Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thinking back...

...on what was important for me this past year, I find that my resolution of praying for/meditating on the spiritual fruit of love tops the list.

I was very intimidated to tackle this fruit. I didn't know what to expect. There are hundreds of Scriptural references to love. There are thousands of articles and books written on the topic of love. How could I possibly do "love" full justice?

Well, I couldn't. Not anymore then any of the other fruits I have studied. The process of learning was admittedly a little different then I envisioned. Instead of mostly academic with a little application on the side, my study has ended up being exactly the opposite. God has allowed me to learn more about love by seeing love in action first hand and by experiencing love personally.

*Love at its purest flows through sacrifice and service. I observed this in my husband for the church he serves as he calmly and steadfastly followed God's will regardless of backlash and misunderstanding. On a personal level this past month, D patiently served my every need in the hospital and in our home in a Christ-like washing of feet kind of way. It is love I will never forget!

*Love can be messy and that is ok! Love can require reaching out of, sometimes far beyond, my comfort zones. Brazil, on mission; my own town, on mission...both stretched me in different ways and got a little messy at times, but both helped me better understand the concept of who is my neighbor and how to better love my neighbor. (The book Same Kind of Different As Me was hugely impactful in this lesson.)

*Love is a choice of obedience and really needs to come from a genuine heart submitted to Christ. I can choose to love my enemies (those who hurt me), doing good to them and praying for them...but only through His strength will I find long term success. In this past year, I experienced a personal, fresh understanding of love and forgiveness and freedom.

*God is love. So simple. So true. All other love flows from the Original and Pure love of God into all the little aspects of my life.

I shouldn't have been intimidated last January. But thinking back, I am glad that I didn't know what to expect from "love" because in my ignorance I might have tried to avoid some of these lessons.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Titles

Titles are funny things and can reveal alot about a person. Specifically, titles are funny things when you place your name in front of them and make it personal.

For instance, I prefer Marie: Full-time-wife-and-mom. It works for me.

I just like that so much better to the Stay-at-home-mom or Homemaker title. Those titles are just fine, and sure, they mean basically the same thing, but they just personally make me cringe when I hear them applied to me. It's a funny thing.

Anyways, last night while I tried to get my mind to fall asleep, it circled around on this topic of titles mixed with some of the things that had happened during our Christmas break. And I came up with some amusing new ones that relate directly to my main title above.

*(At least they were amusing to ME with my nightly narcotics in my system.)

~Over-the-counter Acne Expert
( I have three teens in my house.)
~Radio Morality Controller
(Only when I have kids in the car.)
~Evil Queen of Chore Distribution
(Somehow the house still gets messy even over Christmas break.)
~Impromptu Scheduler of Life
(According to some family members, just as the family settles in to their various projects, I will suddenly announce we are going somewhere and are about to be late. This may or may not be accurate! I plead the 5th!)
~Chief Elf
(Out of pure necessity due to my husband's title of Chief Grinch.)
~CWW
(Chief Worry Wart...remember I have 3 teens in the house. Fortunately, D reminded me I have a "box".)

Of course there are countless other titles out there which relate directly to mommy-hood and always make me laugh, but those in particular made me giggle as I drifted off to sleep last night.

*Brief health update: I am down to only needing prescription pain pills at night and will hopefully be off these within a week! Praise God, I am feeling better and doing more every day!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I wouldn't hang out with me!

A bizarre thing happened to me the other day. I was looking for something specific online and googled it. Two top options popped up...one a website that hasn't been updated in a while and the other a blog.

So I clicked on the blog and encountered...me.

Not really me. It wasn't like I clicked onto my own blog or anything.

But it was some lady who lived in the midwest. Her profile says she gardens. And she thinks Anne of Green Gables is a classic. And she has 4 kids. She homeschooled. And she is a ministry wife who likes to read and write.

Eery! She probably has a goofball Golden-Doodle too and she just didn't admit to it on her profile!

And to top it all off, the thought occurred to me as I read her profile that I wouldn't choose to hang out with her over a cup of tea.

Which means, I WOULDN'T HANG OUT WITH ME EITHER!

Please hear me...I am NOT being mean to her! If anything I am being mean to ME!

I suppose it just goes to show that the stupid profile thing on these blogs can be terribly misleading. After all, I am fabulously fun to hang out with over a cup of tea!! And she probably is too!!

So I have taken swift action to retrieve my blogger image! I have moved my gardening corner on the sidebar down to the very bottom of the page. That should take care of any misconceptions about who I really am.

Random thought: I wonder if she found my blog's profile if she would freak out too or if she would think I was a really cool gal?! I am pretty sure if she stumbled onto this particular post she would suggest counseling and keep her distance!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The thrill of a new project!

After several months of watching/waiting/praying over a particular women's ministry project, we at long last have some clarity to move forward with a stride rather then little babysteps. It feels so good to stretch out a little bit and cover a bunch of ground instead of being kept close and tight.

And, oh, the thrill of a new project! A new project that combines several of my favorite things: friends, womens' ministry, Bible Study, outreach, blogging/writing.

I was up for two hours past my bedtime, brainstorming and creating and dreaming.

I know that it is possibly a short term project for an 8 week time period. But maybe it will extend longer. It may just be meaningful for a small circle of ladies. But it might also reach out further then we could imagine.

I can't wait to see what God will do with this, where He will take it, where He will lead us...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Al, the Nurse

While in the hospital, I had two opportunities to "chat" with an interesting guy named Al. He just so happened to be one of my nurses.

The first we met was my first day in for the "minor" procedure of cleaning the clot out of the vein. Al was friendly and quickly put me at ease...as much ease as one can feel mostly naked in a cold, sterile room on a skinny operating table. And as he was the one who held the power over my anesthesia, I was extra friendly. We small-talked all through the twilight drug laced two hour procedure. I was actually very alert as he had been instructed to keep me so. More alert then I preferred!

In the course of conversation he learned I was a pastor's wife in a town practically next door to him. He casually mentioned his religious upbringing. He had your classic five-days-a-week-and-it's-still-not-enough church experience growing up. He was done with religion.

And so I said the only thing I could think of...I invited him to try the Christmas Eve service at my church.

And then we moved on to mountain biking and other topics like "can I have some more of the good stuff now", etc.

The afternoon and evening after the procedure was truly awful for me. All the slim chances of side effects I had. In and out of awareness, the word "torture" just seemed to hover in my mind. I was a mess!

And to add insult to injury, the next morning came word from the doctor that they needed to repeat the same procedure.

So back to pre-op, back to the cold operating room under the lights, back on the narrow hard bench of an operating table...and back to Al. It was strangely comforting to have Al back in my corner with his syringe ready and with his steady stream of small talk to distract me. He was actually assigned to a different surgery but when he stumbled into me he switched out with the other nurse. And so we continued our conversations through another procedure.

Somewhere during this second chance to interact, in between the "this is a bit like de ja vous" and "can I have some more of the good stuff", he asked me to remind him exactly where our church was located.

That was the first clue I was permitted to see that God was allowing me to be in an extremely vulnerable and uncomfortable place for a purpose.

I do hope I run into Al the nurse, and his family, soon. Like on Christmas Eve. At our church. It would be a really great gift! But even if I don't see him there, I still can appreciate how God weaves hope and purpose into the hardest things we go through.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Elf Christmas party with game ideas

Due to my little "vacation" in the hospital, I missed out on actually seeing my big elf party for our highschool youth group. But according to my two boys and their friends, everyone had a blast, so here it is: #18 on the favorite Christmas game list, an Elf-themed party.

