Saturday, October 22, 2011

Unclench my fists

This fall has been a wild ride.  And I think we're still on the up-chugga-chugga-chugga of the rollercoaster ride.  We've had a couple of dips, but something tells me we're in for a big huge loop-de-loop.

So far this season:
We have another kid living with us.  S. is 17 and one of my middle son's best friends.  Along with the challenges of feeding 4 teenagers (and all the extra friends that seem to go along with that) we're adjusting to the different rhythm that another person adds to our family symphony. 

Ted has found out that he is being furloughed after 27 years with US Airways.  We got this news the same week that we agreed to allow S. to move in with us.  Not that I think that would've changed anything.  There is a position waiting for him in Denver.  He is making plans to move there and commute home on weekends.  We aren't sure what that will look like.  I am struggling with the situation, and am waiting on God.  I wish that I could say I am patiently waiting on God, but there isn't anything patient about me.  I'm heartsore and even tho' I know that it's a sin to be anxious, there is that.  Sometimes.  I am learning what a "sacrifice of praise" means in a whole new way.  I pray that I don't waste a moment of the lesson I'm supposed to be learning from this and pray that I can decrease mySELF and increase my GOD through this journey.

My oldest son and his girlfriend are NOT officially engaged.  In spite of the fact that they've reserved the hall, bought rings, picked out suits and dresses and confirmed a date.  He hasn't asked her yet and she still doesn't have a ring.

I turned fifty.  Ouch.  Every morning I look in the mirror and think, hmm...blepharoplasty or groceries?  Which would be better?  And I updated the blog banner.  Forty-something became false-advertising.

My dear, dear friends had their second baby on October 10.  I was honored and privileged to be asked to be there and watch him slip into this world, full of wonderment.  Outside of the births of my own children, it was one of the best days of my life.  I may be looking into becoming a professional doula.  I liked loved it that much.

Since the baby was born on October 10, I have put in twelve 12-14 hour days working.  Yes it's October 22.  Yes.

I realized that I have posted a sum total of 4 times this year.  As much as I love to write, my skills have been going towards writing copy for brochures and reports.  It may be time to close this shop down.

Finally, the dear friend who is a daddy once again shared this with me.  It speaks volumes about where I am right now:
“Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.
And what you want to give me is love,
unconditional, everlasting love.
Amen.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are YOU smarter than a 5th grader?


The other day I was watching someone who I consider to be much smarter than me struggle...helplessly...with a computer issue.  It was really a fairly simple one.  This person was using Excel to make a graph.  Or trying to, anyway.  I am self-taught at Excel.  And pretty darn good at it if I say so myself.  And was feeling superior.

And then it occurred to me.  I was comparing this "smarter" person's skill set with my own.  Excel? Pshaw!  I got it down.  Linux?  HUH?  Never in a million years.  And I'm currently (trying to) learn Photoshop.  It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  But give this Excel-challenged person an engine or a carbuerator to dissasemble and repair...he's your guy.

A friend posted a quote from Albert Einstein on their Facebook profile. It said something like everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will fail dismally.  And if that fish's persepective on its intelligence is based around its tree climbing ability, it will think itself stupid.

So change your perspective.  You may be a whiz at cooking, sewing, grammar...but feel "less than" because you can't figure out a formula for Excel.  Or you may be a gear head and mechanical things light your fire, but feel as if you are dumb because a simple email program confounds you.  It's not a matter of smarter THAN...it's a matter of perspective.  We're all in this together.  Let's make sure we have each other's back.  In the end, that's what will matter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Deal tenderly now, Father (a prayer by John Piper)

Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.




O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.



And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.



Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times in your Word the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience? Do you not a thousand times withhold your judgments, leading your rebellious world toward repentance? Yes, Lord. For your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.



Grant, O God, that the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Grant us, your sinful creatures, to return to you, that you may have compassion. For surely you will abundantly pardon. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, your beloved Son, will be saved.



May every heart-breaking loss—millions upon millions of losses—be healed by the wounded hands of the risen Christ. You are not unacquainted with your creatures' pain. You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.



In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.



Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them.



And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.



O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.



In Jesus’ merciful name, Amen.



-John Piper

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tribute

Some twenty-3?ish years ago, Ted and I moved into the home we still are living in today.  It was quite a step up from  the little 3-bedroom stucco place in the south valley.  It was...ALL BRICK.  And in a much nicer neighborhood.  Even though the nearest grocery store was still more than five miles away, at least I didn't feel as if I needed to go armed.

