The Loves of My Life

The Loves of My Life

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Baby Update #2- Wondering

The count down has begun....at least for me. 9 More weeks to go and less if I go into labor early....which of course I am hoping for.

Many of you have been so sweet and have asked how I am doing.....it's a complicated answer....and knowing me, I'm not one just to put a nice blanket over things, I'll give you the truth.

During advent, our church talked about "wondering".  How Mary must have been wondering about all that God was leading her to do....and how we can wonder as well. One of our pastors mentioned how wondering is more of an open ended thought then coming to a conclusion. I liked that, and I think that's where I am. I am left still wondering. 

Thankfully, my hormones leveled out and I somehow crawled out of my crying days...a little later than usual, but at least I did. Talking to a few people sure helped......(thank you to all who were praying for me and  to my listeners...who just listened and didn't give me answers or little things to make me feel better...I appreciate you cussing along with me). Emotional stress led straight into physical discomfort.....the third baby isn't so nice on an older body. I waddle at times, and sigh a lot more than usual.

I even started to think about what I need, and the "stuff" (ALLLLLLL the stuff) that we will need to get for this little guy coming our way. That's a huge obstacle for me. Even more so.....I have gotten excited about how to paint and decorate the baby's room.

But last night, as I lay in bed barely able to move due to a pulled muscle that somehow my preggo body did in it's sleep......I continued to wonder. I wondered why is it that I am more excited about a room than a baby. I wondered to God...why? Why do you want me to have another baby?

Now I am just being honest here and while I know all the answers about how when this baby is born I won't be able to imagine our lives without him....I still have questions and doubts.....just like I am sure Mary did.

Mainly I wonder, why me?

I have friends who their dream was always to be a mommy......everything about it. And they make the most amazing moms..... and wish I could be just  a tiny bit like them. They seem to love it.....all the time....24/7. And I can prove it........they take more pictures, do more crafts, spend all their time doing fun things with their  kids. They talk about their kids more, they write about their kids more....it seems they just do more. They love their babies.

Now, don't freak out. I love my kids.....and I have always wanted kids......but being a super mommy doesn't come naturally to me like it does to others. I actually look forward to putting my kids to bed.....or having a day to myself. There are even times when I am playing with them and I am thinking....okay...15 more minutes....then we'll move on to something else. There are times when I want nothing else than to be with my kids......and then there are times I want nothing else than to be somewhere else.  I was never the mom who cried when I left my kids....I missed them.....but I never second guessed leaving them with their grammy or auntie.

So I guess I compare myself...and I shouldn't.....but we all do, don't we? 

So I wonder...why me God? Why "bless" us with another baby when our kids are finally to the point where I enjoy them so much more. Why me when there are so many other mommies who are better mommies?
Why?

Why?

Why?


So, even though I am finally able to be more excited about an addition to our family....and I am thankful for the blessing and honor it is to be a mommy.....I still sometimes lay in bed and wonder. I wonder about all things....and I wonder about the why's.......

and on a positive note.....I even wonder what this little guy will be like, who he will look like....and what he will grow to be.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Contest

No, this isn't a reference to the infamous Sienfeld episode (although maybe if we had tried to abstain I wouldn't be pregnant. lol joke people, it's a joke), but rather something fun to participate in.

Paul and I found out we having a little boy- Cue- "Hooray!". We are excited and the kids are thrilled...although we are happy with any healthy baby, boy or girl.
So the cat is out of the bag as to the gender.....but we have decided to keep mum on the name we have chosen....well, almost chosen. I am still on the fence....and I can easily be swayed.


So here's the contest.Who can guess the name we picked? I will give you two clues........

1. The first name is just a name we like...no special meaning. (and if you know us and have listened to paul in the past...you will have a head start on this one)

2. The middle name is a literary reference....one specifically close to Paul's heart.

Here's the prize.....if you guess the name....I will tell you. If you recommend a name I like and end up changing the name to yours...you get bragging rights of naming the baby.

So go ahead...make your predictions......especially you silent stalkers (yes, I am talking to you) it can be even more fun if I don't know the name of the person it's coming from :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How Oprah Changed Me


Now Don't laugh....the title is a bit misleading.....but not really.  Oprah made a huge impact in my life when I was young. I hate to admit it these days with people putting her on the level as a god.....but somehow, many years ago  through a little TV screen she help send me on a journey that helped me get to where I am now.

So where am I?

I am in a loving, faithful and trustful relationship with an amazing man who is so humble it continues to surprise. I am in a house. I have never lived in a house before. I have two children with a little surprise on the way who will grow up with two parents. I have wonderful family and friends.....people who love me despite all my short comings.

and I have a new relationship.....one with  a dad I never knew.

My parents divorced even before I was conceived. I find that fact pretty funny.....but I was. The first few years of my life were tumultuous with my dad in the picture. I'll spare you the details....but let's just say this one little girl had an enormous amount of hate in her heart. I barely knew him and barely saw him and when i was around 3 or so......he was gone. Gone to be with his other wife and children. This obviously left me with lots of feelings of abandonment, anger, pain and resentment growing up. The days of jr. high and high school were hard enough going through puberty and trying to navigate relationships let alone trying to deal with all my anger and abandonment issues.

But there I was....sitting on my couch one day watching Oprah. You remember those good ole Oprah episodes, where her hair was a poof ball and she got real emotional with her guests?.....Yep, it was one of those and I think the guest was an adult who had been abused by a parent when they were young. They were talking about how that said adult was able to move on and not hold onto her anger and bitterness. Then Oprah said the most profound thing, which was profound to me cuz I had never heard it before. I am paraphrasing here but she said something like this, "We are responsible for our own anger and bitterness". The idea being of what we do with that anger and hurt is our fault...not the person who inflicted it. That was huge for me. I didn't want to hold onto all my crap and grow into someone who was bitter and angry. I decided right then that I would work out my anger and try to learn to let it go.

and I did.

it was hard.....really, really hard.

I have to be honest and say that my faith was a huge part of that work. I don't think that without my relationship with God I would have been able to fully let it go. I read a lot of scripture that spoke to me about bitterness, anger and forgiveness and although it was Oprah who started me on that path....it was God who always held my hand and led me through it (even deeper I know that it was really God all the time.....).

It's been a long journey.....but my dad has re-entered the picture. I have to admit and say that it's a little awkward at times....and that my motive in the beginning was  for my kids. I want to give them every possibility to know their family which is something I never had. It has been such a joy to see them get to know their grandpa and I am slowly getting to know this man who is my dad.

But the best thing is......I broke the cycle.  That latch key kid from a broken home who at one time was full of anger and hate is no longer. My kids won't have to grow up knowing what feeling abandoned is like.......they won't have the same "issues" i had growing up.  They have two parents who love each other and love them. They have a place where they feel safe...a place to wonder, grow, wrestle and laugh. I thought about these things the other night as I was brushing Riley's hair in the bathroom and her Dad walked by doing the silly dance and I smiled.

