Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fire on the Mountain...

I was going to post about my beautiful 90 year old aunt and the wonderful birthday celebration we just had. Amy and I went to Dallas for the weekend, and it convinced me that I really don't use our pass privileges enough. But then, this came over the news....our beautiful Inlow is at risk and has been evacuated. All campers and counselors are accounted for and there are no injuries thus far, praise God!
Please pray for the safety of the crews fighting the fire, for those living nearby and their homes (Especially the Samps--Inlow Caretakers), and for the camp itself. It was established in the 1930's and has been hallowed ground for many a teen (and adult) who has met Christ there for the first time. It holds many special memories for so many people.
When we were at camp a week or so ago, the (Yellow Hat) Disaster Relief Teams from several states were also staying there while they were helping families who had been burned out in the recent Trigo fire that caused more than 50 homes to be lost. One of the gentlemen I spoke with had tears in his eyes as he told me of sifting through the ashes of a family's home, trying to find anything that they might salvage or recover, especially mementos. I pray that those relief workers are safe and so are the families living in the area. I thank God for their huge hearts and the love that they have for others. Please join me in my prayers. Thanks.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mocha Latte Freeze--it's not just for dinner anymore

Hello. My name is Pam and I am a mochaholic. Specifically, a Costco Mocha Latte Freeze. The bad news: 320 calories--and I have 2 or 3 every week these days. The good news....they have 13 grams of protein, which is 26% of my RDA....whee! We just won't look at the other numbers. When I wake up from the sugar-induced coma it will be a brand new week....

This is, of course all dependent upon whether Ted comes with me or not (he usually does) and flirts with the counter clerk to put in LOTS of extra Hershey's syrup (he usually succeeds). I guess if you've got to have a vice, this isn't the very worst. I live about 6 minutes away from my nearest Costco and have been known to stop there and buy my Mocha Latte Freeze and the proceed to Sam's Club to make my purchases...I am a sick woman. So what's your latest vice?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bears and Other Dangers

Each year when I go to youth camp, I come back changed. This year was no different. The way that God moved my kids (all 23 of them are "mine," regardless of parentage) is both humbling and inspiring to watch. Witnessing the brokenness that must happen before healing can begin is often painful, and fraught with messy, uncomfortable feelings that can either get in the way or pave the way for the work that God is accomplishing. We had more honesty and brutal transparency this year than ever before with these kids. Ranging in age from 11 to 17, we ran the gamut of wanting to know only when the snack bar would next open so we could get more nachos to those that clearly and deeply heard from God. The last day, while packing up, was when everything was brought into sharp focus for me.

When I am physically tired, I tend to cry quite easily. Tears are independent of whatever emotion I'm experiencing...I can be glad, mad or just plain stressed. I averaged about 4-6 hours a night of sleep this week, and the sheer physicality of camp made my body achy. Then there is the way that God grabs ahold of your heart and just wrings it a little as you listen to the difficulties in life these students are facing. My moment of truth, the event that brought my week into focus for me happened the last morning as we were packing up to leave. Usually at camp, we expect to have a single "cry night" where the kids, especially the girls, are broken. More kids go forward at the invitation that night. We had four out of four cry nights. I don't think there was even one of our kids who didn't go forward for prayer, healing or restoration at least one time, and many of them went forward every night. Our last evening there during our church devotions our kids trusted us with secrets and horrors and choices they had made thru that no one should have to face. The weight lifted off their shoulders as they realized the truth that Christ set us free for freedom, that it was paid for, over and done with, caused all to weep.

That next morning, while packing up, I came across a stuffed toy. It was a teddy bear. It came with clothes and accessories. And I realized that the child who had brought this, this sweet young teenager, should have been playing with dolls. Instead, she was being faced with life choices that as a 46 year old wife and mom I hope I never have to face. My heart shattered into a million little pieces for this fallen world and the children who look into the face of this screaming maw every day. Oh Daddies--where are you? Why do you allow your sons and daughters to be chewed up and spit out so? Why do you let your girls wear slutty clothes that cause them to devalue themselves and the treasure that they are? Why are your boys being subtly told that the more "conquests" they have, the manlier they are? Mommies--why do you emasculate your men and take away their desire to parent their own children? I don't think I'm naive. But I totally fell apart. This was my watershed moment.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that I feel that this is hopeless. On the contrary. After seeing the revival in these kids, I have hope for the next generation. They are strong and wise and willing. And they have huge hearts for God. This only stimulates me more to go to battle for them...to pray, to reach out to them and to hold them accountable. And remind them, yet once again of Proverbs 4:23.
Above all, guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life itself.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder

I'm off to beautiful Inlow Camp tomorrow for a wonderful week with 24 spirited and incredibly bright, challenging teens and pre-teens (grades 6-12). I would covet your prayers this week that they would be able to keep their eyes on Jesus, to not be distracted from the focus He has for them and that they would come back ON FIRE and more in love with God than ever before. As for me, please pray that I would hear from Him in an unmistakable, clear as a bell way as well. And pray for Ted, who will be home alone all week, and missing us. I'm sure he'll be eating lots of Chick-fil-A while we're gone. I return the day before my 28th wedding anniversary.
I'll be missing you all--especially my daily fixes....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Claire (pt deux)

We met Ted at a car repair shop on the way home, where he was dropping ghettotruck off (more on ghettotruck in a future post). Claire shivered a little bit, but her get acquainted meet and greet with Ted went well. I could tell he was holding his judgement in reserve because
1. She's a little dog. Little dogs are prone to yap and he hates yapping.
2. He hates dogs that do excited piddle.
3. She's been in jail and he doesn't know how she's going to behave after she gets
over the grateful "thank you for rescuing me" honeymoon phase.

The drive home was uneventful (except Tyler and Tanner called about 6 times wanting to know when we were coming home so they could finally meet her).
We walked in the door and Claire wiggled all over with delight. Baggie the cat was sleeping on the couch. Claire wriggled up to say hi and Baggie hissed and instant Alpha-catness was established. Then she went outside (by now we'd had her for about 4 hours and she'd yet to pee) and met Otis (90 lb Pyrenees cross) and Staley (70 lb Collie-Heeler). Needless to say, since she weighs about 12 lbs, she didn't defy them or unleash any pent-up agression, either. She's a pretty smart cookie.
She and Baggie now tolerate each other--we just have to make sure they don't eat each other's food.

Speaking of cookie--it was the first word she learned, as in, "Do you want a cookie?" The answer is always yes. She also has learned to stay and sit. She knows her name and gets in her crate at night without a fuss. And she lives to "GO." Whether it's for a walk or a ride, when she hears the word, she heads for the door. This morning she did a little leaping corkscrew happy dance when I said "Go in the car, Claire?"

So, I promise to try not to post so much about her that you get sick of her. But she's definitely a keeper. I am taking 23 kids to camp for a week starting Monday and I already miss her.....

She has an appointment at the groomer on Friday, which happens to be Tanner's birthday, so I'm looking forward to showing her off at the party seeing her look much better than she does now, but isn't she adorable?

p.s. Ted's sister raises and breeds toy dogs (poodles, yorkies, etc). She met Claire while she was in town last week and thinks that she belonged to a hobby breeder, and after her first litter, they got rid of her. She is leash trained, but surprisingly still doesn't know "come." We'll get there. She knows her name now.