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?!