Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the waiting game...

I'm an instant gratification type of girl.  Waiting is definitely not my game.  I want what I want when I want it and how and where I've asked for it.

Jehovah doesn't work that way... it's His game.  If I want to play {which I absolutely do, by the way} then I play by His rules.  

When I get upset and storm off because I don't like the way the game is being played, the game doesn't change... I do.  I am bitter, angry, lonely and all shades of miserable.

Over thirty years of playing has taught me a thing or two.  I've learned that when I wait upon the LORD... I mean really really wait, the blessings are too numerous to count.

This weekend was a thousand little gifts and more.  My Jehovah showed me some of the blessings of waiting on Him to provide for me rather than me lamely attempting to provide for myself. if I will just remember.

Monday, November 28, 2011

together again...

Together againGee, it's good to be together againI just can't imagine that you've ever been gone!It's not starting over, it's just going on!
There's just something about Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy and all the Muppets swaying and singing... it just puts a smile on my face.  

The smile turns into a grin, though, when I see cousins living it together... this is us... my family.  And, this is how we roll.  We live hours apart in different states... my siblings and I.  Our children consider each other their best friends and so we deliberately get together three or four times a year... just to be together again.  

Counting gifts with the gratitude community over at Ann's again.  Each Monday we come together.  Sometimes I can make it, sometimes not but it makes my heart swell to read kindred spirits counting gifts together... again.

My gifts continue...

... cousins
... love
... laughter
... noise
... bodies everywhere

... an almost walking cousin who got more love than she wanted
... the newest one I can't wait to get my hands on
... my parents hospitality, even amongst the chaos that ensues when we all arrive
... black Friday shopping with my sister
... scoring some great deals.

... movies with the cousins
... football games together
... turkey, pie, rolls, squash, green bean casserole
... and my sister's cranberries!
... abundance

... a quiet trip home
... laughing and reminiscing with my best friend all the way home
... the joy of smaller jeans
... looking forward to the pool again tonight
... that no matter where you roam ~ there is no place like home

Also, on my list today is that Emily {chattingatthesky} is bringing back tuesdays unwrapped... 

multitude mondays and tuesdays unwrapped
together again!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

another Advent freebie...

I posted about a free advent family study this morning.  When I printed it out today for the girls (Emme decided she wanted one too.... who knew?!) I realized I also wanted to print out Ann's Jesse Tree devotional.

Here's the link... it's amazing and it's free... just as is Eleanor's that I posted earlier.

Can you tell I love Advent?

family inductive method advent study...

This advent study has become a tradition for us.  The past three years, all three kids have done this study.  With just one home these days, I'll do it with the one.  This will be the fourth year that I will print it out in its entirety and Ellen and I will sit together each morning and study advent... the coming of Emmanuel.

We will read about the prophecy foretold for the coming Messiah.  We will study about the angels and the shepherds, Mary and Joseph.  We will read and reread.  And, we will color amazing coloring pages.

You can find it for yourself at author Eleanor Zweigle's website.  It's a big download that is free of charge.  

On this first Sunday of Advent...

O come O come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lowly exile here
until the Son of God appear
rejoice! rejoice!  Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

what happens at Thanksgiving stays at...

chacha ya'll.... take it back now, ya'll.... right foot two stomps... slide to the left... criss cross...

The greatest cousin memories are made on the spur of the moment.  Those memories that are made from spontaneous elections, dress up fashion shows or dress up poetry readings for Grandma.  

This year... the ChaCha Slide became the memory that was made.   Nine cousins sliding to the left... stomping to the right... laughing and giggling.

Later, Aunt Becky is going to teach them the Electric Slide.  I'd post pictures but what happens at Thanksgiving weekend stays at Thanksgiving weekend. 

...these are the gifts I count... cousins who not only love each other but love to be with one another and siblings who laugh at each other's kids.

Friday, November 25, 2011

when an experiment leaves you wondering...

Twenty-one days ago, I blogged about an experiment I was trying this month....  write 50,000 words in 30 days... just for fun.

The experiment worked.  I now have a first draft.    The NaNoWriMo experiment was a success.

This experiment has left me seriously wondering what's next.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

MANY... MUCH... MOST....

It's late... everyone is worn out from family, food and football.  I think everyone is asleep.  Yet, I cannot let today end without posting an attitude of gratitude.

The older I get, the more I want my life to be about gratitude.  I want to be thankful the other 364 days of the year.  I want to say THANK YOU to the rain and storms in my life as well as to the sunny days.  I want to live EUCHARISTEO... ALL THE TIME, not just on Thanksgiving Day. 


I looked at the 15 of us squeezed in around my parent's table... 
there are MANY in my family and not all were here today.  

I saw at the food left after we ate beyond our fill...
there was MUCH to be saved for later.

