Saturday, December 19, 2009

the christmas squirrel!


every year we get the girls little advent calendars... the kind with a "chocolate" surprise behind the little folding door for every day of december, counting down to christmas eve. (i was shocked to hear that this is not a big thing around here! they are a christmas staple from my childhood!)

on thursday, meg was at breakfast, opening her little door. we always guess what festive symbol it will be... and as she popped it out of it's plastic form, she looked at me oddly. this is what followed.

meg: "it's a ... squirrel."

me: "no - it can't be a squirrel."

meg: "it's a squirrel. look."

me: "huh. it's obviously the traditional christmas squirrel! surely you've heard the beautiful fable of the festive christmas squirrel!"

meg: (pause. carefully replaces the squirrel into it's door.) "i reject the squirrel."

ha!


Monday, December 14, 2009

the cold

it was - 38 in stony plain last night... that would be the small town we left to come to durham. and that is a core reason why i never want to live there again. (hallelujah for permanent residency!) my s-i-l just tried to counter that with several happy christmas memories ... and she's right, there are many lovely memories... family joy mixed with chaos christmas day with the mulders, more little girls than you could shake a stick at, a roaring fire in the fireplace and my m-i-l's stunning christmas feast. we do have a lot of beautiful memories.

but.

have you ever had to let your car run for FOURTY-FIVE MINUTES just to get it to blow warm out of the vents?

have you ever had your eyelashes and nostrils freeze solid in the space of time it takes you to get from the parking lot to the grocery store?

have you ever had to move a space heater from room to room with you because the blasting cold air seeps through every space in your home?

have you ever lived on a day so cold they cancelled school because the buses couldn't start?

those memories trump the festive ones, in so far as determining where i want to live my life. where i would celebrate my holidays is a different question entirely.... as long as i get to come home when they are done! :)

(i have actually looked like the person in this photograph. much to my sorrow!)

frederick again...


“Those who believe in God can never, in a way, be sure of Him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man… And this means that we are not safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break into and recreate the human heart because it is where he seems most helpless that he is most strong and just where we least expect Him that he comes most fully.” - Frederick Beuchner

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

happy christmas!


happy christmas, everyone. truly.

perhaps we should hold on a little longer to our thankgiving-ness as we head into christmas. all the gratitude for the beauty, relationships & varied richness of our lives should make us appreciate the depth of christmas a little more. it should make us a little less about what's under the tree and a little more about Who's in the manger. it should give us grace for fellow parking lot circlers, tired store clerks & hassled line-waiters.

i look around my life, and i know that i don't need anything for christmas. every gift will be pure gift... pure grace. so i want to extend that to my people, and all the people whose paths i will cross this season. i want to offer them grace, whether it be in a gift under the tree or the gift of a smile or patience or letting someone else take the "good" parking spot.

Jesus is crazy, extravagant love... love that looks out for the other. so i am going to try to look out for the other this christmas, in whatever small ways i can. i hope you do, too. we can be joy bringers, in some way participating with the shepherds spilling over with Good News.

so, really, happy christmas. may you experience something that goes deeper than "merry"... the grace of joy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

it's a birthday miracle!


it's my birth-week, and guess what, people!!!??? i got a birthday present from God!

our permanent resident status came today!!

after years of waiting & sending in forms, paying fees, waiting, praying, waiting and sending in more forms, we are permanent residents of the United States! i can hardly believe it! i have been waiting and praying for so long, i don't know what to do with myself!

thank you to those of you who have walked this journey with us - praying, listening to our laments, encouraging us month after month - you are our people, and we love you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

chapter 7 - who says penguins can't fly?!

you're really excited about your piano recital on friday where you will be playing 'joy to the world', so you tell your best friend. but a bully overheard you and said, "i bet you can't do that!"

a lot of people are like, "oh yeah? wanna bet!?" hold your horses! who wants to start a fight?

maybe say, "well, i've tried really hard, so i hope i can!"

here is a poem called "it couldn't be done", by edgar a. guest:

somebody said it couldn't be done,
but he with a chuckle replied,
"maybe it couldn't"
but he'd be the one who wouldn't say til he tried.
so he buckled right in with a trace
of a grin on his face
if he worried, he hid it
he started to sing as he tackled the thing
that couldn't be done
but he did it.
there are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
there are thousands to prophesy failure,
there are thousands to point out to you one by one
the dangers that wait to assail you.
but just buckle in
with a bit of a grin
just take off your coat and go to it
just start to sing as you tackle the thing
that "cannot be done"
and you'll do it!

see! even poets agree!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

before i go to bed....


today, curtis was my white knight....

he brought me hot coffee to work on a cold & wet morning...
he fried turkey at lunch to facilitate my manicotti making for dinner....
he picked up the girls unexpectedly when i had to work late...

and

he hugged me and let me lay my head on his chest for a while... until my neck got sore

all with a smile on his face & love in his heart.

thanks, curtis. i love you.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

my daughter is doing drugs!?!

so kyra came home last week and told me she "pledged to be drug free" at school. when i asked about it, she told me that she signed her name to a poster, but since everyone had to do it, it didn't really mean anything. so i turned to her and asked her if she was doing drugs.

"no."

for a second time, "kyra, are you doing drugs?"

"no, mom. i'm not doing drugs."

"KYRA. are you doing drugs!?"

(eye roll)
"yeah, mom... i'm up in my room doing steroids."

HA!

(still waiting for meg's next chapter....)

Friday, November 06, 2009

SO proud!

i am such a proud momma!! my girls both just won buckets of first quarter awards, and here is the list of accolades:

meg won:
  • citizenship award
  • homework award (no missed homework)
  • effort & achievement award
kyra won:
  • "A" honor roll - only 2 kids in the 7th grade won this!!
  • student of the quarter (citizenship, scholarship, etc)
  • highest average in the 7th grade, in all 4 core classes - algebra, humanties, language arts & science
AND kyra won the spelling bee - first place! - in the 7th grade, which takes her to school wide... and then we'll see!

but all around, a glorious week of celebrating my smart & beautiful daughters! :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

my hands are tied

i can only post chapters as fast as meg writes them... and she's in a slump, distracted by her ipod and jason mraz. she is, even as i type this, plugged in on the living room floor singing along at the top of her lungs. i wonder if i should be concerned that she knows all the words to this album? at least she doesn't "get" them all... i hope...

anyways, while we are waiting for her, i thought i would take this time to remind you that it's only 23 sleeps til my birthday! WOOT! if you want to get me presents, obviously that's fine with me. i want a dog... or buckle gift cards... or chocolate... or wine... or oven mitts... but no pressure.

HA!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Chapter 6 - Yikes!

one bright spring morning, your mom walks past your bedroom door and smells a bad smell. "what's that smell?" she says aloud. she follows the scent, and BOOM! she opens the door and nearly faints from the scent (and look!).

