Bidding 2010 Adieu

It's been pretty interesting this last week.  So many of my friends via Facebook or in conversation have stated how happy they are to see 2010 leave us and 2011 begin.  The idea of a "fresh start" is so ingrained in many of us for January 1st.  The idea that a year can be "bad" and we can banish the "bad" and leave it behind because it's a new year according to the calendar.  The calendar we currently use...it doesn't have any real significance except to help us mark the days, delineate between seasons, anniversaries, birthdays.  There is no physical mark in time via the calendar itself. It's funny how our brains can wrap around different ideas, though.  How circumstances can bring us down but we find hope - somehow, some way. 

And that is what I grasp every New Year.  A replenishment of hope, of hope that has been drained through the year.  The best thing, though - and I do not say this to make anyone, who does not experience the same, feel bad - I seem to need less "re-filling" every year.  When I keep my eyes on God, relying on Him and trusting in His will, He replenishes my hope throughout the year.  I am not "empty" on December 31st.  January 1 becomes a time of reflection, then.  A day to look back and see just how much God has truly blessed me in the last year.

If I were to make a list of those things from 2010 that happened, I would hope I could remember more good than bad.  Truth is, though, some of the "bad" from 2010 was pretty big so it might be tough.  I believe, though, I need to give it the old college try.  It's important to never forget God wants to bless us and to keep our eyes turned to Him so when the 'bad' in this life tries to drag us under, we know He intends only what is best for us.  So, here is the list I can think of today.  I will probably be able to add more to it over the next day or two but here is my start:

For 2010:
The good:
1.  My husband and I grew closer together, strengthening our marriage.
2.  Both of my sons are healthy and happy.
3.  Connecting with old friends via Facebook.  Who would have thought technology as we have available would ever exist?
4.  Connecting with new people via blogging.
5.  Our Thursday night Lifegroup has seen several visitors and two new people joined us permanently in   2010 bringing our total group to 11.
6.  We caught our water main leak pretty early.  Our water bill could have hit the high hundreds if it had continued much longer.
7.  Snow has fallen and we are all safe, our house is warm and our roof is snug.
8.  When Aaron lost his job, he found another one in 2 months
9.  I have really learned the value of leaving things in God's hands.  A hard lesson to "really" learn - we're not in control - but oh what freedom in letting God handle it!
10.  In breaking my toe/messing up my foot, I've had to sit and be quiet.  A lot.  It's been nice to "have" to slow down.
11.  I managed to get in a trip to the ocean for some much-needed majestic-time with God (I am always in awe of His magnitude at the ocean)
12.  We planted roses last summer
13.  We have developed a closer friendship with one of our neighbors

The not-so Good:
1.  Mom's cancer ~ getting worse, not better.  2011 may not be such a good year for this.  Or, perhaps, this chemo will work so it'll be a pretty good year.  That is all in God's hands.
2.  Mom had to retire so we're trying to replace her at work.
3.  Aaron lost his job and was unemployed
4.  We were robbed in October.
5.  A friend of ours has had a reoccurrence of his metastatic melanoma.  We don't know what that will mean for him as yet, depends on the stage.  2011 will bring all of that.
6.  Broke my toe & bruised my foot pretty well, shifting pins a bit.  There is a blessing in that, too, though (see # 10 above)

Just in the few minutes I worked on that list, my good is twice as long as my bad.  Even when the bad can feel overwhelming, God reminds us of His strength, His beauty and His capabilities.  A teacher once talked to us of learning the material she would share until we "know it in our knower."  How I hope you "know in your knower" the strength our Creator, our Redeemer, our Savior provides.  How He longs for us to cling to His robes, keep our eyes on Him and rely on Him to know what's best, do what's best - even if it means pain and difficulty for us at times.

I can pray - and do pray - for 2011, and it's the same as I pray every year:  God willing there be more happy memories than sad memories for you.  May His blessings pour out on your like warm rain on a summer day.  If, instead, 2011 is to prove challenging, may God grant you His grace and strength to handle it with dignity.  May He remind you of His presence in every moment of every day.  May He shine through you in both the happy occasions and the sad. 

The Irish prayer many people entitle "Enough" (or something like it) comes to mind.  It reads:

May there always be work for your hands to do,
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine warm on your windowpane,
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

From me & mine, have a Blessed New Year!


Christmas 2010

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.

