Friday, May 29, 2009

Fountain of Youth

Life sure passes quickly doesn't it? I remember being 5... like it was recent. A few months ago my friends sent me some pictures from high school... those memories are like yesterday's memories. When I look on the faces of my high school friends, I have such sweet feelings about them. High school is so much like FB... maybe that's why I love FB so much. You never realize that high school is the time of your life till your out. I am one of those people who forget to appreciate moments while I am in them. Sometimes I have to step out of myself to remember to enjoy life. I get caught up.

I would love to do so many things over again! Mistakes made, words said, opportunities missed... would love to change a few things. (Is this where Disney pops in and I get hit on the head by falling debris and I am suddenly back in high school?) There are boys I wouldn't have wasted my time on, and boys I would have spent more time with. I would have loved my friends more and realized how special they were... and were going to be... instead of worrying how they felt about me. Maybe I wouldn't have been so hard on myself as well. I loved to drive by myself with the windows down and the radio on... I would have done much more of that!

I don't think in 20 years I'll look back at myself now and think... a lot of the things I think I'd think. I wish I could ask "Older Beth" what she should have done differently... but I can't. I wish I had mentors and older friends who could encourage me in the Lord, but of course... hiding away now. All I know is these kids God gave me are beautiful... I want to be a blessing to them. I could literally hold them all day long if they'd let me. God feels that way about me. My empty fixes are so sad... why don't I just run into His arms when I'm feeling lonely? He said He'd never leave me or forsake me. I do know one thing because that thing has remained steadfast throughout my life... I can't ever look back and think of a time where I didn't want/need more of Him in my life... He is a never ending fount of goodness. He is true love, the likes of which this world has never seen until Jesus came.

Whether you're high school, or old school... may you find this fount and drink deeply, drink longingly, drink continuously... you will be filled.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You're Beautiful... you're beautiful... you're beautiful it's true!

Have you ever had an identity crisis? I think I've had two... I'm in one now... I can't tell if I'm becoming a new person or just need to find my way home. Any advice here? Anybody, anybody? :) A lot of the things that used to make me a better person are teetering on the edge of something... and at the same time, some new things are entering in which are lovely in their own way too.

In the midst of all this, I am still a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister... again I want the desert island ever so. So much so that you shouldn't get me near the ocean now or I might make a swim for it. I know this stuff comes in seasons. I know if you talk to someone over 60 they will tell you to just hang in there that everything pans out... or as the Bible says, "All things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose in Christ Jesus."

I feel a bit lost in dreamland now... not very rooted or grounded, yet going no where. I am lonely, but I don't want to be around people. I am tired, but I don't want to rest. I am out in the open, but hidden away. A freak maybe... The rest of you look great though :) Real life is a bit unappealing to me now... Bills, illness, children leaving the home, children left to raise, marital trials, family issues... oi vey!!! My head is down... I am plowing right now... can't seem to get back in the rat race... tough stuff... anyone else struggling?

Arise oh dreamer... wipe the slumber from your eyes! Mmmmmm... easier said than done. I know one thing I need to do... above the tread mill, above the daily chores... I need to be grateful. God hates ungratefulness... He surely does. Maybe this is a one day at a time, one thank you at a time kind of thing. So here I go... thanks for bearing me out.

My God!!! Thank You!
For redeeming me, first and foremost!
For a husband who has loved me deeply and loved You most of all.
For children who are well and safe and beautiful.
For friends who put up with my awkwardness.
For a home with four walls and a roof and all the extras.
For forgiveness of sins!
For Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!!
And lastly, for HOPE!!!

I want to be with God in Heaven forever and I want all of you to be there too cause I love you ALL! Truly! I beg you each to seek Him. Without Him there is nothing real, nothing that lasts!!! Grab hold. You will still be you... not crazy like me... that's my thing :) You will just be saved and on a path that leads to life. One prayer... reach out to Him, He loves you, He created you and He created you for His good pleasure. Romans 5:8

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When I am on your shoulders...

My second child, oldest boy, graduates this Saturday. Yes, I do feel old, seeing as how this is the second child to leave the nest. It was very hard when our oldest daughter went away to school in '05. I couldn't believe that was all there was to parenting. As their high school hands them their diploma's, we parents are handed the certificate of "You're done... move on." Very nice, thanks! She did great out on her own, worked almost full time, went to school and attended church. We are very proud of her. As our son embarks on his future, it seems less scary. First of all, because he is a boy and that alone makes you feel safer, but he is very responsible and takes care of business before I have to say anything to him. He is what is known as an "easy kid." Never gets into much trouble, hard worker, never lets me down. I love him awful.