~Come dressed with Christmas cheer/or wear your own creative elf hat...can be judged for prizes.
~Provide whatever "real food" you want, but there will be lots of junk for the games.
~Movie trivia icebreaker:

*how do you spread x-mas cheer?
(sing loud for all to hear)
*what building did Buddy’s biological father work in?
(empire state building)
*What are the food groups for elves?
(candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup)
*What other human shared Buddy’s affinity for elf culture?
(Jovie)
*what toy scared Buddy most?
(jack in the box)
*what did Buddy say was his favorite thing to do?
(smile)
*what actor played Buddy’s Papa elf?
(Bob Newhart)

~Team relay challenge... embrace Buddy’s affinity for elf culture:

* After everyone is broken off into teams, provide each team with a gingerbread house to put together to work on unity and team building. This could be done at the beginning of the party as an icebreaker or just before the team competition starts.

One person from each team must do one of the following options, each team member must participate in at least one option.

*eat plate of spaghetti with maple syrup and candy
*chug pop (not 2 litre but a can) and burp convincingly
*sing x-mas carol loud for all to hear (in microphone preferably)
*snowball accuracy (throw styrofoam balls into a target)
*cut out 5 paper snowflakes (that are decent!), or decorate 5 Christmas cookies, etc.

Either the teams can race each other or take turns racing against the clock...depends on time constraints and how much everyone wants to watch the fun of the other teams.

~Show movie if there is time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December Dublin Update

He is stumping around on that cast like it isn't even there. Hopefully just a few more weeks and he will be free from his peg-leg. But even through his dis-ability, Dublin is bravely:

*enjoying his pedi's...



*loving the snow...



With fur like that, he doesn't feel a bit chilly and heads for the biggest piles of snow to bury his face in.!

*has taken up yoga...



Uhmm-ouch!!!! How can that be comfortable?!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another fun game option...

# 15 on my Christmas games list (posted on 12/14/09) is the ABC Christmas Game. This is as fun ( or funny) as you want to make it and is great for all ages (as long as they know their abc's). My 13 year old daughter and Big D love option #2...it must be their dramatic/creative side coming out.

#1 option:

Each person must write out a Christmas-ey word for each letter of the alphabet.

This can be a race, or you can judge for creativity and humor.

#2 option:

Improv Christmas game where each person takes turns making up a sentence that is creating a story but the the first word of their sentence must start with the following letter of the alphabet. It has to go super fast, so you might need to impose a referee to disqualify people who pause too long. The referee will also disqualify anyone who uses the wrong next letter.

Example:
All reindeer are certifiably insane.
Blitzen especially has issues.
Coal poisening can be blamed for his problem though.
Don’t try and make excuses for him.
Even Santa likes to party with him.
Far be it from me to criticize “the big guy” but he is getting a little senile.
Grandma got runover by Blitzen with Santa behind the wheel.
Hasn't she recovered?
I am sure she still has nightmares though.
Just during her mid-morning nap...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another favorite Christmas party game...

Mad Gabs always works at a party, so I compiled this Christmas-ey Mad Gabs list for my husband's annual staff/volunteer party. I must admit I wasn't for sure it would go over but it ended up being a big hit. Most are fairly easy...the fun is in forcing people on center stage to say crazy sounding phrases and, of course, the team competition. If you get stuck answering any of these, just let me know and I will bail you out with the answer key...except the last two which are still a mystery to me. By the way, my kids had alot of fun with these too!

1. Foresty Thus No Man

2. Oak Wrist Mystery

3. Sigh Land In Height

4. Rude Olive Their Head Knows Rained Ear

5. A Wayne Aim May Injure

6. Sill Verb Else

7. Folly Snuff Eat Add

8. Oak A Mocah Me Manual

9. Owe Calm Mall Leaf Hateful

10. Caw Dressed Deem Air Reach End Almond

11. Lid Dolled Rum Herb Poi

12. Joint Tooth How Hurled

13. Could Keen Gwen Senseless

14. Thug Wren Chews Toll Crisp Miss

15. Egg Wrist Mask Air Ill

16. To Us Thin I’d Beef Fork Wrist Miss

17. Thin Hut Car Rock Her Hand Them How Skiing

18. Thug If Tough Them Madge Eye

19. Elf Daze Huff Quiz Miss

20. Thermos One Her Fool Stay Huff Da Hear

21. Hole Lid Oh Tom Of Bed Lee Am

22. Awe He Chaw Lee Quiz Miss

23. Ache Hand He Gain

24. Cream Misses Ear

25. extra challenge: How Soft Thaw Hood In Cent Ahs

26. extra challenge: Age Eyelids Car Hissed Miss Sin Wells

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#5 is my favorite Christmas party game...

Sure, I could make it number one on my list (previous post) but that is too obvious...

We did this in a couples setting two years ago, some good friends and others we were still getting to know better...and it is now legend!

The mystery auction game ended up being so much fun! By not telling anyone exactly what the game was and making it mysterious, I had the whole anticipation thing and the surprise factor of it. And the fact that they didn't have to shop but donated a couple bucks at the door was a positive too.

I bought and re-gifted a variety of small and cheap gifts (can of wd40, pens, etc) with some bigger, more expensive, funny gifts (huge pink bra with a roll of toilet paper, Christmas boxers). There were more presents then people. I wrapped all of them in plain brown paper. Each person had been given monopoly money ($11) at the door in an envelope with their name on it. Throughout the night, people could win different amounts for different things to add to their original amount. For instance, the first people to arrive and the last people to arrive received $5. The tallest elf and the shortest elf received $1 each, and so on.

After mingling and eating for awhile we circled up and we explained that the mystery game actually was an auction for the gifts which would take place after we gave the chance for a few more people to earn some more money. We then voted on the most merry outfit and least Christmasy outfit, the worst Christmas gift story, the most romantic gift, etc. And to top it off we played a guys vs. girls Catch Phrase with the winning team each getting $5. We pulled out the pile of gifts and put them in the middle of the floor and Big D served as our auctioneer (he and I didn't participate in the bidding since we knew what we had).

He played it up and described the gifts but wouldn't let them touch them. When a gift was finally bought, that person had to open it and show it off. At any time in the game, anyone could make an offer on that opened gift. Sometimes the offers were lower and other times higher so the original winner of the gift had potential to "make" money on it. And you could offer on as many gifts as you had money for, so potentially people could leave without a gift or with several.

Just one word of warning...be prepared for pranks. Our neighborhood now see's us in a whole different way.


We found our bush in the above state of dress after church on Sunday. It had been snowing so hard when I left that I had not even noticed it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best Christmas Party Game List

I adore Christmas parties, and so I have gathered what I believe to be the top 17 game ideas. These are great for family gatherings as well as for friend's, couples, office, and kid parties. They are all very merry and good clean fun! All of these can involve prizes, can be played individually or in teams, and are easily tweaked to fit your own party's personality.

As there are 17 on my top list, I obviously can't post the directions for all of them on this blog. If you would like detailed instructions, feel free to let me know and I will email you the details. In addition, one or two come from bloggers who have requested their directions not be re-posted on other blogs and so I will honor that. But over the next days leading to Christmas I will post on my own personal favorites from the list and include the directions.

