Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little about me and my book deal dream...

Lately I've been thinking about this "writing thing" I do.

I've always been a lover of words. Spoken. Written by others. Learning new ones. I was a kid that spoke too much, argued really. My family called me a "Philadelphia Lawyer"; I'd argue that the sky wasn't blue. I wrote letters to pen pals around the world, cousins of cousins that were learning English and dreamed of a different life, and new kids that I met on vacation that became my "new best friends" (especially if there was a cute brother in the family!). I journaled. Wrote poetry, of love lost and deep emotions that normal 10 year olds didn't have.

I realize now, it was all therapy (well, except the boy part).

I DO love words, but more than I love words, I LOVE PEOPLE. 

Somehow, God takes these words and uses them to open doors to encourage people. To hug on women (in person or online) that are walking a place that I walked 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, or last week. There's a common thread that runs through the cloth of our life. My written words are just proof that I was there once. Or twice.

My writing has come in seasons, and just like when I was a kid, the more difficult a season, the more the words flowed, especially the seasons of poetry. It was that therapy thing. I knew I could write out of pain, but didn't quite get it until all the truth started flowing around me. Family secrets that were hidden, words kept quiet from my ears as a child. Somehow, to channel that feeling that I KNEW something was wrong, even if I didn't know what it was, allowed me to work through it. Now that I know some of those truths - and not to trust the things I thought were true - has enabled me to not need that place to vent. Someday I'll write the truth, for posterities sake, and not worry about stepping on toes or insulting parents or offending someone. I hate being the carrier of secrets, but I want to be sensitive to the living, to the ones I love.

I love writing what God's teaching me as much as I love what God's taught others. When it's about God, I'm there - but I'm more there when I'm in His Word. I love God's Words. Memorization isn't easy for me, so I have found that the easiest way for me to hide it in my heart, is to read it over and over. Soak it in. Soak in it. To literally have it written on my doorposts....but that doesn't jive with current living situations, and I've let it I'm going to take that up again and write it on my 3x5 cards and put it on my mirrors (not that I look in mirrors often!) and other strategic places. Good words of affirmation and kindness and instruction; words of God being who He is, and creating me to be who He intended me to be.

In all the writing I've ever done, I've never dreamed of writing a book. Oh, I can spin tales of love, adventures of situations gone awry, but to feel them bound, to hold it in my hand with my name on the cover doesn't really push me. I HAVE dreamed of someone stumbling upon my writings someday, long after I'm gone, and thinking "wow, this is special" and THEM doing something with it! Isn't that odd? Every other writer I know, in person and on line, wants that "writing deal" to come through. Not so much me. I'd rather write to reach that one lonely woman out there that just doesn't "fit in" with the women at church, or that small town mindset, or whose husband always works too much....these are the audiences I crave. I want to say to them that it's ok to not fit in. JESUS DIDN'T FIT IN. That to chase after Him is so much better than chasing after the crowd of beautiful and popular. To say the words that I wish women said to me my whole life. You're lovely just the way you are. You are ok. Accepted. Loved. Valued.

I don't think I need a book to make that point. Others have done it wonderfully, and I love to share titles and quotes and encourage others to read them.

I love to take secret prayer requests and lift them up all day long, with grandkids running around my ankles and knees, with a dog towing me around the loop of my neighborhood as I try to fit into my last year's size summer clothes.

I love to pray for people who are called and equipped to go to other places, other nations, to learn languages and cultures and KNOW that they will never fit in and will ALWAYS be different because their heart beats in tune with their Maker, and they want to share the words of Perfect Love and Truth to the Nations that don't know; to the one lonely one that has dreams and visions and doesn't fit in.

I love to pray for the lonely, that their heart will long for Jesus, for the God that loves them, the Abba Father that created them.

I love to pray for the places where no one has yet gone - to pray that someone will feel called by God to go there, to learn about them, to have the people here on the ground behind them to pay for their journey to GO, churches full of people who catch on to this God given vision to reach the unreached.

