Saturday, October 31, 2009

Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood?

Hallowe'en. It's considered a bad, evil day but I think that the children have redeemed this pagan holiday, or perhaps the better word is reclaimed it.

I love the excitement of my kids, and I think my youngest, the just-turned-five year old truly encapsulates what is means to be completely excited about Hallowe'en. All 3 of them have been excited all day but it shines most brightly in her.

I hate to admit this but Hallowe'en is perhaps the only time I really get to visit with most of my neighbors, and afterwards I have such a smile on my face as I realize what wonderful people they are and how I really should get to know them more. Some of them truly love my kids.

The evening:

We decided to postpone out going out for two reasons: The first is because most houses were dark on our street until 7, and also because our fence neighbor, Andrew was at a party and my kids just HAD to trick-or-treat with Andrew! So we waited. My middle child had a bit of a melt down so it gave him time for a time out and an opportunity to calm down. Then I got The Text: My neighbor informing me that they were ready to commence the art of trick or treating! We hurriedly traipse over to their home, and begin.... ringing doorbells down their street, then ours. It was oddly silent on our street. It's so odd because literally one block away there are SWARMS of trick-or-treaters but on our street it's traditionally silent. So the houses we did knock on doors to where extra happy to see my 3 kids, plus their 2 buddies.

We get to the corner house where a really wonderful older couple live. We've chatted previously and they were looking forward to my kids' visit. They handed them several pieces of candy and then handed us 3 boxes of a kids assortment of See's candy. Wow... what wonderful neighbors! They explained it was special for the kids they know. (there are relatively few kids on my street)

Next, we cross the street. Katie is chanting "Yum, yum, yum!" the whole way up the pathway. Someone asks what she is and she replies that she's Katie. (she's dressed as a butterfly) So happy and trusting, she is racing from house to house, just thrilled with this concept of saying hello to people and asking for candy. (She loves candy, BTW) My boys are also happily skipping from house to house.

At one house, the house owner wants to take a picture of the kids. I smile; I love this! (yes, I know them!) My kids happily oblige and we move onto to the next candy, I mean, house. Now we turn onto the "happening" street; this street really enjoys celebrating Hallowe'en! There are several "scary haunted" entryways. My kids are all fearless and, lured by candy, happily brave the unknown.

At one house, the elderly homeowner, is sitting in a chair on her immaculate patio, perfectly and tastefully decorated for the fall season, and she's has a little table and a tub of candy. She's joyfully interacting with the kids, giving out candy and obviously enjoying this time of community. I wonder if she's lonely; I wonder if she'd love my kids to visit more often.

We traipse on. Again, Katie just can't get enough. We have now joined "the swarm". There must be 30 kids all together now, hard to keep track of the kids but we manage. We live just 3 blocks from the elementary school, so many of these kids we know. My oldest is saying hi to his classmates. I see and say hello to lots of parents, including one that is a teacher at the school. It seems to joyful; so fun being with each other. We're only 2 blocks from home but already my kid's treat bags are bulging and they are anxious to eat some candy. My middle one starts making noises about going home; he's tired and his bag is heavy. The other 2 are still anxious to continue but we know that they have more than enough candy hidden in their bags! So we begin the journey home, continuing to trick or treat as we go.

So, as I type this we've been home maybe a total of 30 minutes. It was a quick 1 hour jaunt in roughly a few blocks, but boy was the payoff big! Way too much candy! And very happy, excited and sugary kids! I pity their Sunday School leaders tomorrow!

We've had a total of 7 visitors since typing this up. (3 groups) Katie is just as excited to give out the candy as she was to receive; she's more generous than I'd be..... giving them as much candy as her small fists allow. She says thank you to them. They think she's the cutest Monarch Butterfly they've ever seen. A trio of fourth grade girls come to the door. They are Conor's classmates and say hello to him. He nonchalantly says hello but I can see he's happy they've knocked on our door. Like I said, we don't get many trick- or-treaters on our street! Each time Katie gives them fistfuls of candy. I wonder if she's adhering to the "Do unto others as you've have them do unto you" principe. Regardless, I love seeing her excitement in giving and her generosity; especially knowing her affinity for candy. She's even sharing with her daddy and brothers.

We were invited to go out to another's neighborhood to trick-or-treat but I'm so happy that we decided to stay in our own community. I loved the interaction with neighbors. I loved being with my husband as he greeted the other dads that he sees rarely yet enjoys. I do hope that this leads to opportunities of more sharing. It's exciting and just feels so fulfilling. I've not eaten any candy yet and even I feel that I am on a "sugar high".

Who knew this holiday would instill such an excitement for community in me? How about you? What was your Hallowe'en like?

Oh, and who else is now singing the classic Sesame Street song?

"Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

Oh, the postman always brings the mail
Through rain or snow or sleet or hail
I'll work and work the whole day through
To get your letters safe to you

'Cause a postman is a person in your neighborhood
In your neighborhood
He's in your neighborhood
A postman is a person in your neighborhood
A person that you meet each day"

Need I go on?

Friday, October 30, 2009


I love U2. This is probably obvious to most of my friends. I've loved U2 since I was in jr. high and high school. I joined Amnesty International. I was pretty oblivious to current events and U2 introduced me to a taste of politics and the world; prior to U2 I'd no idea what apartheid was. I was pretty clueless about most things.

U2 is a most unique band. A friend of mine says he stopped listening after Unforgettable Fire. Even though the band has changed their sound several times, I have embraced it each time. I loved the complexity and poetry of their songs; they make me think. I still don't definitively know what some mean and there are several different interpretations to some. It doesn't matter.

At my Thursday BIble study my friend recommended we memorize Philippians 3:10. I want to memorize a bit before that, as I don't like incomplete thoughts. I'm finding it not nearly as easy to memorize today as I did when I was in jr. high and high school. interestingly, the things I memorized in jr. high and high school I still have memorized. I learned a code then. I still know it. Various Bible verses and chapters: Still can recite them. Which brings us back to U2. At prayer it was mentioned I know all the U2 lyrics. I suppose I attribute much of that to the time of jr. high and high school. It was so effortless then to memorize! I'm not sure if it was because I was constantly memorizing then, not just for church but for drama, and english, and band. Perhaps it was just easier to memorize then because I was memorizing all the time!