Having kids is so interesting. They're always a little bit you, a little bit your spouse and a little the person they will become. I can see a lot of Paul's qualities come out in the kids and I love that. I was at a special dinner party the other night... our oldest boy was with us (child #2). As Paul started talking about some interesting subject, my son's eyes glazed over... not the bored kind you might think... ha! No, it was the glaze of a boy soaking up every word his dad said. I had never noticed that before. He was just interacting and listening to others, but when his dad spoke on an interesting subject, he practically went into a trance. It was beautiful to me!

My oldest daughter's the same way with me. She is fiercely independent. If I said something was hot, she would grab it with both hands to prove me wrong. Yet she always allowed me to pour into her life... more than anyone else. She is totally her own person and a little bit of me :) What a weird process... raising this kid up from the time they are a nothing but a lump till they are an amazing beautiful functioning adult! I love her awful too!

Paul and I have had a really bad 2 or so years. Really bad. It's not that we haven't had plenty to be grateful for... things were just tough all over. I got very weak... very tired... not really myself. I used to be very strong... felt like there was nothing I couldn't do. Now, I feel like I've been hemorrhaging for a long time. The great thing about God being my Father is that when I went through all this, I was still a little bit Him. If I had been all together myself... I would have not made it. We need that... that parental influence speaking into our thoughts and decisions. Reminding us not to get too close to that cliff, to the traffic, to the deep end.

Things are just starting to look up again. Man, it's slower than I would choose, but there is hope in my heart again. God is so good! I am never deserving of His gifts... not one! But if it weren't for His constant presence I would not be here to receive a single gift He has given. He's always guiding, speaking, teaching, growing, and loving me, even when I just want to disappear. I wish I had never made one mistake where my kids are concerned... but they learn even through my mistakes. How incredible that our Father is a perfect example... when I face my times of hopelessness, His example is clear, deep and wide, no sign of unfaithfulness in Him. Thank you God for raising me... now please, raise me up.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm looking at the man in the mirror.

Paul has always stretched me... and I have to say, I don't love it. Physically, I am very flexible, my friends and I have always joked about it, cause I am not in most other ways. He is just so darn open to life! I was born with some kind of Bah-Humbug chromosome that was passed on to me. He likes to go out to lunch with people... I being the "white recluse" do not. I like anything that has to do with getting deeper inside myself where no one will bother me and my thoughts :) So he asks a couple, their two kids and her mom. I find out about the impending function on the way to the restaurant as they are driving behind us. Nice. I ask who it is, in between heavy sighs, and it is a girl I like very much. She is Native American (N.A.) part of the Black Foot tribe, and her mom is someone I have grown to care about although haven't spent a lot of time with. Paul says he felt lead by the Spirit and I realize it's probably true, but can't help but throw out a whiny, "Can't you talk to me about these things first?" Of course then we wouldn't have done it and he knows that... oh yes, he's a keeper.

So my friends mom (I'll call her "Mom") spent most of her life in residential school. That was the imposed schooling the white man forced the Native American into... (although she doesn't like that title, she prefers First Nation.) "Mom" is dogmatic about her views and has a right to be. For five generations the N.A. people were abused sexually, mentally, emotionally and physically. FIVE GENERATIONS of N.A. children being sexually abused under the "church's" name! When I grew up the most I knew of the N.A. was that they gave us corn at the first Thanksgiving and that Tiger Lily from Peter Pan was prettier than Wendy. I mean we've all learned a little since then, yes... but an entire people group are living in 3rd world conditions now and have been messed up to the core, without hope of ever seeing their world the way it once was and very few are even talking about it... except for "Mom"... and she is pissed! Ha! I really like this lady... I know it's a stretch for her to see me as anything other than a white man, but I know she loves me too.

I forget that I am white sometimes... We go to a church that is culturally diverse... no words to describe how beautiful it is. It's not that I think I am black or brown or any other color... I just forget I'm different. When I grew up, I heard the stories of what the white man did to people of color. I learned it from Good Times and the Jefferson's more than I did the history books... but I didn't identify with those white people. I thought we were new white people... I didn't even know any racist's (as far as I knew) but that is what some people see when they look at me... I am one of them.

I know that's how the world views Christians too... us and them. I know God made us each special, unique... even our races etc. are special, but inside... we're all the same. I have been too deep inside myself for 3 years now so when "Mom" told me that, due to the abuse, her people were deep inside themselves and couldn't get out, I selfishly took the opportunity to glean. I asked her how does one get back out? She said it was due to technology... we hide in the TV, porn, what have you... (facebook) she said we need to get back to nature... to the land. I knew the answer, but I asked her if she thought we could... as a world... go back to the way things were... she said no. Eventually everything would be covered in cement. Let's hope that doesn't include our hearts.

The Atheist isn't a God hater... he's a God-not-knower... There are those though who have knowingly chosen their Master. The Bible says if you don't serve one master then you do serve the other so choose wisely. I can't control the way anyone sees me. I may look like my ancestors... (whether that's a slave trader or a safe house provider) or I may look like the religious leaders (the hucksters or the Billy Graham's) or I may look like my Father who loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to redeem the lost. Get me to the latter God. I want them to know You... even if I'm all they've got for now! Let me someday, be a truer reflection of You.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Please... no apples!

