Monday, August 27, 2007

...Is God Afraid of Our Questions??...

I have been listening to the accounts of the news about Mother Theresa. They are headlining her crisis of faith...her doubts about God...her deepest questions.

I find it strangely comforting to hear that.

In fact, I find it hard to relate to those who plod along without question. Because as a human, with only finite wisdom, questions are surely part of our walk whether we are a nun, or a pastor or an ordinary girl who calls herself a Christian.

In 1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul writes..."Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

Seems to me that God must have meant for us to questions life and God, otherwise He would have given us the whole picture. But that is the hope of Heaven. We will see it all. Laid bare before us will be the understanding of the masterpiece that is God's plan for creation. In knowing this every tear will be wiped away, every lingering doubt cast off and all sorrow laid to rest. Here we will know to the very core of our being that God is good and His ways are perfect.

...what a hope...

But until then I am so glad that I can come to God to question. Is He good?, does He exist? and why?... why?... doubting God gives Him the opportunity to show Himself to us, to stregthen our faith.

And when my striving wearies me I will "be still and know that He is God." Even if at times the knowing is the faintest of convictions. I will believe that God is who He was when I was most close to Him. I will trust that when my feelings change, God doesn't. He remains truth.


And, if you wonder why Mother Theresa and a multitude of other doubters hung on, even limply, to their faith, I think that it is because while we are weak and wavering, God is strong and woos us to His side. He never stops revealing Himself to us. I bet God sees our spirit's core belief in Him, even when our head and our heart pile up with doubts and questions so thick we can't see through them.

And in that place where we accepted Him, spirit to spirit, we hold on, and wait for the day when we will know fully - like Mother Theresa and many others - even as we are fully known.

Question Him. Ask the questions buried deep inside that stand in the way of complete faith. Shed the pretense of religion and propriety, if you must, and be honest before the King of Kings. He is big enough, and strong enough to take it from Mother Theresa... and the likes of you and me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

...the new puppy...

It's not unusual to come into my kitchen and see a cute blonde boy and a big white hairy dog curled up on the carpet. Usually the boy is feeding the dog his peanut butter sandwich or individual pieces of kibble. The dog is usually slapping his tail on floor with a happy thump, thump. I love their relationship. From the day Little T came into our home almost three years ago they have loved each other. When all the people around him were still strangers that big gentle dog was a safe place to head for a hug. Little T doesn't care if she smells, or leaves hairs all over his clothes. Their love is unconditional and their relationship has warmed my heart.

And that is why I was so concerned when our dog went missing.

During the warmer weather she sleeps outside and has an invisible fence collar to ensure she doesn't wander out of the backyard. The collar is largely uneccessary as she is generally found sunning in my garden beds or lounging in the sandbox under the deck - or playing with the kids. When I went out on Sunday morning I didn't see her anywhere. We were on our way to take the girls to camp and rushing around so I sent Coco out to fill up her food bowl and water and soon we were off to camp.

That night I completely forgot about checking on her and Monday morning I went out to give her food and the bowl was still full. Then I began to worry. We hunted through the neighbourhood, called the vets and dog catcher but no one had seen her. She had seemingly gone missing.

I don't think it fully hit me as I expected to look out the window and see our white furry friend come bounding up to the front door to see his best friend. But she did never show up. And my mind went quickly to Little T and what we were going to tell him. I called him over and gave him the news. He looked up and matter-of-factly stated we needed to get a new dog. As if it would never occur to a four year old that a house would not have a dog in it.

When my husband and I spoke about it that night he agreed that we needed to look for a new dog for Little T. But we both agreed that we would never find a dog more gentle and perfect anywhere.

I got on the internet the next day and began researching breeds and sizes and availability. We agreed on one breed that we wanted to look at and found a place nearby to go visit. That night we headed out with little T and his brother Coco to see the dogs.

And, that night we came home with a little 10 week old Schnauzer/Wheaton terrier cross. Her name is Lucy and she is a little perky doll. She is remarkably quiet and cuddly for a puppy and Little T is beside himself with happiness. He has been carrying that dog around everywhere creating another special puppy/boy relationship.

I wasn't really sure I wanted to take on another pet. When our golden came into our house whe was already 2 years old, well mannered and extremely hairy. I cleaned up fur constantly wondering what I had gotten myself into. There were many days I wished we lived in a pet-free house. And when she went missing I thought back to those days wondering if we could be free of that. And then I looked at Little T and remind myself of the love they share. I counted the cost of the training, the pooping and peeing, the grooming, the vet bills, the whole package. It was going to cost me convenience and stretch me to clean up messes but it was going to give our children, especially Little T a relationship that is worth the cost. When we got to the breeders the puppies all looked exactly the same. How were we going to chose. And then we picked up little Lucy and I handed her to my husband. She promptly laid her head down on his hand and made herself at home...and we just had to bring her home.

We will miss our big puppy - maybe someone will find her and bring her home and we will have double the mess and double the joy. But if not we will enjoy little Lucy and this new puppy chapter and remember fondly our big white mutt.

Friday, August 3, 2007

...leave it to beaver has nothing on us...

We went to look at an awesome old house in town this week. I have been through it before the last two times it has been for sale. Both times we decided that it was more than we could afford and walked away. When we saw the for sale sign this time around, even with the increased price tag we considered it again. So earlier this week we trekked around the property, tape measure in hand, checking old beams, sloped floors and possibilities.

I have to confess that I am a sucker for an old house. If only the walls could speak I would sit and listen to the stories of marriages and babies, of celebrations and wars, of change and progress. It was that I thought of as we wandered the halls countless padded feet had called home. This house, I found out, was the birthplace of Horatio Walker. I didnt know who that was until a few weeks ago when we visited the art gallery in Montreal and saw his name on a painting from our hometown. His art hangs in many art galleries in Canada as well as the Smithsonian and New York Art Galleries in the USA. Visions of a Bed & Breakfast danced through my brain.

Having lived and renovated a few old homes I tend to look critically at things most romantics might overlook. Dry rot, decaying stairs and porches, overgrown gardens, leaky roofs and uneven floors. Not to mention lack of air conditioning and closet space. If I have learned one thing a coat of paint, no matter how nice the colour, does not hold a house up.

But this house was in pretty good shape and we are finally in a position to afford a real renovation where we could hire people and everything. So we left and thought... Back and forth we went that night, discussing the ideas for improvements, how to market a B&B etc. We just didnt come up with a clear and peaceful answer.

The next night I went out to water the garden. I love to stand hose in hand and give refreshment to my plants. I imagine them perking up and blooming for me. As I stood by the pool trying to revive a drooping hydrangea I heard the sound of the kids screaming.

My son Coco had discovered a nest of mice under the composter. Enough that if you lifted the side you could see them scurry away. It didn't take long for him to bring over the neighbours to see the brood. As he lifted the composter a critter scurried across the vegetable garden only to be caught stunned under the hockey stick of a 12 year old boy. And that's when the squeals began. Within a few minutes there were a half dozen or so kids chasing the mouse all over the lawn, grabbing at whatever they could find to catch it. Alas, it was the hockey stick that again caught the dazed mouse under its blade. Somehow they caught it up in one of my Ikea laterns off the patio. Inside its little prison the all came running over to me huge grins on all their faces. I smiled at their prize and turned the hose on the crew. Again screams filled the backyard as they all went running for cover.

Then I smiled. Before we built the house we live in this yard was just a cornfield. I watched the machines come and dig a foundation while I dreamed. I wanted my children to grow up like Beaver and Wally. With a street filled with friends of every age. Where I didn't have to make play dates but rather, after dinner people just headed outside to play. Where spontaneous games of hide and seek intermingled with the discovery of rodents. Where the neighbours looked out for your children and trusted you to look out for theirs. It was a great dream but the reality is so much better. I love that we can give my guys this kind of childhood. I'm thankful that it still exists.

And, as we walk these halls, we leave stories also...hidden in walls that remain silent. But the memories are clear in our hearts and minds.

Another round of screams erupts from the side of the house, its the mouse again. I focus again on watering my plants and smile. Sometimes decisions are not decided on paper but in the the laughter of children.

