Saturday, January 31, 2009
...sharing a room in Ann Arbor & Alma
...the imfamous blue/green bedspreads
...watching you & Kameron make up "songs for the deaf"
...the time you sweetly assured me when I was 12 that missing one dance was not the end of the world and there would be plenty more
...thinking you had the coolest room, clothes, shoes (especially the wooden healed clogs), and Mr. Bill pin :) (hey, I just realized, I still do!!)
...you on the top of the motor home holding up the Rawah sign
...feeling bad when girls were mean to you
...trying to be invisible when the Scott's came over so I could listen in
...being so proud of you when you were homecoming queen
...the time when I had a crush on Tim Meyer and you coached me on what to say to mom & dad
...the first time you wrote me a letter from college
...your patience with me at 19 as your irresponsible, slacker roommate
...your true joy at my engagement
...the time we argued on the hill overlooking GR and ended in tears & hugs & forgiveness
...your kindness and love when I miscarried
...sharing your joy at your beautiful wedding
...you & Mark being there when Josh was born
...your tight hug and reassuring words when Nate was sick
...your confident assurances when depression clouded my reason
...your always strong faith, no matter the circumstances
This is only a small bit of all the memories...there are so many that remind me of your patience, grace, love, mercy, faith, and incredible strength.
You, my sister, are an amazing woman.
You exude mercy and compassion.
You are cloaked in grace and wisdom.
You are hospitality personified.
You bless each person you meet.
Your strength and purity inspire me.
You are a fragrant offering where ever you go.
I love you with all my heart and wish you a Happy, Happy Birthday.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
"Goofy" becomes not just a descriptor, but the very essence of a 12 year old boy.
My son is at the height of it. Aside from making the "normal" burping and farting sounds, he also has a full repertoire of odd noises and stuff he does.
A recent addition is a sort of cheer...every time he sees me: "mom-mee [clap clap] mom-mee [clap clap]" and on and on and on. I, of course, laugh & roll my eyes as he cheers away.
It always makes me smile...my own private cheerleader.
Last night, in my "Bible study" group, we watched the Nooma DVD "Dust". I've seen it several times and it's one of my favorite Rob Bell videos. The point of it is that Jesus chose us and believes that we can do what he did...live, minister, heal, forgive, speak Truth etc... In a sense, Jesus has "faith" in us.
Amazing. I told my group that it feels like if the President came to me in my shop and asked me to leave everything, move to Washington and be an advisor, I'd think he was crazy. I have no credentials, no experience, no extraordinary talents; nothing that sets me apart from anyone else. Why would he think that I can do what he does?
Yet, that's exactly what Jesus did when he called me; first at 7 when I accepted him as Savior, then at 18 when I answered his call to follow him with my whole heart. He believes I can live in him, through him and like him here on earth!
Wow. That's incredible.
The sad truth is, I don't. I don't lose faith in him...I know he can do anything, he's God. I lose faith in me. My insecurities & fears grip me and I'm frozen.
But I'm not alone. It hit me last night when I got home and my personal cheerleader started his chant, that I have many more cheerleaders; people who've gone before, finished the race, and now cheer me on to completion and Jesus himself believes in me!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrew 12: 1-3
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Yesterday, I spent time with a dear friend who is worried that a significant person in her life is struggling, perhaps with depression.
Today, I work in my shop and sit at my computer and feel overwhelmed with dark thoughts...arrows constantly being shot at my heart.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God
so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then,
with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
and with your feet fitted with the readiness
that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this,
take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind,
be alert and
always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:10-18 italics mine)
Whatever arrows you're facing today, I pray you'll STAND FIRM.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Since the day I was born, someones been trying to steal my identity; he's trying to steal yours too. Full of bold lies and lots of half truths, the Thief will use any weapon he can to attack & steal who we really are. He doesn't want us to live...at all...much less live life to the full as Jesus asserted. He wants us doubting ourselves & God. He wants us to mistrust others and doubt their sincerity. He wants malice & strife. He wants broken relationships to stay broken. He wants you to stay jealous, envious, hostile, doubting, ...whatever your pain or struggle, he wants it to keep you from seeking & finding solace in the only One able to console.
