Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Virtual Tower of Babel

We were watching Sing Off last night and a commercial came on for a new blackberry full of new apps. I felt a small annoyance and panic raising in my chest. I feel the world of simplicity slipping away and I wonder if this is how my grandma feels about just a simple computer. It suddenly occurs to me that technology is going at a pace I cannot keep up with, nor do I really want to!

I adore simplicity.

There is something quaint about pen and paper, stamps and seals, talk and tea etc. I want it to slow down!

Over the holiday one of the biggest items has been the Kindle. It occurred to me that someday people won't have beautiful books on their shelves to pull off, feel, smell and enjoy reading from! Can you imagine a world like that? Do you want a world like that? I don't.

I like to read my bible from it's pages.

I like to write down my thoughts on paper.

I like seeing the colors and fonts of the book bindings on the shelf and the old artistic style of a famous classic.

I like making a to do list for my day on a little notepad.

Recently since we turned out cell phones off I find I enjoy the fact that I'm unreachable and it's also stretched my faith to trust God for situations. There are now times that my kids can not get ahold of me from school and it reminds me over and over that I am not their guardian angel like I think I am.

All this security, all this information, all this "convenience" can be stripped away with one global communication failure and I think someday it will be.

We have created a Virtual Tower of Babel. The whole world is connected and efficient with goals that reach the skyline.

Look out, it could snap at any time.

In the mean time I've decided not to fret if I don't keep up, because I can't. I realize my children very soon will be sitting next to me patiently trying to explain terms and instructions to me that I don't get. In the mean time, I want them to appreciate the simple things and be familiar with them because they may very well be the generation that sees it all fall apart and humanity scrambling once again to pick itself back up.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

About To Join The Family

I'm very anxious for Christmas to come so these babies can come to their new home! This is Caedmon's present from us this year. We are getting them free from a very nice lady on Craigslist who is saving them for us as there is no quiet way to hide Guinea Pigs.
Aren't they cute!

Sorry the picture is sideways. For some reason I can't get it to turn.

They are girls btw.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I've just about given up on blogging. I love it but I've had so little time for it. As I pondered what to do I was thinking a great deal about my grandma. She lives in Indiana and she does not have a computer. I always feel bad that I'm not good at keeping up with what we are up to for her.
I had thought that I'd like to print all my past blogging and bind it for her for Christmas. Well, as I started looking into that it became obvious that this was going to be a huge task. I was going to have to skip all over my scattered trail on the web! So, I decided it was time to pull it all together and keep it together. Shoot For Eternity is my blog with the most pertinent writing on it so I'm bringing it all here. I will continue to blog when I can here. I have great deal I'd LIKE to blog...we'll see. This year I'm sending her a digital frame so she can see pictures of the kids. Next year sometime I'd like to have all the blog journaling for her. I'd like to beef up the lables and stuff too.
The web address will still be the Shoot For Eternity one but the blogs name has changed. The word that just kept coming to me as I think about pulling together the journey of the last five years was sovereignty, God's amazing sovereignty. I so depend on His sovereignty!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Transfers from The Window Seat

Magical Autumn Light 10/8/10

Last year was the first year I noticed this. Yet, last year was also the year I decided that birds were lovely to watch. I laughed at myself because as a girl I always found the concept of bird watching extremely tedious and could NOT understand why one would want to spend one's hours that way.
The light......
The autumn light....
Have you noticed it?
Like a silent messenger it comes bearing news.
My friend Donna last year mentioned this poem when I said something about it.

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons —
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes —

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us —
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are

None may teach it — Any —
’Tis the Seal Despair —
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air —

When it comes, the Landscape listens —
Shadows — hold their breath —
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death

The red part is my favorite. "Heavenly hurt"...wow, that is awesome word usage. It makes such an impression on us that it's painfully good. It stirs something eternal in our nature, where the meanings are.

I like to call it Magic. Everything glorious God does is magic. Something we don't seem to deserve to get to see and enjoy so it overwhelms us with it's beauty. Though it is not winter yet, the light has indeed started to change as it comes through the windows of the house.

It seems to represent to me a time of reflection. Of the year, of the day, of my life. Winter comes with it's finality as evening comes to shut down the day and death to shut down the story. The autumn light reminds me to reflect, be thankful, feel the meaning. Rest and let God handle the winter to come.
The Challenge Of Corner-Turning Change 8/24/10

One thing I've learned in my life is that sometimes the biggest changes feel like you turned a corner and were slammed right into them. You had no warning signs, no messengers, no time to gather your resolve or roll up you selves. BAM! There it is, and usually it's uncomfortable to say the least.
Sometimes that corner you turn has a cliff you have to fall off of right after your turn. You don't even see it coming but you are falling. Faith is demanded, there is nothing else to cling to. You human capacities to weather it or hold on to anything you would otherwise find stable are stripped away. All you have is your heart and mind to focus on your faith.