Friday, July 27, 2007

...mystery in the news

A mystery was revealed in the news this week...only a few blocks from where I grew up, in a house that looks very similar, a package was found. The "Package" contained a tiny mummified baby boy wrapped in newspapers, dated 1925. An initial autopsy was done that determined the baby was not murdered, nor did he die of a disease however, they were unable to determine whether the baby had been born alive. Further searching by reporters noted that a couple purchased the house in 1925 and it was sold by the state in 1941 when the man died and the wife was living in a Psyciatric hospital. What was she tormented about?? I want to know... Was it her son or someone she knew...

I've stated before I hate to NOT know something. I remember being a child and hearing about a young girl who had gone missing. Every time we would drive somewhere the news would be on and I would hear further details that had been divulged about the investigation. It may have been the result of reading too many Trixie Belden books but I grabbed an empty notebook and set out to find some answers. I titled my page: "Who Killed ____ _____" which of course was the headline. And then I wrote down the facts as I knew them, figuring that once I got the details straight, me, not the police, would have the answer... or not...

This baby in the ceiling story though, begun long before I was born, grips me. I want to know what happened. I want to know who these people were. What was going on and why she was sent to the asylum. If the news doesn't divulge this information I may just have to sit down at a keyboard and create my own story - if only to satisfy me own curiosity

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

...the Clampetts hit the Concrete Jungle...Day One...

So I’m wondering if this past weekend was someone’s way of giving me blog fodder ‘cause it was choc' full of stuff. We took the three older kids on a mini vacation to Montreal to soak up the French culture of our Quebec neighbours. It was a road trip - eight hours of driving across the province. I spent the earlier part of the week planning, catching up on laundry (my Favourite pastime - ha!) And perusing the internet for things to do and places to eat that would give us the whole experience. Big T booked a hotel on this site where you choose the number of "Stars" you want to pay for and they suprise you with a hotel that has a cheap room available. We got a 4-Star Sheraton room for just over a hundred dollars a which was a far cry from their $300 regular price - the reviews online were mixed but thie weekend was all about spontanaiety and I could rough it at the Sheraton right?! So what if the tiles are onlyceramic and not tumbled marble...we were ready!

The morning dawned - VERY EARLY. After last minute packing and sandwich making til after midnight we were tired. The crew packed everything in the car, got Little T settled at Pre-school reminding him that Grandpa was going to pick him up at lunch and off we went.
The day was bright and the fields we sped past were green and teeming with cows and horses enjoying an early morning breakfast of grass and sunshine. We broke out the fruit and veggies and sat back for the drive...

The first leg of the trip was to end at one of my favorite places - IKEA!! Yep, I got my fix wandering around the biggest of all big box stores. Heaven - pure bliss! I got great deal on a terracotta planter that I’m going to fill with succulents and a million ideas on how to arrange MDF laden, ready to assemble, strap it to the roof of your car and bring it home furniture. We ended by springing for the obligatory 75 cent frozen yogurt for the kids and off we were.

With five and a half hours left we also made a stop at my other favorite big box store, Chapters, (also known as Borders I think in the USA). We picked up an audio version of Tuck Everlasting to listen to while we drove. It was a good book and made me think a whole lot for a children’s novel... perhaps another blog??

As dinner time closed in we finally saw the sign - Welcome to Quebec - only it was in French! After that every sign was in French and the kids spent the last leg of the trip attempting to pronounce with reeeeally bad accents all the French words.

And then we were there. Driving down the city streets in all their glory. It felt good to be back in the concrete jungle and all its familiar sites. Overpriced parking lots to begin with. The hotel parking was ON TOP of our room rate and after picking up our little ticket we drove deep through the low ceilinged abyss of the underground lot. Four floors below the sidewalk we finally found a spot, pulled our bags out of the trunk and headed for the elevator.

The hotel was really nice... escpecially the lobby. We requested a room with a view and got one on the 28th floor. Other than the CN tower this was probably the highest building they had ever looked out. I have to admit the view was incredible and I spent a lot of time trying to take a picture of the vista only to continually take a picture of the reflection in the mirror!

We got cleaned up and wandered down to the city streets to find our first French restaurant of the weekend. That’s when reality hit children are like the Country Mice. They have no sense of danger, or the meaning of street lights or crowds. They are so un-citified and think they can talk to everyone they meet. They are their dad’s children in that way. I grew up in Toronto and the energy of the city gets my heart pumping. No where else can you find such diversity in so little square feet. The business man walking purposefully, head held high in his four-thousand dollar suit ambles past the man dressed in rags, looking up from a step, coffee cup in his hand, waiting for a dime. The students in their artsy clothes and trendy hair stand around as if this is their backyard and in a way it is. The women, out on the town, dressed up and adorned with jewellery and perfume walk up the street beside old man, walking with a cane down the familiar street he has traversed for almost seventy years. People, everywhere, some with a place to go, some still looking.

I love to watch them sweep their eyes across the unfamiliar view. To see it for the first time. To know how different their little world really is.
By the time we pulled the covers over our shoulders and tried to settle the troops it was after eleven and the weekend had only just begun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

...when life gets in the way of blogging...

On the camera phone coming out of anesthetic!

Well, ya... that is my excuse for not typing here for almost a month. Not great when my initial goal was to write everyday. The perfectionist in me wants to write an inspired post every time and sometimes in the midst of running after a pre-schooler who has escaped onto the road yet again and trying to educate 3 often unwilling students inspiration is lacking. So, I'm going to forgo the clever excuses and keep writing - not because I have inspiration or even because anyone is reading but because I made that commitment to myself and its a good one to keep.

...and so to sum up the last month of bloglessness we have been enjoying the beautiful weather that has come to our neck of the woods...

We have opened the pool, fertilized the grass, mowed a few times, stained a fence and 2 decks (almost!), tidied the yard and attacked the weeds. We have also spent much time in the hospital since "Pickle" started off the season by breaking the two bones in her forearm... Big T and the older kids were at his baseball game when Pickle fell off the monkey bars she was hanging upside-down on. She came wandering up nonchalantly to the ball diamond and asked one of the girls if her arm was supposed to look like "that". And by "that" she meant bent in a horribly wrong way between the wrist and elbow... She soon found out that no, they were not meant to look that way and a long night in the emergency room was in order.

You know you live in a small town when the doctor has to call her husband a few too many times on his cellphone so that he can leave his post-soccer game to come administer the anathesic to our daughter. Around midnight she finally tracked him down and he came in. Not long afterwards she was fitted with a beautiful green cast.

The next week she had to go to a larger city nearby to see the orthopedic surgeon who removed the cute green cast that was set just below her elbow with a boring white one that is set just below her underarm.

We remedied the white cast with a blanket of colourful sharpies but she still is not happy that she cant move her arm for 6-8 weeks.

Also... our cat Emmy had kittens. They are soo cute! Cats take 9 weeks to gestate. That is wonderful knowledge if you know when she um...had relations with the neighbour cat - but if you just sent her outside because of her incessant meowing you might not recall that date exactly... you will be able to make an educated guess by the size of her growing belly and the discontent that she seemed to be feeling the day of. The evening of actually. She was meowing and complaining and hunting for a spot to birth - even though I had made a nice one. Then, just after dinner she crouched down in the hallway and made a horrible noise. Cookie starts yelling, "Mom. the cats limping, she hurt her leg!!" I counter that her leg is fine but she must be about to have the kittens. I yell for my farm boy husband to come and gently carry her to the box. He respond to the cries by scooping her up before she heads downstairs and as he is heading for the box out drops kitten number one... momma proceeds to stop in the hall to clean her up while Big T proceeds to record the icky goodness with our camera's video tool... I wont post that here. But a few hours later she had given birth to three mini-Emmys and a black kitty and a tabby kitty who obviously look like their dad... One cream baby has died but the other ones are almost a week old and growing and getting cuter by the day.

Other than that - life has been uneventful... just the way we like it!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

...growing up...