Although I know I'm secure, I've spent a lot of my days "living" as if I'm a victim of this identity theft. Believing the lies and listening to the half truths I forget who I really am. I forget that "I am not my own but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ."*
So, if I'm not my own, did God take my identity? No, God didn't steal my identity, He's always owned it. He's been pursuing me & you since before time began. He knows everything about us. Nothing is hidden from Him...not the most selfless act or the most hideous. He's seen the entire movie of our lives. Amazingly He still loves us and still yearns for us to love Him back.
I know many of you know & believe all this. I guess this entry is more of reminder for me...
*Heidelberg Catechism Question & Answer # 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I am not my own,
but belong—body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
So, okay, Chris, you tagged me and now you're going to get more random info than you could have imagined!
39 Random Things About Me
Tomorrow is my birthday.
My 39th birthday.
I decided that instead of sulking about it*, I'd write 39 wierd things about myself to share with all of you so you'll maybe laugh, know a little more of me, and mainly so lots of people will say Happy Birthday to me! (and yes, there are foot notes for just about every single thing)
1. I'm the youngest of a youngest *
2. I lived in Lebanon for several years *
3. I have a completely irrational fear of hermit crabs
4. I used to be a Coke drinker- but now I drink Pepsi*
5. I love going barefoot and would be shoeless all the time if it were socially acceptable
6. I have the rarest blood type: AB-*
7. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue
8. I have pet theories-my favorite: "thin hip guys"*
9. indecisive people drive me absolutely crazy
10. sunny, slightly humid and 89 degrees is perfect weather to me
11. I'm cold until the temperature reaches about 80
12. I'm completely math phobic*
13. Chocolate is appropriate anytime of the day or night and in any form*
14. Potatoes are the second best food*
15. When I love a movie, I can see it MANY times *
16. I love old things *
17. My husband in 7 years older than me *
18. Louisa May Alcott is probably my favorite author
19. Twig is my favorite childhood book (and best memory for that matter)
20. I still like to believe -pretend-imagine- that fairies are real, and there are whole worlds that exist beyond our grasp
21. Autumn makes me homesick for Michigan*
22. I think I only have one secret I've never shared with another person*
23. Music speaks to my heart & soul like nothing else in this world
24. I am, at the core of my being, a lazy person*
25. Cold milk makes me gag*
26. I've never been to the West coast
**side note-- I just typed out the remaining numbers and realized two things: 1) it's hard to come up with 39 things and b) 39 night as well be 40**
27. I love surprizes*
28. Seinfeld is probably my all time favorite tv show
29. I'm one credit shy of a Spanish minor*
30. Sharing a laugh with my kids is one of my favorite things
31. If I had the means, I would travel extensively*
32. Sporting events make me cry*
33. Beauty makes me cry*
34. Children make me cry*
35. Warm, homemade caramel corn makes me cry*
36. When I'm really angry, I cry*
37. When I'm moved, I cry*
38. When friends say nice things to me, I cry*
39. I love my husband more today than when we got married 18 years ago*
40. I'm not a very good rule follower.*
*let's face it, I'll probably still sulk- you just won't know.
1*that makes my daughter the youngest of a youngest of a youngest--we have high hopes for her future. side note: I learned early on that no doesn't usually mean no-which is a common youngest trait
4*I have no idea when, why, or how this happened and my sisters had a hard time with it, but they've forgiven me
6*8th grade biology-everyone thought it was really cool--so much for 15 minutes of fame
8*developed with my sister while in college, we theorized that some guys are "thin hip guys" meaning they would only ever date thin hipped, big chested women- no matter how beautiful, smart, funny or wonderful the hipped, flat chested woman may be.
12*this is true and not very funny when you're helping your 4th grader with homework or trying to figure out how much quarterly sales tax you owe
13*I ate chocolate ice cream the morning of my wedding to "calm my nerves"
14*"po-ta-toes- boil um, mash um, stick um in a stew"
15* I'm sure I've watched the LOTR movies dozens of times each, not to mention "Room with a View" and "Chocolat"
16* old houses (ours was built in 1886), furniture, clothes, books...
17* I was 18 and he was 25 when we met
21* I grew up there
22* and it'll probably stay that way
24* I've never been accused of being a workaholic or task oriented
25* but I love hot, steamed milk with white chocolate in it
27* sadly, I'm difficult to surprize- I always seems to figure it out or suspect something--however--just last night, my dear Bible study friends managed to completely surprize me (& Carolyn-her bday is next week) with a lovely party!