In addition to U2's lyrics, I think I know all of Steve Taylor's lyrics as well. I remember hearing him when I was in jr. high.... buying his I Want To Be A Clone tape. listening to it constantly with my friends. I did not understand what it was addressing. I did not get much of his sarcasm. It wasn't until much later that I even started understanding the concepts that he addressed in his songs. Yet even before I understood them, I had them completely memorized. I can't get the lyrics out of my head even today.

It's so funny how so many things fade in time; I can't tell you all the information to the places I lived in the past 10 years. I can't tell you much about the past 10 years; it's all a fast moving whirlwind. Yet, for some reason, I can recall so much about my jr. high and high school years, in vivid detail. Every retreat, the songs we listened to, the times the van broke down, certain songs i can still sing in spanish from the Mission To Mexico trips I went on.

Why is it so different today?

Yes, I now have memorized nearly ever word to U2's album that came out last year. I still can memorize things. I pick up words and phrases and remember much of what I read. (thought at times I can't recall which book it came from or who said it) But the everyday life, the things my kids say or do, it's so easy for me to just dismiss that as the day to day things and not remember.

Oh, I still remember much and realize that I do when memories are triggered. I suppose it's because instead of looking to the past I'm constantly present with my kids, forming new memories. Engaging in new discussions.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I have mixed feelings about today. I will miss my church. I feel like I've not been there in 2 weeks, since we walked in the AIDS walk last week for "church".

I miss my friends. I miss the message. I miss the opportunity to gather.

But I'm going to what my friend refers to as the Church of U2. I'm excited. I have high expectations. Its' been over 10 years since I've seen them in concert and I'm excited!

So, have a wonderful Sunday. I have no doubt that I will.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Put Me In the Zoo

I'm a very strange person. I remember much. This is good in many ways and yet not so wonderful in many ways too. For instance it's good because I have memorized a lot of Bible verses. It's bad because I tend to hold onto grudges and remember critical words people say for a long time. Too long.

Not only have I memorized Scripture but I have also memorized various quotes, and my favorites seem to be from children's literature. The most amusing quotes have come from Dr. Seuss or his publishing company. I also love to surprise folks by spontaneously quoting The Grinch That Stole Christmas. (Have you really stopped to think about that book? I'll discuss it in December)

Lately lots of things in life have me quoting classic children's literature of my childhood. I'm sure this is partly because I have kids but the reality is that David is usually the one that reads to our kids. Still, things remind me of books these days.

I've also been thinking about gifts, talents, and serving. A few weeks ago I posted about volunteering and how wonderful it is when one is volunteering in an area that one is excited about or gifted in. A friend of mine pointed out that she isn't so passionate about the area she volunteers in but it was a need so she stepped up. The interesting thing is that she is so incredibly gifted at it! I can't fathom her not being passionate in the area of ministry she is so obviously gifted in.

I'm not sure what I'm gifted in, but I keep coming up with the words "Put Me in the Zoo!". I want to be a part of structured volunteering and from what I have observed it is a type of zoo mentality. For some reason, I expect perfect but there's no perfect.

For those not aware of the story of Put Me in the Zoo, basically there's this strange animal character with spots who meets 2 children and is convincing them he deserves to be put in the zoo. He begins to show them all the cool tricks he can do with his spots: Juggling, making them tiny spots, a large spot, different color spots... He thinks that with all the things that he can do they should put him in the zoo, but at the end of the book the kids point out that the zoo, the place he thought was the best place for him wasn't ideal; and instead they point him towards the circus,a and he heartily agrees: The circus is the place for me!

I wonder at times if I spend my time trying to get into areas of volunteering that aren't quite suited for me. Sometimes I do think "Put me in the zoo!" I wonder if they really know "all the things that I can do!". I know I"m not a leader or teacher. I'm not outgoing..... but I still think there are things I have to offer.

I could be wrong. Maybe I don't belong in the zoo. Maybe I too would be better off joining the circus.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Theologically Correct?

I had an interesting (online) conversation today with a friend. He had an interesting tweet and I wanted to know what he was saying. He replied but his tweet did not make much sense. He then jumped on FB to explain it more fully to me.

Theologically I did not quite agree with my friend and wrote out in more detail my belief; prefacing it with I hold a more "Reformed" viewpoint. I do that because I am aware that there are many differing viewpoints.

When I explained my point of view further, it seemed we were mostly on the same page, but he mentioned that he's not one to get into the nitty gritty of his beliefs; he just wants to love God, read scripture, ask God to reveal Himself and then obey. He was quite gracious about.

And yet... (those two words!) I am feeling a bit defeated these days. I find it odd that a person like me is surrounded by many that don't want to ponder these things. That don't want to learn about Christian history. That don't see the value in gleaning from various great authors and preachers. There is a part of me that loves the practical, tangible stuff of life that Jesus was passionate about: Social justice, mercy, compassion.... but not at the expense of knowing what one believes and why one believes it.

I don't know. I have a hard time believing that I am "too hung up on the details". I do find all this very interesting. I don't want my knowledge or beliefs to be an end to itself; yet I see so much value in learning about Christian history, and reading and gleaning from wonderful authors and podcasts. It's not to replace daily Bible reading, local church, or putting faith into practice of course, but I don't believe that I am "inferior" because I enjoy learning about this stuff. Nor do I discount others that don't enjoy the nitty gritty theological arguments either.

Pure Joy

I had my James bible study last night. It was, as always, wonderful. James is an awesome book and very hard hitting. One thing that struck me was that so much of it is a matter of perspective. As I sat in my small group, discussing trials of many kind and how we are to consider them pure joy, one of the women I'm with blew me away with her enthusiasm. "Bring it on!" was her mantra. If suffering and trials produce endurance and makes us closer to Him, mature and lacking in nothing, then bring it!

Can you imagine living life desiring struggles? I have a hard time just accepting them. Of course, my friend still struggles and doesn't LOVE trials and suffering but she's one of those people that has much to look back on and KNOWS with such certainty that God has come through for her before and most certainly will again and again. I love it. I love being around others with that perspective. My other tablemate also reiterated those sentiments; saying that us in America don't even KNOW what trials are.