So drum roll please...The best Christmas/Party Game Ideas out there are:

1. Right Left Christmas Game Nativity Story...involves prizes/gifts

2. Crazy Christmas scavenger hunt

3. Christmas Gift Exchange/Guessing Identity Game Idea

4. Christmas Memory Game
(Get 10 to 20 small Christmas items and place on a tray...)

5. Mystery Auction ... not just Christmas, involves prizes

6. Christmas Feud Survey/ Results

7. "Are you ready for Christmas?"

8. Christmas Gift/Name Bingo

9. White elephant/Dirty Santa

10. Food tasting games

11. Design Santa’s New Hat
(Couples are given a base supply of materials to work with to design Santa a new look.)

12. Identify Items
(Teams identify from a list of “ingredients” or descriptions of various Christmas items.)

13. Christmas Trivia Game

14. Name That Song/Christmas Carol Game
(titles of carols re-worded)

15. ABC games, 2 options
(improv-style or individual icebreaker)

16. People Scavenger Hunt
(The Goal is to Find out who has done everything on the list First... or just use it as a Christmas Party icebreaker! Prizes are an option. List available to copy.)

17. Christmas-ey Mad Gabs
(Like the popular game...)

18. Elf themed party
(yep-based off the movie)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Control issues

It is Sunday morning and where am I at? In pj's at my computer instead of at church...how strange life has become.

An update:

If you read my last post you already know a little about my spiritual challenge. And while I didn't allow rebelliousness to de-rail my heart with the "whys", I am still looking for the "so what now"...as in what is God's purpose for this mess.

Physically, my left hand is always tingling, feels continually "asleep" and has limited coordination. As I told my Dr. in a fatigue and drug-induced state, it is numb-ling. (Who knows what else I said, that is just one he didn't let me forget.) Hopefully the physical therapy will get that back to normal soon so I won't need help with buttons, can type with more then my right hand, etc. My left shoulder, due to surgery, also needs to come back to what I was used to, but oh how I miss that left hand! They said it could come back quickly so I feel hopeful.

Emotionally, I missed out on some major once-in-a-lifetime moments with a couple of my kids while in the hospital and still feel badly about it. As a mom who adores "being there" for her kids, this really sucked! Also during this time, my parents had a pre-planned trip to celebrate early Christmas with us. I was so grateful they were here, especially for the kids, but it wasn't exactly a celebratory visit.

And I managed to time this in such a way to miss 3 Christmas parties this week. For my husband, the classical Grinch, this was all good. But I really love to party at Christmas-time!

So I sit here in my pj's sipping tea, thinking about some of the hard stuff. Stuff that I like to control. And it has just kind of hit me...why fight this. Why fight for control! Just allow God to do His thing with me according to His timing. He doesn't need my approval or advice. He is God! He has a plan for my life. He is in control.

God is in control and has a plan!

God is in control of my life!

Friday, December 11, 2009

an old companion

when god allowed some hard stuff to happen to me these last 8 days, i had quite a bit of time to think...

and i could almost see my old companion rebellion sitting by my hospital bed.

i could almost hear her questioning whispers of why? become my own.

i could almost smell the sour scent of hopelessness that she prefers.

i could almost feel her crushing weight of bitterness on my chest.

almost.

but through the strength of the perfect companion, through god's word, through the encouragement of believing friends, my old companion rebellion could never make her full presence known to me.

i am so grateful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Really?

In eight days, I am hostessing a humungus Christmas party at my house. (I get very excited about Christmas parties!)

And out of the next 8 days, I have the potential of spending four of them in the hospital. (Not so excited about hospitals!)

And this is what I am spending my valuable time on?



Really?

But here is the thing. I saw the most adorable arrangements using the exact same pieces in the huge pots downtown the other day and wanted one for my very own. Needless to say, mine is the ugly step-sister to the big professional ones. But I am still hoping to figure it out. Maybe more greenery.

Anyways, Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Out of the depths..."

A short visit to the hospital yesterday for a quick check up and a referral to a doctor closer to home turned into 7 hours, more tests, and a second and third opinion different from the first.

Back I go to Psalms 130, this time to verse 1 and 2...."Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy."

I know this chapter is a psalm of ascent and has to do with forgiveness of sin. In that, this Scripture highlights the bigger picture of the character of God. He is a God who listens, rescues, and is worthy of putting my hope in. And that is exactly what I need right now and in the following days.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"I wait for the Lord..."

A week ago today (or was it a month ago?!) I blogged my thankfulness for the Psalms. I had found another special thought from God just for me, just for that day. Only it seems it wasn't just for that day as I was to soon find out.

But first things first, here is the verse:

Psalms 130:5 says this, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope."

Because that verse leaped off the page at me, I pulled out a pad of paper from my desk and jotted it down quickly before heading off into my Monday of fun hanging out with Big D.

About noon, I noticed some strange changes in my left arm. It was slightly larger then usual, it was a different color then arms are supposed to be, and veins that don't usually show themselves were obvious on my chest and bicep. So I called my favorite doctor, my dad in Oklahoma, and left a casual little message asking for a call back when he got a chance. Meanwhile, Darril and I decided to cash in a gift card at Olive Garden. We had just gotten our food served when the call came and my dad calmly instructed me to go immediately to the ER.

Long story short...I was diagnosed with a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in my left clavicle and I was admitted. Just like that. No warning.

Even the nicest of hospitals, and I was in a very pleasant one, is still not home. By the middle of that first night, I was going stir crazy.

I felt completely healthy. No fever. No painful symptoms. Yet I was trapped in a drafty hospital gown chained to an IV drip with nothing to do but think or watch t.v. Sleep was hit or miss, with the hospital staff coming in on an average of once per hour to check up on things.

At some point, very possibly my lowest emotional point, it occurred to me how very interesting it was that this month I decided to focus on thanksgiving. (Oh, the irony!)

Tuesday morning my husband showed up with the list of items that I had requested he bring...necessities like makeup and my Bible. And in my Bible he had tucked the slip of paper I had jotted that verse down hours before. There was a reason that verse had popped off the page for me! God knew I was going to need the encouragement.

In answer to fervent prayer, I was able to get home Wednesday night to enjoy Thanksgiving on Thursday with my family. And oh how easy it was to be thankful for everything...everyone together, my children's hugs, my own bed (with J snuggled in next to me just for the special occasion), non-hospital food, privacy...

I am still not completely sure what God would have me to learn in this new opportunity/challenge.

Is it simply a matter of honing my thanksgiving skills? (Thank you God for the opportunity to give myself two shots a day in the tummy so I can be home with the kids and Big D.)

Or do I need a tutorial on "waiting for the Lord" and "hoping in His Word"? (Thank you God for showing me that You are in control and that my grasping for control only stresses me out.)

Or is this not all about just me, but also for someone else whose life touches mine? (Thank you for bringing that sweetheart of a housekeeper into my hospital room each day. Work during the day, classes at night...please bless her, Lord!)

And on a final note today, I am comparing the name of my blog, Biding My Time, and the principle in the verse of "waiting for the Lord". Hmmm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Venison for Thanksgiving Dinner

Growing up in the family I did, I was always well-aware of my own family's Christian heritage as well as the Christian heritage our nation enjoys. We would re-tell the story of those first Thanksgiving feasts, praise God for His provision then and now, and marvel at how he bonded Squanto and other American-Indians with those early Puritan settlers. The newcomers would never have survived without the kindness of the Indians.

I am so thankful today for my parent's hammering that story into our reluctant heads...God's provision is after all timeless and ever so worthy of Thanksgiving.