School is winding down... teachers everywhere begin to have normal heartbeats again... parents begin to breathe erratically. What an amazing person is a teacher. I know there are a few who heard there was a job that had summers off and enlisted immediately, irregardless of their dislike of children... but for the most part, it is an amazing group if individuals who rise like cream to the top of the jar.

We spent three years going through the foster care program in order that we might adopt again. Even moved 15 miles south of our lives in order that we might get a house big enough for all these lil eggies. Foster care never takes this long... three years to get approved is unheard of. They just kept messing up. So now child # 2 may be moving out and we could get a smaller place in our own home town again... life is so weird... lessons to be learned. I could never be a normal foster parent though. These people are not human. They are amazing aliens or something... They take in a child that is not their own, love it, care for it and send it back to the parents who abused it to the point of it being taken in the first place. It kills them, but they knew the rules going in. I am one of those people who would move to Brazil with the child and hide there till they forgot about us before I ever gave it back. I can't give my love away completely to something that isn't mine. I would hold back... not wanting to be emotionally crushed, and the child deserves so much more.

I say that thinking of the teachers. My daughter is one of those who will deeply love each child and will suffer loss each year as they move on. Not all teachers truly love our children, but what they do is an act of beauty. Child # 3 has some serious ADD problems, but he is very intelligent and gets good grades so we don't yet want to medicate him. I think (in some cases) medicating them, keeps them from becoming who they are supposed to be. What if God had a huge self control lesson lined up at age 15. They wont need it, cause the medicine will do it for them. What if they had relational troubles... social troubles... what if that created in them the most compassionate heart that formed their life and career choices one day? I don't know... I'd do anything to take away their pain... but it is through trials that we become strong.

Child # 3 had the greatest teacher on earth this year. She was so understanding and kind to him. She has an ADDer at home herself. She "got" him. Maybe at some point in her life, she struggled herself and grew a compassionate heart. I am a bit of a pill popper... necessary, but still. One thing I haven't wanted to do though was to take a pill for emotional issues. I may not be able to control my thyroid, but I do want some control over my mind. I mean if I were at the point of suicide or a point where I simply couldn't function, sure... but it seems there has to be room left for suffering... for growth. # 3's teacher got that... she said we should do as we felt lead. I loved her for that.

So to all you teachers out there who are hanging on by your fingernails during this last week... what you do... when you do what you do right... is gold! Gold I tell ya!!! You may not hear it enough, you may not reap the benefits here on earth either... but for every kid you got through another awkward, painful, embarrassing, hurtful year of life... all while teaching them and throwing in a few good memories... there is no profession like yours... there is no one like you! You Rock with a capital R! And from someone who is incapable of giving my love to someone and then giving them away... thank you, thank you, thank you, for making that effort!!! We love you. We appreciate you. We honor you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hold me.

Ok, I have no desire to blog today... too many burdens to bear... but what a perfect way to say... I only have one refuge. Please take a listen to one of my favorite singers/song writers that ever existed and who lives now with his Creator.

Cut and paste

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Home is where the heart is.

When I was a kid, I felt different than everyone in my family... (and in the world... ha!) Didn't we all? I remember when I was around 10, I would search through my parents files and things sure I would find some kind of papers there that said I was adopted. I guess they hid them well cause I never found them. 30 years later I look at my youngest child... she loves her baby books, her photo albums. She has looked through them a hundred times and asks the same questions and repeats the same comments. Her favorite story is the one where we got her for the first time, at 10 months old, and when they handed her to us... she was the only child in a room of redeemed orphans that wasn't crying. All the other babies were freaking out, but not our baby. She simply soaked it in.

I have always been enthralled by the fact that the Jews were God's chosen people. Chosen? How do you get that gig?! I wrote a song to God once where I asked Him, "Who am I to You? Gentile or Jew?" It goes back to the rejection issue obviously. To quote Paul's favorite band, 'I want Him to want me.' 11 years ago, I was picking out my first e-mail address... I had been reading my Bible and I realized that when He grafts us into the vine (in other words makes us a part of His family) we become Jews by default. Hence my e-mail name "graftedjew" try to explain that one to all your business callers. :)

Child # 4 (the one I've been talking about) has 4 names... (First, 2 middle and a last.) She only has one Chinese name, but we wanted her to have a part of her heritage. We wanted one of her middle names to mean "I belong." We tried very hard to find the correct translation for this meaning, but they don't share our thought pattern for "self" in China. With over 1.3 billion people in this country, they do not go searching the spotlight as we do... yes, Americans are a special kinda breed. The more literal meaning of her name "Shuyu" is more like, "I belong to Paul and Beth." Which is not what we were going for... but the sentiment is there... she belongs.

