Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Rain in the Spring (Can you feel the Son?)

40. He hung on that tree. He died alone. An alone we no longer must experience. An alone that is something we may never know, unless by our own choosing. He hung on that tree. For me. For you. For us. For this I am so thankful.

41. For the weather that this week comes at such an appropriate time. A storm came for Him as well. It brought darkness to day. To usher in the light. I am grateful for this reminder. This little bit of sacred in the everyday.

42. The boys that talk and play about this home.

43. Places to meet the needs of our family during this difficult economic season. (Please give me the strength to rise above my sinful self and maintain Your character. Give him continued strength as well.) Humbling. Difficult.

44. I am so very thankful for hope. There is hope in the Spring. There is hope in the everyday. There is hope in Him. I am so thankful for hope.
45. Oldest Son and his reading of the book Max. (I am so proud of him and his love of learning.) Thank you Lord. May this love also grow in Youngest Son.
46. Youngest Son and his use of the Potty Chair this morning. (Four Times.) A small miracle. A large bit of happiness for Mama. My prayer is that he is done by this summer for the swim season.

47. Grateful for the courage to serve. (It had been a long time.)

48. There are so many permanent aspects of sin. So many finals. So many never go backs. Thankful I am that He bore the ultimate finality of my sin. Death. Separation. He took it. He carried it. He built a bridge. Right back to Him.

49. For this. This bit of my heart that beats for Him. This part of me that longs for Him. I cannot explain why. I cannot tell you how I got here. I am a sinner. Broken. Bruised. Scarred. Yet somehow He found me. Somehow He made me His. Somehow He loved me. Somehow He understood me. He saw me. (I was seen.) I am not perfect and I do not claim to be. I am worse than you think. (Much worse I am sure.) One thing is true. One thing is perfect and good. How He love me so. How He died for me in that love. For that, I am forever His. Forever seeking to get it right. To get Him right. For all my life. With all my heart.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Death is not Dying

Had a WONDERFUL MOMS group this morning. We watched a video. The video was of a woman speaking to a MOMS group in Canada about her impending death; about her cancer. She titles her talk Death is not Dying. (She went to be the Lord about 8 weeks after the speaking engagement, or so I am told.) I encourage you to check out her website at www.deathisnotdying.com. Her name was Rachel Barkey.

She shared four important principles that I would like to share with you.

The first was to know God. So I ask myself, do I really know Him? Those are big words for someone so small to answer. I know this. I know He is Holy. What do I really know of Holy? I know that He, in His wisdom, made me. He breathed into my life. Every little aspect of who I am. Each moment. And I am so unworthy. So inadequate, for such a Holy God. I know He is love. He loves so much He gave Himself for me, for you. Not just Himself, but His only Son. That's how much he loves. That's just how Holy He is. I know He brought me, broken sinner, out of darkness, and showed me the light, which seemed so very far away. He was patient while no one else was able. He was there when everyone walked away. He held steadfast His love when all the worldly love I trusted was unable to hold on. He was there when I woke from my sin. He was there to say that He loved me. That He had saved me. (Yes. Me. Broken. Ugly.) And then slowly, He carried me back. Not to where I came from, but back. A place I had never really been. A humbling place. A Holy place. A place of grace.

She talked of knowing yourself. She shared little bits and pieces of herself. I think I know myself. I know that I cannot rest if my home is in disarray. I know that I like to brush my teeth in the shower…and I like long, water wasting, showers. I know that my children have brought me my greatest joys and my greatest pains. I know that love can grow from unhealthy soil. I know that true friends know how to blow away the chaff from the grain. I know that sunny days seem to quicken my step and rain makes me want to curl up in a fuzzy blanket. But do I really know myself? I know many not so beautiful things as well. I know so many things that I will not mention here. Things that hold no more weight in my life. I know that whatever you think of me, it is not as bad as I really am. I know am human. Sin natured. Self loving.

Importantly, she discussed knowing the Gospel. Do I really know the Gospel? I do. I have tasted it. I have felt it. I have known it. I live it. Sometimes it feels so real my heart weeps and the effects fall from my eyes. This Lenten season I seek Him. Him who died for me. Who gave Himself for me. Who loved me on that tree. I picture Him and I know He thought of me. I believe it with all that I am. Without Him I would be hopeless. With Him I have hope.

Lastly, she talked about knowing your purpose. What is one's purpose? I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am daughter, a sister. I am a friend. I am a nurse. I am so many things, all of which are not my purpose. My purpose is to bring Glory to the God who made me. My purpose is to declare His Glory. This purpose can be achieved right where God has put me. Right here in my home. Right here with my family. Right here with my friends, my job. I do not need to search for ways to show His Glory. He will use me, mold me, make me, right here in the everyday. His Glory is shown in every floor I wipe clean. It is in every bed I make. Every story I read. Each fear I help dispel. My purpose, as she so aptly put, is His purpose. To serve with joy. Not just to serve. Anyone can serve. Serve with joy.