29* I don't remember any of it now, and was never very good at the grammar part- it's pretty amazing I passed all my classes
31* starting with Italy
32* okay, not the superbowl...Olympic sporting events make me cry...races, beautiful ice skating, people overcoming huge obstacles to achieve their dreams...sniff, sniff
33* sunsets, sunrises, vibrant colors, beautiful flowers, wind blowing over the prairie, leaves changing colors...kleenex anyone
34* not fighting children...but kids laughing, children singing songs with meaning, boys rough housing with their dads, girls giggling & sharing secrets...wiping away tears
35* not really
36* this is true...when I'm irrate I cry- I have a hard time articulating anything into words-so it comes out my tear ducts
37* also true-I pretty much cry about anything and everything-aren't you glad you only know me through the internet?
38* thanks for the many tears, friends
39* he's the greatest blessing of my life-and when I dwell on it--it makes me cry...
40* which is why I completely ignored the "simple rules" Chris spelled out in his tag...
There you go, Chris! Maybe when I turn 42 in a few weeks I'll add to the list!
My turn...but since Idon't know 6 bloggers, I'll just tag the ones I know:
On Being Held
One Family's Journey
One Center. Many Pieces.
Monday, January 5, 2009
No, Brad was not looking at a photograph or something in nature when he uttered those words. He was looking at the surface of my eyeball through this weird contraption in my dad's office (my dad's a retired eye doctor) during an eye exam.
Craters on the surface of the moon are cool; on the surface of my eye, not so much. I had severe corneal damage to both eyes from improper contact use (let that be a lesson to you youngsters out there). At that time, my yet to be retired Dad prescribed medicine and made me wear glasses for a long time. I followed Dr's orders, my corneas healed, and I went back to contacts.
All was well until last Friday. My eyes started to itch, burn, and then felt like tiny pins were repeatedly pricking them. Not good. Needless to say, I took out my contacts. I haven't been to the doctor yet, but it feels a lot like the craters are back. So I'm stuck wearing my very outdated, not quite strong enough, glasses.
I told Brad this morning how much a I hate wearing them. It's not just vanity (although that is a large part of it...they're also circa turn of the century). It's the fact that when I wear my glasses I feel like I'm not really me. Like I'm looking at the world from within some bubble or something...detached, separated, observing instead of participating, disengaged.
It's weird and I don't like it. My perception of my world is distorted.
Perception is everything, isn't it? How we perceive our world becomes our reality. If we perceive an attack we respond defensively. If we perceive a kindness, we respond with a smile. Well, what if the attack is Truth spoken in love and the perceived kindness is mockery that we miss? What's true? What the situations actually meant or our perception of them?
I've been reading about King David (1 & 2 Samuel) and there's an interesting little exchange between David & his brother. It's in the story of David & Goliath and David's asking the soldiers what's happening in the battle. I Sam 17:28 says: "When Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, 'Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.'"
Eliab knew David. He was his brother. David was Eliab's younger brother. Eliab knew David for David's entire life. His perception of David at that moment was a young man with a wicked, vain, conceited heart who'd shirked his responsibilities for the "entertainment" of the battlefield.
God repeatedly called David a man after God's own heart. So was David conceited & wicked or was Eliab's perception of him distorted? Well, since God's God and knows everything, the answer's easy. Eliab, even though he'd known David for David's whole life, couldn't read his heart or determine his motives. Eliab thought he knew something about David that he didn't know. He thought he was correctly summing up David's actions and heart and had no clue that his perception was distorted.
How many times do we think we see clearly when our perception is distorted?
I Corinthians 13:12 says: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face."
We think we know God. We think we know people. We think we have insights & understanding when all the while, we're looking though outdated, not strong enough glasses. Maybe our perception is distorted by our past experiences, our circumstances, our sin, and even our own personality...the cause doesn't really matter. The fact remains that until we go to heaven, our view will be distorted and our perception warped. It seems hopeless.
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." Lamentations 3:21-26
Thank God He comes in with His mercy & grace and opens the eyes of our hearts so at least we can see that we can't see clearly...
p.s. I feel like this post provokes more thoughts than I have space for or would want to bore you with now...maybe I'll write more later.