I don't know about you but I forget Who I belong to at times... I forget my life was bought with a price... that I was saved from the fire... that Someone redeemed me from a room full of orphans and made me His own. We get disconnected. If my daughter all of the sudden developed a grand interest in China to the point that she was willing to forget about her family here and renounce her citizenship... I don't think I could ever recover. Where would I get another her? Coming from a country of over a billion to a county of over 300 million in a world of nearly 7 billion... she is the only one like her. That's true for each of us... we were created for a purpose, redeemed at a price, loved and yearned for by the Creator of us all. Adoption is an incredible gift... If you are lead to adopt... you will be blessed... if you have been adopted but you have forgotten where your home lies... turn the horse back towards the barn. If you have not been adopted yet... maybe it's time to be grafted in... pray friend... pray! He will never turn His back on a child seeking a Father... a child wanting a home. You are wanted.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Work it out baby now...

Hi, my name's Beth... and I lack total understanding... wait... let me rephrase that... I totally lack understanding. Yes, that's it. I don't get people at all! Over a decade ago I realized this was my fault and not theirs. I could hardly think of one relationship in my life that I didn't feel conflict over... that's when I realized God was gonna scrape this up outta my DNA and work it out of me.

I know a lot of people didn't like the book, The Shack. I thought it was ok. Not great, not awful. Some people thought it was sacrilegious cause God was represented by a woman. The Bible clearly states over and over that He is a man, if you wanna believe the Bible... since it is the originating manuscript concerning God... makes sense to me. C.S. Lewis had Jesus represented by a Lion and Satan by a white witch so... whatever... The Shack wasn't supposed to be literal. Anyhoo... in this book, the Spirit of God is represented by an Asian woman... kinda floaty and awesome. The main thing I got out of this book was concerning this entity. The main character was working in a garden with the Spirit... he couldn't believe what a tangled mess it was. As they kept clearing away the brush and weeds... he finally asked what the garden was... the Spirit said, it was his heart. Wow! That really ministered to me... I have SO much junk in me and get so easily confused... I love that all the garbage we endure/survive is really a process of being cleaned out!

I was playing Scrabble with someone this morning who I always liked, but I kinda thought couldn't stand me. Don't ask me why I kept going back... glutton for punishment (coming from myself.) Turns out it was just a long, hard, cold, true winter in his parts and he came out as friendly as could be. I kinda beat myself up over that a little too. When will I learn I can't be responsible for peoples reaction to me? My husband is so good at this! Water off a ducks back... must be nice (big sigh.)

I think it's possible though that people like me (and I know there are millions of us) are the way we are for a greater purpose. Sometimes I feel like I can see into a person's heart... which, if they're hurting and need someone to truly feel their pain, can be a good thing. But these gifts, like everything, get distorted... what God gave for good, Satan wants to use for evil. So instead of wondering what is hurting someone... I wonder why they're hurting me... so selfish... and yet, so hard to ignore!

I know you have gifts... a compassionate heart, a desire to serve, a love for the lost, a love for the found... doesn't matter... it's God's gift to you... to give to him. Just like a Dad gives a child money to buy his Mom a birthday gift, God allows us to be a part of His greater plan. I hope I can encourage you that 1) you're not always gonna be like you are today... that barren land will be a thriving garden one day... and 2) don't let Satan twist what God gave ya. There is enough craziness to go around... breath in, breath out... and let go. God will work it out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I can't help... falling in love with you...

How are YOU today? :) I wish I knew... I have really loved hearing back from everyone... I am beginning to think my blog is something to be ashamed of... no one writes me here... only in my inbox like they're embarrassed to admit they read it. Well, don't feel bad! I would be embarrassed too. Ha! But I do love hearing from you... Sharing life is so important and there is so much to be gained from it.

I already told you about my sweet friend who doesn't know the Lord yet cause he thinks he is an Atheist ;) I truly care about him and his fam. There is another cool dude (I somehow end up with more dude's than dudette's from Scrabble, don't ask me how it happens.) This guy cracks me up... I don't think he'll mind if I share about him... first 'cause no names, but also because he is really outgoing and loves to talk... hmmm... wonder what we have in common. He was divorced last year and I just had this feeling like maybe that wasn't the end for them... His ex is a Christian... he goes to church with her and his kids sometimes... very sweet, but you might think he hadn't spent a lot of time in a church from the looks of his wall.

I actually told him once that his wall was vile. Ha! There was no where I could look without cringing... (He was very surprised by that :) The other day, out of the blue he says he thinks it's interesting that we ended up Scrabble friends... I thought maybe God had something to do with it cause I pray for him and am in his corner so to speak. Anyway, he's kind of a tough guy... likes the bars, the girls, the choice words... stuff like that. So when he said he wanted to become the man God wanted him to be and that his wife needed... I was shocked... Man! God works on His own time. You can pray for someone for decades or 10 minutes... He has a plan for each life... so pray also for this fella and his fam... as for all of us... there's a battle going on for his soul.

