Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ready to Party at 6:15 p.m.!



A totally silly, vampy pose, but I am in a silly mood tonight!

A Day in the life of . . . MOI! 9:00 - 5:30 p.m.



9:00 Go to Suburban Christian Church in the fog





12:30 George taught the 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Sunday School classes on the State of World Missions. He is talking to his former discipler, Phil. (another reason we switched to this church!)





1:15 Traditional Stop at "Coffee Culture" for one Latte, one Steamer, and two fruit smoothies.






2:00 - 3:15 Elliptical Cardio at Timberhill. If you click on the picture, and scroll down a bit, you see an enlarge view of me in the window taking the picture.





3:30 p.m. A totally unflattering picture of me doing my Core workout on a stability ball.









4:00 - 5:30 Answer emails, reveiw news websites, post my end of the year answers on forum, and download pictures on to the computer to post this blog entry!



ACK! I have to go and take a shower for dinner and party! 5:30 - 9:00 a.m. tomorrow still to come!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Candlelight Dinner for Teala



Teala turned 48 today, and I had a small and intimate dinner party with four of her close friends. It was a lovely time. George was so sweet to cook all the food. We cleaned up yesterday, and it ended up being a really relaxed time of getting ready for it. The boys were gone for about five hours to watch the Beaver game at the H's. So, we worked on our respective projects (scrapbooking for me and paper for publication for George) and watched the Beaver game (I listened more than watched). It was a very nice time all the way around.




I cried for the Beavers and am very happy for them in every way.








I am still evaluating some things these days. I am still blown away at the kindness of so many people around me. I am so blessed.




Saddaam H. was hanged today. It was an strange thing to have a dinner party and go in to see George in the bedroom and have him tell me that.




Thursday, December 28, 2006

Today had all the ingredients for a great day

  1. Good night's sleep
  2. Good quality time with George in the morning
  3. Cleaned the whole house as a family - boys downstairs and George and I did the upstairs
  4. Did four loads of laundry
  5. Scrapbooked and had great friend-to-friend with Kim as we did it. She validates me! There is nothing like face-to-face time with a good friend. It beats the phone or email any day of the week.
  6. Walk with George as the sun set over Glen Eden . . . ahhhhhhhhhh.
  7. News
  8. Being here resting
  9. Chocolate!

    I love being on vacation.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Vacation!

Ahhhh.....I had my workout clothes all placed out on the floor at the end of my bed ready for a 5:30 a.m. blast off to the Group Power class. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. and thought I would sleep a bit longer.

I reawakened at 5:38 a.m., and it was too late.

So, I thought, "I can go to the 9:20 a.m. class!" Well, I am glad I checked the schedule this morning because they changed it, and there isn't another class until 7:30 tonight.

So, the sun is shining, and George and I are going for a walk. Plan B always has a silver lining.

Still feeling somewhat squishy about things that happened last week. Don't know what I am going to do about it, but I am going to just take it one day at a time. I am still sort of sad about all the fast changes. George also reminded me of something that I had forgotten I had said that has made me wonder whether I should make a change. I am just listening and waiting.

Today, George will do Dial-A-Book and take the boys to music lessons so that I can work on my scrapbooks. He will also go to the bank and deposit all the Christmas checks. We were so very blessed this year.

First is the walk though. We have a big stretch of sunshine this morning, and I want to seize it before the next wave of rain comes in!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day . . . Santa Got SMASHED!

I really love my dh's family! I was feeling a bit tired and still a bit sick, but the five hours we spent with his family just picked me up and encouraged me like no other.



Yummy things to eat and fun people to greet!






Great kids to share in the fun.




Making ice cream in the ball and playing catch with it!

Aunt Dot wins a 4 lb Chocolate Santa that we divide up between us by smashing Santa!















What a great time! I really loved the "pick me up"!

Merry Christmas!

Well, Paul hardly slept at all, and he really wanted to get up. I heard him going up and down the stairs at about 4 a.m.!

After we were all done opening gifts, he said that the whole Christmas was perfect except for not being able to have the Cowden Christmas Party.

We had a great low-key season, and I never "dipped" because of the holiday. I did dip because of the TDS thing and M asking me about the future with M. That made me sad to have to dredge all of that stuff up again in my heart, but Christmas was so wonderful. I had a great time in every way.

Paul was a little disappointed when he got another version of Roller Coaster Tycoon, but I assured him that it was the latest and best model. Then he felt bad for being disappointed and kept looking at me to make sure I was OK. Poor guy. I'm OK! I think he is fine now. He installed it and thought it looked really neat.

George got a book from one of the boys in the boys' group called Better Dads, Stronger Sons by Rick Johnson. This list called "Mistakes All Dads Make" made me realize what a great dad George is to his sons!




  1. Emphasize weaknesses, not strengths

  2. Avoiding physical affection

  3. Giving too little time

  4. Pushing for performance

  5. Forgetting to have fun

  6. Fearing failure

  7. Abusing your power

  8. Neglecting your need for friendships

  9. Being inconsistent

  10. Being complacent and passive

George just came back and read me the final exhortation in the whole book. He thought it was a good one:




"In closing this book, let me summarize my counsel about raising your son to nobility with one sentence: remember to tell your boy you love him and are proud of him, to pray for him, to spend time with him, and to love his mother. That's the best advice."


And their dad has done all these things and more!


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Still, Still, Still


Before I had children, I always dreamed of being able to sing my kids to sleep on Christmas Eve singing the song "Still, Still, Still."

When the kids were toddlers, they didn't like it when I sang to them. So, I let that dream die. It was OK.

But earlier this month, while we were listening to a Mannheim Steamroller CD with this song (a beautiful rendition BTW), Paul said, "What are the words to that song?" I started singing a bit and then I jokingly told him that I have tried to sing that song to them on several Christmas Eves, but I was booed. He said, "Mom, I really don't remember doing that." I said, "Well you were young."

This evening, Paul and Michael both asked me if I would sing the song to them after Dad read Bartholomew's Passage. I was shocked. They said, "No, mom, really."

While George read, I went downstairs and played the melody line on the piano. Then, George said, "They are ready for you." I decided I wasn't going to be flustered, and I wasn't going to worry how it sounded. I would just sing with confidence and joy. I did just that.

I started on perfect pitch. The moment was so surreal and so beautiful. I remember thinking as I sang that I wanted to cry because it was so beautiful, but I also thought that I would not do that, and I didn't. I wanted it to be seamless.

I sang in the dark the song I have wanted to sing to them for the last fifteen years. At the end, they clapped, and Paul said, "That was really good, Mom. You did a really good job. It was like a lullaby. It made me start to fall asleep. I am just going to do that right now." Michael softly said, "Good job."

My dream of singing a sweet song in the dark to my boys has been realized, and I just had a lovely memory moment.

The words:

Still, still, still
Can you hear the falling snow?
While all is still the world is sleeping
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
Can you hear the falling snow?

Sleep, sleep, sleep, 'tis the eve of our Savior's birth
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes, let sleep surround you
Sleep, sleep, sleep 'tis the eve of our Savior's birth.

Dream, dream, dream of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream of the joyous day to come.

Thank you, Lord for this day. Thank you Lord for my children, and the man who stood in the shadow of the doorway and cheered me on with his mere presence as I sang.

'Tis a gift to be a part of this family. I got my present for Christmas already.

Christmas Eve Freewrite


I want to sing and dance and say, "I am feeling so much better!" I actually went to the club this afternoon and had a good cardio workout, and I didn't terrible afterward! That hasn't happened for about two weeks now. So, YIPPEE!

Our first Christmas at Suburban Christian was all it was meant to be and more. I loved it. We had a couple behind us who was honored because today is their 60th wedding anniversary! I love how Pastor Steve acknowledges these milestones of the congregation.

He also introduced us because we (really George) will be leading a Sunday School class on "The State of the World" in missions. They are so eager and up for everything there. I love how Steve also makes everyone feel so welcome.

We came back and I had some more St. Lucia Day Cinnamon Rolls while I gave Becky her "virtual gift" on TDS. I loved it, and I think she did too. She is a good one to "shop" for!

Then, I hit that club, and it was PACKED. I wasn't sure if it would be dead because it is Christmas Eve or would be deserted. I think everyone is getting their last workout in because of the limited hours on Tuesday and NO HOURS on Monday for Christmas.

I finished Shepherd's Abiding and started watching I Remember Mama with Irene Dunn. I love the film about a Scandinavian family!