We have some little changes that are coming and I'll reflect on those in a minute.

One of Victoria's best little friends, her age (12), has had a tumor found on her lungs. They took her up to Stanford and ruled out bone cancer and leukemia. This week they are having to take a biopsy to do more in depth diagnosis. It's a very scary time for her and her parents, and for my daughter as her friend. When the announcement was made at church on Sunday, Victoria got very sickly sad looking. I leaned over and asked her what was wrong and she said she did not want her friend to die like Papa. When a child has had to see a person go through this first hand it sticks with them, and they struggle to assume the worst. Like my dad's cancer, this tumor is very sudden and out of the blue. Right now it's still a mystery and I tried to encourage her but my heart was battling too. When you have been through this, you know not to tell people that it will be fine, that God will "take care of her" (which is true but you can't tell them that living is the result of God's care). I did say that many children and adults get tumors and they are not fatal or even cancerous.
We are praying for this little girl and her family, and I'm praying for my daughter. I don't know what the road ahead will be but there are lots of opportunity here to turn to God and his words of truth. I'm going to be praying for guidance even now and that we would know how to encourage this family in the way they need it.
Even now, they should be up there getting ready for tests. These tests are not little things either, she is having to be very brave.

On a lighter note, we have such a strange school year ahead of us. I feel like we are kind of going to be scattered about. When the changes started coming, my first reaction was "no way". I like things in what I define as safe and secure and comfortable! It turned out God wanted me to stretch my faith again like he did when I went from the homeschool mom to the mom who was dropping all three off trusting God and going home to do my own work.
The biggest change is that Emma is going to another school. She will be busing (another stretch of faith, I like to take and pick up my kids) out to a very small school in the country. Our school here is getting overcrowded and they were asking for parents to be willing to send their kids out to our sister school. This little school has just over 200 kids and it's an indoor school, new and nice. It's 85% Caucasian which is not a racist statement (in fact, I have LOVED getting to know many of the hard working Hispanic families in our community), it's just that that means the teachers are not taking up 3/4 of their time with language barrier issues. In the lower grades, that kind of distraction is difficult for the English speaking students. They also have much higher test scores (on that note: I was so blessed by the girls state test results! Despite the fact that the classes are full, and the distractions many, the girls were both in the top advanced level in both subjects. In math however, they blew me away. The top score you can possibly get in math is 600. Emma got 556 and Victoria got a full 600. I've never seen a bar hit the top of the line before, it was amazing! SO, it is possible to get a good education if you are paying attention!) at this school.
The challenges of this change though are that she is further away from me during the day and that she has a longer day. She has to get on the bus here at our school at 7:10 am! This won't be too hard for her, she is my low maintenance speed dresser and she is usually the first one up. Because they are out in the country, the buss does not get out there to pick them up for a bit so they have a homework class at the school. This is great for her because she will come home hopefully homework free and she won't have to hang out at the day care I work at for two hours like she did last year. She didn't really enjoy that.
The big one for me was her being far away. See, I trust God, but I like to think I'm in control. :) I like to say I trust him with my hand on my child. He wants me to let go more. That's uncomfortable. I found this poem I'd written when God was stretching me before and it really spoke to me again regarding this:
Where will God lead you? Where will he send?
Will you be willing or will you defend-
The way that things are as you think they should be,
Will you be willing? Will you be free?
Should he stir you to move in a place on you own,
Or call you to stretch in a way you've not grown,
Is there something you've said you won't ever do,
If he asks, will you joyfully do that thing too?
What are you keeping? What do you hoard?
What is it you think you cannot afford?
To loose it, to give it- where do you stress?
What should you hand over, or maybe confess?
Have you looked out at water you say you can't walk?
Are you willing to take back and swallow your talk?
That stated "I'll never", "I couldn't"- "not me",
Will you do it for Him who can make you free?
Free just to trust and gladly be led-
Free just to be in His hand and be fed-
Free to delight in HIS perfect plan-
Free to shrink smaller the opinion of man-
Free to stretch out and see where it leads,-
Free to adventure and plant many seeds-
Free to find out what faith can procure,
When you thought you're plans were ever so sure.

