7.28.2008

The Worm

This morning I had to head back into work. It was tough to motivate myself but I did it. When I hopped into the van, I had this incredibly beautiful picture on my windshield and the culprit was still making his way around the glass. With such an artist in my front yard I had to remove him as gently as possible (hoping I didn't hurt him and yes, I know, he's a worm but still....)

Hope you can make out his "trail" and he started down at the bottom and worked his way up and was headed back down when I came on the scene. I took a picture from inside the van and outside. You might have to work a bit to make out all he did but he was one busy worm!!


7.26.2008

Vacation

This last week has been a busy one. I took the week off and did manage to sneak in some relaxation time but for the most part I was busy. Monday I attended another Coalition meeting and we accomplished quite a bit, I think, for such a small group that has just started. We'll be hosting an information booth on human trafficking at the upcoming Freedom Fest (August 15-17, 2008 in Snohomish) and I'm looking forward to that. I wish human trafficking didn't exist - that would take care of the need for information and getting the word out but unfortunately it does and unfortunately it is happening right where you are (yes - I meant to say you).

Tuesday Christopher & I spent a couple of hours visiting with our friends Tim & Grace. They run Haven for Life Ministries, a home for pregnant girls. They've been formed as a ministry since 2005 but have spent almost three years getting their licenses in place, fingerprints checked, classes taken and just all of that red tape stuff you need in order to take children into your home in our foster care system. I know these two are beautiful people who are looking forward to the young women God will bring into their care and I can't wait to meet them, either. I have agreed to be a mentor in their ministry and we will all (Tim & Grace, the Board & Mentors) be praying over each girl as she comes into the home and when they feel they have one that would be a good match for the mentor, that's when the mentor will "get" a girl. I'm not sure how else to describe it, really, I just know I'm looking forward to whomever God tells them is mine.

Wednesday I met with our Missions Pastor and the Executive Director of Proverbs 31:20 Ministries and (1) Proverbs 31:20 will be supporting me as I begin work in the human trafficking area and (2) I have been given permission to be Canyon Hills' representative in the Coalition. THAT was exciting news!!! I have to continue praying as I step out here and I most definitely would appreciate it if you mention me in your prayers as I move forward. As a member of this Coalition, representing my church in this community endeavor, I need to discern God's voice constantly and I get a bit nervous about that. I will need to remain humble and that idea concerns me, too. Pride is a problem for everyone and it is a bit of a conundrum for me...I know God gave me a personality for "leadership" but I never feel comfortable with it. People tell me that's a good thing - I'll never be too sure of myself or get cocky but that doesn't help too much, really. There are decisions to make and I have to make them or help make them - I don't get to just sit back and get told what to do. Lives will actually depend on what this Coalition does and we can never forget it belongs to God and it is His work we are to do. It's easy to run in front of Him or head down a side road He doesn't want us on. It is harder to keep our eyes focused on Him and not worry about watching where we walk - He is to be our guide, our leader. Giving up that control is really hard for me. Yes - I know - everyone struggles with that idea but I don't have to live inside anyone else, I am stuck inside of me.

So...back to my calendar of events. Thursday I actually spent some time cleaning around the house a bit, watched my husband finish taking out the back deck and relaxed. It was kind of fun just sitting around for a good part of the day. We had our Lifegroup over Thursday night and talked through Chapter 21 of Ezekiel. It was good in that it brought up another question for me. Lately, my reading through the Bible or other's readings have had me thinking of a few interesting questions. One them being from Ezekiel 21. Now, in Ezekiel 21, God is telling Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that He's done. He's given them all the warning their going to get and now Jerusalem is going down. Additionally, God states His wrath is going to take out the Ammonites (for laughing at the Israelites and their troubles, which is putting it mildly, by the way). He's not going to just discipline them a bit, He says:

28 "And you, son of man, prophesy and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says about the Ammonites and their insults:

" 'A sword, a sword, drawn for the slaughter,
polished to consume and to flash like lightning!
29 Despite false visions concerning you
and lying divinations about you,
it will be laid on the necks
of the wicked who are to be slain,
whose day has come,
whose time of punishment has reached its climax.

