Friday, December 30, 2005

Lessons from the Amigos

As a mom, home day in and day out, with the kids, doing dishes and laundry, making meals and sending James off to work, life sometimes feels like the scene in "The Three Amigos" where Lucky Day (Steve Martin) is chained to a wall in the dungeon of El Guapo. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, repent , then go rent it.
Disclaimer: There are a couple choice words and a bit of inuendo...
As a Christian, I am thankful for gringos like Fredrick Buechner that fall from the sky and knock out the cruel... evil... villainous... murdering... infamous El Guapos so that my heart can once again be a peaceful village. :)
I quote:
"There is no event so commonplace that God is not there within it, always, hiddenly, always leaving room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly... Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness. Touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself... is grace." Buechner ~ "listen to you life"
After Buechner, El Guapo and his plethora of scum sucking pigs die like the dogs they are! Hasta Luego.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Traditioooon! Tradtion!

Christmas Eve ~ Story and Cocoa!

The Kids under the tree!

Generation to Generation Snugglin'

Sittin' on the Hearth of the Fire, wakin' up!

So Long South Beach!

Shaun and Anna, we missed you so much! Growing up and parting is not sweet sorrow, it's just sorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Hungering Dark

(A.) Paul - via The Message:
"It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on." (Galatians 5:19-21 The Message)
Ouch. (John... If you're reading, a song is in there!)

(B.) "The face in the sky. The child born in the night among beasts. The sweet breath and steamig dung of beasts. And nothing is ever the same again. Those who believe in God can never, in a way, be sure of Him again. Once they have seen Him in a stable ... If Holiness and the awful power of God was present in this least auspicious of events... then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound that holiness can't/won't be there too. This means we are never safe. ... Just where we least expect Him, He comes most fully." ~Buechner The Hungering Dark (if you haven't read Buechner, do.)
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Call to Encourage

The 2005 Homeschool Blog Awards are about to end, get over to and give 'em props!
Some I chose...
The Beehive
Dewey's Treehouse
Current Events:
Strangely Normal
Spider's Last Moments
(jonathan. few, but wow!)
Quirky Outtakes
Obstepreous Heart
The Rebelution
Two Red Boots

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That's What Up!

LONG POST! Below is our 2005 Christmas letter~ Grab a cup of cheer and settle down in your kerchief/cap & I'll make visions dance in your head.

Cassia Megan, Cricket, Malinda Judith, & Christopher James

Opening Lines~
Once Upon a time...
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
In the beginning, God...
Marley was dead to begin with...
Call me Ishmael...
It was a dark and stormy night...
Here’s Johnny...
The last camel collapsed at noon...

Take your pick. I couldn’t make up my mind on how to begin the seasonal Paul Peek-a-Boo. Pity. The perfect opening line feels a bit like falling in love. You get all tingley with anticipation of what is yet to come, and wonder at the possibilities that lie beyond what you know.

Guess I ain’t feelin’ da love ‘dis year! But we gotta send da props t’da peeps! Don’t go trippin’ on me now, j’all, be easy! You KNOW ‘dis shawty can shizzle ‘dis thizang! Coo, foo? Coo...
A’ight, here’s da 411 on da home skillets in da heezie. Yo! Peep ‘dis...

