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Monday, October 24, 2011

Jina gets married.

My friend Jina got married on Friday. I am so excited for her. She is a godly woman who really waited for the right guy & God really brought her the perfect match in Andrew. Above is a picture of her dad Bill, doing a puppet show for a bunch of kids at church. Jina & I are in the front row together. That's how long we've been friends. We have known each other from the playground, to the awkward Jr. High years, to High School camping trips, & we event went to college together in Georgia. It's fun to see someone's life from this perspective. A year will go by without much connection & then we will have a talk & I will see God's work in Jina, softening, strengthening, growing & renewing. It's a beautiful thing.

The Rosses with Rachel & I

This picture speaks for itself

Rachel dances with grandpa, shows him how to be ghetto

Mother & Father of the Bride

my parents like to boogy down

beautiful bride

The Gaws

The Daniels

The Kuhns

Jill, Linda, Rachel & I
We had a bridal shower for Jina at my house about a week ago. I was too busy being hostess to take any pictures but it was great fun for me. I love the feeling of Fall & so I was able to do Autumn-inspired food with apple cider & fun Fall decorations. It was a wonderful mix of women who had known Jina since she was young. It has the feel of a mini-reunion. At the end we did a funny "video" with her fiance in a refrigerator box painted like a TV. Since the Hawks are a creative & humorous bunch it seemed just about perfect... plus it gave us an excuse to bring Andrew to the party so we could get to know him.

Friday night was the wedding. It had a beautiful woodsy feel. Here are a few pictures of the dancing. Dancing is always one of my favorite parts of the wedding & I am forever being pleasantly surprised at how many of the people I've grown up at church with love to break it down when the occasion allows it!

G's 1st Birthday

 Last week my nephew Gregory (everyone calls him G) had his first birthday. Since my brother & sister-in-law just moved back here from Texas, I really understand what a blessing it is to able to celebrate these milestones with them. Kelly got into the event, she did an adorable barnyard theme since G loves animals right now. As you can see, the barnyard cake above turned out amazing & the animal cupcakes were so fun too! She also made "milk jugs" below out of Starbucks bottles. She also had plates with animal arms, legs & tails & even the food was kid/animal themed, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, haystacks (sweet potato fries).

G himself just kind of played among the hubub but was supremely happy when given his new found love, corn on the cob, for dinner. Kelly was afraid he would be upset to have to trade in his corn for a cupcake but there was no need to worry. G literally sucked down the cupcake- he loved it! Jesse put together a picture slide show & by the time it was over the sugar crash had begun, G barely made it through is presents before he started staring into space. We were able to wrap up events just in time for bed.

One of the other thoughtful things Kelly & Jesse did was have all the important people in G's life write a letter for his scrap book. Kelly has been writing monthly letters to G on her blog throughout his 1st year so it all tied together. G is a very lucky guy, he has a caring a thoughtful mom, a deep, funny & kind dad & he has a bunch of relatives to love on him & look up to.

A Wrench in the Plans

Last week was one of those weeks I'd seen coming on my calendar, every night was packed, no room for extra commitments, sickness or crisis of any kind to hit. Well of course, we know things rarely go so smoothly.

Well nothing tragic happened but sadly the girl who had been living with us was kicked out of the program she lives with us through which means she had to move out on Wednesday. She had never really bonded with us. She had been pushing herself away from me pretty fiercely so it wasn't a relational loss for her to leave, but I was still sad. I guess she's the first kid to get "kicked out" of my house. Even though it wasn't my decision & there wasn't really anything I could do about it something about is smacked of failure to me. It's the cost of working with foster kids but it still stinks.

On the other had Rachel was "relieved" that she left. Rachel had been in the middle, the recipient of the information about all the sneaky decisions our girl was making, & ultimately she made the right decision to tell me what was going on. Our girl wasn't supposed to know that it was Rachel who told because she has some scary friends Rachel didn't want to get on the bad side of, but in the way things often do the world of social workers & placement moves, the truth came out. I felt pretty angry that Rachel is going to be walking around anxious about getting jumped by those kids, but then I started to realize it could be re-framed to teach her something about character. I want her to know that it is good to do the right thing even if it puts you at some risk & I hope this will help her learn that.