~Luke 1:31-33

May the remembrance of the birth of He whose kingdom will never end bring you unending joy and peace today and always.  Blessings to you & yours from me & mine.

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Season

Am I the only one who just realized today that there are only 11 days left until Christmas?  Panic has begun to set in... 

Tomorrow is my son's "formal" at school.  The 5th and 6th graders dress up every year, bring in all sorts of yummy food and share a "formal" lunch with one another before Christmas.  It sounds tremendously exciting but it has crept up on me and now here it is, 24 hours until it happens and does my son have anything even remotely appropriate to wear?  Nope. 

In ten days we'll be at A's sister's house for our Christmas celebration with his family.  Have I so much as even given a thought to the gifts we're getting them?  Nope.  How about what it is that I'm supposed to be providing for food?  Nope.

Then...Christmas day at my house.  My son's opening their gifts, hanging out, eating all day long and then a big dinner.  Have I started to plan?  Nope.

Family gifts?  Work gifts?  Bible study gifts?  Nope.  Nope.  and... Nope.

Oh my oh my oh my... 

How I love this time of year but this year it seems to have snuck up on me and caught me by surprise. 

Hope your holiday season is going just a bit more smoothly than mine!!!!

One thing I can say, though, is last Saturday was the Spirit of Christmas luncheon at my church.  Proverbs 31:20 Ministries puts this luncheon together every year for the local shelters.  We invite the women and children in various shelters and transitional housing to our church, set tables with beautiful china and then serve them a wonderful lunch, give them gifts, spoil their children and just share Jesus with them.  It is the one event every year I ask God to make sure I can please do.  I can miss my office holiday party, various other get togethers and even cancel my cookie exchange (which I had to this year - silly broken toe) but to miss the Spirit of Christmas luncheon would be devastating.  I simply can't imagine it and I pray God allows me to continue being a part of it for years to come.

That'll be a post soon.  Posting pictures of the tables that were set.  They're gorgeous and as always, I am amazed at the creativity of women and the beauty they find in the simplest of things.  I can't wait to share!

Be blessed this holiday season, no matter how crazy or quiet it is for you (and I pray it's more quiet than crazy).  Take some time alone, even if you have to force it, to remember just what we celebrate at this time of year.  The Prince of Heaven gave up all of His riches, His throne and His power for a time to come here to earth, to be amongst us, to teach us and to love us and ultimately...to die for us.  A powerful, amazing gift words can never fully explain or describe.

Blessed Christmas and may your 2011 be the best year you have had yet!


Sunday Strength

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

~1 Samuel 16:7


Absolutely Amazing

I've been privileged today to see two incredible videos.  One is a repeat, I saw it several weeks ago but the second one was shared with me today.  Both of them are worth watching several times. 

This first one features a young lady named Lola.  She's 11.  And she's incredible.  Watch the story to see why. 

Eric's Little Heroes

The second one was put together by the 15 year old daughter of a listener of my radio station, Spirit 105.3.   This one is also incredible. 

My Own Little World Stop-Motion Video

Amazingly talented and gifted young women.  God never runs out of gifts, does He?



All over the place...

I broke a couple of toes the day before Thanksgiving.  It has been an incredibly painful couple of days.  Come Monday I'll be calling my podiatrist, there are pins in my foot and I need to make sure they weren't compromised with my great kick.  That's probably how I'll refer to it.  It wasn't even much of a kick but "my great toe stubbing" doesn't sound as glamorous.

Since I'm bound to sit as much as possible because standing causes incredible, painful pounding, I've been reading a few blogs and catching up.  The thing is?  I really wish I hadn't started.  I'm reading about so little beyond pain and hurt feelings and ministries having to close down and.. well..  very little in the way of "good" news.

It has me thinking.  It has me realizing that I'm not the only one dealing with a mother who is battling cancer (and not winning that battle), I'm not the only one with broken bones or pain in my heart because of family difficulties. 

I mean... I knew that.  On an intellecutal level.  But on a heart level?  I really have been focusing more on me than on anyone else.  I've given up my two nights a month doing devotions at the local homeless shelter.  Why?  It was just too difficult for me to get up there.  I haven't really made an effort to find out about babies and moms who need showers there, either.  Why?  Too much for me to coordinate.  There just isn't time.  I need to focus on my family.

And any one of a dozen other reasons that are starting to sound just a little whiny and a bit like excuses.

