Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With The Old....

It has been quite a year. It's kind of hard to take it all in, but I do like to spend a few moments reflecting back.

We've had joys and tears and hopes and struggles. It has been a good year. There has been much growth and opportunities for the same.

Sometimes it feels as if the old skin is too tight, and as I grow and change, it peels away. It's not always comfortable, and I sometimes miss the things left behind. But as I stretch and grow into these new opportunities, I soon forget what it was that I clung to so tightly.

My heart and my beliefs have been sifted through, and some pieces that do not belong, He has removed. It will be an ongoing process, I know. For that I am grateful.

He is changing me. Little by little. Experience by experience.

And through it all, He is there. His love never ceases and His mercies never come to an end. Morning by morning, I am reminded of this.

Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Lamentations 3:22-24
22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning;great is your faithfulness.24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,“therefore I will hope in him.”

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How Fast They Grow...

I have been reminded lately at how fast children grow. I ran into the daughter of a coworker that I haven't seen in several years. Standing before me is a young lady where a child once stood.

I am acutely aware of it in my own children as well. After only a few days with their dad, I am amazed at how much taller they appear when I get to hug them again. My boy will soon be at my armpit and my girl is not far behind! It occurs to me that they have yet to have their "big growth spurt", which makes me want to snuggle them close while they will still let me.

Every day, as my daughter texts me with her new cell phone, I am reminded of how quickly she is growing and how fast she incorporates what is "cool" in the world. The "I love you" texts warm my heart as much as the "c u soon" ones remind me how aware she is of the world around her.

In these moments I hope that I have and will continue to set a good example for them. I hope that I have "trained them up" adequately and appropriately thus far.

I know we have quite a road to travel still. I ask that You guide me in the ways I should guide them. Mold me and make me into the mother and woman You have created me to be.

Let me know when to hold tight and when to let go.

May they be as aware of Your presence in the world as they are of the world itself.

Watch over them and watch over me as we continue on our way

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The World that is The Hospital

I have spent the majority of the past week at the hospital.... working. In a way it reminds me of my pre-kids days. I worked as often as I could, often picking up an extra day here and there.

Since my kids were newborns, I have been fortunate to be able to work part time for the majority of the year. During the breaks, when my kids are with their dad, I pick up as much time as I can. I'm in the midst of that marathon.

I have been fortunate that our census has allowed me to be there all of the days that I requested, and yes, I realize that means that others are not as fortunate and have spent their Christmas week away from home.

I hope that by being there, I have touched their lives in some small way. I know I made one woman's day when I gave her her voice back - and I know she made mine when she hugged me tight. Her response when I asked if there was anything else I could do, "get my son's number". She called him and said "God is working MIGHTILY in my life!"

He is doing the same in mine, and I was grateful to hear her speak it!

Be with me as I continue my work "week".... use me to help others see how MIGHTILY you are working in their lives....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Blessings in the Rush

Between preparing for my mother's visit and my work marathon (thank you God for that opportunity!), I lost track of blogging time.....

Now, back at work for another day, without time to write more....

There are many, many blessings to count...

Thank you, thank you, God.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A quiet night....

Just taking a quiet night to myself here....

Have a wonderful Sunday...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Peace on Earth

The drive to work on Christmas morning was magical. Lights on houses lit the countryside as I drove toward the interstate. I spent that part of my drive wondering which of the houses held children, who would in a few hours, wake up to the excitement of Christmas morning.

I wondered how many of them knew the significance of the day, and also how many, behind their walls were struggling - physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually...

My time on the interstate was spent in prayer - for unknown needs of unknown people. The roads were essentially vacant, and there was a stillness around the city.

Parking, I wondered how the day would be. Would it be peaceful and mundane, or would it be wrought with assaults? The answer was somewhere in between.

Thank You God for Peace on earth, for the quiet - the stillness mixed with anticipation. It is a gift.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Silent Night, Holy Night....

"Merry Christmas!"

It's such a common phrase this time of year. I have to be as conscious to not extend that greeting as casually as people say "Hi! How are you?" without waiting for a reply.

"Merry Christmas!" is just the tip of the iceberg!

As time passes and I have more and more opportunities to reflect on what Christmas really means, I become more and more intentional in my greetings.

One of these opportunities occurred recently while I was interpreting. We were singing "Silent Night", and I had just signed "Christ, the Savior, is born". As I stood their, waiting for the next verse, I realized I was rocking the Baby, as Mary would have done.

Something stirred inside and my heart paused for a moment before it started beating again.

Moments like that make it all the more real for me. Yet, at the same time, it seems as if the place where I am, and the place where Truth lies has been expanded a million miles. It's not that I feel disconnected from it, it's more like I am aware that there is so much more depth and breadth to it than I ever considered.

The song continued and I found myself returning again and again to rocking the Baby, my eyes focused where His head would be, wondering how Mary ever could have contained her heart...

May you all have a very Merry Christmas!

May you also have an opportunity today to hold the Christ-child close to your heart, and for just a moment, focus purely on Him....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Discharge Day....