I came home and didn't feel lousy. That is so great, and I called and talked to Teala, but Debbie and my mama didn't answer.

The kids had John over all afternoon until a few minutes ago when Jim picked him up and said, "Our church . . ." It was weird to have him talk about it that way since it used to be our church too. This is the only time I have felt weird about leaving Northwest Hills. I will miss the Christmas Eve service, but I am also excited to go watch.

It's a Wonderful Life

with my great family while the RED AND GREEN meal cooks on the stove.

I love my life, even though it had some bumps this week. :)

Santa Lucia Day 11 Days Late!





It was a fun morning!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Review of Pursuit of Happyness




It was a sweet story. I don't think it is any Academy Award winner, but it is poignant. The only think that I would say is that happiness is not in having money, and Chris Gardner is the first to say that in his interviews. So, the movie may have a little bit too much emphasis on the fact that all those stock brokers out on the sidewalk were happy because they were making 80,000 a month (that is the amount the man in the red car was making when Chris Gardner asked him). With all that said, money does provide a roof over our heads and food in our stomach. So, we do need it to survive.

Chris Gardner has said in his interviews that "home" and "happiness" are in the relationships that we have with one another and the time we spend in investment. This was definitely modeled by the character in the movie, but the dialogue made it sound like money was the be all end all. Chris Gardner would not agree. He said in an interview on Oprah something to the effect that he knows people with all the money in the world that don't spend any time with their children, and that is a tragedy. So, he is talking about being "spiritually" poor there even with a lot of money.

Overall, I really did like it though. It was a good movie to count your blessings during the holidays.

I am skipping my Group Power class again. I didn't feel well when I got up this morning again. I am going for a walk with Michelle at 9 a.m., and I didn't want to over do it with weigh lifting and walking. I am going to ease back into everything very slowly. I have been sick off and on for almost ten days now. Hopefully, I will be better by Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Laughing Out Loud

Just had to add that I did the whole post below not realizing that I was now going to see the movie:


The PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS.

Tee Hee!

I am so darn happy.

I have about five minutes before I am out the door to the movie, but I wanted to write a little freewrite. I looked in the mirror a few minutes ago, and I like what I see! I have kept the weight I lost this summer for three months now. That was about ten percent of my body weight. So, I like how I feel in my body. I like how I feel in my clothes. I like how I have been able to stay in shape all through the busy fall.

On top of that, I like who I am around and where I am going. No more crazy, psycho, drama queen ladies in my life anymore, and I am happy that I am being VERY selective about who I allow in my life now. So, I not only like how I look right now, I like who I am hanging with.

I like my kids. They are not big jocks. They aren't really popular. They are just nice PEOPLE. Just today we were all laughing at The Complete Adventures of Curious George, and we were just having a fun time.

I like my husband. He makes me so darn happy. He likes to go to movies and will go with my girlfriends and me. He likes similar books. He likes to talk deep at a moments notice. He likes to invest in people and not things. That is a huge value.

I like my extended family and in-laws. There is peace on ever side, and we know how to make peace if anything happens because all those people on both sides of the family are committed to peace.

I like my church. Another group of people who are commited to peace. I like this new family.

Well, I am out of time and off to spend a lovely evening with friends and my sweet, adorable, tall, handsome and sexy husband.

I am so hilariously happy.

The end.
Bummer. I did a whole post and lost the thing. I am at 14 posts this month! So, that means I have broken my previous record of most posts in one month! I have more posts this year than any other year.

Today
Slept In
Read Bible
Studied Ephesians
Prayed
Walked with Cathi and Jess (She lives RIGHT on the edge of Peavy Arboreteum trails!)
Talked with Cathi and Jess
Bought Steamer, scones, and cinnamon rolls (for St. Lucia Day) at Jamocha Jo's
Entered more books in my library
Found out my Thumbelina and Little Mermaid books are RARE and worth bucks!
Visited TrapdoorSociety.

Now, I am off to The Pursuit of Happyness with Teala, Shelley, and George.

Bye Bye for Now!

I plan to cry. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Day is Done . . .Almost Gone the Sun


The Runyons, Kinkades, Alexander Boys, and our family all got together for the annual gingerbread party.
It worked out really great. It was a little chaotic at first, but we all settled down and got to work. My kids were pretty independent once we got he house together.
What a fun and relaxed week I am having!
Now, the Alexander boys are staying until Boy's Group, and I am going to have some time to rest and think about dinner later. :)

Today is Gingerbread House Day

Yes, we will make another one of these lovely creations. We have done this since before we went to Malaysia, although the picture of the first one we did was lost forever when someone stole my camera. (Big sigh). I believe that was in 1996, right before we went away to Malaysia!

I don't think we did them in Malaysia though. So, we have done them since 1999! Wow! I will have to find a photo archives of all our attempts at making the perfect house.

We have done it with the K's for the last three years, and that has been lovely. I have invited the Alexander boys, and Dee has invited the Sarah and Emma. So, it should be fun, fun, fun.

I am on the verge of my 100th post after two years of doing this blog. It is a time for celebration (Although I had the other blog that mysteriously disappeared, and I probably had about 50 posts on that one alone)!

I will post pictures of our Gingerbread Creations in a little bit.

Still want to celebrate Santa Lucia Day, but I think it will be on Saturday. I am hoping that George will make some yummy cinnamon rolls on Friday night!

TTFN!

P.S. Don't you love my nifty "Books that I have Read" tab on the side? Thank you Ampersand for teaching me how to do this and finding that nifty site that I told you about yesterday. I spent most of the day entering books that I have read. Many were from lists I have made over the years, but some were just from memory when they popped into my head. I am sure there are many more that I have read, but I entered more than 500 yesterday. My head hurts, and I am staying away from that website today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh, how really FUN!


I just found a great new website where I can catalog all the books that I have read. I have always wanted to do this, but it would be so laborious! This makes it really easy! You can type in the name of the ISBN, and the information and the picture of the book appear!

It is free for the first 200, but it is only $25 for LIFE. I am there. What a great new tool! Now, if I could only figure out how to do widgets on the sidebar and display my library books!



www.librarything.com

Help anyone?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Looks like it is YUL!

I am great with that. I liked them both. I liked Yul from the beginning, but I also liked Ozzy. So, I am glad for Yul but sad for Ozzy!

Notes on Survivor Jury

Nate - Called Yul The Godfather, called Ozzy The Warrior. Good question. I want Ozzy. Nate is asking why Becky deserves a million dollar over them. Boy, Becky is going to get fried. Poor thing. She is a smart cookie. She really is.

Jenny - What is more important; the physical or the strategic element? Yul thinks strategy is more important. Yul could do it.

Parvati - Becky, convince me that you want to win this. She wanted to win in a way that she is proud.

Jenny - Is that her name? She thought they were flawless. Yul in strategy. Ozzy in challenges. Yul wanted minorities on TV. See Asian American men as they truly are. Good point. Minorities represented on TV. Ozzy wants to change the stereotype of what a Mexican. He thinks he can become a positive role model. WOW! It is going to be so close.

Adam - Thinks they aer painfully boring. Talk trash about the other two. Not about you. Yul didn't work as hard as he could. Becky riding on coat tails. You should be able to make a fire after 39 days.

Candice - Think that they made it after the mutiny is cool. Yul you say what people want to hear. Say Yes or No. You have been shamelessly working this jury. YES.

Brad - Kudos to all of you. Ozzy, I had a fifteen second conversation. Most challenging experience in your life. The man can't be around and take responsibility. Father never been around and been there for you. The person that created you doesn't want you around or whatever. Oh, I want Ozzy. He is so cute, but it will probably be Yul. Oh well.

Sondra - What have you discovered about yourself? Ozzy: Pure love. There is nothing here but mind, soul, body. Learning to love. Loving and cherishing every single moment. Becky: Let time go. Yul: New found self-confidence about myself. I had alot of fears and anxieties. She likes them all. Loves them all. Oh, it is going to be a hard one.

Jonathan - He says congratulations. Yul is very polite but political. Your future constituents. How can you telling half truths and half lies are right about integrity. Yul says that Survivor is a game. I would never do this in real life. Was very true to the original people. Ozzy you are arrogant. You act as if you are a prince. I am a little bit uncomfortable about your "entitlement." Ozzy: I would go back to school. I would complete higher education without money I would owe to someone else. Becky didn't even get asked. Poor Becky. I don't know if she will get a single vote.

