Saturday, December 26, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Yesterday, was like the exclamation mark for me.
You see, we loved the church we left, and I didn't think we could ever find a home again, when it came to church. But, yesterday, it felt like 'home'...you know, that place where you can be yourself, relax. That place you are meant to be. So I just wanted to pause (even though I have TONS to do during this Christmas season right now) and write down about yesterday. I don't want to forget yesterday.
The day began with what our church calls "2nd Saturday". During the 2nd Saturday of every month, our church partners with local justice organizations and physically serves others in our community. No strings attached, just seeing a need and putting love in action. Yesterday, 500 volunteers showed up to help as we provided over 1,000 people in our community with free toys, haircuts, medical services, a visit with Santa and carnival, and free groceries for Christmas dinner, all on campus of our church. Mike, I and the girls all helped...along with our entire connect.me group.
After that, our connect.me group gathered at a home for pizza and laughter. Following that, we concluded our bible study "pursuing spiritual transformation". What an encouragement it was to hear how God is meeting us and speaking to us about areas of our lives to transform and change. Amazing how when we pause, read the bible, reflect on God's truth, and gather with others who are pursuing the same journey, change begins to happen. I was also encouraged by responses to the question "what can other group members do to move you forward in your spiritual journey?". Some things included...They appreciated the honesty of the group, so we don't feel alone in our struggles. Letting go of independence and focusing on interdependence (letting others help us in our journey). They spoke of how the realness and authenticity of the group encouraged them. And of how growing towards speaking truth and sharing accountability were beneficial. How can life change not happen when you are sharing life's journey with people like this!?!
Our day concluded with another amazing Christmas service. In a church of 4,000, with 5 service times, there are often weekends we don't see anyone we know. But yesterday, our entire group came at the same time and we all sat together and enjoyed the Christmas service together. The quality and excellence that North Point Church values and puts into their services week after week amazes me. You know what else I love is that most weeks, I laugh, cry, ponder and am moved in my soul by the service. It's powerful. God is active, living and touching lives through North Point Church. No wonder it is the 9th fastest growing church in America right now (I think it's only 7 years old). And if all that wasn't enough, after leaving Family Theatre with our kids, what a joy it is to hear "Mom, we loved church tonight!"
Church is all these things...serving others, enjoying relationships, and gathering together to worship and grow closer to the heart of God on this journey called life. Thank you God for the exclamation mark yesterday! And thank you for bringing our family to North Point Church...a place to call home!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Morgan: * My friends * My family * School to learn * Daisy * My sister * Soda
Sarah: * Pancakes * My Family * Tests * Drinks * Friends * Home * USA * Girl Scouts * Sisters
Mike: * Warm Fall Days * Indoor plumbing * Cathy, Morgan, Sarah * Food * Real Maple Syrup * Smiles * Dinner
Me: * Date night in 3 nights! * Northpoint Church & ImpACT! * My eyes that let me see the smiles and beauty all around me * Weekends spent with family - just being together and enjoying life! * Mike's arms that I can fall into at the end of a long day. * The little things my girls get excited about.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Our pastor prays this prayer often, and it's been becoming my prayer as well. It says, "May the things that break your heart, God, break my heart too." Oh, how I want to care about the things that God cares about! And not just care about them, but I want them to break me, to the point where I have no choice but to do something! However, I find that too often it's easy to stay busy with my life, to make excuses and to just continue on, without giving any thought, let alone any action, to the poor and hurting and do I even dare admit it, the dying.
Sometimes I think my lack of motivation comes from the fact that I often feel like just being one person, how can I really make a difference with things like poverty, disease, illiteracy and spiritual emptiness? So I do nothing. I love this quote from church today:
'I am a little pencil the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.' ~Mother Teresa
I am a little pencil...but God is using me (or at least wants to use me, when I take the time to put action to those thoughts that are deep within me) to send His love into the world. Oh, how I need to remember this!
And then I've also had this conviction...how am I teaching compassion to my own children? Am I giving them opportunity to love others in the community who are hurt and broken? Am I modeling a life like this for them? Well today, we did a small thing and went shopping for food and toys to give to a family for the holidays. It was a small deed, and yet, who am I to judge what a small pencil can do?