Big D, true to his American-Indian heritage, has shot two deer with his bow and arrow in the last two weeks. When we join big D's aunt and uncle on Thursday, he will proudly provide venison for the Thanksgiving Feast this year. (My kids love being 3% Indian and think it is really cool...too bad 3% doesn't qualify for scholarship money! Then it would be WAY cooler!!)

Interestingly, my side of the family has some Mayflower roots deep back into our family tree. So, true to my heritage, I will be glad to enjoy and give thanks for the feast that is being provided for me. (OK...that was a joke! I am sure I will contribute something, probably chocolate...)

Anyways, that is our go at an authentic Thanksgiving Feast this Thursday!! Hope you enjoy yours as well!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today I am...

thankful for the book of Psalms!

I love how I often find just the right wording that has been escaping me as I try to communicate with God or wrap my brain around something my heart is feeling.

When my heart catches sight of a special phrase, it is like a gift directly to me from the Lord, through the ages, through the fog of my own issues, right into my soul.

God's Word is amazing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dublin Update

Dublin has wisely decided to embrace his injury as an opportunity to fine tune his already stellar "pathetic puppy" look. Check out the droop in his eyes. Classic!



Anyone who comes within his range of vision is the "chosen one"...the one who may stop everything to sit at his side and stroke his fur and say sweet nothings to him like:

Who is the best puppy in the world? You are!
You are so brave!
Do you want a treat?

Admittedly, I am the worst offender.

And to top it off, he has now received mail in our mailbox...addressed to him...someone actually paid for a stamp to mail him get well cards. You can see below how excited he is about his mail as he "reads" his cards... Oh wait, dogs can't read! Silly me!



And he has received two chew toys from a family at church. And organic doggie treats from a neighbor to top things off.

I have one word for it...spoiled!!

But I am so thankful that he is still with us! And while I think it is funny how we are all treating him, I do think it is sweet that people care!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nothing Trumps Forgiveness

I am, in fact, a fairly forgiving person. I have taught lessons on forgiving others. My children are expected to communicate forgiveness to each other.

Forgiveness is what we, as Christians, have experienced and so it is what we, as Christians, are supposed to do. The whole "forgive as the Lord forgave you" idea.

And yet I am also a loyal person. Loyalty, most will agree, is a great character quality.

But on this past Sunday, God showed me that a tiny seed of bitterness had grown silently in my heart because my sense of loyalty trumped forgiveness. I am so thankful today that God used that sermon to reveal how misguided that unspoken notion of mine really was. Loyalty is a nice thing, but nothing should ever trump true forgiveness!

Yesterday morning I went through my own process of personal confession. Then I went to work on the forgiveness part, painstakingly uprooting each ugly little shoot from that original seed of bitterness. It wasn't easy. I was afraid of letting go of something that has been genuinely difficult over the last couple of years. Afraid of releasing control, as if I ever had control over the original situation in the first place. Afraid that I would fail to completely remove it all...fail to truly forgive...and find myself back where I was before.

As I put my thoughts and prayers on paper, I also made a list of each grievance that I had not forgiven in this particular situation. And then I pulled out our shredder, breathed, prayed, and watched each of those grievances get ground up into confetti.

And I felt freedom.

Last night I ran into someone closely connected to the situation...in fact, one of those old shoots that I had just uprooted. Not a coincidence, I think, but certainly a test of that new freedom of forgiveness. And by the grace of God, because of His power to forgive, I was able to not just pretend to be nice. I was nice from a genuine heart. And afterwards, my mind was able to move on to other things without my thought patterns taking old routes into old grievances.

I experienced freedom.

I am so thankful today that nothing trumps forgiveness!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dublin broke his leg...



The poor puppy was playing and jumping after a toy and somehow landed wrong...and broke his leg. Big D and I weren't at the house when this happened, which was very frustrating, but in the midst of that frustration, I still have some things I can be thankful for. It is amazing how many I can think of when I just try!

I am thankful J was at a friend's house when this happened...it would have been really hard on her to have seen Dublin in pain and panic!

I am thankful that D3 was home, and for his calm and capable handling of a terribly traumatic situation. He will truly be a great veterinarian some day!!

I am thankful for M's attempts to clean the carpet in my living room after the incident, making my job much easier then it would have been. (Dog's, according to my future-vet son, evacuate their bowels when in crisis. Dublin did alot of evacuating!)

I am thankful for C's willing heart to make and serve lunch to her brother and his 2 guests while I finished cleaning the carpet.

I am thankful that though the vet wanted to do surgery, she was still willing to give the cast a try. (So we are praying like crazy! Surgery isn't an option for us.)

I am thankful that God hears our prayers regarding our puppy.

Does God care when animals get hurt? Absolutely! "Yet not one of them is forgotten by God." Matt 12:6

Friday, November 13, 2009

Give Thanks In All Circumstances?!

"...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess. 5:18

RIght! To say the least, this isn't always easy for a pessimist/realist like myself. But I can be a creative realist, so when I put some thought into it I can usually formulate a fairly decent thankful attitude.

When the scale is saying ugly things to me when I step on it, I am thankful the only Trick or Treat candy left in the kids' bags are of the non-chocolate variety.

When I dread the ordeal of parent/teacher conferences this morning, I can be thankful because it means I don't homeschool anymore. ( Hey, it was great for the season God called me to it, but no one can deny that it is challenging.)

But what about the big stuff in life.

Like my two friends who just this week were diagnosed with cancer, one breast and the other lung/brain. They both have children. They both have husbands and parents and friends...how on EARTH can there be anything in these circumstances to give thanks? Come to find out, there isn't anything on earth that can accomplish that goal.

As I backtrack my way up the page of the Bible, looking for some context, my eyes find I Thess. 5:10:

"He died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him."

And then what I have just read begins to sink into my heart.

"He died for us..." (!!!)

"so that... we may live..." (!!!!)

"...together with Him." (!!!!!!)

I am not thankful for cancer or my friends' pain. I hate to even think about what their family is feeling, having been there with D's mother's diagnosis several years ago and her death two years ago. But I can be thankful that both of these ladies have Heavenly help in the form of a Heavenly Father. These women can live their life together with His Son, Jesus Christ, regardless of the swirling circumstances that surround them, including cancer cells, and Dr. office smells, and countless medicines to ingest.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Randomly Thankful...

So I am being all thankful lately. And there is just so much to be thankful for that it would seem like the easiest thing to share those thoughts with you in deep, meaningful ways.

But the most random, non-deep, things pop in my head so here is a little sampling from the last few days...

*Thank goodness I don't rake leaves for a living. (My shoulders are still sore.)

*Thankfully, the dog hasn't growled at Jenna in 2 weeks so we aren't going to have to ship Dublin off to that "farm in the country" to the jolly farmer who actually likes to keep dogs that growl at little children. ( A long story that may lead to unthankfulness so I will leave it at that. It seems to be working out!)

*Thankyou, Kelloggs, for ready-made cereal. (As opposed to Kellie's homemade granola recipe, which is delicious AND healthy but my kids eat it like candy so I am continually running out of it. It is on my to-do list today.)

*I am so thankful that God created vanilla beans and cows and coffee beans so that I could put flavored creamer in my coffee and stay awake through the missions meeting last night. (Seriously, I really wanted to be there and be awake, I just needed a little help.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

For His love...

