the sky and mountains were my cathedral and the wind and birds were the orchestra. It never occurred to me that my Father wasn't listening.

It wasn't until I was older and sitting in a church building that I felt like my words were going no further than the roof. Time and experiences I'm sure were to blame, not the building itself, but still, it makes me wonder...

I learned to pray in nature so why do I stay shut up in my closet now? Or save my words for Sunday morning?

I'm not sure if this relates to prayer but I read this yesterday and it really struck me how God looks at His children as a loving father. It seriously put tears in my eyes.

Hosea 11: God’s Continuing Love for Israel
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
As they called them,
So they went from them;
They sacrificed to the Baals,
And burned incense to carved images.
“I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them.
“He shall not return to the land of Egypt;
But the Assyrian shall be his king,
Because they refused to repent.
And the sword shall slash in his cities,
Devour his districts,
And consume them,
Because of their own counsels.
My people are bent on backsliding from Me.
Though they call to the Most High,
None at all exalt Him.
"How can I give you up, Ephraim?"
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come with terror.
“They shall walk after the LORD.
He will roar like a lion.
When He roars,
Then His sons shall come trembling from the west;
They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt,
Like a dove from the land of Assyria.
And I will let them dwell in their houses,”
Says the LORD.

* * *

I used to have a problem waking up at 4:30 - 5:00 am and then laying there with a restless mind for up to an hour. Then I'd fall back to sleep moments before I needed to be up and my whole morning would be spent dragging myself. Now I have my clock radio set to go off at 5:00 am every morning. Focus on the Family comes on then so when my mind would otherwise be fully rested and awake and ready to roll, it gets distracted back to sleep by the talk and this routine actually helps me get up when I need to at 6:30 am. Hey, it works for me.

So yesterday and today they've had whole shows of prayers. The feeling is sort of surreal to wake up and fall back to sleep to the sound of different people's praying voices. Really peaceful.

Do you ever have the feeling your prayers are not heard? Do you ever go somewhere outdoors to pray?

Monday, May 3, 2010

It Feels Like The End Of An Era...



Actually I just finished my diary. I am an avid journaler and feel like it's an essential aspect of my emotional, mental and spiritual health, not to mention it really helps because of my horrible memory, and as I got down to the last few pages in my diary my entries started to look like this...(these one liners are whole entries)

February 23rd: "I hate not fitting in."

March 1st: "I am so frustrated!"

March 3rd: "I guess I'm having a difficult time finishing entries lately..."

I think I was feeling like for what would probably be my last entry I should write something big. Some big "aha" moment and nothing was coming to mind. I definitely didn't want to end it on a negative note...

I do think that someday my daughters might enjoy reading my journals and although I write freely for the most part, keeping that in mind helps me try to see the good in things that I write and not to dwell too long on negative emotions...which is a good thing!

Anyway, I'll share most of my last entry with you mostly because it tells the whole story of the retreat and I wrote it when everything was fresh in my mind. Here you go...

April 25th: The Lord brought me to a womens retreat this last weekend. I actually just walked in the door. So now I have something big to write;) And sort of conclusive I suppose...

I left on Friday morning feeling fragmented, with heavy burdens and heavy eyes sooo wanting to cry.

Actually something happened on the way over there and my left eye started bothering me and watering terribly. By that evening I had to remove my contact but left the other one in so I could at least see. Seeing clearly out of one eye is first of all frustrating, but during the night session of worship and sharing I started to feel light headed and my ears started ringing. By the
time it ended and everyone got up to go have dessert I felt like I was going to pass out.

I took the other contact out and laid down to calm my heart which was racing by this point. When I felt like I could stand I went up to bed, blind and frustrated. I felt like some amazing things were shared, heart wrenching things as well, and I had not been fully there for those women! I felt like I was under the enemy's attack or something!

Hmmm...I do believe that nothing can touch me and God's children that's not ordained by Himself and also He works everything for the good according to His purposes.

I heard the stories that I needed to hear. The rest was tuned out by my distractedness...

The next day I was able to put my contacts in and I spent time with a few of the ladies but enjoyed getting to know one in particular. Her name was Lynn. We had some similar circumstances in our lives that it gave us the opportunity to connect on a much needed deeper level.

One of the things that we got to talking about was how each of us were once single moms and how we would take our children places. She said how she didn't let not having a husband stop her from taking her son on trips to Disneyland, the zoo and other family oriented places.
We also agreed that we always were looking for a husband to fill the empty spot on our adventure. The spot that we tried hard to mask for our little ones.

Lynn said "If we, looking in hindsight, can see how perfect things were, why don't we realize that about how things are now?" Wow! That penetrated my heart to the core and I started to cry and told her that was exactly what I needed to get out of the whole retreat. We both cried more and talked more, opening up in a way only God could plan for me.