That is the notes for the JURY!

Another Sick Day

I am sick today. Yesterday, I almost fell asleep during White Christmas at the Pix Theatre. It was such a delightful film, but I could tell that I was still sick.

I tried to watch Captain's Courageous with George, but I kept falling asleep. So, I slept from 8:20 - 11:40 last night, and I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep until 4 a.m. So, I used the time to read Hinds' Feet on High Places. How delightful! I haven't read this since I was in college!

Skipped church, and George said that our new pastor said he hopes I feel better. Also, Kim, the children's ministry director, said she was praying. What a great, great church to even care that I was sick! I was gone for a whole summer once because of major surgery, and the only ones who even noticed were the people in my Bible study! I am simply amazed at how caring this church really is. Thank you JESUS for giving me a new, caring church family.

So, while my sweet family was at church, my sweet friend, Teala, called, and we talked for three hours! She needed someone to process things with. What a dear friend of almost 30 years!

Debbie also emailed to say that she thinks she will engaged by the New Year! WOOOHOOO!

Off to have Jambalya with sausage and chicken!

YUMMY and I am a spoiled person when it comes to my sweet husband serving me

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm Dreamin' of a . . .


I had the nicest time at the Pix theatre with Shelley watching a Christmas Classic! For a can of food, I was treated to this on the big screen. I am sold on big screen viewing of old movies.
What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
:)

Friday, December 15, 2006

UNO by Candlelight


Last night, the power went out at 7 p.m. We had quite a bad windstorm brewing, and I knew that Alsea had lost power earlier in the day.
We had all our Christmas candles throughout the living room. So, I lit just about all of them (19 in all), and the living room/kitchen/dining room was stunningly beautiful. Such a peace set over our family as we talked to candlelight. We figured it wouldn't be long before the lights came back on.
We didn't know how long we would be without power. So, we made the best of it.
Paul and George were going to sit down to a game of UNO thinking that Michael and I wouldn't be interested. Well, they were wrong. To their utter shock, I sat down with them and played UNO to candlight! We had so much fun! The only difficult thing was the the blue and green cards are very hard to distinguish by candlelight, and one of the candles at the dining room table melted all over my fancy Christmas tablecloth. Other than that, it was a blast. Paul won 2. George won 1, and I won 1, but they gave me the last game because we all got tired of playing it in the mild.
After that, we sat in the living room with the fire blazing and candes burning and talked about our highs and lows for the year. Paul cried, and we hugged. He still remembered a painful time we had together at the beginning of the year. I had forgotten all about it, but it was good to talk it through again. I will say that since we had that hard time, Paul has been a changed person. He is much more sensitive, and we are much closer. (The painful time was when I reacted TOO strongly to a hurtful thing he said to me.).
Then, we talked about the funniest things that happened in 2006, and we were rolling on the floor laughing. Michael can't always articulate the highs and lows, but he can go on and on about the funny things.
The lights returned at 10:45, and it was too soon for me. I willingly missed my Survivor show for a blessed time with my lovely family of four. It made me want to continue to grab every moment we have together. These times are so short and precious.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sick Day

Today was supposed to be my last "busy" day before Christmas. It was homeschool, Dial a Book, Good News Christmas Club, and Bible study. Everything was put off because I overslept and felt achy all day. So, it was DAD on DAB today. He took the boys, and I had a couple of hours of total quiet. I have been sort of wasting the day, but that's OK.

I don't know why, but I was just musing over someone's response to me when I told them something deep about how I felt about something. The whole time she just kept denying my feelings. This is someone who is supposed to be getting a degree in helping people. I just don't get it. Thankfully, she is not one of my close friends but one of the people who is in the "vortex." I am so glad to be with people who don't deny who I am made to be anymore. I am so thankful to be in a healthier environment. It is so great.

So, that is all I have to say about that. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rules for Love and Marriage

I am reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom in the chapter on marriage Morrie says, "There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage:

If you don't respect the other person,

you're gonna have a lot of trouble.

If you don't know how to compromise,

you're gonna have a lot of trouble.

If you can't talk openly about what goes on between you,

you're gonna have a lot of trouble.

If you don't have a common set of values in life,

you're gonna have a lot of trouble.

I have two reactions to these quotes

1) Praise God that George and I have all four of these things going for us! I respect the socks off of him. Such a man of integrity and compassion. He communicates respect for me in a million ways. We can always come to compromise and consensus. We can talk about anything, and we have never had times of "silence." Helps to both be extroverted feelers! Last but not least, we had the same life goals and values about God, money, family, etc before we even met each other. Thankful this morning.

2) All four of these were not present in my most recent "ministry marriage." So, why didn't I realize there was going to be a hunk of trouble?

Food for thought.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The End of An Era . . .The Beginning of New Things

Sadness. A board I have been a part of for the last seven years is closing its doors. I am sad, but it looks like the community will still continue, only under new ownership and goals. I have accepted it completely though. I am sorry it had to come to this, but I am cooperating with the inevitable today, and I am fine with that.

Today has been lovely and hopeful for me (other than the recent announcement on my board). I woke up on time, and I did a pre Group Power workout of Elliptical for 30 minutes and a post-Group Power workout on the Stair Stepper for another 30 minutes. I really like the routine that Jen does at Group Power too. She is, by far, my favorite instructor. She just has a very pleasant disposition, and she works us hard.

I was thinking the week of celebrating and eating lots of candy and cookies would have left me with some extra weight this week, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw I was at GOAL WEIGHT! It is the TOP of my goal weight range, but it was GOAL! So, that was a great pick me up for today. YIPPEE!

Now, I just read my Bible (Elijah was taken up and Elisha is taking up the mantle), and I am still hurting a bit from having to rehash some things in my heart because M asked me my opinion about working with M. I don't want to give a bad report, but I can't support someone working with her. I had a miserable experience, and I don't want anyone to go through that kind of experience. A different person would go through a different experience though. I know that I am sensitive and my gifting didn't fit with hers, but I just don't support her as a leader, but I am not there anymore. M asked for my opinion though. It is hard for me because there is a line I do not want to cross in any way. It is so hard. I want to be guarded in what I say. I didn't want to have to be put in that situation. I am so sad that it all happened that I had to have a bad experience with her. I wanted to stay the distant friend that I had become. I should never have agreed to do it. Yet, I feel like I finished the course and did well. I feel like women were blessed, and I was blessed in many ways by the experience.

All that said, it was what God intended for my growth and to get me out the door of a very dysfunctional church. I am in such a healthy church now, and I can't believe how different it all is. It is different in every way. The people are so godly. That is the only way to describe them. Degrees don't mean squat to God. Last night was so impressive. I love the fact that this church votes on important decisions. The elders do not have all the power. They are just the spiritual leaders and give spiritual guidance. I am so ULTRA impressed with everything that I saw last night. To see a healthy church in action is a lovely thing.

I will quit gushing about this church. I just love what I have seen. I love the people. I love the leadership. I love the way it is run. I love the community there. I love my Bible study. I love my Bible study leader (Claudia). I love the Women's Ministry leaders (Claudia and Vicki). I feel so OFF THE CHARTS blessed in every way!

Now, it is off to do the Jesse Tree and Timeline work and Rock Cycle Science and Math for Michael. I love my children too!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Morning Coming Down

The wind blows and the rain comes down, and I am happy and content this Sunday Morning. We had a fabulous dinner party with the Z's and Stews, and my only regret is forgetting to take a picture of the festivities. It was perfect with candlelight and good food and conversation. The time together is much too short for my taste though. There is so much to talk about and explore. George really felt like the conversation went so well.

We caught up on the Jesse Tree this morning with the boys. We were three days behind. We did end up being able to do the "Ten Commandments on the Tenth" as Isaac said it should be. So hilarious.

I don't know what I was going to write other than today is peaceful and lovely, and I am content with my life and direction. I only dread having to tell Cheryl that I won't be able to continue with the cooking club in the winter. It just is not working out with our schedule, and I think I have crammed too much into my life with very little wiggle room. The problem is that I LOVE everything that I am doing, but I must decided between good, better, and best. I never committed myself to doing it, and I was just exploring the possibility. It just means we come back too tired to do our school work on Friday, and I just want to keep the pace up.