"clean your room right now!"

oh no. you can't even walk into it! how do you clean it?

do you have some music? you could listen while you work. or even set a goal. ask your mom if you could have something if you finish, like a candy. but don't eat your candy until you're done, because then you won't want to keep cleaning. because remember, you're going to have to get it done sooner or later. i'd rather get it done sooner than later! if that doesn't work, time yourself. do it every time you clean. let's say today it took you 2 hours to clean. keep track. try to beat 2 hours next time. if you don't, just keep cleaning until you get it done. if you pass your time, reward yourself! soon you'll be a fast cleaner!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chapter 5 - Stuck in 'da Middle (Friendship Problems)

two of your best friends are fighting. you don't want to get on a side, but you DO want them to stop their argument. it's not that easy being stuck in the middle. now what?

do you just say, "stop!" or "cut it out!" - i have wanted to say that before. the truth is, they won't be that happy if you just yell. also, your friends are facing a hard time. they also want to stop fighting. try to calm them down. remember in chapter 1 where i said tips to calm down. tell them some of these tips.

you may have had it up to here. perhaps you could talk to one, or both, of your friends and explain that they need help. tell them that you are going to ask a school counselor about it. they are there to help you. soon, if you can't help anymore, try to tell an adult. they can SURELY help on that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chapter 4 - Kindness Counts!

not only should you show kindness to your friends, but also the people no one likes. do you know anyone who doesn't have a friend? help her. even if your friends are grossed out that you are hanging out with her (or him), just wait until you see her (or his) smile!

you could start a whole line of friendship, because people will notice she is kind and will be her friend and will go to be her (or his) friend! and then you can go back to your old friends (but still be her friend!). maybe they are her friends too, and then you and your friends can all play together.

people will notice that it doesn't matter what you look like or if you have a disability. everyone is a person who needs friends! so remember that you can have more than just one or two friends.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

we interrupt your regularily scheduled programming...


to bring you kyra and her best friend, mayia - the newest inductee's to the national junior honors society!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

chapter 3 - lost & lonely

all of your friends get A's. but you try your best and get a B.

or, all of your friends went somewhere cool this summer, like disney world or mexico, and you just went to your friend's house & to visit your grandma who lives in georgia, or west virginia.

then they ask you, "where did you go this summer? i went to mexico!" or they say, "i got an A in math! what did you get?"

but you don't think you're ready to tell them you just went to raleigh, or that you got a B. but you don't want to hurt their feelings, either, by saying "no! this is none of your business!" what do you say?

if you want, you could just say, "um, i didn't go anywhere fun, but i went to raleigh." if you're uncomfortable saying that, just say something like, "well, nowhere as fun as kentucky." or "i'll try to tell you later." but the truth is, it does not matter. it is your life, and you know that even though you only got a B you did your best. and no matter what, remember that you probably had just as much fun as her, even if you didn't go somewhere fancy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chapter 2 - Your Own Idea

You just saw a movie with your BFF. As you walk out together, she tells you how dumb the movie is. But you have your own idea that it was good. Then you feel like you don't have a good idea because your friend thinks otherwise, and you think she will laugh at you. NEVER think that her idea is better than yours! Remember that she is a friend, and friends tell each other the truth.

Even if she laughs at you, tell her how it hurt you and ask her if she can try not to laugh. No matter what anyone says, remember that you did what was right. Besides, it doesn't matter who has the longest hair or who has the best opinion. You are special the way you are. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chapter 1 - Annoying Folks

OK. Everyone runs into someone they don't like. But, the thing is, do you treat them properly? Here are a few ways to avoid getting in trouble.

Well, have you ever got mad at someone and they got mad at you? The first thing I would say is to change the subject. But people sometimes just say, "That's not what we were talking about, so be quiet!" If that happens, try to explain to him or her, and say that you would like to stop yelling, and that is why you changed the subject.

Now, if you are about to go off and yell at someone, take a few deep breaths and calm down. If you still can't calm down, take a seat. Make up a happy poem in your head and repeat it. Then once you have calmed down, go up to the person, say you're sorry, and explain to them what you were about to tell them.

Just remember, no matter what, just calm down and think about what would be best to do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

the introduction


clearly i am unfit for human consumption. so for the next bit, i am going to be posting, chapter by chapter (beginning with the introduction), the book that meg is writing.

'Footloose & Fancy Free - A Guide for Girls'
-by Meg Mulder

OK. First you should know who I am. I am a girl, just like you. Like everyone, we all have problems. This guide will tell you a lot. From dealing with annoying boys to an extra on clothes. All you need to do is turn the page. And read the page. OK?

- Meg

Sunday, October 11, 2009

balloons

the times that slip
are lost

chance and fate move on to greener pastures
sunnier streets
higher climes

and leave me
in their rising shadows

gazing at what i hoped
drift off
like a balloon let go at a fair -
it's bright color fading into black.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

if you don't feel like being merciful to me, go read something else.

1560 sunday morning services - not counting separately for the years of 2, and even 3, services.
780 sunday evening services
520 midweek services
60 christmas & good friday services - again, not counting separately for 2 or 3 on one night
312 friday nights at youth
77 full days at church camp, all of which ended with a campfire service

that totals 3309 services, and is *conservative*. in more than half of those i have been an active participant, serving in some capacity. i have led worship, preached, led small groups, set up chairs, taken down chairs, rolled tables, rolled cables, watched babies, taught sunday school, set up food, baked food, greeted, made crafts, led kid worship, been a youth leader, been a camp counselor, and more. and each of those sundays, services & camps i was the "pastor's kid" or the "pastor's wife". the church has been my fishbowl - always someone watching to see if i get out of line, waiting to judge what i wear or say or do. if it wasn't you judging, trust me, it was someone else.

lately i have felt the cumulative weight of all 3309. Jesus said, "come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and i will give you rest." what happens when it is the service for Jesus, who i love, that makes me weary? what then?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

the times they are a changin'



this is not what my life looked like when i was 11. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

proust questionnaire

made popular by the 19th century french writer, marcel proust, it's designed to give others insight into your personality.