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Here are some definitions:
- Rest: (a) Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity (like worry). (b) Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance. (c) Mental or emotional tranquillity.
- Profound: (a) having intellectual depth and insight (b) difficult to fathom (c) characterized by intensity of feeling or quality (d) all encompassing, complete
- Beautiful: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit:loveliness
Monday, October 12, 2009
The ties that bind us are sometimes impossible to explain. They connect us even after it seems like the ties should be broken. Some bonds defy distance and time and logic; because some ties are simply...meant to be.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Our friends came to stay the weekend with us and go to Silver Dollar City (SDC) with us. We've been anticipating this for awhile. So Saturday arrives and just as we go to leave for SDC it starts raining. And it never stopped. Despite the weather forecast of 30% scattered rain, we spent the entire day at Silver Dollar City in the rain, sometimes misty sprinkles other times torrential downpour. And yet we laughed, we joked, we played in the rain! And what fun the water rides were! On top of that Sarah got sick yesterday...vomited in the car on the way there and the way back. She spent most of the day at SDC enjoying herself, but around 3pm her little tummy began to ache again. So while the others went and rode rides, I sat on the bench with her, held her, sang to her and she fell asleep in my arms. Oh what a precious few moments those were. She's starting to get so big and to have her fall asleep in my arms and give me a moment to just be thankful for her and to smell her hair and kiss her forehead, and thank God for the blessing she is in my life, well it was priceless!
And today, because she's still not feeling well, we didn't go to church. I miss the Sundays we don't go and yet I have been enjoying some time reading my bible, praying, listening to some online sermons from our old church. I've been appreciating this unexpected morning. Sometimes the best plans and routines are interrupted with stroms. So I might not always remember to dance in the rain...but this weekend I did...and it's been wonderful!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I'm also grieving 'cuz it's grandparents day at school. First, I miss living close to my parents, I miss my kids being able to celebrate fun days like this at school with them. It also makes me miss Mike's parents and I still wish they were here to share life with.
Lastly, this week, I was reminded that I once again need to grieve some disappointments from the past few years. Those disappointments are preventing me from moving forward in some areas of life. I'm hoping that in pausing to grieve, I will be able to step forward again.
I'm glad God gave us emotions, 'cuz I couldn't imagine living life without them.
Monday, September 7, 2009
And here comes Autumn...cooler temps, chili suppers, picking up walnuts, Sunday drives to see the world be painted beautiful, sweatshirts, football, bike rides, long walks. Ahhh, each season has reasons to celebrate!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The wind is moving, But I am standing still
A life of pages Waiting to be filled
A heart that's hopeful, A head that's full of dreams
But this becoming Is harder than it seems
Hear me asking Where do I belong?
Is there a vision That I can call my own?
Show me, I'm Looking for a reason
I need your light to help me find My place in this world,
My place in this world
When I was younger I thought it would be easy to find my place in this world - but then life has its twists and turns and here I am... still wondering... thankful for this life that is mine... doing my best to bloom where I am right now... and yet wondering what is next for me....