So, if this is the only thing that I am dreading, that is a very good thing. It means that I am dreading very little. I am also not dreading anyone. Last year, there was much dread of a certain someone, and I have no fear or dread now. I am free.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation
Whom shall I fear
The Lord is the defense of my life
Whom shall I dread."
Psalm 27:1

The answer is: NO ONE

Thank you for no one to fear or dread these days.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Part of My Week


Monday

Lots of time to just "be" at home rather than out and about. We leisurely went through our history heading toward the fall of Rome in 400 something AD. We also got out our Ring of Fire Rock Cycle Kit! Paul was so excited. I tried it with them four years ago, but he was only in second grade, and it is for 6th - 12th graders (what was I thinking?). It is the perfect age for them this time. Here is a website address for Ring of Fire:

http://www.sciencekitsforkids.com/Level2.htm#The_Rock_Cycle






We decided to gather all the rocks they have collected over the last few year and display them on the Hope Chest after Christmas. Loved the leisurely pace we were afforded with no afternoon commitments. We need more of these.



The rest of the day was relaxing, and I finished reading This Beautiful Mess. Loved this beautiful book, and I love the fact that evangelicals are thinking social justice issues. I love the way he lays that out in Kingdom priorities. I loved the practical examples of how Imago-Dei is doing this.




Here is the web address: http://www.imagodeicommunity.com/


Tuesday


More history and science. Loved it. We moved music to 1:30 instead of 11:15, and I can't tell you how much better it is to have two extra hours in the afternoon to get through school. It was so hard to have commitment butting up to our homeschool almost every day this last term. I am really wanting to clear that space more and more if at all possible.

I shopped during music. We ran home and put away groceries and dashed to a St. Nicholas Day cookie baking with our friends the Iszlers.










WE LOVE THE ISZLER FAMILY!














Wednesday - Happy St. Nicholas Day


I skipped workout in order to get up early, light some candle, and meditate on the Lord and the day. I waited for the kids to get up and loved the morning to myself. Then we opened the stockings. Where did all that come from.


I am so enjoying my life with these two boys on the right. What a blessing to be a mom. I just love every minute I spend with these guys.


In the evening, I went to my sweet Bible study at Claudia's house. I love studying Ephesians with this group of mature ladies. There were only nine of us this time, and the smaller, the better!





Thursday
We had the Alexanders over because Mary Beth is wiped out with Bruce's cancer treatment. I feel for her. She is so tired. So, I had them until about 11. I had a more curtailed time with the boys for school. Then, I had Bible study with Nancy and Kim. Good time or finding out about our personality types. We will work together very well.


The evening meant SURVIVOR! I say either Yul or Ozzy are my picks. No one else interests me. Becky has ridden the coattails of Yul. Sondra is very nice and sweet, but she might be the sleeper! No way on Pavarti or Clay (?). They are lazy. Yul and Ozzy are the best competitors in the bunch. Not to mention they are both very cute!




Friday
Two hour workout in the morning (Weights and Elliptical, and Step Machine). Meditation and prayer. Then off to cooking class. My kids are finally done with doing this. I have been done with it for a while because I just don't think it is the best use of my gifts. I come, and I feel like I want to get in all these conversations, and I just don't feel the freedom to do it. I love the food, and I love the people, but I think I need to be reaching out in a more spontaneous way with women like I did this summer. Plus, we just don't get back to school whenever we do go.
I also need some wiggle room, and I need to stick to the goal of having school in the mornings.
Came home to a meeting with Michelle. What do I do when someone asks me point blank whether she should work with someone? I love Michelle. Don't I want to warn her? I don't know. I am so confused, and I want to be very careful.
Then, I had a talk with Lisa. Love those two women. They are so great. I really miss working wtih them, and I think working with them would have been so fun, but it wasn't meant to be. I am sad about that, but I am in such a good place right now.
So, that is "part of my week."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Second Freewrite of the Morning

I did a freewrite about two hours ago, but it never posted. Oh bother.

Got up at 4:45 today and went to run on the treadmill and talked to Robin the whole time. Then, it was off to Group Power, and then another thirty on the elliptical. I don't want to go back to Paula's routine for me because I think what I was doing before she gave it to me was much more effective and a harder workout. I do like her running routine for me. So, I will still do that on my off days.

I came home and ran around the neighborhood, praying for each neighbor by name. I felt led to do that this morning as I was praying on the elliptical. It was nice to bless the neighborhood at the beginning of my day.

Came in and Flylady dressed to my shoes, checked email and Trapdoor. Got weird email, but I thnk I clarified in both. Got weird post that I didn't quite understand, but I am OK with that too. Just letting things roll off my back lately.

Still trying to find out if the cooking club is really where God would have me be this year. I like it, but I have reservations. I am still trying to find my place.

Yesterday, the women in my new study weren't prepared, and I felt a little bit of a "sigh" on that note. I had such a committed core of women last year, and I really appreciated that about them. I may just recruit a small group from different churches to come to my house and leave it at that. I don't know now. I do like this new study though. The women are great. I want to join you where you are working God.

Paul is smoking in his birthday thank yous.

Speaking of smoking. For some reason, I had a productivity bug in my body after Bible study. I had cleaned all morning for the women to come to lunch and study yesterday. Afterward, I had a frenzy of putting pictures in frames and hanging them. Then, we watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special, and I cleaned up the downstairs and folded laundry during commercials. Then, I went into the boys' room and cleared out all their unused, old clothes and reorganized their whole closet. What got into me!?

I also ordered some Christmas gifts.

Now, Paul is almost done with his thank yous. The rest of the day after homeschool is:

Dial a Book Book Deliveries
Library
Good New Club
Pizza Night
Ephesians Study
Drop off Warm Spirit Products to Kim's house

I am a little down now after a tremendously happy morning. So weird.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Excerpt from This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

I read This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley today. It was lovely. I am enjoying his casual writing about the kingdom of God. I think he is on to something.

Loved his thoughts on systematic theology:

I love studying theology, but I've noticed that theology has little tolerance for loose ends. As the study of God, it mostly uses human tools like logic and interpretation and systems to define Him and how He works in our lives. Countless brilliant women and men have written penetrating works that help us think more clearly about God. They give us a rich theological heritage, and I encourage you to read them. But be careful. You can study God expertly in His parts and miss Him entirely in His Being. Sometimes I think today's evangelicals have dissected God, put Him in jars, labeled all His pats, and then breathed a sigh of relief. "Whew. Job done, they gasp. Now we have no more confusion about God. Now we have a God we can market. At least now we can be excruciatingly confident that 'our team' is right"

As right as body parts in formaldehyde.

I've found that theology, especially the systematic kind, becomes more helpful when you think of it as grammar. Grammar helps us read and write, but it can't on its own give us one memorable sentence. That's because grammar is a tool, not an end in itself. Meaningful communication is the end. Communication like, say, poetry. Yes, your grammar helps you to understand and experience a poem. But just when you're getting comfortable, a good poet will break a language rule, turn an image inside out. give you the slip, send you falling.

And there's nothing you can say in response but, "Hmm, good poem.I felt those words."

To help us encounter truths that would die if put into jars, Jesus showed us His kingdom in a gallery of poems, or word pictures. Each time He showed us another facet of what He wanted to teach. What He did not do was give us just one picture of His kingdom, much less a short dictionary definition. Of course, He could have. He could have dissected it for us - defined and dead - for all to inspect.

Instead, He gave us a multifaceted picture that is full of shape and contour and texture and tension and beauty and mess. It is both three-dimensional and experiential. To be known, this picture must be desired, received, and lived over and over again. In the genius of Jesus we find ourselves grasping aspects of the kingdom through a "living" definition that is growing and changing all the time. Not neat (that's dogma), not reduced (that's formula), not disassembled (that's dead).

But beautiful.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Song

I've been grazing in the lush green pastures,
Watching time pass me by,
And I've been wading in the shallow waters,
Where everything is all right-
But today I know that something's different,
Something's disturbing my peace,
Oh, I can feel the changes in the distance,
And hear them calling to me-

The day is here, the time has come
To sing a new song,
It's very clear,
I must move on,
And sing a new song,
It will define who I become,
This new song,
So show me how to sing along
To this new song-

I've been looking in the strangest places,
To find the source of my strength,
And even though the outcome never changes,
Still I search endlessly,
But no more wandering around in circles,
It's time that I cross the see,
Now I'm trading in my cozy corner
For the bigger mystery

Going there means leaving here,
Saying yes means saying no,
Moving on means letting go of what is sure,
For more

Here is my WINNER's Certificate



I made it as a winner in Nanowrimo!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I wrote my first novel!