Earlier this week I posted on thankfulness "for love", specifically the love my husband and I share.

(And this is my formal apology for being so sappy. I just couldn't help it.)

Our earthly state of marital bliss is mostly for real, by the grace of God.
But it isn't perfect...our human love has flaws because we are flawed.

Today I am posting my thankfulness for His love.
The perfect love...an enduring love of continual perfection because God is perfect.

"You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
your are my God and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
His love endures forever."

Psalm 118: 28, 29

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Abundant Goodness

Psalm 145:7

"They will celebrate Your abundant goodness..."

Take a look at some of God's abundant goodness poured out on us just a few weeks ago:

Four sweet crabapple trees that will blossom in the Spring, bear darling little red cluster berries, and then in the Fall flaunt red and gold leaves! This picture is from our deck and so you can't see that they are really 10 ft. tall.



An enormous oak, again with gorgeous Fall foliage! Darril's Dad just so happened to be in town to help plant this 700 lb. tree.



And this beautiful maple!



They were all free of charge...a local nursery owner/friend who goes to our church was rotating stock and we got to be the recipients of these wonderful trees that "needed to be moved". God is so abundant and good to us!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

68 degrees

How is it that 67 degrees is a delightful temperature for a summer evening, but a Fall 67 degrees is chilly-hands/cold-nose temperature in my house?!

At the moment, I am feeling thankful I can walk over to the thermostat and bump it up to a balmy 68 degrees!

Monday, November 2, 2009

For love...

"...for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."
Song of Songs 8:6,7



This picture was taken last month when we were all dressed up for a wedding. I love going to weddings with D. He officiates my dream wedding...the kind of wedding I would do if we had it to do all over again. And weddings remind me every time of how God graciously prepared us for each other, brought our lives together, and has continued to bind our hearts together for these past 20 years.

I am thankful for love, specifically for my love.

"This is my lover, this is my friend..."
Song of Songs 5:16

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Month of Thankfulness

It is November...the month of Thanksgiving. And I am starting the celebration early!

Colossians 2:7 encourages us as believers to "continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness".

God's abundant goodness is poured out in my own life in thousands of different ways...it will be a pleasure for me to overflow with thankfulness for the next 30 days!

Spiritually, words can't do justice to the extent of His goodness poured out on my behalf! Emotionally, He fills my cup! Physically, I am blessed with health. Materially, like a loving Father, He delights in filling my needs and then out of His abundance, He sends me little surprise gifts that aren't necessary, but are just perfect!

This month, I am directing my focus to regularly offering sincere thankfulness to my Lord God.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Who are these crazy people?!



We had our Fall Festival at church last night. So fun to have a reason to dress up like a little kid again! And best of all, a great opportunity to share the love of Christ!!

Cool God-moment highlight from last night...remember my blog about doing outreach with my book club, motivated by our reading A Whole Lot of Different Like Me? One of the family's we reached out to showed up. Very cool!!

Proud highlight of the night...my 3 oldest kids pitching in, serving where needed, and having fun doing it!

Bitter-sweet moment...My eldest son taking great delight in reminding me that he wouldn't be around for next year's Fall Festival as he would be far, far away at college. (And no, I didn't cry...this time.)

And the funniest moment of my evening...I was walking through the hall and a little kid asked me if I was Little Red Riding Hood. I said yes and that I was looking for Granny. He warned me that it wasn't really Granny but the Big Bad Wolf!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Kids...

Jen, this is for you. Can you believe how much they have grown since Frisco days? This picture is from D3's 18th birthday just a couple weeks ago.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Increased Value

I will soon get a paycheck for this temporary job of mine, and I am already preparing myself for it.

There is an unbelievable surge of control and emotions that communicate "increased value" when you are handed a paycheck with your name typed out in black ink.

And yet...is it really real, that control and that perceived increased value? Is that "me"?

A few weeks ago I was at the dentist with my son for a routine cleaning and the only magazine that wasn't about cars, animals, or "10 new ways to spark your marriage" (if you get my drift) was a magazine targeting career women. I thought it was my best bet. On about page 5 there was a little article labelled a career-mom's blog.

It went something like this: career-woman becomes unemployed and panics!

The writer lost her job about 4 months previous. One day, her son asked the Dad why he didn't take him to school anymore and it was just mommy who took him, and the dad's reply was because mommy loves you and likes to take you. The kid responded with the saddest comment: No she doesn't, she just doesn't have anything better to do. And the lady signed off her blog with a statement of frustration, she had to figure out a way to "increase her value".

She needed something more... she needed her career to be valuable. Her specific issues weren't about keeping food on the family table or paying the mortgage, but of damaged personal worth.

There are career mom's who have the correct perspective on their true value. I am friends with several of these women and respect the way they strive to meet the challenges in successfully combining family and career as they strive to do it for the glory of God.

And from these past couple of weeks, I have experienced how IT TRULY IS A CHALLENGE!

But I also know that it is very easy to slip into assigning value according to world's standards rather then God's. Funny as this might sound, my occasional job of substitute para-educator has revealed this in me as well.

Money equals value. Career equals value. Title equals value.

{What do you do? I substitute in my kid's school system. Oh, how wonderful!}

{Do you work? I am a para-educator with special needs kids. What a great job!}

And it is a nice job, but is that where I really want to assign my value as a person? Isn't that really just a small facet of the bigger picture of what God has fashioned me to be?

So, in conclusion, this temporary job opportunity has been interesting. I was able to interact with a whole new group of people I otherwise would never have met. I did my job well, made the boss happy, and earned the money I am about to get.

And my value? My aim is for it to rest in centering myself dead center of what God has really called me to be right now in this season of life!

Wife...

Mom...

Ministry/volunteer...

I am available to do what you want, God!

No paycheck, but assuredly increased value in Your eyes.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

That First Week...

*I watched how a soft answer really does turn away wrath. The guy I am working for has it down pat. What an excellent reminder for me in my real life being a pastor-wife and full time mom!

*I was really challenged...to be placed outside of my comfort zone, working as a receptionist and doing some computer stuff...it has been about 2 decades since I did this kind of gig and my computer skills are pathetic to say the very least. But I survived!!!

*God has a sense of humor...the first button I pushed on the computer on day 1 and, voila, the whole system froze. Nice!!

*I have been able to experience the strength of the Lord, engage in some personal humility, and enjoy the kindness of strangers (in the form of the office computer guy).

I have just a few more days, and honestly, I am very glad for that. But I am sure there is more to learn so I will keep my eyes open!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 3 Thoughts

So here I am getting ready for day 3 of my temporary job, and the song that keeps floating through my head goes something like this:

"God is good, Dr Pepper is great, but people are crazy."

Yes, it is a real song.
Yes, I like country music. Don't you?
No, it doesn't say Dr. Pepper, but I like Dr. Pepper better then beer.

So anyways, I am just wondering why this song is dancing through my brain. Am I the crazy one, or is it everyone else?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oh, the possibilites...

Today is the beginning of a new "opportunity".

A friend of mine is a receptionist for her family business and is leaving town for 2 weeks of vacation. She needed a backup to answer phones and do light computer work; she asked me to do it, and I agreed. When God offers an opportunity to make enough money to pay for my son's wisdom teeth to be removed next Spring, who am I to say no?! I wasn't looking for it, yet God provided. My temporary 9-5 job starts today.

And this is where I am thinking that the gentle rolling flow of my life is about to be seriously disrupted!