I watched the televisions, two to choose from...
both were on MOST of the day with football and movies.

it's what I have every day.  

... I want to live my life noticing the MANY... MUCH... MOST every. single. day.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

weekends are for writing...

a cold weekend... 
a warm house...
a sleepy lab... 
a lot of writing...
all on this third weekend of November.

if you would, please pray with me for God's direction on this book... as my mom reminded me yesterday, God may not have any purpose for it, it may simply be my fun thing to do this month.  And, it has been more fun than I ever imagined.  However, I have 3 children praying in this house that God would allow us to sponsor Compassion kids... maybe through the sale this book?  I have a girl who wants to return to private school next year... maybe through selling this book?  I have the same girl and her dad who want to return to Guatemala on another medical mission trip... maybe through this book?

So this weekend is for writing and hopefully finishing the NaNoWriMo challenge.  And praying all the while of what it is God has for these pages filled with words.

Friday, November 18, 2011

thoughts from a spontaneous date...

Chad and took a spontaneous date last night.  The joy of putting up with adolescent attitudes is that the dad in the house can say, "Mom and I are going to Ruby Tuesday.  Stay off the internet and no fighting," as we walk out the door.  Every single time Chad says that, I see his lips saying the words and I hear my own dad's voice... only my dad never said "stay off the internet" but he did say "no fighting" every.single.time.

I wonder if I'm alone when I say that sometimes our spontaneous dates result in spontaneous conversation that I don't think we would have any other way.  Sometimes those spontaneous conversations are about our three wonders... what to do with them, how to love them and how to rear them in the nurture and admonition of the LORD.

We talked about this one... how much she has changed since she went to Guatemala last spring and school this fall (it's homecoming and spirit week... Disney day was yesterday, what do you think of jolly ole' Doc the dwarf?  She created her own costume).  And, how much we want to be able to send her to Guatemala again and school again next year.  How do we nurture this heart that wants to be a nurse and serve others and love people?  How do we love on her when friends turn away?  How do we pray that He will be her all and all?  

And we talked about this one... the one who is now the tallest in the house... taller than 6'1".  How do we raise him to be a man of honor?  A man of courage?  He's changed much in the year that he has been as school.  I wonder how much more he will change and will the changes always be good?  Sometimes I wonder does he takes a stand or does he rides the current?  More than anything I am overwhelmed... I have no idea how to raise a man.

And... then... there is this one.  The last one home... our caboose.  Some days I wonder how to do this and other days I wonder where we went wrong.  She's a first-born personality stuck in the role of youngest.  How did that happen?  Now what do we do?  How do we raise her to love others as she loves herself?  How will God use her supposed "gift" of arguing for His glory?  How much longer will she be home with me and am I enjoying the gift of every single moment with my last 8 year old?

Our spontaneous date was filled with spontaneous discussion centered around these questions and more.   The wise man I love said...

Isn't it great He knows it all?
We just get to wait and see what He will do.

... I'm looking forward to the next spontaneous date.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

{virtual coffee} and some random thoughts...

Some mornings, I don't need a cup of java to pry open my eyes.  Then... there are mornings like today.  Mmmmmm.... Guatemalan coffee with cream brulee... maybe need 2 today.  

So, as I'm sitting her in a fog (quite literally, if you were to look out my window), I'm joining Amy again for some {virtual coffee}.  I must say, this is sooooo much more fun now that I'm a big girl and drink the real stuff....

Have I mentioned the fog?  I thought for. sure. there would be a fog delay this morning.  What's a fog delay, you ask?  Well, here in the land of 100 lakes (not quite Minnesota, but our Indiana county does have over 100 lakes) we experience FOG.  So, on foggy mornings, like today, our local school district usually calls a 2 hour delay to give the sun time to burn the fog off.... usually, but not today.  Sleeping in today would have been a nice treat.......

Since we are enjoying our coffee, I will NOT tell you about Emme's toe and the Dr. visit we have this morning (yes, in the fog.....).  Ummm.... for whatever reason, her toe is severely infected.  This is one of those bad mom moments.  Two weeks ago, the Nurse (aka my man) told me we should probably take her to the Dr since it wasn't healing and I was supposed to make a Dr appointment on Monday.  Well, Monday turned into Tuesday and I was with my dad while he got another heart stent, and well, Emme's toe just didn't seem that important.  Because she's 12, I don't usually go around checking her feet and I completely forgot about the toe until Sunday when I saw it again.  Ewwwww....... so, I am happy to report that this Mom will redeem herself today.

I've been wanting to write a random post all weekend because random is all I have right now.  I have snippets of about a dozen posts running through my head.  I want to tell you what God is doing in my mind and in my heart but I can't string the words together yet.  I'm chin deep in NaNoWriMo  and am spending my words there at a very rapid rate (passed the 33,000 word mark last night).  God has something in store for what I'm writing, of that I'm sure.  I'm just not sure what that is.  My family and I are praying that He would do incredible things with it because we'd love to sponsor a whole slew of Compassion International children and right now our checkbook can't sign what our hearts want to give.  So, I'm doing what I can.  I'm writing.  