I pray for the people that travel here from far away lands, people of privilege and good grades (or knowing someone in the right place to get them a visa) and they come here for opportunity and education, and looking for "the American Way".

I pray for every American Christian that crosses their path, that they will open their eyes and discern the hatred that our press fuels, that some churches add fire to, and instead decide to be different and to love the lost, to be a friend and invite them in, these foreign neighbors with no family - or the ones with so much family, yet they don't fit in. They are Called by the One.

So these are the words that motivate me. The words I want to write. To share life. To encourage others. To love. To put words to my days, difficult and not, so that others realize that they are not alone in walking this road. I have a Shepherd that walks beside me, and He wants to hold you too. Words that are not bound in a book, but bound in a heart. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How I REALLY Feel...

In response to today's post from The Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray:

Oh Bonnie! How timely!

We found out yesterday that DH didn’t get a job within the company…they felt he was overqualified, and went on to say he’s overqualified where he is!

We love life here, but were looking forward to a change, new scenery, and the chance to have more time together. He’s been working 7 days a week, nearly EVERY week, since he took this job 2+ years ago. I know he’s tired of it…and I am too!

That job change represented not being responsible for day to day operations, so he would have a Monday to Friday job. Weekends off! But it wasn’t meant to be. Not yet anyways.

I’m surprised at my relief of not moving, and surprised at my sadness of not getting to move! How can that be?

I’m happy to get to stay at a church we love, where we are involved, and I have a volunteer title and we both get to lead, and I’m sad to not get to go someplace new, meet new folks, grow in our marriage and ministry together.
I’m startled that for all his hard work and accolades that he didn’t get this job! I’m hurt for him! And to make matters worse (insult to injury?) he got called in at 3am to help solve a problem! And yet he is still honored that God gifted him this way, and people call when things need fixing.

I’m perplexed. Sigh.

So thanks for writing this and putting it out there today. I’m taking notes of my symptoms (feeling ungrateful and worn out, and a little emotionally flat-lined) and I won’t ignore them or leave them unattended to.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Living in the Moment...

A few weeks ago, Mark applied for a job within the same company he works for. We knew he was well qualified for it, and after his interview, he felt positive about how things would go. We had prayed, knowing that this job would mean a move  -  and not knowing quite what to think of that (we love it here, and have felt at home the moment we visited here over 2 years ago).

Mark found out today that he didn't get the job.

I have such mixed feelings! Part of me is glad, not having to deal with a move, the impact it would have on our family/household (right now our daughter/sil and 4 grandkids live with us - and they would have had to move earlier than planned). I was surprised at the disappointment, although we knew all along that it could happen - there are certainly others that are gifted and equipped as well as Mark for any job.

As it turned out, it appears that he may be overqualified, and although we know that THIS door is closed, there's the chance that it's opened other doors within other departments in the same company. Some jobs might still require a move, some won't.

One thing I'm sure of is that we're ok. We will still stay invested in our lives here, and wait on God to reveal what the future holds. We'll follow Him, even if we can't see what the future holds, knowing well that He will provide for our every need....

Gosh...just wonder what the future will look like! : P

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Year Ago Today; Remembering the Joplin Tornado

A year ago today many lives that I know were changed by the destruction of Joplin, by a tornado. Some of those things were told when I blogged about it here, a week or so after the tornado. But now, a year later, I still can look back with clarity and feel God at work and see His hand moving.

I don't think I'll ever comprehend how close I came to losing my son. It took about a month for me to realize that if he had just moved along at his normal pace, he would have driven straight into the tornado's path. Jason's not one to listen to the radio, and he listens to his iPod music loud, so it's possible he wouldn't have heard any sirens (although I'm sure that the heavy downpour of a rain wrapped tornado would have had him pull over at least). But where is there to pull over to escape a tornado's path if you don't know it's a tornado and you are in the midst of it?

I thank God daily for stopping Jason in his tracks. I'd found out that a large hail stone that landed at Jason's feet was the ONE THING that kept him from leaving his (then) girlfriends' house and driving in to Joplin from Webb City. That ONE THING made him pause and ask to hang out at their house until the storm passed. Thanks God for hail!!