It was funny because the first reaction she & I both had was, "who is going to live with us next?" Right now it looks like it may just be the two of us for awhile. It's been a long time since it's just been the two of us, over a year. It was sweet to see how she has become used to this funny lifestyle we have of people living with us. Having an open home definitely seems to be a part of our calling as a family.

Well I have a lot of happy things to post about from last week... time to get busy making up for last week's postlessness. The spooOOOKKKky photo is a silly preview!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dance till it hurts!

Rachel went to a dance this weekend. Sometimes it's a shame blogs are such public places because I do believe I will have to leave out the more colorful pieces of the whole experience but I can tell you this, she looked amazing! The theme was "Hollywood Premiere" & Rachel chose a beautiful Marilyn Monroe inspired look. Rachel's date was Captain America, she was relieve to see he did not choose to wear tights. My friend Jessica did Rachel's hair. Rachel sat in her black robe getting primped by Jessica & said with her dramatic air, "I feel like Marilyn right now." "Depressed & ready to overdose?" I responded. Rachel did not find my response humorous. Jessica on the other hand was invaluable, she is great with teenagers & with hair. This is her second time doing Rachel's hair for a dance which takes the pressure off me as I am horrible at it.

Rachel is a real fashionista. She knew exactly what she wanted to be what she wanted to wear. The dress she is wearing we found this summer for $4 at an antique/2nd hand store. Her last dress for a dance we got for $10 off the clearance rack. Let me tell you, if you are raising a fashion lover it helps when she is also a bargain hunter. I remember hearing my friend Alyce share recently that it's a great joy for her watch her kids & grand kids excel in areas she's not good at or where she may feel timid or fearful. I totally agree. It is so amazing to see the natural bent Rachel has for fashion, hair & make-up. Her bio-family is really gifted at that as well, it's a special bond they share. She comes at it with an assurance & vision that is somewhat foreign to me. I delight in watching this blossom in her.

Tess gave a us a ride to drop her off as my car was in the shop. After leaving her at the insanely amazing house of the boy she went to the dance with, Tess & I drove away a little depressed that Rachel gets so many more dates than we do... so naturally we went & got a beer (OK, I got a beer & Tess got coffee). We consoled ourselves with the thought that there are a lot more single guys at her age. In all seriousness though, Rachel definitely has that boldness with guys neither Tess nor I possess. As a parent it's frightening, but sometimes I quite admire it. It's not usually manipulative, it just straight forward. If she has feelings for you, she'll let you know. If she wants you to take her to the dance, she'll let you know. If she is mad at you, she'll let you know. Of course I pray this will be tempered with age & wisdom but I admire the ability to put herself out there.

So I think the end of this story is the best. The dance Rachel went to was actually for her date's school where my brother & sister-in-law teach. Jesse & Kelly actually chaperoned the dance. Jesse sent me a picture during the event of Rachel doing her thriller dance. I guess she & uncle Jesse had a great time dancing together. She danced for 4 hours straight (even though her date didn't dance at all) & in the middle of it she got major leg cramps which Jesse had to help her stretch out. Sunday Rachel was walking like a 90 year old woman. She literally danced herself into a crippled state. That's my girl... she is over the top, even when it comes to dancing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad!

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. We had a family dinner on Monday night to celebrate.
In case you didn't already know, I really love my dad. He has been a wonderful father to me & his presence in my life remains so important. He is kind, funny, encouraging, honest, insightful, intelligent & faithful. He is not perfect but he listens to his children, he dialogs with us, he repents to us, he enjoys us. These are all things that have greatly impacted me as a person & as a parent. Dad loves Rachel & she loves him. He has 100% accepted, supported & loved her as his granddaughter & she feels it. My dad seeks to know & enjoy people of all kinds. He is hangs out with the underdog & schmoozes with the big shot all in the same day. His love of life & people has been passed on to all of his children. He has taught us that life is interesting, & colorful, & wonderful, even when things in front of us might be a little scary or rough around the edges. Seeing the world & myself through the eyes of my dad I can tackle challenges, explore possibilities, & put myself out there without fear. Let's be honest, it's nice to have a dad with what my sister Emily has dubbed, "street cred." I will always remember Jessica, Alina, & I sitting at a restaurant in college arguing about who's dad could beat up who. I am still pretty sure my dad would win... just sayin'.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It Takes A Village (to get me to work)

So what have I been up to this week besides not posting on my blog? Well I've worked, hosted small group, helped with a training at our foster parent meeting, done a visit with Rachel's family, & attended a parade, but really all it feels like I have done is deal with my car.

