This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Restless and Running

When you get to a place in life where you look around, and all you see are bits and pieces of what you think your life is supposed to include, you get a sense of frustration. Well. I do. 
I'm leading a bible study. The title is Restless. And I am. Restless, I mean. And thankfully I am finding I am not alone. Jennie Allen, the author, talks about threads in our life. She means all the different bits and pieces in our life that God has allowed or given or placed. 
For me these include my skills as a writer. My book that feels as if it will be perpetually in progress and never finished. My desire and love for teaching. My job at my church. My husband and my role as his wife. My insatiable love for music. My children and my role as their mother. And my longing to work for Mike Mercer at Compassion First. 
Some days, and in some ways, I am desperate for these things. I want them so badly I catch myself gritting my teeth in anticipation. My muscles flex. Relax. And flex again. I take a step and act one of these out for a minute or at least the length of the scene, almost like I am in a play. But when I have to come back to the mundane it's as if I changed the channel. Turn off this little part of me that was minutes before glowing and growing and good. 
It's not me. I mean, it's me, but the glowing and growing and good? That's all God. See, we don't glow alone. Actually we revel best in darkness when left to our own accords. But where the glory of The Lord is there is freedom. And light. And tall shoulders. And kindness. These come out when I am functioning in the gifts God placed uniquely in me. With me. For me to use, so just maybe someone will look and see Jesus has been here. 
It's easy to be motivated and take off at a steady gallop when the path is clear and lit up and narrow. But widen that sucker up and you've got gnarly bushes. Trees that throw apples at you. Dangerous predators lurking. 
But the truth is nothing important has changed. Even if your road looks totally different all of a sudden. You could be standing at a fork in the road like Robert Frost, deciding between what looks predictable and what looks like an adventure. But God is still the same. Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow. 
And when you realize this you begin to see that you aren't actually dragging around seven separate threads. There's a knot at the top. This God who is the same if he were seven single strands or the beginning of a very finely woven tapestry. 
And you start to feel like maybe these threads have a commonality. Maybe my writing, my desire to teach, my heart for the girls affected by sex trafficking, love of high schoolers, music, wife, mother. You catch a glimpse of a common denominator. They all have the potential to bring God all the glory. And you begin to pray for real. Not that the path would be smooth, but that you'd have better shoes with which to walk your path. 
Because that's what God promises. Not straight and narrow. He offers us peace while we go through it. The shoes of peace. And your desperation preoccupies your mind. 
Then at dinner the waiter brings your fortune cookie. This was inside of mine. 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Inspirational Musica

Ever have a tough go at things for a few weeks and find a song that speaks to you? I have a couple that I am abusing right now. If they were on a record, there would be a deeper groove at each of these songs. I am playing these songs both so much that I might actually wear a deeper groove in my soul by the end of it all.

First, is the song Oceans (Where My Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United. Cut me to the heart. Separate my joint from marrow. Call me out on the water and dare me to break eye contact. Triple dog dare me.

Then I stumbled upon this little ditty on Pandora. That Jerk. She gets me to buy more music than any other music peddler. She has gotten to know me. My thumbs up and my thumbs down. Sometimes I think she only plays Rolling Stones to piss me off. But then she wows me all over again and shows me a song like Streetlight by Joshua Radin. He's in my top five. He could sing me anything. (SIDE LETTER: Dear Joshua Radin. Please sing me anything. Even if it's just the word "anything" repeatedly. I'll take it. You'll like it. I'm sure of it. Let's just try it!)


I'm waiting for something. Well. To be honest I feel like I am waiting for a lot of somethings. I have looked about my person and realized I am remarkably unattached to my surroundings. My eyes are set on things to come, and I know that isn't actually how I should be living. If I keep it up, I risk missing it all. The good and the bad and what will go on to define me forever. I'll miss every experience. So, I promise to work on that, but for this minute, I'll keep my iPod on replay while I listen to Joshua (we are on a first name basis thank you) sing to me about the process of waiting for something.