Caed would be going out there with her if it were not for the fact that he is getting the teacher we love the most at the school. Mrs.M was Emma's teacher the first year we transitioned from HS to PS. She is fabulous. She is more of a grandma than anything else, and being in her classroom is the closest to HS you can get. She believes in giving them time to absorb things and she is a rebel against pushing too much state stuff down their throats. I love that about her. At this time in his life, it's what he needs. Lots of breaks and wiggle room. They get up and sing songs a lot. Next year though, he will most likely be following his sister out to the country school.
Then of course there is Junior High. Victoria is very nervous because she does not know how she will navigate the teacher and room changes. She likes to have everything predictable. I try to tell her she will fall right into the groove. I'm putting together a locker gift basket and am hoping that will get her excited about it. She is getting the homeroom teacher she wanted though so that is good. It will be a challenging year for her on many social and development levels. LOTS of changes, lots of Rick and I on our toes.
As for me, I'm trying to be more purposeful with my day than ever before. I'm working on a blog for Happy Homebody about this but seem to be having a hard time finishing it.

To The Reader
(and I've moved away from motivational blogging at this time in my life to the point where I enjoy now blogging in a "speaking to self" pondering mode, but I'll venture out here for a second)
- If you were not with me years ago and have not read the very intense story of our journey from Homeschooling to Public School, or you know a woman (or you are a woman) struggling with these issues in a spiritual sense, you may want to read our journey. It will take a while but I'm so glad I wrote it all down.

Alicia, It's Time To Share

Sharing Part 2 from May 28th, 2008

Sharing Part 3: One Body Many Parts from May 29th, 2008

Sharing Part 4: "If You Are Living This Way, STOP NOW!" from May 30th, 2008

Pursuing The Beauty of Unity from June 1, 2008

What Exactly Was It I Was Supposed To STOP? from June 1, 2008

Updates On The Journey from June 3rd, 2008

Further Testimony Or Related Blogs:

My Own Story Regarding School

The Glasses That See God Move

Influence On Children Can Come From Anywhere God Allows

A Burden To Support Public School Mom's

Everywhere You Go, People Wonder
Randy Alcorn rightly states that suffering is THE problem of Christianity.

Today Rick and I stood at the corner of an intersection in Solvang, CA where we are visiting for somewhat of a second honeymoon week. These two gents where behind us and they looked to be in their early to mid twenties. One of them was saying to the other that he went over to talk to another friend last night about a spiritual problem that his friend was having. "What it boiled down to" he said was a verse in Lamentations that says that God does not want us to suffer. This verse presented a problem for his friend.....

and the conversation trailed off out of my ear shot.

I wish I had had the nerve to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to turn around and say "Here, go home and get this book", and refer him to "If God is Good" by Randy Alcorn. Instead I just let Rick know what I Had just overheard. Hopefully the Lord gives this young man some answers for his friend. You know, I think I can pray for him at least.

My first thought was that I was pleased to be on the corner of the street somewhere and here two humans talking about the bible, God, and helping a friend with a struggle. Sometime God blesses me by reminding me of the miracle of his work everywhere, at every moment in the hearts of men and women. His glory is being designed in creative beauty that will one day take our breath away. If I could see it all now, I'd be mind blown. Just hearing it around me in a one minute segment of my day makes me worship Him for his moving and working.

It secondly made me think of how true what Randy says is. Suffering is THE problem. To any honest and soul searching Christian, it is the one place the road block seems impossible to get over around or through. How can God not want us to suffer and yet have in his will that we do? How can these coincide? I pray every Christian on this search finds some answers like Randy has in this book. It has really helped me and makes me want to help others hear these heart healing truths.

As I walked away we went down to a book store that had some books that were making me feel like pulling my hair out. I spotted Bart D. Eardman's "God's Problem". On October 2, 2008 I wrote about this book on my former blog Shoot For Eternity (which is what I call my "blog museum" now). This book seems to follow me. Randy brings it up often in "If God Is Good" and does an excellent job answering back many of the statements Eardman makes in the book. Some other books by Eardman are: "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why" and his newest "Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions (and Why We Don't Know About Them)" (have you ever seen such a long title?). You can see why my insides start to bubble standing in front of this shelf. But wait, there was more.....

John Shelby Spong is another author that had me red flagged by his book title "Eternal Life: Beyond Religion, Beyond Theism, Beyond Heaven and Hell". Just some of the front and back flap is enough to discuss on many blogs. Here is a little:
They (humans) are also moving beyond religion's traditional theistic definition of God as a "supernatural being", a miracle worker, or an exalted parental figure. This image of God has died, Spong argues, and with it any sense of purpose, meaning, or immorality that is outside life. The modern experience, to quote Meister Eckhart, is that of "taking leave of God". For Spong this death of theism opens new doorways into life, into timelessness, and into the mystical experience of being one with the presence of the holy."
Notice "holy" is not capitalized and that's the only profound statement in the whole quote. There is so much wrong with just this little tid-bit I pulled off the front and back flap (found on Amazon).
Then of course right next to these was Frank Schaeffer's (son of one of my hero's Francis Shaeffer of "How Then Should We Live" fame) new book "Crazy For God: How I Grew Up As One Of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) of It Back" I don't' know what in the world happened to Frankie but I'm determined to read and find out.