James ~ The multi-talented, and rather good-looking, Kahuna Paul spent the first part of the year kick’n it with his music. "Misfit Toys" was an all new band of bruthas. In April, one of the band members (and long time friend), Johnny Guillory, tied the knot and James was a groomsman and guest speaker at the ‘do! In June, he and his dad, Fred, got away to the Queen Charlotte Islands, just the 2 of them, for a bit of salmon fishing and chillaxin’. They busted some phat moves and rolled home with some sweet poppins for the freezer! In May he was notified that his application was under consideration, along with 12 others, for a worship/youth pastor position in Alaska. By August, he was one of the final 2, but was soon informed of the choice to go with the other candidate. We arduously struggled to understand the Heart of God and allow Him to still have full reign, as we really felt this was His will. As MLK, jr. said, "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose Infinte hope." Cracker props: Honda Civics Ride & Drive at Qwest Field. Helped with promoting Central Washington Festival, Led home group, Had a paradigm shift (dangerous phenomenom at 38) about Family Integration and Read more books this year than in the past 5 put together! Aw yea, he got game! !
Cassia ~ Highschool Graduate! Fo' shiggidy my weebles! At 15, with diploma and transcript in hand, and scopin’ the college scene! In March she attended Generations Conference and then stayed a week with her Pawtna in Everett. Lody & Cash. It was butta. More Butta: Grampa Orr gave her his sweet ride for her sweet 16. She got iced with a Covenant ring. The Grant County Cultural and Econimic Exchange Youth Ambassadors Program chose her as one of 6 to roll out on a 12 day exchange to Gunpo City, South Korea in July. Yo! Give it up!
Tof man ~ Christopher, he gots mad ups, man. Tallest in da houz, ‘cept Dad. Kicked it with Dad in "Misfits" on lead guitar, chill-ated with Grampa Dick in Montana at Fine Woodworkers conference (it was dope). Ask him about ‘breakfast’. Shout Outs: 14, freshman, Power Point boy, song writer, mad-dawgin’ Dad at chess! It’s ill, man, just sick!
Minda ~ No diggity, ‘dis here little betty is off da chain! Safesitter , highschooler, and Narniac wrapped in a 12 year old package. Here’s what’s crack-u-latin’: 2 more home fries (best friends) dipped out this year - Erik and Katarina :( . First movie with just her & her posse at the theater - Wallace & Grommit. Hormonies, hormonies, hormonies! (are ya’ll feelin’ me here?) She’s posted up on Archaeology, true dat.
Deea ~ is in da house! S’righ. Homeschoolin’, teach. Rolled to Korea with Cassia’s Ambassador group as the chaperone. It was fly! Mad Skills: Video production diva, Retreat commitee and speaker (fo shizzle!), Jury panel. Learnin’ The Word to the newbies.

More from Da’ Hood ~

New Years wid da Martinez gang. James’ Dad turned 65 and we partied e-class at the Davenport! In a more serious tone, Deea’s cousin Jamie died unexpectedly this year. It has been a strange and difficult season of remembering and letting go. He was loved greatly. James' Aunt Doris also died quite suddenly. I'm sure for Don, Gretchen & Peggy Christmas is going to feel a bit foreign without her. Our prayers are with you.

In closing ...
(From Jim) Yo! Yo! Yo! What’s the dilly? How bout the sizzle of my wife’s "gansta" nizzle? On behalf of our family I would like to thank God for all the undeserved mercies and blessings of the past year. We’ve entered a fresh season of simply receiving the grace of God. We’re learning that there isn’t anything we can do to impress God. We can’t work hard enough in our church. We can’t perform enough good works. We can’t be civic-minded enough. We can’t give enough money. We can’t spend enough time or energy. We can’t follow enough rules. The "unforced rhythms of grace" (Eugene Peterson) are becoming our supply. Interestingly, fruit just seems to follow. How ‘bout that? Abiding In Christ really works!!! He IS the treasure! He IS the Pearl of Great Price! There’s nothing wrong with organized religion. It’s just that, as C.J. Mahaney says, "In every man of grace there is a legalist trying desperately to get out." Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. What freedom in Christ! What liberation He provides! Let no man take away your liberty. Stand fast! (Galations 5:1)

Enough whobangin’!...

The Pauls’ wicked-tight poppins 2005 :
James ~ New Thang: Rhapsody, Movie: Motorcycle Diaries, Restraunt: Thai Cuisine, Book: Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller, Music: Nickel Creek.
Deea~ New Thang: Blogging, Movie: Searching for Bobby Fisher, Restaraunt: Dana’s, Book: Raggamuffin Gospel - Brennan Manning, Sacred Romance - John Eldredge, Music: Bebo Norman - Try, New Food: Korean "Pizza"
Cassia~ New Thang: Olympus Camedia! & Rhapsody, Music: Bethany Dillon (one of many)
Tofer~ New Thang: Trucks for his board, Movie: Cinderella Man, Restaraunt: Tacos El Mexicano, Band: Under Oath, Book: The Magician’s Nephew - CS Lewis.
Minda~ Book: Castaways of the Flying Dutchman - Jacques, Restaraunt: Inca, Music: Music Inspired by Narnia CD.