I tell you this to encourage you to open up with people... I find it easier to open up with strangers than people I've grown up with. I told my own mom I didn't even want to know she read my blog cause it makes me so uncomfortable to be so vulnerable with those who know me well. But women are especially able to open up fast. You stick two women on a bench and within 5 minutes, they will know each other's life stories. It's just the way we communicate. If a woman holds back while we are vulnerable with her... we're like, "How she gonna be like that?!!!" We expect give and take.

One of my favorite authors is Rob Bell. He has this quote (couldn't find the direct one) that goes something like this, 'Love with an ulterior motive isn't love at all.' I used to go "street witnessing" where you would share your faith with strangers. I have stood toe to toe and head to head with screaming, angry abortionists and men breathing beer down my face as they yelled at me. I always tried to relate to them 'cause I knew if we'd met under different circumstances, we could be enjoying each others company. But I can't fight that battle for their soul. I can only do one thing... love them. And if I am only loving them to see them saved, then I am not really loving them. There have been a few wives/girlfriends who thought their husband was spending too much time with me (believe me, I don't blame them one bit!) and they would make him drop me from their list. Funny thing is... with nothing in common, no chance or desire to meet... I felt like I'd lost a friend. And here I thought maybe they were the ones receiving!

I pray you find a sweet atheist, tough guy, lesbian, old lady, preacher's kid, alcoholic etc., etc. to befriend... all I know is... I'm reaping the benefits as God moves on their hearts.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Feels wrong to blog on a Saturday... like I'm for sure not gonna have anything to say... hmmm...

Just did the dishes... again! Paul mowed the yard yesterday... again! Do you ever get the feeling like you're just spinning your wheels? Doing the same repetitive things over, and over and over again... repetitively! :) Washing dishes used to drive me bananas. We lived in AZ. and I would let my mind wander and dream about living in Franklin TN. I would wash a dish for like 15 minutes before I realized what was going on. You know how long it takes to do a sink full that way?!

I figured out the secret a while back... Don't think. I know that sounds impossible, but seriously... a person like me could go insane with all these thoughts! I remember an episode of Get Smart where 86 had to turn off his thoughts or... can't remember... something bad... and he succeeded. I have never forgotten that! I wanted that super power! My husbands G'ma had a trick that's the closest I've come. When she couldn't sleep, she would see each thought on a blackboard and erase it. It works for me... erasing fast and furiously... course then there is chalk dust everywhere in my dreams, but nothings perfect. Try it.

This world is decomposing... That brand new dishwasher is on it's way out the minute you use it... it's not getting any newer... same with your awesome BMW... er Pinto. And from the minute a baby is born, it begins to die... God willing that kid will have 90 years, but every day is a step towards eternity. Lately I've had such a hard time focusing... too much Facebook time, no doubt! But I can't help it... I love all of you... I really do. From my dearest friends, to people I never really got along with, to people who I couldn't have less in common with if I were an Alien (shut up.) I really love you.

Reading my Bible every night again has been helping, but I'm changing so much... a Christian's evolution :) I used to be very black and white... still am, don't get me wrong... I am a one main view kinda person. But I am learning to take God out of the box. He covers so many areas... He leaves nothing untouched... like the Dalits... the "Untouchables" in India... total outcasts. He's touching them. How could any area of my heart be left untouched? If He is able to do so much with so many... how could he not do an infinite amount with one? Gives me hope. I'm always needing hope.

The truth is, I'm dying... so are you... why haven't you surrendered to Him yet? You could blame the church... and every Christian you've ever met, but I've told you, they're not any different from you... just people who need Jesus... and are supposed to be loving on you... on each other. When you gonna let Him expose and reveal your heart to you? How you gonna hide from God forever? You can't. You can turn off your thoughts... but He's still there, thinking of you whether you're thinking of Him or not. This stuff... no matter how poorly presented or represented... is real. Look into Him... let Him look into you. If you're like me... you've got some stuff in there that's still untouched.

Friday, May 8, 2009

S'jus like Hootie says.

Wow, I got nothing today, but this is free therapy so lets see where it goes :)

I've had several people comment on what a "good person" I am... when you talk about God... you look better. Anyone that comes near Him, just looks better. My heart is so selfish and wicked. James (in the Bible) says that if you know to do something and don't do it... you have sinned. I think that's kind of cool cause that means God can put anything on any one's heart... we're not clones. Like if I told one of my kids to do a chore and not the other... then the child who disobeyed would be guilty of just that... while the other child would be guilty of nothing.

