Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.
Friday, October 29, 2010
I've managed to confuse Kim with my "is she or isn't she globetrotting." And no doubt others.
For the record, I am currently in Iowa and intend to stay here for some time.
No more trips planned.
No more vacation time left.
The veggies I picked were indeed from my Iowa garden and picked on the 26th after I spent the 14th of October to the 20th of October whizzing thru various parts of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico and then back again in the opposite order.
The random pictures were just part of my reentry back into my random life. Sharing the sights with you and the sometimes addled bits of my brain, too.
So. No more flip-flopping unless a picture seems to work well with what I'm writing about.
I do have to share a laugh. One of Toad-Boy's friends responded to my "Happy Birthday" Facebook greeting with a little story. Please keep in mind that Toad Boy was like 15 and a foot taller than me before you call Child Protective Services. Also. I do not remember one second of this incident in which this poor young man lost a little bit of his innocence. Toad Boy's adolescent tomfoolery drove me to madness a time or two and many days blend together into moments that just require some laughter and maybe a bit of forgiveness.
This is what he said.
"hahaha, I was just telling one of my friends about the first time that I hung out with Toad-Boy, and we were in your mini van with you, and he kept poking your face and saying "whats that do? Why does your eye close when I touch it? whats that do?" You kept telling him to stop and he wouldn't so then you just started punching him.... meanwhile I'm in the back seat and I have no idea what to do. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing.
And that's how I was introduced to your family.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I pulled this plethora of produce out of my veggie garden yesterday. October 26th.
Last year it snowed on October 11th. This year we have produce almost all the way into November. Tomorrow night should freeze though so I'll have to harvest one last time.
They say that it you don't like the weather in Iowa, just wait a few minutes...it'll change.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Roswell.... Yes. There is a theme.
Unidentified flying balloon blobs....etc. Seen on the quick trip thru and a visit to a Roswell loo.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Smoke and Mirrors and Shifting Shadows (written for my church newsletter)
I'm just going to come out and admit this.... call me unAmerican, crazy, a fun-hater, whatever.... but I really, really do NOT care for The Wizard of Oz.
I know it's a classic and every child in the world is supposed to delight in this story. But not me, never, ever, ever... It could be the screaming, flying monkeys which I should be able to view now that I'm all grown up. But. I just can't/won't watch it to figure out if the monkeys did indeed permanently scar me.
But, in my childhood exposures while I watched through my barely cracked open fingers, I did pick up on a few things that have stuck with me through the years (besides another irrational fear -- being sprinkled with water.) The biggest take away from the movie is the utter disappointment the characters felt upon discovering that the wizard was just a little man with impressive tricks.
I don't know if there is anything more discouraging than finding that someone is not who they appear to be. And here we go, segueing into spiritual things now. (You were wondering weren't you?)
For years I struggled with disappointment with others...and in myself. I knew that my intentions were usually good but that my follow through often lacked. And I saw this same syndrome in others.... a dropping of the ball, a twisting of the truth, a miscommunication, a selfish motivation. These little tiny things began to erode my trust in the basic goodness of humanity. I began to see that no matter how amazing or Godly a person seemed, when push came to shove, or the offer was high enough, a crack would begin to appear and the darkness of sin would ooze out. And. My faith in the goodness of humanity needed to be shaken, because, we really are creatures with dark motivations. But with this brutal realization came a shaking of my belief in God's character. After all, it does stand to reason that if the humanity created in God's image each contained a teeny, tiny seed of selfishness, that God did too. Right?
So it was with skepticism that I trusted Him, watching, waiting for Him to disappoint me.
Have you ever had a verse or Scripture leap out of the Bible and grab your heart, forever changing you? Talk about living, active, Word of God. Praise the Lord, I have and one of these moments addressed my fear of smoke, mirrors, parlor tricks and of peeking behind the Wizard's curtain.
James 1: 16 -17 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
There is no dark, center core to God. No shadows within Him and His heart toward us. No tricks, no cover-ups, no looming "unveiling" of an impotent God. He is pure light. His love for us is pure and generous. His forgiveness is without tricks, strings or a list that will become historical documentation attached to our permanent file. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present and He loves us. He is a coach, a champion, a reward giver, a loving father, a brother and our provider as well as the King of kings and Lord of lords. What a blessing to know that in the age we are in where so many are working out their own path to salvation with fear and lies, that the truth is pure, clear and shadow-free.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
My Review of You Again...
