Sunday, December 6, 2009

ramblings

December. How is it already December? Seems like I just wrote a blog entry for Christmas 2008 and now here we are, 2009. Does it ever slow down again??

Well, I've been helping my great-Uncle with some things at his house. It has given me a new perspective of how much we really need each other. Going through things that have been accumulating since 1953 is quite a task. But, I so enjoy it! Watching my uncle as he sees the things we find for him to tell us whether it's keep, give away or throw away is priceless. He can tell stories just with his face. And he remembers so much! He can still remember enough French to teach today if he could!

I do miss our times together as a family. We used to get together every year! Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other reason there is. He always brought the homemade ice cream. The other day we were talking and he pulled out a recipe for Orange Marmalade Cake. Told him I'd make it, just for him.

And the books, wow, does he have a lot of books. I know where I get my "collect everything" from too because he did just that. Not junk either, I mean, yes, some of it is ready for the trash. Its fun going through it.

It's supposed to snow tonight. and I need to go to bed.

Learned a new perspective today, Jesus knew the reason for this season - YOU are the reason. I hope and pray all will see this and make the decision to surrender to Him. He is truly all we need...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

If I could tell you what burns inside of me and knew it would make sense I would. Even as I write this I have already forgotten a thought. My heart aches for you all. Watching the struggles you go through, the aches and pains; yes, I know in life it is unavoidable, but I also know for some of you it can get hopeless. There are some people who say this is just how it is, but that answer always brings me pain and frustration I cannot explain. I want to shout at those who say it, telling them that answer is not good enough. Kids are dying without knowing the truth, without walking in it-I’m not OK with it.

But, I’ve never known what to do. A part of me believes I need to start here-

I’m so sorry for ever making you feel as though you don’t have a voice, as if you wouldn’t understand. I’m sorry for being hypocritical, religious, judgmental, critical. That is not how it was supposed to be, I never meant to hurt anyone. I’ve judged you by the way you look, what you say, the music you listen to. I’ve judged you by your sexual preference, by how much you drink, by the drugs you use. I’ve been critical of things that really don’t matter and because of that I caused you pain. I have made it seem as though if you didn’t look a certain way or listen to certain music that you weren’t the “right” kinds of people for my children to hang around. I’ve been critical of my own children and some of their choices too, yelling at them when what they needed was my love. I am so sorry for yelling. I’m sorry for the church not being there for you in your time of need. For the time when it was the church that condemned you. I’m sorry that we didn’t offer help when you needed it, even if all you needed was someone to listen. I’m sorry we have not been the example you needed to see; for the marriages that have fallen apart because of bad counsel. For making you think if you didn’t serve in a ministry, you weren’t “in.” Please don’t base your opinion of Jesus and Christianity on all you have seen, it has not been the best example, no, far from it.

So what do I say now? I long for you all to know and love Christ. It’s not what you think. But, unfortunately because I haven’t been the example you needed to see, many of you have questioned the very existence of God, some have even turned away. I so wish you would come back and see it is so different then what you saw before. What you saw before was a human trying to be perfect. But that’s not what its about. It was never supposed to be so complicated. I know I acted like I had it all figured out at times, I didn’t. I still don’t and never will either. I never meant to act that way. I am so sorry for making you feel as if you were all wrong and that the choices you made weren’t good. I’m sorry for looking at you as if you weren’t good enough. I’m sorry for looking at the way you dressed and thinking you were trash. It’s not what I wanted to do, I mean, I did it, but I didn’t mean for it to be a critical look.

So now what? How do I help you see that there really is truth out there? That there really is a hope? A future? A purpose? I know things can suck and seem hopeless. I know sometimes it feels like this is all there is and that it will never get better. But please, just listen; please hear what I have to say.

I read this in a book and believe its something I need to share- “God wants you to know Him. God isn’t hiding and He isn’t unreachable. He’s been waiting or you. Why? Because He wants you to find Him. He wants you to know that you’re the object of His affection. You were created in His image, made by Him for Him. And, He wants you to know that rooted deep inside of you is a longing for Him.” It’s why you are searching for something, because life demands an answer and God truly is it.