At the women's conference I went to, one of the speakers, who weighs 90 lbs. soaking wet :) said she was addicted to food and that she couldn't leave the grocery stores parking lot with out popping a brownie in her mouth. I wondered if the brownie itself would have been different in her car or in her home... but that was the voice she heard in her head so it was good that she listened... we don't want to live in self condemnation either though... that's Satan's job... let him have it. Sometimes though, if you're hungry, maybe you should eat a brownie. :)

I've shared that I've been kinda sick... and in Nov. It got really bad and just stopped eating altogether for the most part. I eat when we go out and at dinner time mostly... and not a lot at that. I cut out a lot of sugar and lost a lot of weight... which is lovely... I'm dizzy a lot, but I also learned some wicked self control. Ha! It's something I never had much of. I'm loving that... but maybe you've heard Dr. Phil say when you drop one addiction, you gain another. Hello Facebook! At least 3 times a day I go on for... a while, LOL. Being a stay at home mom for well over 20 years kept me from having a social life... that and oh yeah, the recluse issue. :) So I am really loving talking to people all through out the day.

When I was a 5 I climbed a tree and climbed too high... I fell a long way down and was hurt badly. When I was 8 we had a very high retaining wall in our yard... I fell off it... a long way... and broke my back tooth. What's the main thing you hear with every possible situation you can take on? Balance. I think when people say they have an addictive personality it just means they never learned to balance for what ever reason. Maybe someone was always holding their hand or not holding it enough... or maybe we're just hard wired that way... but some of us lack it. There are SO many things that I shouldn't go near, that you might be able to. I think everyone is unbalanced in certain areas of their life. I have known a lot of people who are SO self disciplined and do everything right! I have also noticed a lot of those people have pride issues... balance.

So say a prayer for me... send me an inbox note if you need prayer too... I would love to share in your life... that's what its all about... Have you noticed when you stumble, the first thing you do is reach out to grab something... what a great feeling when someone grabs your hand and catches you. Here I am, trying to create that Utopian society again, but hey... why don't we try it. HOLD MY HAND!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Love talk.

My friend, from way back in the day, just wrote me a beautiful note in my inbox. She talked about hugging and how it sort of feeds her soul... and how some people are closed off to that kind of affection cause it is awkward. Ha! That's funny. I remember in jr. high seeing the girls run to hug one another... even though they had seen each other the very day before. I wanted to be like that... comfortable doing weird things... but I couldn't. It seemed fake... were they really so overcome with joy that they had to run into each others arms squealing? Like I told my friend last night... I don't do shallow well.

I love that people have a love language. I did that love language test and mine came up "quality time" (I would love to know what yours is.) That one fits me to a T. I have made a fool out of myself so many times trying to connect in a group. Everyone else wanted to talk about the weather or sports... I wanted people to talk about their hurts, hopes and dreams. Ha ha ha! I can get the weirdest looks sometimes. Paul always told me I make a terrible first impression, but that people like me when they get to know me. Let's hope that's true... I don't want my friends list count going backwards... depressing.

I do remember one hug... When we went to Africa in '98 on that mission trip, for many of us, it was our first time. From the long and overwhelming travel, to the restroom and sleeping situations, to the culture shock in general... my friend, that I had just met... was extended. We had been walking the villages all day. It can be a bit intimidating at first. You would walk into the hut of a total stranger and sometimes, your eyes wouldn't adjust to the light for an alarming amount of time. You would stand there in total darkness not knowing who was standing there to welcome you... or not welcome you. The Africans were awesome every time, but at first, you don't know what the reaction will be. They offered food that we couldn't eat b/c of the different bacterias. So with a hut of 20 women all staring at me as a bowl of corn was passed I had to decline. In a nation where starvation was normal, I looked at them feeling ashamed and wishing I could just take the freaking corn! I made a joke about dieting... who knew they would get that, but they all laughed... so sweet!

After a day of these kinds of situations and bugs and crocodiles and the like... I, like my friend, was extended. When we saw each other... practically strangers... we walked into each others arms and embraced. A little cry escaped our lungs... a spoiled American cry, but a cry none the less... I felt her fear (she had seldom ever left her mother) I felt her homesickness, I felt her fatigue... I felt... her... in that moment... I was in the eighth grade again... but there was no squealing... there were no loud words... just two people who needed comfort cause they were far away from home.

I know this has been my main theme... I guess it's always on my mind. Home... I'm homesick for a better time, a better place. It is real... of this I have NO DOUBT!!! None. None at all. When I see you there... I will hold you unashamed, unembarrassed... no fears, no doubts, no hurts... just two people who made it home after a long journey. There is a song by the artist I mentioned the other day, Keith Green.
( ) Maybe you'd like it... cause one day... this life will be the dream... living with God, or separate from Him, will be the reality. Until then, I will try to hug you and should the very Spirit of God come upon me (cause that is what it would take) I might even greet you with a holy kiss... till then, you wanna just spend some time together? :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You Go Girl!