I hit 50,000 words at about 5 p.m. tonight.

What a cathartic exercise. My mother always wanted me to be an author.

I really have had this thing percolating in my brain since I was a junior in college 27 years ago. So, it was nice to just set aside the time and do it for posterity's sake.

I feel so free. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Party

P A R T Y!
Don't let your pastor know
P A R T Y!
Or he won't let you go
P is for Party
A is for Alright!
R is for Rowdy
T is for Tonight
Y is for You!

YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!
Paul Christoper's party at 2!

Yes, we are in the thows of a party with ten of my dearest Paul's closest friends.

Love these kids
Love my life
Love my dh who made the cake and did all the shopping and most of the cleaning!

BYE!

Friday, November 17, 2006

41,712 Words Down in my Novel

I am way ahead of the curve in my www.nanowrimo.org writing.

Nanowrimo stands for

National Novel Writing Month.

Every November, an insane number of people write a novel.

Pretty cool. I don't think anyone will ever read mine.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sunshine on My Shoulder

I woke up at 6 a.m. I was wide awake. When I went to have my quiet time in my happy place, the sun was just rising. GORGEOUS! This is no time to have a quiet time indoors.

Lovely walk as it rose. Had a conversational time with God this morning and talked about many things. Still waiting to hear about some things.

He walks with me and He talks with me
And tells me that I am His own . . .

Sweet communion.

P.S. It was sunny and I popped without knowing that it was sunny. So, I am still holding to my barometric pressue theory. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pressure on my body

Yesterday I POPPED out of bed with no problem. It was sunny, and I went running outside around the Hewlett-Packard Pond (have a picture and will have to find it and post it here) seven times. It was lovely.

This morning, it was overcast and on the verge of a storm, and I couldn't get out of bed to save my life! Is it barometric pressure? Was it something I ate?

So, it is 9:15 am., and I have had a hard time getting moving this morning. I just want to stay at home and hibernate, and I have International Cooking Club and a movie night tonight.

Just wanting to be a homebody today.

That is all I got to say. :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Call Me Beautiful

I went and saw Carol C. today. She prayed through some things with me like she did four years ago about my friendship that was having difficulty.

There is a new lightness to my spirit as I feel confident in God speaking to me directly about the truth about me and who I am.

So, as I drove home, this is the song that came on the CD, and God spoke to me about the life and future He has for me. Carol assured me that He had a plan in all this happening, and I know that I can rest in that.

Thank you, dear Lord. You call me beautiful

Call Me Beautiful by Ginny Owen

I've been waiting,
For a hero who's brave and strong.
Someone to love me,
Someone to tell me I belong.
So I pretend I'm satisfied,
And I stand watching on the sidelines.
Til You pull me into the light
And say, "It's your turn now, welcome to your life!"

And You call me beautiful,
Say You've loved me all along,
And You've always held the keys to unlock my soul.
You call me beautiful.

There's a smile on my face,
And a brand new light in my eyes,
It's a new day,
And I've never felt so alive,
I feel as if I could conquer anything,
That's what Your love has done for me,
And now all I want to be,
Is everything You want me to be-

Oh, You call me beautiful,
Say You've loved me all along,
And You've always held the keys
To unlock my soul, but I didn't know-
Now I can finally start to live,
Take those chances I have missed.
Things will be much different,
Now that I know You call me beautiful.

Bridge:

The story is better than I could dream after all,
Now this is reality
To know You to hear You call me beautiful.
Call me beautiful.

Now I can finally start to live,
Take those chances I have missed.
Things will be much different,
Now that I know, now that I know You call me beautiful.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Such a nice day

I wonder if anyone every reads these Blog entries anymore? Oh well, no matter. I am just journaling.

I am in a happy place with my lovely children. I am sick. So, we didn't go to International Cooking Club this morning or Scandanavian Dancing this afternoon. Instead, the boys had their usual reading time (Narnia for Paul and Pooh for Michael), Bible (Mark - but Paul is thinking he is not as wild about The Message - He is so much like me about being literal in the translation), and journaling. Then, I read Mara, Daughter of the Nile about a slave girl in Egypt. So far, we like it, and this is the first historical fiction that I have read since last spring!

After this, I decided to plug in The Story of the World by Susan Wise-Bauer in the CD format. I was thinking that it was a bit too elementary for them, and it was also a repeat of what we did last time we went through history, but they LOVED it. We listened to the whole first CD (about 60 minutes), and I had forgotten how much I love how Bauer inserts stories/myths/tales from the culture of that time in history. It is very effective, and the boys drew while we all three listened. It got us up to the time we are studying in our regular history book, and it is good reinforcement. So, I will do this on a periodic basis even thought Bauer is no longer my "spine" for history.

After the CD ended, Bach came on, and the kids were excited. We have decided we are in love with Bach now. It has helped to play these for the last month and a half. It was so nice to get them from their music teacher. She is such a wealth of musical knowledge for us!

So, Michael just finished up math, and he just stuck a load of whites in the washing machine while Paul and I are continuing to listen to Bach while he does his math and I do my journaling for the day.

I already had some delicious time in Ephesians this morning, and I am going to take a shore walk and prayer time in the afternoon sunshine. Even though I am sick, it will be good to get out in the fresh air for this. I am praying through the prayer in Ephesians 3 for myself, my family, my church, and those I am in ministry with.

I supposed I should also journal on the great time that I had with Kim S. on Wednesday. We didn't have Kids' Club (which I absolutely love!) this week. The last Wednesday of every month we take a break from club, and this is nice. So, I initiated with Kim, and she was very excited. I had prayed about our time, and I felt the Lord talking to me about asking Kim how she gets fed with all the giving out that she does. She is the Children's Ministry Director at our church (my new and improved church :)), does Kids' Club at Orchard Court Open Door House, homeschools her oldest daughter, does cooking club, studies Foundation for Faith with another couple, teaches Sunday School, etc. So, it was interesting when SHE brought up the fact that she is really wanting to get deep in Scripture and dig deeper in relationships among others in leadership. She said that she was throwing it out there to me for my consideration. Was she asking me to lead her in this? I guess she was? So, I mentioned that I have a real heart for women in leadership that give and give and give and are not fed. I told her that my experience in the Navigators was that we were in a leader's study while we led a study. My experience with Phil Wroblicky in the college group was also the same.

Well, I talked to her the next day, and she had already talked to the Discipleship/Outreach Pastor and Senior Pastor about starting a "Leader's Study." I like her. :)

So, we will see where that goes.

I am running out of battery on this computer. So, I will send this off, and maybe I will journal more later.

Loving the peace. Loving my church. Loving my family. Loving my Ephesians and Bird's Eye View Bible studies. Loving the Kids' Club. Loving my relationships. Loving everything aobut my life right now.

Freedom is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lazy Day

It is already 8:39 a.m., and there is no sight of my children. George went to have breakfast with James, and I slept in and didn't go work out this morning. I went to sleep at about 10:15 p.m., but I slept until 7:15 a.m. That is two nights in a row where I slept 9 hours. So, I am figuring that my body is fighting something. So, I am OK with taking the majority of the week off of exercise in order to get better physically.

Paul just stirred, and he went straight to breakfast. Must be the new cereal that I bought yesterday. :)

Yesterday was a good day. I slept in. Finished my Ephesians study. I homeschooled and John came for the day while Barb was somewhere (can't remember where she went though). We went to music, and Michael is done with the banjo and going for the Psaltry, which is a wonderful sounding instrument. I usually run or shop or visit during that hour, but I quietly read Captivating and did my Bird's Eye View study. Captivating is getting a bit better now. I feel like I have worked through much of what she is talking about though. I know what the issues are for me, and 99% of the time, I can function really well, but there are 1% of the people whom I just cannot work with or the wounds resurface. That 1% was the Women Becoming situation, and I am so glad to be out of it now. So much in retrospect realize that given the people with and over me, I would not be able to avoid that 1% quagmire. I am not perfect. I am also not perfectly healed. So, I met my match in M. Bottom line. I can't go there again or with that type of person ever again. Hoping my trip to see Carol C. will shed light on this little wound that still remains with me.

Then, we went shopping, and I cooked them lunch. Boy, John eats so much more than my kids; but all their friends eat more than my kids. LOL!

After I was done with all this, it was already about 3:oo. So, I climbed into bed and rested my sickness away. George followed about 15 minutes later, not being able to make it through the whole day of work with his sickness. I rested until about 5 p.m and watched Oprah. Then, I sprung into action for beautification for the Suburban photo directory.