I felt light seep into the cracks and crevices of my soul and suddenly my eyes didn't feel so heavy and the urge to cry disappeared.

The evening session was good and I was able to share some things that were on my heart about grace and the healing that I've experienced in my life over the last couple of years. I shared the verse about God's grace being sufficient and His power being made perfect in weakness.

The evening was so sweet.

This morning I woke up and while I got ready in the bathroom I thought of everything shared during the weekend. It was pretty amazing because what I did hear on Friday were things that I remember about my own past. God wanted me to be ministered to and just spend some time receiving the beautiful view from the mountaintop so to speak. He has carried me far.

I love the verse in Isaiah 43 about going through water but not being overcome, going through the fire but not being burned. He paid for my ransom because He loves me.

The thought is overwhelming.

Also with the older women there I see that He's not done with me yet. That there's hope and a future and the things we're walking through right now (the perfect things because they are part of God's plan) are going to eventually end but I can choose to have joy right now....and peace.

I'm feeling very full of love and grace at the moment and my prayer is that it spills out and positively affects the lives around me.

I'm looking back and I've been writing in this journal for three years now. In some ways I feel like I've taken some steps forward and some steps back but I rest knowing that God has me in His hands.

So there you go:) Sorry that some of that was repeated.

Oh and this is kind of strange. I for one don't believe in coincidences and realize I probably drive people crazy coming up with themes and theories but get this...when my eyes were having problems it just seemed so weird and I kept asking God what was going on. I kept thinking of Paul being blinded on the road to Damascus. That's about all the information I can give you about that because I haven't read that story for awhile, but the thought was there nevertheless.

Then I got home and my kids had gone to church with my mom that morning. They showed me these colorfully scribbled paper plate masks and my mom told me they were learning about Paul being blinded on the road to Damascus! They had holes cut out for the eyes and they covered them up to see what it would be like to be blind! Isn't that weird?! I don't know what that means but like I said I don't believe in coincidences;)

Now I need to go search for a new journal!

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Good NOT To Be Numb

This post wont be too long. I'm tired! Too much relaxation for me;)



I am excited to actually tell you about the weekend but I have to tell you just now about the epiphany that came to me as I was kinda summing things up in my mind.

It's good to feel!



So often when going through difficult things, painful things, depressing things, I wish to either skip through it, numb myself or escape into distractions, but feeling that pain helps me feel the love as well.

Isn't it funny how aha moments also kind of come with a "well duh..."?



This weekend with it being a pretty small group of women of different ages and backgrounds, I felt like I got a view of my life in whole. I mean, there's a lot more I could go into, but overall, I saw my past in some of the younger girls and felt the pain they were going through in beginning to deal with the reality of life pretty much. I also saw the older women who had been through stuff and gotten through it and their suffering made them beautiful.

Overall it was all beautiful because we were all feeling it. There were tears of pain and laughter as well. Genuine 7th grade slumber party laughter that went on until our awaiting ice cream sundays took priority.

I'll tell you more later, but today I really need to rest from all that rest.

Enjoy the pictures though. Seriously isn't this gorgeous?!?









Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Bags Are Packed



Well not really, I still have some packing to do. C'mon, I'm a save it to the last minute kind of girl.

I guess that's not entirely fair to myself. When I leave for anywhere there's a lot to be done. Planning meals, grocery shopping, planning my family's schedule (usually not to be followed but it's there if they need it), sometimes making meals (in this case a huge pot of chili), laundry (cuz it won't be done while I'm gone), picking out clothes for church...basically you get the idea. Sometimes it's more work to go.

But did I even say where I'm going?

A Women's Retreat in a quaint little Bavarian town just on the other side of the mountains.

A restful weekend with 14 other ladies who are all old friends.

This isn't my churches retreat. That's next month. But sometimes when you're on the ministry team and you help put the retreat together, it's not exactly restful.

So, this wonderful woman who I consider one of my other mothers, thought of me, invited me this weekend and paid my way.

So this weekend I'm looking forward to spending time with the girls, enjoying the what is forcasted to be beautiful weather...

journaling....



...relaxing in a hot tub, overlooking the river...(here's a picture of my new swim suit. It's cute and flattering...finally, I've been looking years for this).



See you Monday:)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Saying I'm Sorry...

I really should have kept my mouth shut...



I'm in trouble with everyone today. Yesterday was going so good. I got to get to know a friend a little better in the morning. The sun was shining beautifully. We had sold some big junk that was taking up ridiculous amounts of garage space. We loaded up the rest in five HUGE garbage bags (those industrial ones) to take to the Goodwill.

Yep, I was feeling good. Then it happened. This girl is back in the neighborhood because she got suspended from sports for drinking and having bad grades. This girl has hurt my daughter. This girl makes out with boys in front of my house on the play ground. This girl wears her bikini and short shorts all summer again at the play ground. Can you tell I don't like this girl very much?