Work is usually pretty quite this time of year.... usually.

In the past three days, we've added 19 patients to my census. Suffice it to say, it's been a little busy!

Wednesday was discharge day. For many, it was the last opportunity (until Tuesday) to move from the hospital to a less acute environment. Some were hoping to head to rehab or perhaps a skilled nursing facility. For all of those who could go, we worked like mad to get it done. A few others were fortunate enough to go home.

But many will spend the Christmas holiday with us. There will be family members and visitors coming and going all weekend, not a one of them wishing to celebrate at the trauma center.

But for all of the pain and hard work, there is also some joy. Some will embrace it, others will lean toward "victim", but it is there none the less.

May I embrace it. May those around me realize that they can too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Tradition

It was a long time ago, "when I was a little girl"....

We would travel to my grandparents house in Northern Virginia for Christmas. After 10 hours in the car, as I began to notice familiar fencelines and subdivisions, my excitement would rise.

Not only would I soon be seeing my aunts and uncles and grandparents, but I'd be able to check to see....

We pulled into their driveway, and we'd rush out. Hugging grandma and grandpa, we'd carry our suitcases to our rooms - but I always took the long way... through the dining room.

As I stepped in, I'd look. There it was, behind the table on the cupboard that sat at Grandma's end of the table. It was huge and it was filled! The blue cookie jar filled with Grandma's Sandies.

I didn't dare grab one RIGHT away. I put my things in my room, checked out the "road race room", and headed back upstairs to update my grandparents on my happenings of the previous year.

It was a wonderful tradition. Every year, we'd arrive. Every year, there they were. She knew they were my favorite, and it felt like she made them JUST for me.

Periodically, throughout the week, when I thought no one was looking, I'd sneak in, quietly lift the lid and pop one into my mouth. I'd then carefully inspect to be sure there were no tell-tale traces of powdered sugar on my shirt or fingertips.

We quit making the trip when I was in high school, so for a while, there were no Christmas Sandies. When I was in college, I asked her for the recipe.

A few years ago, I was given the cookie jar. That first year, my kids were small, and so I housed it - full of sandies - atop the refrigerator. One day, while my kids were playing, I sneaked into the kitchen, quietly lifted the lid and popped a cookie into my mouth. It was just like being eight years old again, reaching high onto my grandmother's cupboard...

My kids look forward to this time of year because they know that it is the only time I pull out that recipe card, in their great-grandmother's handwriting, and whip up a batch or two of sandies.

I'm sure they sneak like I did, but I've yet to catch them.... and they've yet to catch me. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Moment in the Word

I had a few moments between band rehearsal and morning worship on Sunday. I picked up my bible to be familiar with the scripture that based the lesson.

I still had some time, so, I decided to work on my "reading plan". I am dreadfully behind in my "one-year Bible reading plan". I opened to 2 Samuel - couldn't focus there, so I flipped back to see where I needed to turn in the New Testament (I've got the Psalms nearly complete).

2 Corinthians, chapters 5 and 6. I turned there. Oh yeah. That's where I needed to be. The words came alive and my pencils started underlining:

2 Cor 5:4 - For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened - not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (ESV)

That is it! THAT is the essence of the process.

Here on earth, in this body, and in this life, there are struggles. BUT, I don't want them taken away, I want to walk through them! For in walking through them, a bit of the mortal is replaced with Life. There is healing.

Peace, Hope, Joy, Love.... LIFE! (REAL life...)

Thank You God....

... for meeting, walking with me, changing me....

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want....

There is a man at church who has something of a "cell phone ministry" - for me anyhow. It all started back when he would set my cell phone alarm for random early morning times, say like 4:30.

How does he get my phone, you ask? Well, I leave it in the foyer, until the members of the deaf ministry team arrive in case someone texts me to say they're not able to be there. Probably divine intervention that it won't pick up in the sanctuary...

One week, was different. There was no alarm set. I then noticed the "banner" inside had been changed. Where my "Thus Far" had been, was a verse.

Week after week, verse after verse. If nothing else, it got me into my bible. But, many weeks, the verse was dead on. This week is no exception.

For anyone who follows my blog, or has befriended me on Facebook, it's pretty clear that life has been less than smooth sailing recently, which is OK (check in tomorrow for more details there...). I've been through a storm or two and know that there is always healing on the other side.

This week at church was especially powerful for me. Some weeks are more so than others. Typically, I feel it most while I am interpreting music - or watching my friends interpret the same. God has always spoken to me through music, and when I am singing and signing, it is all the more so.

I felt the tears welling during rehearsal, and watched them spill during worship. I'd composed myself by the time we left. I hugged my church family and wished them Merry Christmas.

On my way out the door, I picked up my phone and casually glanced at the banner inside. Sure enough, the 2 Kings verse had been replaced. "Psalm 23" was now in it's place.

I nodded and kept walking. In my car, I fastened my seat belt and headed the mile home. At the bottom of the hill, before turning onto the main road, it hit me.

Psalm 23. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want...", I said aloud. My eyes filled with tears as I continued home.