I also learned how much Jason values friendship. I always have known him to be a people person, but for him to have pursued getting to his friend K (where he was headed before he paused) took determination and a lot of adrenaline. I never knew him to be more than casual friends with K, since they both grew up in the same school and did sports together in high school. The fact that they were supposed to "hang out" together that afternoon, and Jason not being able to reach him by phone caused him to push forward into the path of destruction.

As Jason drove into the area along Rangeline, the disastrous demolition of the city was evident. Along this normally busy boulevard, trash and debris was littered all around. He had to drive over, around, and through all sorts of stuff. As he approached the area where K's apartment was, I remember the sound of anger mixed with fear in Jason's voice over the phone, at the realization that K may not be alive. K's apartment complex was behind the Walmart store that was demolished, where so many lives were lost. The Walmart store's wall should have pushed in on K's apartment - but God's hand held it in place. Several lives were lost in the apartment complex, but K was ok. (Sidenote: K had moved in just months before, and had requested an upper level apartment, but was given a lower one. Had he lived upstairs, he would have been killed - as the upper levels were blown away.)

They still joke about the frantic sound of Jason's voice, calling out to K to locate his apartment. All landmarks were gone, so he had no visual signs to figure out what apartment was his. He was located, and Jason was able to drive K to his brother's house in a neighboring town to get settled in. I can't quite wrap my head around them driving through the destruction as dark creeped in, no power available to light the city's lights. I can't believe the car didn't get a flat tire! Jason then drove back into Joplin to check in with the police department and then assist however he could. They sent him to do door to door checks, and he had to use his GPS from his phone to know where he was - all the street signs were down. I remember the sound of his voice, staying in touch with short phone calls so we knew he was ok, and to talk through some of this with him as he came upon new situations. He's so strong, has such a servant's heart. I am so proud of him for the way he stepped out and served that day, that week.

Because of the way he served, he put people over production, and ended up losing his full time job (an agreed parting of ways) because of the companies reaction to him volunteering during those first few days. He would work his 8-10 hour shift, then go out and assist however was needed through the emergency services set up at The Bridge, and sleep just a few hours every night in the dorms at Ozark Christian College. He was running on adrenaline, and I know that he saw a new side of what God can do through him, but he persevered and did whatever was needed. Thankfully, he still had his part time job waiting tables, and this sustained him financially over the next several months.

My surprise in the midst of all that was happening there, was that because of the joy's of the internet, and that I was not in Joplin (I live 9 hours or so away from there at that time), I was able to be used in little ways.

God was able to bring an acquaintance online; she was in the hardest his area of the tornado, in Joplin's Stained Glass Theater, and was trying to reach her son overseas. Somehow we connected, and I could get messages posted on her wall on Facebook, to let others know how she was (alive, with a few non-life-threatening injuries). Since then, we've met face-to-face, and she's allowed God to heal her hurts, physically and emotionally. She still isn't a fan of bad storms, and misses her dear theater friends that lost their lives there that evening, and doesn't understand why she was spared, but her faith has increased in new ways.

For several days I spent time online, putting out requests for materials via Facebook, and routing them to a few agencies that were assisting in the epicenter. It felt good to be able to do SOMETHING from this far away, and I think it was beneficial to be where I was, doing whatever God could have me doing.

I know that so many people have such more compelling stories, lived in front of their eyes, around them in their homes and neighborhoods. I'm still so thankful and grateful for what God did in our family that day, and what He did in me, and for me.

For all the destruction, all the debris that was created by the tornado, I am also grateful that God brought me a friend.  :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Saving Screen Saver

I usually try to change my screen saver a few times a year, usually to reflect the season of weather we are in. I love my photos, and each one I've taken reminds me of the place I was, the moment captured in that picture. I can easily move my mind to that spot of quiet, just me and my camera (ok, sometimes Mark was there too!) and the peace that was felt as I tried to do God's Creative Hand justice. I assure you, that what I do with a camera is nothing in comparison to His 6 day's work; but I relish the truth that He created for our pleasure. For me.