And so I challenge you and I challenge me. Be sure we know God. Be sure we know ourselves. Be sure we know the Gospel. Be sure we know our purpose. Let us go forth. Let us make dinner. Let us put pajamas on. Let us brush teeth. Let us say prayers and read stories. Let us snuggle. Let us do this with joy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Truth that is Powerful

"I, the Lord, made you,

and I will not forget you.

I have swept away your sins like a cloud.

I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.

Oh, return to me,

for I have paid the price to set you free."

Isaiah 44:21-22

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gratitude Monday...On Tuesday

32. Feeding Boys homemade cinnamon rolls on a sunny Saturday morning home. (Check out The Pioneer Woman's recipe.) http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/
33. Great Wolf Lodge as a family plus Youngest Sister. (a. So much fun to watch Oldest Son delight in the Medium Waterslides, the Wave Pool, and the Lily Pad Crossing.) (b. A joy to watch Youngest Son warm up to the Small Waterslide after discovering the fun of face first...despite the lifeguards continued whistles and warnings about feet first.) (c. A complete blast going down the Large Waterslides with Husband and Youngest Sister...especially in the dark.) (d. Snuggling in our beds after an exhausting evening of Water Park activities eating whatever we want.)

34. Going on a bike road with Husband on a crisp Friday afternoon. (On a side note, there was a HUGE dead toad on 10th Avenue! I did not know they grew that big around here.)
35. Supervisor at work who is moving to California to return to her roots. Her wisdom and her unique way of challanging me will be a loss. She is truly an amazing woman and she will be missed.
36. Oldest Sister celebrating 7 years of marriage. (Lucky 7.)
37. Oldest Son and playdates with friends. (This is sheer bliss for him.)
38. Lazy Tuesday mornings. (Like this one.)
39. The solid, sound sleep kids enter after a day in the water. (It is truly a drug of the best kind.)

Unplanned Shopping

I had a chance to stop by Safeway and Albertsons after work yesterday. (I had a late work meeting and so Husband was picking up Boys from Grandmas.) These were quick, unplanned trips, and I was pretty excited how they turned out.

At Safeway I picked up all the below for $2.43. (No Catalinas people. Just coupons!)

At Albertsons I was able to pick up all the below for $3.00. (Again, no Catalinas used. Just coupons.)

That is 14 boxes of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, which happens to be one of my boys favorites, from the over a month old Quaker Rain Check . (They finally had some in stock.) Plus 2 Darigold Sour Creams. Lastly, 4 boxes of Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks. In addition to being a great deal, I also received a $2.50 Catalina on the Fruit Snacks. If I would have had the time and the energy I would have rolled the Fruit Snack Catalina, but my boys were calling at my heart after a long day gone.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Night has fallen. Youngest son and husband have gone to bed. Oldest son and self remain in kitchen. "Pick a color," speaks the boy I love dear as he carefully colors giraffe on reading homework. "Yellow," I add without a thought. "That's a nice color," he adds for kindness as he searches intently through glass jar for crayon.

My mind, as if it never forgot, is instantly brought back to a place I had long since forgotten. A blue house. A girl of perhaps 7 or 8. A bedroom with fresh white walls. A mama asking, "What color do you want to paint your room?" A little girl responding with complete sincerity, "Yellow so it will glow in the dark."

And it was done. My walls were painted a lovely shade of yellow and they never did glow in the dark. Oddly, I don't recall my mama ever questioning my choice or the reason behind it. It was simply done.

This leads me to this Gratitude Monday…on Thursday. (I am almost always late at this.) I almost called my mom right then and there to thank her for her love in the little things; things that matter to a child. (I did not, however, thinking a letter might be more appropriate, though I have yet to put pen to paper.) So come with me as I am grateful for my mom. Someone who is not really an affectionate mother, most likely due to her upbringing. Someone who can be hard to warm up to, as she can keep you at an emotionally safe distance. (Again, I think her upbringing.) Yet, someone, who in her own way, if you are patient and keep eyes and heart open, says I love you just enough.

22. The way she made me matching dresses as a child.

23. The trips to the Children's Museum in Portland. (Such great memories. I loved the shadow maker and the kitchen!)

24. The Perry Mason we all watched after lunch.

25. The way we would all gather in her bed at the end of the day.

26. The time she helped me sew my own quilt. She took me to the fabric store and allowed me to pick all the different prints I wanted in my quite. (No scraps for me!)

27. All the good books she encouraged me to read growing up…and she still does even as an adult. She is an endless library of classic reading.

28. The way she loved me through my greatest mistake…even when others were unable to.

29. The way she gives to my children of her very rare alone time. (Keeping them in the family and out of public daycare.)

30. He many hand knit gifts. (They are heirlooms and I love them!)

31. The relationship she has kept, all these years, through 13 children and 14 grandchildren, with my dad. (The best man ever.)

And mom, if you ever find this, I love you. (It's just hard to say sometimes.)