 Oprah started me on a journey that led me to a place where anger holds no one captive and love & forgiveness easily rest.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kanye vs. Stephen Colbert

Sometimes Stephen Colbert is just too funny not to share.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Embrace

For those of you who don't know me personally, my wonderful husband is not only a great man, father and pastor....but a talented artist. He has a unique perspective that is all his own.

About two years ago a friend of mine commissioned him to paint a painting for her new home. This was one of the sketches he came up with. Although, my friend never ended using this piece.....I fell in love with it.

This pictures touches my soul in so many different ways. Sometimes it depicts how our Heavenly Father holds us in embrace during times of joy, sorrow, grief, pain and happiness. Other times, it illustrates how a father holds his daughter when they are snuggling. And even still, other times it reminds me how a husband embraces his wife in all things.

It's comforting.....and every time I look at it, no matter how I look at it, I feel loved and cherished.

This piece has been pinned up in my office since he brought it home. Today he posted it on his blog.....and I couldn't resist posting it as well.


Note: if you are interested in seeing Paul's artistic side....he is starting to post things regularly on his blog. Check it out Here

Note to Honey: Now will you paint it for me???

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Have You Ever Wondered What Being in Ministry is Like?


It's like this........
and just when you think you have a grip on what's going on

 




it does this







and this.......






Sure, it can be exhilarating.......but right now in my experience, I don't know which way is up and which way is down.
....and it's exhausting.

:-) And I'm not even the one being payed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Part of the Chorus

A month or two ago my friend Kristi shared with me that her and the worship team at their church were planning a "Night of Worship". They were looking to do some new things and old things and it sounded really cool.


I love attending worship nights especially at different churches. It gives me a glimpse into the heart of other churches, but it also helps me to just be and not worry who is around me.

So I put it on my calendar and told my husband that we were going.

A week before the service, I got word that my one of my best friend's, Melinda, dad passed away and his service would be the very same weekend of the "Worship Night". You would think, "No Problem" I can do both. But the memorial service was in Arizona. That means....I had to make a choice.

It really was a simple choice, but it still made me sad. I had been looking forward to what Kristi and her team had been planning.....and I must admit, i was looking forward to seeing her lead worship. She has the beautiful gift of music and this amazing heart...so you put those together with Worship Leader and you know you are in for a treat.

But a special thing happened.

I drove to Arizona and was invited to a special evening of worship with Melinda's family.
All of her family (and there were a lot) and out of town friends arrived at their home on Friday night to be together, eat dinner and have some time of praise.

Around 7pm... about the same time that the "Night of Worship" was taking place in California, we begun our night of worship in Arizona. He sat together as Melinda led in worship and we sang loudly, joyfully, quietly and thankfully to our God for the life of her dad. It was simply beautiful.
We sang new songs and some favorite hymns....and while we were singing I couldn't help but think....that we were joining in with the voices of those in California praising and thanking our God for who He is.

And it was Powerful.

I was no longer in a room with 30+ people, but I was part of a choir......raising our voices to a God who has been, who is and who will always be faithful.

It didn't matter that we were singing different songs.....it was even more beautiful knowing that we were.

and I couldn't help but feel the tiniest of inkling that God was pleased...and He felt praised.

So although I didn't get to be in California at "the Night of Worship", I was still part of the chorus.....and it was amazing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant

Today i attended the memorial service for Roy Reiswig and it was a beautiful celebration & tribute to the life he lived.

Roy is one of my best friend's father. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at 52.....and at 61 on Nov. 4th he left his body wilting away here on earth and flew away to be with his heavenly father.

He was a man that lived out his life faithfully in such an exemplary way. He lived the kind of life that many wish they could and He was intentional about loving his God, His wife and his family.

There were many wonderful things that were said at his memorial. But the most striking one to me came from his son Mark. Mark shared that although is dad was a minister for most of his life, he didn't let that define who he was. His dad showed him that it wasn't what he did that defined him....but who he was and who he belonged to.

Maybe it's because my husband is a pastor that I could resonate with what he was saying. But I also think it was because sometimes we get caught up in what we do as an occupation that we let THAT define us.

and that's not really who we are.....

.......my husband is so much more than just a pastor......and I am so much more than a stay at home mom......

I am a child of God, and my husband is a child of God...... And in having that knowledge I can only hope that when my life ends i will be remembered for being intentional about loving my God, my husband and my family.

A Crafty Shout Out- Our Craft Lounge


I'm not a very crafty person. I can make something by borrowing ideas from other people who are craft geniuses.
My Friend Patti is a craft genius....as is her little sister, Kimberly. I have seen some of the cutest things come from their minds.

Last week, Kimberly opened her own stamping business. What an exciting moment!

If you are into stamps, scrap booking, making cards etc, etc. I encourage you to check out her site, www.ourcraftlounge.com.

There are some really cute things there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feeling the Birthday Love

Today is my birthday.

I have already had:

Birthday Breakfast in bed.
3 handmade cards
Lots of birthday hugs and kisses and birthday pats
3 birthday emails
4 birthday phone calls
2 birthday texts
5 birthday serenades
19 birthday wishes on Facebook
7 birthday cards

and it's only 9:30 in the morning.

I feel loved.

Very Very loved.

Thank you. ;-)



Here's a family birthday picture taken before school....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

All Growed up....

Lately, I have been taking extreme pleasure in reconnecting with old friends from my younger years . Networks such as Facebook and Blogger have given me a time warp back to the days when I was a punky kid to a teenager and college student trying to figure things out.

There have been times when I have looked back and have regretted not keeping in better contact with those people that had walked through my life and burned memories in my heart.

So, the past few months have been exhilarating chatting up with elementary school buddies that I haven't heard from in probably 20 years.

But probably the most profound people I have cherished "seeing again" are a few young people that over the past 15-20 years I have thought of often and at times I have called out to God in prayer for.

In high school, my faith sprouted up quickly and instantly went into service mode. I was blessed to be at a vibrant church that had so many opportunities for young people to serve in different ways. So when I graduated high school, I took a huge leap of faith and joined the Jr. High Staff at our church, which then led to a year on High School staff. Through those years, I had the privilege of "hanging out" with some of the most incredible Jr. High & High School girls ever. As staff, I led small groups, had sleep overs, did a lot of toilet papering and took on being a counselor several times for a week at Hume Lake.

I loved it....and I loved those girls. Watching them grow up and learn and question and fail and get back up was the best lesson in faith for me. There were times when I would be sitting with some of them and I would glance at them.....and not see the hormone infested body of a teenage girl....but the beautiful woman that God was molding them to be....and I would often be left in awe.
I remember having "my group of girls"......but my awe always extended farther to other kids that weren't in my small group.