So last night, tired (ok, exhausted) and not feeling 100%, and knowing I was overdue in changing my screen saver, I opened that file to cruise through some memories, wondering where I'd land. The calendar says "Spring", but the thermometer CLEARLY says "Summer" - having already topped the 90* mark. So how did I land in the midst of a January photo?? Well, it was January in coastal FLORIDA, which always says summer to me!! And this is where I've landed:

Now Sea Gulls can be pesky birds, but these were plenty friendly, not intrusive at all, and well, really peaceful and at rest. Just gazing out at God's beautiful Gulf of Mexico, this bird was just not going to be bothered by my idea of taking it's picture.

When I see this photograph, I'm instantly transported to that white sandy shore, the off shore breeze rustling my hair, the sound of the waves lapping on the shore and sizzling in the sand as they were pulled out to sea. I'm at peace. Peaceful. Rest.

I'm sure it does for my attitude as much as any anti-anxiety pill can, as much for my heart as a romantic candlelight dinner, as much for my mind as a peaceful sonata.

This peace, restores my soul, fills me up with renewed energy to accomplish what needs to be tackled, and allows me to have a visual to focus on when I need to "shut down" and rest.

And in that, this photo, set as my screen saver, saves me.

God created this scene, the water, the sand, the whole of Creation. He knew, at some point, I'd need a visual to relax to, to unwind into, to remember that whatever's kept my mind from resting is not too big for Him to resolve. See, He knows the number of the grains of sand on this beach. I can leave it to Him to bring closure as I admire His admire HIM, The Creator.

"Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones."   Proverbs 3:7-8 (NLT)

Saturday, May 19, 2012


It's late, nearly 11pm, and the house is quiet except the tapping of my keys on the laptop. The kids are asleep, the grandkids too, and Mark's in our room on his laptop paying bills (or taking turns on Words With Friends!).

How fortunate we are. In the comfort of our home, cooled and cluttered with too much *stuff*, while so many are homeless, or living in poverty with too little of anything. Thanks Lord, for Your generosity, and continue to pull me into Your Simplicity.

The refrigerator hummmmsss....and drops another load of ice in the ice maker. Thank You Lord, for the technology that has brought us these things; electricity, refrigeration, freezing, ice making. You created man and woman, and gave us minds to seek and serve You, and give us this amazing ability to create and a curiosity that is unstoppable. Thank You.

The clocks tic.tic.tic. along. Thank You Lord, for each moment of each day. For the kids (and grandkids) living in our home, and for giving us fellowship together during this season in life. Thanks for giving us teachable moments, not just us teaching the younger kids, but for them teaching me too...their amazement and wonder at Your Creation, their silliness, and mostly their trust in You, above all else, without questioning or doubting Your Word.

I hear Mark rustling in our room. Thanks Lord for 28 years of marriage to an amazing man! The worst thing I can say about him is that he loves to work - yet I know in my heart that his workplace is his mission field. Thank You that he cares about me, and wants to provide, and thank  You for the job that you have equipped him to do. You have given him one of those minds that is curious, relentless, and will make things work better. Thank You for making him for me. Us for each other. For the years together, in love with each other, and loving each other. For teaching us YOUR perfect love, and helping us to love each other with it. Learning still to love perfectly, because of Your love for us.

Oh goodness. I'm writing in circles.

The baby is crying, a sink is running...I imagine a bottle is being made for him.
Goodnight Lord. Thank You for everything. I love You, and don't want to take Your things for granted. Thank You...

Friday, May 18, 2012

5 Minute Friday - PERSPECTIVE....

ok - GO!

I hate the long hours, the years that everyone knew our phone number and would call all hours of the night because something was broken and HE had to fix it. I hate that folks don't expect that God - THE GOD who gave him this gift - would give it to someone else. That "he" (or "she") could fill these size 12 shoes just as easily. I hated that he would fix things that weren't broke, to make them run better, faster, longer. And the popcorn maker - grrrr...still brings frustration (and a giggle to my heart) to remember how he HAD to fix it - 2 - no 3 times before he'd just let me buy a new one. LOL

But a change in perspective gives me new eyes, new heart to see the blessings of it all.