 I have an ongoing car saga that began awhile back when I started to notice some "hiccups" & "jumps" in my car. I took it to the mechanic a few times... they drove it... nothing. Since it was occasional & nothing seemed to be breaking I just chalked it up to the fact that my car was getting older & decided not to worry about it.
Fast forward to last Sunday, my sister Emily & I were sitting at a stop light & my car starts sputtering & stuttering almost dies. I gave it some gas, it came back to life & everything was fine. Then on Tuesday I go from work about 30 minutes South to meet Rachel for a visit with her bio-family. We have a visit with the fam & drive the hour back to our house. We are at the stop light closest to our house when the car starts acting very strange. Every time I accelerate it almost dies. We jerkily ride home. I thank God for getting us perfectly home before we had these problems. I pull into the garage & call my mom to ask if she will drive the girls to school in the morning & then follow me to the mechanic. She agrees.

So Wednesday morning my mom follows me to the mechanic, the car drives fine on the way, I drop it off & my mom takes me out to her house to get my dad's truck to borrow. I drive it the 40 minutes to work. The thing's a gas-hog but I'm thankful dad was out of town so I could use it. I get a call from the mechanic, nothing is wrong with the car, it's driving like a dream. Ahhhhh!!!!!

Thursday morning I pick up my car, drive to & from work (40 minutes each way) & all goes well.

Friday morning I am almost to work when it begins again, the strange jerking & sputtering. I take a break from work & drive to the mechanic, it sputters all the way there. I get out & tell them to jump in the car quick to feel the problem.... nothing. We drive for 15 minutes, it goes smoothly, the mechanic says my car is "shy." I can think of a few other choice words for my car. He explains the car computer system won't always indicate when a part is wearing out or glitching until it actually breaks. I'm about ready to call myself crazy when halleluiah!!, the check engine light comes on (never thought I'd be so thrilled about that)! The code reads that it might be the ignition coil which seems to match the symptoms. They have to order the part. So I hitch a ride home from someone after work & try to rearrange the plans for my 3-day weekend minus a car.

Can I just say that my mom has been the sweetest mom/grandma ever this week? She drove Rachel & I all over the place, even though my dad was gone & she had lots of extra duties. Also about 3 friends have already given Rachel & I rides & Tess even let me borrow her car Saturday night. Also I'm a little bit happy to be stranded at home, so I can catch up on my blogging of course :-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pugs not Drugs

I got the most unexpected package in the mail this week. I can rarely remember getting a gift in the mail so unexpectedly & let me tell you, it's the best! It was myriad of pug-related items that are so stinkin' cute (unless you are a certain friend of mine who hates pugs). My friend Hannah sent them to me from some design company she found online (Etsy, I'm guessing???). Anyway it was super fun & I hope you all see the joy I get from unexpected packages & start sending me cute things in the mail for no reason too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Coming & Going

These are a few less that philosophical insights I had about making the effort to leave kids & responsibilities & go somewhere. On the way to the retreat last weekend everyone I was riding with agreed that they had wondered if it was worth it to go at sometime that week. The planning, packing, & delegation of responsibilities, just feels like added stress. I personally had wonder if it wouldn't be better to just stay home & get caught up on sleep, but I went knowing that once I left town I would be glad I made the effort.

After all that blustering about leaving it turns out that once I left, I didn't want to come back home. I love my life but it includes a lot of responsibility & unending needs to be met. I rode home from the retreat with the dread of laundry and other non-energizing duties ahead of me as well as the cinnamon roll induced stomach ache dragging me down. Inside I was kicking & screamin,g "don't make me go back there!"