It may not make any sense. But it’s the truth. You really were made for so much more. But the purpose you were created for takes trusting; some even call it a leap of faith. It won’t be easy. You will face trials. But even without following Christ there are trials. Walking with Him was never supposed to be about religion, or how you look or what kind of music you listen to or rules, you know “do this” “don’t do that.” It is supposed to be about love, about family, about relationship. It’s supposed to be about being there for each other, helping each other out in times of need. It’s supposed to be about working together, lifting each other up. It’s supposed to be unconditional. No matter what.

I’m sorry it hasn’t been, and I’m asking you to take that chance. Please know, however, that I will fail you. I am not perfect and I don’t ever expect to be. I cannot let you think that all you’ve seen, heard, experienced is what being a Christian is. There have not been very many right examples out there for you to see.

Just know that it is one step at a time, one day at a time. Don’t give up, even when the difficult times come. And, when people fail, don’t blame it all on them. Hold on to the truth, the truth that God really is there. He really wants you to know Him. He really loves you. He really is the answer. He’s waiting, with arms open, ready for you to follow Him. Take a step of faith. Trust God and His word. Let go and let God lead. Follow after Him one day at a time. Forgive. Love. Trust. Not perfection, yes, mistakes will be made. But that’s when you get back up again, forgive again, keep walking forward, trust God for the answers. Reach out to others, it’s a risk worth taking. Even if it’s been the people calling themselves Christian’s that hurt you, even if it’s been the church that has failed you, realize something else – it wasn’t God. God will not fail you. I know you might be thinking “But, where was He when…” all I can say is I don’t know why the bad stuff happens. But I do know life with Christ, life trusting His way is better then doing it without Him… There is an unexplainable freedom waiting for you; an unexplainable joy; an overwhelming amount of strength and peace. It’s waiting, grab hold!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Remembering

September 7, 2001 - planes flew without concern, people boarding planes could do just that, luggage check was easy, quick and you could bring whatever you wanted with you. People walked down streets and into stores without concern for how they looked. When you visited New York their were towers that stood high above the ground. The Pentagon functioned like it was a normal day. People who wore cloth on their heads never had to worry about being accused of terrorism. The worst terrorist act had been someone from our own home. No one suspected anything if you took pictures of planes. Young men didn't have to fear being shipped off for war the moment they enlisted in the military. It was, as most would agree, "normal" within the definition of itself. But, in 4 days all of that would change, drastically, forever.

I was getting ready to take my kids to class. We live on the West Coast so our morning was just getting busy. My mom called and told me to turn on the news. Those were pretty much the only words spoken. My entire family just sat and stared in disbelief. Then, the 2nd tower was hit. Unaware of the events that were still to come, we finally left for school. The words of CNN saying it could be terrorists stayed in my mind. By the time I arrived to the place classes were being held, one tower had already collapsed, the Pentagon had been hit and a plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. There was no way school would be "normal" that day. We had a small school, a homeschool support group. So, first class I just spoke to all the kids about what was going on and assured them that if they needed to talk to me they could, or if they just needed to step out of class later, it would be understandable.

Today, almost 8 years later, most of it for us on the West Coast is easily set aside. We remember by pictures, movies, and maybe the loss of a loved one. About 1 month ago, I found a book at the local dollar store that a police officer put together of pictures of the clean up. I bought it. Page by page I looked. But, I have to say, yesterday was most moving.