Wow. Ouch. Another interesting perspective.

And then there's me, in agony over the mundane choices in life.

It was a wonderful reminder that joy doesn't come from outside sources; joy is not something that is lost when a bad thing happens; joy is a choice. Joy is a response that comes from maturity. Joy is overflow of a right perspective of God and what He has done. So, yes; trials may come but we are joyful in our Lord; what He has done and what He continues to do.

"Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1:2-4 NLT

Are you joyful? Is your joy stable? Or is it tossed to and fro by the waves? Are you Joyful only in some circumstances or are you Joyful in the God who created you and loves you?

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Beautiful Day

Last year, the church I attended did what seemed like a radical thing: they shut their doors and headed downtown to walk in our local AIDS walk. I'd only been going to this church about 4 months then and it seemed so different; to exciting. The team we joined was called "Team Beautiful Day" and it strives to be the church in tangible, life impacting ways.

I hardly knew many people from the church and it seemed so overwhelming last year; there were so many people present, so much excitement. It was new and I was uncertain and yet excited to be a part of this. Beforehand I'd mention my weekend plans to my friends and many were excited and pleasantly surprised that churches were walking to bring awareness and raise funds for people with AIDS. Truly; there was such excitement in the air. I had a wonderful time walking.

This year, it seemed different. The excitement wasn't there and I can't figure it out. I had a wonderful day. It wasn't as unknown as last year and perhaps that is the reason for my lack of excitement this year. Or perhaps it was that attendance seemed down from last year. Or my church did not seem to stress it so much as they did last year? Perhaps last year it was controversial? I was talking with a friend, asking why it seemed to not be as important this year and she aptly brought up that the political climate has changed this year. Perhaps. I don't know. I wasn't disappointed this year; I think I had a better time. It was more familiar. There were perhaps less walkers from my church but I knew them all this year. The weather was nice and I just smiled and enjoyed being among friends on this beautiful day.

But something was missing. i'm not sure what it was. Last year it was so energizing; even though I did not know as many people I felt a greater connection; a sense of purpose and pride in "being the church" by getting out of the church. This wasn't just a "vacation" from church; it WAS church, just outside.

When I was in elementary school, and even in high school, at times we'd have our class outside. I used to love doing so; as it was much more exciting and a completely different experience just by a change in surroundings. We still did our studies, listened to the teacher. I'm not sure if it was helpful or detrimental to the learning process but it sure was fun, and something to look forward to.

I looked forward to today, and this surprised me a bit because I really enjoy listening and learning from my pastor through his message, so to have a Sunday not going to my normal, familiar church with it's typical schedule of events was in some ways hard for me. But I love that "The Church has left the building" tagline of Beautiful Day because, to me, Church is not JUST in a building; it's in how we live our everyday normal lives. It's in the connections I have with all. I love that. I can easily listen to some amazing pastors preach via iTunes, so it's not just about good teaching that makes a church.....yet someone like me definitely finds that important! It's not about programs because I can enroll my kids and self in countless programs. It's mostly the community. The connection. So last Sunday we still had Church; I still attended Church. I thought it was Church but looking back it wasn't. It lacked a lot.

So.... it brings me back to the drawing board. Because I want to say that Church is us; is the Body of Christ getting together, coming as one. And I did not sense that Sunday. I'm happy we walked, truly enjoyed myself but it did not feel like church.

So..... I'm wondering: What IS Church?

Saturday, October 17, 2009


There is only 2 more weeks of October to shower your pastors with appreciation during this Pastor Appreciation Month. I encourage you, if you haven't already, to send a quick note to your pastor saying thank you.

I know I've had a bit too much fun this month already! I "invited" many people in church to join with me in saying thank you to the pastors and their wives. It wasn't really organized, and I did so really just because I thought if it was only ME that it would be more difficult to remain anonymous. So I thought it'd be fun to invite others and encourage them to also spread the word and invite even more people. I have no idea how many have joined in and what they are doing for the pastoral staff at my church. I know that I'm not the only "church mouse" setting out packages and notes. I feel connected to my church family knowing that we are all thinking and praying for the church and our pastors.

For me, I've discovered the joy of allowing myself to be a bit creative. So often don't want to risk being silly. I know my limitations, I know there are others that are more creative, more artistic, more design-savvy than me, so I don't even try.... in many areas of my life. Why is it that I feel that in order to pursue something I have to be as good or better than others instead of just happy with what I have or where I am? But it makes sense that the best person be in charge or a very talented person take on a project. So oftentimes I just wait for others to do the things I have an idea about.

This month has forced me to realize that I love to think and explore creativity. To allow to see more possibilities than I normally do. To let my mind wander and have fun. To look at things in a different way; even just a trip down the grocery aisle or at walmart seeing how much fun it would be to do a play on words with a product or illustrate an attribute based on something that we commonly don't think twice about.

It's FUN. I've had way too much fun the last few weeks as I try to think of creative ways to package my fun little surprises. Some are boring, some I put some thought into. Some just pop in my head.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas of what you did or are planning on doing for your pastors. Since I lack a ton of money I've found it especially rewarding to get creative in an effort of making them smile.

I'm quite sure I'm enjoying this more than they are!

Please share your experience this month. Have you sent a note? Cookies? Candy? A gift card? Books? A hotwheels car? Box of kleenex? Container of mixed nuts saying to think of the congregation? ;-) A favorite scripture verse, quote or word of encouragement?

I'll share more of my attempts to bless my pastor's socks off at a later date, but I'd really love to hear your experiences and ideas. For me, I'm just amazed with how much fun I'm having allowing myself to think differently and am rediscovering the joy I have in being creative.

Friday, October 16, 2009


In an age constant connection with one another, with the internet, telephone, instant chat. iPhones, email, twitter, etc. one could easily think that we've conquered isolation; the feeling of aloneness. I think that we as people really crave connection, and the internet provides connection instantly, and is always available.

