30 November 2005

I Broke a Nail! Oh Yeah, and I had a Car Accident Too!

About 10 pm this evening, after a full evening of rehearsals at the theater, I went grocery shopping. It had been a nasty, wet, rainy, muddy, foggy sort of day. By the time we left Walmart, it was around 11 pm. We were heading home up the windy mountain roads that I am very familiar with - and just around a curve to the right, at the peak of a hill, my car started pitching left, right, left, and right one last time when BAM! we were off the road and into the woods. Both front airbags deployed in the full frontal impact, the car was full of the gunpowder smoke that ignited the airbags, the front windshield shattered and glass blew everywhere, and our ears were ringing from the sound of the explosion that rapidly inflated the airbags. I am thankful that we are all in one piece - both of my girls and I, and their friend Devan. Kaitlyn has cuts all over her forehead, and I have them on my right ear and in my hair. I had glass imbedded in my shirt and all over my face so much that I couldn't wash it with a cloth - but rather had to rinse it quite extensively first. My arms are injured from where the airbag blew the steering wheel open and scraped against them violently. AND to top it all off, I broke a nail!!! Thank goodness I'm not a girly girl. It was a traumatic experience, topped off by the fact that we just recently got the car after almost a year of not having one! I think it may be able to be fixed, but my husband, (we'll just call him the pessimist for now!) is not quite sure. I don't care - my kids and I are all in one piece and that's all that really matters. I am so thankful that the Lord was watching over us tonight. I need to go to bed now, my head aches and my neck is hurting. Sweet dreams!

22 November 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who happens to stumble across my humble little ramblings. We are leaving tomorrow morning bright and early - that is if I can get my butt to bed tonight and away from this computer!! There is so much to be thankful for - even when life seems to be throwing curve balls, the Lord is good - He loves me and He cares about my every need, counts my every tear, and knows my every dream.
When I was growing up, as a child of divorced parents, I often wondered if there really was a God. Yes, I had heard about Him but seeing no tangible evidence of Him in my life, I was sure that even if there was a God, He didn't care much about me. I bounced around - often by my own choice- between parents, state to state, school to school. I was lost in the deepest sense that a person can be lost. I never felt again like I had as a child - secure in the comfort of knowing I had a home and a family where I belonged. It was all fractured. Then one year at Thanksgiving, my mom and I went to a co-worker's house for our holiday dinner. The previous year we had had turkey pot pies, and this rabid traditionalist woman my mom worked with was not letting that happen again! I remember pulling up to the house, that was all decorated for Christmas and nestled deep into the woods in the Georgia countryside. The family was huge -aunts, uncles, grandparents, the whole kit and kaboodle. I remember in my heart, I made a prayer - sharing the desires of my heart that the Lord would one day give me a family like THAT one. Well, I grew up and got married - had children of my own, and never really thought about that day again. Eight years ago this past September, after ten years of marriage, my husband and I were finally able to buy our own house - and I was filled with that sense of being "at home" once again. Our son, Kullen was about a year old at the time, and we would occasionally lay down in my bed and take a nap together. Around Thanksgiving time, I remember stretching out, and staring out the back window of my bedroom as I was unable to sleep. As I looked at the beautiful woods, and the leafless trees, I remembered that Thanksgiving day as a lost little girl, and my dream-my wish-my prayer for a family and a home again. I realized in that moment how very real God was and that His love for me enveloped every part of who I was - even intimately caring for the desires of my heart! I was and still am so truly thankful for that gift.
I pray that you might know the depth of that love He has for you this Thanksgiving.

19 November 2005

Church - I Don't Wanna Go!