Thanksgiving day I got to see my newest niece in person for the first time.  She was born June 6th.  She lives less than 10 miles away but my sister & brother-in-law haven't spoken to me in over 2 years and they've been using this latest child to punish me.  It's childish and ridiculous and all I could think as I looked at this little face was... nothing.  There was no deep connection and when that hit me, it broke my heart.  She is blood, she is family and my heart didn't leap at the sight of her.  All I could consider was my anger at her parents for their inexcusable behavior.  Their cowardice.  And my family's apathy in dealing with it all.  And how angry I am that they've taken these relationships away from me (my sister & brother-in-law have 3 girls, 13, 9 & 5 months), used these children against me.  How wrong it is.  How unfair it is.  How childish it is.

At least...that's my perspective.

Who knows what their thoughts are.  We never did share anything on a deeper level.  Sometimes I don't think I have a real relationship with anyone in my family.  And I wonder - is that me or is it them?  Probably both but I can't do anything about their part in it, all I can do is ask God to help me examine myself.  And I'm not really sure what He's telling me most of the time.  There are so many things He has changed in me, so many areas in which I have grown.  So why is it all still so messed up?  Why can't I seem to get being me right?

Perhaps it isn't just what I need to learn.  Maybe... just maybe... all of this "ugly" that so many people seem to be going through is something we all need to learn together.  Maybe, as much as we like to "think" we're a community, we still have so much missing.  Maybe...just maybe... we're relying on this online community a bit too much.  I don't know.  I really don't.  Perhaps we think we're more balanced then we are and we don't think we're turning to the internet too much but maybe God is pushing us back to interacting more with those people who are genuinely in our lives instead of those who are only superficially in our lives.  I could most definitely be wrong and that could be my problem, my problem only.  After all, I used to be quite addicted to AOL chat rooms.  I was a "regular."  I was "popular."  I could be slipping into some old habits.

I don't know but...

How many times do I read "I consider you my friends, even though I wouldn't know you if I passed you on the street."  Or something like that...  How is that "real" community?  Isn't there more to Christ's teaching than us realizing who "we" are?  Aren't we supposed to become less so He becomes more?  Am I really doing that or am I assuaging some guilt somewhere by "learning" about myself so God can make me better?  Isn't that still making it about me?  I read an absolutely brilliant post that has me thinking about how I react, or think about things and I start wondering...does it really matter what I think?  What does God think?  And then...I put that thought process down because it really is a pretty tough road to walk.  It means ignoring what I want and that is pretty tough to do.

I don't think this is finished.  Not by a long shot.  And perhaps, just perhaps, I'll have the guts to look at it closer, dive into it deeper.  Clear out all of the fuzzy stuff I just wrote and have it be a bit more understandable.  Maybe.  Then again, if I stay true to form, I'll think it far too difficult and not enough about me and I'll move on to something else...

God, I pray not.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Family  - Thanksgiving 199?
May your turkey be beautifully golden brown and juicy.
May your stuffing be plentiful and moist.
May your veggies be butter-covered and yummy.
May your bread be warm and tasty.
May your pumpkin pie be the best you've ever tasted.

And may you be amazed at all you have to be thankful for this year...

Blessings to you & yours!!


Random Snow Thoughts

The view out my office window Monday AM

It snowed today.  It will probably snow quite a bit today.  It wasn't snowing when I left for work so I drove myself.  Crazy monkey lady.  I had to drive my van home at 9AM.  I live less than 2 miles away.  My boss came to get me and we were back here by 10AM.  One hour for less than 4 miles. 

We don't know how to deal with snow out here.  I know I don't.  I'm a total panic-crazed nut.  I know I shouldn't be on the road hence I do everything I possibly can to make sure I'm not.

It's only November 22nd.  What's it doing snowing anyway?  I live in Washington State.  The Pacific Northwest.  We don't GET snow.  WE get rain.

God is in a humorous mood, apparently...

I'm not sure I can match His humor, though.  Even if I do try.  I'm over 40 and snow still panics me beyond imagination.  What is with that?  I'd rather be put in a box with a thousand spiders than be in a car when it's snowing.  Or when there is snow on the road.

Out my living room window Monday PM

Snow is beautiful and I do love how it makes everything look.  It is so calming and peaceful to watch it fall.  As long as I'm in my home, fire going, dog curled up at my feet and husband & son wrestling on the floor.  THAT'S how I love snow.