I am fully expecting to be exhausted at the end of each day over these next two weeks. My house will not be in order. Meals will be harder to manage each night. I will miss Bible Study. I won't have much time to blog. My kids will be home from school before I am. Things will fall through the cracks.

I just don't want to drown...or to take any of my family down with me.

But I do believe that God has provided this short-term opportunity for me. And probably not just for the sake of funding the removal of my son's teeth. Who can I encourage? Who can I serve? And what does God want to teach me through the next 2 weeks?

Oh, the possibilities...

Friday, October 9, 2009

18 years ago...

Me holding D3, October 9, 1991:



1993, climbing everything in sight:



1998, the serious look just testifies to how excited he was about those rollerblades:



2000, sledding with Dad on The Big Hill:



2004, Family Camp at Northern Pines:



Freshman Basketball, Spring of 2007:


Summer, 2009, his second mission trip to Brazil:



Senior year, Fall of 2009:



D3 holding me, even while stretching his wings for independence:



Without question, I am blessed and I love that boy! Now where are the tissues...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rocks Ahead!

Biding My Time is all about waiting on God for new opportunities...and then taking them! It is my personal commitment to not panic...and to not get lazy...but to move within the flow of my life under God's direction and to His glory.

So far in this process I have committed to blogging (obviously). I have stepped out on new outreach volunteer opportunities. I taught several women's Bible studies and then stepped back out of teaching when my time was over. I occasionally substitute as a para-educator for special needs kids. I have even gone so far as to iron my husband's shirts weekly. (Hey, that was a big step for me!) Basically, I have experienced how the stream of my life isn't always a nice gentle flow. Sometimes it's slow, almost to a stop, and sometimes it goes fast. And then there are rapids.

I see some rocks ahead!

I will let you know how it all goes next week.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

J is on Kid Patrol!

Our littlest animal in the forest went happily to school today...her first day wearing that bright, red vinyl belt that tells all the watching world that she is on Kid Patrol!

She tried it on for me after school yesterday. She tried it on for Dad when he came home from work. She adjusted it in front of the mirror about 18 times working to get just the right fit over the shoulder and around her waist. And she announced to me with arms upraised and a large grin, "I feel so powerful with this on"!

I just cannot think where she gets her control issues, but kindergartners beware! J is on Kid Patrol!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Some Random Reasons I LOVE my Mom-Job today!

! Yesterday I got to spend precious Alone-Time with my man on his day off...Mondays when he takes it. The kids were at school. It was just us. We went to see Julie and Julia and shock of shocks, he enjoyed the chick flick. My favorite line was her reasoning on why she is bad at housework. It is still making me laugh today.

!! I have time to blog. (: Yes, there are other things I COULD be doing right now (dishes, laundry, gourmet desserts...) but I choose to blog because I can.

!!! I find that I am more prone to laugh at things like this rather then spaz out...



Isn't he pathetic? He just got a serious chewing out by me, you can tell! By the way, it was a roll of t.p.

!!!! I was allowed the opportunity to join other women in Bible Study and prayer this morning.

!!!!! I am about to walk out the door to watch my 10th grade kiddo play the last tennis match of his first season in the sport.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I do believe that I am jealous of my 13 year old daughter. Once upon a time, my 4 siblings and I would fight for the job of mowing our yard back in Oklahoma. It was a favorite chore, and bless my mom's heart, she let us do it and didn't hog it all to herself! Now it is C's job to riding-mow our very own 2 acres. She plugs up her ears, puts on her hoodie ('cause it is Fall around here in the North), and gets to ride around our yard in a peaceful roar, smelling sweet cut grass, and gazing off at this...



Doesn't "our" field next door looks fabulous in the Fall?!

But then, if I was her blissfully bouncing over the crabgrass right now, I would also be inhaling this...



...the dreaded ragweed.

So I sit in here and type away at this blog, just a wee bit jealous of my daughter, but also hoping she enjoys the solitude and satisfaction of mowing as much as I did way back when.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall is here at last!



Crispy leaves crunching as I walk with Dublin...

Breathtaking colors in jewel tones outside the window of my house and my car...

Delicious temptations to enjoy cinnamon-sugar donuts and fresh apple cider...

Fall is here at last!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Birthday Thanks

I love homemade cards from my kids. Get a load of this one from J, my youngest-- my 9 year old, cutie-pie, nut. She thinks she is so funny!



My sweet husband knows how much I love to eat out (and eat bacon) and so he took the morning off and fed me bacon and eggs! And then we had a delightful hour browsing through the bookstore (scoping out the books we want to order from the library next).

My oldest son sent me a text message during the day telling me Happy Birthday and that he loved me. It isn't exactly a cute little homemade card on construction paper but he is 18 next month and I will take every bit of that I can get!

M, my second oldest, has always had the ability to communicate love and he didn't fail me now that I am 39.

And I love mani's and pedi's. J took care of my hands and C took the feet, complete with a lovely massage and clumpy nailpolish. It was perfect!

I also love steak, chocolate cake, York Peppermint Patties, and presents...they also made an appearance at my big party.

I feel so very loved! Thank you, dear God, for my wonderful family!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Magic Number 39!

Birthdays were always so fabulous for me as a kid. The youngest of five, it was my chance to have all the love lavished on little ole me that I could possibly want. Good food and gifts and attention. Just for me! All for me!

And whatever age I was turning, I just knew was going to be incredible. Just because I was that magic number. Oh, the possibilities of what that next year would hold.

I would even practice writing out my new age in the weeks preceding the big day. (I think the number 8 was my favorite because it is such a swirly and decorative number).

Today I turned 39. And somehow, and I know this will come as a shock, birthdays just aren't what they used to be when I was a kid and the number 39 doesn't exactly invite visions of adventure to dance through my head.

When I think of the number 39 I think of:

*the times I have told myself in the last week that getting older is no big deal; in fact it is great, and that I will do so gracefully and with a zest for what is before me...blah, blah, blah...

*the number of vitamins and supplements I require to function with energy in a day (approximately, of course!)

*pounds I would like to lose before I am 40 (no, not really, but sometimes 9 pounds feels like 39)

Honestly, I think my "issue" lies in the fact that I don't typically FEEL like I am getting older but my brain is telling me that today I am in fact older. Yesterday I was in the middle-late-30's category. But today I am a late-30's-pushing-into-40's.

For those of you who have reached or surpassed this number of years in your life, feel free to slowly shake your head in amused pity/sympathy as I grapple with this minor transition. For those of you yet to reach this milestone of your life, feel free to smugly smile at my expense...because your day is a-comin'!

Note: My sweet husband and family are treating me like a queen for which I feel so blessed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Contemplative Moment

The thing about a quiet and empty house is that in the silence you can start to hear your own thoughts. Ok, maybe not literally "hear", but at least notice.

"I want chocolate."

"Laundry or book, book or laundry...definately book!"

"Do fish drink water?"

So I am not always super impressed with those thoughts...they often seem rather shallow, lazy, or even downright unpleasing to God. But on the rare occasion they do take a deeper turn.

One of the directions I have heard my thoughts go lately is in the direction of blind spots of the spiritual kind. It is so easy to identify blind spots in other people's lives. But not so easy to see my own.

Is it the noise and rush of life that fool me into thinking I don't suffer from my own personal blind spots? Am I unwilling to notice those blind spots because I like things the way they are? I don't want to have to change or put forth effort in that particular arena?