I can remember vividly the excitement of going away on a Youth Retreat for the first time. Everything was thoughtfully packed away in my bag. I made sure that I had the right clothes, the right makeup and hair products. I thought about who I would sit with on the bus and where on the bus we would park ourselves for the three hour ride to our destination. I was so excited.

The details of that weekend are a blur now. After all it was over 20 years ago that I boarded the bus that first time. But many other weekends followed and I eagerly anticipated each one during my years at youth. They were weekends spent with friends, old and new. Rushing to look my best at breakfast in the morning. Eyeing up the boys sitting together, trying so hard to look cool. Countless campfires and hikes and Games of capture the flag and snow volleyball. Services where my heart was moved and altar calls where we prayed together, cried together and grew together. I remember trudging back to cabins with friends, talking until late into the night. I remember pranks we pulled on the boys and the ones they pulled on us. Incredible memories and monumental decisions were packed into those days away from home.

And where did the time go?

Was it just yesterday I turned around and that life, my youth, was gone? The years slowly pile on each other, one by one, until you finally start to feel “grown up” but a small part of still feels 17 with all the same intense feelings that define those times in our life.

And now I find myself at the other end of the spectrum. My son will go away on his first youth retreat this weekend. Its hard for me to believe he’s old enough but underneath the boyish face I look at a young man is starting to emerge. I’ll send him on his way understanding just a little of the excitement he’ll be feeling. I’ll be the one to wait and pray while he begins his own journey to independence. I’ll start to trust others to begin to help influence and shape him. I’ll (try to) pry my fingers, ever so slightly, from the tight grasp I have on him. Knowing the One who loves him best has a secure handle on every detail of his life.

And I’ll anticipate the minute he comes back home full of stories and his very own memories. Oh. I’ll bask in those moments, knowing how fast life moves and how very few years I have left to keep him this close to his home and his mom.

Monday, May 14, 2007

...Spring Fever and Chocolate Bunnies...

Big C searching for minnows.

After an extremely snowy winter spring has finally come to stay in our little neck of the woods. It may have been posted on the calendar a while ago, like March, but in Canada THAT is just a number on a page. Here we are unable to slip a pair of colourful capris over our white legs and don a new pair of sandals permanantly until May.

Little T and his sister "Pickle" playing with kittens.

There is something about this season that is so invigorating. New baby kittens and budding tulips aside, the brightness of the mornings and the soothing feel of the warm sun gives me the push I need to get us out to clean the yard, pick up all the toys, shoes, discarded mittens and other clothing that has found its way to the backyard. There are a few advantages to the snow however. In fact there is something revealing about spring's thaw that I wrote about here.

This is a view of our pool - wanna go for a dip anyone??!

This spring we purchased an invisible fence for our dog. She is a beautiful golden retriever with the most gentle personality. Her only flaw is that she can't find a spot on our 1/2 acre backyard that is QUITE RIGHT to do her "business" on. The neighbours yards all seem to have much more enjoyable spots to leave her treasures. And let me tell you how endearing that makes us to the neighbours. Because we have a huge backyard that would cost thousands of dollars to fence we just tried ever so hard to keep the dog on out property. But wanderlust reared its head again this spring and we gave in and spent the $399 on an invisible fence with a collar that zaps her if she runs too far. IT WORKS AMAZING. She sticks close to home and doesn't need to be tied to a rope outside. If you need one of these we found out after the fact that there are many sold on E-Bay because they work so well after a month or so people don't need them any more. It would have been useful information to have had before we spent $399 but it was worth every penny to me. The delightful side effect of the fence is her "tresures" seems to land near our back door which, while good for neighbourly relations can be a little hazardous for our shoes.

The dog & toddler buds!

It got me thinking/wishing for an invisible fence for toddlers.

Another advantage of having four feet of snow surround our house is that it is very HARD for three year old boys to walk very far. Even if he didn't have to be bundled up in boots,, snowsuit, hats, mittens and scarves that cover all but your eyeballs its hard. It tends to become a huge sandbox where he can sit oout for 10 MINUTES and make castles and snowlumps before he wants to come back inside to play.

But come spring thaw, the word "boundaries" leaves his vocabulary. (if it was ever there) He has found that a three year old can run so much farther when there is only grass beneath his feet. He can run right past the neighbours yard and onto the road. He can run towards the field where the green tractor plows the field, or he can hop on his bike and head to the park at the end of the street . Yes three years olds can head just about anywhere they take a notion to go when they have 4 wheels and orange crocs.

And so...these are the first places we looked when Little T went missing the other day.

I was doing laundry and trying to keep him inside (HA!) but he kept escaping out one of the doors. Then I would either yell for him, cofirming the "Crazy lady" rumour going around the neighbourhood, or run around looking for him, drag him back inside kicking and screaming, get him settled down and watch for his next escape attempt. He keeps me on my toes but I am developing a great radar.

But one slip up can cause the whole household into chaos.

This time I looked all the usual places the escappe usually heads and he was nowhere to be found. So I dispatched the troops (aka. my older kids) to the park, the road etc. We could not find the boy anywhere. I looked in closets, under beds and in bathrooms. I wondered if there had been a partial rapture for a minute even. But for the life of me I could not find the him. My heart was beginning to race a little faster and I had begin to offer up desperate little prayers.

Then I went back in my room for a minute and looked at my unmade bed. I thought I saw the duvet moved ever so slightly and figured I better investigate. Sure enough under my blankets I found this:

Yep... little stinker had kept quiet for a reason. I looked at him sternly and said, "DO NOT MOVE A MUSCLE BOY." and I ran to grab my camera.

Then I asked him. "Little T, what are you eating?"

He replied as the brown drool puddled on my sheets, "NUFFIN!"

"I See." Looking at him trying not to laugh and asked, "Well, there seems to be a few chocolate bunnies missing. Do you know who ate them?"

He nodded, a confession was forthcoming, "Yes mommy, Pickle. Pickle at the Bunnies!"***

Friday, May 11, 2007

...summer reading...

So I am deciding on the books that I want to read this summer as I play lifeguard by the pool. Hopefully the writing will inspire me, make me smile, make me think and maybe nudge me to my knees a few times. Here are my picks. If you want to, join in and leave yours too.

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson- I have started reading this one on a recommendation from another blog. Here is the description for this book:

Every year I think there must be more to life, and every year, despite a new car or a trip to a new land, new milestones and triumphs in my son's life, or a redone deck, a pool, a spa, or entertainment system, I take stock and think once again, I was made for more than this. But I love my stuff.

Heather Curridge is coming unhinged. And people are starting to notice. What's wrong with a woman who has everything--a mansion on a lake, a loving son, a heart-surgeon husband, and soapstone countertops--yet still feels miserable inside?

Yet when Heather spends the summer with two ancient Quaker sisters and a crusty nun in a downtown homeless shelter, she suddenly finds herself at a crossroads.

Sometimes you have to go a little bit crazy to find the life you were meant to live.

I am VERY slow going through this one, which is strange, because its a novel. Its not that its boring but I haven't sat down for a long stint and the book hasn't sucked me in emotionally like say a Karen Kingsbury novel.

But I am thinking and thinking is good.

I just read this:

"...normally read fast-paced mysteries and suspense, and quick reads in magazines and online. Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson wouldn't let me do that. The pacing of the book, which was perfect, slowed me down, forced me to think. The characters and setting are so vivid, so real, and the story so poignant, this book will stay with me a long time."

...and am glad cause it means I am not just losing my brain cells at an ever quickening rate!

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - This is one I have wanted to read for a while. It is simple and yet there is so much I want to understand in it that I am reading along at a snails pace. Maybe I should take notes - like on this blog - hey!!?? there's an idea.

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper - Ever wanted to know what Heaven was like? This author was pronounced dead for 90 minutes and went to Heaven. Meanwhile a stranger on began to pray for this dead man and he came back to life and to this Earth. I have a lot of friends and loved ones that have recently gone and a friend said they were really encouraged after reading this book. That and the cool title helped it make my "must read" list.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - What a totally cool title. It intrigues me greatly. From the reviews I read its about Missionaries that head to the Congo with all they think they need and find out what they really need. Isn't that just how we all are...all the things, ideas etc. we really need - how much of that gets in the way of what God wants to do?