This flick was cute in the previews and delivers even more than it promised in the full-length film.
After years of healing success and maturity post high-school, Marnie aka MOO, finds out that her brother is marrying her nastiest high-school tormentor. With no time to process the information or put on full body armor, Marnie is thrown into the situation just days before the wedding. Joanna, oddly, doesn't even remember Marnie the queen-of-geeks and has gone on to become a perfect blend of Martha Stewart and Mother Teresa. Or maybe not!
Chick-flicky, yes. But its more about friends, enemies and the painful art of growing-up. The movie contains a few cheesy moments and a few underdeveloped relationships because the cast of characters is huge. But, it's respectful of friendship, forgiveness, character and marriage. Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver are delightfully amusing and seem to enjoy every bit of working together in this film. There is a scene at the end of the movie that is hilarious and worth every bit of cheese and I can't say one more thing about it because it would be a big spoiler. The film is clean and would be a terrific pre-teen movie choice.
Comparable movies are Mean Girls, Monster-In-Law, Bride Wars, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton and Confessions of a Shopaholic. If you liked any of the above or any of the You Again cast of characters you should enjoy this film. This is one I'll be adding to my DVD collection.
My Review of Life as We Know It...
Hollie and Messer, set-up by best friends Allison and Peter, meet, share a disaster of a non-date and develop an intense hatred for each other. Then Allison and Peter get married and have a baby, forcing Hollie and Messer to be subjected to each other often. Glimpses of Hollie and Messer and their interaction flash on the screen as this relationship that ties them together unfolds. Finally, a laughing moment is shared at Baby Sophie's 1st birthday party where a picture is taken with "Godparents," Hollie and Messer, who don't understand exactly what that term means.
Fast forward several weeks and Hollie and Messer meet up at the police station to discover that Allison and Peter have died in a horrific accident and that Sophie needs them. They discover how much as the rest of the story unfolds.
I really liked this film. I watched it with four friends and we all agreed that it was worth the investment. The main characters are three-dimensional and well-cast. Though not laugh out-loud funny in most scenes, there is enough humor thrown in to make the subject matter less intense. Not pure comedy, or drama, also not pure chick flick. Enough deep issues and emotions play out that the movie grabbed my emotions and heart.
A few cheesy moments make their way into the movie...one in particular is a drug thread that ends up falling flat, though it likely supposed to play as a light-hearted moment. There are a group of neighbors that add annoyingly funny moments throughout the film. Language is minimal, the F-Bomb makes few appearances, the most memorable is a whispered fight. Messer is a new-girl-a-night kind of a guy so there are plenty of comments about his tom-catting ways, though the sex scenes are minimal and primarily off-screen. Hollie is an uptight business owner who's rigidity makes for a few annoying minutes throughout the film as well. But overall the relationship between them ends up being respectful of families and love and this one will end up in my DVD library.
Friday, October 15, 2010
We live/react out of what we know to be true and that "truth" is an interesting blend of part-truths and experiences.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can be a wonderful thing when we have gotten to the point where the Holy Spirit speaks louder than the world, than our experiences, and louder than our friends.
But most of us live in the Mixlands...where truth is not necessarily truth when we are done interpreting it.
I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. I struggle with misperceptions and miscommunications and misinterpretations of the truth. As I've considered this, it's occurred to me that the biggest thing in my life, the squeaky wheel of my struggles is going to be the thing that rises up in me and causes my reactions. And if that thing isn't God. My reaction is not going to be a good choice. It will come out of my weaknesses or fears or out of my pain.
There is an evangelical tract that spells it out (paraphrased) this way. Whoever sits on the throne of your life will be your governor/king/lord. I'd like to suggest that it's beyond that...that it's whatever sits on the throne of my life will be the thing I listen to, the thing through which I interpret life's happenings. That thing becomes lord and sometimes false savior in my life.