Any other way?  You can keep it.  You can have it.  Even from the time I was little I never liked playing in the snow.  A bit of a prima dona, I never liked being cold OR wet and combine them, well... that left me out.

Hopefully it melts enough so we can all head up to Mom & Dad's on Thursday.  Just what I'm bringing to share could feed a small army so we need the full small army to show up.

Here's praying God finds something else to amuse Himself before Thursday...


Sunday Strength

remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

~Psalm 27:13-14

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


Sunday Strength

or Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

~1 Peter 3:18


My oh My

Dave Niehaus died tonight.  He was 75 years old, suffered a heart attack in his home and is gone. 

He was the Voice of the Mariners.  Baseball.  From their first game in 1977, Dave had broadcasted almost every  game in the Mariners' 34 seasons. 

He is the only Mariner to have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Dave-isms are a part of Mariner's baseball.  Anyone who has ever heard him broadcast a game has heard him say "My oh My," "Fly away" and "Grandma, get out the mustard & the rye bread..." (because that's a grand salami) or variations there-of and there are just so many others, I can't even begin to cover them here.

He IS the voice of the Mariners and replacing him will be impossible.  As one fan put it tonight - and it is oh so true - listening to the radio will never be the same.  Listening to a game will never be the same.

He had an amazing voice, a love of baseball (only exceeded by his love for his family and EVERYONE knew that!) and a way with turning a baseball game into a story.  You wanted to be in the booth with him and take that ride right by his side.

Words can't express how much he will be missed.  First, Harry Kalas and now Dave Niehaus.  The voices of baseball I've heard my whole life have been silenced.  How quiet - and a bit more dull - the world seems today.


Sunday Strength

E ven though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

~Habakkuk 3:17-18

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische

Daylight Savings Time Ends

You know...  it's 'fall back an hour' day.  Daylight savings time ends.  It'll be dark when I leave for work in the morning and dark when I come home at night for the next 6 months or so.  So sad...

Did you take advantage of that extra hour of sleep?  I did.  Then, of course, I'll turn around and lose it when I stay up until midnight tonight.

It would be oh so nice if the entire country were like Arizona and just didn't play with that whole time changing thing.

What do you think?


Saxophone Day

Honestly?  The idea of writing a genuine, insightful or thought-filled post makes me want to cry right now.  I just don't have it in me.  I'm really praying that goes away soon because life isn't going to stop because my mother is ill and I don't want to miss important stuff because I didn't feel like participating.

In the meantime... today, November 6, 2010 is, according to my Oriental Trading Calendar....

Saxophone Day.

When my oldest was in 6th grade, he decided he wanted to learn how to play the saxophone.  One of my saddest days was when he decided he didn't want to play it anymore.  He was a natural.  He picked that thing up and within days he was playing as if he'd been practicing for years.  None of that horrible squeaking that comes with reed instruments, he was smooth and melodic from day one.  I could listen to him play for hours.

He gave up the sax to take up the drums...  Then he gave up the drums and took up singing.  Now, he's learning guitar.  Such musical talent and still, I keep praying he'll gravitate.  Someday.  Back to that saxophone...

It was magic. 


Sandwich Day

ast year it was my Oh So Very Official Hoops & Yo-Yo Calendar (I may have to go back to that one for 2011).

This year - Oriental Trading sent me a calendar with an order I placed and IT says that today is... 


You read that right, folks.  I said Sandwich Day.

I'm a bit partial to Chicken Salad on Sourdough with Provolone, lettuce and tomato... 

How about you?

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


Sunday Strength

h, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,

that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

~Job 19:23-25

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


The Next Phase

...of the saga that is Mom's cancer has started.

This week has been a rough one and about the hardest part about it for me is the realization that it was probably easy compared to what is coming.

On Tuesday her doctor had her come in to do another CT scan.  She wants one at the end of every round of chemo to compare.  If you cancer is going to be chemo-resistant, they aren't going to waste your time or attack your body with something that isn't working.  Mom's CA-125 number had dropped but it hadn't dropped as low as her doctor would like and then this last time it did what no one wants it to do - it started to creep back up. 

Mom is one of those patients, too, that doctors point to when discussing the issues with the CA-125 test.  As invasive as her cancer is, as far as it has spread, her numbers should be in the thousands.  Normal is considered under 21.  This last round of chemo her number dropped to 20.4.  When it started to creep up?  It went to 41.  The highest her number has been is 595 (I think that was it...I may be off by one or two).  Forty-one doesn't sound too horrible now, does it?