God's given him such a GIFT. I don't see it often, and not often with a heart the size of Texas (cause that's the only thing that is advertised as SO BIG). And he stops to fix things. On the side of the road, to change a tire. To see if he can help. Cause he knows it's not his gift - it's HIS gift - and it's meant to be used.

And he's saved us lots of money, money that was used to help send people to where God's calling them to be, because we didn't need a new popcorn popper, or a washer or drier. And he could climb on the roof and fix the vent thingy, replace it when it needed it, which kept our utility bill in budget that long HOT summer.

And people know his number. And call all hours of the night. Not because stuff is just broken at the plant, but because their hearts are broken, their lives are broken. Because they need Jesus, and somehow through the dirty nails and stained hands, and big smile and bigger heart, and twinkly eyes that tear up often - they see a bit of Him in there.

Gosh. Life with this man looks good still.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Good Day To Pray...

World catastrophe's. Wars. Personal battles being fought in board rooms and bedrooms. Misunderstandings. Scraped knees. The car wreck you just saw. The siren you just heard. All reasons to pray.
As a new Christian in my early 20's, I never was a "prayer closet" kind of pray-er. I know that God loved it when we spend time with Him, communing in Him, meditating on His Word. Maybe I'm claustrophobic? To combat that, I met with a great group of young women on Saturday mornings at the beach. We would pray, bare feet in the cool sand, sound of God's created Pacific crashing wildly on the shores of Seal Beach, gulls calling above. It fostered in me the desire to be in His creation as we sang songs of praise and lifted prayer needs up for each other. Sweet times of fellowship and community.
A few years later, newly married and in a new church, I heard that our pastor surprised his wife by taking the strip of land between their house and their neighbor's, and turned it into a place for prayer and meditation for her. WOW! Now THAT appealed to me (and still does, although here it would be constantly disturbed by the running of air conditioners - not ideal for a peaceful place!!). I LOVE the idea of the hymn's lyrics, "I come to the garden alone....". So when I learned that prayer could truly take place ANYWHERE, my prayer life took off with a new fervency. 
THEN I learned that prayer isn't just talking to God, but letting God talk to me too. Huh. A TWO way conversation. Go figure. And God uses His Word to speak to us too? And we can't listen when we are talking - so SILENCE is ok?? Even when "2 or 3 are gathered"? Those awkward times of silence in group prayer soon metamorphosed into beautiful times of waiting on the Lord. 
Lots of folks use different "recipes" for prayer, some based on scripture (following the Lord's prayer in the garden as an example), or an acronym. I like to make sure that certain elements are included in prayer times, but don't hold to it hard and fast. Here's one recipe I use to include all the elements of a good prayer time: 
PRAY (a recipe for prayer): 
  • P - Praise: Thanking God for who He is, and what He's done. Often I will include a section of scripture to start this off, and frequently this comes from Psalms, but not always. Many times, as I'm reading, it will inspire me to come to Him in prayer, just from reading what He's done over time and recorded in His Word. Sometimes it is a song of worship, honoring His power, submitting and accepting His love. Often times it starts with "counting my blessings" and thanking Him for what He has done, and is doing, in me, around me, or through me.
  • R - Repent: It's hard to ask for things when we've allowed sin to creep into our lives. Sin is an instant barrier, and while He hears us and sees us, we still have to own up to our short-comings and failures. We might be struggling in circumstances - be honest with Him and ask for forgiveness and His help, His intervention. Don't stuff it aside and pretend it doesn't exist. When I don't see my sin in that moment, I ask Him to reveal it to me. Draw me closer to Him. Refine my walk, change my attitudes, make me more like Him. Sometimes it's as simple as asking Him to remove my doubt, my unbelief. It's good to clear the air.
  • A - Ask: "Make your requests known to God." It's as simple as that. 
  • Y - Yield: Wait on God. Be still. Silent. He may make a move, and He may just bask in your silence like we rest in the sunshine. Enjoy His presence. Often I will find myself yielding many times in my time of prayer, in the midst of one of the other areas, and that's ok! Enjoy being with Him!
This doesn't mean that I follow this "recipe" each time I talk with Him; as I'm a "pray without ceasing" kind of girl. I talk to God all the time. ALL.THE.TIME. As a new Christian I fostered the habit of prayer driving; praying for people I drove by on the street, for the ambulance that sped off in full alarm, for the people that cut me off in that fast-paced-SoCal traffic. I prayer drove with my kids, teaching them to pray their way through the day (I don't know if they still do that or not!), and always believe that "A day hemmed in prayer, seldom unravels!". 