What I actually found when I got home was that sometimes when you come home, the dog has peed in the living room but greets you with enough tail wagging & heavy breathing to make up for it. Sometimes you find everyone sitting around the coffee table eating lunch together & and laughing & you almost don't care that you can't get rid of those pesky ants crawling to the dog bowl. Sometimes you come home to find a teenage mom who can't quite keep up with her one-year-old running around your house, but she has made the unusual gesture of emptying the dish washer & the one-year-old is cute, so you laugh & chase them both around too. So I guess what I am saying is that going away is good (in spite of all the work it takes to get there) because it helps you to see thing a little differently & teenagers, dogs, ants, dust & all, home is where the heart is (cheesy, I know). Hope you all have a great weekend whatever you're doing!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Women's Retreat

Last weekend I went on a low key women's retreat with some ladies from my church. 14 of us retreated to a beautiful beach front condo near Monterrey. It was a great size group, just small enough to interact with everyone & big enough to have a funny soup of personalities. The setting was so beautiful! The house we rented was right on the beach & everywhere we turned it was a beautiful beach scene. I felt like I was drinking in the beauty & majesty & calm of the ocean all weekend.

The weekend pretty much consisted of eating, conversation, eating, down time (walks, games, shopping etc.), eating,  listen & discussing a few sermons & of course drinking a nice glass of wine... & eating. I was relaxed but a bit sick to my stomach when I returned on Sunday. Apparently after a few weeks of healthy eating, gallons of coffee & mini-cinnamon rolls did not seem to agree with me for breakfast. I do love cinnamon rolls, but they did not seem to love me back on this occasion.

As the person who is usually in charge of orchestrating most things in my life, & the lives of those around me, it was strange (in a good sense of the word) to be with a bunch of women who had everything done before I could even think to do it. Dinner was made, dishes were done, games were organized, & the trash was taken out & all I had done was talk to people. I felt a little guilty about this but I also LOVED IT!!!!

I especially enjoyed being with a few friends who used to go to our church & who now live elsewhere. It was great catching up with everyone, especially my friend Rebekah, who got married & moved about an hour away last year. Rebekah comes from a big family like I do so it took us all weekend to just to tell each other about the comings & going of all our relatives, and of course to do a little soul bearing along the way. I also got to go on a long, wonderful walk with my friend Alyce. She is more than twice my age but she is such a kindred spirit. I feel so blessed by her & it was wonderful to have unfettered time together. On this trip I had the happy realization that even though I love & admire her so much, she loves me that much too. It blew me away!

One of the interesting things I found out in my casual conversation with so many of the ladies, was how unconventional so many of their families are. From the outside we are a group of typical church-going women with our hair brushed & our nice family photos hung in our various middle class homes, but things are never that simple. As I heard more about people's lives I found out about step-children & foster kids they'd raised, neighborhood kids who had lived with them as siblings growing up, family members with mental health problems, kids they'd given up for adoption as a teenager & all other kinds of interesting family scenarios. It was beautiful to see what God has done & is doing in these women & their families as he is redeeming the broken things & bringing slow healing to all these areas.

So that was it. It was so relaxing I've been going at a little slower pace this week, which is good for me, but apparently not so good for getting out timely blogs.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting My Techie-Butt into Gear

Over the past 6 months I feel like I've been making friends with the Internet. I read more blogs, use more social media, Skype my sister while she does homework (even though we live in the same town) & I feel lost without my smart phone. I am using all of this technology for fun & for organization. Most of my everyday friends are not too techie, they have phones without Internet, they remind me of birthdays (rather than assume Facebook will do it), & they laugh when I reference Pintrist & say "what's that word you just said?" I have however, discovered the other type of person, the ones who dominated Google + a few days after it was launched, the ones who follow Internet pranks, who tweet daily, & who have apps in place of flashlights when camping.

What does my new found love of technology consist of?
Well, it turns out I love Twitter, where you can follow me @SpiceCreamCone (I seriously need some new followers). I also think Pintrist is a fabulous idea! I have yet to really get going on it but it satisfies that need to capture the amazing ideas I read in blogs in one place. For instance I saw this amazing planter someone made out of a pallet in Seal Beach about a year ago & then I recently saw something similar on the Internet. I was able to save the link in my Pintrist so the next time I see a pallet on the side of the road I can snag it & make this spiffy planter! (If you want an invite to Pintrist just let me know.) Most recently I've started being obsessive about my budgeting using It's so wonderful to have my account info in one easy to see place. I am also a big fan of keeping track of my Weight Watchers info online & there is a great app for tracking & figuring out points on my phone. Ok, so I may still have a hotmail, the same one I've had since high school, but at least I finally went through & deleted about a bazillion old emails & organized the rest into folders.

