Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Climb

I loved this song from the first time I heard it in the Hannah Montana movie. What? I have girls.
N E WAY....

When we were up visiting our daughter, we were all in the car returning from our family photo session at The Picture People (whom I love) and my 13 year old daughter was singing along to this on her iPod and the other two joined in. Then my 17 year old played it on her phone so everyone could hear and there they were all singing along. It was such an easy and peaceful slice of time. So I cried. Those moments have been few and far between in these last years and it was such a beautiful gift.

Thank You Lord.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Road To Healing

Back in December I shared with you (in a rather dark-humored way) that our eldest daughter (who has been estranged from us) was expecting her first child. I also shared with you my hope that there would be a day that we would be allowed to hold his hand. I knew that God could bring healing to this situation, but I had no idea if He would and certainly could not see how it could be done. It felt so far gone. This is where your faith is tested, wouldn't you say? I have prayed for healing, friends and family have prayed for healing, and then we sit and watch and wait and trust.

This week, we watched our daughter receive her high school diploma and not only did we meet our grandson, but sure enough - I was allowed to hold his hand. And now he holds my heart.

There is much, much more to this story that I may never be able to share. I can't begin to know how God softened her heart to even be in our presence but our time with her went so far beyond that. Our family is on the road to healing. To God be all the glory, honor and praise. AMEN.

My children. ALL of my children. Together. *sigh*
May 2009


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Laundry Room Shuffle

Here we are a traveling and experiencing something that we are blessed to not have to do in our regular life. Share a public laundry-room. Even now, we are blessed that we have the option of using this facility without having to pay for the washing and drying itself, save for the detergent. I am witnessing an interesting phenomena. The leavers and the stayers. I am a stayer and I am glad to be. When I came into the laundry room, there were no people in here, however 2 of the 4 washing machines were in use. When I say “in use” I mean one of them is broken and the other has someone’s abandoned laundry in it. Seeing as how there was no one else, I grabbed up the remaining 2 washing machines and got started on my vigil. Then enters Chatty McChatterson (whom I have given this name because I cannot remember how she introduced herself to me but I AM enjoying her company) and finds that there are no available machines. This is where I insert a ‘facebook quiz’ type question. Are you a person who, empties the machine of abandoned clothes and refills it with your own, leaving the wet clothes in a pile on the next machine over? Or do you check the time and come back in a little while to see if the machine has been cleared? Or do you give up all together and go back to your room with your dirty chonies? I won’t ask you all the random facebook questions to determine your answer to this survery such as, “What color is your hair?” “Where did you attend school?” and “Do you like green tea or black tea?” I’ll just leave you to answer the direct questions. Mrs. McChatterson is a ‘take the wet clothes out and pile them onto the neighboring machine’. I am a ‘come back and check in a little while’ (in the wet department that is). So this is what she did. That was over an hour ago, and the pile has since been moved to another neighboring machine and still sits abandoned. Now, my first load wash finished and I was able to snag a free dryer and start another load of wash in the machine I freed up. When my second load of wash finished, it was my turn to decide. Dryers are a wee bit different. Do you, empty the dryer onto a neighboring machine and leave the clothes to get into a wrinkly pile? What if they are still damp? Do you remove the dry clothes, get your load in and then fold the abandoned clothes and leave them neatly on top of said machine? It was my turn to have to make this decision. Thankfully, the clothes in the dryer I wanted were all–the-way dry, and they had been there over an hour taking up valuable dryer space. So I pulled them out, put mine in, and folded the abandoned clothes neatly on top of the machine. When Chatty’s washing machine was finished, she set about finding herself a dryer. And once again, here is one stopped for at least 30 minutes. She claimed it. She talked about it first of course, “oh the people are probably going to be upset about this, but they’ve been done….” She took this particular pile of clothes and put them on a folding ledge or something for the person to come and claim when they decided they cared about their laundry. Well, Mrs. I-only-care-about-my-own-dirty-chonies came in to find her pile of abandoned dryer clothes sitting on the ledge and she was none too happy. Chatty McChatterson says to Dirty Chonies, “Oh – they had been finished for some time, so I put them up there.” Dirty Chonies was clearly unhappy about this situation, “Are they even DRY??” Chatty responded, “MMhm.” And then, “Are they still damp? I will remove my stuff so you can put them back in. It’s just that all the machines were full…” Ms. Chonies actually made Chatty empty her things out of the dryer so she could put hers back in. And she didn’t even say thank you. Then later she even suggested that there are OTHER laundry rooms here. Yes there are 5 laundry rooms in this building of lodging which houses at least 100 rooms. FAMILY rooms. I am learning that it is not my job to always correct people who are clearly (in my opinion) in the wrong. Dirty Chonies is being much more diligent about her laundry (to include throwing some of her clothes in MY DRYER WITH MY CLOTHES) (They are gone now.) However she is still being unbelievably rude to poor Chatty McChatterson. Tell me this, when you are utilizing a community, free, laundry facility – do you have the right to monotonize the machines while not tending to them??


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

His Boundless Love

I will heal you of your idolatry and faithlessness, and my love will know no bounds.
Hosea 14:4

If you've ever had to listen to a knock-down, drag-out marital fight through thin apartment walls, then you've got the sense of the Old Testament book of Hosea. It's painful to read. And it is truly shocking. What is this doing in the Bible? God commanding one of his prophets to set up house with a whore?