your favorite virtue: integrity
your favorite qualities in a man: humor, honesty, Godliness, integrity & humility, loyalty
your favorite qualities in a woman: authenticity, humor, non-competitiveness
your chief characterisic: loyalty
what you appreciate most in your friends: dependability, acceptance of my whole self, laughing
your main fault: pride/stubborness
your idea of happiness: a tropical beach & nothing to do
your favorite occupation: teacher/speaker
your idea of misery: chaotic, loud, frantic
if not yourself, who would you be: a house cat
where would you like to live: right here
your favorite color & flower: red & stargazer lilies
your favorite prose authors: lee child, carol o'connell, brett battles, meg cabot
your favorite poets: vincent, sara groves
your favorite heros in fiction: jack reacher, westley "dread pirate roberts", inigo
your favorite heroines in fiction: kathy mallory
your favorite food & drink: steak, chocolate, dumplings, red wine, diet pepsi, fruity martini's
your favorite names: jacob, isaiah, kate, luca
what i hate the most: belittling
what history characters i hate the most: the boys who incited the crusades, and the holocaust
the natural talent i'd like to be gifted with: flying
how i wish to die: old, surrounded by family and friends who have loved me my whole life
what is your present state of mind: tired & sore
for what fault have you most toleration: opinionated
your favorite motto: nos cedamus Amori (now let us yield to Love)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

best (?) science fair project ever!


ok. i don't know if you guys all follow failblog, but this made me laugh OUT LOUD. enjoy!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Jewish Spirituality - A Brief Introduction for Christians"

i finished reading my first book from cj the other day... and i found it beautiful & fascinating on several levels.

first was the overwhelming feeling of gentleness. even when writing about mitzvah (the keeping of the commandments, observing the sabbath, etc), rabbi kushner speaks so gently, even tenderly, that i was struck by how our spiritual writings are so lacking in gentleness. maybe it's the "go get'em" attitude of american culture, but i just wanted to soak myself in his words. sadly, i could not imagine a Christian author from the contemporary marketplace being able to give someone of a Jewish faith such an introduction.

in sharp contrast to this, though, there was a real loss to me in reading such beauty and not having it point to Jesus. truly, the thing that sets Christianity apart from all other faiths is the unique belief that God not only created once, spoke then & acts now, but that he came, and in his coming in the person of Jesus invites me and you to know him personally and intimately. for real. it was almost lonely, or haunting, to read something so close to my own faith and yet so distinctly apart from the whole Person & Point of it. It struck me anew that without Jesus, i am lost.

one of the fascinating parts was how the book is so... storied. i got about half way through before it occurred to me that it was just how Jesus taught people. rabbi kushner would make a statement, for instance how the Jewish people see the Torah (first 5 books of the OT) as a beautiful orchard. he then proceeds to describe the orchard, not necessarily the Torah. or he makes a statement about the reality of something, but rather than attempt to define or clarify his statement, he tells a story, or two - parables. it's just like Jesus. he didn't lay out "the kingdom of God"... he talked about mustard seeds and yeast. the listener (or in this case, reader) is left to discern the meaning. it's really quite a beautiful thing, actually. it makes me want to back and reread Jesus teaching with parables, to hear about figs and coins and sheep.

i am very much looking forward to the next book....


Monday, September 14, 2009

Jesus was Jewish?

i borrowed 3 books from cj today:

'jewish spirituality - a brief introduction for christians'
'Jeshua - a guide to the real Jesus & the original church'
'the sage from galilee - rediscovering Jesus' genius' (this last with a caveat from cj that it was a bit... sketchy)

i am looking forward to reading them... it's an area of study i have barely pursued at all, and think is quite fascinating. i'll keep you up to date with anything good or sketchy! :)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

a whole new world!

here are the best things - after day one - of my new job.
  1. i get to wear jeans & t's to work
  2. the people i work with are super nice
  3. i get to play my own music as loud as i want
  4. i get a lot of independence
  5. i get a fashion magazine's worth of new styles, textures & pieces every day
  6. the hours are absolutely perfect
  7. i earn actual currency
so... the hardest thing about my new job? not spending my paycheck on gorgeous dove-gray sweaters!


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

BEAUTIFUL beauty

woe is me.

i suffer from all the maladies of my culture... insecurity, envy, self-everything. the voices shouting out from the advertisements have done me in. my hair is not shiny enough, my skin not smooth enough, my hips not narrow enough, my teeth not white enough.

woe, indeed.

i have a little book on my coffee table called "the lady who was beautiful on the inside". after hearing her woe over the ladies in the magazines, her hairdresser says to her, "... your beauty comes from DEEP WITHIN you. and that is the most beautiful BEAUTY of all."

so she goes off into the world, trying to believe her hairdresser (who had vanished after his pronouncement). sun shone, flowers bloomed, children laughed and people danced... and though she wondered if it was a "strange & fortunate coincidence", the book ends this way:

"in the end it did not matter. for the lady had seen the POWER of the beauty INSIDE her. and from then on, everywhere she went, LOVELINESS happened. for she did have a very BEAUTIFUL beauty indeed."

could it be true? could we each, differently, have a very BEAUTIFUL beauty within us? could it be that our very selves might be beautiful? that my very self might be? wouldn't it be wondrous if under our rather stubborn hair & lumpy sweaters, deep beneath, lay a beauty to make children laugh and people dance? and even more, what if we had the courage to let our beauty be seen? to let it grow and fall on the people around us, giving them freedom to live into and out of their own gift of beauty? what if we learned to live so that everywhere we went, LOVELINESS could happen?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

from "the magnificent defeat"...

instead of everything standing still and sure, suddenly nothing is standing still, and everything is unsure. something new and shattering is breaking through into something old. something is trying to be born. and if the new thing is going to be born, then the old thing is going to have to give way, and there is agony in the process as well as joy, just as there is agony in the womb as it labors and contracts to bring forth new life. ... (but) we try to fend off this world we yearn for where men live as brothers because there is something in each of us that wants to live not for his brother but for himself. we fend it off because we know in our terrible wisdom that the price we must pay for it is death, the death of self and all the values of self, the death that must take place before the life can come.

Monday, August 31, 2009

rollin' old school!

oh my gosh! look what's for sale on perpetualkid.com!!! my childhood!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

remember me?

so cynthia said i've been slack on my blog. she's not wrong.... obviously!

so i got a J-O-B this week! woohoo! working part-time (school hours) at 'buckle' at the mall... the manager, tiffany, is a fantastic human being, and everyone i've met there seems great! plus, did i mention that it's DURING SCHOOL HOURS??? to get something where i can still be here in the morning and after school for the girls is wonderful!! not mention my resume is pretty thin, due to the immigration restrictions that have prohibited me from working for 5 years! so this is pretty much perfect...

in other news, since many of you have asked, no - my job doesn't mean we have our permanent resident status ("green card"). i got permission to work while we wait... and waiting we are. waiting with faith, but waiting with eager anticipation of their arrival. praying ... hard. (Jesus, grant our green card in september. move this mountain. amen.) it sometimes feels like our whole life is on hold ... i can be discouraged on this one... (Jesus, i believe... help my unbelief...)