A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards - I bought a new copy of this a while ago and though I have read my favourite snippets again I want to read this one from beginning to end.

Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling by Neta Jasckson - YIPEE - the Yada Yadas are my favourite novels. Don't let the bright covers fool you - they are FAR from chick lit. Seriously, if you haven't read any of these books get thee to a store or a library AS SOON AS YOU FINISH READING MY BLOG!! This is a brief description of what cannot be encapsulated in a li'l ol' nutshell of a blog:

What do an ex-con, a former addict, a real estate broker, a college student, and a married mother of two have in common? Nothing, or so I thought. Who would have imagined that God would make a group as mismatched as ours the closet of friends? I almost didn't even go to the Chicago Women's Conference -- after all, being thrown together with five hundred strangers wasn't exactly my "comfort zone." But I would be rooming with my boss, Avis, and I hoped that maybe I might make a friend or two. When Avis and I were assigned to a prayer group of twelve women at the conference, I wasn't sure what to think. There was Flo, an outspoken ex-drug addict; Ruth, a Messianic Jew who could smother-mother you to death; and Yo-Yo, an ex-con who wasn't even a Christian! Not to mention women from Jamaica, Honduras, South Africa -- practically a mini-United Nations. We certainly didn't have much in common. But something happened that weekend to make us realize we had to hang together. So "the Yada Yada Prayer Group" decided to keep praying for each other via e-mail. That worked for a while, but our personal struggles and requests soon got too intense for cyberspace, so we decided to meet together every other Sunday night. Talk about a rock tumbler!--knocking off each other's rough edges, learning to laugh and cry along the way. But when I faced the biggest crisis of my life, God used my newfound girlfriends to help teach me -- Jodi Baxter, longtime Christian "good girl" -- what it means to be just a sinner saved by grace.

Every book deals with an aspect of the women's lives. You will come to love each quirky character for their real-ness. You will wish you were a part of Yada Yada. This one book deals with facing really painful situations, letting go, growing up. God is prodding them on. As the father Denny tells his daughter, “Sometimes God knocks the props out from under us to help us grow up. Life goes on. We have to keep rolling.”

Ouch and Amen!

And so... I am off to use my Chapters discount card to mail order the books I don't have on this list. In the meantime I'm gonna brew me an un-sweetened ice tea with lime and get ready to READ... please join me, there's plenty of room on the swing!

...pureed fries anyone?...

I'm lovin' Ronnie!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 quoted...

"All children not claimed within 24 hours become the property of The Walt Disney World Corporation. They will be taken to the "It's a Small World" ride, their little feet crazy-glued to a piece of cardboard and taught to sing that ANNOYING song in 37 different languages!"
- Cruise Director on Disney's Jungle Cruise.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

...Silly Songs With Sanjaya...the part of the show where we...GET BACK TO THE REAL SHOW!

I have to confess that I would love to have seen Sanjaya back as a side show - JUST TO SEE what he would have done with his hair and clothes...imagine "Headbanging with Sanjaya".

...I am secretly a "rocker chick" at heart and I love me some Bon Jovi. But seriously was this not an amazing week on Idol? The kids stepped up and rocked the joint...

Phil must have earned himself a few million votes by picking this song. Blaze of Glory is one of those power songs and all his years of singing it with a comb in the mirror finally paid off. (How many stars got their start on a hairbrush I wonder?) Seriously he was da’bomb!

I mentioned to my hubby that he might want to get one of those Leather Jackets that Phil was wearing but he wasn’t sure it would go with his khakis and oxford...

Oh Jordin... you have some Rockin’ hair so don’t take Simon’s jabs to heart. But honey, you know after that performance you may just be "Stayin’ on a Prayer". I loved, loved that you agreed with the judges when they said it "wasn’t your best".

Laskisha and Simon Sittin’ on a stage
First comes love
Then comes marriage...
Oh yeah, "This Aint a Love Song" but the girl rocked! She was great, not screechy this week but I just can’t get over the fact that Simon liked Lakisha’s lips. Sooo...funny!

And for this week, I am officially a "Blaker Girl"... if I was 17 and single I’d be swooning. I was really worried what he was going to do "You Give Love a Bad Name". I mean, Beat Boxing Bon Jovi??!! Come on! But I was more than pleasantly suprised. He kept the rocky essence of this power-house song and added an incredible TWIST.

I was watching Gilmore Girls last night and one of the characters had to eat a big bowl of shredded wheat so that she could get her throat all scratched up so she could sing all "gravelly and rocky" Chris coulda used some of that cereal. He was a cutie this week, however, and while "Wanted: Dead or Alive" needs more guts and raunch to do it justice, the performance, like all the rest, was good.

Melinda DOOlittle... you DOO everything so well. From a gospel standard to BON JOVI! Seems that you channeled your Inner-Tina-Turner to pull this one off. You had fun, laughed at yourself and you "rocked-on" with perfection, thank you very much! I can’t wait to do church with you someday! You are my American Idol girl!

Now, unlike last week someone has to go home. I think it will probably be Chris or Jordin.

Phil, Melinda and Blake have got to stay.
Rock On Internets!
Back to Boomama for more...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

...secret obsession revealed!!...

So.. when I'm not blogging or chasing children or doing laundry again and again and again I am peeking into my secret obsession - blog reading. Here I can laugh with moms all over the world, share in their sufferings and try out a few new recipes. Some day I'll get my techie-head screwed on right and post my fav's on the side but until then... let me introduce you to some of the best writing in Bloggetyville.

The momma of all mamas is Boomama...She's got a heart of gold and her southern accent just makes me smile. I know I have never heard her in person but her writing is that good. Here are some of my favourites. Firstly, in honour of the less than stellar colour I am now sporting may I present Me and My Hair-Brained Ideas as an appetizer.... for a main course lets go with Serving the Internets One Clogged Artery at a Time and for dessert lets go with the trends and talk skinny jeans... If you are a TV kinda person this and this are hits. But be warned - her charmingness is addictive and you might never come back!

And a few new blawgs I am beginning to love.

Mental Tessarae has this post "From the Hazardous Area of my Mind" that shares the reality of worrying over our children's safety. Me and my imagination can so relate.

And another new favourite is My Best Investments. It is a blog written by a dad that takes an oh so funny view on life with kids. Hard to pick fav's but here and here and here are great starts.

And for a challenge to your faith and a glimpse into the strength of the human spirit read Heather's battle with a Brain Tumor here. She is really amazing and this Thursday she will be operated on to remove the tumor in hopes of saving and prolonging her life. There is an amazing prayer chain started by Kelli who has her own story of waiting for a transplant. Another blog that I peek in on is about Ashley Adams a little girl who is fighting for her life. She has had a triple organ transplant and now is fighting cancer. The miracle and glimpses of grace her mother shares are inspiring.

These three remind me life can be so hard but God is Good - ALL the time.

...the perfect guy...

I met the perfect guy in church 2 Sundays ago! He was tall, had dark hair and eyes and olive skin. He was dressed pretty well too. But, what really got me was that he was really praising God as he sang. While I tried to sing my eye kept being drawn to him and as he raised his hand in worship my heart skipped a beat...THERE WAS NO WEDDING RING ON HIS HAND!!!

Perfect I thought. I looked over at my husband, two seats down from me and began to plot and plan. How was I going to get an introduction to this guy? Me, being the quite shy and only bold in my own head type of person, decided hubby would have to do the introductions and we would take this slooow and casual-like. But let me tell you, on the inside I was already picturing the wedding. He would be standing at the altar, waiting for his bride...

And my awesome (once) single friend would head down the aisle on her daddy’s arm to meet him. I would sit at the back of the church silently rejoicing at how God had used me that Sunday morning to find the love of her life. ...makes you want to get out a hanky and wave it in the air don’t it??!!