I wonder if it's easier to be more open online. To me, time feels different. It's less defined; more easy to connect, and yet, not sure the connection is truly fulfilling, but isn't that the way it is in "real life" relationships as well as online? I suppose there are both good things and bad to both types of community.

Yet it's still so easy to feel alone and at times I wonder if the medium of the internet helps or hinders connection; or does it do neither? Perhaps it's just a tool and the real factor is the individual using it and their attitude?

I love Facebook and twitter and all that. I truly do love the internet. I feel it is easier to explore my thoughts and to express my feelings, but at times I really see it's shortcomings. It's too easy to just walk away from relationships that one forms that are primarily online, but that doesn't negate the quality or depth of the relationships. I truly think that online relationships are capable of true community; I just see it's limitations. But aren't there limitations in "real" relationships as well?

I'm connected to many; those that I've only met online, those that I haven't seen in 20 years, relatives I somehow never find the time to call or spend time with, friends from church, my kid's school, so many people. I think it's odd sometimes that in conversation people already "know" what's up in my life due to my tweets or facebook status. In some ways, it's great; it gives an instant rapport of what's been happening in my life and theirs. I find that good and yet.... does it eliminate the need to say much to someone? To feel connected to them without expressing that you care? Without them really knowing that you care? So how is that effective communication and authentic connection?

I think it's quite possible to feel more isolated and alone; to feel more disconnected from friends and society. I know for me it's so easy. I think that's the problem: Do things truly mean as much to each other since it's so effortless? Like birthdays. I don't really need to remember to send a card to a person in advance; first of all I'll get an email reminder to alert me that it's their birthday. Second I no longer have to go out, peruse the Hallmark section of a store, pick out a card and address and stamp it a day or 2 before the birthday. Nope. All I have to do is wait to the day of the birthday and send a quick Facebook message or tweet, or if I REALLY care I'll even send them an e-card. But again, it's effortless and in some ways, nearly thoughtless. I wonder if convenience has cheapened community?

Finally, my last thought to the mystery of feeling isolated despite being surrounded by people is the very fact that so often people plan things and post them on Facebook. Invitations to parties; plans or dinner. Instant connection but does that also equate to instant isolation to those that are left out? Can it be another reminder that despite the hundred plus people one has on their Facebook "friends" list, the truth is we are still just as isolated? That cliques still exist?

I'm not saying it's wrong; it's just who we are: we connect more easily with people with common interests, but it has never been so plainly stated as it is on sites like Facebook. For those that feel a bit isolated or "out" and not quite accepted I wonder if it hurts more to see the photos of friend's birthday celebrations that they were not invited to despite the fact that other close friends were? To see photos of friends laughing at the pumpkin patch yet no invitation was extended to you? I know; that's just life, and truthfully I have little problem with it; but sometimes I just wonder if this medium of the internet that keeps us connected with one another and closer than we've eve been at times does a disservice?

I'm the type of person that loves being inclusive. I am the type that will invite the whole class to my child's birthday party because I don't want to leave anyone out. Yes, there are people that I "connect" with more easily but even among those I don't, I see the value and the beauty in them. In fact, I at times seem to learn more from them than I do someone that I'm more comfortable with. I know I'm rambling; but it's a mystery to me I've not figured out: What to share online? What creates community and what creates division? I love the idea of "sharing life" with others; attempting to be open and transparent but is this medium of communication one that truly brings people together? Or makes us feel like we're in high school again? Going through a yearbook and being reminded of life that others are living and one that you're not included in?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The End

I'm convinced that anyone can endure anything for a time with the right perspective, and oftentimes the right perspective is thinking of the end. I did not have an epidural with any of my 3 kids. Not because I'm against pain relieving drugs, but because my labor just is too quick. By the time I want/need an epidural they won't give me one. It's too late. I truly believe that anyone can endure the pain of childbirth without drugs.... when it's only an hour of pain! Likewise, on a lesser scale, today I picked up my kids. I do wonder at times if there is a bit of Seattle blood in me, as it truly doesn't bother me to get wet. Tuesday was pouring and I'm without an umbrella, walking along, taking pictures of leaves shiny and wet with rain on the gray pavement when I realize there's literally dozens of worms on the walkway, so in the pouring rain I'm picking up worms and "saving" them from the impending doom of kid's sneakers when the bell finally will sound. I saved at least half a dozen, putting them out of feet's way.

Then I stand in front of my kindergartner's class. The other moms are huddled under umbrellas or crammed under the eaves. I'm just waiting out in the rain. I'm sure they thought I was truly strange: First I was taking photos of leaves in a downpour. Then rescuing worms that most thirty something moms wouldn't even touch, and now I'm standing in the rain. But it's true: I AM strange and most know it.

It did not bother me to be so wet. It's not because I love getting drenched, it simply doesn't bother me because I know the outcome. I know the end. The end is that after the discomfort of soggy shoes and a wet jacket, wet socks, etc. I'll be home where I can take a quick, hot shower to warm up. I can make a cup of hot chocolate and turn the heat up. I can put on warm clothes. It's not a big deal to endure the discomfort knowing that it's temporary and looking ahead.

Likewise, I often think that same thing in life. It's easy to endure things like childbirth knowing that the pain will end, and not only end, but result in a beautiful baby to hold and love. The reward is greater than the pain.

Books I have read looks at it in terms of "seasons". We all go through seasons; good and bad times in our lives. It's good that most times we are not in the same "season" and can encourage and help each other, as well as look past our pain to see another's joy and vice versa. I like that. I also like seeing these times as "seasons"... inevitable and ultimately there will be an end. For a little while. Not forever. It's a good perspective.

The wonderful thing about faith is that in good or bad seasons we are connected to the Body of Christ. We can offer encouragement or hugs, or seek them out. We can trust in a God that loves us, is wise, powerful, and good. We can endure our "season" knowing that the end result will be good, even when it doesn't seem good. And I'm not just talking about eternal life; I'm talking about the here and now too..... that through trials and difficult seasons that we'll be pulled closer to Christ. To know Him more, learn to trust Him more, perhaps even help others through their struggles. And then, of course, there is eternal life too. An eternal life with Christ.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rain, Rain.....

It's the first storm of the season! What happened to our "indian summer"? It's gone, never really had much of it in this month of October and in it's place is rain.