For example. I am a recovering people pleaser. I want to make people happy, to have them like me, want to be around me, etc. etc. etc. But in the past, that desire became a squeaky, screeching need. When someone didn't like me (Really, there are those who don't. Can you believe that?) My heart would start pounding when I was around them, and I'd get sweaty and I'd try...try...try to make them like me. And that behavior never really worked. Not only did they still not like me, they began to not respect me or began to take out restraining orders. The need to be liked had taken the throne. It had deposed and overthrown the rightful King. And people pleasing is a cruel king. Cruel. It demands, it shows no mercy and it takes everything of value from its subjects. Jesus clearly states that there will be people who don't like me because of Him. But He also clearly demonstrated that He loved me enough to slather my disgusting sins all over Him and wear them while dying in my place. Emotional needs are sneaky and would love to slide onto the throne of your life. Do you have any that have slithered close? Any making plans for an uprising?
Another area of evil kingship is addictions. Oh, we Christians still struggle with those. I'm not going to mention the ones that have 12-step programs. How about the addiction to control? Addiction to negativity or self-pity? Addiction to being right no matter the cost? Talk about killing, stealing and destroying. These are from the pits. Do you turn to something you NEED to help you through the day? Do you find yourself looking forward to a phone call from a friend so you can gossip?
And if those are enough usurpers of the throne. How about other people? Do you still hear someone's voice in your head and obey it instead of your Shepherd's voice? Your math teacher who said you'd never get beyond high school? Your music teacher who said you couldn't carry a tune in a bucket? A parent who was so broken that you couldn't please them even if they had succeeded into shaping you into the perfect child?
God belongs on the throne. He is the only one equipped to be a ruler. He has the resources and He has the lovingkindness to rule in your best interest. He has the power to guide you and direct you. He can protect you and He accepts you as the broken and deceived peasant that you are. He has provided living water for you to wash up in, and clothing to slip into, armor to protect you, and a voice that you can learn to listen to.
Take a peek into the throne room of your life. Who or what sits on the throne?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This is cool guys. Leave a comment on this post. And I will pick a random winner of a Mend Mark bracelet on the 28th of October. You have til 12:01 a.m. to comment on the 28th. Comment as many times as you want. I love the heart behind this. And you guys know I'm a sucker for the whole portion of purchase goes ..... and here's where this one goes. Living Water.
"A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Water International, an organization combating the clean water crisis victimizing over one billion people worldwide. Each $5,000 given will result in one well drilled, providing a community with clean water."
The Mend Mark tells a powerful story in two words
Have you been “Marked?” The Mend Mark is a mission, a movement, an entire revolution. It is a bracelet meant to remind its wearers of Christ’s love and sacrifice, and its message is the passion of its creator, Hunter Harrison.
The Mend Mark is an innovative and distinctive bracelet that is designed to reflect the scars and nail holes of Jesus. When worn, the band resembles the deep holes of the nail driven into the wrists of Jesus during his crucifixion. By bringing the story of Jesus’ life and death to constant awareness by wearing a bracelet, Mend Mark is meant to powerfully remind wearers of the ultimate act of love Jesus made for all of humankind.
Harrison’s mission is to remind all to remember Christ’s love in both his life and death. But more than only a poignant recollection, the Mend Mark is meant to inspire and motivate wearers to live a life of service. Harrison strives to bring people together around the simplicity and power of love as lived by Jesus. But this is no example of passive love. The Mend Mark calls individuals in all walks of life to love with a profound sincerity and commitment great enough to change a neighborhood, a community, a world.
Harrison leads this call to love and sacrifice by example and joins hands with each Mend Mark bracelet purchaser to take the first step in global change. A portion of each bracelet sold goes to support Living Water International, an organization combating the clean water crisis victimizing over one billion people worldwide. Each $5,000 given will result in one well drilled, providing a community with clean water.
But wearers should be prepared to be seen. Unique in its design, the Mend Mark is sure to be noticed and gives wearers an opportunity to share the story of the profound love of Jesus for each and every person. “It was important to me that the design was simple and generic enough that the observer had to ask about it to know what it meant. But I also wanted it to appear distinctive enough that it sparked curiosity,” reveals creator Hunter Harrison. “I wanted it to require the wearer of the product to engage in conversation about the love of Christ (and hopefully show that love to others) instead of just letting the product talk for them.”