Well, guess what! She's 13...

Most of the reasons I don't like her have to do with wanting to protect my own kids and I've really struggled with going between that and knowing that I should love her because Jesus does.

Long ago I said "I want to be the mom that everyone can come to. I want to be the house that everyone wants to hang out at." But seriously, when it comes down to it, that is not an easy thing to be.

Other people seem to do it but I'm sure those other people don't have the control issues that I've had or something. I don't know. I really want to say they are just better Christians than me.

So anyway, out of my frustration yesterday I said the above mentioned girl was acting like (well something that rhymes with 'but'). It got back to her. And I caused a 13 year old girl to go home crying.

Yep, that's me.

And to make things worse my first thoughts were along the lines of "well she shouldn't behave like one..."

Then I felt really bad! Like really really bad!

I'm going to have her come over and apologize sincerely when she gets home from school and I'm going to refrain from the "well you just shouldn't act like that..." lecture.

Talk about having to practice what I preach. I really believe that we should treat all people like they are sweet innocent little children, no matter where they are in life. We are called to "speak the truth in love" and that means seeing people's true selves, as in who God created them to be, and helping them to see that person as well.

Pray for me to calm this wild fire I started and that this will bring about something completely positive in this little girl and me and this neighborhood and town we live in.

Happy Monday;0)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Rainy Rainy Day

Yep, it does rain a lot in the Pacific Northwest! I always try to tell people it doesn't and that's just something people say to keep all those Californians from moving up here, but it's true.

We just become so accustomed to it. Here are a couple things you need to know about true Pacific Northwesterners...

~We don't carry umbrellas or own really any rain gear at all. We walk through the rain like we don't notice it since usually it's just a light drizzle.
~We know the difference between drizzling weather, rain, showers, rain with a chance of showers & showers with a chance of rain.
~We also notice the difference between cloudy with sun breaks and sunny with clouds. There is a big difference if you can believe it!
~Just because it rains around here doesn't mean we all don't slow down to 20 mph in a light drizzle. Okay, not me, I'm the one lecturing about not knowing how to drive in the rain behind that person!
~On the first sunny day above 65 degrees shorts, flip-flops and tank tops can be seen on absolutely everyone! Also, so many people comment on not recognizing the orange ball in the sky and everyone thinks they are clever for saying it...LOL!
~When the temperature hits 90 we feel like we're gonna die!
~At the end of the summer, for that first good autumn rain, everyone goes outside, still in their shorts and flip-flops, looks up and thanks God for the cool goodness coming from the sky:) It's really true.

But today we were planning a yard sale and it was going to be our busiest day and we were rained out!

We did make enough yesterday to put gas in our cars and I was blessed to buy a bottle of shiraz, which tasted oh so yummy with my chocolate covered raisens and went oh so well with my not one, but two romantic dramas, "Bright Star" and "Once".

A perfect evening for Period minus 24 hours;)

And because of that and all the feelings that are threatening a huge pity party on my end, I'm going to leave you with a couple of highlights from the movies. The first is a poem by John Keats.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

And here is a song from "Once". I love songs that go along with the rhythm of my heart in theme and beat...

Sigh....lovely:)

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Random Is All I Got

    First of all if you haven't gone and visited Megan's blog, head on over and check out her "Week of Giveaways". In celebration of posting 500 times (wow, I'm so behind her) she has some really cute handmade items and the contests are wrapping up soon so don't delay!

    And on to cute things said by my kids. I just love them and seriously laugh all day long at the amazing way they view the world.

    Ruby and I were shopping at the local grocery store when we noticed a couple of birds flitting and flying through and above the produce section. We watched them for a few minutes before getting on with our shopping trip. When we were leaving the store Ruby said "Mom, those were cute girl birds." I said "How do you know they were girls?" She said "Well, they are mommies". "How do you know they're mommies?" "They're at the grocery store!" Haha, yep, that does make sense...at least around our house.

    Emma came in from playing in our very diverse neighborhood. Well, actually we sometimes feel like the caucasion minority. Some kids were telling Emma that she was "just full American" and she was not happy about it. After asking insistantly what else she was I finally said "European-American". She said "A what??? What is a 'peein' American'?" I started laughing and then she said "No Mom, you're a peein' American!" I almost died!

    And on to more serious matters. The last time I posted I wrote about Maryam and Marzieh. I was feeling completely burdened for them and decided to go on a little fast/hunger strike until I heard word on them as well as something else that we've been praying about. At dinner on Tuesday I seriously felt like I was gonna die! I had planned to make one of my least favorite meals (one that the rest of the family begs for) so I cooked fish and chips. I mean, greasy store bought fish stix and crinkle fries from a bag...eww...

    But while I cooked them they looked and smelled soooo yummy. Seriously it was a pitiful sight. Me going back and forth in the kitchen not knowing what in the world is going on and praying that we would get the answers to our prayers so that I could dine on the grease....