30 Return the sword to its scabbard.
In the place where you were created,
in the land of your ancestry,
I will judge you.

31 I will pour out my wrath upon you
and breathe out my fiery anger against you;
I will hand you over to brutal men,
men skilled in destruction.

32 You will be fuel for the fire,
your blood will be shed in your land,
you will be remembered no more;
for I the LORD have spoken.' "

Couple of things in there and not the least of which is the part where He tells them He's going to hand them over to brutal men, men skilled in destruction. I shivered when I read that. Imagine being turned over to men who are "skilled in destruction." Men who enjoy inflicting pain and killing - men without conscience. I wonder...who else will God pour His wrath on like that? Try to think of those He already has...

In verse 32, God states the Ammonites will be remembered no more. I need to do some digging on this one because it threw me off a bit when I read it. If they are to be remembered no more, per God, why do they get written down in the book of Ezekiel? How does that word in Hebrew REALLY translate into English? (And here we get into one of my biggest pet peeves about Bible translation but that's for another post. How much I wish I knew Hebrew & Greek!!!) What are we missing? "You will be remembered no more" here - does it really mean "will no longer hold any place on earth, will no longer be of any consequence in the world of nations."? Doesn't that create a scary, mighty example? To laugh at Israel - to mock Israel - to not help God's chosen people - incites the wrath of God in such a way as to be obliterated from earth. At this point in Ezekiel, God has told Ezekiel He is so angry at Israel He can no longer contain His wrath - they are to feel pain poured out by God because they have ignored Him for too long, insulted Him too often and in ways that defile even rational thought but He's even angrier at the Ammonites!

*NOTE: I did read a commentary this morning (Sunday) that states: "to be remembered no more = be consigned as a nation to oblivion." I honestly believe the "to be remembered no more" is a physical thing, they were obliterated as a people however they are "remembered" every time you read any one of a dozen different Scripture that mentions them. They are not remembered well, though. They are, first of all, the people of Lot's younger daughter (if you don't know the story of Lot, let me know. I'll fill you in) and were a people who were a hindrance to the Israelites in the beginning. The Israelites were warned to disassociate from them and ignored them. Solomon even married a few of their women... They are listed throughout the Bible and so far? I haven't read anything positive about them. One commentary got me thinking but I think I'll put that in another post. Now...back to the original post...


You know... Hebrews 10:31 states "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God"

I think, if I am to fall into His hands, I pray it is with the forgiveness that only Christ can provide because if it is in any other way, I can not imagine the horror.

So... that was Thursday.

Friday I had lunch with a friend of mine and it was just so nice to have lunch and not have to rush back to work. Nancy has been a good friend for I don't even know how many years now. She is truly an "iron sharpens iron" friend and I love having her in my life. She doesn't pull any punches and she's never going to tell you anything but how it is - or she's going to ask you what the Scripture says about whatever you're talking about - but you can bet she's never going to give you a thoughtless, careless answer to anything, either. I tell people often that I hope to grow as close to God as Nancy is, I love hearing about her walk with Him. Even the struggles are like watching a beautiful butterfly fight its way out of a cocoon. Ask me sometime about Nancy and the chicken. It is my most favorite story ever, I think. While I was at lunch (and then over at Nana's trailer to do some laundry - I can NOT wait until we don't have to do THAT anymore!), we had a company come in and haul away our junk. Not just our junk, most of it, actually, was what the previous owners left in the woods. Incredible how disgusting some people can be. We actually found a kitchen sink... yup... tossed in the woods. They even cut down some brush to cover it up so folks wouldn't see it. Can you see me rolling my eyes at this? Anyhow - they took away a truck full. Look at the piles from tearing down the deck and then... empty back yard... SOOOOOO nice!!! Now, the contractor can come in and put in our new drainfield and we can build our new deck! Get ready... that "Have a Flush on Us" party will be happening soon!!! :)




Today we went to the zoo. Christopher (who insisted he wasn't tired when we were done...look at the last picture...) had a great time. The lions and bears were sleeping so we didn't see them but the gorillas, elephants & giraffes were out playing a bit. I love the way the giraffes were being all affectionate and what-not. Hopefully the video posts correctly!





video
Tomorrow, I think, will be a day of rest. We have church in the evening and I'm serving at the information booth but I think we'll just... sleep. Watch movies. Nap. You know - do what vacations are meant for...