You must realize that this is all going on as I am trying to sing "Blessed be Your Name" with the rest of the congregation in majestic praise, but I think God understood that there was something going on here (right!?). And then the song changed. The atmosphere in the church became quiet, somber as we sang a slow song. I focused myself, closed my eyes and leaned forward with my hands on the seat in front of me to sing. After a moment I opened my eyes and looked down...And.There.It.Was...just staring at me...taunting me, if you will. A filled out visitors card for the very boy I was trying to get an "in with". Truly this was a God moment and my ol’ heart did a hallelujah... well, that, and all my self control fought within me NOT to be NOSY but to SING THE BEAUTIFUL SONG. But, alas, my flesh was too weak and I looked. I did it. I read his name. And I noticed that he lived in a nearby town...excellent I thought, no need for anyone to move away...Now, what church would they attend?? Hmmm... As I pondered that,, I looked down again to the bottom of the paper. He wanted a pastoral visit...this was really impressive...this man was serious about God. Oh, and as I read further it said "healing for my family" and, isn’t that wonderful that he loves his family. And then, oh yes, I read the word I never thought would be there. WIFE... He had a wife and wanted prayer to restore their marriage. And in that instant, while the band played and people all around me worshipped, my hopes and dreams crumbled into a little pile o’ sand at my church shoes. As I watched my matchmaking dreams go belly up (yet again) I had one small, TERRIBLE thought. "Maybe, it just won’t work out with his wife and then..." AND THEN I REPENTED and turned away from the closed door. I learned a long time ago not to sit and stare at doors God has closed wondering what might have been. Let me tell you though. It was hard.

You see my friend is the greatest. The friendship started when she was still in youth group and we helped out the pastor and his wife. She would sneak sugar laden donut-bites to my toddler hoping he would get hyper. And then I watched her grow into such a strong, beautiful woman. She has always been a support, someone I could ask to pray for me. She has told the truth, had my back, laughed with me and cried with me. We don’t hang out often enough. She’s a social butterfly, busy with a multitude of friends and activities.

And did I mention that she is single?

While she attended the weddings of her friends and siblings we all hoped that "the one" would come along for her. If anyone deserved a great guy it was this chickie. And, while I never meant to become a matchmaker I seemed to find these guys, like the one described above that would be just perfect, if not a great story to tell at the reception.

But in watching her in her singleness, I have come to admire her even more. While many guys have come her way over the years she has never met the right one. She might tell you, as she laughs, that she is just too picky, but I think it is deeper than that. She is really waiting for God’s best. Even if that means being single and leading a life that is different from the traditional one she might have envisioned. If only we could all do that with "stuff" in our life. God’s ways are good. His plans are perfect. Waiting for His gifts is worth the time. She has taught me that... not in words, but through her life and example. Its one of the reasons I love her.

Someday I hope to sit at the back of a church, watching her stand by the back door, arm linked in here daddy's, beaming and in love. I’ll smile as I remember all the guys that "got away" so that the perfect one for her could be standing, tall, dark and handsome, at the end of the aisle, waiting to take her in her arms.

...and if God wants to slip his phone-number to me sometime to pass on... I will willingly do my part as "Yenta, the matchmaker" yet again... anything for a friend!

Friday, April 27, 2007

...I’m glad I’m not God...

In the book "A Tale of Three Kings" there is a passage that is one of the most beautiful and difficult quotes I have ever read.

Gabriel is giving out destinies to men that will one day become kings. To one, he gives the gift of power. He explains that the gift of power will not change the inner person but rather: "Outer power will always unveil the inner resources or lack thereof."

The second king receives an "inheritance". The angels explains: "A gift is worn on the outer person; and inheritance is planted deep inside - like a seed. Yet, even though it is such a small planting, this planting grows and, in time, fills all the inner person."

As the king steps up to receive his inheritance the angel goes on... "I must tell you that what has been given to you is a glorious thing - the only element in the universe that can change the human heart. Yet even this element of God cannot accomplish its task nor grow and fill your entire being unless it is compounded well. It must be mixed lavishly with pain, sorrow and crushing."

And, that is why I would never want to be God.

I watched my friends, an entire family, crushed under the grief of losing a brother, and a son. The sorrow etched upon their faces, in the recesses of their eyes was something I could never willingly place upon another human. It doesn’t seem right that a 25 year old young man has been taken from this earth. The gaping hole it will leave in the hearts of 12 brothers and sisters, in a mom and a dad, can never be filled. The reality of the loss will be part of them always and each will grieve in their own way.

While I know that the crushing and bruising of brokeness is what creates the beauty found in God’s children. That it is the the source of the perspective and the gentle grace seen in the faces of the oldest of saints It still seems so cruel to put a heart through that wounding.

And...if I was God...

As I witnessed the tears shed while this family looked at their soldier, lying in a coffin, I would have resurrected his body, shaken off their sadness and set their feet to dancing. I would orchestrated events so that they seemed "right" in my own heart and mind. Yet, in doing that, I would have stolen the beauty that will come only through this sorrow.

Soldiers who sat in church with the family, hearts softened at the loss, might never have heard the gospel. The family, in their grief, might not have leaned their ears so close to their father, seeing him as the spiritual head and protector of their family. Eternity, and the short breath that is this life, might may not have been so real. Hundreds of people would not have been praying for these children, these parents - this family. And so much more, that I will never see, would have been lost to eternity.

I heard a saying once, "Don’t sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate". They are noble words, but, held up to the light of reality, it is so much easier as humans to live in the immediate. To take action with our feelings instead of trusting that there is so much more, of eternal value at stake.

While I would have done things differently in this boy’s life and would have spared the family this week’s agonies, God knows best. And while we only see a dim reflection of the big picture, I know His ways are perfect and what he does is eternal and excellent.

And for this family, for the days ahead, He is enough.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:3-7

I will bring (them)...through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God’”
Zechariah 13:9

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:2-4

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 1but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1st Corinthians 13:8-13

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blessing Heather

What exactly does one do when the doctor tells you that you have a brain tumor? When they begin predicting the number of years you will live? If you are Heather you step foward and face the challenge with the grace and dignity that only comes from a daughter of the King.

If you haven't heard Heather's story read here. Read her "Brain Stuff" links and then read about her cute Emma Grace. You will be moved to pray for her and her family and she will bless and challenge you with her transparency.

Today the whole of "Bloggetyville" is stepping up to bless Heather and help her with the many unforseen expenses they are about to incur through this cancer battle. As of 1:30 today internets far and wide had raised $5150.00 for her family already! God is good!

So... give if you feel led and pray if you feel moved. Its not everyday you get to be part of a miracle.

Friday, April 13, 2007

...poor reflections...

I’ve got a new obsession. Cleaning my mirrors. Well, really it’s as much of a cleaning obsession as a scatterbrained housekeeper like me could have. I was watching Martha one day when she showed the "PERFECT WAY" to clean glass with a damp cloth and a squeegee. The squeegee was the thing I was missing all those years and it is a key step to get a "streak-free shine". Having strange perfectionistic tendencies caused me to get frustrated with the old windex and paper towel routine and often I’d just not bother. But now I take pride in looking into clear pristine windows.
I like it that way.
We used to have an antique mirror that I bought it at an auction years ago. It had a beautiful frame but I couldn’t wait to replace the glass in it. The paint on the back of the glass had cracked and separated leaving a poor reflection. It was dull and no amount of cleaning was ever going to change that.
I like things clear.
All around me I have friends who have struggled with health issues. Cancers, sick spouses, dying loved ones. It would be easy to question God’s purpose when we can’t understand the big
picture. Poor reflections indeed.
Heather, a young mom in the blogging community has really been on my heart the past few days. She had been struggling with dizziness this past weekend thinking it was an ear infection. When they tested her further they found out that she had an inoperable brain tumor. And just like that her whole world changed. Her children, her family struggle to see what is still unseen and cling to the arms of a sometimes invisible God. Yet even in this short time glimpses of God’s grace come through. It turns out that the dizziness was not related to the tumor at all but because of it they found the tumor much sooner than they might have otherwise.