We all arrived at 6 p.m., and again, the contrast between this church and our old one is so striking. I can't describe it. You walk in, and there is PEACE. I remember walking in in May to our one at our old church, and there was not peace. So, the photoshoot was great, and we were warmly greeted and loved. The 8 a.m. service people were practicing their hymns, and I love the fact that they have a service for people who love to sing hymns, and I still want to go to that service when I get the opportunity to go. I also didn't know that Claudia sang and played the keyboard. My goodness, that woman is so multi-talented! I am so grateful to have a godly role model in my life like her.

M did say, "I wonder what the middle school Sunday School is like here?" We would love it if they would go there, but we don't want to push them, and I loved Jamie's attitude about it. That is cool and he is glad they are excited about going to church. So, this is where we are at.

After photos, we went to have a great family dinner at Elmer's, and I just want to say that I LOVE my family! They are the coolest people that I know, and I am so glad that we all get along so well and love each other so much.

I came home to watch Dancing with the Stars and I voted for Joey and Edina because I am afraid he will get eliminated because he isn't that well known of a star. Jerry Springer needs to go, and Jerry Springer wants to go, but his fans keep voting him to stay!

After that, I think I watched something else, but I can't remember what it was. Then, I turned off the TV read for a while and went to sleep.

So, there you have my day yesterday.

Today, I will homeschool, have tea with Kim and go workout. Then, I will go to Ephesians study.

A very slow day today, and I am glad about that.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Freewrite

My kids are doing a freewrite. So, I am doing one on my old computer, and some of the letters stick! So, I am not correcting this thing. (Warning: The "S" sticks a ton!)

This morning I went to Group Power, and it was great with Angie. I like her. She is very positive. After this, I went to a consultation with a trainer at the club, and she set me up on a program. She suggested that I not continue with group power and that I would get a better workout using her strength training program. So, I will try it for three weeks.

She also suggested that I run three days a week. I will also take her running class to help improve my running technique. It is 40 dollars, but that isn't bad for 8 weeks of classes. My goal is to lose fat in my arms and my stomach and above my hips in the back.

Well, the timer went off, and they are reading their freewrites to one another. They love freewrites now. Go figure.

Bye!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rain Must Fall

My kids are doing spelling and math right now. So, I am going to set my timer and do a freewrite for myself.

Yesterday, I sprang out of bed with such courage and optimism. I went to my "happy place" chair and spent three glorious hours in prayer and Scriptures. Such a great morning. We had already gone to our lovely church the night before. (I love the cozy feel of the Saturday night service, and we got to meet Jamie, the AWESOME Youth Leader.) So, I had the whole day until practice at 7 p.m.

So, when George brought the kids to Youth Sunday School, he dropped me off at Timberhill, and I worked out to worship songs, classic music, and Nora Jones on the elliptical and treadmill and read about the beginning life of Solomon. What a great workout. I love the club!

George picked me up about 1 1/2 hours later when he picked up the kids, and we all brought back books to the library and went shopping together. I love my family. Nothing give me more pleasure to just hang out with them doing the ordinary. I treasure these years because I know they won't last forever. Love the men they are both becoming.

After that, George fix a fabulous Shrimp Primavera from a frozen Contessa Bagged mix. Doesn't taste artificial AT ALL. It is also on SALE all the time at Fred Meyer! We ate our lunch and watched a couple of episodes of Forsythe. Then, he went to "be good" by working on his paper for DeDe while I called my mom and talked to Kenneth! He is in Portland now, and it was great to get caught up with him. We have to get together. He is doing so well. His speech has improved so much. He just gets better and better everytime that we talk to him.

After that, I watched Religion and News Ethics Weekly (or it might have been before), ate my dinner and went to worship practice. On the way to worship practice, I talked to Debbie on my cell phone, and she is still in love.

I walked into my lovely church with the lovely women who are doing the Jubilee Conference. Then, a person from NWH walked in the door, and I immediately froze.

WAMOOO! I knew she was coming, but one look at her made me wonder. What does she know about me? What has she been told that isn't true but is the perception of a dysfunctional person and the enabling spouse. I know they are in the same small group, and I know that person is very verbal about how she feels about people.

I felt attacked, self-consious, and paranoid. What happened to the woman who sprung out of bed full of optimism just thirteen hours before?

What is wrong with me that one person walking in the room can send me into such a tailspin?

So, I focused on Jesus in worship, loved the women I was worshipping with (loving Wanda, Jewel, Betty, Karen, Melissa, and I have loved Cynthia for years!) So, it wasn't terribly bad, but I found myself traveling back in the car crying out to my God and rehearsing what I would say to those people who have wronged me if they every wanted to know what they had done (which they don't care to hear what they have done wrong and would rather blame it on me.).

I came in the door, and George knew immediately that something was wrong. Nothing said or done to me, but the demons wouldn't get off my back. I wondered through the internet and ate 500 calories worth of brie cheese and sourdough bread as I blankly looked at the screen for solice and comfort.

We watched some more Forsythe, and I layed my weary head down to rest.

Well,

"The Lord gives to His beloved even in their sleep."

I dreamed of being in a tent together with others, and we conducted some kind of experiment where there was a timed explosion that would rain radioactie dust particles in the sky, but we were safe in the tent . . . together.

I woke up refreshed and ready to go to exercise class (it beats some kind of nuclear fallout in my dream). I came in to do the elliptical and read my syrupy Christian book by a popular author's wife. (Not into it), but the cloud lifted as I sweated and saw Terri's bright and shining face this morning. Went to Group Power and love the instructors and being there with Terri.

After that, I went on the cycle and talked to Terri for an hour more. My relational cup was full.
Came back to tell George that the cloud had lifted (maybe there was symbolism in the nuclear cloud falling out of the sky!), and he said he had gotten up early and had a long quiet time and prayed for me for quite a while.

Silly. Other preventative things that I did:

Prayed
Pampering evangelism (scheduled haircut with Lisa and manicure with Sherry),
Tea date with Melanie today
Breakfast with Lisa tomorrow
Put off procrastination with the teeth thing
Drank some tea
Wrote this post

Life is grand once again, and people do love me. I must not forget that in all of this. Even my partner probably loves me, but she just had a funny way of showing all of that. Most important is that God loves me.

Now, the last day or so of pouring down rain has given way to sunshine on my shoulder. One of God's way of speaking to me through the years. Thank you. Rain must fall, but it doesn't fall forever.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Andree Seu Article on Forgiveness

The thing we don't do
Forgiveness is hard work Andrée Seu
Forgiving is the hardest thing you will ever do. That's why most people don't do it. We talk about it, cheer for it, preach on it, and are sure we've practiced it. But mostly the illusion of having forgiven is that the passage of time dulls memory. The ruse will come to light with hair-trigger vengeance when fresh offense hurls in to empty out the gunnysack of half-digested grievances.
I asked a few people if they'd ever forgiven anyone, and what it felt like. They gave me answers so pious I knew they'd never done it. I am at the present moment in the maw of temptation, and I can tell you there is nothing exalted about this feeling, this one-two punch to the gut that comes when you even contemplate forgiving, which is as far as I've come.
At first I decided I would forgive the person—and never speak to him again. This felt pretty good, but I saw the dissimulation in it at once. I alternately toyed with going to him to "tell him his fault" (Matthew 18:15), which is my biblical right, so there. I had the decree of rebuke written up in my head, a document of fastidious and plenary detail—all for his own good. A smarmy satisfaction accompanied the plan, so I nixed it. For now.
In C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, a woman confronted by an angel about forgiving her husband says, "Well, I have forgiven him as a Christian." The phrase is meaningless. She then bulimically seethes for pages about his wrongdoing and her longsuffering.
Keeping one's mouth shut is commendable, and more than I have managed in the past. It will work as long as I don't go near a phone or e-mail. But I am reminded that "Absolom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad" for two whole years after the rape of his sister Tamar, and it ate him alive till in the end he killed the man.
O my brothers, you cannot imagine the exquisite verbal retaliations I have hatched in the idle hours, each more perfect than the last: theologically impeccable, legalistically faultless, poisoned prose polished to a lethal point. Must I now relinquish these? Must I kill the little darlings? Are they not to see the light of day? Such a waste.
Forgiveness is a brutal mathematical transaction done with fully engaged faculties. It's my pain instead of yours. I eat the debt. I absorb the misery I wanted to dish out on you, and you go scot-free. Beware the forgiveness that is tendered soon after injury; be suspicious. Real forgiveness needs a time lag, for it is wrought in private agony before it ever comes to public amnesty. All true acts of courage are thus done in secret.
Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Church in Manhattan shares the following letter from a man who once had to forgive a woman:
"I forgave her and it took me a whole year and I had to forgive her in small sums over that whole twelve months. I paid those sums whenever I spoke to her and kept myself from rehashing the past. I paid them whenever I saw her with another man and refused self-pity and rehearsal inside for what she'd done to me. I paid them whenever I praised her to others when I really wanted to slice away at her reputation. Those were the payments but she never knew them. However, I never knew her payments, but I know she made them. I could tell."
And now the unthinkable: not only to forgive but seek the good. Nature abhors a vacuum and Jesus admits of no middle ground between hate and love. Pray for him.
When you were a child you thought like a child, that pain was something to flee. Now in the adulthood of faith, suck up your hundred denarii, because someone took your ten thousand talents upon Himself (Matthew 18), and like a lamb led to slaughter and a sheep before its shearers was silent (Isaiah 53:7). He did not retaliate but "continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly" (1 Peter 2:23). Be so awash in the ocean of His love, my soul, that the shortcomings of all human loves will, more and more, seem but a trifling thing.
Copyright © 2006 WORLD MagazineSeptember 30, 2006, Vol. 21, No. 37