The Girls are back in school! woot! both happy as pigs in poo, though the real homework hasn't started yet. that'll make them sing a different tune! :) kyra is taking two classes for high school credit - algebra and french - and has a crew of teachers she loves. meg has every 'BFF' in her class, so what more could a 10yr old ask for? :)

how's that, cyn? :)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

brave enough

.... and so we wait...

wait for something to happen.
wait for a loved one to arrive.
wait for the good news.
wait for the first day.
wait for the last day.

is it possible that there is fruit to be found yet in the waiting? is it possible that, against all odds, the waiting is actually part & parcel of the very thing we are waiting for?

what if "the perception of the new step will only come to those brave enough to stop dancing the old?" and what if "the truly free, the brave who truly seek God, will always have periods, commas, full-stops, punctuation marks, pregnant pauses, breves & semibreves of silence where those around them are given freedom to walk; give space to deconstruct structures, to reimagine and rethink"?

i do not wait well. i sink into myself, into inertia, making little, or no, effort to cultivate the fruit that can be grown in the time between times. wasting so much fertile soil...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

twin update!

here's a few things about the girls... :) :)

aly is a reckless, grinning, shrieking noodle of a girl! :) she is a constant open mouth grin, and flings herself across you with reckless abandon. it's too cute to even describe. she is like meg in that she has absolutely no personal space needs, and all she wants to do is touch you, grab you, etc. her eyes are the most honestly mischievous things i've ever seen! :)

zoe is a lot less grabby, but once she warms up to you, you want to work to earn her smile... she is beautiful, really. she's changed the most from her baby face, with wide, warm eyes and a totally beautiful spirit.

they are so different - sitting beside each other you might not think they are sisters.... aly's hair and skin are darker, and her face is a totally different shape. they have different personalities, and are so fun to sit and watch. i love to sit on the floor with them. they are delightful! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

from the mouth of babes


The Girls are sitting behind me, watching "The Prince of Egypt" - the dreamworks retelling of moses & pharaoh, and the freeing of the Israelites.

pharaoh crests the hill, and israel is thrown into terror... forced up against the edge of the sea, nowhere to run, no help to be found. suddenly, the finger of God throws a wall of flame between the two, and now israel is between the flame & the sea... still, no way out. at a word from God, moses' staff hits the water, and the sea parts, towering walls of water on either side, and the choice is clear. fire, water, or the most terrifying path ever walked by man. but through they go - fish swimming past at the water-wall's edge, carts & animals sticking in the deep mud, hushed & platter-eyed children clinging to their parents robe. once on the other side, with pharoah's army having rushed into the breach after them, the crushing water overspills it's divine walls, drowning the entire army... each israelite safe on dry ground.

kyra, in the wonder of the moment (which dreamworks captures like nothing i had ever imagined), said, "i can't believe they would go on to worship idols after that." as i tried to provide a commentary on that, it struck like a bag of hammers that the story of the israelites is my story, too. in my dire need & circumstance, God shows his power & faithfulness, but at the very next sign of trouble, i am thrown into a chasm of doubt - "where are you, God?" ... "why God?"... "where God?"... i am an israelite, too.

God forgive me for all those times i have forgotten your power so quickly, and looked for my own answers. don't let me forget my own moments at the red sea's edge, when you have parted the water for my rescue... and thank you for them.

this is what childhood should be

Saturday, August 08, 2009

nos cedamus Amori


it's hard to tell from the photo, but the ink is actually brown, not black. "nos cedamus Amori"... "let us now yield to Love" - from the poem by Virgil, it's actually the second half of the phrase 'love conquers all'. the more important half, if you ask me. and it sums up my whole life's philosophy: yield to the furious & foolish Love of God, yield in Love to each other.

Monday, August 03, 2009

my how time flies

as i type this, i am a mere 3 sleeps from my FIFTEENTH anniversary! yes, i know - i'm far too young to have been married for 15 years, (ha!), but there it is, nevertheless.

people say marriage is hard work, and while i know that to be true, i also know that my marriage is more often fruitful, joyful, safe-making, comfort-giving & sure. there are many pieces and parts of my life that feel vulnerable right now - many things that seem flimsy to me - but none of them are curtis. not one of them is our marriage. even when i know i am making him angry or he is frustrating me, i don't have to worry that it's "the last straw". no matter how much we may not like each other at any given moment, our Love is certain, and we both know those moments pass.

so here's to us! two kids who got married too young, too fast.... who made choices that may have seemed crazy from the outside looking in, but who were following God as honestly as they could.... who have suffered the pain of life's losses alongside the beauty of it's gifts. there's a lyric in a song that is, "let's find out the beauty of seeing things through..." having seen through the last 15 years, i can tell you, there is beauty... and more beauty to come in the next 15.

thanks for being mine, curtis. i love you.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

mini me

ah, meg.... my little mini me.

not a day passes lately that doesn't find her sitting in her room on her pink fuzzy beanbag chair, door closed, inches from her cd player, singing along and memorizing track numbers. the ones that get a lot of play are usually the love songs from her favorites: india.arie, alicia keys & zoe girl... though she does love a little kirk franklin (smart girl!). nothing like hearing your 9yr old crooning, "... tomorrow we'll pick up the pieces/start to mend our broken lives/slow kiss, high tide/make it a long goodbye..."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

coolest thing EVER

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them." Proverbs 3:27


Oh my gosh! I just found the best website ever! Kiva - a microlending website! I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Madeleine Diatta in Senegal, a mother of 8, with 4 additional dependants, who wants to use this loan to bolster her business fattening pigs, selling beverages, and running a small business to provide for her family.
  • 100% of my loan will be sent to the local kiva partner who will disburse my loan
  • I'll receive periodic updates showing the impact of my loan
  • When I receive a repayment, I can withdraw the funds or sponsor a new entrepreneur
She still needs another $475.00 to complete her loan request of $675.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). You can click on the link below to make a loan to Madeleine Diatta too:

http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=businesses&action=about&id=125858

You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.

The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

It's a small thing for me to do, but a huge thing for her. I'm not just giving a hand out - I'm actually providing long term change for her and her family. How cool is that? I'm an international financier! :)

Check it out - we can change the world...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

apologies

sorry. i don't want to be a bummer, and spew my crap all over the blogosphere... sorry.

let's try this instead.... it's the story of my life...



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

being honest for a second

i don't feel like a happy jungle monkey, playing in the vines and munching banana's. i feel isolated, and worried, overly busy with nothing of significance to do. i'm not looking for sympathy, mind you, i'm just trying to figure out how i feel. maybe if i name it, i can figure out how to move beyond it?

net or gross?

and now the aftermath:

girls overtired.
the playroom a mess.

but:

friendships sealed.
trouble overcome.
the playroom well played in.

all in all, a net positive. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

gift of life

the halcyon days of summer...

after having some of our people over last night, when the last couple left, we tiptoed upstairs to find the girls both awake, if barely, in kyra's room - meg in a carefully made bed of sheets and blankies - a sister slumber party.

woke up this morning to fort building and anticipation of molly's arrival, which will include not only a sleepover, but also an afternoon at pool and no end of girlish secrets and games.

kyra working happily on her summer homework project: inventing her own country and it's accompanying details... needless to say, it's an "all green, all the time", recycle-heavy island of preservation and conservation.

and holidae, my guinea pig cat, spread out on the desk in front of me right now, purring and lolling across the mouse and getting hair in my coffee.

all is right with the world.