My heart and my cup runneth over, and I am reminded again and again of how truly blessed I am.

Enjoy the song....

23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Reprieve....

As the Blizzard of 2009 hits the east coast, the haze that has been hovering around me seems to have lifted.... YES! Thank You, God! A breath of fresh air!

And as always, there is a hint of new life, growth, healing. I love that.

It's part of why, when I'm feeling in the midst of a storm, I cling to Psalm 3:3, and know that there IS a shield about me. He lifts my head and He lights my path.

We're not done walking and the storm is not calmed entirely. But for now, there is a reprieve. An opportunity to sit and rest, to breath and take in the scenery.

There will be more walking, on new paths with briers, and unlevel ground.

But, if His presence lights the way, there I shall walk.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Plan or Conspiracy?

I must admit, when this thought first crossed my mind, I did laugh.... just a little, to myself....

I was recapping the past week or so, shaking my head and reminding myself that God is still in control, and there IS a plan in all of this. It's just that when I am being "stalked" so intently, it feels like more of a conspiracy.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier if He just showed up and pulled whatever it is that needs to be refined right on out of me, all at once. I'm sure there is a reason that He doesn't, but I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be better just to get it DONE with.

Or perhaps that is what He is doing. So many times recently, when it seemed like I was at the end of my rope, suddenly, there appeared a knot, or a little more rope. "Hold on". "Trust me"

I know, I know, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, that there will be teaching and healing in this process. I will grow, and I will trust just a little more that all I need truly will be provided. Some of my attitudes will be refined and wounds will be healed.

I put my foot where He shines the light, and step by step, we'll move forward.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Art Week Lesson

I had the privilege of helping of helping with Art Week for a couple of hours this week. In our school, students have a period of art (instead of music) four times per year. This was one of those weeks.

As you might imagine, if you take a class of kindergartners (or 1st, 2nd or 3rd graders!) and add "PAINT!", you've got an adventure! It was the third grade class that touched me, though.... One boy in particular.

They were making "etched tin" ornaments (from pie plates and such that had been previously cut into the shape of ornaments and hearts). They'd taken their nails to scratch words, pictures and designs into their piece. Finally, they had adorned it with glitter-glue.

I was in the string-tying station. Ornament in hand, they'd come pick out a piece of yarn, and I would thread it through the hole and tie the loop. One boy in a striped sweater, striped ornament in hand, picked out a blue string.

I said, "You must like stripes...."

"My mom does..." he said, "... this is for her".

My eyes caught his face just as he finished his sentence. I noticed him stand a little straighter, and the light fill his eyes.

In that brief encounter, I was reminded again of what a privilege and an honor it is to be a mother.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to be....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

".... you can have all this world...."

Sometimes I wonder if all of this (she gestures to the area to her left that is designated 'the world') will make sense one day. It sure doesn't always as I walk through it...

It's been a day or two of sorting through thoughts and feelings - letting them wrestle from time to time, then reigning them back in. I've had opportunities to seek and receive feedback internally and externally. And, honestly, it's exhausting. Necessary, but exhausting.

So, there I show up at church, for a concert - Mosaic (check 'em out - they're awesome!) - to interpret with my mentor-friend. I was feeling a little "raw", and very ill-prepared. I'd heard some of their music before, but hadn't really had time to do any focused listening.... All I knew was that God can do all things, my interpreter friend would help if need be, my deaf friend is very forgiving, and the people in the congregation are my beloved church family.

We divided the list and it began. Half-way through we trade. It's my turn.

And here is where exactly the song I need to interpret lies. With tears streaming down my face, I sign:

"You can have all this world,.... Give me Jesus."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heart vs. Head

My heart and my head are trying to agree and thus far, the only thing they can find agreement with is one thing.

Both are grateful that I have several wise Christian women with whom I can discuss matters like these. Perspective, clarity, discernment and wise counsel. I am blessed to be in community with such women. I know, simply by that fact, I am more fortunate than many.

Now.... to find the time to do just that.

Until then, I will err on the side of love.... and breathe.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

God.... Showing off....

Sometimes, I worry about money. Not so much that there will be enough - though that's hit the radar from time to time - but the TIMING of it. Sometimes the inflow and outflow schedules don't line up in a way that makes me very comfortable.

Christmas, and all that goes along with that financially, intermittently makes my heart race. Yet, I keep getting reminders. My friend's Facebook status yesterday:

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Yeah, that. It was just the beginning. I was reminded yet again that the massage business and the nursing practice ebb and flow in perfect synchrony.

I found some cash that had been in an envelope.... for about two years.

The cable guy that came today, wrote on the invoice not to charge me what they intended, since he didn't have to do what they thought he would. Should cut my bill in half, if not delete it entirely.

Yeah, I think God is showing off a little..... and at the same time, saying "GIRL! Chill out! I've got this under control!"

I have YET to have a need go unmet. Like the birds of the air and the lillies of the field.

I am well cared for and well loved.

Thank You, God!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tonight's goal.....

Sleep in Heavenly Peace.....