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Life's Simple Pleasures are the Best

Life's Simple Pleasures are the Best!

I posted in response to Susan's post about how we seek joy, and I thought I would post here what I posted:

You posted after I had gone to bed on Friday with a "full cup of joy." So, I was going to have a similar question like "What fills your cup?"

Actually, it was a "joy full" week in general. As I look at my At a Glance Day Planner (By the way, this is my new one, and I LOVE it - July to July with tabs for the months and a month and weekly calendar and lots of "Quick Note" space for taking notes - but I digress . . .constantly) I see the theme for joy is:

People . . . While people can bring great pain, they also bring great joy; and I am learning to be very selective with the people.

(Positive people are especially nice . . .this is a sub-theme for me because positivity in people is really good too. NOT that we can't have struggles and pain, but I do not find joy in being around people that are negative about other people and put them down all the time.)

Presence . . .Actually, I have a whole talk on the difference between joy and happiness. Joy to me is Jesus Over You. This sense of God's presence in the good, but also in the bad and the ugly. That "God with us" Emmanuel kind of thing.

Peace . . . It goes along with joy. I am most at joy when I am at peace with God and men. So, being in regular touch with God is so precious to me and brings me peace.

Prayer . . .Keeps me filled with joy to be communicating with Him.

Pampering . . .I think I really find much pleasure in pampering myself now and then; and if I can do that with people, I am blessed twofold. I am also including pampering myself by making myself sweat and eating right. Joining that club was a way to pamper myself, and it has brought immense joy to be free of pain and my gut!

So, I look at this joy full week, and I see all of those things coming together.

Joy this week was:

Sunday
Church (Peace and People) - Peace-filled church, peace-filled people, peace-filled pastor and leadership. AWWWWWWW.......JOY INEXPRESSIBLE in this department. You never know how sick you've been until you are well.

Pride and Prejudice Party (Pampering, People, Peace) - What felicity to spend five hours in a home theatre (Movie screen on the wall of their family room!) with safe Sharon on my right and safe Rebekah on my left and four lovely new friends on the floor. Baked brie and honey, scones, organic pasta, peanut butter M&M's and Colin Firth. Can you say JOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

Monday

Lunch with Amy (People, Pampering, Peace) - Yummy Chinese with safe Amy who came south one hour to see me!

Tea with Terri (P,P,P!) - Spending three hours sitting outside on a gorgeous 75 degree day and talking about life with someone who knows me well but I haven't talked to in years. Leaving a church makes those people who love you come out of the woodwork to tell you how much you mean to them. JOY.

Tuesday

Biking with Mary Beth (P,P,P!) - She teaches a class, and it brings me such joy to see one of my friends who at one time was so unhappy find her niche as an exercise instructor in a cycling class. So, joy comes in seeing other people be at joy. It also brings me joy to work up a sweat!

Homeschool with fabulous boys (P,P,P) - This self-proclaimed Pollyanna (another P!) finds joy in homeschooling these guys. It is a privilege and pleasure for me that I have yet to get tired of. How is that for sick? How great is it to assign some homeschool tasks while I sneak away for one hour to ride the bike with Mary Beth and come back to boys who have done all their work independently and are ready to cuddle on the couch and read The Epic of Gilgamesh and lean more about prehistoric times? These kids bring me joy.

Music Lessons with Suz(All P) - I love this woman who teaches my kids banjo and piano. She is so positive (sub-theme). I spent some of the time watching my kids and some of the time going for a run and praying on campus as I ran through International Student housing and stopped to visit my old basketball coach!

Walking with Paul (another favorite Person!) - What a kid. Still love doing this while dad and Michael go swimming together.

Manicure with Sherri - It is pampering, but Sherry also just became a believer in Jesus last Sunday and couldn't wait to tell me all about it. So, it was so exciting to hear about what is going on in her life. The angels in heaven and I were rejoicing with great joy over that one!

Tea with Nourieh - My sweet B'Hai neighbor. Love this woman. She pampered me, and I love drinking Jasmine tea the Persian way (Sugar cube between the teeth until it dissolves)!

Telephone with Kim - A new friend named Kim! She is an evangelist, and we are soul-mates already! So exciting to talk about all the things God is doing in our midst among internationals.

Dancing with the Stars! - Pamper, pamper. Guilty pleasure.

Wednesday

Make up with Mary Beth - Arbonne personal party trying new make-up colors. Pampering at its finest with one of my favorite people. Mary Beth says that I am branching out like she has never seen me! This brings me great joy.

Swimming with Mary Beth and Elissa's kids - Three hours of sun, fun, pizza, and polite kids that play together without a single conflict. Mary Beth's kids and my kids have known each other since the womb, and Elissa is a new friend. It was so peaceful and joyful and Elissa's dry sense of humor made me laugh all afternoon!

Ephesians study with amazing people - I sat in silence as I listened to these wonderful ladies share from their hearts about what God is teaching them, awed and JOYFUL!

Thursday

Deep Tissue Massage with Anna - Already commented on this one in another post. Great JOY with a little pain and NO MONEY OUTLAY!

Bible Teaching with Beth - Watching Beth fly in her gifting and speak in front of women brings me such joy.

Friday - The most joyful day

Workout with Annie - Love my Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of pampering my body by a good strength and cardio workout! Overjoyed at the results.

Visit at Lisa's - Deep sharing and tea while kids frolicked in the sunshine with remote controlled planes. No words for the joy.

Scandanavian Dance with the H's - My kids didn't want to go, but there was deep joy in being able to not coerce but to persuade them of the benefits (using my Dale Carnegie principles of persuasian!) and seeing them rise to the challenge of being enthusiastic, reaching out to a family in crisis, and learning dances because their mom is Scandanavian and they are too! They ENJOYED themselves, and I was able to listen to this mom in crisis pour out her heart like never before with 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted time while the instructor occupied the kids!

Malay food with Masons - Asian food and fantastic fellowship.

Saturday

Prayer and Lunch with Ginny and Lorraine - My mentors give me great joy as they listen and impart their 164 years of combined wisdom and life experiences. Joy in their persence. Joy in seeing a lightbulb go off as Lorraine read an article about true forgiveness from World Magazine. I love it how things come together. That brings me joy.

Genesis with Nourieh - Studying the Bible with my Bhai friend brought great joy

Church with new church body - Already gushed above, but there were friends from our old church there and it was so joyful to visit. Also, the message on confession was totally well timed. God was there last night. That brings me JOY to see him cause all things come together in my mind. I have been praying all week that God would give me a "spirit of wisdom and revelation in the true knowledge of Him" and that the "eyes of my heart would be enlightened," and I do believe this was an answer to prayer. Presence there and I know joy deep down.

Movie with dh - Pampering by watching Monarch of the Glen with my favorite person.

Survivor by myself -

Sunday

Slug with family - I am still in my P.J.'s at 3:45 p.m. Pampering myself by some internet time, talking with dh and children, eating good food.