Friday, August 28, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
And why did Morgan have to ask me today on the way to school... "Mom, if you could be doing any job, what would you do?" That's just made me think way too much! :) So I asked them what job they think I would be good at. And Sarah (my daughter who is always thinking outside of the box! - seriously, her answers ALWAYS surprise me!) answers, "I think you'd be a great stuffed animal maker!" It's made me laugh all day. So I'm thankful for both my girls... one who makes me pause and think about deeper issues and the other who makes me laugh!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Well I woke up in our own bed, to Mike snoring at 4 in the morning...think his sinuses are acting up right now. It's a new thing, so I'm hoping its temporary. He left for work at 5:30. Girls brought me breakfast in bed, complete with picked clover flowers from our yard (yes, our yard is more green weeds than grass!). I lingered in bed, played on the laptop....trying to convince myself to get up and face the mountain of laundry from our trip to Michigan. Finally got all 9 loads washed and folded. Mike stopped by the store on the way home to pick up the butter I needed to bake a cake for my meeting the next day, he got home...I realized I was out of oil too...he went back to the store for me...with a willing heart and a smile! Girls came back from playing at friend's house, got on their gymnastics outfits and we stopped by Sonic for dinner...got burgers, coney dogs, tots and coke for our anniversary dinner. Dropped the kids off at gymnastics, went to the park and spent 15 minutes writing letters to each other on our 15th anniversary (no cards, no gifts...just priceless words!). We lingered a bit at the park, dreamed of winning the lotto that we have never in our lives have played...but hey, if we did, we could spend our days volunteering together....did my husband really say that...after 15 years, he really would like to spend every day, all day with ME?! (Is he sure about that?! :)). Picked the girls up, went to Kohls to buy frames for our family pictures, and a new mixer since ours caught fire when I was making the cake earlier. Finished our evening by stopping at Andy's Frozen Custard with the girls...yummy! Got the girls in bed...then cuddled up in bed ourselves. Yes, living the reality of life is sometimes better than the dreams we once made!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
- Both graduated from college
- Lived 9 different places (5 different towns)
- Became parents of two beautiful daughters
- Grieved the loss of Mike's mom and sister and five grandparents
- Welcomed 9 nieces and nephews into our lives
- Purchased a boat, I learned to waterski, he learned to wakeboard
- Discovered we liked mountain biking, Frisbee golf and geocaching
- Owned 4 cars (cavalier, taurus, xterra and suburban)
- Owned 3 tents, lost track of number of camping trips
- Owned two dogs, one hamster and one turtle
- Traveled to/thru 16 states, (MI, MO, OK, IN, IL, WI, MI, OH, PA, NY, VA, TN, KY, NC, KS, CO plus Canada & Mexico)
- Attended five churches (dozens more visited)
- 7 jobs for me, 2 for Mike (plus temporary jobs)
- Only debt is our mortgage
Then there are all the those little things shared that weave into the fabric of life. So I wonder how many times we've:
- eaten ice cream cones
- taken walks
- watched movies
- shared meals
- travelled to visit family
- stolen kisses
- told jokes
- shared laughter
- argued and made up
- found a middle ground
- gone on picnics
- roasted marshmallows
- he held me as I cried
- made love
- enjoyed silent moments
- been grateful for this life that we call "ours"!
How blessed I am to share life's amazing journey with Mike!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Also, look at this amazing coincidence:
Morgan's birthday (6/19) is the day before Mike's brother Jeff's birthday (6/20)
Sarah's birthday (2/11) is the day before Mike's brother Ken's birthday (2/12)
and now our newest niece, Meghan (7/22) birthday is the day before Mike's sister Heather's birthday (7/23)
Happy Birthday Heather!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
All in all today, I think it will be a fun memory as the years go by...remember when we sat in the rain for 7 hours to yell "Move that Bus!" :)
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
- The easy transition the girls made
- Finding a job at the schools which allows me to be home when the girls are
- Mike continues to enjoy his job at the crime lab and actually enjoys the challenges that arise with his new position
- I'm still married to the greatest husband who is the bestest daddy ever!
- Good neighbors, new friendships growing
- Northpoint Church
- A new puppy
- A quieter year for reflection
- I'm still in awe that the God of the Universe has time to meet me in the quiet places of my soul
Monday, June 22, 2009
"I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down, what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. 3 times I did that, and then he told me, 'My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into it's own in your weakness.' Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness."
Monday, June 8, 2009
I couldn't agree more! (taken from: At First Sight)
Monday, June 1, 2009
Also upon reflection, there are 2 things I'm planning to make a priority this summer. The first is to get caught up on my scrapbooking... I want to remember these years and it will be easier if my pictures aren't sitting on my hard drive, but rather in an album to flip thru as the years go by. Second, I'm writing a memoir. I received a phone call in 1996 that forever changed the course of my life...it changed my dreams, refocused my priorities and made me reexamine who God really is. It's a phone call I have to tell my kids about one day. And the best way I know to capture the depth of that journey is thru the writing of my own memoir.
So as the summer stretches before me, I find myself thankful for the gift of time and for the hope of fun-filled, sun-filled days ahead of me. Speaking of which, the girls and I are heading for a water-filled day at Silver Dollar City today. I can't wait for them to wake up and surprise them with this news! :)
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Tonight, the girls are gone with Mike (they are buying my Mother's Day present). And I am enjoying the gift of a quiet evening at home. Reading my bible, reading a book, listening to the christian radio station and blogging. Trying to forget all those things on my "I should..." list and just enjoy the gift of this free time.