It just intrigues me. Even Eardman was a self proclaimed Christian. These problems of theology (or the lack of theology under the guise of understanding God) are HUGE and yet they are coming from inside "the fold". What made these men turn into the thinking they developed? Amazingly, just like Darwin (who stated himself in his book "Origin of the Species"), Eardman states that he's not sure he is right. He has sleepless nights of wakeful fears concerning whether or not he's gotten it wrong (turning from God).

We were encouraged at the Women Discipling Women's conference to be women of discernment and looking for warning statements that take away from scripture or change the gospel in any way. Sometimes is obvious and sometimes it's subtle. The men above are obvious in their distance from belief in the Word of God. Yet, still, it starts somewhere, wrong thinking. We have to really look out for where the trails begin. Terms of verbiage that change the definition of the gospel in our understanding and imagery in fiction that pervert the way God defines himself.

Anyone who has read my blogs has seen I possess a passion for the freedom of fiction. With that comes the passion for the opposite, the definitiveness of truth. Play as you wish with the untruths, the fairy tales, the vampires good or bad, the talking animals or mystic lands, but when you get to God, you are no longer on the playground but in a throne room where your very soul can rest or shake.

This posted before I got to spell check it so if you are reading in google reader (which does not usually show edits) I apologize!

I Got Away...I Got Fed Well 7/20/10

I returned Sunday evening from the Women Discipling Women conference in Woodland Hills, CA. It's put on my The Master's College and their biblical counseling program. They key note speakers were Martha Peace and Elyse Fitzpatrick. I read Martha's book "The Excellent Wife" about six years ago and it's a book that will never go in my out to the thrift store pile. In fact at one time, I said I should always have it next to my bible to read again and again. Well, I've not been that noble, and I've not read it again (*choke*) but I sure am now. After I read all the other awesome theologically thrilling things I'm plugging away at now. Life is good when the reading is great!:)

Elyse Fitzpatrick wrote the book "Because He Loves Me" which we are wrapping up in our church's first run at a women's discipleship program. I've really enjoyed the book and I'm very anxious to read more from Elyse as well as catch up on her blog. She said she has been going through some of Luther's writings and discussing it on the blog....ohhh, that sounds exciting! Can I just lock myself in a room for a few weeks with my new laptop (thank you sweet lady who bought it for us!) and some coffee and all the reading material I want to get to?

I want to take a few weeks to reflect on the teaching I received and the theological discussion we had as a group of ladies late into the night on Saturday night. I was so thankful to get away and get to know some ladies in our church better. It's fun to peel back some layers on people and see who they are. It's even MORE fun to practice for eternity and bask in the truth, toss it about and loving listen to other's perspectives. Only in the body of Christ is this possible because we all have stringent ideas we hold and sometimes they can be communicated abruptly, or passionately, or in ways that are even misunderstood by those around us. Yet, in Christ we can take the wheat and throw the chaff away. We can be patient with the personality differences that SO effect our perspectives on EVERYTHING, and with where God has each of us in our walk and purpose. It was delightful. Even though I was at one point in the discussion feeling that maybe 10:30pm was not the best time for these intense discussions. You know, there is a time and a place for everything! I started to back off when I felt myself getting too tired for some of it.

Elyse was my favorite. Absolutely. Her approach to teaching hits right to my heart. She is a little rough around the edges, bold, honest, and translucent. I LOVE THAT. I love women I can relate to and feel I could say anything to. She was a delight to listen to. I enjoy when people speak how things really are in our hearts, and also shine bright the hope of Christ we have and how that practically should mean everything to us.

I don't know where to begin on the reflecting, there was so much good. This post is all ready long enough for today.

My goal is to go back over the notes and remember what the Lord touched my heart with.

I am also deep into Randy's book and needing to prepare for our meeting this Saturday evening. I'm really looking forward to that and will want to reflect here at the window about it as well. THEN, I'm reading the first few chapters of "Not a Tame Lion" by Bruce Edwards with my friend Donna's C.S. Lewis book club that Rick and I are in. This Friday is that meeting and we will be getting to visit him personally on a web am discussion.