Between her last CT scan and now, the tumors  have increased in number all over her abdominal area.  She has a 1/2 centimeter tumor in her esophagus.  Considering your esophagus is only about a centimeter in diameter, that's a pretty good-sized tumor.

The hardest to hear, though, is that she has tumors - yup plural - and not just plural, many (approximately 20) in her liver. 

There is very little they can offer to her but they won't quit trying.  Not until Mom says she's done.  To have those conversations, though.  To listen in on those conversations as she talks to her doctor...it is so hard to fathom.

My mother is 64 years old.  She has always been the most vibrant and energetic person I know.  Always on the go, can't keep her on the couch.  Now she can't get off of it.  She has played on the floor with her grandchildren up until several months ago, a few months into round one of chemo.  She has been to work almost every day of her treatment, missing a few days here and there when side effects reared their ugly head.

Chemo and inactivity caused blood clots to form in her leg.  One of them broke loose and got into her lungs.  If it hadn't hung up where it did, she'd be gone.  Taken in a few seconds.  Instead, the clot is discovered in the CT scan and she's now on a blood thinner.  She has mentioned she was spared so God could torture her.  That isn't true and she knows it but I can see how she'd feel that way.  Why save her from a blood clot to have her go through what comes next?  The spreading cancer.  Chemo that doesn't work.  Pain.  Humiliation as her body breaks down and she loses control of certain functions.


I keep praying it's because God intends a miracle.  And I am ALL for it.  I'm praying hard I get to be a witness to it because let me tell you... I will grab a bullhorn or I'll buy a microphone for my car and I will be shouting it from EVERYWHERE.  Nothing would make me happier.

However...I also know it could be He is calling her home and how He calls her home is entirely up to Him.  I don't have to understand it, like it or agree with it.  I just have to love Him and trust that He knows what He's doing. 

Honestly?  It is that faith, that belief and that knowledge that kept me from losing my temper a few times this week.  When they put Mom in the hospital on Tuesday, it looked like no big deal and they'd send her home on Wednesday.  Wednesday did not go as it should and it was really rough on Mom.  It got a little tough for me to curb my tongue a time or two and it was only that knowledge that God has it all covered that kept me from saying things to people I could not take back.  It never fails that there are insensitive people and when you need compassion you're definitely running into someone who doesn't have the slightest idea what that is.  It's not expected in a hospital but...it happens. 

When it does, I sometimes don't win the battle in my mind against uttering something sarcastic.  This time, though, praise Jesus, God kept my mouth shut.  It just has me wondering if I'm going to remember to rely on that faith every single time something comes up.  Probably not but I sure hope so.

This is a bit of a ramble and I have no gracious ending.  The only thing I can put here is what I stated earlier...with a minor twist.  This week was possibly just a hint at what is to come.  All I can pray is we all remember we serve a mighty God, an amazing God and know that He walks with us through this mess.  Right now, though, I just want to kick something...and then sit down and cry.

Instead I'll take a deep breath and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  All while praying...


Pumpkin Carving 2010

We don't "do" Halloween in our house as that whole demon & devil thing is just not welcome.  There is one thing, though, from Halloween that we do and the kids find to be a ton of fun.  I know they're meant to scare away evil spirits but there is something about carving a pumpkin every year that we have to do.  Skip the whole scaring & evil spirits thing.  We love heading out into the pumpkin patch and finding that perfect pumpkin.  I love watching my kids get into it and really enjoy themselves.  

This year, my kids got a bit fancy.  Each one did something more detailed than a few triangle eyes and broken teeth.  Here are this year's creations - lit and unlit.

It was hard to send the two home with the big kids (we kept the owl, they took the other two) but it was an amazing day!

Any time honored traditions your family does in spite of not "celebrating" Halloween?


Sunday Strength

o not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

~Matthew 6:19-21

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


One Example Of Why I Love Blogs

I've been praying for Abby for a long time now.  I check in with the blog on occasion, see how she's doing and just read up a bit.  Her father, Brent, is a compelling writer and he recently started a mini-campaign for a young lady named Jessica (Go read her story.  I'll wait). 