'nuf said.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Having spent an evening of animated discussion and debate with about a dozen kids adding their voices and energy to the mix, I am currently enjoying the silence.

I enjoyed the evening tremendously, but it makes the quiet of the night more profound. My kids are asleep, my dog is outside, my cat is snuggled beside me on the dog's crate. The only sound I hear is the clattering of the keyboard beneath my fingers.

It makes me wonder. I wonder sometimes what it would be like to be deaf. To live in a world of silence. Sometimes I am envious of those who are able to remove their hearing aids when the world around me is L O U D. But I think I would miss the melodies that are so interwoven through my life.

I also wonder why it is that sometimes I try to change this. There are times when I find myself in silence, that I want it to end. I turn on the radio, or talk aloud.

It's funny, perspective. It can change my beliefs on something, how I categorize it, and how I respond.

Help me to remember the peace and the joy I fee here and now in the silence of my home....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Time or Money

I received the greatest gift..... Time.

I had agreed to work overtime on Friday night. But, our census did not require me to be there.

I was THRILLED! (which kind of surprised me!)

I feel like I got two days added to my life. It was incredible! (Especially in light of the fact that weekend is pretty packed.....)

There is no amount of money that seemed worth it when I heard that I wouldn't have to sleep away most of Friday and Saturday. (maybe I'll remember that next time!)

Thank You, God for the gift of time. I pray I use it wisely.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Priviledge to Pray

I was sitting in my Mom's in Touch weekly prayer group, when I thought back through the past three school years. Before my kids started kindergarten, I didn't know such a group existed. Actually, at our school, it didn't. Now, midway through second grade, I can't imagine NOT having a group praying for the students, faculty, staff and administration involved in our school.

I realized what a privilege it is to be ABLE to pray - both theologically and politically speaking. I have a God to be in relationship with - and I live in a country that grants me the freedom to do just that.

Several days ago, I had a friend reply to a prayer request that I sent out by thanking me for inviting her into the prayer circle. Honestly, at the time, I thought the response was a little odd. Today, I may be a little closer to understanding that it truly IS a privilege to pray.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Sweet Tradition

We started a "sweet tradition" the December we moved into our new house. We invite some of the kids friends over to decorate sugar cookies of various shapes and sizes.

Kids are spread out around the table and bowls of icing with paintbrushes are lined up in the middle. Jars of sprinkles and different colored sugar toppings are passed around as each creation is in need.

It has become more and more enjoyable for me, as the kids have become older. The eight year olds of today require MUCH less assistance than the six year olds did in years past. For me, it has become an opportunity for my kids to have a task focused party/playdate, while I visit with the moms that inevitably pick up a brush to paint the remaining naked cookies.

One of the things I've realized through the years. While I don't like crowds, I do enjoy having people in my home. I like to open my house for some kid fun and some adult socializing: Low key, no stress, bare feet and jeans. That's me.

I'm glad I am finally realizing this information. I am sure He had been telling me for YEARS before I finally heard.

Thank you God for your patience with me, as you continue to show me who I am through who You are.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Break in the Schedule....

It is a crazy time of year. On top of the usual day to day responsibilities, are added the seasonal celebrations and obligations. There are gatherings and shopping, and parties and dinners...

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this time of year. I love having a house full of kids and adults. I love the moments to focus on being together and spending time together. I love the traditions we have established since being in our new house.

But, periodically, there needs to be a time to rest. I'm sure my friends who have been nagging me to do just that are all nodding there heads right now, thinking - or perhaps even saying - "I told you so."

The naps have been wonderful. The afternoon to just sit, delightful.

This is yet another opportunity to rest before the next schedule burst of activity.

I am seizing it!

(tomorrow.... hopefully some pictures from our cookie party!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Day of Rest....

Taking today to rest....

Monday, December 7, 2009

...What He has done....

It was amazing to witness....

Without telling her story - it's hers to tell - let me share what I witnessed....

Not long ago, a friend of mine joined our small Deaf Ministry team.

This was her first week to stand up and interpret one of the songs. We'd worked on it a little, and she had been practicing at home.

The music started, she stood.... "Come and Listen.... Come and listen to what He's done..."

But, it was when she signed "let me tell you what He's done for me..." that the tears fell. "Tell me?", I thought, "..... you are SHOWING me...."

It was beautiful, and could not have been more perfect!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Santa Requests

Part of me is amused. The other part is appalled.

I had left my kids with a sitter while I went to the grocery store and a yoga class. I came home to find two letters on the counter addressed to "Santa. North Pole." The sitter had planned to take them with her to Macy's Big Red Santa Mailbox, but apparently, she forgot.

I offered to drop them by the post office on my way to work..... but I just had to peek...

I very carefully peeled back the three silver stars that held the yellow envelope closed. This one, from my daughter. As I pull the folded note out of the envelope, I see the words "Magical Powers, too". I shook my head silently.

They had mentioned that morning that some of their friends at school didn't believe in Santa: "THEY said ' the parents are Santa' ". I made a funny face as I replied, "Huh?"