So nearly 5 days a week I drone on and on about what a loser I am. Truth is... it's easy material, I can always come up with it :) (Don't comment mom... I know you like me, it's your job :) I always wanted to do great things... I wanted to sing in front of 10,000 people... and I guess in my lifetime I have. I wanted to tell the world that God is real and He really does know and love each child in His creation... I have been on several mission trips... so... check. I always wanted to write a book... I can settle for a blog I guess. Life never turns out quite like we thought it would and we are never as good or bad as we think we are so when I look at my life, I have to look at not what I didn't do, but what I did. I've not had a lot of what would be considered great successes... unless you want to scroll down a bit and look to the left... at those pictures.

Paul loves this quote, "Motherhood: the days are long and the years are short." I love how now-a-days when you say you are a mom... people are quick to jump in and say "That is a very important job." They want to make up for the fact that mom's didn't get much credit for many years. But those well meaning, if not slightly condescending supportive remarks, always make me smile. See, you don't have to tell a mom that her job is important. She knows what would happen to an entire family if she were to disappear. In most cases... total meltdown. There is a balance, having a mom and a dad, that seems apparent. 

I have two older and two younger. My oldest is in her 4th year of college (so yes, I'm prehistoric.) She has a heart for children like none you've ever seen. She wants to be a school teacher... right after she changes the world :) My son is graduating H.S. this year. He may want to be a psychologist... or a Supreme Court Judge... he's not sure, but he's incredibly smart and funny and (when he's home) helpful. My third has the heart of Christ and I couldn't love him more if I tried... he wants to be an inventor. He is very smart and he gives that credit to his dad (nice!) And my 4th exudes all things feminine. The word "orphan" never belonged in her bio for she is a princess to the Nth degree... even if it will be my downfall. She will one day rule the world. 

So with Mother's Day approaching... I will not say all the platitudes about what an important job you're doing... for to those remarks, I have but one reply... DUH! I've always said that being a mom is to create society. Yeah... kinda important. Instead I will give you a Bible verse... (once again without the address for my Bible is upstairs and I don't want to leave my warm blanket :) "Do not grow weary in well doing." Never surrender, don't give up, don't give in... just keep giving... you're the center of their universe right now... you will be replaced someday and that's as it should be. Just keep covering them in prayer and remember these most important words that will get you through the tough times. 'It's just a season.' They wont always be who they are now... but they will be who you are making them. All in... all in.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"The Pit of Dispair!"

To quote the "Impressive Clergyman" from The Princess Bride, today I am going to write about "Mayowidge." I have had so many people ask me about my marriage lately... could it be because I spend an odd amount of time on Facebook (and by odd I mean all my time.) I don't have many secrets. Paul used to be private... then he married me and realized it was a luxury he would no longer enjoy... he's a lot more open now too and I think he kind of likes that.

Paul and I met in high school (shout out to our friends!) We were best friends for 2 years before we decided to date. As a matter of fact, I used to set him up with my friends. He assures me he has wiped all memory of that from his data banks :) It was hard to make the shift from friend to love interest. I have always been a little emotionally stunted so he had his work cut out for him. He says he fell in love with me the first time he heard me sing... so Little Mermaid like, aw! I would date a guy and immediately break up with him. As a matter of fact, I never had a boy break up with me first. I once dumped a guy right before a dance... he was very mad... but he freaked me out. He was paying too much attention to me. Ick! My friends told me he punched a dent in the bathroom door... Really? How Valley Girl like. Hmmm... I kinda liked him again for a second... but no!!! Never go backwards.

Paul and I will be married 23 years this month. Some days it feels like 43! Ha! We were 18 and 17 when we tied the knot. I'm always afraid people will think I got pregnant, but no, nothing like that. I especially don't want people thinking that's why we got married. We strove to keep it as PG as possible which isn't easy at that age, especially when you are ready to spend your life with someone. They say divorce is just as bad or even more prevalent in the church then it is in the secular world... wow. We had a friend once who sat next to an Satanist on an airplane. When he realized our friend was a Christian he said, "Do you want to know the #1 thing we're praying for? We're praying that Christian marriages will break up." I believe it. Do you want some good marital advise? Then go to Dr. Phil. I personally, think marriage is harder now then it ever has been. You wanna hear the inspiring advise I tell myself in times like this? You might want to get a pen and jot this down. Ready? "Muddle through." Did you get a chill? Touching... powerful... lovely words... muddle through.

I'll tell you why I say that. Everyone goes through hard times in their marriage. It's a given. If someone says their marriage is always awesome... I submit these words to them, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" Even when you are going through the lowest times... one good moment will pop up and when it does you have to hold it with both hands. I have always told our kids to marry their best friend... that way even when you don't feel the love, you'll always want your best friend close by. Paul and I are lucky to have that bond. The Bible says a 3 fold cord (a braid) is not easily broken... God, Paul, me. We can feel Him holding things together even when we are struggling. Just like life, there are many hills and valleys... like that roller coaster scene from Parenthood. When your in a valley... just get through it! If divorce is an option... then you will not see that hill top again. You will not come out stronger then you were before you went in. Do what you gotta do to keep on going and if all you can do is muddle... then muddle through. The hilltops in sight don't give up. And when you see me... throw a little encouragement my way too. :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Visa doesn't know the meaning of the Word.