This is the kind of thing I love to be a part of, to add my name to, to share with you.  If you click here, it'll take you to the post Brent wrote asking those who read their blog to become a part of Jessica's world.  A few typed words, a couple of added links and a young girl who has to stand up, keep her chin up, against a world full of cruel people can be reminded that there ARE people who see her for exactly what she is - a beautiful, wonderful young lady created by God and placed here, on earth, to glorify Him.  She is a Princess - a daughter of the King of kings.  God looks at her and is pleased with what He has made. 

It is by our weaknesses that He is glorified (you know, those verses in 2 Corinthians 12...Paul & his thorn).

I'd say Jessica glows to heaven and back a bit.  I only wish I had the pleasure of see her smile in person.  But I'm not complaining.  After all, a picture says a thousand words.

So... share Jessica's story, would you?  And "like" her picture on the Disney site.  Look at that beautiful face and remind yourself that not all of us "wear" our imperfections on the outside but oh the glory that God shows in those who do. 

You are a beautiful, glorious Princess, Jessica. 

Add your post:



This past Thursday afternoon, my son came home from school to discover we had been robbed.  He didn't realize that's what had happened and when he called me, I didn't grasp what he was explaining to me (we won't get into his lack of clarity with the English language) so I didn't discover it for another hour but there it was...  dressers ransacked, the contents dumped on the floor like discarded tissues.  Jewelry.  Gone.

Almost every piece of jewelry my husband and I own.  His jewelry was actually his grandfather's.  Inherited just four years ago next month.  My jewelry box contained my memories.  There was the birthstone ring my grandmother had designed using family diamonds, given to me on my 16th birthday.  There were earrings my mother had purchased for me on her trips to Hawaii and Alaska and a Cameo necklace my father gave me for Christmas one year.  There was my grandmother's Cameo ring - fragile and very old but filled with so many memories for me.  I couldn't look at that ring and not remember my grandmother in so many places at so many different times. 

The diamond circle necklace my husband had given me.  And...the wedding band he put on my finger the day we wed.  It sat in my jewelry box because it never did match up to my engagement ring and wasn't a comfortable fit.  A plain, white gold band we have always planned on having replaced but there to remind me of that wonderful day. 

The mother of pearl inlaid silver cross my son had picked out as a Christmas present...

There was other jewelry, too.  Gifts from old boyfriends (I'd often planned on putting those pieces on ebay.  Teach me to procrastinate?), other gifts from my parents, grandparents, husband and son.  SO many memories tied into that jewelry box.

The irreplaceable - a lock of hair from my son's first haircut.  Irony in that one - I carried that lock in my wallet for twenty years (or more) and had only recently stored it in my jewelry box because where I had it in my wallet had ripped. 

My husband's box was filled with stories, too.  It held his grandfather's rank (Lt. Col. in the Army when he retired), cuff links (from what I've heard, that man looked good in a suit...and could dance well enough to make the ladies swoon).  The dresser held his Army medals (my husband's grandfather was a well decorated WWII Vet). 

We didn't look at this stuff as expensive or worth a lot of money.  These things were tangible reminders of incredible, amazing memories.  We could look at these things, even if it was a glance when digging out a pair of earrings for the day, and take a long, long walk down memory lane.

Now...some of it will be Craigslist, pawn shop or ebay fodder.  But most of it will end up in the trash.

It is that thought that actually brings me to tears.  My precious, family memories reduced to garbage in some stranger's hands.

I am sickened by the thought of this person in my bedroom, the most intimate and personal room in my home.  I am sickened by the thought of him touching my clothing, my bed.  I still have many things that need to be washed.  I want to cry at the thought of him laughing at my loss of my son's baby hair.  I want to rewind the clock to lunchtime Thursday and move those two boxes out of the bedroom.  Take them with me to work so this person cannot have our history.

To me - they are my story.  To him - a few dollars.  To me, my memories.  To him - garbage.  To me - my history.  To him - a means to get some drugs.

Yet I know...I know so much other truth and that is what I am fighting to hold onto, swim my way back to - with everything I have, to hold onto His peace at the loss of my "things."  They are just things.  Yes.  I do know and completely understand that.

A friend of mine included these verses in an email to me when she first heard:

These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!
Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.