I’ve never been one to question God. I’ve always believed that He was good and He has it all under control. But I am guilty of always wanting my answers now. I don’t want to see a dim reflection but rather a clear view. To know the purpose behind the sorrow. To package life’s questions into a neat little box that I am comfortable with. But God didn’t call us to a life of comfort but rather one that will fulfil His purpose on Earth. If I am going to be fit to be a part of that I need to accept dim reflections for now. Knowing that what is seen is temporary and what is unseen, that which hides behind a veil of questions, is eternal.

I have been reading "A Tale of Three Kings" again. In the very beginning God is giving gifts to the kings. He gives one an "inheritance". The angel described it not as a gift worn on the outer man but rather something like a seed planted deep inside. As the king takes this as his destiny the angel explains that this is the only thing that can change the human heart. Yet, the angel warns, even it cannot grow or fill your being except if it is compounded well. And "mixed lavishly with pain, sorrow, and crushing."

The eternal, His inheritance, is what I choose. Even if the way is harder. Even if it costs me clarity and a firm footing. Even if... because I have glimpsed what lies ahead and I know nothing in this life can compare to that.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

...of marshmallows and boys...

It was a really cool game. The kids tossed the ball to another child in the circle and repeated “Jesus died for________” and filled in their name. What a way to personalize the story of what God had done during this Easter season. When the game was done we regrouped and I began to ask questions about how the children felt hearing that Jesus had died for them. One boy stated that he felt really sad. “Yes,” I explained “that is a sad thing that Jesus had to die.” We continued with the lesson and as I spoke about Jesus rising from the dead Kevin yells out “HE DID?!” Reality checked itself at the door of my heart. After all these years I take for granted so many times that the children have heard the basics of Christianity in North America. But Kevin had never heard.I re-told the whole story just for that little boy and as I spoke I heard it again through the fresh understanding of an eight year old. To him, it didn’t matter that everyone else had done wrong things. Jesus had died for his sins, on the cross and that was sad.We had a great snack planned and as the talk wrapped up we headed in to the kitchen to don our chef hats. The children wrapped a marshmallow with a crescent roll, sprinkled them with cinnamon and placed them on the baking sheet. I explained that we were going to use our imaginations and think of the marshmallow as Jesus being wrapped and placed in the tomb after he died. We would close the oven door just like the soldiers closed the tomb.Then we left.I have to tell you that it had been a really busy week and I hadn’t had a chance to try this snack out before so I had as much idea what would happen to our baked goods as the children did. Ever the professional, I went on to the next activity without a second thought. At the end of the night one of the leaders brought out the tomb confections and put them on the table for the kids to devour. Kevin took a bite and ran to me excitedly “Look Cheryl, He has risen!” The marshmallow had indeed melted and left an empty hole in the crescent roll, but in the eyes of that eight year old boy the stone had been rolled away and Jesus was no longer there.You see Jesus had not only died for Kevin but had risen and made a way for him to be forgiven…and that message was anything but sad!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


The title comes from Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, in which the world as we know it and other worlds like it are referred to as the 'shadowlands', because they are only a shadow of what is to come.
When I was a girl I loved babies. I had a few of my own. They were plastic, had long eyelashes and hair that easily tangled. They were my children, my students, my entertainment. I could imagine the future as I tucked each of them into toy strollers and cribs. Rocking them to sleep with bottles of disappearing milk-like liquid was pure bliss. When I grew up I wanted two things... to be a teacher and to have a baby girl, or ten.
I did not want a boy.
I was the oldest. The only girl and the caretaker of two little brothers. My parents separated and eventually divorced which squashed my dreams of ever having another girl in the family. But boys we had. Two of them...and I vowed never to have another.

For years I carried that dream close to my heart. I had plans. When I came up with baby names with my friends, they would be girl names. When I looked at baby clothes in a store they were always girl clothes. Together we dreamed of being mommies and pushing pretty pink strollers proudly down the sidewalk.

And then I found myself carrying a real live baby...kicking and turning and growing under my heart. I told people it didn’t matter whether we had a boy or a girl, but deep down inside I knew I wanted to put pink bows in this baby’s hair.

Barely a month before our firstborn’s arrival, my husband and I went to see the movie Shadowlands at the theatre. If you haven’t seen this film it is about C.S. Lewis and his wife, Joy Gresham. She is one of his fans from the U.S.A. and they begin to correspond. Eventually she comes to England to meet him and they become friends. Lewis helps her stay in the country by marrying her for convenience. They remain platonic friends until she is diagnosed with cancer he fears losing her. Lewis risks his heart being broken and allows himself to fall in love with Joy. They marry again in front of a priest and spend another year together before the cancer takes her away from Lewis and her son Douglas.
Near the end of the movie there is a scene where her son is sitting alone in the attic crying. Lewis walks over and sits down next to him and the two sob over the lost of their beloved mother and wife. As I sat watching that my heart broke for the little boy sitting their so forlorn and in my head I thought, 'that boy needs his mommy'. In that instant I knew, before I had seen his face, that I was going to have a son. A son that needed his mommy also. In those Shadowlands, the place where we glimpse what is to come instantly melted every bit of resistance I had and replaced it with a deep, abiding love for my boy.

That September, as the leaves turned crimson and gold, I finally met him face to face. Nestled in a blue blanket looking up at me was my son. All boy and more beautiful than I could have imagined. I made plans for motherhood but God had a better idea in mind. I am so thankful he changed my heart, for I could not imagine missing one day, one smile, one bone-cracking hug of this boy's incredible life.
The movie concludes with this quote that reminds me to risk the safety of my own plans for the unspeakable joy of trusting God with the reigns.
"Why love, if losing hurts so much?
I have no answers anymore. Only the life I have lived.
Twice in that life I've been given the choice: as a boy and as a man.
The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering.
The pain now is part of the happiness then.
That's the deal."

Thursday, March 29, 2007 totally worked!!...

You Are Likely a First Born

At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

...a moment of silence...

...for the Sligh guy... We will miss didn't make Hasselhoff cry but there are many a fan shedding a tear over your departure tonight. Someday soon I hope to see you again, hiding behind your guitar, singing to your God. For tonight we'll just sit in the belly of the whale and think what coulda been...

...silly songs with sanjaya...

the part of the show where Sanjaya comes out and sings a "Silly Song"...with silly hair... and silly little girls will cry. A teeny part of me just wants him to come back every week just for that comedic break in the middle of the show. It won't be the same without him- but don't tell anyone!

Seriously though...

What is the poor guy supposed to do but put on a happy face, a "Phony Pony-Hawk" and keep on rockin’ since they KEEP VOTING FOR HIM.

And... the secret is revealed - it is not just 12 year old girls voting for the boy but also many, many Sirius Radio Howard Stern Fans. Yep, that lude, crude man and his minions is largely responsible for the madness that is Sanjaya.

OK... end of rant...for now...

Kiki - she looked much better in this dress than that GREEN one from last week. He song had more spark but I had forgotten about her by the end of the night...

Chris - His voice sounded great but he just didn’t step it up enough - I want that boy to fly and I sure hope he can do it.

Gina - Sounded great. Her voice is strong. Probably her best performance but I had forgotten about it by the end too.

Sanjaya - Please see above.

Haley - Pretty girl, nice voice...forgettable.

Phil - I like this song - it was good for his voice and I like him with a hat to frame those awesome blue eyes.

Melinda - Is just awesome - She had even more life in her song and is so comfortable on stage. I love, love that at the end of every magnificent performance she suddenly looks suprised that people were watching her.

Blake - boring - I think the beat box angle made him stand out and the rest - well maybe it’s just not my style.

Jordin - She showed some spark with this song. It may not have been the best vocally but its showed some spunk and stood out from the others because of that.

Chris R. - Did a good job. He is growing on me.

IF you cant get enough Idol and you want a laugh there is a FAKE Chris Sligh Blog here. It is irreverent and very funny. I read through some posts and it seems clean, although a bit eyebrow raising at spots. There are pics of the boy as a baby and - SANJAYA MAKEOVERS - too, too funny! If you want to check it out, please know I am not endorsing the content...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

...a room after my own heart...