Yet, something about the additional "magical powers" request made me think they were testing the abilities of Santa Claus this year.

I unfolded the paper to see what else made the list. It was pretty complete, taking up nearly every line of the paper. About mid-way through were three that stuck out. The third had me laughing so hard I had to put the paper away, the remainder, unread. They are (and I quote):

"Dell mini (purple)
sell phone (purple)
Aliens with space ship (any planet)"

Seriously? Eight year-olds don't need aliens to care for! (nor do they need laptops or cell phones in my eyes, but apparently, these are negotiables by the world's standards.)

To contrast her extensive list, her brother had only one thing on his:

"Some real live Pokemon (not starly or magikarp)"

I am speechless...

.... it seems that they know what they want.

I'm curious to see what Santa drops at our house this year.

On my list would be:

"Gratitude for what we have.
An opportunity to give.
Joy, Peace, Hope and Love as the reminder of why we celebrate Christmas at all...."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Feeling Strong

I attended a womens' self defense class, which was held at my son's karate studio. It was fabulous. Loved it. I knew I would. I also knew I would feel the 'bite'.

Several years ago, I dabbled in Hapkido. Loved IT as well.

And tonight, as I left that class, I felt the same as I did those years ago. I would roundhouse kick the bag, and people would ask, "Do you feel better?" Of COURSE I did. "Yes!" I'd reply. Their next question usually had to do with anger - why or at whom was I so angry.

"Oh, I'm not angry," I said. It had nothing to do with anger - it had to do with strength and peace at my core. I stood taller, I walked straighter and felt the weight of concerns disappear for a while.

I prayed as I left, for God to be very clear, and for some doors to appear. I very much want to join the adult karate class. As it stands now, there are too many conflicts in the scheduling for it to be "right".

And then.... I hear whisperings of a door....

Now, patiently, I wait....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anointed Space

This title - with a completely blank body of a post - has been sitting in my "drafts" folder for oh, over a year now. It was the end of August, 2008.

I knew I wanted to write about the sacred space of the interpreting box. It's peaceful there. I feel a connection there. It used to be a little corner of the stage, but when the stage changed, so did our position. Fortunately, however, the feeling that goes with the space remains.

There are songs, too, that carry an anointing. The two often go together for me. Yes, I can hear those songs and they are still powerful, but when I am standing THERE, preparing for the lyrics to come off my hands, they touch more deeply.

I learn things. I feel things. Sometimes, during rehearsal, I just let my hands talk, with my brain somewhat detached and watching from the corner. "oh.... THAT.... yeah... well... yeah." I learn things.

My garden is similar. I sit and pull weeds, absentmindedly humming a tune. Before long the words will come forth, and I'll listen and hear.

Music, words, language, space. All set aside for God.

They are His, and through them, He teaches me.

And those I love....

Psalm 90:17

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands. NIV

Thursday, December 3, 2009

There are No Words....

I heard of a situation today, that there are no words to describe. "Best Case Scenario", in the world of rational thinking, leaves no good outcomes.....

Yet, as the story unfolded before me, Jeremiah 29:11 kept coming to mind.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

And, as the situation involves many plans - and changes of plans on multiple levels - and most of the cast of characters are not believers, I am curious. VERY curious. It's one of those "Grab your popcorn, this is going to be QUITE a show!" moments.

Yet, right now....They need prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. (please join! He knows the who and the what....)

God is at work, of that I am certain. There will be struggles and tears and some difficult conversations and decision. Hopefully, they will find some peace and joy.

I know my God is there in the midst of it all - even if they don't realize it. May He shine brightly into their world!

I pray for peace and joy. For wisdom, clarity and discernment. For health and growth. I pray for hearts to open, and minds to stop spinning long enough for some solutions to take root.

May I be a support and a witness in the midst of their storm....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puttin' Things Off....

So, procrastination....

I used to be an expert at "Don't do tomorrow what you can do the day after...." Usually, I was overwhelmed by the task at hand, or didn't even know where to begin.

Someone suggested I break the task into smaller pieces. "Cleaning my house" became "Cleaning my desk" + "putting away the dishes" + "washing / folding / putting away laundry" + "Vacuuming". Several smaller, focused jobs seemed much more manageable the nebulous "clean house" (which we ALLLLL know, with a pair of kids, won't ever happen in it's entirety. Before I finish, I will need to start again)

The pendulum then swung the other direction, to where "Getting things done" took priority over "rest", "relaxation", "down time".

Finding the balance between the two is key. I'm not there yet. But, I am still a work in progress...

And I did really enjoy some "down time" over the holiday weekend. That was huge...

Thank You God, for a time to breathe and sit and be still.....

Help me to find that balance.... between time to do and time to be....

Especially, during this season of Christmas....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Problem with Procrastination...

OK... so I've enjoyed my Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It has been wonderfully relaxing, despite all the activity. I needed that.

But now, I find myself - at bedtime - still in need of graded papers. They are due in the morning. First thing.

I will touch upon this topic in greater detail... perhaps tomorrow. But now... back to reading Histories and Physical Exams.