Hope you have a great summer vacation, too!!

7.20.2008

Lavender Festival


I'll try to upload my pictures later and add them to this post. I didn't take too many although the lavender fields are beautiful. At one farm there was a large family of Quail wandering through one of the fields but we didn't realize it in time and sent them running for cover with our noise. What a disappointment THAT was - I would have loved to get those babies in a picture!

It was a beautiful, sunny day. We like to say that's a bit unusual in the Northwest and after months & month of rain and one of the coldest Junes on record, I think we wake up every morning a bit trepidatious - we're so afraid our sun spell is at an end. It has not, however, quit on us yet and I am so grateful for every opportunity to enjoy it.

When I was a kid, my father used to toss us in the truck and take us camping every chance he had. We traveled up and down the east coast - more down than up, I suppose since the furthest north I remember going was upstate New York but still - a lot of woods, a lot of the Poconos and some Alleghenies trips... a lot of mountains. I used to think there wasn't prettier country anywhere than Skyline Drive in Virginia but then I came to Washington. It is absolutely breath-takingly beautiful out here. Mt. Rainier, even when it's hazy and hard to see, is practically heart-stopping. I know God took care when He made all of His creation but I sometimes think He stopped here for just a little while longer, pulled out His panoramic paint set and set His imagination on fire. Every time you turn around there is another creek, another river, another forest, another mountain. It never ends and just when I think I've seen the prettiest ocean sunset or the greenest clump of trees or the most beautiful snow-capped mountain, someone takes me, I see or I find another one.

Yesterday was no exception. We rode over to Whidbey Island on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry and then drove up to Sequim but coming home, we went the VERY long way and drove Hwy. 101. I love driving Hwy. 101 and my dream is to hop on it here at its northern-most point and drive it as far south as it will go. (I think we'll have to rent a car for that one, though because I'm sure I'll want to fly home!!!) It winds its way along the coast and every break in the trees is another stunning view. I only wish it hadn't gotten dark before we hit Olympia! I even love the metal statues of a cow and her calf that you see a few miles out of Olympia but I could only glimpse their outline last night - it was too dark to see them clearly.

The Lavender Festival -which is what I had started to write about - was a lot of fun. We did get to 5 out of the 8 farms and we walked through the street fair. What I liked about it was there were plenty of crafts people but you didn't feel completely overwhelmed and each farm had different people there. Some of the most interesting, beautiful things... I did bring home a couple of business cards and I'm sure my husband will want to cry at how much money I want to spend but...it was still fun for me! :) Mom had fun, too and we both found a few things that were different enough so we spent some money. We had dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant and it was incredibly yummy. It was hard adjusting to the slower pace (they weren't in a big ol' rush to get us back out the door so...we actually had time to eat some of our food before they came back to check on us and they didn't harass us 100 times during dinner. They did, however, keep our drinks full and our food never got cold!) but once we realized that's what we were moving at, we relaxed right into it. Can't wait to go back there!!

So. For those of you who live out of State, if you're ever interested in visiting Washington, try to plan it around the Lavender Festival (3rd weekend of July) and make your reservations early. Even the EconoLodge had no vacancies! It is so well worth your time and you'll see what I mean about the beauty up here.

Have a glorious Sunday!

7.18.2008

Malapropisms

I spend some time checking out a few blogs and one of them I've recently started reading is Beth Moore's. She's a teacher and writer and while I've never met her personally she comes across as someone who would be an absolute hoot to be friends with - although she'd challenge the daylights out of you in your thinking about God.