Launched in late 2009 after a year and a half of packaging, material, and design development by Harrison, the bracelet has been sold across the United States, Canada, and the UK and has been featured in retail stores as well. The Mend Mark bracelet movement has grown to further fame after being worn during performances by American Idol winner Lee Dewyze, Idol runner up Siobhan Magnus, Decifer Down, Israel Houghton & New Breed, Pillar, and Finding Favour, to name a few. Says Harrison, “I want it to be more than just another bracelet; I want it to represent a movement.” Based on the way things are going, a movement is exactly what it is becoming.
Order online for $9.99 at www.mendmark.com.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Fresh Air Fund was thrilled with all of the interest generated within the blogosphere for our Fresh Air children. We had close to 5000 volunteer host families open their home to a NYC child and 3000 children visited our camps. It was a great summer!
Fresh Air Fund has a Facebook page. Check them out and Like them. : )
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Friday, I finally called my phone/DSL provider to complain that the phone service/DSL were fuzzy, crackly and skippy. They said they'd send a technician out to check the problem Saturday afternoon and that someone needed to be there. But Friday afternoon 23 mentions that the repair vehicle was in the driveway and I opened the front door to see the technician clinging to a ladder attached to the side of the house. We chatted. He said that our outside wires were old and easily squirrel compromised and that was probably the problem. That they'd get on it. Great. That freed up Saturday afternoon since Saturday morning was going to be busy. Friday night, after returning home from a Mr. Habitat contest featuring Rob's co-worker, 23 mentions that the internet didn't work. I tried the phone. No signal, no dial tone, no nothing.
Saturday 23 and I helped out at a ladies event where we canned apple pie filling, made caramel apples and apple slaw. And a big mess! (Apple slaw...tasty stuff. Shredded apples and carrots. Then dress with lemon juice, olive oil (almost equal parts but go heavier on lemon juice to cut the overwhelming olive oil taste) salt and pepper to taste and a dash of cumin. Good stuff.
We get home and 23 makes homemade granola. YUM. (recipe to follow sometime) while I retrieve phone voicemail messages from the internal system...the phone system that still doesn't work. There was a message from the phone company telling us that our problem had been successfully handled. Really? So I called and reported all of the above...and finally, it's fixed as of Sunday afternoon.
Then add about seven other things that need to be done and completed before Monday morning begins and I'm behind in doing everything that requires a computer.
And headed for New Mexico soon. So. I'm scheduling a ton of blog posts so I can not even think of computers while I'm gone.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Happy Birthday, 24.
I have no clue where the days have gone.
Wasn't it just yesterday that I barely saw you as they whisked you away from me to work on you? And the twelve long hours before I could hold you and could finally see your sweet little face up close. How serious you seemed as you looked up at me. I wonder what you were thinking.
I hope you knew, even then, that I love you more than life itself. And that God loves you even more than I do even though that seems like an impossible.
Today, I hope you know how very proud I am. Not just because you are mature and wise. I am proud of you because you will climb rocky hillsides to reach the high road and then you will walk it even when the low road is so much easier to navigate. I'm proud because your friends range from small children to folks who get Social Security checks. I'm proud because you want to see the good in situations and people. I'm proud because your inner beauty is breathtaking and lights up the outer beauty and turns your smile into a megawatt glow that is a lighthouse to people who are currently unable to see or feel the sun's rays. I am proud because you choose to seek God and His wisdom...even when the "wisdom" of the world or your experiences goes against God's wisdom and seems so much easier.
I'm proud of you for being joyful and crazy funny in a world that is often dark and scary and without hope. I'm proud of you for getting kicked by those you love but for loving anyway. I'm proud of you for being willing to offer God all of your hopes, dreams, heart and life. I'm proud of you for being quick to listen, forgive, believe and trust.
You, my beautiful and amazing daughter. bring joy into my life and your friendship blesses me beyond what words can express. I hope that your birthday is a tenth as special as you are because if it is it will be very special indeed.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
...that make me happy. Dedicated to Plinky the website that suggests filler for bloggers with toast for brains.
Ten Things that Make Me Happy.
Not in any specific order, just as they pop into my head.
1. My family. Clearly, they are not so random and would appear in the top two... I love spending time with my family. My kids are amazing. I like them, I love them, they make me laugh and make me proud. My hubby. He's my soulmate. I've loved him in one form or another since I was fourteen.