All week:
Great time in prayer and the Word brought great joy as I meditated all week on the prayer in Ephesians 1:15-23 and prayed it for myself and other people, read Desiring God (Piper is always delicious and joyful because he says, "The chief end of man is to glorify God by enJOYing Him forever"!), and read through some of the Psalms of David while Absalom was being a pill. The forgiveness, confession thing just came together this week. I can freely forgive and that gives me great joy.

And now I am done with these silly details of my life. Some of you might roll your eyes at this (I am just a detailed process person!) but it is good to reflect on the things this week that brought me joy. I am thinking that when we reflect with gratitude, it can bring us great joy, can't it?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Please Only You

So here I go again, again
I let myself get spread so thin
But I can see right through my skin
And I don't like what I'm finding in my heart

So many different voices call
And I try hard to please them all
I run in circles 'til I fall
So I'm falling on my knees and praying

Please, Please, Please only You, only You
Please, Please, Please take my heart, and make it true
Let everything I say and everything I do
Please, please only you
Please only you

For every moment of my time
For every thought that fills my mind
For every melody and rhyme
This is the prayer that I'll be praying

Please, Please, Please only You, only You
Please, Please, Please take my heart, and make it true
Let everything I say and everything I do

This is what it means to be
The reason why I live and breathe
To know that I am totally existing for Your pleasure
I'm still learning but I know
As this becomes my only goal
The more I find my heart and soul is filled up with joy when I

I please only you
I please only you
Please only you

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Place of Abundance

I am springing out of bed with new life and vigor. I am so happy to be alive today!

Some reports are in order.

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

I have taken foray into the postmodern church mindset and read Blue Like Jazz. I loved it, and I can't wait to talk to people about it. What I liked most was his openness to admit that we Christians cannot just jump into the hip pocket of the Republican party and call Bush Jesus because he is not. I really like George Bush. I voted for him. I believe he is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. All that said, he ain't Jesus, and if another believer wants to vote for the democratic candidate, I will not condemn that person's spirituality.

I also really like his emphasis on Christian spirituality and not on Christianity. I loved the confessional at Reed College where the Christians confessed to the students the sins of Christianity. It moved people so terribly. What a beautiful thing.

This is recommended reading for all Christians. Michelle and I will go to Imago-Dei church in Portland as a result of it.

Suburban Christian Church

We are still as pleased as punch with our new situation at Suburban. The 2 1/2 hour talk that I had with Kim on the phone was so stimulating, so amazing. The people in this church are very outreach oriented. I believe that Kim has such the right attitude in showing love and kindness to people. She must have similar gifts to me. I really look forward to gettting to know her in the future.

I have to believe that God plucked me from my old church (that I still love and pray for on a regular basis) and set me in a place of abundance.

Psalm 66:10-12 (ESV)
For you, O God, have tested us;
You have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
You laid a crushing burden on our backs;
You let men ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water
Yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Amen and Amen

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Conclusion of the Dale Carnegie Course

I have just completed 12 weeks of the Dale Carnegie Training: Effective Communication and Human Relations. What a time. I feel like it was a fabulous class for me on a personal level that will help me for the rest of the life. I was nominated twice and won one award, but the most rewarding thing that happened to me during the time was what happened on the 11th week of the class. Here is what I posted about it on another website:

We had to give a talk on someone who has really inspired us. We practice with our neighbor before we give it to the whole class, and my neighbor, Anthony, would not share his. I had seen he had written it out on a piece of paper, and I asked him, "Do you usually write them out?" He replied, "Not usually, but this one is really important."

Later, as we were volunteering to go, I volunteered to go after him, and when I went to sit next to him in the front "waiting" chairs he said, "Oh, my plan is working out perfectly!" What did he mean by that??????

Well, he gets up there, and he says, "I would like Carol _____ to stand." I was already at the front of the room, and I stood up, and he said, "Someone who has really inspired me during the course of this class is Carol ______."

OH MY! Tears.

Then, I sat down, and he gave the most beautiful speech, and I cried. He said that he was inspired by how I didn't listen to the doctors' diagnosis and I helped my son learn to talk (my first talk in the class about a defining moment in my life). He talked about how inspired he was by the fact that even in the difficulties that I encountered in my leadership in my church, I persevered (That was the talk on how I am learning to manage stress and I talked about how I am just praying for my partner every time I hear that she has said something negative about me and this has relieved my stress). He also said that he sees my stick-to-itiveness in even when I had to be a back up to an Olympic Gold Medalist, I still worked hard to make her better (My talk on an achievement in our life.).

By this time, I am going back and forth between extreme embarassment and extreme tears of joy.

Then, I had to get up and give my talk to the whole class. Talk about having to gain composure very fast!!!!!

At the end of my talk, my Dale Carnegie instructor looked at me and said, "It is obvious that you have had a tremedous influence on this class and that is a sign of a true leader."

I sat down and asked Anthony if I could give him a hug (I am old enough to be his mother. So, nothing wrong with doing that.), and he gave me the sheet that he had written out his speech on and said, "I wrote it out so that you could have it."

Can I just say that I was a bit overwhelmed?

OH MY!

The icing on the cake is that Anthony won the award for the best presentation of the evening. What a sweet win for him.

On graduation day, my dear husband, George, was able to come and meet everyone in the class. My trainer went up to him at the end of class and said that I paved the way for the other people in the class to be really vulnerable by the first talk that I shared. Also, John, one of the guys in the class came up to George as we were leaving in the car and said, "George, I want to tell you that you have one hell of a wife." LOL! I thought that was so sweet.

What a wonderful group of positive and fun people. I will never forget what I learned in this class, and I will apply the principles for the rest of my life because they are all Biblical principles.

"When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!"

Sitting in the 76.3 degree sunshine and sipping my lemonade!

Life is so sweet. God is so kind. God is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works.

It is well with my soul.

I am sitting out on our front driveway in one of our camp chairs on a beautiful fall 80 degree day. How perfect is that. The wind is blowing in such a gentle way, and we are having a neighborhood garage sale. I haven't had one in 25 years since I had a sale to sell stuff to raise money for the trip to Glen Eyrie in Colorago Springs. Amazing.

I am in such a good place. Life is so grand.

I had a two and a half hour talk with Kim S. about so many things that are just so on my heart. I think I have found a soul mate. Kim is the Children's Ministry director at my new church, but she also has a real heart for showing love and kindness to Internationals. She is teamed up with all these people like Beth A. It is so encouraging. God is so awesome. I had no idea that all of this was going on in our city. I have been so clueless.

Pinch me please.

I forgot to write about Anthony. I will do it in another post. It was such a positive thing. I am so blessed these days.

Monday, September 18, 2006

So, peaceful but a heavy heart

I am sitting here on a Monday where all I had to do is homeschool this morning. So, I have a very free day and decided to fast and pray from Lunch today to dinner tomorrow for the church that I left. I heard some very disturbing things on Friday, and I was even more disturbed when I talked on Saturday with the perpetrator of the disturbing things. It made me mad to sad. Now, I am just grieving in my heart. I don't want to give up hope for this church that I loved for so many years. You are calling me to pray.

BUT, there is so much hope about the future in my new church!

Carrie, the Family Pastor, is going to the Peacemaker Conference and wants to talk about discipleship.

Roxanne, women's leadership person, wants to meet to talk more about the leadership course she wants to develop.

Vicki, the Women's ministry director, and I had lunch and she talked about authenticity, prayer, waiting on God and not moving ahead before you know it is what he wants you to do, becoming a Mary when she was naturally a Martha, discipling, healing, her heart for women, and inviting me to come and share my heart on the second Monday of the month when I am ready to do it. What a sweet woman of God! I love the maturity that I feel surrounded by.

Joyce wants to talk about discipling college women!

Kim wants to maybe use Foundations for Faith with the Japanese students.

Cheryl wants to talk about the International Cooking Class.

Tina wants to talk about smaller group Bible studies.

God, you are already giving me women to partner with and they are all so NICE and NON-CONTROLLING!

I asked George to pinch me when we left church yesterday it was SO exciting to be there.

In fact, the sermon was on "Strengthening the Foundations," and that is exactly what God told George in his quiet time right before church!!!! As Steve (dear pastor Steve!) was giving the sermon, George drew a brick wall. He didn't even know that the front of the bulletin had a picture of a bricklayer making a brick wall with the quote:

"The strength of the building is determined by the strength of its foundation."

God is in this move. I know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. We have finally come home.

26. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

I just love a good story by Dickens.  This has humor and tragedy and mystery and good guys and villains. It was a joy to listen to, and Si...