(Yes, perhaps that is why I have put them off....)

God willing, I will finish them before I doze off.....

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Chicks With Tools, Rule...."

I hadn't heard the expression in many, many years, but as I reached for my cordless drill, it was like hearing it afresh.

I was replacing the exterior drier vent cover. The dog had used the previous one to teethe or something along those lines. But, as you would know, the screw holes from the previous one, and the new one, were not identically placed. So, off for the drill I went.

My father had quite a workshop when I was growing up. I learned about different kinds of screwdrivers and wrenches, pliers and saws and worked with his drill presses. He gave us some old stumps and a bucket of nails to practice hammering.

When he gave me a cordless drill as a gift in my early 20's, I thought he had lost his mind.... until I started to use it! That drill has long quit working, and been replaced, but the knowledge my father gave me lives on.

I'm sure it seemed odd at the time, the blind guy teaching his little girl about such things, but I am so grateful!

Chicks with tools DO rule! (Thanks Dad!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas.....

We put up our tree this weekend. It's something that I love to do. I love to unpack all the ornaments, look at them, and remember where they came from. This year, my daughter joined in the fun.
"I remember when I did this!" she said as she hung a hand-colored paper bell on the tree. "... and THIS!" (her kindergarten school picture, framed).

Over the years, I have collected ornaments: the preschool craft-stick Rudolphs, and the tatted snowflakes, ornaments that were gifts and some that I've chosen myself. Each of the wooden ornaments we've received from Walk Through Bethlehem are on there.

Every year for the past eight, I have created a ceramic snowflake with the picture from our Christmas card on it. I have also created a framed picture of each of my children for the year - or two... some years, there are Pictures with Santa on there as well.

During the time that the tree is up, you'll find me taking a few minutes every day, lost in the memories of the decorations, grateful for family and friends and the Baby that changed the world.

This year, we had an extra set of hands helping us. We're grateful the kids cousin could come help us decorate this year!

In this picture, the mantel seems so bare... I've barely begun....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Birthday Number 8

My kids celebrated their eigth birthday on Thanksgiving Day. They are quite the pair and in this photo, the Girl-child is saying "HEY! He blew out MY candle too!"

They have been such a gift. Their laughter, their antics. Even some of their sassiness is kind of amusing (usually after the fact). They have taught me so much through the years: on faith, devotion, discipline, unconditional love.

It's hard for me to believe we're half-way to drivers licenses, and even closer to puberty. I feel like there is so much they have to learn, and so much I hope they never do. They remind me that there is much to pray for... even on days when I don't know any specific "needs".

They remind me that I need to model appropriate behavior even when I don't think they are watching.... usually I am wrong and they are.

They remind me of the importance of cooperation and co-parenting.

They need to witness forgiveness, respect, responsibility, boundaries. They need to experience love and joy and encouragement, and frustration and perseverance. They need to see surrender and awe and worship.

The thought of responsibility I have and the influence of my life and my mothering is humbling.

I am grateful to have a Heavenly Example, and a village, and for Philippians 4:13....

I sure can't do it alone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

God of Abundance....

One of the things that hit me this past Thanksgiving: Abundance.

We had so much food. Enough for leftovers, enough to send doggie bags.... But that is expected. That's a Thanksgiving "thing".... that I am fortunately enough to experience. I know not all do.

It was Wednesday, as I baked pies, and prepared vegetables. I spent a quiet day puttering around the kitchen, counting my blessings.

It didn't surprise me that Jesus fed the multitudes with a few fish and a loaf of bread - my 3 cups of "pumpkin glop" (pureed fresh pumpkin) turned into FOUR pies. I had just enough flour to make the crust for the apple pie, with some to spare for the gravy on Thursday.

Taking the day to realize how richly I have been blessed, really set the stage for the holiday itself. There's not a lot of money, or "stuff", but my cup runneth over with the little things that are truly huge things.

Yet, it wasn't until I prayed before our meal that I was really cognizant of it. "We thank you for your abundant blessings - even when we don't realize they are there."

I am not always aware of how truly blessed I am. I don't always realize how abundantly the grace and mercy of God flow over and through my life. In the midst of the day to day, when there doesn't seem to be enough (money, sleep, time, patience, you name it....), I don't always remember the ways I am loved, cared for and provided for.

It was good to have a day to count my blessings.... I ran out of daylight and evening before I'd named them all.

Thank You, God.....

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Today is likely one of my favorite days of the year. A day focused on gratitude, on giving thanks.

I don't always remember the peace that comes when I focus on gratitude. But, today, there will be my focus.

I am grateful for friends and family, my home, with the smell of pies cooking in the oven. Soon, the house will be full of the noise of children and extended family.

I have much to be grateful for. It's not always easy, nor the way *I* think it should be, but it is what it is.

And, no matter what ... whether the road be smooth or bumpy... God is with me. Before me, behind me, surrounding me, holding me, leading me, guiding me, comforting me, encouraging me.

Of THAT I am very, very grateful!

Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving!

(and a happy birthday to my kiddos!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rejoice.... Rejoice....