I have a dilemma that I haven't had since becoming a believer- I don't want to go to church. About a month ago, we visited one church for two weeks mainly because it felt like that's what we were to do - you know the whole "get back in the saddle" bit. However, for the last couple of weeks, I have been doing anything at all to keep from it. I can't really explain it - I just don't want to go. I feel burned out - and everything about being a part of an organized body right now really stresses me out. I want to be connected to other believers, but not in such an intense way. I am having great difficulty articulating what I am feeling - somewhat like JenIG's article in the summer issue of TOS - that feeling of not fitting in anywhere - intimidated by "super Christians" - and just not wanting to be part of the whole "CHURCHianity" scene. Now, this may sound pretty common to some of you - in fact I have friends who barely darken the door of a church, and others who have a much more casual attitude than I do about attending - but for me - I was at church everytime the doors opened - any event - I even occasionally felt the pull to the church on nights when nothing was going on but the "Promise Keepers" meeting - knowing full well I wouldn't belong there!! (not really but you get the picture right??) I have loved my church family fiercely - and still do, but I am not ready to commit again. My friend here on HSB, Kris has encouraged me to take it easy for a while, and we have as a spoof made up names for our family's home "church" times - such as (her creative input) First Church of Pajamas and Pancakes. A friend's husband suggested yesterday that we work on getting their garage together to serve as a meeting place, and have the husband's take turns leading a service as a house church. I think maybe I could handle that and I hope he's not kidding. I am hanging all my hopes on that for now.

17 November 2005

Blonde Moment!

I figured I needed to share this story with the rest of you so that you would know that I too am an airhead at times. I know those of you who know me personally will find this quite shocking, however, what I am about to share, I share solely for your benefit - so that you will never feel inferior to me again!!!! This morning, I was on the phone with my friend, Tina. We were talking through some problems, troubleshooting, praying, etc. and I didn't want to cut her short - so I began to multi-task - making beds, sweeping, wiping off the bathroom sink and getting dressed. Once I was dressed I decided to put my contacts in. Once they had both been put in and my contact case was empty, I told Tina that something wasn't right - my vision was fuzzier than before. So now I am no longer listening to my friend, but I have removed the contact from my left eye, and am desperately searching my right eyeball, eyelid, etc. for my other contact. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I must have lost it down the drain - but really had no idea how. After getting off the phone with her to call the optometrist's office to order new contacts, because of course this was my last box, I discovered in the bathroom mirror that there was a contact in my LEFT eye - but how could that be because I had already removed it! Conclusion - I had put both contacts into the SAME EYE!! No wonder my vision was blurry! Long story short, there are some things that should be done with singular concentration!

14 November 2005

Book or Movie - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

There is much excitement building as the day approaches for the premiere of The Chronicles of Narnia presentation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I can hardly wait! I was at my friend Kathie's house last night. Our conversation had been somewhat peaceful being that there were eight kids in the house, and without realizing it had built to a crescendo as the kids had entered the room and made more and more noise. Kathie mentioned that read-alouds were somewhat like that at her house - how she starts reading in a normal, relaxed voice, and then it builds. I got curious, and asked what she was currently reading aloud - and she said The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! I was so excited because I am too. I don't like my children to see a movie typically unless we've read the book beforehand, especially if it is a classic book. This opens the door for much discussion about what was good, bad, different between the two. I think this is an opportunity for critical thinking together as a family. Sometimes, it makes us all sad that we went to see the movie - because it totally changes the pictures we had in our imagination of characters, etc. Sometimes producers leave things that we feel are very important COMPLETELY out of the movie version, and it is hard to reconcile why such choices are made. Often we feel as if the work that was done, was untrue to the book author's actual story. I will say that the trailer for this movie looked absolutely captivating, and because C.S. Lewis' stepson was involved in production, I am very hopeful that this will be a great movie. I am also excited about the potential for allegorically spreading the gospel!