We went to our State Fair. They have a 9/11 memorial section. I did not realize it would be there and as we came out of an exhibit hall, there were pictures and a tall tower of bells. At first I thought it was just an exhibit of pictures. That's when I saw it - the ball with the names of people who died and the beam from one of the towers. That's when I realized I was standing in the middle of the 9/11 memorial exhibit. I had not seen it until now. It was overwhelming. Then the bells rang out, on the hour. I just stood there and listened. I touched the ball and stopped it from moving, then gave it another gentle push to start it again. I touched the "pentagon" with the names of those who died there. The Pennsylvania memorial is unique. A large water display that is indescribable. And then I touched the beam. I think the beam is the most amazing. Simply because as you look at it, you know it is 1 beam of so many that used to be part of the North tower. It is huge. I looks unshakable. Yet, there it is, on display. Slightly twisted at one end with a piece of twisted metal still attached. It weighs 2,000 pounds. A reminder of how vulnerable we are. A reminder of what happened 8 years ago.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's already September

OK, I know I am typing this August 31, but by the time most people read this, it will be September. And of course, really, August is over within just a couple hours anyway...

and so my post begins.

there are sometimes I wish I could really write what is on my mind and that people would actually read this blog and the words I write would make a difference.

there is a song i've heard that talks about how a person looks on the outside doesn't necessarily reflect what is on the inside. Of course this can be taken 1 of 2 ways - 1st that the persons appearance may be an issue "they look like... (fill in the blank)" or "Oh my gosh! Did you see him? Can you believe they are wearing that?" 2nd that person can look pretty happy, content and yet inside, they can be broken, overwhelmed. either way, too often we judge the outside and dismiss the inside. Think about it...when was the last time you asked someone how they were and took the time to hear their answer? or, when was the last time someone asked YOU how you were and you actually told them instead of responding with the pre-program answer "I'm good, how are you?" i'm rambling...

i have decided i don't like starting over...
i wish people could understand my thought process, but even i can't, so...
i don't always know how to share the truth of God's love in such a way that people understand and i'm afraid i have come across "holier then thou"...
i don't have time to take care of things that i should...
i will be glad when high school is done...at least until my youngest gets there...
i need shelves...
sometimes when i think i just might get there, someone drops a road block...
i miss connection...
i wish i had the money that the philanthropist does so i can do what he does (minus the scary stuff, lol)...
if i were to ever hit the jackpot, i'm afraid i would blow the money more then i would do what is good...
i miss playing games...
some times i wish we had a farm so i could have more animals, but farms are a lot of work...
i really wish i could have taken my kids horseback riding...
i get tired of FB and MS sometimes, but then am grateful there is at least a small bit of connection...
there are times i finally find that place to withdraw to for some quiet time only to be interrupted by something unavoidable...
there are people i have lost contact with that i wish i never had...
tearing down walls is a good thing...
i worry about some of my "kids" that have not been around for awhile...
i'm afraid i will never be organized or clutter free...
i think too much...
i miss my friends...
sleep is highly overrated...so is food =)...
ok, maybe not food, i do kinda enjoy cooking...

I am grateful my joy is not dependent on the above at all nor is it dependent on my circumstances. but sometimes i need to remind myself of that...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Swing

I hope that all who read this can understand what is behind the words, although I do not think it possible to truly understand until you yourself have sat in my fathers' swing...come by anytime :)

The Swing

Skillfully crafted.
The wood, hand chosen.
The stain, just the right color.
The hardware, carefully picked.
A swing was born.

Hung between birch trees, swaying in the wind.
Children laugh, even sleep.
Adults relax.
A beautiful piece of work.
Moved to a patio where a baby was rocked.
Laughter continued.
But then, the patio had to come down...

A tree stood strong.
Its branches reached high.
A perfect place for a swing.
Laughter returned.
A place to go for peace, to unwind.
To seek solitude from the noise.
Birds chirping all around.

A place to cry; a place to laugh.
A place to listen to the wind through the leaves.
A place to read, a place to write;
A place to swing.
A place for many, a place for one,
Sitting in the swing
Built by my father’s hands.

-Happy Fathers Day, Dad!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inside Out

short and simple tonight.