How good it is to be in God's word. I remember a time when I literally would not let one day go by without reading from it. I get this picture in my mind of what we look like on the inside. Like, how if you cut a tree open, you can see that time has created many rings in the wood. Only I feel more like a rock... that kind that's made up of layer after layer of sheets. Like God's Word has laid layer after layer of substance in me that has made me stronger. (Which is really helpful when I'm feeling especially weak.)

Even now... I hear the dog whining by the door outside. She is used to routine and I always give her a bowl of food when the kids leave. (Ok, I got up and fed her!) But I wanted to do things on my time today... then somewhere within me I hear a still small voice. It's that verse in the Bible that talks about a righteous man feeding his animals. And when I look around at a dozen different messes made by child # 4 (and Paul) and I remember the verse that a woman should stay busy in her home. And my new desire, to conquer a part of my flesh that is strong... I hear my stomach growl and I deny it, because of the verse that says, like an athlete we should beat our bodies into submission... food for the stomach and the stomach for food... not food because I have an emotional need. Layer after layer after layer of righteousness inside of me... none of it my own. In truth I have none on my own. As a matter of fact on my worst day... I am down right vile.

Isn't it interesting how God, Jesus, the Spirit and the Word are all intertwined? They are all working together to make me into... a beautiful package... one that I am encompassed in. I am the sad and pathetic gift that Jesus will someday present to the Father. He made me, He grew me, and He saved me so He could present (look at both meanings of that word) me to his Dad. Like how a child makes a sad and droopy gift for his Dad on Fathers day... and the Dad sees it as the most beautiful thing ever created... something He will treasure forever... Jesus presents me. Only somehow, like a butterfly, I go through some kind of metamorphose. When He places me in the Father's hand, I am no longer pathetic... I am lovely, I am righteous, I am desirable, I am priceless!!! A home made gift, becomes a store bought costly jewel because a price was paid for me that changed my worth!!!

So as those layers continue to make me who I am going to be... and as the pressures of life make me strong like a diamond... and as the refiner brings me through each fire, scraping off the dross... you will see me for who I really am. I want to see you there too. I want to see you the way God sees you... priceless!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kisses from Katie!

There are just some people who stand out. Sure you've got your actors, your models, your singers and the like... but those people stand out because they want to stand out. They have gone to great lengths to be known. I know some people who shine on a whole different stage.

A few months ago a young girl came to our church to speak. I think her name is Katie Davis. At the age of 19, when most kids are going off to college, she felt called to Africa. I don't know how she got there (who helped her set up), but she has adopted 13 kids there, and feeds and cares for 300 a day. I can barely fight back the tears as I think of her. She is awesome! The truth is, I want my son to marry her and move there and help her be the hands and feet of God, but I haven't figured out how to have them meet :) If you want to leave my blog and go look at hers, you would be better off for it. As a matter of fact, if you have one dime in your pocket, send it to this woman for she will doing nothing but beauty with it.

I also think of Melody Green. For anyone who doesn't know her husband, he was an incredible musician. His music reaches a whole new generation of people who are seeking God. (Again, feel free to leave this blog and listen to one of Keith's songs.) So, Melody is on my friends list. She added me cuz we tight like that... or more so that she adds everyone. But her posts are constantly about her God. Keith and two of her kids, died in a plane accident in the early 80's (No Compromise, by M. Green greatest book ever) and I wondered, without her husbands incredible passion for God, how she stays as focused as she always is. It just occurred to me this morning... she's got Heaven on her mind all the time. With half of her family there... Heaven is more than just a wished for place... it's where her heart lies.

I've known many people who stand out like these two. They are shiny. It's truly the holiness of God. The funny thing is, they are completely down to earth... they don't fold their hands when they walk, or have a blank stare when you talk to them... they are down here in the mud (Katie literally) living with the rest of us. Their time is spent more wisely, their focus is more concentrated leaving their hearts more on fire, but when you get close to God... when you stretch out your hand, these changes take place naturally.

There were times in my life I was less selfish. Times when I served my God with great exuberance... times when He was the first thought on my mind in the morning and the last at night... if you are a follower, you know what I mean. But we always think 'We will get back to that.' The funny thing is... God doesn't want us to go back... He wants us to go forward. If you broke your legs, would you begin rehab by crawling like a baby? No, you would take new steps, testing out your legs again walking on them as they grew stronger. Every season brings new growth... if Jesus is your Lord, you cannot avoid it for long. I think this verse sums it up best, "He Who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it." Thank GOD, I am not always going to be the me I am right now. Heaven is where my heart lies.