I'll leave you with a funny random... lately the mancub has been more than mean to his younger sister comparing his school with hers.  His school is our local public high school, population over 2,000.  Her school is our local Christian jr high/high school with a population of 130.  The mancub has been strutting around here thinking he is because he goes to the "better" school.  Whatever.  So, in a moment of shear genius, I signed him up to go to Emily's school on Thursday for "visit day."  I'm pulling him out of his own school to get a taste of hers.  Obviously, this may backfire on me and it may give him ammunition to use against her.  However, I really think he needs to see of that which he bashes.  Stay tuned....

Enjoy your coffee!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

a hurricane force gale in my heart...

Sometimes the Holy Spirit breathes as a soft breeze in my heart.  I like the feel of that.  It's soft, gentle, smooth, comfortable.  I'd like to say I always respond when He breathes in me like that... but no, not always.

Other times, a tempest gale stirs my soul.  I don't always like the feel of that.  It's rough, hard, painful and leaves scars.  You'd think the pain alone would make me want to always respond to Him when the tempest gales come... you'd think.

Then... then, there are times when the Holy Spirit blows through my spirit with a hurricane force wind.  There is no ignoring Him.   His very presence demands my attention, my obedience, my answer.  Tears are my response.  I am moved beyond myself.   I am brought to tears, tears that I can not always explain.  My heart dares not say anything but YES LORD!  I love the feel of that!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Master art by the MASTER of all...

To the east, this frosty morning, a brilliant fireball slips over the horizon... red, yellow, orange and even a little magenta swirled together chasing the dark away.  Wispy clouds of pinks, purples and grey reflect the fire light and decorate the morning sky.  Tiny soft piles of last night's snow hide in brown leaves light up with the morning sun.  

Thank You, LORD!
my heart sings as Emme chatters on the short drive to school

I turn around the school and head west driving the mile back home.  Low in the western sky, the waning full moon... fat and bright reflecting the sun a few minutes longer.  All around the ecru sphere are soft pinks, light purples blending with the early morning blues... a perfect periwinkle sky.

LORD!  The moon and the sun
in opposite skies, simultaneously...
only YOU... only YOU
could paint such a Masterpiece!

You are the Master artist!

... days like today I pine for a camera... even now as the sun rises higher and lights up the yellow leaves still hanging on trees.   Instead, I give a word picture as a sacrifice of praise on this stunning morning!  Thank You to the Master Creator for creating art in all it's forms and for continuing to display YOUR glory!

The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
 Day after day they pour forth speech;
   night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
   no sound is heard from them.
Psalm 19:1-3

...oh, and since my dog chewed my external card reader last month, it wouldn't matter if I had a camera today.   Thank YOU LORD for words!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

seeing the pregnant moments...

pregnant... gives these synonyms... 
abundant, anticipating, expectant, fruitful

No, I am not.  Instead, I'm learning that moments are.  Bits of time swollen with the fruit of God's grace.   Rarely, do I even look around the mound to see the treasure within.

Yesterday, time slowed for a few hours.  Three sisters in Christ gathered 'round a little Yorkie swollen and laboring.  While children ran in and out and played around, we had the front row seat.  We came to see birth.. we came to see 3 brand spankin' new puppies.  

We three friends, who usually lament we need to get together, sat and talked some and prayed some more.  We gathered together around the Throne of Grace and upheld each other and laid down our pain.  With tears, we prayed for ourselves, for each other and for others.

 For where two or three have gathered together in My name, 
I am there in their midst.
Matthew 18:20 (NASB)

The moment was not pregnant with the birth of puppies... those came in the middle of the night without an audience.  Instead, this slow moving swollen time birthed grace... mercy... love... joy and acceptance in our presence...

...because He was present in the swollen moment.

Monday, November 07, 2011

when the hard eucharisteo changes you...


I drove four hours through the heart of Chicago, with two traveling companions, to hear her say "Eucharisteo.  His love endures forever."  She who has taught me much over the past two years... standing before 2500 women giving testimony of how the hard eucharisteo changes you.  

My sister and I stood in line for 25 minutes to hug her (yes, Kari, you read that right... me, this person who has personal space issues stood in line to hug Ann Voskamp).  She who is more gracious in person than I ever expected said, "It is nice to meet you." and when I said, "Does anyone ever thank you?  I want to say thank you for teaching me how to count gifts. Thank you for coming today."  She smiled and gently laughed and in in her quiet voice said, "oh no! It is me who is blessed.  It is so hard to leave my family but when I go home I overflow with God's love.  I am so blessed to be here!"  Grace.