We met all the neighbors, but immediately hit it off with one man who was married and had two younger kids.  His wife was a little different, but she seemed nice as well.  We had cookouts together and they were the kind of folks you could call on for a cup of sugar when you needed it.  Soon, it became apparent that all was not well and his wife left for parts unknown.  Leaving him with the kids.  More often, we all began to hang out together.  The kids would come and go at our house as if it were their own and Bill was pretty understanding when our Chow Chow "tasted" his little boy when he got too near her litter of new puppies.  We got a hot tub (this was pre-tricycle age for us) and sternly told Cody that the water would change to bright red if he ever peed in it.  Bill was quite a joker and he put the red light cover on one evening when Cody was bopping in and out.  Cody's eyes got about the size of softballs and he said, "Dad--Ted's going to KILL you for peeing in the hot tub!"  Fast forward a couple of years and enter stage right--Terri.  A beautiful and bouncy lady with two beautiful kids of her own.  Seldom do you meet a couple who are more in tune with each other--who are best friends and best lovers.  Soul mates sounds cliche', but they were.  Truly. They married in 1990, about two months before Tyler was born.  Ted was best man in their wedding.  I was unwieldy in  maternity tent formal wear.  It was a lovely wedding.

Blended families have their difficulties, but blend they did.  And always with a sense of humor and grace.  Bill and Ted, while having very diverse interests, hung out together when time and jobs and kids allowed.  They took quite a bit of ribbing about Bill and Ted's excellent adventures.

The house two doors up grew too small and their family moved to a larger house nearby and soon afterwards to Farmington, about two and a half hours away.  We had family there too, but didn't see them as often as we would have liked.  One of my fondest memories is a camping trip we made with them at Navajo Lake...their youngest was a senior in high school by then, and my kids just loved Uncle Bill and Aunt Terri.  That was the best and last time we spent any extended time with them.
I didn't think to be very concerned when we got the email from Terri letting folks know that Bill had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  We stayed in touch with email and cards, but didn't see them.  Then last November, we got a call.  Terri and Bill were coming "home" to stay at a premiere resort nearby to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.  Twenty years?  But...I'm only 30 still, right?  Bill's condition was rapidly deteriorating.  He wasn't able to leave their hotel room for the party, so the party went to him.  Seeing him in pain caused pain for us, but his laugh, his infectious grin and his sense of humor remained intact.  The stories he shared and the visit we had was precious and will always remain so in my memories.  And Terri.  Wow.  What a tower of strength.  And still a beauty.  Taking care of her lover, her best friend, her soul mate.  She spoke of experimental treatments and a mention of traveling to Houston to see one more doctor, seek one more treatment, was made.
A few weeks later the emails became less hopeful for a recovery here on earth, and spoke more of the hope we hold in Christ.  There would be no more aggressive treatments.  I urged Ted to try to get up to Farmington to see Bill.  Over Christmas, he just couldn't bring himself to go see him.  He had said his good byes in November.
Last Saturday we received the news we'd been dreading for ourselves, but longed for for Bill's sake. "Our dear Bill is free at last...free from the earthly shackles of pain and deterioration." 

Always, I'll remember him.  I'll remember him trying to teach me to two-step while I was about eight months pregnant.  Polishing belt buckles takes on a whole new meaning when one of the bellies has a large-ish baby/person inside of it.  I'll remember his grin and his chuckle and the twinkle that never seemed to leave his eye.  I'll remember him helping me with one baby, when I was AGAIN about eight months pregnant and getting our 2WD truck up the snowy hill in front of our house while Ted couldn't leave the airport for days on end.  I'll remember him loving my husband and my kids and me.  And loving us all so well.  I'll remember the wisdom he spoke and the love he had for his special lady.  I'll remember Terri in my prayers and ask that God give her a peace that can come only from Him.  And I'll remember how devoted Bill was to God.  For in all things we are created solely for His glory.  We should all live so well as did Bill. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Momma said...


Sometimes it's easy to forget that the sun comes up.  Every. Single. Day.

And that no matter how bleak things appear, there is a reason to hope.  Every. Single.  Day.

While choosing minute-by-minute to hope, to encourage, to bolster, sometimes I feel like I'm faking it 'til I make it.

Y'know what?  I'm starting to make it.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Focus.

I asked a good friend today if he felt like our focus was wavering. He responded that we seem to be so busy doing good that we have lost sight, depth and grasp of our First Love.




Take a moment now. Breathe in. Remember the God of the Universe came down in the form of a little baby some two thousand years ago. For you. For me. For all of us lost and wandering sinners. And He’s coming back again. Soon.



Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winter

I have a winter in my soul right now. But it's not the kind of winter that is bleak and desolate.  It's the kind where, although I feel cold and hear only silence, there's a hint of expectation.  A time of looking forward to what may happen next.  A time of waiting.  And watching.  It may not all be good.  It's never ALL good, but inside my head I murmur over and over, "GOD is sovereign.  God IS sovereign.  God is SOVEREIGN."  And I am desperate to hear from Him.