I sit here, silently staring at the blank screen. There are no words.

In the back of my mind is the song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"

It's one of my favorite Christmas Carols - that comes to mind throughout the year as well.

It is a message of hope, of joy - "Rejoice!" - yet, the music behind the lyrics is somewhat haunting and melancholy.

Israel is exiled and mourning, waiting and waiting,....yet they are reminded to rejoice.

I shall follow their example.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall ransom captive Israel

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When You Focus on What You Want....

It was meant to be inspirational, but when I saw it, I cringed inside. I had been searching for some "wall words" to put over my kitchen window .... a hazzard of spiffing things up a little bit with a dab of paint. Once the lid is off the jar containing all the things I want to do for my house, they all rush to the forefront of my mind.

So, this quote was doubly timely.

It pained me, physically, when I read it. My heart seemed to pause in my chest while the "danger, danger, danger" alarms sounded deep within. I realize its purpose is to remind people to focus on the goal, and thus attain it.

Yet, when I read it, I can't help but move the emphasis from "focus" to "want". And I do believe it is true that when we "focus on what [we] WANT, everything else falls away" - family, relationships, responsibilities, God.

Dreams, hopes and goals are wonderful things. I love to dream of the ways I'd like to update, rearrange and remodel my house. It's OK to "want", but my focus needs to be elsewhere.

Help me to want what You want, and to want You most of all....

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way...

I had a free afternoon, and one of my goals before Thanksgiving this year is to spackle and touch up with paint, the dings we have put into the walls of our home. Bumped with ladders or doors, knocked with toys or chairs, there were a few places that needed some attention.

Also in need of a dab of paint were the points where the railing (that used to be atop my cabinets) had met the wall. I'd taken those down when I moved in... nearly four years ago. Holes that were the only memory of pictures hung by the previous owner needed filling and painting.

They've been on the "to do" list for a while, but in "low priority status". Now, with the upcoming holidays - and several upcoming events in our home, they got bumped up a notch.

So here, on my free afternoon, I had the time, the supplies AND the motivation. I dabbled here and there, and found myself amazed. Who knew that filling a tiny hole and adding a dot of paint would make such a huge difference. It's like new!

Fear not, God did not miss this opportunity to speak to me. He reminded me of the changes I would like and need to make in my life. Sometimes I hold back because the action wouldn't be "enough", or wouldn't make a noticeable impact. Sometimes, I don't feel like I have time, energy, or resources to complete the entirety of the task, so I do nothing.

But, He showed me that, even though I didn't have the ability to completely repaint the room - as I would one day like to do - a little bit goes a long way.

He has encouraged me to take a few more little steps in other areas of my life.....

(Oh, and a little lemon oil on the cabinets works wonders too!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

God's Chisel - * WHAM *

I had a friend send me a link to a skit she wanted me to see. She thought I'd like it. She was right. She knows me well,... though I wish I didn't identify with it SOOOO much.

I am sure God and I have had several of these conversations at one point or another. I've been caught playing the "You're not God" game. I've attempted to carry on conversation longer than necessary, thinking that it would delay the work He wanted to accomplish in my life. On more than one occasion, I've been told "That's called control", and been asked "Do you see what you're doing?"

Yet, the thing that touched me the most deeply was when God was explaining about discipline and empty wells. By chiseling away at those bits of me that are not Christ-like, He helps me not return to the empty wells hoping to become filled.

I also found much hope in the promise He spoke: "This faith that I am producing will become mature". I just need to trust Him.

Chisel away, God..... Chisel away. I am willing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Movie Night

The kids were with their dad, and I thought I'd spend a quiet evening watching a movie. It would be a little change of venue for me, and something low key. I need that every now and again.

As I walked past the Red Box at the grocery store, I considered looking, but remembered I'd bought some of my favorite old movies when they were on clearance a while back, and hadn't watched them. I thought I had the movie Ghost, but I was mistaken. I looked through the bookshelf housing the DVD's.

"kid-movie, kid-movie, kid-movie.... ah, grown-up-movie... nah...." I flipped through one by one. I decided on When Harry met Sally. I remembered liking it so much when I saw it years ago. OMG. I couldn't get it off quick enough. I stuck with them from Chicago to New York and onto the plane, but I couldn't tolerate any more.

Instead, I reached for Fireproof. A romance of a different sort. I'd seen it before, but enjoyed it more this time, I think. I had detached Kirk Cameron from his Growing Pains role that I knew so well from my youth, and was able to envision him better as an adult this time around.

I connected all to well to the experience of Catherine and Caleb, and, yes, I cried as Caleb is down on his knees during the theme song and during his apology.

It's quite a movie. I'm grateful to have seen it yet again......

Friday, November 20, 2009

Taking Time - to notice and to speak

I was driving in the car, rushing to get to the interstate early one morning. Somehow the difference of about five minutes at that time of day makes the difference between a 20 and 45 minute commute. Doesn't quite seem right, but that's how it is. I wasn't sure which side of the "five minutes" I was on, so I was hurrying.