Even though I have been loving the Internet for so many things, it's a tortured relationship. Texting & cellphones are the bane of my existence when it come to being surrounded by teen girls. They text at dinner, while grocery shopping, while Facebooking, while walking & even while showering. Yes, Desiree used to actually put her cellphone in a Ziploc bag & text in the shower. Teens that have a phone with them when they are home alone or even in their room at night are virtually unsupervised with a bunch of friends. It's those "special friends" of the opposite sex who may be on the other end that are the ones I really worry about.
Oh yes the joys & dangers of Skype. Since I currently have friends & family all over the country I love Skype, but let me tell you, that little video camera hasn't always been used for good at my house. I am learning. I have parental controlled the hell out of my computer, I am setting limits with the phones (especially at dinner time & bed time), & I know all the passwords to Rachel's stuff but there is only so much you can do because its everywhere and let's face it, they are way better with technology than I am.

At work we have been discussing the culture change that this is creating for foster parents who aren't nearly as savvy about technology as the kids in their homes. The ones that have been parenting for years have to think about the way they set boundaries for teens in a whole new way. The thing is that they are not alone, it's all parents who are having to adjust & accept that we are in a new era.

But it's not just the kids I worry about, it's me too. When I walk my dog at night I can barely stand the thought of going out without an iPod or a phone. Once I get going & let the silence sink in a little bit I'm ok, I even kind of like it, but getting there is hard. I'm on the Internet all day at work, I make phone calls (hands free of course) or listen to music or the news on my commute to & from work & I really struggle to turn off the TV at night to read, pray, or do devotions. After spending all day at work on the computer I often gravitate to the computer again as soon as I get home. Some days I feel like I have ADD or early onset Alzheimer's only to realise that I am just all wound up inside. My brain is a jumble of info, & inevitably the relevant info gets lost in the mix because like my body, my brain & my soul, need a rest.

My friends & I had an interesting discussion about what it means to honor the Sabbath. I often see "rest" as tuning out, but the more I think about it, rest is something much more purposeful. I think it has something to do with putting aside distraction & experiencing actual, physical quiet. In addition I think Sabbath "rest" involves not only putting aside but putting on the act of worship. I think I need to do a little more of that for me & my household. I am thankful for the Internet & the rise of technology but it might do me good to be a little more Amish on Sundays. I have no idea how to do this. I really have no idea how to bring this to my household. I know God can help me with this & I want to try. I need to try.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday Nights

Sitting at the computer, a lovely web cam shot

I've heard it said that dreams are our brain's way of working out the loose ends of our thoughts during the day. This reminds me of my Friday night musings, working out the week's unresolved, random, & half-finished business.

My Friday nights are not lively affairs. Though I love the routine school brings into our lives I am wrung out by the time Friday hits, no grand desires for a night on the town stir within me, I am pretty much ready for veggin' out on the couch in my pj's or a bubble bath & a glass of wine. Most Fridays in the Fall find me alone. Rachel usually goes to high school football games & any other teen who is living with me at the time won't be caught dead hanging out at home on a Friday night.

I always have mixed feelings about this kind of night. The alone time can feel delicious, no one to please but myself, no other needs, no competing agendas will squeeze out my couch sitting & bubbles baths. On the other hand, sometimes the quiet is a little depressing. I think too much some Fridays. It's a quiet moment to take in the fact that I am alone. Family, friends & kids, fill my life, but in the end I am alone. I am always afraid to blog about these things as I know it can freak people out for me. The truth is that my loneliness isn't always sad, it's just the way it is. Sometimes I just have to sit with it for a minute & let it rattle around in my bones. I would love to be living life intertwined with someone else but being alone causes me to face the reality that we all face at some point, ultimately, it's just me & God. Kind of a deep thought for a Friday night, so I make myself some healthyish pancakes for dinner & take the dog for her walk.

The dog still needs attention on Friday nights, in fact I was a little peeved on this particular night that her agenda did indeed keep me from couch sitting & bubble baths. After feeling annoyance, I felt some pangs of guilt about not walking her till a very cold & dark 9pm tonight, post a Chiropractor appointment, a drop in for a quick happy hour drink with Tess, & then of course the healthyish pancakes.