The book I'm reading is called Anonymous (by Alicia Britt Chole). Her words seem to capture the feelings of my heart. She writes...
"When you're living the gap between your dreams and life's realities...you're in an anonymous season of the soul."
"Have you ever moved to a new place or entered a new environment where no one know who you were, what you could do, or what dreams ignited your soul? Have you ever crossed the threshold into another season of life, like parenthood or extended studies, where you shifted from recognition to anonymity?"
"Concealed for months or years or decades, our potential seems to hibernate like a bear in winter, and over time we begin to wonder if spring will ever awaken it again."
She goes on to explain in her book how "Jesus' hidden years (anonymous season) empowered him to live an eternally fruitful life." (For 90% of His life he was actually anonymous/ hidden.) Her words are helping me to appreciate this anonymous season and giving me hope! Is that where strength comes from...from hope?
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into: $8,896.66 a year, $741.38 a month, $171.08 a week. A mere $24.24 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is don't have children if you want to be rich. Actually, it is just the opposite.
What do you get for your $160,140.00?
Naming rights. First, middle, and last! Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate. A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites. Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.
For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to: finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to: keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watch Saturday morning cartoons, go to Disney movies, and wish on stars. You get to: frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.
For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for: retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off a bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
You get a front row seat in history to witness the: First step, First word, First bra, First date, First time behind the wheel.
You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren.
You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Like tonight, when Morgan prayed, "Thank you for giving me life, so that I can live with you!" Wow! At some level she's beginning to understand relationship with the creator!
And last month both girls won awards at school.
Sarah won a Caring Kid award. Her teacher wrote, "She is always honest and has a great attitude. "
Morgan won a Super Citizen award for self-discipline (her classmates nominated her).
It's nice to know that they make wise choices even when I'm not around. They are great kids and I'm so proud of them! And every night I thank God for letting me share life's journey with them!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Another part of Spring Break I've really enjoyed are lazy, relaxing mornings! I've been able to read my bible, read a novel (still hope to finish it this weekend) and write/journal. Below is an excerpt from my journal earlier his week:
The birds chirping. Morgan talking with Grandma. Dad chuckling about something. The microwave beeping. Water running. Dad and Mike talking about lawnmowers. The fan from the heater blowing. Cupboards closing. Sarah sharing, exaggerating "all". Drawers opening. Hot Cocoa being stirred. Silverware clanking.
Oh, the power of being still and listening. My life is full as I lay here in bed this morning and just listen to the sounds of the house waking up. I am reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.
And this moment ends with Morgan crawling up in bed with me and reading these words....I never realized what a beautiful sound that was - my daughter reading my own written words -- until this moment.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
S (Sarah); (M) Morgan; (C) My answers
What is something daddy always says to you?
S: He loves me. M: I love you. C: I love you.
How does your daddy make you laugh?
S: Saying silly things to us. M: Being silly. C: Makes our girls laugh.
What is his favorite thing to do?
S: Go to work. M: Make things. Like shelves. C: Go boating.
What does your daddy do when you’re not around?
S: Watch football. M: Kiss mommy. C: Love mommy.
If your daddy becomes famous, what will it be for?
S: ‘cuz he’s a really good daddy M: Dancing. C: ‘cuz his girls become famous
What is daddy really good at?
S: Working at work. M: Kissing mommy. C: Fixing everything!
What is your daddy not very good at?
S: Doing splits. M: Sewing C: Dancing.
What is daddy’s favorite food?
S: Tuna fish M: Pizza C: Pizza
What does your daddy do for a job?
S: He finds papers buried in the ground and shows them to police.
M: He works at the highway patrol being a boss.
C: Forensic Scientist (Supervisor)
What do you and daddy do together?
S: Snuggle M: Laugh C: Live life.
How are you and daddy the same?
S: Same eyes M: Both brown eyes C: We have the same cute kids!
How are you and daddy different?
S: Daddy has shorter hair than me. M: Different color hair.