Rose Heights Church in Texas not only has a great Children's Ministry outlook which makes me happy in itself, but, they have also done a terrific job decorating their Sunday School Rooms.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14. These rooms definitely welcome the children in...

...Kahlua Cake, Insomnia & Toddler Droppings...

The window is open in my bedroom and outside I can hear the birds singing away. They must be happy that the weather is FINALLY getting warm here. It was a balmy 18 degrees* yesterday and every child in the neighborhood was out soaking in the amazing weather.
*(that's18 celcius...65 farenheit)

Finally after months we seem to be crawling out of our house of perpetual sickness and squinting in the light.

Last night we made dinner for Big T. The girls were excited to cook Dad’s birthday meal and dessert. I was just excited to finally get it done. Big T’s birthday was, after all, in February!!

We had "A Chelsea Morning’s" Kahlua Cake that you can scroll down and find here. Except we used Starbuck’s Liqueur instead. Yuuummmy and easy. My 9 year old daughter, Pickle made it all by herself. It was moist, and did I mention easy!?

Cookie, my 10 year old, was in charge of the frosting, which was whipping cream and a piping bag. I really should have taken a picture because no words could do that beauty justice. Lets just say restraint is not her strong suit and at one point she squeezed the bag so hard the clip on the end popped off and sprayed whipped cream all over the kitchen.

Daddy felt special and reveled in being the"belated birthday boy". The kids were just happy to have cake because dessert is usually reserved for company and, since we’ve been living in a sick house for like, forever, we have had neither company, nor dessert for a while.

So, when bedtime came I lay down like normal to sleep and then just like that my mind went wild. Every think I could have thunk raced through my tired ol’ brain and I could not shut it off for the life of me... then I figured it out. The cake had coffee liquor in it - and, Starbucks to boot. And, while I love caffeine in the morning, having it at night it is not a good idea - even in a belated birthday cake.

And... while I was laying there restless and sooo tired I started thinking about my kids and how old they are getting. My baby boy is in Grade 7. I started reliving the days when they were so young. And just as I started getting all sentimental and nostalgic I remembered my first trip to the mall after baby number two... all started about ten years ago...

Weeks after my baby girl Cookie was born Big T was heading to the city for an appointment. I got the brilliant idea that I would tag along with the kids and have him drop us off at the mall. Bogged down with stroller, diaper bag, purse, newborn, two-year old and still very hormonal mommy.

As soon as I was able to strap every bag and baby to the stroller we were off on our shopping adventure. Which is when I realized that shopping with two young children is not so much fun. First one would need, you know, a bottle, and then one would want a snack. And then, after the snack is, um, processed it’s time to head to the family bathroom for a change.

And that is really where the story begins. I got C up on the change table, poooopy diaper off and as I reached for a new diaper I realized that I had forgot to pack anymore his size. No problem, I thought, I would just leave him - uh - uncovered while we motored down to the drugstore for some diapers. He was two, almost toilet trained and had just "gone"...we were safe for a little while.
And then I passed my favorite store. I was drawn in... yes I was....stroller, toddler and all.

Before I knew it I was excitedly pulling things off the rack and heading to the change room. Just as I was pulled together my the first outfit IT started.

By IT I mean the pooping.
Little C had a pair of OshKosh overall shorts on - only. And big, huge turds started falling out the one pant-leg and onto the floor of the store.

"Stop that!" I whispered loudly. Little C looked up, made a scrunchy face as he dropped another uh, toddler poop, onto the floor. It was then that I realized the change room had a curtain in that only came down as low as mid-calf. Outside said change room was a lovely saleslady!

I grabbed baby Cookie’s extra outfit and started scooping up the poop as fast as he could drop it. Because I was in the change room and no where near a garbage receptacle I shoved the whole mess in the diaper bag.

While I collected poop with one hand I was desperately trying to get the store clothes off without, well, getting anything on them, and back into MY clothes so I could get this incredible pooping toddler and his mortified momma OUT OF THAT STORE!

As soon as the clothes were off I dropped the last turd in the diaper bag, picked up my son in one arm, turned the stroller around with the other and flew ...

I sprinted down the length of the mall, stopping only when I got to the diaper aisle of the drug store. While I tried to find his size, I turned around only to see him start pooping again. I grabbed a package of diapers off the shelf, ripped them open and right in the middle of the aisle strapped a diaper on that boy.

Then I looked up at the security camera and smiled.

Motherhood really is a piece of cake!

Friday, March 23, 2007

...if the battle for souls is lost will not be because God was not strong enough will not be because Satan was too powerful
...but simply because
...the Saints did not show up to fight.

...just one...

The excitement in the air was palpable.

This Sunday morning the sun had come out and there was not a rain cloud in sight. Our hearts beat faster as we looked over to the nearby apartment buildings and envisioned the children racing to join us. This day was a long time coming. For months we had planned this summer outreach. We had painted props, practiced skits, handed out hundreds of flyer. We had prayed our hearts out. And now it was time.

And then from the direction of the apartment buildings came Christopher.

He marched purposefully towards the group, looking at no one in particular but rather up in the air waving his finger towards us.

"DO. YOU. WANT. TO. KNOW. MY. NAME?" He yelled at the top of his lungs. "MY NAME IS CHRISTOPHER!"

We introduced ourselves to our first visitor Christopher. He was an awkward boy who talked to loud and spoke at the wrong times. He was dressed in older clothes and his hair was messy. We were so glad he came.

Other than our "church kids" he was the only one who came.

The weeks of summer flew by and every Sunday, more children would wander over. They didn’t come in the hundreds but rather the tens...or even ones.

We got to know Christopher better as he barreled over faithfully each week. He lived with his mom in the apartment buildings. She didn’t have a car so we would often see this 10 year old riding his bike back and forth from the grocery store, bangs in hand. He didn’t have many friends. It was easier for the other children to stay their distance than get to know this boy.

But Christopher was resilient and feisty and he captured our hearts that summer.

As the leaves began to change to the beautiful shades of orange and red, our outreach finished for the year. Fall programs were beginning and we found a way for Christopher to join us.


As I planned my programs that next year and assessed how successful the summer was, I decided to measure my efforts not by the world, or even the church’s, definition of success.

Rather, I asked myself. "Was I faithful?"

I purposed to forgo the accolades of the saints for the approval of my God. If I was tired, I would persevere. If I was stuck, I would pray and ask for help. If a mass of children came through the doors, I would serve them to the best of my ability, and, when I fell short I would rely on the many hands and feet of Jesus that so faithfully came alongside to help me. And if only one came, I would pour out all I had.

In the throngs that followed Jesus on this Earth he looked out so many times and touched just one.

Just one.

If in the crowds of people we miss the individuals all our efforts will be in vain.

He saw me in a crowd as a little girl. Quietly going about my life, Jesus captured my face in His hands and showed me He had a plan that no other person in this world could fulfil but me.

I was just one.

One of billions he died to save.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

...Addison Needs Your Prayers...

Addison's mommy can usually be found here but today she is at the hospital with little Addison. If you read about her on her momma's blog you'll know that she is a fighter but today she needs your prayers.

This was posted on her grammy's blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 tiny request...

Please. Please. Keep ALL 12 year old girls off the phone until Sanjaya has made a graceful exit from the competition. Do not let them vote or someone worthy of the top 10 will surely go home. Did y’all see that girl in the audience crying while that Sanjaya boy tried to rock the house???!!! I will need Depends if he stays another week for fear I will pee my pants watching him– it was too funny! And just to add to the demographic myth… my 9 & 10-year-old daughter swoon over him and his sawft voice too. Radio Disney is calling his name… His mama should hand him the phone…just saying.

And so on to the rest. Haley at least wore pants this week – albeit short shorts. But still last week I kept telling my girls she needed a pair of jeans with that shirt cause there was nooo way something that short is a dress.

Chris Richardson - was okay. Still a bit nasally but I can give him props for “keepin’ it real and classic.

Stephanie Edwards – I had high hopes for that song but she seemed to over-sing it. In my very non-musical opinion I think it should have been softened up in parts.