Walking the dog was a good way for me to let all the random thoughts of the day filter down through my head & out my toes. As I went I wondered if I should have let the dog lick the sugar-free syrup off the plate, but hey, just because my Friday nights are dull doesn't mean her's have to be. I started to worry about the same dumb things about the future I'd been over mulling all week. I wondered for the thousandth time if I am getting sick or if I just have allergies. I thought about Weight Watchers & I felt discouraged after which I gave myself a stick-to-it pep-talk. After all this I wondered hopefully if I am getting better with age, not that I'm any more disciplined, or beautiful, or selfless, but that I now realize that this too shall pass. On the Friday nights of life when all I have in my head is leftover worry & exhaustion & the suspicion that I am getting sick I can assure myself that things will be better come Saturday morning. A good long sleep, a cup of coffee, a bit of time with those I love, and life will once again be in perspective. It may just be God & I, but he is a faithful God. The older I get the more blessed I am to be able to look back & see the history of God's faithfulness in my own life & to know that these Friday night blues too shall pass.

So I go to pick up the girls & they tell me it's sad I've been alone on a Friday night. "We need to get you a date," they say. While I couldn't agree more, my reasons are totally different than their's are. I'm not afraid of being alone the way they are. Being an adult, being old enough to embrace alone time (in however conflicted that acceptance may be), is it's own kind of blessing.

So I wrap up this random post by heading to bed, because things really are that much better on Saturday mornings.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dinner Among Friends

Due to being a bit under the weather this week I am just now writing about last Saturday night when we celebrated my friend Jessica's birthday. It was blustery & coolish after a week of over- due summer heat. We ate dinner outside, a bit of Fall chill in the air, a twilight dinner with laughter & lots of yummy end of summer food. We indulged in cheeses, beautiful salads, little meatball sliders with fresh Parmesan, caprese, fresh fruit, & wine, always great Paso Robles wine.

As it got dark the candles lit the boisterous conversation. We got to tell the stories we don't normally have time for, laugh louder than usual (blame it on the wine), & enjoy the relaxation that comes from being friends for awhile. Most of all we got to celebrate my friend Jessica who is only 25 but who often surprises me in her wisdom, grace, strength & talents. She is a beautiful friend in every way, honest, caring, kind, tender & strong. Jess & her husband have been through a difficult few years so I have seen her character stretched in ways no human hopes to be tested. I have seen God's faithfulness & love for her & through her during all of this & there are few people I could compliment so highly. It's God's doing though, that's what makes it so wonderful. I am thankful to call Jess my friend, along with all the other people from my small group I was able to enjoy in the last light of that Saturday evening. These are some of my favorite nights, unfettered time, good company, good drink, good food.

Monday, September 12, 2011


This was the prayer our pastor, Bill Hawk, prayed yesterday at church. He says it's a combination of his own words, John Piper's & Scottie Smith's. I appreciated it greatly.

Prayer on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
We lift our hearts to You, our King with one voice this morning. And with that voice we acknowledge:
That You alone are God
That You alone are King
That You alone sit on the heavenly throne ruling with wisdom and power.
That "though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet…"
Today we grieve at how far we have fallen and how fully the peace of creation has been violated by sin and brokenness…Nothing in our lifetime has made that more real than the memory of what happened 10 years ago today.
We grieve at the loss that so many people suffered on that day. We pray that they will be comforted by You and your people today as they remember that painful day of loss.
Even as we remember that day of terror, we also choose to remember You, Lord Jesus. You are the Prince of Peace. You are our Peace – the One who destroys all hostilities; those between God and man and man and man. You have come to restore broken things "as far as the curse is found".
You did this by transforming the very worse day of sin and terror into a day of salvation, redemption and hope. The very day when humans tortured and crucified You, You made it a day of salvation by taking the curse of the cross upon Yourself so that we would not never have to face the curse of sin and death. Your death was the death of death itself and the promise of eternal peace.
Because of You, terror is terrified and defeated, we do not have to live in fear. Because of you there will be no more tears and brokenness. So, we do not grieve as those who have no hope, but as people of Hope. Because of You there will someday be no more war, evil, and sorrow.
So, our work and witness for You, King Jesus, is not in vain. We can live as peacemakers, sowing Gospel peace with the absolute assurance that a harvest of righteousness is being raised up and will be reaped. Knowing that as Your Word says, the knowledge of Your glory will cover the entire earth as the waters cover the sea, including Manhattan, Bagdad and Tehran.
So we say, "Maranatha!" Come Lord Jesus, come! Until that day, give us all the mercy, grace, forgiveness and peace that we need for this day.
Hearts and minds turn toward the Muslim world with longing- the kind of longing that brought Jesus to the cross. They don’t have the son, they reject the son, our prayer is that their eyes would be open, see the glory of Jesus and embrace Him as Lord.
We bring this prayer to You through our High Priest who suffered and died so that we might have eternal Hope. Amen.