The good news? I like rain.

I loved living in Seattle, however brief my stay was there. I liked the temperature, enjoyed the darker weather. Rain there is commonplace but typically not a huge storm. Umbrellas are typically worthless; everyone just scurries to and fro donned in bright yellow rain slickers and boots. I love it. I am especially happy that yellow is the default color choice for many rain slickers. A dot of sunshine on a wet, drab, gray landscape. Plus it shows up wonderfully in photos.

I enjoy the sound of rain as I type this. I like the smell of rain. My kids are decked out in their yellow rain jackets and "puddle stompers" as they excitedly walked to school this morning, the youngest desperately clutching her umbrella without realizing that the rain was at an angle and she was getting quite wet yet refused to put on her hood; no need to: she had an umbrella. The fact that it wasn't actually helping her escaped her. Really, half the fun this morning was the walk in the rain. This may get old soon but right now it's pure bliss! I do enjoy their happy little faces, and I felt like a good mom having all the rain gear they needed.

Things I'm looking forward to in this rainy time: Stews and soups that make my home smell so good as they simmer on the stove. (or in the crock pot!) Fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate, warm pumpkin and apple pies, visiting the pumpkin patch. wonderful foggy days, great photo taking weather and lighting, costumes, parties.... ah I just so enjoy this Autumn season.

Hope you are enjoying the weather where you are.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I've nothing to say.

Enjoy it while it lasts!



by Evangeline Paterson

Weep, weep for those
Who do the work of the Lord
With a high look
And a proud heart.
Their voice is lifted up
In the streets, and their cry is heard.
The bruised reed they break
By their great strength, and the smoking flax
They trample.

Weep not for the quenched
(For their God will hear their cry
And the Lord will come to save them)
But weep, weep for the quenchers

For when the Day of the Lord
Is come, and the vales sing
And the hills clap their hands
And the light shines

Then their eyes shall be opened
On a waste place,
The smoke of the flax bitter
In their nostrils,
Their feet pierced
By broken reed-stems . . .
Wood, hay, and stubble,
And no grass springing.
And all the birds flown.

Weep, weep for those
Who have made a desert
In the name of the Lord.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What Child Is This?

I know; I just posted about music and foul language and here I am now touting a traditional Christmas Carol! How can this be? My excuse? It's late and I should be in bed!

A few days ago I highlighted a Christmas CD that I purchased and discovered I LOVE it! (Downhere's How Many Kings) Some are quite traditional but with a bit of a twist in their style, flavor, and arrangement. Some are original songs. As I listen to these songs I forget most of them are "Christmas Carols" and just hear them as true worship music: Glory to God, Christ that came as a baby, the Cross, His love for us.... It's all so very beautiful and a bit mind boggling to me when I truly reflect on all this. So, I'm loving listening to this WORSHIP album that happens to be for Christmas.

There's so much I love on this album! But tonight I am really taken with their version of "What Child Is This?" (Greensleeves) It's truly beautiful; I love the guitar; love the intricacy and yet simplicity at the same time. Plus, when they sing a stanza in French it's just beautiful. I love this album! Check it out on iTunes!

Oh, and in case you were wondering; the "baby Jesus" in my photo is my own beautiful daughter when she was just a few weeks old. :-)

A bit of background on this Carol: It was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix, an Englishman, who at the age of 29 suffered a "near-fatal" illness and was stuck in bed for many months where he fell into a depression yet it's in this season of struggle and depression he wrote many of his hymns and carols, including this one. I always find it interesting to hear that oftentimes great thing, great, thoughts, books, songs, etc. come from tragedy or struggles. It makes me wonder and take a closer look at my own struggles to uncover the good that could only come through a season of suffering and emerging from that suffering. It's growth. Anyways, here's the song:

What Child is this,
Who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet
With anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ, the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in
Such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear:
For sinners here,
The silent Word is pleading:
Nails, spear, shall pierce Him through,
The Cross be borne, for me, for you:
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense,
Gold and myrrh,
Come, peasant king, to own Him;
The King of Kings,
Salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise the song on high,
The Virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy, for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

What I Need?

I suppose that this post could be called so many other better titles!

As everyone knows, I'm going to see U2 soon. The opening act is the Black Eyed Peas, so I thought I had an obligation to buy a few of their songs to listen to.

So I did. One of the songs includes a bit too much swearing so I have to skip it whenever my kids are around, and honestly, I don't appreciate foul language. It sears through me at times; probably because I'm not used to it. BUT, language aside, I have to say this music is FUN! I find myself enjoying it and a part of me is wondering who I am? What happened to me? Because I can't believe I'm listening to music with foul language and enjoying it.

Now, to this you may say: But your favorite band is U2. U2 swears! To this I say you are right: they do! But they're Irish. I can forgive a lot from the Irish; plus it's all in the name of contextualization, right?

I struggle at times with music and other art forms. First, it's all so personal and subjective. I like to think I have good taste in these things but there really isn't clear "good and bad" to these art forms! Then there is the whole concept of the message and is it edifying and glorifying to God. Well, I have a hard time with much of the music I listen to being edifying or glorifying to God, but once again; that's another blog post! So, with that said I have to say: I like some of these Black Eyes Peas songs. They are fun! And I get something from them. Something that I think is good and necessary to learn from:

To have fun! Not take myself too seriously! It's funny; I have the hardest time relaxing. I don't drink and honestly the general consensus is that I should! I should drink! So as I listen to these songs that elevate the concept of partying, enjoyment and just having fun, uninhibited fun, i realize that there's a bit too much rigidity in my life. I need to smile more; laugh more with my kids. To laugh at myself and enjoy a bit of freedom. Freedom of being so concerned with what others think of me. Freedom to state my opinions. Freedom to state my highly subjective and perhaps wacky, weird, or wrong preferences when it comes to art, music and all those subjective forms of art. Freedom to sing off key or raise my hands in worship or just forget about everyone around me and enjoy God! As much as I love Sundays I don't think I fully appreciate God on Sundays as much as I should. As much as he requires. As much as I should willingly want to do because of my gratitude for Who He Is and What He has done!

" Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." Philippians 4:4 ESV


I love Sundays! it's funny because a few short years ago I really did not love Sundays; I went out of obligation. I'd use any excuse I could to not listen in "big church". I did not like singing. I did not like the preaching. I did not like anything! (Disclaimer: This is not at the church I now attend!) I truly felt that I was "going through the motions". I had enough "background knowledge'.... I knew all my Bible stories, had a year of Bible College, grew up "church" and did enough impressive stuff that I could look and sound the part but it was all pretense.

I wrote yesterday about volunteering and how much "better" it is when one can volunteer in an area they are gifted/talented or passionate in. I do believe this and yet, I also see merit in serving just because it needs to be done, but as a friend (Sarah W) pointed out to me in an online chat, that so often can lead to burnout. It's fine and admirable to help out in whatever needs to be done short term, but not so much long time. She brought up John 15 and likened "saying no" to certain volunteer jobs as "pruning"... and preparing us or releasing us to perhaps do what He intended all along. I like that. It makes sense. We also admitted that we were both "people pleasers" and sometimes it's not GOD telling us to volunteer but our own desire to help or be liked or looked upon favorably.

Another point she brought up: Sometimes when we serve in an area we don't "love" or are talented in, it stops someone who may truly BE talented or passionate in to step forward, thinking that all the "needs" are covered and they are unnecessary. I don't think it's WRONG to serve in a capacity one is not gifted in; I just think it's just so much more joyful to know I'm serving in something that I love and feel excited about. Plus, as another online friend pointed out; God can use us in whatever way we are willing; and yet I KNOW that I try to do things on my own instead of waiting on Him.

It does perplex me at times that I was more "involved" in structured volunteering at my old church even though I wasn't truly following God than I am now at this church I love, attempting to serve this wonderful God I love, but struggling to find a place where I fit in to volunteer.

Why is that?

Things are changing though; I'm finally starting to realize what I do love and seeing that perhaps there is a "place" for a strange person like me in the body of Christ; but I still so often wish I was truly talented or gifted in ways that I deem as "better". I'll never learn to be content I guess!

My point? I have none. It's nearly midnight. Oh, wait! My point is that I love my church! I love the people, the opportunities, the message, the worship, EVERYTHING!

I know; this post makes absolutely NO sense! So I'll end here and just ask you: Why do you love your church? Do you anticipate Sunday? or are you ambivalent? or dreading it?

Friday, October 9, 2009


A weed sprouted up in our front yard, only in my view it's not a weed; it's a pumpkin plant. Of course, it's not exactly supposed to be in our front yard, and thus is considered a "weed" by my husband.

I don't consider it a "weed". A friend of mine calls these wonderful surprises "volunteers". They weren't planted, had no special care or tending and yet despite perhaps harsh conditions, they grew, and benefit others with their beauty and in the case of a pumpkin plant, a glorious pumpkin!

I've been thinking a lot about volunteerism. I've so many questions about this I've struggled for about a year to find my "place" in my church in terms of what I can contribute and volunteer in. I've found that it's not so easy to find a place to serve.

My church has been going through a series on the book of Acts, emphasizing "One".... but in the sermon notes each week it lists these verses in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:

"The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit." (NLT)

In an effort to contribute to the body of Christ (the Church) I've attempted to volunteer for a lot of things, but they really haven't panned out. I can see why; as I perhaps am not actually gifted in these venues. I tried to join the media team thinking that perhaps David and I could use our video and photography interests. That really hasn't amounted to anything. I have tried to be a part of the women's ministry but really don't have much to contribute in that area so it also did not work out. I've volunteered to do a ton of little things that really I'm not good at. I desire to volunteer because I love my church. Plus, and I hate to say it, I want to be "in". I want to be included and be in the "IN" crowd and I though that volunteering would make me "in". Well, I don't think being "in" is that simple. Besides, why is there an "in" group? If we truly are the Body of Christ we should all be "in" and feel this sense of common purpose and belonging.

But that's another blog post.

A wise friend realized, after I accepted to try yet another volunteer job that is NOT my passion or interest, that perhaps I shouldn't do it. It's a good but strange concept; as for me, it doesn't seem like doing the things that I love as being a sacrifice. Shouldn't serving God be a sacrifice? Something that I freely give up or endure because of my desire to serve?

I no longer believe that. I think that my friend is right: We are all unique and all have something to contribute to the Body of Christ. Something special. I don't think it's wrong to volunteer and help do things that need to be done because they need to be done and someone has to do it, but how wonderful, how joyful and edifying and glory it is to God when we are serving in a capacity that He gifted us in. That we enjoy and are passionate about and just KNOW that God created us with that interest or skill or desire, and it works and is just very good.

Still, finding one's place is not easy! As I stated, I've attempted to do so many things. At times it is discouraging; do I really have any "gift" that God gave me that I can use? And I do look around and compare and so desperately desire to be like "this person" or "that person" and why didn't God make me differently so I could serve Him and make a difference in the world. Everyone wants to be a leader and yet I'm clearly not one.

Scripture says that we're all different and we're all vital to the Church. That we're interdependent on one another and incomplete without all the "parts". It's a beautiful analogy and yet I have to admit that oftentimes I don't see it; I see a very disjointed, competitive church with cliques, impatience and a hierarchy of those with the gifts that seem truly important. And doesn't everyone want to be truly important?

Back to my pumpkin plant: It just grew. It grew in an unlikely place, in my front yard, the seed most likely ferried there by a squirrel. Yeah, there was soil and water. And now there's a pumpkin plant growing, complete with a pumpkin! Our "volunteer". It couldn't help but grow under those conditions: Light, soil, water. And what it's growing is exactly what it should because it's a pumpkin plant. Not an apple tree, not a carrot. I wonder at times as a volunteer if I've been created to be a pumpkin plant but instead want to produce the fruit of an apple tree. Silly to expect but I wonder if that's what I attempt. And I wonder how many churches also expect or desire their volunteers to be different than what God made them to be; to contribute in a way they want instead of a way God wants and uniquely created them to be.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How Many?