Then there is my room that is a mess, my kitchen floor that screams "Mop Me PLEASE!" and some major time I need to put into the gym the next two weeks.

Good thing I found some Biggest Looser protein powder packets at the grocery discount as well as some energy water tablets (you put them in a bottle of water and they give you vitamins and other good stuff) because I've got to dive in!

I will be back with more and lable them WDW.

Unbelievable 7/5/10

Two posts ago I said that God was putting me through a trial but showed me that there was a purpose for it. He really spoke that to my heart. That the trial was just in time. I had no idea when I wrote that how "just in time" His timing was. It was three days away from just in time. I am just in awe of God's loving kindness to speak directly to my heart, show me His purpose and convict me to pay attention. It was a hand reaching out in love t help me, to hold me together and give me strength to hold the little hand I'll now be holding through early womanhood.

I'm just speechless.

How great is His unfailing Love.

How new are His mercies.

How perfect His timings.

The God of the Universe came down and spoke to my heart.

How did I ever deserve that?


Hormone Hell Just In Time 7/3/10

Hormones....how I hate thee.

The last three days I've had the worst time since earlier this year. The cyst was like the Haitian quake in my system and the aftershocks and clean up were so hard. I've been feeling normal now for two months and it's been wonderful!

Then...two days ago happened.

It makes sense, it's been almost three months since things were bad and as most women know, there is the monthly cycle, and then there is the three month psycho woman cycle. I always seem to forget about it, and sometimes don't notice it at all. It's like bad PMS mixed with a recurring mid-life crisis. There is no great garnish for that cocktail, it's just potent and hard to swallow.

Two days ago I noticed I was snapping back at the kids like some ticked off crocodile trying to get their heads in my stride. It was awful. After a few moments a little voice inside (thank you Lord) said "Do you notice what you are doing?" Oh, yeah, this is not normal, read alert! Prepare to shift down, back off, hide if you have to. Go take a good shower.

In the shower the nausea hits and then the psycho stuff. I've been able to identify it better since the day or two after my cyst surgery when I paced the house praying and quoting scripture because I LITERALLY felt I was loosing my mind. If you don't know this feeling, you don't get to say you do. It's not like you are too stressed out, or there is too much pressure on you, or people are just bugging you...no, it's physical reality that you feel you are loosing grip and then anxiety and fear set in because let me tell you....IT'S THE SCARIEST FEELING YOU HAVE EVER HAD. It was so bad then that having it just a little is identifiable to me now. At least with that I can say to myself that it's okay, it will pass, hang in there.

Hormones move in waves, my OB confirmed this to me. It's how she knew my panics and other symptoms were brain and hormones. Sometimes it's more one but one effects the other and when it's mostly hormones, the waves will start.

So, the last few days there are waves of nausea, psycho woman, (thankfully snappy crock did not come back), and weepies (always followed by missing my dad which makes me cry more, it's the kind of weeping that takes you right back to the little 13 year old girl you are inside still). I've also felt like I cannot rest enough. I've missed the gym for way too many days due to insomnia at night and terrible fatigue in the day. That is another symptom for me.

I usually have to hide quite a bit from the kids during these times so when it last for a few days I get emotional about the guilt of their new TV mom. I remind myself it's just surviving and try to let the guilt go to the feet of Jesus.

And that is where I always feel drawn to be. Hormones make me feel like I'm loosing touch, a small hell of my own of sorts and I have to cling to Him holding me together.

So, this morning when I woke up and the nausea when through my body as soon as I woke up (and believe me, when you sit up and feel that bad, you are immediately depressed and it's so hard to put one foot in front of the other knowing your day will be like this again) I cried out to God in my heart. He answered me.

He showed me something I did not see thus far. One gift hidden in this hell (i use the word lightly, as there is no real comparison). How wonderful for me to go through all this now. My daughter is literally a walking time bomb for this all to start for her. In fact, I've hopped it all starts this summer so she does not have to go through any bad experience during school in the fall. How easy it would be for me to forget the way I felt exactly 21 years ago. How little grace I may have had for her. Not feeling her pain may have made me unintentionally insensitive. After all, suck it up baby, life must go on.


I'm in my own pain, and it's bad. It is a fresh wound to understand her coming affliction. He showed me that. Perhaps because he knows that my personality is to push through and expect others to push through too (and PLEASE, spare me the wining).

But now....

I understand. Boy, do I understand. It sucks baby, it really sucks. You have never felt so out of you head before. You have never felt so out of control of your own body. So, mad and scared and limp all over in your life. I KNOW! I'm there with ya.

If this is what I have to go through to be there better for her, I'm a willing participant and I can actually be thankful to God for the gift of this hell that came just in time.