Friday, July 24, 2009

watermelon update!


here is a looong overdue watermelon update ... prompted by a watermelon travesty!

meg's melon's, much to our joyful surprise, are growing! the tender shoots were not eaten by deer! the juicy flower buds were not nibbled by bunnies! the vines grew long and leafy across most of lawn, rebelliously ignoring the area we had cleared for them. every day we inspected them, finding wee melons the size of grapes, up to the biggest one, similar in size to a large grapefruit.

and then, ALAS!

this morning, no less than FOUR of her largest and juiciest melons were GONE! not even a smidge of rind left to account for them! the best we can figure, it was probably a raccoon - the vines weren't pulled or disturbed... just the watermelon's neatly nipped off!

so this afternoon meg and i paid a visit to true value hardward, to find critter repellent. and we sprayed her melon vines, in hopes of keeping the watermelon thieves at bay. but now we both REEK. R.E.E.K. even though we've repeatedly washed our hands/arms, and meg had a whole shower. the whole backyard smells repulsive.

but maybe her melons will have a chance.... here's hoping!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

it's not what you know, it's who you know...

probably 3 years ago now, an older man used The Girls as "models" for one of the paintings he was working on. curtis signed a privacy waiver, and we promptly forgot all about it. :)

until today...

when he showed up a the office with the *original* painting as a gift for us - something that he would sell for a couple thousand dollars! you can totally even recognize The Girls! i guess we're gonna have to frame this in something better than a target frame...




we'll just forgive the fact that Jesus wasn't a white guy.... :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

wednesday night

i am home alone for the first night in i can't even remember how long.

this should be mandatory.

the only thing better would be if there was some of the food here that they are cooking on hell's kitchen.... that show makes me so hungry...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

queen of sheba

we walked in the door, and the first words out of the (beautiful!) waitresses mouth were, "would you like a table or a basket?"

curtis and i answered simultaneously, "basket!"


turns out i love Ethiopian food! and i love eating bent over a basket of fragrant smells and spicy foods, scooping it up with my fingers and the crepe-like bread... the queen of sheba is my new favorite restaurant!

you should go there - or we could meet there for lunch! it's in the tymberline plaza, by the foodlion ... it was amazing... and i highly recommend the basket over the table. you can eat at a table any old time!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

call & reponse

did you know there is more slavery right now than at any time in human history?

call & response ...

"There is a sea of change happening in human rights activism. The world’s issues cannot be solved alone by governments and non-profits, but require community-based participation. As a feature film, CALL+RESPONSE has the unique position of being not only a ground-breaking genre-bending film, but due to the fact that this project was funded completely through donations, it operates as a powerful movement with 100% of profits going to fund global field projects on the front lines of this issue.

CALL+RESPONSE is creating interactive field projects for each aspect of human slavery: sex slavery, labor slavery, child soldiers and child slavery. All profits from the use of the film, dvd, soundtrack, itunes downloads will be directed, by the viewers, to these projects with clear start and finish points (ie a landrover for a child soldier rehab camp, sewing machines for a after-care training facility). Our goal is to fund and celebrate completed projects together in community. We are closing the loop by allowing viewers to become participants in the solution."

Friday, July 17, 2009

weekend updates

by the way - chips is still swimming in his bowl. he's the terminator of goldfish.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

VX22


walking with the crowds
carried along by the pressing forward.
each one eager to get ahead
but each starting the same:
born as a baby, and from then on, struggling towards
meaning, power and influence.
be someone
be remembered
make a big impression.
leave some indelible mark in your 3 score years
and 10.

from birth, a struggle to find eternity, to burst
through life with such dazzling intensity, that
everyone will remember forever.
but walking the other way, picking out a route
against the crowds, a solitary figure passes me......
passes all of us - all straining away innocence, to
be someone,
and he passes us, a quiet chaos in the crowd.

Christ, eternal, omnicient, creator, beyond time,
source of wisdom and beyond petty claims of
influence...in very nature God, slips into reverse
and walks back past us - away from Kingship,
away from power, away from influence, away from
eternity, away from wisdom...toward infancy.
calmly stepping into the body of a tiny child.

and even as this baby grows, figuring out how to control
the body he himself designed, he still walks
the other way, realizing that life cannot be found in the
struggle for permanence, but in giving it up.

this Great Reversal subverts me. tired of pressing forward, i realise i need to turn, for what i have been searching for has just walked past me the other way.

(from 'signs of emergence' - VX22. emphasis mine)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

slow down, baby

wednesday. middle of the week. grey skies and girls on the couch watching nicole c. mullen on dvd. nothing is shaking the earth here today... for the first time in a long time. how can summer, the laid back season, be so busy & stressful? the idea of a day with nothing and no one is luxury.

there's not enough going slowly in our world. not enough couch sitting. not enough reading. not enough front porch-ing with friends. so when life surprises you by slowing down for a minute, pay attention and slow down with it. there's a gift somewhere in the quiet moment, if you don't march right on past it...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

don't give up on me yet, baby!


many of know, or have heard of, the good "colonel reverend doctor captain chips" - our fantail goldfish. "chips", as we call him, has been swimming on my counter top for 3 1/2 years! i don't need your goldfish anecdotes - i know they can live for ages - but, really? 3 1/2 years? in a little bowl? needless to say, this is about 3 1/4 years longer than i anticipated him living...

so last night, when he was belly up, tail down - nothing twitching but an eyeball - i figured, "ah, well, chips. it's your time." and decided to leave him in peace over night so the girls could participate in his funeral today.

BUT

when i got up this morning, who was swimming around his bowl, all chipper and coming up to the top to eat his breakfast!?!? THE COLONEL! honestly! i think the cats are rubbing off, cause chips seems to have 9 lives...

