Monday, April 26, 2010
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
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...
See you Monday:)
Monday, April 19, 2010
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.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
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...
Thursday, April 15, 2010
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
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.
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
Do you like to win stuff? I came across another giveaway at Pretties and Posies. Love this site and love this painting!
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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?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I know there are many blogs solely devoted to LOST, so I'm not going to give you a recap of the show or anything. I'm just going to tell you my reaction of the show last night because I took note and laughed at myself. Here you go...
"What the heck?"
"What the heck?"
"Oh my gosh!"
"What the heck?"
"Oh my gosh!"
"Oh my GOSH!"
"What the heck?"
"Oh my gosh!"
I'm just going to publicly admit that I am officially a NERD, if you didn't already know. I'm a LOST fan, actually "Lostie" is the correct term.
My husband doesn't like it. He can't stay awake as late as it's on and doesn't like all the puzzles and the flashing forward, backward and sideways. He just doesn't know what he's missing.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
She and her husband were on Focus on the Family yesterday and if you didn't get a chance to hear, take a listen at their website. Btw, today they have Les and Leslie Parrot on so I'm betting it's worth listening to as well. They're relationship experts who teach here in the Northwest at Seattle Pacific University. I've always gotten good practical stuff from them.
I also want to tell you about Bible Study this morning. A lady named Cheryl Haskins came and shared with us about going through difficult transitions in life. And she knows. Her husband died in October of a sudden heart attack. She talked about what she has learned about trusting God through this. It wasn't some fake unrealistic she can praise the Lord and not miss her husband type of talk. You could tell that her trust was real. Her trust was on a deeper level than I have ever experienced in my life.
I know I had the look of being on the verge of tears the whole time.
It was amazing though. Amazing and beautiful that this time she normally would be taking for herself, she's sharing her wisdom with all of us women. Amazing that she didn't cry the whole time, although I was sitting close enough to see her eyes watering.
She talked about the three things that she KNOWS to be true. 1. God is faithful, 2. God is in control and 3. God has a plan. She went more into each of those and everything she said was so right with what I sensed in my heart.
This day started out with my two year old suddenly acting a little terrible, my nose running and waking up right as the bus passed our house (without my daughter). I almost didn't go because with all the circumstances I felt like I should stay home and try to achieve some peace, some order in the chaos.
I found that, but not in disciplining my kids and cleaning my house. I found that today in bringing my focus back to Jesus. (Of course after I got home my kids went down for naps and I got my kitchen clean, but my attitude was better).
Monday, April 5, 2010
I spent most of the time in the kitchen, and was happy to be there. Here's some fruit appetizers. I served this before giving the kids their baskets full of candy in hopes that they were fill up on fruit.
We didn't have money to buy new dresses this year so I didn't really care that about the strawberry drips.
This year I broke the cycle of Easter insanity and waited until after church to give the kids their baskets of candy. No sugar meltdowns at church...imagine that!
"Oh Chocolate bunny, I just love you!"
In church yesterday morning they brought in a live lamb. The pastor went through how sacrifices were so meaningful to the jewish people. It brought tears to my eyes to see that little innocent lamb and think of how it would be sacrificed for the sins of the people.
Jesus was the lamb of God and unlike the lambs which stayed dead, he rose from the grave and conquered death so that we can live.
I had already planned to make mutton for dinner which didn't go over well with the kids who had spent the morning petting that cute woolley little baby. Bill and I, on the other hand, thought it was pretty delicious!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Anyway, I was wanting to write a short story or poem to illustrate some points and what I wrote happens to fit pretty closely with my blog's theme. Also, when I was on the second to the last paragraph I realized that this was really for a dear friend of mine. A friend who's been through trial after trial this past year and also happened to name her baby daughter Grace. Okay, here ya go...
Barefeet in Fields of Wildflowers
Emerging from the darkened forest her bare feet touch the soil still damp with dew. Closing her eyes, she listens again for the whisper of her name. She heard it before, deep in the forest, but now it’s been replaced by the roar of the wind blowing up from the valley below.
Carefully, she steps away from the trees and the roar changes again to whispers against the tall grass and wildflowers. The breeze is warm against her freckled skin and bare legs, hinting at Indian summer.
She opens her eyes and her heart springs forth inside of her responding once again to being called to this place.
Droplets glisten on fiery red poppies as they send glory to the sun. Purple clovers dance in the breeze and violet blue bells ring up and down in a beautiful symphony of color and diamonds.
Tears escape as, amid the display, the desire of her heart threatens to consume the life within her.
What is your desire my child? She hears and her heart cries “Love.”
The warmth of the air envelopes the girl as she trembles in the Presence.
She knows the hands that hold her are pierced through.
She knows the tears she feels anointing her head have waited patiently and lovingly for so long.
My delight is in you, He speaks her name again and healing rushes in like a hurricane.
When you passed through the waters, I was with you. I didn’t allow them to consume you. When you walked through the fire, you were not burned, nor scorched by the flames. You are mine and I love you. I sold cities to pay for you.
As if awakening from a dream she looks up. The wind has taken the various flower seeds and scattered them further down the mountain. Flurries of dust go every which way and as shadows creep through the field, the petals start to come together for evening prayer.
The girl wipes warm tears from her cheeks and gently cradles her abdomen, just starting to swell.
“I know your name my daughter,” she whispers as she feels the life growing within her.
“Your name is Grace.”
Friday, April 2, 2010
The other day I went for a walk while it was getting dark. Emma was ahead on her bike so I took the opportunity to pray (complain to God). Here's how it went...
There's so many unknowns and I'm tired of it. I want my life to be mapped out in front of me. I want to see what's coming and have some warning. If we make the wrong decision, then what? How do we know what the right decision is? Even if we make the decision You want us to make, who's to say we can't lose everything and end up back where we started? (This actually went on for about 10 minutes with the same theme).
Okay, you've said what you have to say, now are you ready for what I have to say?
(a little shaken at the sound of my "prayers" being interrupted by God himself) Um, sure! I mean, yes, I'll listen...
Remember the Lilies of the fields and how I clothe them. How much more do I care about you?!
Yeah, but those are flowers. They don't really have anything. That doesn't tell me anything. We have a mortgage to pay, utilities, we have to depend on other people for things, and we need clothes and food and all the necessities.
Seek first My kingdom...
Right after he said that I got lost again in my own thoughts, except they were taking a different direction. It was like He poured a little faith into me, His faith.
Suddenly I looked up and there was this girl sitting in front of me. She was sitting on a bench and she looked at me with intense eyes and unlike people I usually see sitting around town, she looked full of peace. Almost like she didn't belong there. I said hello and she nodded instead of saying anything and kept on looking at me with these eyes that now I can't forget.
I don't know what that meant and I honestly don't know what's ahead for us, but it being Good Friday, I'm taking the time to fast, pray and contemplate the Wondrous Cross.
Being like the lilies of the field, living a life of carefree worship.