Because there is nothing worse when you go through this than being out there with no one who really knows what it's like. Nothing.

7/3/10 The Most Precious Find I Think I've Ever Had
Dear Dad,
Today was one of the most precious days to me for something I found.
If you were here, it would have been the most awesome, perfect and meaningful gift EVER. It's something I'll send you from here. I don't know if God will let you in on it, I'm not sure how that works.
It's something I've been looking for for years. It's something that would mean little to others, but everything to us and mom.
Are you excited yet?
You have to wait for your birthday. So I'll grit my teeth and bear the wait till July 12th.
Someone asked me today here at my window seat (and it's fine with me that they did) if I'd talked to anyone about missing you. Deep in my heart I miss you all the time. On an every day basis though I don't feel much emotion about it. That's because of what you taught me, to be a survivor and to be strong. It's not that I fight my emotions, I just learned to press on. Still, when I'm emotional or sometimes when I'm not feeling well from sickness, you know I miss you the most. It's good, I want them to come at these times. It's when I can get down to the depths of my heart and be in tune with what is so important to me. You were tough on me, I fought you for it. Yet, you made me strong in so many ways I could not see at the time. I don't ever want to stop though having moments when it all floods through me how truly missed you are.
Anyway, I guess just finding this today has made me really emotional! You would be giving me a big hug by now and I'd be bonking into the myriad of pens in your shirt pocket and feeling my toes tap against your work boots. I don't ever want to work it out so well that I forget to feel this way.
I can't wait to give you your gift. I'll be excited to tell mom to come by to see it too.
I'll have a cent or two to say about it too, you know me.
Love Your Daughter,

For Your Birthday Dad 7/12/10
Hey Dad,
I said I wanted to come here to give you something special for your birthday. It turns out our computer DIED. I'm at the library and don't get much time but this was so important to me.
When I was little you came into our lives and tried to start sharing with Scott and I about Jesus. You would pull out your banjo and play this very special song that you loved. Over the years you started to forget the words to the verses in the song. We would talk about how we wished you could remember and we should write it down. One time we had a hymn sing at our house on a Sunday evening (I was about 10) and you tried to teach the song to the kids of the church. That was the last time I heard you sing the whole thing.
When you died, the song came back to both me mom even though we could only remember the chorus. About five years ago, I googled the song and only could go by the few words I remembered. I came up with nothing. The song remained a mystery.
Then, on this blog, mom surprised me by commenting on a heart felt post I did over a week ago. She quoted the words to the song and I remembered it again.
I had to try again to find that special song that you loved so much.
I did.
If you were here, I would be so excited. It would be the PERFECT birthday present!
I know you would just be happy that I found it and can teach it to the kids.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD, and if you get to celebrate these things in heaven, I hope God let's you in on this somehow.
I love you,

7/2/10 The Reaction of Humility
Recently in different avenues of my life I've heard the concept that the basis of all sin is unbelief. It was stated in the wonderful book we just finished in our discipleship group written by Elyse Fitzpatrick and it was in a sermon done at our church recently.

Upon discussion of this concept I ran across some who were tossing around some ideas they had about it. Their view was that the bible seems to say more that the original sin was pride so all sin is grounded in pride. I've been pondering that.