Monday, July 13, 2009

beautiful monday

(did you hear the thunder last night? it shook me in my bed.... i woke to pouring rain & cool, grey skies... beautiful. i hope it pours all day.)

if you're looking for something to read, here's a little list of what i'm reading right now...

signs of emergence - it's interesting, not what i expected. it's not about the "emergent church movement" .... but i'm not sure what it is about! i'm not far into it, but the first chapter is all about waiting - how we need to wait & let God form us slowly. so you know it's speaking to me!

cost of discipleship - bonhoeffer is a bit like reading romans to me... the arguments fold back onto each other, and require diligent attention. the book is rich and full, and even the parts i'm not sure i agree with make me think. he helped me understand the idea of costly grace for the first time.

velvet elvis - i am not a rob bell devotee, but i do like him. most of you have probably already read this one, so i'll leave it at that.

job - well, i'm not so much reading job as i am reading the OT, and happen to be in job. i usually skim along to the good part - i like it when God shows up - but i am trying to read slowly this time, and give it my full attention... oh, and i'm sprinkling in a few psalms here and there.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF

TGIF, faithful readers!

my week came like all weeks do - with good news and bad news, great disappointment & huge joys. here's hoping all of our weekends are more full of the good than the bad!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

yes, God. that.

"Lord, you will do everything you have planned for me.
Lord, your faithful love continues forever.
You have done so much for us. Don't stop now."
Psalm 138:8


Monday, July 06, 2009

longest wait ever.

ok - i confess. i am feeling anxiety about our greencards. not that we won't get them, but just that i want them NOW. patience is not one of my juiciest fruits, if you know what i mean. waiting is *so* hard... i feel like my life is at the mercy of how much effort a stranger feels like putting into their day - based on whether or not they got the donut they wanted from the cafeteria or if they had a nice date the night before! ack!

basically, i think i'm just tired of wading through the red tape and forms and fees. it hangs over my head, nagging in the back of my mind behind every other thought. i weigh every future possibility - even family vacations - against whether or not we will finally have our permanent resident status "by then"....

i am praying hard, and trying to wait patiently. but ... *sigh*

summer haiku

lazy sunshine, pool
daddy is home, life is sweet -
friends and laughing days.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

waiting game

phew.

in an odd combination of relief and anxiety, our final "proofs" and medical paperwork for immigration went into the mail yesterday. off they go to mesquite, tx - Godspeed, paperwork. may you land on the desk of someone wildly efficient.

and happy 4th of july to all my american peeps!

Friday, July 03, 2009

in honor of canada day...

canada day, i know, is 2 days passed... but in it's honor, i post this, part of an article of 11 canadians who tell what they miss most about canada. this one is close to my heart! and for the record, the kroger on 54 sells coffee crisps in it's british section, if you want to see what all the fuss is about! (and the rest of the article is here.)

The gourmets say there isn’t a native Canadian food worth remembering after you’ve left the country. The gourmets have never bitten into a Coffee Crisp.

A Coffee Crisp tastes like Canada to anybody who grew up gnawing on that confection, a memorably crisp blend of coffee cream, cookie wafers and milk chocolate as wholesome and satisfying as the Canadian national anthem. It was a square-edged rectangle, like a brick, wrapped in a yellow-going-to-gold paper that seemed to elevate its value above all rival confections. It was unlike other chocolate bars.

I say “was” because no sooner had I left Canada than its originator, Rowntree’s, was absorbed into the giant international food conglomerate Nestlé. Soon enough, factors beyond the ken of the layman led its new owners to “improve on” the faultless original. Coffee Crisps were reshaped to be longer and slimmer and, as the infallible taste buds quickly revealed, reformulated to be less crisp and less coffee-flavored. Nestlé next undertook to expand the brand: Coffee Crisp Orange, Coffee Crisp Raspberry, Coffee Crisp Café Caramel, even Coffee Crisp White and, God save us, Coffee Crisp Yogurt.

But even in its diminished form, the classic Coffee Crisp still ranked superior to all the sticky-sweet American “candy bar” alternatives. I’d snaffle up half a dozen on a Canadian visit and wolf down a couple right away, just to make sure it wasn’t all just nostalgie du chocolat. It wasn’t. Taste memory never fades.

The demands of homesick Canadian expatriates were finally answered, circa 2006, when Coffee Crisp made its debut south of the border. But Nestlé’s efforts at carving a niche in the United States, alas, seemed half-hearted. I never saw an ad, and found only one seedy neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that even sold Coffee Crisps; the single box was all but hidden down on the bottom row of the candy display rack near the dust kittens and lottery-ticket stubs.

A month later the box was still there, its contents by now grayish and moldy and stale with age when the wrapper was torn away. In another month the box was gone. Coffee Crisps slunk back out of the American market in 2008, as quietly as they’d entered.

I suppose the Coffee Crisp debacle proves yet again that Canadian products — with the notable exceptions of Bombardier jets and half the comedians in Hollywood — just can’t compete in the American big time. But all visiting Canadian relatives and friends arrive at my door with pockets mysteriously bulging, or they won’t be let in.

— BRUCE McCALL, a writer and illustrator

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

how do you even get TB??


what if i have TB?

this is the lingering question from our immigration medical exam this morning. our blood is drawn for HIV & various & sundry STD's, we got our tetnus boosters, and we go back friday to have our injection site examined. after that, we're all paperwork done and in the envelope!

but ... what if i have TB?

ha! :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

immigration rant

i have good news, and i have bad news.

bad news first. we just received a letter from USCIS asking for 4 more documents/proofs, all of which we've already submitted at various stages of this process. sometimes i think they ask for things like this just to test our patience and see how serious we are about our application.

good news. fortunately, they are all easy documents, and even better, this means that they are actually processing our application! someone actually has it on their desk! woot!

so pray like you've never prayed before! i am fasting and praying for the month of july, asking for a miracle - that our permanent resident status would come before the end of the year... which would be an unheard of speed. but God can do it... and i refer you to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." - Daniel 3:16 - 18

"even if he does not".... greatest statement of faith ever.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

midnight music

so, i've shared my bed with meg for the last couple nights... i've never been so flung upon in my whole life! arms whapped across my face, sharp toes against my calf, knees up in my ribs - how does the girl get any sleep??

but last night, in the middle of the night, i was awakened by the most beautiful thing i've heard in a long, long time. my daughter, in the midst of her sleep, laughed. not just a little giggle, or a "hahuh", but a long, belly, full-out laugh. if it was music, it would have been two full phrases of laughter. it was absolutely delightful, and i fell back asleep with a smile on my face.

i hope many of her nights are filled that way. i love you, nutmeg.

of course, tonight i'll be sleeping alone... :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

my love is laced up

this was going to be my last week with no kids ... dinner parties, beach trip with a girlfriend, welcome home party... but everything changed when my mom lost a dear friend to cancer, and i was needed in KY. my parents are driving 24hr (one way) to canada to attend the funeral, and The Girls are doing a super cool day camp mon-fri next week which requires a grownup for the times they aren't doing crazy camp stuff.

so i am having a different week. but not a bad one. it started with being able to be at vincent's farewell "launch" party last night, and means that i will get to spend his last week at home with him... a treat, because i love him so much. it also started with the girls sleeping over at their new friends place, so i even have a quiet morning here. i will have the days to myself, which, while it might get a little lonely, will be peaceful, too. and i will get to experience the fun of hearing all The Girls camp stories first hand - seeing their faces alight with giggles at the craziness, or wide eyed at what they accomplished.

and best of all, i am being here for my mom & dad. they have been there so much for me in my life - and now i get to, in some small way, step in and be there for them. even if my week fell apart, it would still be worth it. my friend krii said to me yesterday, "kindness is love with it's boots on." ... well, my boots are on, and ready for as long a march as is necessary.

in the words of virgil "nos cedamus Amori"... and we ourselves yeild to love.