She wrote a blip in her blog yesterday and I am going to share it practically word for word. She had me rolling because - well - anyone who has spent any time chatting with my Mom has heard at one time or another one of her little quips. She has so many words she "malapropizes" that we created a dictionary and they are good for the occasional giggle. So... here is Beth's post and then I'll write more:

"OK, this should be a fun one! I just learned a term for something I'm painfully familiar with but didn't know what to call it. It's "Malapropism" and I learned what it meant from a delightful little book called "Tales of a Crazy Pastor's Wife" by Laurie Berry Clifford and Margie Berry Fogal. .... I'll offer their definition of it: "Malapropism (n): The unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong on the context." They throw a couple of examples on the table like "polo bears" and "neon (aka nylon) stockings." One of the authors identifies herself as an avid malapropist and explains that, when she was a child, she used "underpass" for "underpants." Killed me."

So...(back to Bonnie) my mother is an avid malapropist (and she will want to smack me for this post, I'm sure) but I started laughing yesterday when I read Beth and thought of Mom immediately. We have, for years, enjoyed her setting the "aviance" (ambiance) and telling us about the "keller" (color) of something. How many times has she wushed (wished) upon a star and kicked a "dunkey" (donkey). She insists it's an "accent" thing but.. uh... Dad, Mike, Brenda & I were all in the same house and not one of us says "keller." I'm pretty sure it's all her. There are sooooo many and the dictionary is on a disk at home. If I still had it here, I'd share the WHOLE thing in this post (she'd love me!).

rhododendrum....
asspergrass....
falk pooh... (faux pas, even we had trouble figuring THAT one out...)

What am I forgetting Brenda? Cristina? There are pages and pages of this stuff...

Might have to start calling her "Mal" for fun. :)

love you, Mom!!!

Have a good weekend, everyone. Mom and I are off to Sequim for the Lavendar Festival. I'm looking forward to it, actually. I've been wanting to go for years and this year works out ducky. Aaron & Christopher are leaving this morning to go camping for the weekend. That is, of course, if Aaron wakes up today. He & a couple of his friends were out at Crossroads this morning (midnight, Aaron says he got home at 4AM...) to see the opening of The Dark Knight. Aaron said it was worth it. At least I'm pretty sure that's what he said. He was still asleep when he was talking to me. :)

I'm on vacation from work next week (YAY!!!) so let's see if I am productive or end up spending a mostly lazy week... I'll let you know!

7.17.2008

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

**Update...my sister has oh-so-lovingly pointed out that in my garden I have a skunk, not a turtle. In case anyone was wondering, I know that. The snail on his back, though, reminded me of the joke and since this particular skunk would be moving MUCH slower than any turtle (that is still breathing), I thought it funny... so... there you go. :)

So... this morning... I was heading out the door to work and I happened to spot this sight in my garden. As soon as I saw it, I heard my niece telling us a joke a few years back (probably 4 years ago now, if not more).



"What did the snail say as it rode on the back of the turtle?"












Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee......





I thought it was giggle-worthy. :)

7.11.2008

Prayer


Tonight is my monthly get together with a few friends and we'll spend about an hour to an hour & a half in prayer. One of my prayers is the group grows larger but I'm not complaining about the size - there are at least 3 of us who are there every month, we have been as many as 5 - it's a good size. I would just love to see God join us together, more women, on a regular basis. Perhaps it is because I live in a house surrounded by two men, one boy and one male dog that I crave female companionship. I'm not sure. I've been trying to get back to my Monday night study but there is something out there that, for whatever reason, doesn't seem to want me to get back with that group. Each week it has been one problem after another and for the next three weeks Mom & I are taking tennis lessons on Monday & Wednesday nights so it'll be August before I can try again. ::sigh:: But...I rabbit trail... prayer night.



We spend our time praying for whatever it is God has put on our hearts. It seems the bulk of our prayers, though, have been for America at large and the leadership we have and will have come January 20, 2009. We know no one is a leader who is not God-chosen for the role (Daniel 2:17-23 and Romans 13:1-7) so we pray that whoever God places there will turn to Him for wisdom, guidance and comfort. We pray, too, that the American people would turn back to the God who was with those men who established this country. Not one of those men of the first Continental Congress thought they could rely on anyone before God. They knew it was only the Almighty that would help them to succeed or allow them to fail. It was by that faith, I believe, they were able to stand strong in the face of so much. When I think of men and women with that kind of faith and courage, I often try to put myself in their place and I wonder if I would be as willing to take such risk. The answer is usually I don't know. Perhaps a person just doesn't know until they're put in that position. I don't know.