I was very intrigued by Chapter 6 of Randy Alcorn's book "If God Is Good" entitled: "Evil's Entry into the Universe: A Rebellion of Angles". I've always been very curious about this topic, even since childhood. I'm not sure why except that it seems to be such a mystery. I want to reflect on the chapters points for a bit.
People often say (and I've asked it myself inside) "if God is good, and if he is the creator of all things, then how can there even be a Satan?"
It's a good question!
Randy reminds us of something even I had forgotten. God created all angels GOOD. He says of all creation, "it is good". He refers to Lucifer as "blameless in your ways from the day you were created" (from Ezekiel 28).
"It is misleading to say that 'God created Satan and demons.' Rather, God created Lucifer and other righteous angels, who later chose to rebel against God, and in so doing became Satan and demons." (Randy Alcorn)
So it comes down to a "which came first" the unbelief or the pride? I enjoy thinking this way. It's what helped me understand God's motive for man's happiness too. As I thought about the "which came first" the joy or the happiness, I began to see the answer was happiness. Happiness was what was intended and joy was the supernatural gift given by God to experience it outside of and above fallen circumstances because the happiness that we now had was fleeting and tainted. So, I will use this to explain the other quandary at my mental table now.
My theory is that pride is the result of unbelief. Therefore, unbelief does indeed have to come first. I just have to go back and think about the very thought process of Lucifer himself and maybe it sounded something like this:
"I know He says He is the greatest, and that I will be forever delighted being just who he made me to be, but I don't believe him. What do I believe? I believe I can be just as great as he is and that THAT will make me happier."
If he had stopped at "who he made me to be" and had a different decision of belief, what would it have resulted in? HUMILITY. Belief in what God says breeds humility and unbelief in what he says breeds pride. This is how one can indeed say that every sin is rooted in unbelief.
When we are made aware of what God says, of the way He has designed something to be, we take it in. We may doubt, we may disagree, but we do those processes BEFORE we decide. To believe, or not to believe, that is the question! Once the decision is made there, the feet step onto either the path of pride or humility. Pride produces sin, and humility produces submission to the will of God.
I like also that Randy reminded us that we let a common misconception slip into our thinking. That being that Satan is the opposite of God. Randy points out that this is false. "Michael, the righteous archangel, is Satan's opposite. Satan is finite; God is infinite. God has no equal." (Alcorn) I love that! I love anything that blows him up bigger! Because the bigger we see Him, the more clearly He begins to come into our finite view. It thrills me.
Back to earth now though. This formula trickles down into every decision I make every day. Humility is the basis of all trusting in God and his ways, and his plan for me. If I am frustrated with my husband I will sin when I don't choose to BELIEVE that he is what God has said is best for me. If I choose to have unbelief of this, I will fall into pride and many other sins along that path. If I believe and find humility I will be on a path to joy and blessing. I think this can be applied to just about every avenue of life.
I liked what Alcorn went on to discuss about why God still did not destroy Satan once he went bad. That also has been a massive quandary of mine. Tammy did a post recently on her thoughts regarding Section 2 of the book and she quoted this as well:
"Satan's fall and ongoing existence are for the glory of Christ. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, will be more highly honored and more deeply appreciated and loved in the end because he defeats Satan not the moment after Satan fell, but through millennia of long-suffering, patience, humility, servant hood, suffering, and decisively through his own death." (John Piper)
"God has both the power and the right to destroy Satan and the demons now, which would demonstrate his justice. But he wants to display his other attributes as well, among them grace, mercy, and patience." (Alcorn)
This is what is amazing about evil, without allowing it, letting us go through it, making it part of the history of man, we would never have seen the beauty of God because we would not have been made aware of how absolutely ugly the opposite of it is.
It makes me feel like I have to ask myself a question. Am I willing to trust a God who is willing to allow ongoing awful things (notice I say allow, not do, for he allows Satan to do the doing) when He says it's for His glory? Is His glory worth that price to me as well?
Though I may not like it, and though I may be tempted to not believe it's the best way or that it's worth it (which would lead me down the road of many in pride against God), I choose to believe it all and in return the very thing that is hard for me to except is the thing that gives me the most joy and hope in complete darkness.
This is why unbelief has to come before pride is born which breeds sin, and why belief brings humility which is the basis of all other good character qualities. Belief is the decision, the line in the sand, the turn of the step that we make. What floods us after that will be the fuel for the fire or the calm for the storm.

7/2/10 The Lone Oak Tree

When I was a teen we lived at a place that had an oak tree up on the back hill. My dad put a porch swing in it so I could go up there and have time to think. I think he got the message after I would retreat there at hard times, climb up as high as I could go, and ride the waves of the wind that came through in the evening. When I was younger I would pretend it was my ship. Later on though it became a haven in life's storms.

From the vantage point of this swing, I would look out across the little valley with a vineyard in it and beyond that to a golden hillside. Going down the side of the hill were dozens of California Oaks. Yet, at the top, alone in the golden grass close to the sun was one beautiful lonely oak. From where I was up at my vantage point, the oak and I were just about equal and I felt something of myself in that tree. I can still see it whenever driving back from A town through T town. If you know where to look, it's still sitting there staring back at me haunting me of times when I looked inside myself to understand what I experienced outside myself in life.

I always felt akin to that oak tree, especially because the other trees seemed to be rushing down the hill off to somewhere else. Many times in my life I've been the loner and there is some odd thing in me that likes that and another part of me that hates it.

I was in a sense an only child. Though this cannot be said fully, the dynamics of having one sibling who is handicapped is a category all it's own. You are like an only child in many ways except your parents have even less time to dote on you because of their care of your sibling. This never bothered me, and it taught me a lot, but I did feel like I was in some lonely category that no one else understood.

I was the only girl in my Sunday school all through my growing up years. Even if there were girls, I probably would have not been too chummy with them because I found girls hard to get along with.