Monday, June 15, 2009

fun fun fun!

woot! guess what!? not only am i singing the national anthem on july 2nd, but i just got asked to sing the canadian anthem on june 29th! come out & let the good times roll! usa baseball national training center in cary!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

updates....

THIS is what a vacation should be:

the best people in the world, who know you and love you, and just let you be you...

laying by the pool... or sitting in the hot tub in the cool breezes of evening...

sleeping in & staying up late, playing catan....

napa valley... domaine chandon, rutherford caves....

random food and drink, laughing, talking... just being.

better than all the tea in china.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

california dreaming!

we are going on vacation! a for real vacation! without children, not to visit family, and not just in our own state! we are going to sunny california to visit our dearest friends andrew & shanna! for a whole week! WOOT!

this is waaaaay past due...

Monday, June 08, 2009

15 years & counting

turns out that curtis has secretly always wanted to learn origami!

we were strolling through barnes and noble last night when he pulled an origami kit off the shelf and said, "if i got one of these for christmas i would not be disappointed." huh! you think you know a person, and then, wham! :) so i snuck over to the counter where they have the little tiny box kits, and got him an origami for beginners box! we sat outside at the mall at one of the tables, and in the fading light curtis folded his very first origami creation... the swan! i was so proud!

frankly, his personal sense of accomplishment was charming! it made me laugh out loud! he's a nice boy... i think i'll keep him!


we interrupt your regularily scheduled programming....

i was going to post a long, funny story about why i am anti-"Jesus fish"... but instead, you get this.

MY STUPID LAPTOP AND IT'S ^%$#^@!# BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!!

that is all.

Friday, June 05, 2009

we did it!

unreal. today is the last day of school!

as i prayed for kyra this morning before she left, i said, "kyra, you did it! you survived your first year of middle school!" to which she replied, grinning, "with flying colors and straight a's!" :) she conquered a huge fear, overcame some panic, and grew up right before my eyes. i am so proud of her!

meg is headed into 4th grade, and is a girl of uncommon mercy. for such a wild child, she seeks out the unloved & "unlovable" to befriend, often being the only kind word or touch in the classroom. she is another straight A student, but i am most proud of her merciful heart.

i love these girls. madly. :)

*****
in other news, curtis thought this was offensive. i just thought it was funny. you can judge for yourself by clicking here. you are forewarned. :)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

mark your calendars!


i can't believe it!

after watching me waddle onto the field, 8mo preggo with twins, and then begin with the wrong anthem, usa baseball has invited me back! frankly, i was shocked! pleasantly, obviously, but shocked none the less! so, on july 2, i will be singing the anthem for usa baseball v. guatemala! woot! who wants to come to the game??

(also obviously, this pic is from a different anthem-ing... a much thinner one! ha!)_

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

full to bursting


my parents are nuts.

yesterday, the first day of their summer vacation, they spontaneously got in their car with some omaha steaks and drove 8 1/2 hours to my house for dinner. yes, you read that right. dinner. and it was a lovely, tasty dinner, after which we hung out and be-ed a family. and then at 9 this morning they left for their return trip. may i remind you at this point that The Girls are going to their house on sunday, and staying til the end of the month... i mean, it's not as though they aren't going to see them!

so we let the girls stay home a bit this morning, for bagels & toast all together, and a little bit of couch snuggling. then we all said good bye at the front door and headed off to school, work, and.... kentucky.

nuts
, i tell you.

it was ridiculous, true. but it was also the good stuff - the stuff life ought to be made of. and now i start my day with a heart that is fat and happy... full of the good stuff.

Monday, June 01, 2009

soothing the savage beast

some people are just plain good for you.

you know - those people who, when you are around them, make you happier just because you are in their presence. they are infectious, with beautiful hearts & carrying almost of fragrance of, 'it's gonna be ok."

i spent a couple hours today with one of my people like that - tenea. i want to be more like her... she was a spring of fresh water to me today, and someday i want to be like that for someone else.

thanks, t. medicine for my soul.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

sunday nights


i hate to be maudlin. i really do. but i want to go home.

what do you do when you are at home, but you want to go home?

not to my parents house, not to my childhood residence.... but home.

i am done my life for today.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

perfect day

the inflatable pool is on the deck, slowing filling from the hose.

the sun is beating down and the fans are swirling the air in every room.

ahhhh..... summer.

Friday, May 29, 2009

nutmeg


"Allow children to be happy in their own way, for what better way will they find?" (Samuel Johnson)

meet nutmeg. she is our beautiful, joyful, moody, creative & wild 9 year old, and this is one of her (many!) dreams - pink hair. what mother would deny her 9 year old the ability to be "happy in their own way" for something so simple, so easy as that? she flounced out of the house today with a wide grin, calling behind her, "i'll let you know what everyone thinks about my hair!" she expects some envy, some bewilderment, and some disdain. but she doesn't care - because she is a fierce individual who is being raised on the truth that it is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.

i believe one of the greatest gifts i will give my daughters is the ability to love themselves for who they are - their whole selves. to acknowledge their weaknesses, revel in their strengths, and move with grace through a world that will judge both. it's a difficult thing to impart, but i am trying, every day. it is a battle i will not surrender.

frankly, the world could use a little more pink hair.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

i knew it!

i experienced a little piece of americana last night: the golden corral.

curtis and i have long avoided it's cattle shute approach to food, but thanks to the girl scouts year end "banquet", there was nothing to be done. so i paid my $9.99 and entered... with trepidation. and it turned out that i was justified in my fears.

as i paced up and down the astonishingly long counters, people passed with plates piled high. i, on the other hand, could not bring myself to put anything onto mine. i finally settled on a bit of pot roast, some bourbon chicken and fried rice. the roast was tender, true, but whatever it was slathered in was inedible. the rice was spiced with something akin to plastic, and the chicken, well, i actually ate that. i left the rest on my plate, appalled at both my wastefulness, and the food itself.

thank goodness for the salad bar...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ta da!

some of you ask, so here you go! i present to you, aly & zoe! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

direction vs. intention

"I want the presence of God Himself, or I don't want anything at all to do with religion...I want all that God has or I don't want any." - a.w. tozer

curtis and i have been talking on and off lately about "religion"... what it is, what it isn't, what it ought to be and whether it should be thrown out all together. this quote is pretty close to what i would say, too... pretty close to my hearts desire.