A string of totally unconnected conversations over the past few days has encouraged my heart that God would have me pursue this line of thought because I am unique and His relationship with me is unique and He has something ahead for me to learn. Perhaps some blind spots to correct. Or maybe just some thought patterns to re-align with His. Should be interesting!

Friday, September 11, 2009

All at loose ends...

...because the kids are off at school and the house is very quiet. But I am not the only one at loose ends for something fun to do. Look what I found in my closet...



Doesn't he look guilty? And mischievous?

And yet, maybe it isn't such a bad idea to revel in a little shoe-therapy to distract me from the absence of kids in my home. (DSW, Macy's, or Payless for heavens sake...any of those would work I am sure!)

But some of my loose ends will be tying up soon enough. Bible Study starts up next Tuesday. There are outreaches to plan and Book Club ladies to keep up with. There is plenty of coffee to drink at coffee shops with women from the church. Opportunities in the kids school to help out. And I am on the para-pro sub list again this year in our school district. My days will be full again soon enough!

And yet that doesn't change the fact that four little bodies are missing from the house for a large portion of my day. It is almost enough to make me consider homeschooling again, though I know full well it isn't what God has for us right now. So to those of you called to that wonderful ministry, blessings and enjoy your very full, noisy, sometimes chaotic day with your kids! And I am off to rescue my shoes from Dublin!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

All is well!

It is 11:00 AM and all is well!

*I was up at 7:30, ate my oatmeal, did some laundry, had my quiet time, did some laundry, filed my nails, did some laundry, dusted...and am still in my comfy pajamas.
(Hope no one comes to the door!)

*My kids are still blissfully asleep.
(They must be growing. School starts next week so enjoy it now, kids!)

*The puppy is fast asleep.
(And has been for the last 3.5 hours so he must be growing too.)

*My kitchen is completely clean and the dish washer is whirring away. This is an accomplishment only made possible by the above two observations.
(By the way, no one is allowed to eat anything today at all after they wake up!)

*I redecorated the dining room/Big D's study without spending a dime.
(A little bit of this from the kitchen, a little bit of that out of my storage closet, rearranging some pictures, and voila...newly redecorated dining room. It was very therapeutic! You should try it!)




Note: The fluffy dog in the background on the kitchen counter above is indeed Dinkleman, Dublin's little stuffed animal. He is awaiting his appt. with the plastic surgeon to re-attach his ear.)

*And I am about to plug in Pride and Prejudice (the BBC edition) as I intend, drum roll please, to iron Big D's shirts.
(Pick yourself up off the floor, Big D, and get back to work! And for those of you who don't know me--I do many housewifely things but I don't iron. But today I will.)

Hope all is well in your day also!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A field of sunflowers...

...I have passed several times, to and fro my various errands, has remained stuck in my mind.



It is truly breathtaking...row upon row of huge, bright yellow heads that seem to nod to all who pass by in their friendly sunflower way as the wind passes through the field.

And they all are facing the same direction. In unity, they face east each morning. As the sun moves across the sky, their bright faces all move together, looking towards the sun until it sets in the evening.

Yes, there is a scientific reason for this phenomena. But as I continue through my busy days, I really don't care about pondering the science that lies behind the beauty and symbolism of this stunning little piece of God's creation. What I care about is that God keeps bringing the memory of that joyful field back to my mind, reminding me to look to The Son for my strength and direction as I whirl about in my daily activities.

"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."
Psalm 105:4

PS

I went out and bought a bunch of sunflowers and J and I made little sunflower pens for she and her sister. You know the kind, the flower head at the tip and wrapped up with green florist tape. As they do their homework this Fall, what a great reminder for them to look to the Lord!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dog Days of August

Sleeping...Eating...




Laying around...



A little travel (Big D might kill me for posting these)...




A little fun at the kennel (really a doggy-paradise that God led us to while we were on vacation...$10 a day and I am not kidding)...



Fight with the water hose...



You should see the water hose...



fine-tuning his "innocent look"...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Letter from a Tennis Mom

Dear son,

I vow here and now that I will not become "that" mom.

You know the type. The type that didn't do quite as much as she would have liked to on the court in her own highschool years.

Didn't practice her serve often enough like Serena did.

Didn't hone her mental skills razor sharp like Venus.

Didn't take as many steroids...I mean grow as tall... as either of those players.

Anyways. I vow I will just let you go have some fun on the green courts, whacking the little yellow ball around to your hearts content, without pushing and bullying you if you aren't practicing enough to suit me.

Love,

Mom

(But, oh, I am so excited that ONE of my kids is showing a bit of interest in that great sport!!!!!! You want to go play?)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me...Update

In June I posted about this book and what it was inspiring within my book club.

I was very passionate at the time I wrote that blog. I was idealistic. I was hopeful and prayerful. I knew it would be one step at a time.

In July, we took that one first step, striding right out of our comfort zone...and it was way more successful then I honestly thought it would be. And may I say, it had God's fingerprints all over it and that is the one reason why!! There is a verse in the Bible about how (Marie paraphrase) women can make all sorts of plans but don't hold your breathe because God is really in charge...

We had planned a taco bar Fiesta in the "clubhouse" for the mobile home community right next door to our church. They have been very receptive and inviting to anything our church has done in the past and so this seemed like a great opportunity. We even had fun little crafts planned for all the little elementary age children, but when we presented our ideas the manager asked us to do something for the teens instead.

That was the first shocker! I can do crafts and interact all day long with an 8 year old but an 18 year old scares my socks off!!

So we prayed and thought and prayed some more. I handed out 20 fliers to every teen from 13 to 19 (AS IN NINETEEN YEARS OLD)in the community. We showed up early. We set out all the food. We set out the chairs. And we waited. For about 20 minutes. Just staring at each other and the food on the tables.

Just when we started to wonder what to do next, the manager came out and started talking to us. She told us about the two 19 years olds and how they "run" the teenagers like a little suburban gang. If they come, the rest will come. And then she called one of them up on the phone and told him to come over and get some of his buddies to eat the free food. From that point on, God opened up several opportunities.

We continued in conversation with the manager, hearing her struggles and challenges. We were able to interact with one of those leaders of the kids, getting his advice about what they would like for next time. Four teenagers eventually showed up, grabbed food and a free CD of Christan alternative rock and promptly left. But two jr high girls stuck around. Their two little brothers in 5th and 6th grade stayed as well. And we were able to get our foot in the door just a little bit.

So here we are with our foot in the door!

Now for that next step...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Fun Date Idea

On vacation at Green Lake in Wisconsin, D and I stumbled upon another cheap yet fun date.

We go to this family camp about every other year, but for the very first time our kids were all old enough to be in their own programs. With free time on our hands for just the two of us, we decided to try out the bicycle trails on the bikes the camp provides.

There is nothing like feeling the rush of wind as you fly down the other side of a hill you just struggled to get up! Have you done that lately? You forget about the burn in your aching quads. You forget about your sore behind because you don't have those tight, shiny, padded shorts on. You just feel like a 12 year old again, carefree, and with nothing on your mind but an afternoon to enjoy.

The only down side to this fun date idea for me is putting it into real life back home...we don't own bikes. Not yet. (So much for a cheap date idea!) But we have GREAT trails here in our local parks. Hmm! Maybe Christmas...

Friday, July 31, 2009

...And Counting

*2.5 days until vacation
(Northern Pines, "a vacation with a purpose", we can't wait!)