We also pray for our community, our families, our friends and even for complete strangers. Nothing is really off limts here. This group is meant as a support, a strength for prayer. I know how easy it is to get distracted enough that you don't pray. I do it constantly. I forget to pray a lot. I am also good at talking when I pray, sitting silenty is a struggle for me. However, like all good conversations with friends, it is a work in progress and is getting better all the time. I am trying to spend more time listening instead of talking. Anyone who knows me knows how big a struggle that is!!! I don't like to be quiet normally - at least not for too long. I remind myself constantly that prayer is my communion with God and my communication with God. Ultimately, it is a form of communication FROM God and in order for that to work, I have to shut myself up on occasion. I would be (and am when I realize I've missed it) genuinely devastated if I missed something He has to say to me.



On a lighter note...I was going through the files on my computer, looking for a picture to add to this thing for fun and came across some older I thought I'd share. They were taken in 2003 and I still can't believe it's been 5 years since we did them. Feels like yesterday.




7.08.2008

4th Pictures

Thought I'd share a few pictures from our 4th of July. Mom's 4th of July bbq's always involve a theme. This year... pirates... I wonder if I can ever get tired of saying man we have some cute kids in our family??? :)




7.07.2008

1 John

I've decided to study 1 John for a while. It's a very short book - all of 5 chapters but it is so full of beauty I've decided to rest there for a bit. Yesterday, in 1 John 2 there is a phrase that was used twice that jumped out at me - "because you have known him who is from the beginning" and it thumped me a bit in the heart again. John didn't write as someone who heard stories he just needed to share, he was THERE. Jesus washed his feet. He ate with Christ, traveled with Christ, was there when Peter answered him "You are the Messiah. The Son of the Living God" and all that means. He was there on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured and Moses and Elijah "who were talking with him." He isn't speaking as some bystander. He knows what happened and risked a lot to write it down. He doesn't use that phrase to describe himself, though. It is for the fathers. I have to think about them, too. How did they recognize Christ for who He is and not "miss" that? How is it that so many people have missed it and do miss it? Would I know Christ for who He is if He stood before me in the flesh?


There is a Dead Sea Scroll-type tablet that is in the process of being translated and studied. The article in the New York Times over the weekend states that it might be a table to shake Chrisitanity's theology up a bit. It seems to be the latest round in satan's war to draw more people away from the Living God. What a sad and sorry goal he has and with what futility he goes about reaching it. The article stated that the scholars who are studying it have to guess at a few words - they are so faded as to be illegible. Also, it seems to speak of a messiah dying and rising in three days was a general practice of a certain sect of Jews at the time. How will they prove it was a "practice?" Do they have the proof that these messiahs actually did rise after three days? Were they completely dead or were they just in a coma of some sort? How will they try to disparage the fact that Jesus doesn't just meet that one prophecy but meets something like 108 other prophecies foretelling his coming in the Bible? How do they account for those who in Acts 1 watched him ascend into heaven? Mushrooms, I'm sure... I'm sorry for the sarcasm but it frustrates me that so many people spend so much of their lives here trying to disprove who Jesus "was" instead of getting to know who He is. I ache to see the fear, the anger, the stubborness that so many people maintain in their crying out that Jesus was not the Christ, that He is not the Son of God. Some even taking it further - that there is no God. I often wonder how people can sustain that argument. When I doubt my faith (and I do sometimes), I rarely have to think further than the apostles who were witnesses of Christ's work here on earth and then martyred after He had ascended and they had spent years teaching about Him. Who would die for a lie? I mean - I can't imagine being willing to die for anything or anyone beyond my children but these men... How about Paul? I mean - Paul was the Bill Gates of his time. Rich, successful, respected. It would be like Bill Gates having spent his career designing and creating a better operating system and software and waking up one day to say computers are bad, shouldn't exist, walking away from his fortune to tell anyone and everyone that they should never touch another computer... An opposite analogy, I know, but I hope you see my point.
So... 1 John. Sorry - I get a bit worked up. Hence my needing to "rest" for a while in a beautiful book, I think. We'll see what other rabbit trails this book takes me down...