When I got married, I was the only one I knew in my age group who was married and having a honeymoon baby right away, made me...yep, the only one with a child all ready. My all ready small social circle was immediately changed. That lasted a long time.

When we went to our new church, I was the first mom to have an infant for a while.

Later on, I was the first to attempt homeschooling in my small social circle though I knew older women who did. It was all new to me and no one else with kids my daughter's age were doing it yet.

It just goes on and on, I was the first to put my kids in public school, the first have all three in school, the first to branch out and get a few hours of work, the first to go through a new chapter of life.

I reflected a on this yesterday as I thought about the next chapter of my blogging. My disaster before had been that some heartfelt information was taken by someone who knew me and decided to call my mom (three people actually) about it. It was the fact that I had decided to talk about my bio-dad on my blog. That caused a huge emotional trauma for me and made me exit main stream blogging to just do a family blog elsewhere. At the time, I had said, and it was truly what I thought I wanted, that I needed to return to the first reason I started blogging and that was to share about the family stuff. Once I got off in that little corner hoping to just do that I grew amazingly restless. The reason was because I could not write the way I really wanted to, about what I really wanted to. I merged back into blog spot trying out three different blogs for the three "sides of me". One for the family, one for my thoughts, and one for domestics. That became exhausting and I did not feel I gave enough to any of them. So, I combined again. That has been going well until I recently started feeling restless again.

I was happy to hear the honest responses to my fit the other day. It confirmed some of what I was thinking was happening. I was really being unfair to my readers. When I was in their shoes with younger ones at home, I didn't have a thought left over at the end of the day that was worth anything at all. Then, when I homeschooled, all thoughts were about the kids, surviving the day, accomplishments, ideas, and the next step. There was no room for what I thought about anything outside of those venues.

So, I've realized that I'm at a very different place (the oak tree stands again) than many I know. I do have time to think. Not only that, I thrive when I have time to think and I thrive when I can write what I think.

The thing I've been doing wrong is where my head has been on my writing. I've been driven to think, learn and share. That pattern leads to an expectation for response and participation. This is where I've been unfair. I thought last night how would I have ever been able to have time for a fresh mental exercise at those stages of my life. I wouldn't. I've been blogging with the wrong tone and frame of mind.

The fact is, I love to write, but my motivation for blogging has evolved and totally changed from what it was when I started. I am not the daily mom blogger anymore. I know that is what a lot of people go for and I enjoy reading it myself but it's not me anymore. The avenue of Facebook allows me to share tid bits about my family and share photos but I don't need another place for that. I need my own corner to look out at the world and gather my thoughts about it. No longer will I see myself in a room speaking out to people, expectant for their response. If they want to share, I'd welcome it but I'm not going to let it define my blogging or be what I'm seeking anymore. I'm going to make more efforts to enjoy that more in person or at least seek it in person. If it just happens here I'll whole heartedly participate back though.

The voice of my blogging will change now. I speak reflectively to myself, sitting her in my virtual window seat, looking out. I needed a new atmosphere of solidarity that allows participants but does not exist to expect or require them.

Many people blog for comradery. To feel linked to the people who are going through what they are going through or give ideas back and forth. I don't see myself as one of in need of that through this venue anymore. I will be starting back up my other love, the cooking blog, but I never felt pressure for response on that one either.

It's not that I don't want to talk about my family or what they are doing, or that they are not important to me. I just need my spot, my venue, my outlet. When writing is your hobby, you need a nook of your own.

I've had a drive to inspire, motivate and stimulate before but I'm going to let all that go. When I'm driven to do that and don't see results, it's dangerously discouraging to me. If I'm here for me I can only disagree with myself later but that's about it:) A window is looking out, and not worried about what is looking in and what they think of it. I need a venue like that right now.

There will be no site meter. I don't want to be worried about how many came by. It's almost like throwing the scale away. I'm done with that. The only reason I'm even leaving up the followers widget is for the benefit of those who want to read so that they can have things pop up on their reader. I even debated about that one. I know I like having those on other blogs though so I can follow easily.

So, that is why this blog address reads "the window seat journal" because that's the new difference. I'm here to journal my thoughts and make that the 100% purpose here instead of the 50/50 I had before of writing and feedback. Like I said, they will get to read my journaling for sure and comment if they want but it's not going to be the reason I'm here.

My blogging experiences have been very congruent to my social behaviors in the real world. I love to socialize but there are times (usually triggered by something hard in the social circle) when I have to return to solitude. I think this cozy window seat will be perfect.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The SFE Museum

This dear little blog was my heart and my home through one of the toughest times in my life. It will not have new entries but will sit here for whenever a visitor wants to come by, mostly me probably.