I have decided that we have compromised so many things that we have become inside out. You might say "don't you mean backwards?" to which I will tell you "No." because being backwards doesn't make everything look different. Think about it. If you walk backwards, the only thing that changed was the way you walk. All around you, including you, is still the same. But see, we have taken so many things that used to be wrong and made them OK, or tolerable, or worse, simply accepted. Even things about our selves. Take something as simple as the way we eat. If it gives you heartburn, simply take this to reduce acid or indigestion vs not eating what causes it... If I could turn myself inside out, what you used to think was my nose will no longer look like my nose. And whatever rule that said the tissues should be on the inside will now be "accepted" to be on the outside. Does that make sense? I hope so, but I will admit that sometimes what I want to say doesn't always come out that way...

so, if this is confusing and you would like clarification, simple ask... :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brownies

OK, this is completely off the wall for my posts, but it is well worth it! This is from the cookbook "Alpha-Bakery, Children's Cookbook from Gold Medal,"
F is for Fudge Brownies
1/4 cup butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
extra chips for the batter (no more than 1/2 cup!)
nuts optional, 1/2 cup


Heat oven to 350 and grease the bottom of an 8x8 pan.
Heat butter and 6 oz choco chips in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted; remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining ingredients EXCEPT additional choco chips and nuts, until smooth. Stir in nuts and remaining chips. Spread into prepared pan. Bake until center sets, about 30 minutes.

the cool thing is this is a very easy recipe to make with your kids. I made them tonight with my 6-year old. I melted the stuff, she added the rest and stirred it all up. Maybe they taste better because she made them with me, but I'll let you be the judge...enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This probably won't make much sense...

So many thoughts have been going through my head and heart since I wrote the previous entry. I want to put this into practice. Making a way for those who struggle or have even fallen away to reconnect. But even since I wrote it, I too have struggled. Not with God, but with how to put something together. I so want people to stay connected and yet so many have fallen away, or don’t know where they belong, or are just plain frustrated with the “church” today. I even worry that they won’t trust my intentions, or me. A friend of mine told me that she is not even sure she believes in God. That made me mad. Not at her, but at us, believers. Here’s the thing - We were never meant to do it on our own. We were not created to be separate, but to be together. It was never supposed to be about a building or a place of worship. However, today we have turned Christianity into a religion, a set of rules. And we have made the church about a building, about how well a pastor can speak, about children’s ministry, about what “we” have to offer. And when the “stuff” fails us or the people fail us, we decide it isn’t worth it. Many even decide to no longer fellowship with other believers. Some turn away from God, deciding he cannot be that real. That’s not ok! Especially when most of the reasons for not fellowshipping any longer stems from something a person, human and not perfect, did. I have yet to hear that it was God who embezzled; God who cheated; God who manipulated; God who brainwashed; God who…fill in your reason here.
This is not to say people haven’t been hurt. This is not to say that people don’t ever have a legitimate reason to be angry. It’s just that, isn’t God worth more than that? Isn’t my reason for loving Him simply because He first loved me? I’m not trying to get preachy here. But lets just get down to it for a minute. My whole relationship with Christ is supposed to be about me loving Him. And in return for loving Him, I will then love others. In loving others, I will forgive, I will serve, I will pray and I will do all I can to become more like Christ. That is, after all, what Christian means – “little Christ.” Does that mean we simply ignore what some people have done? Does it mean we don’t tell others that a certain pastor or congregation or gathering is wrong? I don’t have an answer that everyone will like or agree with. As you read what Jesus did, there certainly were times he pointed out what the Pharisees did wrong. But that same man LOVED the one who would turn him over to the people who would crucify him! That same man washed the disciples feet while THEY argued over who was best. That same man had the ability to call down 10,000 angels to come take him back home (those angles by the way were WAITING to rescue him!). That same man asked God to forgive those who nailed him to the cross. And that same man chose God’s will over his own. That same man died for me, for you, for all of us. Why? Because he loved us seems so cliché. We’ve said it so many times that it has apparently lost its meaning. So why did he? How about a different question. Why should we STILL believe in Him? Why should we STILL obey His commands? Because He brings freedom. He brings peace. He brings joy. He brings life. But these things come at a cost. A cost that REQUIRES that I do not respond the way the world does. A cost that DEMANDS I forgive. A cost that says love your enemies. A cost that says regardless of what happens to me, I will still love the Lord, I will still follow Him, I will still look to him for all the answers because he truly is all I need.
It is not easy. It will hurt. It will require faith beyond what we know. It will not make sense. It will challenge everything we know and when we learn that, it will challenge us again. So, how do I explain this in such a way that people hear what my heart so wants to convey? Because sometimes I know what I say does not come out the way I want it to. Sometimes what I want people to understand sounds like I am preaching, and sometimes it even sounds as if I am saying to people that what they went through is no big deal and that they should get over it. But I am not. I just want people to love Jesus. I just want people to understand what my heart feels, what my mind senses. Only, I don’t always explain it well. And even as I type this and think maybe this makes sense (if only a little bit), I still know it won’t come across the way I want it to and I’m even wondering if it makes any sense at all. So why bother? I hear about people (believers) being suicidal, not fellowshipping, not believing, slandering, harboring unforgiveness, gossiping, being so angry they would like to see people fail and so much more. That is not how Jesus was. It is not how we are supposed to be either. But we are human, sinful and we will mess up. I am not asking for people to be perfect. But I am asking that we start being more like Jesus. Then maybe, just maybe we will be, …be, well, maybe be is the wrong word. Ok… then, maybe we will do what Jesus did.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 12, 2009, Resurrection Sunday