You are loved by our family. Much more importantly, though, you are pursued by our God! Happy Holidays!!! Peace, out!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Narnia - Histoire D'amour

When you are a child, and have wandered into an 'otherworld' through inky black words that fill pages that make up a book and weave a story, you no longer belong to this world. Your story is theirs, their story is yours. The integrity of the words to remain unchanged each time you return to them means that they have value and worth. The fact is is that you don't want them to read differently because, if they were, you would somehow be different as well. That is what the makers of this Chronicle lacked. Conviction. They must have never truly been a part of Narnia, for they sought to change it in ways that made the Narnian in me weep over the loss.
Where was the fear that made the witch pick up her skirts and 'fairly fly' when he roared? (for that matter, where was that scene?) and Where was the love that drew the children to Him? Why did the trees not bend low with Aslan's resurrection roar? Why did He not leap into the air for 'the most thrilling of all times' as Lucy and Susan rode upon Him? Where was the whittisism amidst the severity that reassured that all was well? Why when the enlarged battle scene was over was there not reverie? Was victory not as important as the sacrifice?
I did cry at the movie. Not because it touched me. I cried because part of the wonder and romance of childhood died in me.

There is a conversation in Jack's book. It was the conversation that captured me as a child. Made my heart 'sit up' with a 'deep knowing' that Aslan was Jesus:
"There are others still wounded." Aslan said while Lucy looked at Edmund's pale face, wondering if the cordial would have any effect.
"Yes. I know," Lucy, said crossly, "Wait a minute."
"Daughter of Eve!" said Aslan in a graver voice, "Others, too, are at the point of death. Must more people die for Edmund?"
Edmund soon stands and Aslan knights him on the field of battle while his sisters whisper to eachother a little distance away.
"Does he know?" Lucy whispered to Susan, "What Aslan did for him? What the arrangement with the witch really was?"
"Hush! No of course not, it would be too awful for him." said Susan
"All the same, I think he should know." said Lucy.

The producers didn't feel the need to keep this heart-altering moment in the film, and thus stole the integrity, value, worth... & my heart's connection.

The movie was well made, the special effects were amazing, the CG added (although it still isn't on the quality level of my dreams). I can't help feeling that it is a bit like the American Gospel. Watered down and cut up into neat little sections that fit into a package that can be apple-pie ordered and filed away.
Very safe. The problem is that Aslan isn't safe...... but He is good. The film was safe and good, but not true, not the Truth. Oh dear, what do they teach in Hollywood?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Words of Ironic Dust

As a parent, am I the only one who sees the irony in situations where you have:
*Told your child
*Explained to your child
*Given examples to your child
*Pointed something out that is an exact illustration, in living color, to your child ...
Only to have the 'lights come on' when they are sitting all by their little ole lonesome selves and you are nowhere around?

That happened to me this past weekend... again...
Saturday night we had guests that came to stay with us from the Anacortes area. Father, son, & friend. Rusty, John VanDeusan, & Braedan. We stayed up late talking and getting acquainted, got up the next morning and talked and laughed some more, then watched son & friend perform. I think Rusty may have set the stage for what happened during the performance in the heart of my child. He asks great questions. All evening, morning and early afternoon he asked things that stirred up what had lain dormant in the dust of all Mom's words. At the performance, John's passion as he sang came through and, almost like God in Genesis, formed and shaped something from the dust being stirred. Then 'Late Tuesday' began their set and Life was breathed into what God had formed. There is something to be said about friendships that foster admiration and not simply comfort/familiarity. One of the girls from Late Tuesday is just such a friend, and Holy Spirit breathed through her on Sunday.
There are 2 forms of satisfaction, in the midst of the frustration, of being the one that spoke endlessly into my child's life:
*She finally is anxious to move on - to overcome!
*I got to be the dust that was stirred, formed, and breathed into for her to understand.

Ironic Dust - could be the name of an alternative rock group, but no, it's my life. :)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Taking the Chill Off With Covenant

We took Cassia out to a coffee house for Ciders and Cocoas and Covenant

This past week held a lot for the Paul family. James and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary, my grandfather turned 87, my daughter turned 16, and we had a delicious Thanksgiving with James' family and my Mom.