12 November 2005

Unschooling Moments

Yesterday was one of those days when it was extremely clear to me that my children are truly learning all the time - if I will invest myself enough to be present with them in whatever it is we are doing, and take the learning opportunities that are present. But, even without me, on their own, they desire to learn and life presents a multitude of opportunities. One such opportunity occured in the car on our way to rehearsal at the theater. We were listening to a Rascal Flatts CD, and in one of the songs phrases such as "you're a waterfall washing over me", "you're a mountaintop, when I reach for you your love lifts me up", and "I am frozen ground, you're the warm sunlight". As I was listening I realized that in this song, they were using, over and over, a literary device called a metaphor. Wikipedia defines it this way: Metaphor is language we use to compare things, but without using "like" or "as". I told the kids and some friends that were in the car, and we tried to see how many we could find. This was much more exciting than sitting in Grammar class, with a worksheet, tediously circling the metaphors and underlining the similies for a class period!

Another incident was also spurred on by music in a ZoeGirl song. (Yes, we listen to a wide ranging variety of music!) The singer is asking God to take away her superficial focus and help her concentrate on the beauty within. Kaitlyn asked me what "superficial" meant. This led us into a discussion about things that appear one way on the surface and are often very different inside.

It was a great reminder that they are, to coin a John Holt phrase, "learning all the time"!!

11 November 2005

To Blog or NOT to Blog

I have been struggling about whether to blog about this or not. So every day, I open an entry blank, and sit staring, hestiating to write. But the truth is, that I need to get this out, in writing and not hide it like it is some terrible secret. About three weeks ago, our family sent a letter to our pastor removing our membership from the church we have belonged to and been heavily involved in for the last ten years. It has been a very trying time for us as we have seen the Lord show us vividly the need to rely on Him - more than other people, more than our Pastor, and even more than the church. The Sunday after we sent this letter, and sat at home, unable to attend elsewhere because our hearts are still there - and after church commenced a church member and someone we had considered our friend, came to our front door, called me outside and proceeded to scream at me on my front stoop. Our family is the last in a string of families to leave the church in the last year, and evidently the Pastor has stepped down, causing people to place blame.

I have been snubbed in the grocery store, and generally ignored by people that were not only my friends but my "family" for many, many years. Some of these women and I have been long time friends - we have been together as we've had our babies, cleaned houses together when someone gets overwhelmed, carried meals to one another when we were sick, baked Christmas cookies, etc. - and suddenly they don't know me. My character, motives and integrity have been repeatedly questioned. We met with the elders the Monday after the Pastor resigned, and felt that we made it clear that our family was willing to return, not with an ultimatum but by rolling our sleeves up to help make the changes necessary to continue the work the Lord is doing in that little Chapel - alongside the Pastor as it was never our intention for him to quit. We've heard nothing in response to that meeting that I considered at the time very positive. I sent out an email to the body with a song about hurting and healing and my heartfelt concern for the hurting body - of which we are a part. Nothing we have extended has been received, and I know I must be at peace with that. But I have to admit I am struggling. Each day brings a new issue - the most recent is being told there was a "girls night out", but I was NOT invited because there was someone else coming -who never comes any other time- that might not be comfortable. I was invited to a baby shower - and I desperately want to attend, but wonder with others feeling like this if my presence may cause problems - and it all just makes me sick to my stomach. (Although let me just say that the extended invite means everything right now when so many others are pretending I am invisible or worse - never existed.)

The body of Christ is all who know Him. It reaches out beyond our church walls and encompasses every denomination, creed and color in the entire world. Those who should be setting the example of unity, sit inside church walls with those who they are in complete and perfect agreement, singing happy little songs and saying, "we have unity" but the truth is that they have built walls, within which there is no love for those outside.

A good and trusted friend said keep your focus on your ministry - and off of the conflict - and while I know what he said is true, it seems impossible that I will ever make it there. Our family could use your prayers right now as we travel this hard road - on our own. I only see one set of footprints in the sand, and I am struggling with this "Lord are you carrying me cause it sure feels like I am walking alone."