Now I've learned to prayer walk too, and I hope to instill this in the lives of my grandchildren during this season that we are all living together. To have them walking around our neighborhood with me is a great joy, and I want them to become aware that we can lift up anyone to our Father. Even if we don't know of His Presence, we can pray for them to be drawn closer to God, to know Him deeper, more intimately. It's also wonderful to prayer walk with other believers in other neighborhoods! I've done this with groups of people (MANY groups at one time - DO NOT do this alone!!), going into a troubled neighborhood and prayer walking their streets, praying for the folks that are coming and going, standing on their corners, bbq-ing in their yards. It's wonderful to do in areas where there is a lot of ethnic diversity, and I've seen God open a lot of doors for fellowship and extending His love to some that have never heard of or met Jesus. 
We have a small group that meets together on Monday evenings for just ONE HOUR, to pray specifically for our missionaries "here, near, and far away". It's usually a VERY SMALL GROUP, just two or three, but that's all He's asked for! We are really blessed when more than that show up, and we'll break back down into groups of two and three, so we can get more praying done. We have a calendar set up ahead, with a weekly rotation, praying for just one or two fields or missionaries each night, and a little time set aside at the end for any special requests for any missionary, whether it's someone we financially support, or someone we know with any agency, anywhere in the world. I treasure our GO Pray nights!
On "here" nights we pray for one of the several ministries our church is involved with around our community, such as Habitat for Humanity, the crisis pregnancy center, and the local shelter. Our church has the idea that "we don't have to do it all" - meaning that if another church or group is doing a great job at reaching out in community, we can join in on their work and assist them, instead of creating a competing ministry. It was one of the first things that I LOVED about our church!! It's an honor to join in and pray for them, their upcoming events, their ministry needs. I usually can find enough on the ministries web site to pray about, so we don't have to look far to find things to lift up to God, and we always include praying for Him to lead people through that ministries doors to find the help they need and meet Jesus there. 
The nights we pray for the "near" ministries we support, we lift up our in country workers; a couple with a prayer ministry, a missionary sending agency, a couple living and evangelizing on an Indian Reservation, people that work to equip and train others to go to wherever God sends them, a community of believers that live within the city of the largest Muslim population in the U.S., and other workers. Sometimes these fields are harder to reach, and hardest to work in, because they are inundated with our own self-serving culture. They may have a church home, but they may travel a lot and not have a sense of community, and often times our workers here are under supported financially, so we pray that as other people and churches learn of their work, that they will join in and partner with them. Often times these are the people that are raising up our next generation of missionaries! They NEED our prayers!!
The "Far Away" prayer nights are set aside to pray for our field workers that are out of country, and we pray for the workers, the people they work among, and His harvest. We usually include prayers from any monthly newsletters we've received, and be sure to pray for the parents of our Global Workers and their families here in the U.S. We lift up language learning, for cultural barriers to be removed, for travel and life in a foreign field. Some have financial needs, especially for one time purchases like a vehicle, and often there are health issues to lift up. We pray prayers of spiritual warfare, especially if they are at a hard to reach area where demon and spirit worship has been deeply ingrained in their history and culture. It's never hard to find things to pray for on "Far Away" nights.
My prayer NOW is that this will encourage and inspire you to kick-up your prayer life a little. Encourage a friend to pray with you ("where 2 or 3 are gathered in My Name...") and don't get discouraged if someone says no...keep asking! That could be your first prayer - to ask God to send someone into your life to pray with!! I'm praying that for YOU NOW!! :) 
God, I'm so grateful that You desire to hear from us, to speak to us; that You created us for fellowship with You. I ask Lord, that You will draw us into prayer - that we will pray without ceasing, and also take intentional time to be alone with You. Help us to be sensitive to the prompting of Your Holy Spirit, as You speak to our hearts and call us to You. Increase our faith in prayer, and as we receive Your gifts teach us to use them. We love You, and desire to know You more, to see You at work IN us and THROUGH us. In Your Name we pray, Jesus....amen....
(NOTE: You can find some GREAT prayer resources through the ministries of Harvest PrayerTeam Expansion and if you want to pray for a least reached or unreached people group, try Pray 4 TunisiaPray 4 The Mien or Joshua Project's Unreached People Group of the day.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