Bud and Grama Judy ~ makin' gravey

Cassia's present from us was a Covenant Ring. Some people call them Promise Rings, but I've decided that name doesn't take it far enough for me. In our day and age of "promises were made to be broken" it didn't seem right for a symbol of something so important to be associated with a "promise". We wanted Cassia to have a visual reminder of Who's she is... it isn't simply about purity, and saving herself for marriage, but that her heart is devoted to someOne even now and she must be undistracted in that heart devotion. Her covenant was established long before the ring was presented. She chose to serve and love God alone when she was still tiny, and now that she is on the verge of womanhood the covenant will be tested. Giving her this ring was a way of giving her an anchor. The purpose of an anchor is to provide stability, to help in 'staying the course' even during storms. I'm so excited for her! I don't think she needed the ring - ships may go on several voyages without ever using their anchors, but they are there, offering their assurance. It's been a paradigm shift for me to move away from the defensive strategy of "purity" to the offensive one of "undistracted devotion". This covenant isn't about keeping yourself from something, but giving yourself so fully to someOne that you have eyes (& heart) for no one & nothing else.

Rom 8:24 That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us.
Rom 8:25 But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

1Co 15:58 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste.

1Jo 3:1 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it--we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who He is or what He's up to.
1Jo 3:2 But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him--and in seeing him, become like him.
1Jo 3:3 All who have this hope, stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own.

mmm... Ciders, Cocoa and Covenant ... warms you to your toes, doesn't it?!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Songs of the Season

I consider myself a bit of a Christmas Music connisseuer. Each year we wait anxiously for my dearly wedded Grinch to pronounce his blessing for Bing, Nat and Perry's crooning to fill the airwaves in and around our home with their holiday wishes of snow, roasted chesnuts, and good cheer. Until the benediction is said we are a covert, subversive faction. As soon as Ebeneezer is encased in his Acura, all the shackles are loosed and we can openly acknowledge our inner sugarplum. Here is a list of some of the tunes that dance in our hearts when the air gets to chillin'!
Harry Connick, Jr.'s

I Pray on Christmas
It Must Have Been Ole Santa
Let it Snow
Amy Grant's
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
I'll Be Home For Christmas
Andrews Sisters & Danny Kaye's

All I Want For Christmas
A Merry Christmas at Grandmother's
Jackson 5's
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Santa Claus is Comin' t' Town
Give Love at Christmas Time

Burl Ives
Holly Jolly Christmas
Bing Crosby & Diana Krall
White Christmas
Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep
Nat King Cole
The Christmas Song
Bebe & Cece Winans
Silver Bells
Barbra Striesand
Jingle Bells
Chris Rice
Welcome to Our World
4 Him
In Your Care
Strange Way to Save the World
Michael Card
Joseph's Song
David Meece
One Small Child
Peabo Bryson
Born On Christmas Day
Philip Bailey
Who Would Imagine a King
Reliant K
I Celebrate the Day
Toby Mac
Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Nicole C Mullin
Gifts from You
KT & Andy Williams
Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Crystal Lewis

Go Tell it on the Mountain
James Taylor ~ A Christmas Album
for you and that honey of a husband to groove to!
Bruce Greer ~ Celtic Carols Album
play it low and reminisce about The One
Vince Guaraldi ~ A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas IS for children!
Tchaikovsky ~ The Nutcracker
get jiggy in the kitch with gingerbread men
Jim Brickman ~ The Gift Album
winter nights by the cracklin fire - mmmm
Georgy Moravsky ~ Accoustic Christmas Reflections Album
deck them halls with your crew
Anyone for a sleigh ride and wassail?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Kimchi is Our New Best Friend!