I'm listening to Christmas music and it's not even Halloween yet! How is this possible? Actually, it's just good music. Music is so subjective. I don't like the differentiation between "Christian" and "secular" music. I just love good music. Anyways, I stumbled across this Christmas CD on another blog that heartily recommended it, so I took a listen and discovered I really like it too!

Here's the title song lyrics. I have to say, I do have a slight pet peeve about things that tout that God does all things for US out of his love for US. I don't think it's wrong; I know he loves us; I know he went to the cross as our substitution but I believe even greater than the motivation of "for us" was the motivation that Christ suffered and rose again for the glory of the Father. First and foremost. However, that in no way negates His love and the fact that God wants a relationship with us. To know Him and be known by Him. It's a beautiful thing. So, with that bit of "disclaimer" here's the title song.

How Many Kings by Downhere

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliness hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer
Do you believe, is this who we’ve waited for?
it’s who we’ve waited for

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sucker for Stripes

I seldom buy new clothes for myself, for the simple fact that nothing looks good on me. Maybe if I lost 20 pounds it would look acceptable but as it is now, It is no joy shopping for clothes for me. Besides, I'm a no make-up, jeans and tee shirt type.

One thing I absolutely do enjoy is shopping for my little girl. It's so fun; the options are endless and adorable. She's at a super cute age, all twirly skirts and ribbons and bows. I love it. I love the change of seasons chiefly for the change of wardrobe. It's fun.

There is one thing I'm a complete sucker for: Tights. I love tights! Polka dots, stripes, floral, animal print, pointelle, cable, plain, etc. Oh my! I don't even wish to reveal how many pairs of tights my child has! It's scary! But it's cute. Today she wore a black tutu style skirt, an orange Hallowe'en tee, and wonderful, thick, glorious black and orange striped tights! Trust me; the tights made the outfit!

Needless to say, she was the only one in her class dressed up for this important class field trip to the pumpkin patch. Oh, it was so cute! But what was really even cuter was simply her. Even without the cute clothes she's fun and outgoing and just a wonderful, sweet, happy, darling child. I enjoyed the glimpse into her classroom dynamic today, watching her interact with all her many friends. I'm so happy that she is so loved by her peers, but I'm also scared of the inevitable that lies ahead: of disappointment, hurt and difficult choices. She's tough and fun and very loving and I hope that always remains a part of her. Joy, laughter, and an excitement for life.

Regardless of what you think I still enjoy a bit of indulging her in cuteness. I know that it won't be long before she'll balk at wearing what I want her to wear, so I'm taking advantage of this time now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On a Lighter Note...

I thought I should post something a bit lighthearted because going through all of Jonathan Edward's resolution is quite an endeavor!

I will share what a mom told me today. My kid's school has an emergency drill. it was instructional. Katie was showing the others what to do. (basically just sit still and color) She was drawing some indiscernible shape and my friend asked what she was drawing. Her response? "A car on fire." Ummmm I have no idea why that was her choice of subject. She's usually full of flowers and rainbows and pictures of herself. I've never seen her attempt to draw a car; let alone a car on fire!

I love my kids; between them and my funny in a corny sense husband, I have a harder time taking myself too seriously. It's a good thing. I think every relationship needs a bit of humor from time to time. There always seems to be laughter at my house.

Resolved: The Impossible?

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don't hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God's glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, "A faithful man who can find?" may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration's never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord's day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; "knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14' and July '3' 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those "breakings of soul for the longing it hath," of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear', of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton's 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Aug. 17, 1723

Monday, October 5, 2009

Better Than Others

I'm having a strange day. Nothing seems quite right. Some days are better than others. Some blog posts are better than others. today is not a better than others day. Not a bad day, just a day. The good news? Less than 20 days until I see U2.

Some days are dry, some days are leaky
Some days come clean, other days are sneaky
Some days take less, but most days take more
Some slip through your fingers and onto the floor
Some days you're quick, but most days you're speedy
Some days you use more force than is necessary
Some days just drop in on us
Some days are better than others

Some days it all adds up
And what you got is not enough
Some days are better than others

Some days are slippy, other days sloppy
Some days you can't stand the sight of a puppy
Your skin is white but you think you're a brother
Some days are better than others

Some days you wake up with her complaining
Some sunny days you wish it was raining
Some days are sulky, some days have a grin
And some days have bouncers and won't let you in

Some days you hear a voice
Taking you to another place
Some days are better than others

Some days are honest, some days are not
Some days you're thankful for what you've got
Some days you wake up in the army
And some days it's the enemy

Some days are work, most days you're lazy
Some days you feel like a bit of a baby
Lookin' for Jesus and His mother
Some days are better than others

Some days you feel ahead
You're making sense of what she said
Some days are better than others

Some days you hear a voice
Taking you to another place
Some days are better than others

- U2

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I've never been afraid of a road trip. In fact, I think I secretly love them. It began in jr. high youth group. I loved the road trip as much as the destination. I loved being in a van full of friends, singing, laughing. talking and discussing things. When there wasn't quite enough room I was allowed (or I begged) to sit on the floor between the driver and passenger chairs. Right over the engine. It got very, very hot, but I loved it. It was just a warm, safe, happy place where I could talk and enjoy those around me. Of course, now that I have my own kids I'd not be very happy about having my own child on the floor without a seat belt but it did not bother me at all then with my own life.

In high school the trend continued; I loved the van trips. I loved the travel to camp, to retreats, to disneyland, on drama tours. Our group grew too big for vans so our drama team would utilized busses. I loved the bus trips! Listening to music, books, taking a million pictures, making silly signs with the funny quotes that we'd say and plastering it all around the bus. I'm not sure I'd find the quotes funny today but back then it was hilarious! And things happen on trips; buses break down. Keys got locked in the vehicle. Vans broke down. Side windows got shattered. More bus "owies". Youth leaders get pulled over for speeding, more break downs, more opportunities to be together and have fun and have a great attitude. I always was sure that it would all work out fine. It always did, and it was just FUN. I think I had more fun during the break downs than any other time! Interestingly enough, nearly every outing had at least some sort of mishap. It was the mishaps that made it more memorable.