    I still haven't heard about either thing (I don't know how long the trial was going for so I'm sure prayers are still needed) but I did cave in to the food.

    I know, I know, people go for much longer than that without food and don't act as dramatic as me! My husband pointed that out kindly when he saw I had a plate as big as his.

    I broke my strike with faith that the prayers are already answered, whether I know what's going on or not.

    And again back to non-serious things (I said this was random). I've been spring cleaning like a mad woman and we're getting ready to have a yard sale this weekend. I'm feeling so good about going through each room and purging our lives of excess junk. I really hope someone else wants our junk.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    For Such A Time As This Sisters!

    Many of you follow Beth Moore's Blog. If you don't or aren't familiar to this mother in the faith (hey she's mine at least), please go familiarize yourself. By the way, her blog has a new look and a new address and it's much more easy to follow now in my opinion.

    Anyway, on to matters of crucial importance. Beth and Living Proof girls have been updating us about Maryam and Marzieh, Christian women in Iran. The following letter explains a lot and has the prayer request as well so I'll just leave you with this and ask that you join me in support of these courageous women.

    Maryam and Marzieh need our prayer.

    They spent 259 days in prison for their Christian faith. After their conditional release on 18th November 2009 from Iran’s Evin Prison, they have been convalescing and receiving medical treatment for the past five months.

    Both of them still remain unwell, weak and suffering from various illnesses. However, despite their frailties they are determined to be faithful to the Lord and speak the truth in court whatever the consequence or personal cost.

    Maryam and Marzieh’s court hearing has been set for 13th April 2010.

    Therefore, on their behalf, during the next five days leading up to their court hearing we request your prayers.

    Pray that:

    The peace of God will protect their hearts and minds and keep them safe.
    They will completely recover from their illnesses and be strong physically, mentally and spiritually.
    They will know the presence of God in the midst of their trial.
    They will be set free.

    Maryam & Marzieh would like to express their heartfelt gratitude for your prayers that have sustained them throughout their hardship.

    Thank you for praying.

    The Elam team

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Thankful...

    First of all, My BFF is hosting a week of giveaways leading up to her 500th post! Today she's giving away a cute homemade coffee cup holder and there's a ton of ways you can enter to win, so go on over and visit Megan at INfertile Myrtle.


    Do you like to win stuff? I came across another giveaway at Pretties and Posies. Love this site and love this painting!


    Don't you?



    * * *



    So yesterday I kept having this weird feeling come over me. I'd be going about my day, making lunches, reading stories and wiping noses and then there it would be out of nowhere.

    I was feeling thankful!

    Last night I reflected on this sudden effortless bout of contentment and decided I better make note of this feeling on this here blog...

    My husband is traveling across the State (seriously, clear to the other side) for work, but I am so thankful that he has some work.

    Also speaking of my husband, he had his guys group last night. Him and a group of guys meet every other week at a Pub and share their lives over a beer. I love that he has a group of real Christian men who can be there for him, encourage him and hold him accountable in ways that I can't as a wife.

    I also love that every other week I get to meet with the wives and do the same thing.

    I'm thankful for the town we live in and that sometimes I hear what's going on in the world and feel like we're miles and miles away from it all. Not that this place is perfect, but it is a place where people know each other and talk to each other at the grocery store and the post office and the park and the school and the churches.

    I'm thankful for my kids and the opportunity I have to influence them right now, especially my growing girls who are letting me know daily that they're not going to be here forever. Imagine not realizing that until they're gone, which I'm sure is true for me on some level, but still I have an idea and am trying to make this time count.

    Not to sound redundant but I'm so thankful for my husband. He's truly my best friend and although he's probably completely different than how I imagined him to be at 12, he's a hundred times better and our marriage is also better. Seriously, my girlhood dreams of prince charming pale in comparison to this life of mine.

    This is something kind of new but I can truly say at this point that I'm thankful for the hardships we've faced over the last couple of years. I couldn't always. Well, maybe I could at points of clarity but for awhile they were few and far between. Suddenly (and I believe it happened at the beginning of this year) I feel like I'm living my life with clarity. Sadly it happened with some of the most difficult things I'd faced at all, like friends leaving and loneliness, bitterness and hurt threatening everything. I guess I could share more about it later, but I'll just say I was in bed, completely depressed and shut off from the world, but God found me there and ministered to my broken heart.

    Whoa! I didn't mean to go there! It's pretty amazing, I always find that when I start writing or speaking what I'm thankful for, more and more floods my mind and soon I'm in this place of peace, contentment and yep, tears!

    Last but not least I am thankful for blogger's autosave! Right after I typed the word tears the computer shut off in a windy power outage. I was so happy to see this was still here when it came back on:)

    So what are you thankful for today?

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