Yet in this moving story that is precisely what God told Hosea to do; marry the town prostitute. And why? "This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me"(1:2). Devotion (or lack of it) is the dominant theme throughout this book: faithfulness on God's part, faithlessness on the part of his people.

With Israel already under Assyrian occupation for chasing after other gods, God pleaded with Judah to avoid a similar fate. He declared Israel "is no longer my wife, and I no longer her husband" (2:1). Yet, almost in the same breath, he said mournfully: "I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there" (2:14). It is a wonderful window into God's heart - a breathtaking glimpse of his incredible, never-ending love for his unfaithful people.

In the time of Hosea, Judah's idolatry was sapping her strength and causing her to behave like "silly, witless doves" (7:11). The people were continuing to come to the Temple to worship, but it was all a sham (8:12). Filled with anger, God knew he must punish his beloved, but wounded to the core of his being, he cried, "How can I destroy you...? My heart is torn within me" (11:8).

In a stunning picture of redemption, Hosea brought back his wife, exhorting the nation to see the larger truth behind his own odd, sad story: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God...Say to him, 'Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you the sacrifice of praise'" (14:1-2).

Taken from Integrity's iWorship Daily Devotional Bible

As I read this teaching this morning, I had several thoughts.

1.) Man! I need to read the rest of this Hosea!
2.) I see that this applies to infidelity. And the most touching part of it is that God is calling out to them, even as they drift further from him and choose sin and their own way.
3.) Ouch! This applies to me now in this moment. (Not in terms of infidelity - but does that make me any better? No.) I am coasting on my own laurels, showing up to 'temple', doing outward things that are correct, however NOT seeking the Lord. NOT reading His Word. But doing things MY way. Idolatry? You bet. Do I love 'singing to the Lord' over 'getting to know Him better'? It would seem so.
4.) How touching that even when I am skipping through my life, avoiding being close to my God, He is yet there, yearning for me and waiting.

Off to read more of Hosea!!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Letters From War - Appreciation Edition

This letter came from my dear, dear friend. You can read the post in its entirety here. *sigh*

Dear Military Wife,

I wish there was something stronger, more sincere, more potent that I could use rather than words to express my gratefulness for what you do for our country, but in the absence of knowing what that something is, this will have to do.

Thank you. Thank you for the sacrifice you make. Thank you for sending your spouse into harm's way time and time again. I know you don't want to, ever. Yet, you provide something irreplaceable to our soldiers. Something to come home to. Something worth fighting for. A face to put to a cause. Thank You.

Thank you for enduring our whining about our husbands being gone overnight or for a couple of days without gouging our eyes out. Those of us whose husbands go on luxury airplanes to stay in cushy hotels to learn about the next trend in technology don't mean to be insensitive, we just don't always remember the thing you can't forget: the fact that your husband leaves for months, rarely comes home on schedule, and might not come home at all. Yet, you're patient with us most of the time. Thank you.

I see you, ladies. I notice you out there, learning how to get all that business attended to that those of us with husbands who come home every night take for granted. You mow the lawns, take out the trash, get the car fixed, kill scary spiders, and much more... all with a fever and a cough and a nagging worry about how close your husband is to the area they're showing on the news tonight. Thank You.

Often, I say stupid things. When you're moving for the umpteenth time, I say "I could never do that" or "I don't know how you do that" or "I could never make it as a military wife"- as if you have a choice. It's fight or flight... and you choose to fight. Thank you.

Often, Americans say stupid things. We want to show our support for our soldiers, but we're dumb. We blast the war for being pointless right in front of you. We call it senseless and say we should cut military spending when you're barely scraping enough money together to buy your kids the essentials. We forget that you are standing RIGHT THERE when we take the sacrifice for granted. Yet, you press on. Thank you.

You often endure crummy health care, undesirable locations, and long days of loneliness. You regularly leave behind friends, hairdressers, gardens, and lots of your favorite stuff that gets lost in the move. Your kids change schools, count down the days til Daddy comes home, and skip Father-Daughter dances. I know it's not all misery, yet the stuff that stinks, stinks a LOT. You put up with more than I even know. You endure these things because your husband has made a choice to stand up for my right and the rights of my children to live and play and worship and vote and dream how we choose. And he's able to do that because he has you, loving him, praying for him, waiting for him at home. Thank You.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Yahoo! A New Sisterchicks Book!

I LOVE this series. I highly recommend you buying and reading them all. Or I suppose you could check your local library. But seriously, these books are fun and encouraging - a totally clean read. The author has several other series as well - one of them being the Christy Miller Series which is great youth fiction and a real favorite in our house. We nearly fell out waiting for the College Years!!

That's right! Robin Jones Gunn (whom I have met in person! Remember Robin? That time in Shreveport? I'm sure you do.) has penned another Sisterchicks novel, and right here I have the chance to win a copy!!

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes! by Robin Jones Gunn, in stores May 5, 2009.

"Summer and Noelle, two pen pals since 4th grade, meet for the first time in the land of tulips and windmills. An abnormal mammogram sends Summer on a quest to fulfill her lifelong wish before she begins the same struggle her mother fought against breast cancer. The story of these two Sisterchicks is brimming with hope and cheer and will bring encouragement for any woman who has faced a fearful future."

Can't wait!!

See? I TOLD you I met her!
(Those are some of my Chicas! - we were on a girlfriend's vacation!!)