Last night I was thinking about some things, about how the whole situation with the church, not just RLC, but us, THE church, is just messed up at times. And then I thought about the song “If We Are the Body” and a specific line – “A traveler is far away from home. He sheds his coat, and quietly sinks into the back row. The weight of their judgmental glances tells him that his chances are better out on the road.” And I started to wonder, how many people fit this persons? Being judged by the way they look, by what they wear, by how they talk. And how many others simply go unnoticed? Their pain quietly hiding behind their smile. We are supposed to be the body, Christ IN us. Yet, how many of us have been the one who didn’t notice someone because we were so busy with US? So consumed with the current gossip that we don’t even realize the person next to us is crying. This is me, being very open at the moment, but please don’t take this wrong – I have been married for just about 20 years now, yet at “church,” I am in fact single. Or as I like to say, too married to be single, too single to be married. In other words, I don’t “fit” in a category. There is no “single in marriage” bible study. I say that VERY lightheartedly because I think that title would be TERRIBLE! But my point is, although people know that, they don’t know me or what it is like. And there have been times I have been the one who was crying sitting next to you and no one noticed. Knowing that I have experienced that, I wonder how many others there are? You know, the kid who dresses in black and people judge them as gothic, or even suicidal or worse, demonic. And the woman whose husband hits her, did anyone see her bruise? What about the husband whose wife just left him, did you see him? Did you see the family who just lost everything? Did you talk to the lady whose kids are in so much trouble she just doesn’t know where they could end up? And what about the couple who just lost their child? Or the young adult who just wants to hear truth and be trusted? Or the teenager who so wants to find out who they are, but they are failing in school. What about the young lady who doesn’t think she is beautiful? Or the dad who can’t provide for his family any longer? Or the pastor who did something that has caused him to loose everything? Did you see them?
There is another part of the song, the chorus: “But if we are the Body, Why aren't His arms reaching Why aren't His hands healing Why aren't His words teaching And if we are the Body Why aren't His feet going Why is His love not showing them there is a way?” And it makes me wonder, when are we going to BE Jesus? When will we finally look so much like we say we are that people return to Jesus? There was a time that those who were in need knew they could turn to the body of Christ, the church, and find what they need. Yes, they need Jesus and yes, people are sharing the gospel, but then what? The worst part about this is that it is often other believers that we don’t notice. The ones who are supposed to already belong to the body, after all, that is what we are, the body. And, just like in our physical body, if a part of our body is hurting, the rest of it feels the hurt and does what needs to be done to fix it. So it is supposed to be for the spiritual body, even more so. In the book of Acts it speaks of the body meeting together in such a way that NO ONE WAS IN NEED. It wasn’t that no one had needs; it was that when the need came up, it was taken care of by the church!
When are we going to be the body? When are we going to be the church? When are we going to be Jesus to the world, you know, like we are supposed to be? It’s time we stopped making sure everyone knows we are Christians and just start BEING Christian.