This past August I was privileged to accompany 6 teens (including my oldest daughter and our pastor's two oldest children) from our county to Gunpo, South Korea for a Cultural/Economic Student Ambassador exchange. We had an amazing time. The title above is an inside joke ...
It's time for the 2006 group to be selected and in order to get the kids excited about the possibilities we put together a promotional video from everyone's photos. I had to shorten it in order to post it on the net, but here is a peek at what the kids will see, and what our trip was like!
Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Sacrament of Living

I had a yucky day yesterday. Not outwardly, but on the inside. As I wept over the state of my spirit, some words I have read many times came tumbling into my thoughts. I often find myself returning to certain books that seem to act as a plumbline for my heart's journey through this Christian life. I have read the books of Job, Gal.-Eph.-Phil., I &II Timothy, Esther and Song of Solomon a hundred times more than the rest of the 66. Then there is AW Tozer's "The Pursuit of God". This book breaks my heart in all the right places and ways. The abasedness/ depravity of being human presses in on me and I end up on my knees crying for Holy Spirit to take me to the altar again.
Here are the words that came this morning... (esp. the bolded ones)
In the world of men we find nothing approaching the virtues of which Jesus spoke in the opening words of the famous Sermon on the Mount. Instead of poverty of spirit we find the rankest kind of pride; instead of mourners we find pleasure seekers; instead of meekness, arrogance; Into a world like this the sound of Jesus' words come wonderful and strange. The heart's fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let the mind have rest. Only yesterday you were telling God that you were nothing, a mere worm of the dust. Where is your consistency? Come on, humble yourself, and cease to care what men think. He is willing to wait for that day. As long as you set yourself up as a little god to which you must be loyal there will be those who will delight to offer affront to your idol.
I am very aware of how much of a screw up I am, and often ashamed that my representation of Him is so sorry. I'm so overwhelmed with Jesus faithfulness to draw me back into His heart and His embrace. In another book, Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, he related a story. A priest came and bowed low before the throne of God. God asked what it was he desired. The priest replied that he wanted to be granted the grace to never hurt the heart of God again. God lifted him up and holding him close said, "Why would I rob myself of the joy of forgiveness?" ~ Wow! Am I ever blessed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Et tu, Brute?"

Evolution in the Bible, says Vatican
By Martin Penner November 07, 2005

THE Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.
Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's theory of evolution were "perfectly compatible" if the Bible were read correctly
(does this mean we can all interpret it differently?)
His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in the US, who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.
"The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator".
This idea was part of theology, Cardinal Poupard emphasised, while the precise details of how creation and the development of the species came about belonged to a different realm - science. Cardinal Poupard said that it was important for Catholic believers to know how science saw things so as to "understand things better". His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the "intelligent design" view, which says the universe is so complex that some higher being must have designed every detail.

Although I don’t know this debate in science inside and out, I am not keen to being called small-minded because I believe God created the world. As far as I know, it is still called the theory of evolution, and theories require faith. Is it just me, or does it come across that intelligent people believe evolution is the objective, factual view of things, while ignorant fundamentalists believe in creation without knowing or caring about any other evidence. One blog I read on this stated "just more evidence that the Bible is a farce and that it must've been their God that seriously *** up." This is the saddest thing, to me, about the Vatican's statement is that in their attempt to make the Bible relevant to modern belief systems they make it into just another book that can be edited, & not the inerrant Word of God. Another note is that most of the world relates what the Vatican says to be what all Christians believe. I.D. is an American scientific explaination, so is it America they are wanting to quash? Are they trying to distance themselves from our (America's) culture war until the instatement of Judge Alito is final, and then tuck their tails and come back whimpering that they were wrong? Do they not see what they are doing with their incessant tampering with God's Word? A statement that Itelligent Design and evolution are bedfellows (which is just as stupid)I might have stomached, but to say that evolution is in the Bible and that it is all in how you interpret it, makes me sick.

CBS News poll in October 2005 found that 51% of Americans polled do not accept Darwin’s theory of evolution and 38% said that creationism instead of evolution should be taught in schools. Another 30% believe that humans evolved but that God “guided the process”. Only 15% believe that humans evolved without the hand of God.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Very Interesting W/ Upadate

UPDATE ~ You can now watch the broadcast online, read an incredible interview with college age ladies about their views of abortion, and an interactive map that allows you to see the state laws in bite size pieces... Just follow the link below.
This forthcoming PBS broadcast looks interesting:

THE LAST ABORTION CLINIC Airs Tuesday, November 8 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)

Today, the headlines are filled with speculation about changes in the U.S. Supreme Court and what those changes might mean for abortion -- an issue that has divided the country for over 30 years. Heated rhetoric from both sides continues to be heard in courtrooms and on the campaign trail. But while attention is often focused on the arguments, there is another story playing out in local communities.Pro-life advocates have waged a successful campaign to reduce abortions in many places throughout the country. By using state laws to regulate and limit abortion and by creating their own clinics to offer alternatives to women, they have changed the facts on the ground. On Nov. 8, FRONTLINE investigates the steady decline in the number of physicians and clinics performing abortions and focuses on local political battles in states like Mississippi, where only a single clinic performs the controversial procedure.