On Mother's Day for the Motherless...

Another one of the GypsyMama's blogs got me going on this. I put off reading it for a few days, and JUST as I was going to start cleaning my room, I saw the post again. sigh. I had to read it now, in the quiet of my room. My VERY MESSY ROOM that I'm supposed to be cleaning. ugh.

ok. not cleaning my room. crying. i put off reading this yesterday, knowing it would be emotional for me. i've cried all week. it's a normal pre-mother's day ritual, and will last till july (after her summer solstice birthday).

my mom died a week before i turned 13. she had surgery for lung cancer in the spring, came home to continue smoking all that summer - and we fought- hard - arguments between the ill mom who knew she was dying and the pre-teen daughter that didn't get it, and the self-absorbed dad that wouldn't open up enough to be honest with either of us. with any one.

i came home from school one october day to find my house full of strangers and old friends and neighbors offering condolences. my dad didn't even have a thought to pick my sister and i up from school. to tell us in private. to let us grieve.

i was so angry for so long at everyone that it didn't matter. and it wasn't until i was in a dressing room trying on a wedding gown that i wished my mom was there. then i noticed that "Honey" was playing on the intercom. that bobby goldsboro song of his sweet girl who died too young. and i bawled. it was one of the few songs that moved me to tears over my mom not being there.
i missed her the whole season of my wedding, each time i had a baby, then when my girls married and had their own babies.

i hate that my kids don't know her. that i didn't get to have an example of what a grandma was supposed to be like. that she didn't assure me that i was a good mom.

but i trust God that His timing was perfect. that she couldn't be there so HE COULD be there, because it was THAT loneliness that drew me to Him. To His Love.

and He's been there with me those days....even (like now) when the tears spill...

5 Minute Friday Challenge on "Identity"

Raising our family in a small town was hard in so many ways, but one of the sorta fun things was the fact that everyone knew everyone. There was less than 6 degrees of separation there, more like 2, and usually it involved your kids being in a club or on a sports team.

Going anywhere, we quickly learned that we were no longer "Mark and Marina Bromley" - but Jason's mom, Jessica's dad, or Melissa's folks. Fun usually, since they were good kids and respected in the community - but what happens when the girls go off to college and get married, and as our son leaves high school (a BIG fish in a SMALL pond) and doesn't see his athletic desires accomplished in college?  Soon enough, a job change moved us away to another city, larger, kinder, and we don't have anyone who knows our kids (well a few, but it was more of those 6 degree type connections).

Well, although I was excited about the move, and had no idea what would happen, I was pleasantly surprised! It didn't take long for me to realize that God in me is enough!! I don't have to be defined by my kids at all, and actually, it was freeing to not have any sort of "reputation" to live up to. I could share freely from my life experiences (see posts on my 20 years in the desert) and learn to live life new again.


OOps....wrong topic..."Mothers"

I thought that the 5 minute Friday was on "Mothers", but it's on "Identity" - LOL. Guess I'll have to take another 5 minutes and write again.....But I'll leave this up anyways.... sigh...

I always wanted to be a mom...despite my argumentative pre-teen years, losing my own mom to lung cancer and all the promises of politics and law - a "Mom" was the job I wanted most.