2. My faith in Jesus. Okay. It doesn't always make me happy. Often it rips and shreds and demands that I behave not as I feel but as I know I should. But in the long run. That does make me happy. I hate having things that I need to take care of, people to apologize to yet again, and knowing that I spent time in the potholes of the low road. And He has given me the road map to avoid those pot holes...
3. My friends. Every one of them adds to my life. From my Mom to my daughters, and my blogging friends to my Sunday hug buddies. People enrich my life.
4. My pets. There is either a spike in blood pressure when they are driving me crazy or a warm body to curl up with when I've had a bad day.
5. My house. It's so not done. And hardly ever something I'd want photographed. But it is ours and it has become a home. Full of warts and creaks and cobwebby crevices.... along the lines of the people who live in it.
6. My location. I've been to the blue ocean white sand beaches, tall, pine-covered mountains, climates that barely change, and cities that don't do a lot of sleeping. I consider Iowa to be home, and absolutely beautiful. There is nothing that beats a bright blue Indian Summer October sky. And if it happens to be an off day in Iowa, change is just around the corner.
7. Beauty makes me happy. Whether a song, a flower, art, words, a person's heart, a hug. They are all beautiful and they fill my soul. Art. Not all, of course, but people using their creativity to try to demonstrate emotion through the beauty of song, pencil, paint or words. Yes.
8. Laughter. And laughing with someone else, being on the same page. Enjoying the ridiculousness of life.
9. Courage. People who stand up and do the right thing, no matter the cost. A happy tinged inspiration.
10. Love. It encompasses and pulls all of these elements into something that can't be defined by words. But it makes the deepest, deepest part of me happy.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Surprised by Worship: Discovering the Presence of God Where You Least Expect It
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (September 28, 2010)
Surprised by Worship is a book for all adults, regardless of age, who suspect they are missing much of the joy of the Christian life, being distracted by the pain, fear, and anxieties of life in the trenches. Building on an amazing introductory chapter written by Beth Moore---a blogger with 41,850 unique monthly visitors, Travis Cottrell explores biblical and modern-day examples of people who are experiencing life's travail, who bring greater meaning to their lives through spontaneous acts of worship. God's goodness is predictable. His mercy is dependable. His ability to work in every moment of our lives, leading us to Him, is unfailing. But often in those moments when we are distracted by great distress, we don't see or acknowledge God's presence and provision. It's at those times that worship can be our greatest resource, bringing us the hope, strength, even deliverance we so desperately need. It may be a startling headline on a web page, an unhappy email from a friend, a near miss on the freeway, or a scary diagnosis from the doctor. In every circumstance, God's voice can be heard, especially in those moments when we never expect it that worship is most meaningful.
I wouldn't have picked this book up. It arrived in the mail for review and I hadn't requested it. I wouldn't have requested it. My need-to-read pile of books is huge, and what can you say about worship that we don't already know? And my heart is soft enough. I will raise my hands. And I can't get through Blessed Be Your Name without weeping.
So. This book sat on my table, awaiting a pile to be assigned to. My daughter picked it up, read me a quote and it intrigued me. But then she put it down and moved on. We went to a Beth Moore conference and worshiped with Travis Cottrell. Just a man, good voice, nice worship time, but just a man. I still didn't pick up the book.
Then I tripped up in my walk of faith. And I plunged into regret and conviction. And as I wept through the process of being forgiven and hopefully eviscerating my bitter attitude, I opened the book. And it touched me. And ministered to me. And it surprised me. Less than 200 pages, it speaks to attitudes, it speaks to the heart as it shares stories of a fellow traveler's journey. Will it change your life? Don't know. Are you hurting? Do you have issues with worship? Do you feel dry? Do you want to explore another area of your faith? It could. For me, it was a sweet surprise at a perfect time.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Friday, October 01, 2010
I am becoming obsessed with collage photos. I guess it is because I can take in or relive a whole experience in just a few long glances. Does that say something about my attention span? Anyhoo. I made a little photo album for Rob of his Wyoming trip. And then decided to do a collage.
I'm picturing my hallway loaded with 8x10's of where we've been and who we are. Hmmm.