I look back now and think I probably wasn't the best "role model" for the girls. I sometimes think I did more harm then good.....but then there are times when I hope that at least they felt loved....at least they felt accepted in a time in their lives where acceptance and love don't seem to be given out unconditionally.

I say all this, because in reconnecting with some of these people.....it brings about emotions of .....

sigh....

I don't know...pride?....joy?.....I don't know....it's hard to explain.
The best description I can give is it's like a mother watching her children growing up and seeing the possibility and the potential in your child come into bloom as their child becomes an adult, gets married and has their own children.

But they aren't my children.....they are someone else's and they ultimately belong to God.

Today I read a blog of a girl that used to be in my small group.....and I sat there and cried ...just filled with joy in seeing beauty come into full bloom.

That's what I do.....I see their pictures on facebook and get to peek into their grown up lives and I get all teary.

So although I may not see them, hang out with them, or even talk to them.....I value them and love them......and am so pleased that in their grown- up lives they have still held onto the Hope that was created in them long ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Sign Said, "I Want My Own Elf."


Last Saturday night I went on a date with my 7 yr old, Jeremiah. His sister was at a sleepover and his daddy was in Texas so it was just me and him. He had been feeling a little left out earlier in the day when Riley and her friend were talking about their big night. So I talked up our date and told him we were gonna have a a great night.

Dinner was his choice......and he chose good ole' In-N-Out.

Then I took him to Gamestop. Jeremiah loves computer games and his Wii. He is a very simple boy. We have had the Wii for 6 months with only one game and one controller....but he is perfectly happy with it, and has never asked for a new game. I remembered him saying last week that he wanted to put one (yes...only one) game on his Christmas list. It was the widely loved game....MarioKart.
The thing with MarioKart is there is a wheel you can buy as well. It makes for a more "real experience" when playing the game since you driving with an actual wheel. But as Jeremiah told me a few days prior, it's not necessary....you can play with just the regular controller.

Well we walked into Gamestop....which is fun in itself since we never go there. There are lots of games to look at and you can even try out the new games on their PSP's or Wii's.
I told Jeremiah that our date was to see if we could find a used game he might like and then we could go home and play together.

Smiles and excitement followed.

After a while of looking at games, Miah asked the guy if he had any used MarioKart games.
The salesman....obviously very good at his job, found one for him and also pointed out that they had brand new ones that came with the actual wheel...but was more money. (duh!)

So we had a decision....the new one with the wheel or the used one with no wheel? Inside I was sad because the budget called for the used one and I didn't know how to break that to him.

After a few moments I said, 'Well buddy, let's talk about what we should do."
So Jeremiah thought...and here was his response....
"Mommy, it would be nice to have the new one with the wheel, but I don't want you to spend that much money on me."

um....I am sure the people in the store saw me melting right there on the spot.

I grabbed Jeremiah in my arms and with a big squeeze I told Jeremiah I loved him and I would love to get him the brand new one.

Here is a boy who rarely wants anything. He's not a boy who needs or wants much. He's happy and content with all that he has. Sure, he's a kid and there are times he really wants something.....but it doesn't happen often. He is also such a good boy. He's kind and gentle.....and such a good listener and he never complains or whines when I bring something home for Riley.

So why not reward him with something he wants but knows he doesn't need and is okay with not having it?

So we bought the new one and we went home and had a blast staying up late and playing MarioKart.

The next day I walked into Old Navy and all of their marketing is a hook for Christmas shopping. It all starts with, " I want...."
There was even one slogan that said, "I want my own elf".

and I thought to myself...the world could use more Jeremiahs.......

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reading and Tea in "The Taliban's backyard"



I love to read. I'm not voracious as some....but it's something I really value and enjoy.

I've never been part of a book club....but I think some day I would. Books are so powerful and they open up your mind to things that you have never experienced or been aware of. Books take you places that you have never traveled and they take you away when you need to escape.

Recently, I just finished a fantastic story. It was recommended by a good friend from high school, Casey, who also introduced me to one of my great loves ,U2. So when he mentioned it, I was sure it would be a quality book.

I am by nature a pretty fast reader. Although, there are times when I get impatient with descriptions of things with drawn out paragraphs and I will skim instead of soaking up the words.
So, I usually finish a book pretty quickly. Pre-kid age, I would finish a book in a day or two. Once I am engulfed in a book, I can't put it down. Now that I have kids and I actually have to stop and make dinner or help them do something...finishing a book that fast rarely happens .....like when I am on vacation alone- get my point? :-)
So, it will usually takes me a week or so to get through a book.

"Three Cups of Tea" took me almost a month to get through and another month to blog about... but not because it was hard to find time to read, but because it was so rich, I didn't want to miss a single morsel and I wanted to process slowly all the rich themes in the book.

"Three Cups..." written by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin is a story of one regular guy who stumbled upon a Pakistani village while lost after a failed attempt to climb K2 and in the end built an amazing educational infrastructure to some of the poorest people in the country. It's the story of a man....who saw a need and actually did something about it and changed the future of women in rural Pakistan. And he did all this in"Taliban's back yard". Greg Mortenson is that man.....and after i read only the introduction to the book...I knew somehow I would be changed.

And I was.

My eyes were opened to see a culture and a people group that I knew little about. Beautiful people that live without much and want for nothing....except for education.

Education changes everything. Education ushers in hope...peace...and a chance to understand not only yourself but others as well.

Education is a powerful thing and after reading this book....I wonder why we don't help other countries gain access to education more. I know we do...but can't we do more? That's just one tiny question I was left with after finishing this book.....as well as many others.

I want to encourage you to read this book. I believe there is a great discussion to be had regarding the central themes within this story. If anything, it educates you about the people living in rural villages....as well as the majestic beauty of Pakistan. And boy, does it sound beautiful!

So go out and get it now...borrow, buy or steal....and you won't be sorry.
If you want more information on the book ( I know i didn't give too much) click here and you can also find out how to buy it through Amazon and 7% of the proceeds will go to the Central Asia Institute (the foundation founded by Mortenson).

Once you read it....email me and let's discuss :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting Back To Things That Really Matter

TV.

lol. Just kidding.

But seriously.....how many of you out there are watching good tv? I enjoy entertainment and in this day there are so many quality shows out there. I know I have to be picky about the shows I watch due to the amount of time I have.

When I pick a show it has to be better than good. Yes, I can be somewhat of a TV snob (even though I have one or two guilty pleasures).

I also read about critically acclaimed shows ( like Mad Men and The Closer) so I am knowledgeable in discussions about them. There are even many shows I wished I could watch...but my time and previous loyalties don't allow it. I am hoping to catch them on DVD sometime....(3rd Rock here I come).