It came no surprise then, when my middle child, Jessica, grew up with that same gene. When her younger brother Jason was born, she (all of 18 months old) thought he was HER baby. It all began then, and finally, this week, she has her "own" baby to hold.

I always feel that I'm missing out on something, not having had a mom in my formative years. Even my dad's choices of wives didn't make for good mothers. Thankfully, becoming a Christian around my 21 birthday, God opened doors for older Christian women to remove the negative habits of selfishness and replace them with the Fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control. I know that I didn't master any of these during my childbearing years, but I saw God at work in changing me, and my prayer for my kids was (and still is) that they would know God deeper, follow Him closer, than I ever could.

Older sister Melissa is a great mom to her 4 kids, but she and Jessica are really different, in many ways, although both of them serve the same God with great passion. Melissa has had a baby a year for the past 5 years, and Jessica has waited till now to have her first; decisions made by their spouses in response to God's direction for their lives. So very different, yet "right" for them.

As they embark on mommy-hood, i hope that I'll learn to be the grandma that I never got to see my mom be - not only to spoil them occasionally, but to set a godly example of what a grandma can be and sharing Biblical truths with them in little ways.

I want them to remember me with God's words on my lips, songs in my heart, my Bible open....

(time up!)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What's up?

Things have been busy around here! DD1 and family are still living with us, and it's a joy to see my 4 grands every day. I've learned it is ok for us each to need our space to make this last - since we know that they'll launch to their field sometime in the next year, but we aren't sure when, and for now DH and I are here while he works and I continue to volunteer at church. It's all good stuff!

I took Thursday and went to go visit DD2 as she nears the end of her pregnancy. I LOVE going to Louisville, and there's always something about crossing that bridge and seeing that skyline. I can't explain it! It's like coming home - but I've never ever lived there!! 

I felt that way as I was driving to Louisville for the first time alone. The VERY first time was to take DD2 to the base for her summer mission trip (the year she went to Mongolia - at 16 - for the summer - a topic for another blog entry!) but the first time I went alone was the summer after that. The same group had caught wind that I could cook for a crowd, and they had a group of students arriving for a week of training that they call Pre Field Orientation (PFO). None of us had ever met face to face - well, maybe momentarily the summer before - but we really didn't KNOW each other. It was a beautiful kind of weird. 

As I left Springfield, MO, with about 700 lbs of meat in my car (in coolers)I headed up I44, and by the time I hit the outskirts of town I was bawling like a baby! "What in the world was I doing?!" was all I could say, over and over. I was crazy, right??

Once I hit St Louis I was focused again, and looking forward to assisting these amazing students (and more) as they were preparing to spend their summers abroad, testing the waters of missions. It really took my breath away, as I crossed I64 into KY and over the Ohio River. It was beautiful! As I approached the skyline I loved the buildings silhouetted against the sky. So lovely! I love it still!!

Well, the other night, as I was ready to leave out of my DD2's neighborhood, my SIL2 pointed out the Black Crested Night Cranes flying overhead. Majestic and lovely, these birds soar overhead and cry loudly to their spouses. It was wonderful to see them in the middle of a neighborhood, next to a college campus. Beautiful!

As I neared the city, the lights were just coming on in town. Buildings lit up against the setting sun painted sky. As I curved towards the river, it was hard to tell where the sky ended and the river began, both were painted this majestic color of blue and rose mixed together. The river so peaceful, it acted as a mirror to the sky. The sun now down, it's colors radiated across the sky, and the river, as far as the eye could see.

Lovely.  God's handiwork for our enjoyment. So perfect. 

As I was driving along, wishing I could type some notes to capture the moment, or pull over for a photo, and there was nothing I could do, but hold it in my heart. I would be foolish to not admit that MY observations do no credit to the One that Mastermnded the creation. 

So thank You Lord. 

Rest of story, DD2 is doing fine!! We had  a great little visit, a fun little mall lunch out, shopping, and Chinese Take-Out for a great dinner! It was a great day, even if she didn't have the baby yet. 

Well, everyone is napping right now - and I can barely keep my eyes open....

Not Yet Spring...

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