At this time I would just like to state how hopeful, blessed and excited I am at the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Yesterday - Beetles vs. Foreigner

In case you haven't noticed a trend in my blogs (for those of you who even read them) they seem to tend toward dreams, goals, desires, ambitions...
So, in the true spirit of monotony, here I go again!

"Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, how I long for yesterday." (Sir Paul McCartney)

Open almost any highschool yearbook and read the "What I want to do" sentence beneath the photos. With the world beneath their feet, and what appears to be immortality ahead of them, they soar into the lofty heights of vision:
"Write best sellers & travel the world!"
"Find a cure for Cancer"
"Live in Costa Rica and backpack barefooted to Venezula"
"Supreme Court Justice"
A 20 year reunion book would read slightly differently in the "What I want to do" section,however, while the "Did you accomplish your dream?" section would feel like walking through a morgue:
"Pay my bills and get the creditors off my back" "Dreams melt when they get too close to the sun you know... they can't take the heat."

"Repair my house before it falls down around my ears." "Making a difference in the meatloaf and finding a cure for finicky eaters is as far as this dreamer got."

Something happens along the way. Instead of looking outward, we look inward. Rather than looking forward, we look back. We downgrade from "conquer the world", to "hang on for dear life" or "show me the $$$" . How do we change direction without losing passion and vision and hope? God has been whispering through the rubble of the hopes I'm burried beneath that there is more to my story than I have ever dreamed. Funny how hearing a whisper seems to stir more delight and desire than a shout.
Nahum 1:7 ..."the Lord knows who trusts in Him."

"But that was yesterday
I had the world in my hands
But it’s not the end of the world
Just a slight change of my plans
That was yesterday
But today life goes on
No more hiding in yesterday’ cause yesterday’s gone
It’s not the end of the world
Just a little hard to understand
You won’t find me in yesterday’s world
Now yesterday’s gone
Goodbye yesterday
Now it’s over and done
Still I hope somewhere deep in my heart
Yesterday will live on" Foreigner c. 1984

Keep whispering, Father, I'm listening...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Few Of My Favorite Things!

Minda, Tofer, Cassia, Cricket, and my VERY favorite ~ James *sigh* Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Contender

Our Pastor Brice is a legend in his own time. He delivers Knock Out punches right between the eyes every time he preaches. He graciously wears velvet gloves - which basically means the impact is the same, but doesn't leave a visible mark. Using Jabs (A quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand) on Sunday as a set-up for power punches, gauging distance, & keeping his congregants wary then Feinting a punch to induce the congregants to open up into a vulnerable position, Pastor Brice delivered astounding upper cuts that would leave us reeling.
"What are you dedicated to? Dedication can also be defined:
Devoted, given over to, surrendered, saturated in...
What have you been saturated by? That is what you are dedicated to."

"There are 3 kinds of people in this room ~ "
(I'll paraphrase)
1. the Undedicated - 'never surrender' 'Hell no, we won't go!'
2. the Dedication Wanna-be's - 'When the going gets tough, the tough haul *rump*'
3. the Truly Dedicated - 'God's grace is sufficient', 'Laying a hand to the plow, dont' look back'

I am very humbled. There are areas of my life I know I am dedicated. I can see the fruit of that dedication. There are places, however, that I struggle in because I look behind me ... I would be a pillar of salt by now if I was running away from Gomorrah.
My symptoms ( tender soft tissue, restlessness , rapid pulse, shortness of breath, skin that is pale, nausea, excessive thirst) seem to indicate internal bleeding. Hurts So Good.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dream Away