So here is my list of shows that I love....and want you to love too:

1. Friday Night Lights- I am a HUGE fan of this show. The quality of writing, editing and filming is some of the best I think is on TV. I also think that the relationship between Coach and his Wife is the best depiction of a real and healthy marriage I have ever seen on television. The acting is high caliber not only with the stars but with supporting characters as well. It's not perfect by any means...but I think America is missing out on this show. It's good stuff- funny, heartbreaking, messy, and real (except for the murder storyline-but even in that it was well acted).

2. The Office- I must confess I heart Jim & Pam, but they aren't why I watch this show. It's just brilliantly funny. The Office is awkward humor at it's best.

3. Gossip Girl- okay...so this may not be critically acclaimed and high caliber tv....but I did say I have one guilty pleasure....and this is it. I love how they can layer bitchiness with heart. There are things I don't like about this show....but there are some things they do pretty well......like their cunning plots to take someone down. I didn't know people could be so bad.

4. The Big Bang Theory- I know I blogged about this show here earlier, but really....this show is genius. It is the funniest sitcom on tv right now. No one makes me laugh as hard as Sheldon does.

Here are a few shows I like....but mostly watch out of loyalty:

1. Grey's Anatomy- The first two seasons just sucked me in. They were so rich and so great. The last two seasons have left me wanting....but I like a good comeback, so I am hoping Shonda will turn this show around.

2. Ugly Betty- Honestly...sometimes this show annoys me...but Marc & Amanda are hilarious as well as Marc & Willemenia have some of the greatest lines on tv today.

3. Heroes- I am getting impatient with this show. I think it started out brilliantly....but it has tried to do too much. I loved how the first season was all about ordinary people with powers and stories of how they dealt with them in their everyday lives. Now it's just heroes turning bad, then back to good then into a villain then into good again. I am so confused....aren't you?

And here is the show I desperately want to love...I will even settle for like:

1. The Fringe- Joshua Jackson.....need I say more? I wanted to love this show. It is created by one of my favorites.....JJ Abrams....and it stars one of my favorite young actors....Joshua Jackson. But over time I have found myself more annoyed with it than loving it. Here's why. The lead tries too hard to be Sydney Bristow/Jennifer Garner in Alias. But the problem is she never smiles. She's not a happy person...and she is not relate-able at all. I don't think the writing is all that great either . Sure- there are some great one liners....but for the most part, it all seems recycled. Paul and I can practically guess spot on what they will say or what will happen next. It's too predictable. I am also very frustrated that at times they use Lost's signature music. It doesn't make the show more creepy....it just makes me wish January was here so we could watch an episode of Lost. Also, they need to make me care about the characters more...right now I am apathetic. And finally...They need to use Joshua Jackson more (he's hot!)....and I don't mean as a romantic lead with the Olivia.

So looking back at the shows I watch I am realizing that some of the stuff I watch may have to go to make room for shows I have been wanting to take on...... like House, Mad Men, Chuck and 3rd Rock.

What about you? What do you love? what do you like and what do you wish you could watch?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Election Rally Cry....Exhaustion

So tonight we learn who our next leader will. It's been a long election year, there have been many debates- on the campaign trail and on the domestic trail. There has been been many emails forwarded- both ridiculous and funny. And there has been thousands of people counting on their candidate winning.

But at the end of election day...after I have casted my vote, I almost don't care who wins anymore.
Sure...there's a candidate that I think might do a little bit better of a job than the other....and saying I don't care doesn't mean I am completely apathetic. It just seems I have realigned my perspective with what really matters.

We live in a marvelous country. It's a great country. Even when I am frustrated with our politics and the way we as Americans choose to live...I still realize how blessed I am to be born here. We have so many freedoms...and we live in luxury compared to the rest of the world. So in thinking about who will win tonight....it almost doesn't matter. No matter who wins....our country will not turn to shambles. Our constitution will remain in place, and we will learn to get through whatever hardships may come our way. It may not be the way some think it should go....but we will still persevere through it.

As a Christian I know where my faith truly lies. I know that God will always care for me and provide for me...whatever that looks like. My husband could lose his job, something tragic could happen to a close friend or family member, or we could lose our house.....but I know God loves me and will stay with me through it. I may not like it. It may be tough and I could through a crisis of faith , but He is there.

Our next president is just a man. But God is God and I find putting all my eggs in His basket way more comforting than who wins this election.

Awhile ago I was completely for one candidate, but as the campaign continued to wear on.....I wasn't so gung ho for my candidate. I became frustrated with the campaign and with my candidate of choice. But I wasn't happy with the alternative either.....but I still voted.

I voted because it's my right and privilege to vote (I even waited 3 hours along with hundreds of others last week to vote). I voted even though I knew California is a sea of blue and it didn't really matter who I voted for. I voted because it makes me a part of this great country.

So even though I am exhausted by it all....it feels good to vote. It feels good to have that privilege and I Know whoever wins.....we'll be ok.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Prop 8: Hate or relate?

Proposition 8 is a particularly very heated issue on the California ticket this election. I have steered away from conversing about it because I think I am on the "unpopular" way of thinking among my friends that are Christians. It's not something I want to argue.

My friend Kristi wrote a beautiful post on why she is voting yes on Prop 8. Kristi is someone who I respect a great deal and I know who has put a lot of thought and prayer into her decision. My other friend Diane also wrote on her position of Prop 8 and why she is voting no. Diane, like Kristi is someone who I respect and whose thoughts I value. They are both people who love Jesus and love people with such compassion. They are also people who love & respect each other.

Their courage to blog aloud about this issue has given me mine. My words will not be as eloquent but I wanted to give voice to my thoughts in a simple a way.

I have thought a lot about this issue. For you non Californians, voting yes on prop 8 would basically not make it possible for the homosexual community to marry. It defines marriage between a man and a woman.

Quite honestly, this issue has been a really hard one for me. I am still searching and grasping for what God would do in this situation. I am still on the side of (yet wrestling with at the same time) God creating marriage for a man and woman. After reading Kristi's blog. I agree with everything she said and side with her basic beliefs about scripture(click on link above to read- I am too lazy to basically re-type something that she has already put into words).

Today at church we had a guest speaker about the persecuted church all over the world. It was a wonderful reminder of the freedom I have to worship God in America without the fear of death, imprisonment or threats. Our country declares the freedom of religion......and as an American I feel the responsibility to declare that freedom for others who may not believe what I believe. As I have grown in my faith I continue to believe more and more in the separation of church and state. It's this freedom that gives me, as a follower of Christ the ability to worship and take communion weekly.

I also am aware that I am a Christian first. That I am a follower of Christ and what I hold true I need to stand up for.

I do believe that marriage defined by my God is created for a man and a woman. But I am still voting (actually I already voted) No on Prop 8 and this is why:

Simply because of the fact that if the State of California changes the definition of marriage to include homosexuals it doesn't change my definition....and it doesn't change the church's.