We retraced our path on the way home.  Four more hours back through Chicago, crossing the skyway bridge, returning to Indiana.  Four hours for three women to talk and share.  We shared parts of our stories.  And in our stories, I heard eucharisteo... giving thanks for the hard things that we have lived... those hard things that have changed us and deepened our faith.

I wonder how many more hard eucharisteo stories I would have of God's grace in my life?  

How many times have I shook my fist at God rather than open my hands wide to receive His gifts?  

How many times have I fought the circumstance rather than surrender to the grace of the moment?  

How much hard eucharisteo have I turned down rather than embraced?  

I know that when I embrace the hard eucharisteo... the giving of thanks in the pain, in the dark... I change.  

Joining with the gratitude community at Ann's and counting some more...

... friends to travel with
... incredible hospitality
... a free night's stay
... time with my sister
... conversation with Julie

... an adventurous dad
... a place to camp
... an 8 year old who biked 32 miles
... a beautiful campfire
... the beauty of the stars and moon

... travel safety
... hearing Ann
... laughing with Anita
... listening to Shari
... worshipping with sisters I have never met

... time to write
... over 12,000 words
... a chance to pursue a dream
... a quiet morning at home
... my computer that I take for granted

... life lesson conversation with the 14 year old, again
... laughing together as we partner together to rear these 3 Es
... knowing we are a team
... missing him when I'm gone
... coming home

Friday, November 04, 2011

NaNoWriMO... the experiment

Two years ago, I first heard about this thing called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  My favorite (really... I have lots of a favorites) liberry lady told me that she had joined NaNoWriMo and was spending every waking, non-working, moment of November writing a 50,000 word novel.  50,000 words?!?  Seriously?  That's crazy.

Yep... it is crazy.  This fall with one child at home and no definitive ministry to speak of, I decided to try this thing called NaNoWriMo.  

Here I am on Day 4... 7265 words and a story that looks nothing like the story I mapped out last week.  Good, bad or ugly, it's taken on a life of its own.  I feel as if I am just along for the ride.  

I have no idea where this ride will take me.  I don't even know if I will be able to accomplish 50,000 words in 30 days.  

All I do know?  This is fun!  Who knew?  Oh, yeah, Beth, the liberry lady, knew....

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

the {heart} of worship... gratitude

I'm joining in with the Multitude Monday gratitude keepers on Wednesday... if you don't mind, I'd like to pretend its Monday for a few moments... ; )

It has been a crazy week.  Not bad, necessarily, just kind of hectic and different than what I had planned.  Funny, my weeks are usually different than what I plan.  Sometimes good... sometimes not so good... sometimes down-right bad... but always different.

Yesterday, was one of those picture perfect days that makes Michigan a great tourist state. Sixty-five degrees and lots of sunshine reflecting off of the remaining yellow, gold, red and brown leaves.  It was stunning.  

I was blessed to spend the day with my parents.  We laughed... we talked and we prayed while we waited for another heart cath for my dad.  And, after a stent, my mom and I left him resting and journeyed the 65 miles back to their home.  

For 70 minutes, Mom and I talked gratitude and the difference reading 1000 Gifts and counting gifts has made in our lives... and how all of life is grace... even a heart stent.  We counted gifts as we marveled on the goodness of God in the land of the living.  

Isn't gratitude what is truly at the heart of worship?  Can we truly worship and praise Him without saying THANK YOU... THANK YOU... THANK YOU???  

for out of the abundance of the heart
his mouth speaks
Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

If everything is grace... if everything is a gift... then my heart must say THANK YOU a million times and more.  What greater gift can I give Him than to praise and worship with a {heart} of gratitude?

On this Multitude Wednesday {smile} my list grows...

... for His severe mercies
... which are new every morning
... His faithfulness
... His goodness
... His grace

... gifts all around
... incredible nurses
... a doctor who truly cares
... a very competent medical facility
... a yummy turkey and provolone on pretzel bread for lunch

... time with my parents because each minute is a gift
... laughter, the best medicine
... peace which passes all understanding
... being upheld in prayer
... gratitude discussions

... warm November day
... sunshine
... noticing beautiful deer in an afternoon field
... the warm palate of remaining fall colors
... a misty sunrise

... coming home
... the four who couldn't wait to see me
... dinner made by the 8 and 12 year olds
... sitting around the table praying for Papa
... rest

... an inexpensive community pool
... time together as a family
... slow and quiet lap swims
... the refreshing feel of a pool of warm water
... the giggles and somersaults 

... a life of "watch me, Mom"
... the "hey, you're home" greeting that really said "Hi Mom, I missed you!"
... the confession of "I was worried Mom"
... late night family Bible time
... warm snuggles and tired bodies

... and much MUCH more...