09 November 2005

Impatient And Squirrelly

I was thinking as I reread yesterday's post that anyone who really knows me knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am way too "squirrelly" - to coin a phrase my mother used to always used to describe me - to ever relax enough in the middle of the day to take a nap. As it is, I have to be completely and utterly exhausted in order to turn my mind off enough to go to sleep at night time - a trait that my husband doesn't find annoying at all! (she says sarcastically). I wish I could be the kind of person that is laid back enough to just kick their feet up and snooze for a power nap in the middle of the day. I think it would make a definite improvement in my mid-afternoon mood swings. Does anybody out there struggle like I do between maybe 2 and 4 pm?? Okay, maybe it's just me. But the truth is that if you would ever call my house and find me in bed in the middle of the day, I am probably suicidal or homicidal or both! I don't even go to bed when I'm sick. I'd rather just push myself and run around growling at my family all day.
With my children I have realized that my "squirrelly-ness" has deprived them of some focused training. I want to teach them how to do something, by telling them once how to do it and have them simply perform the task to my perfect, and utter satisfaction. A couple of years ago, our homeschool support group read a book called Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell where she explained that many times our frustration with our children when they do not complete a task to our approval is that WE as the parents have failed to train them. I had just such an experience this morning. My 12 year old daughter has the job in the family of cleaning up the kitchen every morning, which includes unloading the dishwasher, wiping off the table and counters and rinsing out the sink. This morning, we had friends over and I made a mound of french toast. After breakfast she did what she thought was cleaning up, but fell far short of the standard I have for the cleanliness of our kitchen. She missed many sticky spots on the table (a gooey table is my absolute worst pet peeve!), didn't put half a dozen things away, etc. etc. I soon realized that it truly is my failure that I haven't stayed with her long enough to really train her to do what I want her to do the way I would like her to do it. Generally speaking, I have assigned them a task because I need to do something else, and don't stay to assist, mentor, or monitor progress. It is my failure - in my impatience to train my children properly. I know that children are often sloppy, lazy, and disobedient but the difference in the lack of skill and an unwilling heart are obvious. So I learned a valuable lesson this morning - AGAIN!

04 November 2005

Why I Don't Shop Much

Tonight I went out grocery shopping with my eight year old son, Kullen. While we were perusing through the frozen food, I saw something that amazed me - a large white box bearing the label "Turkey Dinner in a Box"!!! I kid you not! I just stood there a bit dumbfounded wondering what this world has come to. I am not the "earth-mother" type who grows all our own food, cans, weaves cloth, sews clothing or anything remotely close to that - but I do believe in the health and nutrition values of a home-cooked meal every night where a family sits together and breaks bread. It is the culmination and joining together of our separated days, as well as the beginning of our evening time together. Something about getting that meal in a box seems cheap to me. I'll be the first to admit that occasionally that meal we have together is hot-dogs and fried potatoes or grilled cheese and tomato soup - but NEVER a turkey dinner in a box! If I have offended those who do not like to cook - I sincerely apologize - and refer them to rules of blogging:

#1 - the blogger is always right (well maybe not in a moral or ethical sense, but in my personal little blog-corner of the world - my opinions will prevail on this MY blog)
#2 - should the blogger be wrong, please refer to rule #1
#3 - if either of these rules is unsatisfactory to you, the gentle reader, get your own blog and rant about it!!

Okay I even annoyed myself, and I truly am sorry if I have offended anyone in the abrupt spouting of my opinions. I have been out in public shopping a couple of times this week, and it has had me all worked up! Earlier in the week, we were out running some errands, and my girls asked me to take them to the Ross department store. While there we saw some "Britney Spears' perfume called Fantasy. I was laughing and telling my girls that being she is a new mother, her perfume should probably smell like baby barf! (Yes, even though I don't watch television or read the papers - I know that Britney just had a baby!)