At this time in my life, I don't feel it's right to not allow someone else the same basic right that I have to marry.

But that's just my opinion. I honestly respect and understand many others who think differently....as long as they have really thought & prayed over their decision instead of just screaming "God made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve".
Seriously....that statement makes me so mad.....but I won't go there...... this time......

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Missing My Blog World and Friends

I am officially cheating at work today. I can't stand it anymore.

I miss blogging and I miss reading & commenting on my favorite blogs (which are on the side of my blog)

By the time I get home from getting the kiddos, doing homework, dinner, bed time etc etc. I usually have to fold laundry....or if I do have free time, physically I am just too tired to tap on the keyboard.
So Sad.

I peeked on my dashboard today and I see ALL the posts I am missing. Sniff. Sniff.

I can't wait for time this weekend to catch up and read...and maybe do a little posting of my own.

So dear blog buddies....know I miss you and my lack of commenting and posting is due to this horrible economy that makes me half to work.

Will Obama or McCain fix that for me?

lol



Here's me cheating at work (Leslie...don't tell Paul, I don't want to get fired!)

until this weekend
xxoo

So Proud


Yesterday I went to my nephew's Cross country meet. He is in 8th grade and this is his first year running.

He is such a stud....He came in 4th place!
Way to go Jakers!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fear

So I am in the middle of the Golden Trimester. For all you who haven't had children or who are men....this is the time in a women's pregnancy when all is well in the world. For most pregnant women this is when they have finally come out of the nausea, tired and feeling bloated stage and into the all food sounds great, more energy and great sex stage.

So I should be feeling great right?

riiight! well actually not so much. I have found myself too be more exhausted and my hormones are all over the place. I notice this due to the simple fact that I have already been pregnant twice and I know how I should be feeling. I also know this because most of the time I am a pretty even keel kinda girl. For the most part I am someone who is pretty easy going and can roll with the punches.

But something is off this time. I have been finding myself having a really hard time just dealing with ordinary tasks. I am easily stressed and anxious about what needs to happen or what we might be doing that day or week. Many times I have to try to keep myself from crying....but I don't know why I am. It seems like life is too much for me and I just can't handle the full plate I am used to eating.

I noticed this right away....and told my friend Rebecca who I knew would encourage me to talk to someone....a professional someone. I knew I really needed that encouragement and that's why i went to her.
I came home one night and emotionally vomited on my husband who, after being a great listener, offered that a Stephen Minister might be good for me right now (he also gave me a lovely foot rub). I even told my OB what was going on....and guess what she suggested as well?......for me to go see a therapist or a psychologist ( as well as telling me what i am feeling is completely normal for someone who is pregnant with 2 kids and working part-time).

I went to all three people knowing what I needed to do...but somehow I still had fear in taking that first step.

For me....doing that goes much deeper.

When Paul was in seminary there was a lot of hard stuff going on in my family. I ended up going to the campus therapist for a few visits to help me deal with the craziness. i wasn't depressed or anything....I just needed help in figuring out how to manage myself and my loved ones in the midst of some trying situations. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. It was such a wonderful experience that I always would encourage friends who were going through hard times to maybe do the same.

So even though I had this great experience....I still was having a hard time taking the step to talk to someone.

You see....depression runs pretty rampant in my family. It's not fun growing up with a depressed mom and a grandmother on anti-depressants. I told myself that I never wanted to be like them. I didn't want to end up like that. I am so fearful of the chemical imbalance that sometimes it freezes me in that fear.

So for me...going to talk to someone about the possibility that my pregnancy is raking havoc so much with my hormones that i might be slightly depressed or dealing with anxiety is really hard for me. Sometimes I am afraid that the ability to be positive and deal with stress as I usually do won't come back.

I know I can't live in this fear. It's not healthy. I know what I should do and I am very aware of how helpful talking to someone can be.
It's just hard....and frankly it's almost too tiring.

But I will. I made an appt. and I am waiting to hear. The nice thing is that I have felt a tiny bit better the past few days.....so maybe I am coming back into balance.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Fam

I love this picture.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Full of Love

That's how I feel sometimes when I am at Church.

I look around and I am filled with love for the people that are sitting next to me, standing beside me, behind me, in front of me....across the room from me.

I do. I know it sounds hokey, but sometimes I think about my church and faces of our congregation come to my mind and I smile because my heart is full of joy and love over them.

There are times when I even envision the day that Paul and I might be called to another church, and thinking of that last day of being at our "home" with our "family" will bring a rush of tears to my eyes.

You would think it would be just my closest friends that I would thinking about but it's not just them. Or you might think it would only be the people that are nice and kind, people who have done great things, or people who have been really good to us. And they are people I think about, but it's even more than that. It's everyone. It's even the people that 'chap my hide" (as I wrote earlier in the summer).

It's weird, but i can see their faces. Faces of our encouragers, our challengers, our friends, our parents of teenagers, our elderly and our staff. Oh how I love each person on our staff!

I can see the people that don't agree with us and the people that i know that probably gab about us behind our back.

I can see the people who I wish I got to know better and the people who I was only on a "hi" basis with.

I envision the children, the teenagers, the college students, the people that left our church and I envision the people that probably think I don't think much about them.....but I do.

I see the family we created with all those we were in small groups together.....and all those I wish we could have been in small groups together.

I even see the people that move quietly and don't like to be noticed....they are usually the biggest servants.

I see members of our choir and the amazing musicians that play every week.

I see them and not only do I see them, I hold them in my heart. I think of them and I thank God for each and every one of them.

It's amazing to me that I can really love all those people...flaws and all.....

Cause I do......and I smile.

Must be how God feels....

I think it's Taggerific

I was tagged by Jodi....(dang it Jodi!)- :-)


1. So I dislike doing these kind of things....but I secretly love to read what people say in them ....so I feel obliged to share too.

2. I used to dance ( and sometimes sing) in the supermarket aisles as a kid in hopes I would get discovered.

3. When my kids were toddlers I secretly loved it when they were sick (not throw up sick....just fever sick) Because that meant I had an excuse to cuddle up on the couch all day with my little one and catch up on movies while they soundly slept their fever off (or maybe I would nap too). I love a good cuddle and I love having an excuse to not clean the house or do laundry.

4. I ate raw ground beef as a child....and loved it. On a special occasion my mom would give me a tiny piece and I would roll it up and salt it and pop it in. This was of course before mad cow disease.

5. My best friend and I in high school had a bet time to see who could"scam" with the most guys in a weekend. We tied. After the first guy we felt so bad that we called a truce.

6. I get my best ideas in the shower or just as I am about to nod off to sleep at night.

7. My milk has to be cold.....right out of the fridge cold. If someone has a cereal box and a gallon of milk on the table, I can't do it. I don't like milk that is at any temperature but very cold.