Friday, September 9, 2011

...take me for longing or leave me behind

I heard this Alison Krauss song on one of my Pandora stations while I was at work today. I had never heard it before, or if I had it had never stuck out to me. I love it! I can't imagine any of the wise adults in my church giving anyone this kind of advice about love but the romantic in me whole-heartedly sings this tune.

Babies & Big Girls alike

I was reading my sister-in-law Kelly's blog today. She was talking about the effect that it has on her when her almost 1 year old son cuddles with her & is purposefully sweet. Even though she is my bouncing baby 16 year old I am just as much of a sucker for Rachel's affection as Kelly is for G's. I know that fact that it has taken so long for Rachel to feel ok about showing me affection makes it all the sweeter but I think my gestures of love to my parents still make them all warm & fuzzy inside too. Lately Rachel has been telling me she loves me each day. She does it purposefully but I can tell it still makes her nervous by the way she'll sometimes say it with sarcasm or add a "...supposedly" to the end. I can also tell she really wants me to notice that she is finally telling me she loves me. For those of you that knew 13 year old Rachel you will understand why even she is amazed at this development. Children can be hard & require great sacrifice & long-suffering but the rewards are indescribable!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Night Walks

I chose the Billy Collins poem in the previouse post because it seemed to connect with this season of my life. The ordinary moments sometimes feel so thick I can taste them these days. It really is the quiet time at home & the summer evenings I've spent walking the dog that have rebirthed my desire to blog. I used to feel such intensity about the new things I was experiencing in life; the thrill of looking off Lookout Mountain at sunset, the musty smell of a church in a foreign country, the fearful rush of indepence, the sensations of recipriated romance, the heart-bursting joy of deepening friendship, the warm stirrings of bonding with a child, & I knew that was something to write about. Those are things you expect people want to read about, but it's more difficult to describe everyday life in a way that isn't remincient of one of those bad Christmas letters where people brag about their kids & try to seem incredible. I get it though. There is something about delighting in your life that might seem like bragging when in fact, it's just part of enjoying the whole thing. I never want to stop being amazed by the growth in Rachel, the cuteness of my dog, the fun of rearranging a room, the hugs from my family, cooking a good dinner, having a great conversation or accomplishing an every day challenge (like cleaning the kitchen at midnight). So I guess that is what this blog is about. It's about the things that pop into my head when I'm having a slow day at work, when I take my dog on a night walk (because I couldn't do it any earlier), when I'm driving, or showering, or going out of my mind.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Ask You by Billy Collins

What scene would I want to be enveloped in
more than this one,
an ordinary night at the kitchen table,
floral wallpaper pressing in,
white cabinets full of glass,
the telephone silent,
a pen tilted back in my hand?

It gives me time to think
about all that is going on outside--
leaves gathering in corners,
lichen greening the high grey rocks,
while over the dunes the world sails on,
huge, ocean-going, history bubbling in its wake.

But beyond this table
there is nothing that I need,
not even a job that would allow me to row to work,
or a coffee-colored Aston Martin DB4
with cracked green leather seats.

No, it's all here,
the clear ovals of a glass of water,
a small crate of oranges, a book on Stalin,
not to mention the odd snarling fish
in a frame on the wall,
and the way these three candles--
each a different height--
are singing in perfect harmony.

So forgive me
if I lower my head now and listen
to the short bass candle as he takes a solo
while my heart
thrums under my shirt--
frog at the edge of a pond--
and my thoughts fly off to a province
made of one enormous sky
and about a million empty branches.