To top the whole shopping torture off, I was listening on Christian radio to a call-in show where they take prayer requests, and my heart went out to a woman that asked for prayer for her marriage. Seems she has an eight month old baby and since the baby was born they have been having trouble. She went on to describe that she leaves for work before her husband even wakes up in the morning. I was just so sad and at the same time so thankful that I have never had to be a commuter mom, and live a life disjointed with my husband. And then I am so puzzled as I look around me and see how materialistic our society is and wish that people could see the price they are really paying in their lives for the things they think they need.

To sum my week up and all of my soapbox rants, it's okay to be a stay-at-home mom, and cook real meals for your family, and sometimes smell like baby barf! (I had breastfed babies that never barfed - just as a little footnote!) It's probably too late to be blogging!!! Please send all complaints to my public relations director Tina Francis - she won't even notice that you're mad!!!
Shh! If you don't tell her, she may not even notice I just made fun of her!!! JUST KIDDING - I love you Tina!

03 November 2005


My scrolling marquee used to contain the following quote from Fred Gailey in the story Miracle on 34th Street - "Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to." I found that to be very understandable in an every man kind of way. If you think about the cross - it makes no sense. My friend, Bonnie, a psychologist and PhD came to the Lord about five or six years ago - but as she gives her testimony and describes the experience of being an unbeliever the majority of her 50+ years of life, she recounts this story: Bonnie and her sister Barbara are sitting in a restaurant eating dinner together, and discussing some of Bonnie's struggles with Christianity. The conversation from Bonnie's perspective becomes intense, and she stands up (remember they're in a restaurant!) and says, "You are NEVER going to get me to say that a dead man got up and walked around." Common sense was telling Bonnie just what we know in the flesh - someone dies, they go to the grave, we never see them again - the end. But as Christians our faith tells another story - and our beliefs cannot always be supported by our reason.

So tell me why is it that as a Christian, I enter that first crisis of belief, and surrender my ability to understand all of the hows and whys of the cross - and then spend the rest of my Christian life, struggling to understand every single situation the Lord allows in my life - good, bad or indifferent - from that point forward?? Why don't I accept these mysteries of humanity with the same childlike faith that God is in control of all of them in the same way He was in control at the cross - even when it certainly must not have seemed like it to those standing there on that day! If God is in control, my heart and mind (ah! that's the biggest struggle) must accept that His view is complete. He knows what each hurt, crisis, joy, doubt is making in me - and He intends to use it for His glory. Common sense says I should be able to figure things out - to make sense of the world around me - and yes, in many ways I can - but in so many more - there is just the lingering "why". The only answer is Jesus - that in all of my life He might be glorified.

01 November 2005

Thought Provoking - Heroes of the Holy Life

I am currently reading a book to discuss with my small group called Heroes of the Holy Life. It is a collection of biographies of men and women distinguished as "fully devoted followers of Christ". What strikes me first and foremost in the biographies is that these devotees were just that - devoted. Christ was at the center.
It seems to me lately that I have been so busy spinning in circles, fighting against change, panicking over the unknown, licking my wounds - that Christ has gotten somewhat off-center in my life. I was so blessed last night - after finding myself interally spewing and occasionally allowing it to spill out externally - to get an email from someone I trusted very much encouraging me to recognize the foothold that Satan is surely getting both in my heart, and in the lives of my family. Today was a victorious day of waging war against the enemy. Recognition, repentance and a cry for help were all it required.
This morning as I was reading the brief biography of Oswald Chambers (author of My Utmost for His Highest), a man whose writings have deeply inspired me, I read this: "...Glory be to God, the last aching abyss of the human heart is filled to overflowing with the love of God. Love is the beginning, love is the middle, and love is the end. After He comes in, all you see is 'Jesus only. Jesus ever.' When you know what God has done for you, the power and the tyranny of sin are gone and the radiant unspeakable emancipation of the indwelling Christ has come."
Christ has gotten off center because He hasn't been the beginning, middle and end. He hasn't been my only, because my focus has been on ME and not HIM. The aching abyss of my human heart was filled with Him more today than yesterday - and I know no matter how big the ache gets - His supply of love and His ability to fill it up is limitless.