Okay....so the winners of taggerific are JJ, Paul, Kristi, The Reverand's Lover, Sarah T,
Sarah B, and Rebecca,

Tag...Now you are it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jeremiah = Sheldon

Do any of you watch the Big Bang Theory on Monday Nights?

Paul and I do.

My friend turned me onto the show last fall when she claimed one of the characters reminded her of Jeremiah. So I tuned in.....after watching two shows and hearing me bust a gut from the other room, Paul began to join me.

Paul doesn't watch much TV outside of sports, The Office and Lost...so for him to "pick up" another show is a big deal.

Every Monday we sit down together and watch The Big Bang Theory. It really is one of the more funny sitcoms on TV right now. Out of the 4 shows it has aired this season, 3 of them had me laughing so hard that I continued laughing during the commercial break (or actually the fast forward on the DVR).

Our favorite character is Sheldon. He is bit of an Asperger's type personality. He's a genius that's anal but lacks serious social skills....which makes for funny FUNNY moments.

There are times when I see Jeremiah in this character.....or maybe the future of Jeremiah. The past episode illustrated this thought even more clearly. Sheldon had to fake being happy......and forced a "happy" smile on his face for the good of his friend. This is the exact smile Jeremiah gives when asked to smile for a picture. Scary how similar it is.


Another characteristic Jeremiah and Sheldon share is their lack of understanding sarcasm.
Here's a conversation I had with Jeremiah yesterday morning.

M-"Jeremiah, try on those shoes" (pointing to a pair of black sneakers i just got out of the closet.
J- "ok"
10 seconds later
M- "Miah try on those shoes please"
J- "OOHH, these shoes?" (pointing to the only pair of shoes in front of him, or even in his sight)
M- " No, Jeremiah....the red shoes."
J- "Mom, I don't see any red shoes."
M " I was being sarcastic, yes, those shoes."
J- " what does sarcastic mean?"
M- "Jeremiah you have to untie the shoe and undo the velcro to get your foot in the shoe.
J- "ohhhhh, ok."

Did I mention he is in 2nd grade......and his teacher wants to put him in a third grade gate class cuz he's so smart?

I love Sheldon because he shows me that even in his misunderstanding of sarcasm and his lack of "social graces" he has somehow gathered a community of friends around him that stick by him. These guys love him despite him being completely anal and annoying. And that's a beautiful thing.

So if you are looking for something to watch on Monday nights....or for something that gives you a good belly laugh.....check out the Big Bang Theory.....you probably wont be disappointed......and you just might see the future Jeremiah in there some where.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TOOT! TOOT!

So rarely do I toot my own horn.

As a mom, I never consider myself that great. So whenever I do have a day where I feel like, "Damn I was good today" (which isn't often at all), I have to say it out loud so it becomes more real.

Today is one of those days. It's 8:18pm and I am quite surprised at the amount of mommy and wife things I did today.

Paul had his Vasectomy today, so not only was he useless as a helper with the kids but he became the served (and rightly so since his friends down there got a little snip snip).

So after work, being a great wife....I went by the store and picked up his favorite drink, his favorite dessert (ice cream) and makings for dinner requested by him.

Then I picked up the kids and we made our rounds to two different grocery stores to pick up Mother's Cookies (which are, sniff, sniff, out of business).

We came home where I tended to the patient and completed the following list all before 830pm.

1. Waited on hubby, changing his frozen peas.
2. Worked on homework with the kids
3. Straightened up the house (it was a mess)
4. Made homemade mashed potatoes, chicken teriyaki Hawaiian style, and salad. (and we are talking real salad....not salad from a bag. I actually cut up the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots myself)
5. Served my family....yes my whole family....dinner in bed.
6. Cleaned all the dishes, some hand washed and others in the dishwasher. Kitchen is now clean ;-)
7. Me & the kids decorated our house with Halloween decorations.
8. Did 4 loads of laundry...all folded and put away
9. Didn't yell or snap at kids when it came to discipline. I calmly sent Riley to her room and used good parenting techniques.
10. Read and cuddled with the kids
11. Served my hubby dessert in bed
12. Listened to my children say beautiful prayers (which are few and far between) and almost teared up as Riley thanked God that Mommy and Miah forgave her when she was being mean.
13. I wrote two blog posts....and may write a third to post for tomorrow
14. I did this all while being completely exhausted and hormonal from being 5 months pregnant!

Damn.......I don't know about you....but even if I didn't get to the homemade cookies.......I'm good!

disclaimer......I never EVER toot my own horn...so if you are reading this thinking this woman is so full of herself....there's nothing I can say to change your mind but stick around and maybe you'll read hopefully a more humble me.

R.I.P.

Today I heard the devastating news.

My childhood sweetheart has passed on. No longer will I be able to sneak secret rendezvous with my childhood lover.
The crisp sweet goodness of the circus animal, iced oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies will never again pass my lips.
Even the assorted bag that brought surprise to my taste buds when i grabbed it's goodness from inside the bag will be no more.

Today I ran to my mistress searching in 4 different stores for her remains.

She was scattered, but I was able to salvage a few of her. All in all I spent probably $50 not only for myself but for my sister's family as well.

And when I open up that bag and bite into my sugary delight every penny will be worth it.


If you hadn't heard......
Mother's Cookies officially closed their doors this past weekend.

Run, I repeat RUN to your nearest store, they are vanishing quickly!

Monday, October 13, 2008

In Memory of......


It could be anyone.....but yesterday morning and this morning it was simply a homeless man.

An article in the LA Times reported on a homeless man cared for by the working neighbors of the street he called home was torched to death by cruel men.

Usually I don't read articles like this simply because I know where my heart will go and I will have to try to explain away the tears to my kids sitting next to me at the table.

But I read it anyway....and my heart was broken for this man. A man who lived on the sidewalk, yet never asked for handouts and seemingly respected those around him. The business owners on the street where he lived talked about his kindness and how he became almost like family not only to them, but to their regular customers as well.

Then this morning, the man was identified by his family. A family that truly loved him and tried countless times to help him get off the streets. A family that wasn't ashamed to bring their children to visit uncle Johnny on many occasions. A family that made sure he had money and clothes and batteries for his radio. A family that saw him as a boy who loved comic books and ran around with a towel as his cape.

This was a man.....a human being.

And my heartbreaks simply because I know others simply didn't see him that way. That's obvious by the horrific way he died. Some may say he must have been doing drugs, or he was an alcoholic or that he choose to simply live that way.

But I have learned that most people don't choose to live that way......

There was a song we sang in church yesterday and one of the lines was...
"everyone needs compassion......everyone needs forgiveness"

Everyone.

Yes, everyone.

So today my prayer is not only to celebrate the man that was killed and pray for peace for his family, but also for the men that did it. May grace and compassion fall on them in such a way it changes it their lives.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Circle of Life

Let me just say right away this post has nothing to do with the uber critical darling that is known as the "Lion King", nor is it about death and life.