Blake Lewis – Well ok…the judges liked it but I just didn’t get it.

Lakisha Jones – Those diamonds are going to her head I think. This week she lost that quiet beauty that shines through those killer vocals. I hope it was temporary because fame is not good on self-esteem and character.

Phil Stacey – Well it was kinda funny seeing him run around with the mike stand – Bo Bice he is not… thankfully. It was pretty cool though and those eyes…

Jordin Sparks – What a beauty, voice and all. She really is great and the song was impeccable.

Sanjaya Malakar – Please see above…

Gina Glocksen - I always like me a good rock song but that was a bit frenetic. She is in her element as the “REALLY NICE” rocker chick.

Chris Sligh – Well, my husband said he is probably more comfortable on stage hiding behind a guitar doing worship. He just looked so awkward walking through that crowd – I think he is nervous still. But look at his “Fro-Patro” base, his pastor was there I think – that’s gotta keep you grounded. The vocals were good but I think there is more to him and I hope he gets a chance to show that… do you think they’ll do a gospel night?? Have Toby Mac and whoever come and coach - how cool would that be??!!

Melinda Doolittle – That girl has the wisdom to express her faith in ways the judges won’t find uh… “indulgent”. She may be meek and quiet but I do not think for a second she lacks self-esteem. It seems she knows who she is in Christ, where that voice comes from and who its for. I believe she was brought here for “such a time as this” and I can’t wait to see all she’s gonna do in the years to come!

I had this thought last night – if Sanjaya stays another week that means he will tour with them… please just send the boy home before they spend another week lost in a decade he has never heard before like the 80s!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

...Tale of Three Kings...

Sitting in the Belly of the Whale can be a lonely prospect but it is a place we will all end up in our journey through life. My first teaching on this came when I was on a youth retreat at about 16 years old. Our youth pastor used the book "The Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards as his teaching material that weekend. It was series on brokenness and a pretty heavy subject for such a young crowd. But as he spoke the words resonated within me. He talked not of if we would would be broken but rather when. And, stuck in that place, how we deal with that pain defines who we will become when we finally find ourselves on dry land again.

Will we follow after the order of King Saul or after the order of King David?

One of my favorite lessons is of Saul throwing spears at David. Instead of becoming angry David allows himself to be broken and ultimately this helps to build his character. Saul, on the other hand, turns a "deep shade of bitter" when faced with pain and ultimately orchestrates his own downfall.

This book is beautifully written and the words weave a beautiful tapestry out of a very deep subject. It is not a big book and should be on every one's "Books I Need to Read in this Lifetime" list.

Here is an excerpt I found:

Well, dear reader, how nice to be with you once more. It is a privilege to spend this time with you. Thank you for meeting here, and I suggest we hasten into the playhouse, as I see that they have already dimmed the lights.

There are two seats reserved for us not too far from the stage. Quickly, let us take them.
I understand the story is a drama. I trust, though, you will not find it sad.

I believe we will find the story to be in two parts. In part 1 we shall meet an older king, Saul by name, and a young shepherd boy named David. In part 2 we shall once more meet an older king and a young man. But this time the older king is David and the young man is Absalom.

The story is a portrait (you might prefer to call it a rough charcoal sketch) of submission and authority within the kingdom of God.

Ah, they have turned off the lights, and the players have taken their places. The audience has quieted itself. The curtain is rising.

Our story has begun.


The almighty, living God turned to Gabriel and gave a command.

“Go, take these two portions of my being. There are two destinies waiting. To each unborn destiny give one portion of myself.”

Carrying two glowing, pulsating lights of Life, Gabriel opened the door into the realm between two universes and disappeared. He had stepped into the Mall of Unborn Destinies.

Gabriel spoke: “I have here two portions of the nature of God. The first is the very cloth of his nature. When wrapped about you, it clothes you with the breath of God. As water surrounds a person in the sea, so will his very breath envelop you. With this, the divine breath, you will have his power—power to subdue armies, shame the enemies of God, and accomplish his work on the earth. Here is the power of God as a gift. Here is immersion into the Spirit.”

A destiny stepped forward: “This portion of God is for me.”

“True,” replied the angel. “And remember, whoever receives such a great portion of power will surely be known by many. Ere your earthly pilgrimage is done, your true character will be known; yea, it will be revealed by means of this power. Such is the destiny of all who want and wield this portion, for it touches only the outer person, affecting the inner person not one whit.

Outer power will always unveil the inner resources or the lack thereof.”

The first destined one received the gift and stepped back.

Gabriel spoke again.

“I have here the second of two elements of the living God. This is not a gift but an inheritance. A gift is worn on the outer person; an inheritance is planted deep inside—like a seed. Yet, even though it is such a small planting, this planting grows and, in time, fills all the inner person.”

Another destiny stepped forward. “I believe this element is to be mine for my earthly pilgrimage.”

“True,” responded the angel again. “I must tell you that what has been given to you is a glorious thing—the only element in the universe that can change the human heart. Yet even this element of God cannot accomplish its task nor grow and fill your entire inner being unless it is compounded well. It must be mixed lavishly with pain, sorrow, and crushing.”

The second destined one received the inheritance and stepped back.

Beside Gabriel sat the angel Recorder. He dutifully entered into his ledger the record of the two destinies.

“And who shall these destinies become after they go through the door to the visible universe?” asked Recorder.

Gabriel replied softly, “Each, in his time, shall be king.”


The youngest son of any family bears two distinctions: He is considered to be both spoiled and uninformed. Usually little is expected of him. Inevitably, he displays fewer characteristics of leadership than the other children in the family. As a child, he never leads. He only follows, for he has no one younger on whom to practice leadership.

So it is today. And so it was three thousand years ago in a village called Bethlehem, in a family of eight boys. The first seven sons of Jesse worked near their father’s farm. The youngest was sent on treks into the mountains to graze the family’s small flock of sheep.

On those pastoral jaunts, this youngest son always carried two things: a sling and a small, guitarlike instrument. Spare time for a sheepherder is abundant on rich mountain plateaus where sheep can graze for days in one sequestered meadow. But as time passed and days became weeks, the young man became very lonely. The feeling of friendlessness that always roamed inside him was magnified. He often cried. He also played his harp a great deal. He had a good voice, so he often sang. When these activities failed to comfort him, he gathered up a pile of stones and, one by one, swung them at a distant tree with something akin to fury.

When one rock pile was depleted, he would walk to the blistered tree, reassemble his rocks, and designate another leafy enemy at yet a farther distance.

He engaged in many such solitary battles.

This shepherd-singer-slinger also loved his Lord. At night, when all the sheep lay sleeping and he sat staring at the dying fire, he would strum upon his harp and break into quiet song. He sang the ancient hymns of his forefathers’ faith. While he sang he wept, and while weeping he often broke out in abandoned praise—until mountains in distant places lifted up his praise and tears and passed them on to higher mountains, until they eventually reached the ears of God.
When the young shepherd did not praise and when he did not cry, he tended to each and every sheep and lamb. When not occupied with his flock, he swung his companionable sling and swung it again and again until he could tell every rock precisely where to go.

Once, while singing his lungs out to God, angels, sheep, and passing clouds, he spied a living enemy: a huge bear! He lunged forward. Both found themselves moving furiously toward the same small object, a lamb feeding at a table of rich, green grass. Youth and bear stopped halfway and whirled to face one another. Even as he instinctively reached into his pocket for a stone, the young man realized, “Why, I am not afraid.”

Meanwhile, brown lightning on mighty, furry legs charged at the shepherd with foaming madness. Impelled by the strength of youth, the young man married rock to leather, and soon a brook-smooth pebble whined through the air to meet that charge.

A few moments later, the man—not quite so young as a moment before—picked up the little lamb and said, “I am your shepherd, and God is mine.”

And so, long into the night, he wove the day’s saga into a song. He hurled that hymn to the skies again and again until he had taught the melody and words to every angel that had ears. They, in turn, became custodians of this wondrous song and passed it on as healing balm to brokenhearted men and women in every age to come.