~Proverbs 1:18-19

How so very true...and while that thought gives me comfort, I fight to hold onto that, too.  I don't want to think anything but unkind thoughts right now.  I am hurt, frustrated, angry and above all - powerless.  I don't know anything about the person who broke into my home, I can't hunt him down, I can't beg him to give me back the stuff that is valueless money-wise but oh so meaningful to me.  I am stuck with a gaping hole on my dresser to remind me of all that he took.  I can't turn back time so I am forced to look forward, to figure out how to deal with this loss.  Pick up the pieces and move on from here.  Figure out a way to keep people out of my house and keep my family safe.

But until I do all of that...I sit and weep at the sinfulness of man and its oh so tangible consequences.


Sunday Strength

L isten to advice and accept instruction,
       and in the end you will be wise.
Many are the plans in a man's heart,
       but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails

~Proverbs 19:20-21


Hard to Digest

Care to wander down a bit of a road with me today? This morning I was going through my e-mail.  Typical morning endeavor.  There is a lot of junk mail in my email folder and I keep saying I'm going to clean it up so I only receive the stuff I really want to read but being a bit of a procrastinator, it turns out there is still a lot of wading through the weeds to get to the good stuff.

My attention this morning was caught by the subject line and title of the daily devotional I receive from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  It read:  "Do You Hate Sin/Encouragement for Today/Proverbs 31 Ministries".

That first question had me squirming in my seat a bit.  I knew there was some conviction coming and there was a lot of nervousness as to just how much.

See...I know I've been lazy.  I've allowed my relationship with God to "cool."  I have spent months and months sleeping in instead of getting up and waking up with God's Word.  This week I started getting up that 1/2 hour earlier again but that lasted for 3 days.  Today it was 15 minutes because I overslept....

How I love God and His timing.

The verse for the reading was Psalm 36:2.  After reading the devotional, I went and picked up the verse before and the few after it.  They read:

An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.

For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.

The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good.

Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.

Psalm 36:1-5

Psalm 36:2 is hard enough:  The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and do good.  Toss in the other four and I am hanging my head, sorrowed to the point of tears for the pain I know I am causing God and what I am doing to myself and those around me.

It is my own pride that has stepped in the way, it is that which is running my life and it is that which will keep me from God.  Unwise is too gentle a word for what I am doing.  I am being foolish.

The story today's devotional writer tied to the verse was an attention-getter, too.  Especially is discussing the honest reflection of one of the young women present during the conversation.  It makes me wonder at the instantaneous of understanding.  That flash of knowledge that tells you you have strayed SO far...but God wants you BACK.  At His feet.  Turning your life - ALL of your life - over to Him.  Hating sin as much as He does.

Hating sin.

What does that look like?  We're taught and told and in today's climate, we're almost ordered to be gentle, "live and let live" and above all, practice tolerance.

You can't practice tolerance and hate sin.  It can't be done.  People don't care for "black and white" - they like their gray and I have to admit, for someone who lives most of the time in the black & white, a little gray is OH so easy and comfortable. 

But then...when I slide into that gray area, I do not live what I know to be the truth.  All that comes from the Word of God.  People think it might need some re-writing, some updating but I tremble at the horror of that thought.

Scripture is God breathed.  Updating it is not.  Take a look at our planet, governments, the populations of our prisons...  We prove over and over and over again that humans mess things up.  Colossally.

Hating sin, as God hates sin, is a mandate from Him.  We are called to be as God is - holy and perfect. (To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours ~ 1 Corinthians 1:2, for one reference)  We will mess that up.  A lot.  But that does not give us permission to stop trying. 

We do not get to determine what is sinful in God's eyes.  He does.  He has and He has informed us - over and over and over and over again.  It is an absolute testimony to His love, mercy and grace that we have not been totally obliterated again (the flood) because we not only disobey Him but we have "watered down" all that He considers evil.  We call them "mistakes" or we justify it with "that's just who we are." 

And yet...He yearns to draw us near to Him.  He hopes we will come to Him.  He loves us enough to want to show us in our best light - through the cover of Christ's blood.

How do I not rejoice in that EVERY day?  How do I allow life to take precedence over that?  How do I minimalize that type of power, love, joy?  How do I think, for one second, I could handle that level of wrath?

How do I cheapen God?  How do I not hate sin?

This morning, as I read that devotional and then, as I sit here typing out my reaction to it (Ok - some reaction.  The full reaction is a bit like a tidal wave.  I'm still mopping up the puddles...) I pray continually. 