It's more a celebration of who we are as God's people and how we are connected.

When I dived into the blogging world, I had no idea what I was in for. I enjoyed reading my friend's blogs and every now and then I would peek into their friends' blogs.

After a while I decided to go for it and began blogging and processing my own feelings for all my friends to see.

But the amazing blessing that happened next I had no idea was coming.

As I blogged, people I have never met before began to comment and read what I wrote. I was extremely humbled that a stranger would take the time to read what I thought.....and not only read it, but resonate with it as well. I felt a little validated and encouraged that I was not alone in my walk as an "unlikely pastor's wife". I started reading their blogs and found myself connected to them in ways that extended beyond geography and physical presence.

Then here is the kicker......(and follow if you can, this might get tricky in the wording) my friends starting reading my new friend's blogs and my new friends starting reading my friend's blogs.
I will never forget the morning that I was reading Diane's post and I saw a comment from the Reverend's Lover. (someone who found me and I in turn read her blog). I was in awe. Then a few days later I saw Dionne and Diane post on The Reverend's Lover's blog. It was this amazing web of connectivity that I was just so in awe of and I was so excited. I thought....."How cool is that we can connect with others and through others through a media that can be so impersonal."

And this isn't the only instance I see it happening. It's almost as if the blogging world has become it's own portal to a place where one can be encouraged, be challenged, be miffed, or be engaged with a person that they have never met and may ever meet. But instead of it being with only one person....it's a group of people that open up their blogs and invite you in and say....."You're a friend because you are a friend of ________"

It's freakin' cool!

so....hopefully some of that made sense....which it may not since sometimes I can't articulate well the thought I am trying to convey.

But when I think about this concept, I am so moved. Because it's not the blogs that connect us....it's the image we are created from. The Creator that connects us all....who in His wisdom, has made us people that need connection. We are all connected in some way and in this particular outlet, it reminds me that there is a much bigger world of people out there......people like me, people different from me....and we all have things in common.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Take me Away

this is how I feel today........



too many hormones running through my body.....too many frustrating things coming to head all at once.

And all I want to do is go the movies and see "Happy Go Lucky"


or read my book, "Three Cups of Tea"


or take a nap


or watch a fresh episode of "The Office "for a good laugh


Life is so much better with simple distractions like these...Don't ya think?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm a Bad Pastor's Wife

yep....I am.

I currently am at our women's annual retreat. I am so happy to take a break from responsibility and getaway with good friends for the weekend. We are retreating to Desert Hot Springs at a really beautiful location and it's perfect to provide me a serene backdrop for a much needed break.

I was excited for this year's retreat because I had nothing to do with the planning of it. Last year I coordinated the event, and while I loved doing it, i also love not having any responsibility (I am such a slacker). So this weekend I am planning on relaxing.

But during our retreat, we also have a speaker. She is speaking on spiritual disciplines and her actual material is very good. The problem is I am not very engaged.

So being the bad "pastor's wife" I am, I am sitting in my room blogging and meditating (ok...actually napping) while I should be in the conference room listening to the speaker.
Now, not only am I ditching out on the speaker this morning.....but as a small group leader I actually encouraged my group last night-that if they needed more times to themselves- that they didn't have to come to small group. I mean-, our theme is tranquil spirit and if one needs more time to "relax & meditate" I wanted to give them the opportunity to do that.

Luckily, our small group had so much fun last night that I don't think anyone will skip out. And if they do, I will be jealous :-)

So as I am sitting here and reflecting, listening to the power of the Holy Spirit sway through the trees outside on a beautiful sunny, cloudless day, I am thankful.

i am thankful that my husband is not head pastor, he is only the associate at our church. That way I can more easily fly under the radar. I am thankful that when my husband does describe me to the church behind the pulpit he calls me his crazy wife. So in essence. there aren't any high expectations of spirituality and submissive discipline from me. I can happily sit in the back with the girls and I can just be me......and hopefully my disrespectful nature of giggling in the back row won't be too distracting.


Here's a pic of where I am staying

Thursday, October 2, 2008

YAY for Sissy!

Ladies & Gentlemen-
I don't know how I did it- but I did.

I got my sister to finally post a comment on one of my posts!

AMAZING!

I didn't do the usual and say nice things about her or post a silly looking picture of her.

All I did was talk about my addition to Dr. Pepper.

I know she has been reading- but she has kept quiet and stalked my mind.

Welcome to the world of blogging Big Sister- yesterday was only one comment, but be careful- you may catch the addiction :-)

and P.S. mom did ruin us! lol. Oh...the golden cup-such good memories.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hi...My Name is Baby , and I am an addict.

I have always enjoyed Dr. Pepper. Ever since I was a little girl it has been my drink of choice. As I have grown, I have gone through stages of how much I would drink. When I was in high school, I drank it all the time. My metabolism was fast due to being a volleyball player. In college- I used it as my no-doze for those nights that I had to stay up late writing a paper. But as i grew into a young adult and started having kids, I recognized how horrible soda is for your body. So I took a step back. i ordered water instead of soda or my beloved Dr. Pepper. I would, however, at parties or with certain foods indulge with a DP. (One must have a DP with clam dip at Christmas). Then ,when I was pregnant with Jeremiah, i went completely off caffeine. When I was pregnant with Riley, I let myself have an occasional drink. Since then, I have either stopped drinking for long periods of time, or completely binged on my favorite drink.

I mean.....soda is SOOO bad for you, and I want to be a healthy example for my kids. ( so of course I only let them take a tiny sip of my DP when I have it)

So when I was struggling with nausea in the beginning of my pregnancy- I gave into having a DP only now and then. It really was the only thing that at times would soothe my stomach. I had been off caffeine for 2 months- and I broke down. But I felt okay about it knowing that I would be responsible with my soda sipping.

Well now it's been 5 weeks since I began my "occasional" DP drinking days and I have to say honestly- I have become obsessed. It's disturbing to hear this- because i am completely appalled at myself. I wake up, and I think about what time of day I will get to have my one can of Dr. Pepper for the day. I envision a cold can and hear the crisp sound of the can opening up and then I begin to salivate at the thought of that first drink- that fuzzy, ice cold sweetness that flows through my mouth down into my stomach.
Now it can't be any soda- it has to be a Dr. Pepper. And it can't be bottled or from a soda fountain, it has to be a COLD can of Dr. Yummy.

I was driving to work today and I was thinking about lunch time when I get to have my little sweetness, and that's when it hit me.

My baby is addicted to Dr. Pepper.

Oh goodness- what have I done??????


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tired of Feeling


Growing up I always used to giggle at those moms that got all teary so easily. Then I became a teenager and I found myself slowly being able to tear up at sad things and happy things.
Now that I am an adult, I have become what I used to giggle at as a child.

I am a crier.