C: Not enough space to list!
How do you know daddy loves you?
S: He tells me. M: He says it. C: He gives me back rubs and holds my hand!
What does your daddy like most about your mom?
S: She’s pretty. M: She’s hot! C: Hmmm….
What does your mom like most about your daddy?
S: Kissing M: He’s cute. C: His faithfulness
What is Daddy’s favorite store?
S: Lowes M: Lowes C: Lowes
What does daddy like to watch on TV?
S: Football M: Football C: Football
Where would daddy like to eat out for dinner?
S: Panera M: Pizza hut C: Anywhere he can get a good steak.
What does Daddy do at 8:30 at night?
S: Go to bed M: Watch football (sometimes), otherwise he kisses mommy. C: Spend time with mommy.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I wanted to recover the kind of faith that has nothing to do with being sure of what I believe and everything to do with trusting God to catch me though I am not sure of anything.
God uses whatever is usable in life, both to speak and to act, and those who insist on fireworks in the sky, may miss the electricity that sparks the human heart.
On raising and releasing a baby bird "That's the whole point isn't it...to take care of him until he could take care of himself, but the intimacy that developed between the two of us made the releasing hard to do." Oh, how I get that as a mother!
I had been given my identity for so long, that I hardly knew how to start making one of my own.
Worship has become too tame and those who come have stopped bringing their own fire.
I saw my humanity was all I had left to work with. I saw in fact that it was all I had ever had to work with, though it had never seemed enough.
Caring for troubled people always took precedence over enjoying delightful people, and the line of troubled people never ended.
But behind that answer lay truths harder to confess.
What made you think that hurrying would help you find your way?
My quest to serve God in the church had exhausted my spiritual savings. My dedication to being good had cost me a fortune in being whole. My desire to do all things well had kept me from doing the one thing within my power to do, which was to discover what it meant to be truly human!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. ~Giovanni Papini
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
There's just something magical about experiencing your child's joy. Tonight Sarah got her ears pierced (for her 6th birthday) -- she has been smiling all evening and has been (and still is) so very excited! She chose the purple ones!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Their first fort was in the bathtub, but they decided they didn't have enough room, so then they built this elaborate fort in the basement. They set up all the tables and everything.
Here they are making a fan and gold! They love their craft cabinet and come up with some very creative projects!
Friday, January 23, 2009
So the church we've began attending (about 25 minutes away) is running around 3500 people on a Sunday, 4 services...needless to say it takes some effort to connect and it's also easy to be anonymous. Well tonight we attended "grouplink" at our church...a place to connect with others. I really wanted to connect with others from Republic, the small town we're living in...but when several hundred show up "to connect", it's a bit overwhelming. And yet, it wasn't overwhelming for God. We quickly hooked up with 1 couple from Republic (they live at the opposite end of the walking trail in our neighborhood), then another couple from Republic (who by the way use to be a teacher at Republic, before she started staying home and the teachers were just talking about her yesterday at lunch 'cuz she'd stopped by the school and they live 2-3 streets down from us.) Then we met another couple from Republic and get this...he had just called the lab this morning to find a "science speaker" and he had connected with Mike this morning in that endeavor. Two other couples also connected up with us as well...one lives just outside of Republic and she is a counselor at a Children's Home and another lady joined from Republic whose husband is currently serving in Iraq. So I don't know what the future looks like and if any or all of these wonderful people will become some of our closest friends, but I do know that the God of the universe is intimately involved in our lives...and that brings tears of hope to my eyes.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
He was talking about how once upon a time and there were no clocks and he asks..."What was it like to have no notion of a second or a minute or even an hour? To never be late or early? To not even know what late or early is?" He then talks about how the clock broke up the day and the light bulb broke up the night and he says "The clock and the light...they gave us time, then they stole it away."Life at a slower pace...what does that look like?
He talks about how we are a nation on the move and in a hurry...fast food, rush hour, FedEx, Sprint phone calls, Quicken, Slimfast...and he goes on to ask "Is there a speed limit to life...a pace beyond which the brain, body and the spirit begin to suffer? What happens when we exceed this limit?...Speed. Hurry. We pay a price for the pace at which we live."