First, I thank you, Lord that You didn't see fit to leave me in my muck (look at Romans 1...) and I thank you, Lord, that you bring me constant reminders of your love for me (too many blessings to list!).  I ask, Lord, for you to forgive me... again.  Forgive my disrespect, my laziness, my self-reliance. (I'm only going to list a few - there really are only so many MB's on a blog...)  Above all, Lord.  Thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ because without that, I'd be forever caught in a whirlpool of sin and evil.  Thank you for picking me up, out of that filth.  Now, Lord...I give you me.  All of me.  Whatever that means, wherever that goes.  I trust Your plan and only Your plan.  And I ask you, Lord... please break my heart with those things that break Yours.  Fill me with hatred for sin as You hate sin...and help me, Lord, to live a life where others see You - NOT me...

And I pray I don't stop praying...

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


A Little Reminder...

I haven't posted for a little while now.  My mind has been occupied elsewhere.  You'd think that'd be the perfect time to blog, right?  After all.. writing out our daily lives and thoughts and deepest secrets is what blogging is all about.

However... it appears that when I'm in the middle of waiting and wondering, writing is the last thing I feel like doing.  Perhaps that's why I've never been consistent with the journal idea.

My annual "girl" exam was September 9th.  The following week I got a phone call that said my test results came back and there was some dysplasia.  Oh goody...  that meant I had to schedule a coloscopy and head back in on Monday.  Yup...had to wait 3 weeks for the test to see if there really was dysplasia or not.

Monday came and the coloscopy didn't show any lesions.

Thank God....

BUT...she took some surface cells and I had to wait to hear from them, to see if there really was something wrong or if it was just an unsure lab tech who was erring on the side of caution.

Thank goodness for lab techs, especially those who err on the side of caution because if it HAD been something, it would have been found REALLY early.

However...relief rules when my nurse (Tricia will always be my nurse...she really is one of my most favorite people) called me before 8:30 AM this morning to give me the good news.  Zip, zilch, zero... path came back negative.

Ahhhhhh... I want to throw a party!!!!!!

I do have to go back in six months for another pap but... ok.  I can deal with that for a while.  Been there before (I had cervical cancer when I was 25).  But it's not back so Praise Jesus!!!

And one last thing?  October is breast cancer awareness month.  Put on something pink and go get your mammogram.  I should have had my baseline 3 years ago but I finally got there.  Yesterday.  It's really not anywhere nearly as bad as the horror stories you've heard!  Sitting in the waiting room, waiting for them to come get you for the test is harder.  Really it is. 

Then... if you haven't had your annual pap in a while - schedule that, too.  What those tests can catch and prevent by just breathing through a few minutes of discomfort is incredible.  And worth your time.  In ways I can't begin to explain.  So - call.  Schedule.  Go.

Now I just wish I'd remembered that I had my camera with me.  I could have shared my experience like this one did here


Sunday Strength

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday..."

~Isaiah 58:6-10


Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I have no pictures. I was putting this together at 6:30 AM yesterday morning and my camera never crossed my mind. Then, we were able to share dinner last night with an incredibly wonderful friend (we've been friends for over 20 years) and talking was the main order of the evening, so no pictures in the bowl or anyone joyfully eating it, either.

However... click this link. Take that recipe. Go. Cook.

It is THE most delicious soup I have eaten in a long, long, long, long, long, long, time. Ours ended up with the consistency more like stew but then I started it on low at 6:50 AM and cooked it until about 7PM last night.

It. was. amazing.


Sunday Strength

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

~2 Corinthians 1:3-5


Love With Ice Cream On Top... Part 2

The table centerpiece (the adorable little ice cream trucks I purchased online here):

The Sundae Bar... stocked:

Toys for the kids:

This is where we kept the "extra" toppings:

Taking out the pinata:

The kids all wanted to wait until after the pinata to make their sundaes. None of us grown-ups could figure it out but... ok....

It would be like me to forget to mention something. See those cute cones in that pink & aqua bowl? Found them here (but it appears they're sold out of them now...). They were a HUGE hit and I was told they were incredibly sweet. I didn't get brave enough to try one but those who did LOVED them!

And last but most definitely not least - the ice cream cone and popsicle clip art? I found at my most favorite graphic artist's blog. Tricia-Rennea has become my go-to person for everything. She is uber-talented and I love her stuff. My big regret is I didn't take any close up pictures of the sundae bowls or the place cards I used to label all of the sundae toppings. ::sigh:: However...you can go here and see the clip art I used. As always, a ginormous thank you to Tricia!