I cry at movies and TV whether they are happy or sad. I cry during worship. I cry reading books. I cry during sermons. I cry reading the newspaper. I cry when a friend is hurting. I cry when a friend is rejoicing. I cry when I mess up. I cry when my kids achieve something cool.

I cry at the freakin' Olympics for goodness sake.

This gift of compassion and empathy can be wonderful at times....and quite useful when serving others.

But there are times when I just don't want it. Many times it hurts too much.
Times like today when I receive a phone call at work from a friend with horrible news, I just want to be able to turn off the feel-o-meter and put it in the back of my mind.

But I can't.

Instead, I sit in my cubicle wiping my runny nose on the inside of my sweater because there isn't a tissue in sight. I sit there trying to finish a spreadsheet while trying to keep the tears falling from my eyes.

If I am made in God's image, and what I feel is just a tiny bit of what God feels, God must live on an emotional roller coaster. How can He not weep ALL the time of the tragedy and sadness on earth? How can He be full of joy when someone gives their life to Him.....and yet be full of sadness for pain and suffering.

Because if I hurt this much in pain and tragedy......how much more does God hurt?

It's something I know I will never quite understand......

So I am tired....tired of all the hurting, not just my friend's, but humanities'.

I want to turn it off and be able to not feel.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

God Gives An Answer That Brings Much Joy


About a month ago I posted a prayer to God about giving my friend a baby that her and her husband have been desiring for a long time. Ok, it wasn't really a prayer, it was more like pleading....but still.

I even updated with a short shout of praise that God gave them a beautiful baby boy.

I realize that not all women who can't have babies get the chance to hold such joy. Fortunately, my friend Elisa did, and I am grateful. Below is her video montage that she sent out to family and friends. In the montage there is a picture of her and her son Elias Dean with a mutual friend that could not have a baby as well......and sitting next to her was her baby girl that God gave her. I had already been crying watching the video, knowing the pain and waiting that went into those moments, but then I came across that picture and it sent me over the edge. What a beautiful picture of God's grace not just in one person's life, but two. The grace that God gave them each other to journey the road they had to take together. They may not have stayed the same path.....one was a blessing of surrogacy and the other adoption....but that doesn't matter. God brought life into both of  their families.........

My prayer is now that all women that go through that journey may know the blessing that Elisa and Jenn have received.




Extravagant Grace

Grace has been a theme that God has slowly been teaching me over the past few years.  I have learned that there aren't levels of grace.....like a little grace, or alot of grace.....or an extravagant amount of grace......grace is all the same. Grace is just extravagant.

Grace surrounds me everywhere. It is in my marriage, it is my relationships, it is talked about in books I read and the church I go to, and  even some of my favorite blogs have put their thoughts to pen on the subject.

But nothing has quite confronted me, or shall I say reminded me, with the idea of grace being nothing less than extravagant, than a book I read this summer called, "The Shack".  

Over the summer, my sister told me I HAD to read this book that was the talk of the christian circles. Honestly, I was very suspicious. My sister and I are two different thinkers and while I don't have a taste for most mainstream Christian novels, I could tell she really wanted me to read it. So I did. And it changed me.

I don't want to spoil the book, I want to encourage others  to read it. It's not perfect, and some may not like it, but it's a great book to discuss the ideas it brings forth into your thinking.

The idea that changed me while reading the book was the author's notion of grace. I want to say it's God's notion of grace, but I realize some may not buy into it.  It's the idea that everybody....and anyone are loved and adored by God and all are extended God's love and grace.

I know, most of you are sitting there thinking, "Of course Jen, that's what the bible says, that's what we say in church, in bible studies, in cards etc.etc." 

But do we believe it? Do we REALLY believe that God will say about anyone, "I am very fond of them" ? That's what "The Shack" leaves us to think about. When I sit and work out that thought in my mind,  I know I haven't really believed it. 
I have sat on my throne and said that the ugly of ugliest humanity don't deserve such grace, such fondness. I have been repulsed by the thought of children molesters, serial killers, and rapists, even Al Qaeda. 

But after reading this book, I have come to the conclusion, that Yes, even they have God's grace and love.   That God would say  about them, "I am very fond of_____".  Now I am not saying God is fond of their weaknesses and sin. But what I am saying is that God knows them better than I. He knows what led them to where they are in their life. He grieves their hurt and their loss just as much as he grieves mine or the loss of those men/women inflicted on their victims and their families.

And that is what has changed me. It allows me the  ability to believe that 
no one is a lost cause and no one deserves to "rot".  It also gives me the freedom to forgive much easier than I have before and to have compassion on those I have had none for in the past.

And one other thing I loved about this book, is that is helps me to see God in different ways. I especially liked the way in which God revealed himself to the main character. I think it gives many Caucasian churches much to think about.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Somethings gonna get the shaft

Hi, my name is Jen, and I am the writer of this blog. 

I know, I know....it's been a week since I have written anything.

I've been tired, and too busy.

I started a new job, my kids started school, I started teaching Sunday school (what a pastorly wife thing to do), and I am realizing that this baby I am carrying is a life sucker. I say that not in a negative way, but in a way to say, that I am much more exhausted than I have ever been with my previous two pregnancies and I am realizing that I have limitations this time around.

So with all the things I am enjoying to do like ( not in order of best to least)
1. Engaging in the blogging world
2. reading
3. watching my favorite TV shows
4. seeing new movies
5. being with my fam

Plus- all my regular activities like
1. being a mom to two school kids
2. being a wife
3. being a Sunday school teacher
4. being a team mom for soccer
5. planning a baby shower
6. going to weekly Bible study
7. working
8. blah blah blah blah blah

I am wondering.......what's gonna get the shaft.
Will it be reading? blogging? The Office & FNL?  Sleep?

lol- it won't be sleep

Not sure what will happen. It could be anyone of those things, could be more than one, or it could be none.

All I know is that right now I wish I was super woman, and I could do it all.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Secret Love

I love and enjoy many things-  I love to  read, I love to serve, I love my family, and I love good music. etc etc.
But there is one thing that I really do love and enjoy...

Good entertainment. 

I love films. I say films now instead of movies because I am finding as I am getting older, I am choosier about the movies I like. For example, "Legally Blonde" is a fun & cute movie, but the film "Amelie"  far surpasses it in quality. ( Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a fun and cute movie now and again).

I also love good TV. I have found over the past few years, that TV is getting better and better. I am not a TV junkie- but when I find a good show, I latch on. 

I also love reading about entertainment. My taste does not dip into the gossipy magazine category, but it can be as simple as getting my EW magazine every Friday and savoring each piece.
All this to say, I am usually pretty knowledgeable about TV shows and some movies. 

So in the next few days and weeks- I will be happily posting about some of the fall premieres of favorite TV shows. You can consider it propaganda since I will be trying to win you over and get you to start watching!