Then, this tree caught my eye. Gloriously bold in it's display of color, with the morning sun hitting it just right - as if to spotlight it. I noticed. I also noticed the joy that had filled me. Thank you God for the tree - and for drawing my attention to it.

That moment reminded me how important it is for me to take time to notice. It's important for me to get my head out of my plans, my worries, and my "to do"'s to appreciate the life that has been given to me - with all it's gifts and beauty. If I fail to do this, I miss out on much of the joy in living.

It is important I notice things in my Self, in my environment, and in others. In my Self, taking time to notice keeps me aware of where I am in life, how I am feeling. It helps me to realize when there is too much on my plate, and when there is peace and joy. It helps me know where my boundaries are, and when they have been crossed.

In the environment, it's like the tree - or the little boy I noticed on the drive to work, snug in his car seat, smiling contently at the ceiling of the car.

and in others.... it's taking the time to notice and to speak. Sometimes, it is a praise, or an observation. Sometimes it is reminding my son of how generous he is, or my daughter of what a sense of style she has.

But not always. Sometimes, what we have to say may not always be well received. Sometimes, it may instill anger, or resentment. Sometimes it shines the light on a dark corner the person is trying to ignore, but we still need to speak it.... with love. It is what God does with me. It is what I must do with others.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Embracing My Imperfections

I was taught long ago to "embrace my imperfections". I have struggled with perfectionism, and have worked hard to accept my best effort. I still believe that "if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well", but I don't berate myself over my mistakes so much anymore.

Good thing, too! I keep finding situations that arise - especially in my interpreting world - that allow me to once again, embrace my imperfections. In years past, I would have quit. "If I can't do it "right", I won't do it", I would have said, totally disregarding the fact that I am still learning.

Today, I laugh.... embarrassed and praying the floor would fall out beneath my feet, or the time would come for Him to return and take me home. Yes, I still sometimes wish I had gotten it "right", but the old tapes that attacked the core of my being have been silenced.

Two Sundays ago, I talked about us not needing fancy bodies to worship God. This past week, I inserted my name-sign in place of Luke's. Luke, the physician became Linda, the nurse.

I've taken a ribbing about "The Gospel of Linda", this past week, and I am grateful for the people that are patient with me and willing to teach me and correct me.

I am also grateful for the women who, day after day, week after week, challenged me lovingly about my humanity. My imperfection. They encouraged me to show up and be "real" - mistakes and all. They showered me with love and grace until I could allow myself the same.

So here's to an imperfect day as a human woman, stumbling around within the perfect plan that is God's....

May we be blessed!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Internal Editor

Most times I am grateful for my "Internal Editor". I'm not sure if it's a God-given gift or a result of my father's insistence that "if you'd thought about it first, you wouldn't have to apologize afterward"..... or both.

The times when the booming voice - or the quietest whisper - speak wisdom to me JUST BEFORE I open my trap, I'm sure it's God-given. The times that I have listened to that voice, I have been very grateful. Long after the moment, I say "thank You, God...."

In the moment, is an entirely different story. Everything within me wants to ignore the message, or tell Him (so very kindly) to "butt out, I've to got react to this!" Those times haven't turned out so well. They end with me apologizing for saying things I didn't mean, or over reacting, or some such thing.... and kicking myself for not listening.

Sometimes it helps for me to repeat what I've heard - either aloud or in my head. Stepping back and saying "Forgive him, he knows not what he is doing", distracts the "are you kidding me?" long enough to at least clean up the language or the tone of voice so that I can respond rather than react.

I love my Editor, the Spirit of Wisdom, Grace, Guidance and Discernment.

May I listen. May I hear. May I obey...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reminders From the Tracker...

So, apparently, "Press into God" was a popular search these past 24 hours that led people to find my blog. According to the data collection, there were 4 people who found me through a search engine. Three searched for a variation of the theme of Pressing into God - the fourth, searched differently. But, interestingly enough, the post she was led to was titled "Press into God".

That, therefore is my reminder for the day. I shall try to be intentional about pressing into God.

I will lean into an on the support, strength and encouragement that He offers. I will choose to let Him be my shelter and my refuge.

In Him lies my peace, my hope, my joy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Being a "Hero"

My daughter is completing her "Star Student" autobiographical poster. At one point, she said "Mom. You are my hero". I glanced her way. "....You know... someone who inspires me."

The first thought in my head was "no pressure". I don't know that I said anything.

It reminded me - yet again - that she really DOES look to me. She looks at how I dress, how I act, what I do. She notices whether I am polite and how I react when I am angry.

She observes how I interact with her dad, my mom, our friends and strangers we meet out in the world.

She notices how I celebrate birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. She sees my priorities, and where my attentions lie.

She sees how I handle disappointment, my mistakes and the times when I am just plain wrong.

She is forever watching me, learning from my example - and from the world - what it means to be a woman - a Christian woman.

May I be a good example. May she realize, first and foremost that I am a human being - imperfect and flawed. May she see that my hope, my joy and my trust are in God alone, and through that I am able to be her mother...