Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
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 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
The autumn light....
Have you noticed it?
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
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:
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
Hormone Hell Just In Time 7/3/10
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
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
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.
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