It is amazing to me how things birthed in us as small children stick with us our entire lives. My mom worked graveyard shift at a sherrif's office as a disbatcher when I was younger than 4. It became a 'wee hours of the morning' ritual for me to wander out to the livingroom to find Mom watching an episode of M*A*S*H. One night Hawkeye was reminscing about his hometown of 'Crabapple Cove', Maine. The way he described it drew the romantic out of my naive, 3 yr. old heart & I longed to be there, and I decided then and there I would go one day. There is no Crabapple Cove, however. Not one to be dissuaded, I researched where the writers patterned Hawkeye's hometown after! No luck. I know girls who have longed to go to Paris, or Venice there whole lives. To this day I still want to go to Maine more than anywhere else in the world... (the Greek Isles run a close 2nd though).
When my children were growing up I read a book that quickly became a family favorite. "Miss Rumphius", written by Barbara Cooney, made us dream and ponder in the warm glow of her illustrations. She was known as the 'Lupine Lady'. Why, you must find out for yourselves... Because we loved this book so much, we went hunting for others by her at our library. We discovered a little known book entitled "Island Boy". We treasure it. Matthias lived our dream. Both of these books take place in Maine. Ms. Cooney loved these 2 books the best out of all her works because she felt they described her hope for children and her love and gratitude for Maine. They have fueled my callow, sentimental dreams.

Hope burns bright. Hope that began in a Korean War camp and a nightly ramble in search of a Mother's snuggles.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Conscious Idle

My pastor and his family just left for a 3 month sabbatical. It's the first time, in the 17 years I have known them, that they have taken one. (he has been in full time ministry that entire time) I put some thoughts into writing about this time of rest and restoration... I need to be reminded as well!

Consider the word "restoration." A definition for restoration is: "The act of returning to an original state or condition." In adjective form it means, "A reinvigorating medicine; anything that reinvigorates."

Our world is one of cycles. Tides ebb and flow, one season gives way to the next, night follows day. In our own lives, we have periods of great activity and periods of rest. Just as high tide is no better than low tide and summer no better than spring, activity is not, in itself, better than inactivity. In fact, these times of rest and rejuvenation, idleness and dreaming, help us connect to ourselves and to our God.
Our culture tends to applaud action and achievement. We are often most comfortable with ourselves when we are clearly traveling toward a goal. During these times of striving, we direct our energy outward. We take action on the vision and follow the steps that lead us to our goal. But there are moments in this process when the urge comes to take a break, retreat, or just lie low. The tendency is to judge ourselves negatively as we are less comfortable with these moments of down time. Where are our hearts in wanting to take a step back? Are we trying to re-invent ourselves or are we wanting to re-invigorate who God created us to be? Being aware of intentions behind the action of 'lying low' you can gain a higher perspective on it. The urge to have down time is a natural part of the process of achieving goals. What appears to be a deviation from the path may actually prove to be a shorter distance in the bigger picture.
Go Ahead! Practice the great cultural taboo of inactivity. Curl up under the covers with a favorite book. Soak up some sun or daydream the day away. Allow yourself to simply be - alive and at ease. Give God time to work His wonders on your behalf.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Weekend Outlook

Saturday & Sunday
Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a shower; breezy.
Winds from the S at 10 mph.
High: 65° F
RealFeel: 62° F

A 5 senses idea for a wonderful, drizzly, Autumn weekend(without droppin' major cheddar or havin' to flash any benjamins...):

*While indulging your sense of hearing with George Winston's Veleteen Rabbit or James Taylor's October Road indulge your taste buds with a steaming hot mug of White Cocoa.

*White Chocolate Hot CocoaRecipe

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces milk
2 ounces cream
3 pieces star anise
Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan heat together milk, cream and star anise until boiling. Pour over chocolate and whisk well to melt. Strain into mugs to remove star anise.

*Now grab your warmest, softest, most cozy blanket (sense of touch is probably my fave!)& sip your cocoa
and watch the leaves fall through the tracks of the raindrops on the windowpane while James croons out 'Mean Ol' Man' in the background. (Did ya'll catch the sight sense there?)

*While still in your slippers, peel and core some Granny Smiths for apple crisp. Finish you CD while it fills your house with spicy scents.*Slip into a pair of comfy cords, and a turtle neck sweater, put on your Shearling and pop up the umbrella for a brisk walk with your puppy. Hop in the Acura and buzz up to Starbucks with your very significant other and return with your Triple-Venti Cinnamin to chase down a piece of that freshly baked Crisp and laugh together!