the tricky thing here is that, as andy stanley said, "direction, not intention, determines your destination". you can "want all that God has" - intend it, if you will - but if you are not going in that direction with your choices, your destination isn't going to look much like what you intended. and this is where what would fall under the catagory of "religion" can be helpful; it gives a structure to inform our choices. a map, if you will, to help us choose our direction wisely.

but.

following the map for the map's sake is insufficient. and this is where "religion" is a risky proposition.
tozer makes this point with the little word "or". "i want God, or i want nothing to do with religion". he knows that our disciplines and practices are empty and hollow unless they lead us into the heart of God. going through the motions doesn't give you "all that God has", because God is inherently not interested in our motions; they are fully insufficient anyways. we are none of us holy, and our best effort is simply not good enough. but there is good news here - God "desires mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings". or, in the message translation, "I'm after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings."

yet our love finds it's framework in the disciplines and practices of our faith. because i love curtis, i want to show him. i want to know what he wants, i want to make him happy. and from God's point of view, because he loves us he wants us to, in the words of ralph (a la simpson's valentine episode), "choo-choo-choose" him. not check off a list of "to do's" that will satisfy some vending machine God, but choose him. choose to engage our hearts and minds in putting hands and feet to our intentions.

because your direction determines your destination; not your intention.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

i'm up way too late ... again...


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." - c.s. lewis

good friends ... easy conversation ... a night of hope and future and the camaraderie of shared experiences. brownies and beer ... little footsteps thumping up and down stairs til pale faced & sleepy eyed they wander into the living room, reminding the grown ups that it was later than we thought.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

confession

it's late for a saturday night around here, and i'm the only one up.

alone in the night is an entirely different experience than alone in the day. in the afternoon delivery men and neighbors drive down the street, dogs bark and birds chips. but not at night. a lone & distant frog is the only sound, and that muted by the windows & walls.

lately, i don't often let myself get this far. i used to think & read & write & turn life over in my mind a lot. not lately. there is too much that i would rather not remember or mark - too much that i want to forget so that i will be able to sleep. so i go to bed early, and toss and turn, contenting myself with thinking about whether or not i turned the air on, and if the bedroom fan is too loud.

yet here i sit. perhaps i am avoiding the darkness by writing these words. in fact, i probably am. maybe i should go ...

new buttons!

oooo look! if you don't like, or don't feel like, leaving comments, just click one of the buttons at the bottom of the post, a la facebook!

Friday, May 22, 2009

meeting mark


i was reminded today that this is the 2nd anniversary of "meeting mark". i count from a little earlier, when we started talking, but memorial weekend is the weekend we clapped eyes on one another. the things i remember about that weekend would fill pages here - so i will keep it down to one, for your sakes. :)

i didn't look enough. i would look at him, but he'd notice and i'd look away. i was too shy (me, shy!?) to really look, to stare, to drink in his face and expressions, to etch them into my mind. i regretted it as soon as we got in the car to drive away. i was so worried that this had been my only chance, and i'd blown it.

clearly, i was wrong! :) thank God!

a funny thing has happened in my mind. although i know my life exists as "pre & post mark", my brain works hard to fit him into my childhood, my memories. i don't remember anything clearly anymore... there's always someone moving in the photo - a blur. it's odd, but in my heart, there is no "pre/post" distinction. my entire inner orientation has shifted, so my life has always been "post mark". i know that probably doesn't make sense to you, but there you have it.

he is a lovely boy. i secretly love him! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

oh the things i've seen

her mousy hair is pulled back in a headband, revealing a solemn face with large eyes behind red-framed glasses. carefully following the line behind all the other 1st graders slipping beneath my gaze i almost missed her. and i would have, except for her hands.

held carefully at waist height, with the palms turned toward her body and hands clutching empty air, they bobbed every so slightly with each step. not just up and down, but a slight rocking forward motion. my eyes travelled down to her pink clad feet, and saw the most discreet hint of a stutter step - an intentional gait that was done with such grace & control that you could hardly notice it. but every tenth step or so, she would forget herself and one mighty galloping step would escape.

and so, down the hall she goes, this serious little girl quietly riding her invisible horse.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the mulders give it 2 thumbs up!


ok. much to our great surprise, the new star trek movie is fantastic! i mean, we thought it'd totally be enjoyable, but it was really, really good! the time went by so quickly, and we were totally engaged -pardon the pun! :) and for the record, the casting was superb!

it ain't all it's cracked up to be

this morning was my first of three mornings this week where i am proctoring for the EOG's (end of grade tests) at my daughters' school. the rules surrounding these tests are fierce and yet, somehow, it managed to be the most excruciatingly boring morning of my life. a proctor must be on their feet at all times - for 3 hours! -, roaming the room and keeping an eye on the students...while not touching any of the materials. watching closely to ensure that they are filling in bubble 34 when they are answering question 34, that sort of thing. oh! i also functioned as a bathroom escort - very exciting!

maybe tomorrow i'll get hall monitor duty... i hear they get to sit down...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

the view





i have nothing interesting or new to share - i just didn't want that disgusting picture of a tick to be the first thing you saw when you strolled up to the porch!

plus i'd love to go on safari.

Friday, May 15, 2009

sheesh!

EIGHT.

we are up to EIGHT ticks already this year - that is more than all the years previous to this combined!

ticks are disgusting, sneaky, diseased little buggers... and i hate them. the one pictured above is the female lonestar tick, most recently pulled out of kyra's hair 2 nights ago, after she came upon it while playing with her hair absentmindedly. after which her piercing screams rent the house and caused no small amount of panic. that was only number 7.

i've pulled EIGHT of them off already this year. sheesh!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

margins as metaphor


can we live without margins? without the spaces at the edge of our pages that give us room to doodle and play tic-tac-toe? obviously, we can go day to day, but can we Live?

...with no margin of time - going from "must do" to "must do" to "MUST DO" without time to sit on the porch, or go to bed early, or hang out with the people who make you laugh

...with no margin of money - paying the bills with nothing left for a coffee with friend or lunch with your honey; or trying to figure out which bill not to pay this month so you can have groceries

...with no margin of space - constantly surrounded by the needs and voices of others, with no moments where you are truly alone, in the quiet, with no conversation and no demands

...with no margin of energy - filling the demands of the world, leaving you with no energy to give to what you want to give, be that your family, a good cause, or just walking the dog

Life was made to have wide margins - in fact, i would argue that some of it's best moments happen in the margins of our pages. living without them drains us of so much of our best selves. i know too many people living without margin... it seems to be the curse of our culture. but we would do well to take a look at our lives and figure out where we can create a little white space, because the doodles are important.

you be x's and i'll be o's.