*16.6 days until VBS
(yes, I am nuts, I just can't help volunteering for it every single year)

*.5 hours until C's drama camp ends
(the camp part, certainly not the drama)

*39 days 'til school year starts

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Naptime with his best friend...



We bought Dinkleman (the kids named it) before we went to pick up Dublin. We thought he might be lonely leaving his siblings and the little stuffed animal certainly resembles a golden-doodle. Sure enough, Dublin attached immediately to Dinkleman, biting his ears and pouncing on him and snuggles to sleep with him every night. They had just had a wrestling match and like a little baby, fell fast asleep right where he was at.

But don't let this picture fool you. Cute-and-Cuddly doesn't always make up for Up-at-Night and Cleaning-Poo-Off-the-Carpet. Yesterday was THE WORST. He had approximately 7.5 accidents and only one of them am I willing to take credit for of not being fast enough to let him out.

So this morning I had a nice little chat with Dublin about my expectations for the day, and at 7:30 in the evening I am proud to say that we have yet to have an uh-oh. In addition to Cute-and-Cuddly he is obviously a very good listener!

Friday, July 10, 2009

What's new?

I was in Oklahoma at my parent's 50th anniversary party the other day. Mingling with the guests, serving wedding cake, making punch, mingling some more. At one point, I bumped into my childhood dentist whom I haven't seen in at least 20 years. After the initial recognition and hello, he says, "So what is new?"

Do you ever have out of body moments when your brain instantly chases fake conversations down a trail in your mind before you snap yourself out of it and just answer as any sane person would? Because that is exactly what happened to me.

My first thought was, "Since I haven't seen you in 20 years, just about everything!" That wasn't good so I tried to shift gears mentally. Four cavities and I desperately need my teeth bleached. Uh, no, still not right.

I knew he was just expecting the "not much, how about you" but my frazzled brain tried to force my mouth to blurt out all the stuff going on in my life that he totally wouldn't care to hear. I at long last managed to say something socially appropriate (I think), noticed the cake needed attention and got out of there. Whew!

The fact is, I do like change. If don't have some kind of change in my life on a regular basis I get into a funk and feel all stuck in a rut. The last few weeks have been lots of change, but also activity!! And that level of activity is what has my brain all frazzled.

I already posted pics of the new puppy. Talk about activity!! But below are some pictures of some other things I have been doing the past several weeks. D and I led a mission trip to Brazil, which included our oldest son, and it was very exciting to see God's hand at work!



D3 helped lead worship one day for the VBS portion of the trip. He is on the far right and even farther out of his comfort zone.



This poor bus driver...four times a day for four days he made roundtrips picking up kids from the poor areas of Brazil to come to VBS at Pitanga Ranch. The worst day HAD to of been the one we gave away plastic flutes with the snack bags that were part of the VBS experience. We could still hear the "music" over the roar of the diesel engine as they pulled out.



This is me in the favella, truly the poorest of the poor. Note the "wall" of their house hanging behind me. We did a first aid/evangelism outreach in the favella every morning and every evening. Every member of the team had their turn to go out at some point during the trip.



The food packs lined against this wall were for each family of the favella and contained staples that would carry them through the next month. One lady who I had shared the Gospel with earlier in the week stopped us and said (through an interpretor) that she had just run out of food for she and her little daughter, that we had come just in time. It was yet one more chance to tell her about God's great love for her in sending us to that favella at that time with those provisions. I pray she will remember, she will understand, and that she will come to trust in Christ and not in her works!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Low Down on Dublin




~He is Amish.

At least, that is the culture in which he was born. He and Big D had a nice long talk on our visit to pick him out and he said he was willing to join our pack...er, family... even though we do drive cars, watch t.v., and have more cell phones then kids. (At least it feels that way when the phone bill comes!)

~He is a Golden-Doodle.

Half golden retriever and half poodle for the un-initiated. Some might call him a mutt, but his price tag begs to differ. But this was extremely important to us to find a non-shedding dog (or low shedding...we shall see!).

~He is medium.

He was neither the runt nor the fattest in the litter. He wasn't the shy-est and he also wasn't the most extroverted and playful of the litter. He was right in the middle with size and personality. We have done the sympathy card before and we have fallen prey to the "cuteness" factor before. This time, we were calculating, observant, and purposeful in our choosing. (Oh, I sure hope he doesn't turn out to be a socio-pathic dog! We have done that before too.)

~He sure better be a good traveler!

'Cause we are about to spend 16 hours with him in the car and that is a heck of a long ride if the dog doesn't do motion well.
(Can I hear an Amen, Kellie?)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dublin Dr. Pepper



This is quite possibly the cutest little puppy...ever!

And tomorrow we will be bringing him home from the farm to be a part of our pack...I mean family.

I CAN"T WAIT!!!

I am the hugest sucker for puppies. But there is actually one person worse then me, and that would be big D. He is the real reason we are taking the plunge into this house training/chewing furniture/up at night/kennel training expense of a fiasco. But I am so glad now that we have picked him out and will be bringing him home soon.

Oh that darling face! It just melts my hard, practical heart! (Oh, and the puppy's face is adorable too.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

From Mother to Daughter...Your Dad

* Your Daddy loves you so very much. He shows it with both his hugs and his discipline, and especially when he is teasing you about your crushes.

* Secretly and deep down, he really does mean it when he says he has a "beat down" list for the boys who are flirting with you at school. He just won't ever act out on that list...unless he has to!

* He will always see you as his little girl to protect. Don't feel suffocated, feel secure!

* He is proud of your many accomplishments, but his greatest hope for you is that you develop into a woman fully devoted to Christ.

* He is a fabulous Dad! So tell him that often with your words as well as hugs and kisses and backrubs!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me...

One of the ladies in my book club found this book, Same Kind of Different As Me, just by accident as she wandered through the bookstore. She read it, loved it, and it began to change her life.

So then she passed it along to several neighbors, non-believers, but people who enjoy a good story. They read it, loved it, and it began to spark great spiritual and social conversations that would otherwise never have taken place.

When our book club needed a book for the summer, she passed the book on to me to check out. Before I could even open it, my husband just happened to pick it up and couldn't put it down. He actually blogged about it on our church website. He almost never blogs!

Needless to say, we decided as a book club to read it together this summer. Only the summer has just begun and we have finished it.

So we have decided that instead of meeting over coffee and muffins next month, we are going to step out of our comfort zones and reach out to a community right next door to our church that has many needs. Our church has done other things there in the past, good things and helpful things. But short term kinds of things.

My hope, my prayer, and my dream is that this time, in the spirit of long term life change that can happen when we really let loose of our own comfort and insecurities and allow God to open our eyes and use our hands and feet for His purposes, our little book club will catch a vision to serve on a regular basis with this community and that this vision will catch fire in other people's hearts and that they will in turn find where God would have them serve.

Whew! I actually said that out loud and it was a really long sentence!

Please Lord, sustain this fire in our hearts and lead us forward!

I can't wait to let you know how God moves in this situation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Breakfast and a Wildlife Show

At around 9 AM just after I just finished my oatmeal, this is who showed up in our backyard together. Big D and I watched for about 5 minutes. I wasn't able to capture it all on camera, but in between these two pictures the young buck started acting like a teenage boy, "messing with" the sandhill crane family. He walked slowly and deliberately toward the cranes, just looking at them with his head down low. The daddy sandhill crane came forward and stared the buck down for a second and then finally shoo-ed it away from his family with flapping wings. Quite a show!