Of course, today, "mishaps" make me shudder. No longer are they opportunities for fun or praise or community. Perhaps it's because I am an adult and am supposed to prevent things and make things go as smoothly as possible. Perhaps because I no longer have the attitude and assurance that things will all work out well. I no longer like the unexpected.

Though I don't look forward to break downs today and no longer embrace the journey as much as I do the destination, I still enjoy road trips. Even with 3 kids I don't hesitate to put them all in the car and drive. Last February we took all of them and two brave friends with us on a trip to Solvang to see the time trials there for the Tour of California. It was a great time. Yesterday, with one of the same friends (obviously haven't scared him away yet!) we drove for 3 hours to attend a triathlon. It was a flawless road trip, the kids were pretty good, car worked just fine. It was great.

And yet.... always an adventure! I'm accustomed to a life of sports. Being married to David has conditioned me to a life of getting up early and watching his many sporting endeavors. It used to be surfing. Surf seems to be better at 6:30 or 7 in the morning. (I don't know why this is, but it always is) It's usually cold. And usually, I watch for what seems like hours and nothing happens and as soon as give up and start reading my book, FINALLY David catches a wave and I miss it!

Triathlons are a bit similar. They start early. At least half of them have started out really cold or had some type of less than ideal weather conditions. The one was went to today started out foggy and cold, and then turned windy. Beautiful day, but windy. We left the hotel at 6:30, thinking that would give us plenty of time before the 8:45 wave start..... only we could not predict that David would leave his wallet on the TV in the hotel room! So we get there and immediately realize that David can't register without a valid I.D. So, knowing it would be very close, we loaded up the three kids and raced back to the hotel, grabbed the wallet, and raced back. I had no idea if David made it or not; we went directly to the boat ramp to watch the olympic distance wave start. This is a small event; they let the entire olympic distance triathletes go at the same time instead of splitting them up in age groups. I missed the initial start, but luckily got a few pictures of both David and later his friend Clyde, emerging from the water. I was happy to get a few photos and My kids tried really hard to run up the ramp with their daddy, but he wasn't slowing down! Later we camped by the side of the road to catch a glimpse of David and friends as they were on their bikes and later their runs. Again, I was happy to get pictures of all 3 FCA-E athletes on their bike ride.

I discovered later that David barely got registered in time. His buddies helped him put on his wetsuit, plastered his race number to his helmet, affixed the number to his bike and his little belt thing to be worn for the bike and run portion. They missed their swim warm up to help their fellow teammate, and did so happily. Before their help David did not think he'd be able to make it but they were determined. Of course, while doing this, they gave him a bad time about forgetting his wallet!

The truly ironic thing: For a race he nearly missed, he wound up coming in first place for his age group! I know, you are thinking my husband is a stud, and I'd agree of course, but it's all relative: There were 8 people in his age group. The person that came in 2nd was a full 10 minutes behind David. Still, it was fun cheering for David as his name was called and he stepped up onto the first place podium step, accepted his plaque and smiled broadly. He did have a good race, it was hilly and a different challenge than the other triathlons offered. The location, on a lake away from a busy city was beautiful, Perhaps that best part was being among friends and racing with FCA-E in this smaller venue that really had a strong community feel as I realized how many people knew each other and enjoyed being with each other.

So, another successful road trip, despite the fact that David forgot his wallet and nearly became a spectator instead of a racer. (and that would've been hard: he loves to race!) This race was his slowest time yet, but it's hard to compare, as this was a different course, with hills. Total time for an Olympic (international) distance triathlon? 2 hours 40 minutes.

Our next road trip: A U2 concert! Can't wait!

Friday, October 2, 2009

To Give Glory

I'm in a Bible study and we're doing an 8 week study on God's Glory. It's quite amazing and really has reoriented my thinking and perspective of life. I at times joke that I'm a Calvinist or "reformed" though most don't even know what those terms mean. I perhaps don't know the full breadth of what it entails to be a Calvinist or "reformed" but I do know that I think it's incredibly Biblical to believe that God is sovereign and that we were created to give Him glory. Everything was created to give Him glory.

I know that Christ loves us and have read many books about how we are worth so much to Him and some writings seem to paint a picture of God being all about us. Concerned mostly with us and our happiness. I do believe He's a good and loving God and I do believe He wants to be known by us and to know us. He is love. But to me, it makes more sense that He is more concerned about His glory than me.

I know; it's a strange concept to think about..... but if you keep thinking about it it makes sense! It doesn't negate His love; but it does make me realize that through His love, He is the best thing in life. And I can choose to also strive for the Best thing: Him... and all things are for His glory. That gives me much comfort. He is in control and even though I don't understand, His glory will be shown. It may not be my happiness, unless I choose that my happiness is finding joy in His glory.

A change of perspective.

Please feel free to disagree, challenge me on this. I'm still thinking it through but I have embraced it because it makes sense, I already have a "reformed" bent to me and because I do enjoy the writings and teachings of John Piper. I don't agree with 100% but I do greatly respect him.

"And all things were created for him. All that came into being exists for Christ—that is, it exists to display the greatness of Christ.

Nothing—nothing!—in the universe exists for its own sake.
Everything from the bottom of the oceans
to the top of the mountains,
from smallest particle
to the biggest star,
from the most boring school subject
to the most fascinating science,
from the ugliest cockroach
to the most beautiful human,
from the greatest saint
to the most wicked genocidal dictator
—everything that exists, exists to make the greatness of Christ more fully known—including you, and the person you have the hardest time liking."

- John Piper

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pastor Appreciation Month

Friends; It's Pastor Appreciation Month. Show your appreciation. You know they deserve it! More so my pastors because they have to put up with ME! But that's a whole different blog post!

Really though; get creative. Have fun with it and bless them. :-)

I'll post later this month asking what wonderful ideas you've come up with. I'd go on more and more, but there's no reason to. Just like your church, my church has a wonderful staff that deserves to be appreciated. But when the month is all over, it will be fun for us all to share your favorite idea that you bestowed on your pastors.
And I'll share mine. And then we'll wait a whole year to do this all over again! I'll even give a prize to a favorite idea that you post. But not now; now is the time to DO it; we'll share about it later.

Have fun.