Streetlight  by Joshua Radin

I'll wait for something under a streetlight
It won't be long
Because it's dark it's cold
It's one of those nights where
There's something out there
Keeps me alive

But I don't know where to go
So I think I'll sit and stay here a while
Till I figure it out

So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go

When you want something but can't name it
It's under a streetlight
It's something you've never seen before
Open the door
It's something you've always been afraid of
It's under a streetlight
And now all you want is more

But I don't know where to go
So I think I'll sit and stay here a while
Till I figure it out

So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go
Let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go

I don't mind the wait it's fine
As long as you know
It's the wait that could be the something

I don't know where to go
So I think I'll sit and stay here a while
Till I figure it out


So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go
So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go
We are supposed to go

I'll wait for something under a streetlight
It won't be long
Because it's dark it's cold 

My favorite of all the verses is actually the bridge. 

I don't mind the wait it's fine
As long as you know
It's the wait that could be the something

Because, guess what. It's the wait that could be the something. This is just how God gets to hold us the closest. And it's the time when he gives us the most remarkable breakthroughs and is able to share the most truth to build the most faith. So, while I wait, I am going to realize right now that the wait is actually the most important part. What comes at the end will be the icing on the cake. Because that's how God works, too. We get to tell him what we want and desire. We get to ask him to go before us and work it out on our behalf. And then we get to wait, under a streetlight, where everyone is watching us lit up about whatever it is that we are stirred up about. And sometimes it's just one of those nights that is dark and cold and lonely, but we get to choose to wait. When I don't understand, I wait. When I'm not seeing the break through. I wait. When I have zero answers and I don't know where God is taking me. I will wait and realize that he will let the wind blow me wherever he wants to- wherever we are supposed to go. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mike, Do You Know What Day it is??!

Happy Easters everybody!! It's a good day. A very good day. When so many things seem to be wrong in the world or worry is pressing in, just remember that heaven is for real and God is good all the time. Praying that each of us remembers these truths. 

Spring Days

Spring around here is chock-a-bock full. It makes my head swim. There's not a year that has gone by that I haven't stopped and suddenly realized I am barely treading water. This year is no different. 

It's mostly good stuff, really. I mean except that I have the added stress of losing my primary income in a couple weeks and the added hours of updating resumes, filling out 25 page applications (no joke), and gathering old information. We have moved so much that providing seven years worth of addresses is really a pain in my nuggets. I don't retain such information. 

But three out of four birthdays have passed. My anniversary was celebrated with a few fits of giggles and happy hearts (and a tattoo). Spring break was a long time coming and well worth my pantless time. And Easter has now been celebrated with family and singing and eggs and turkey sandwiches. We went light this year. 

Baseball is in full swing and track starts today. Ballet recitals are around the corner. 

Still on the books? I don't even want to say. I can't even talk about it. I won't. I've decided to cancel anyway, so is it even worth mentioning? 

My baby. My first born. My loin fruit. She is turning 16 on Wednesday. SAY IT AIN'T SO! 

I'll say it. It's not happening. We are going a different direction. We are moving this company along a different route. We are reanalyzing. It just isn't in our best interest. 

Sometimes I wish life worked that way. But the fact is, I've now been a mamma for nearly 17 years. From the minute that little peanut showed up in my belly. I'll never forget how much I was almost not glad to know her because I went to get dressed and my favorite pants wouldn't button. 

Isabelle Rose. How dare you? BUT. if we are focusing on the good times, there have been more than a few. 

Movie quotes
Japanese speaking at the age of two. 
Dislocated elbows before you turned one. 
Movie quotes
Hours of Gilmore Girls
Letting me call you loin fruit
The Breakfast Club
Realizing why you hated Easter egg hunts. 
Beaches with blankets, jeans, sweatshirts, and books. Screw you sunshine. Go sell crazy someplace else. 
Disneyland and mermaids with huge tails. 
Murdering "sea turtles" at Newport Beach. 

Honestly this weird list could go on forever. But the fact is, I've got a girl who stole my heart 16 years ago. I've not fully recovered since. Happy birthday baby girl. You give weird a good name. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Funny Old Sayings

I love funny old sayings. One of my most favorite things about my husband is his desire to be that old guy that talks in cliches and funny old sayings. I'm very excited for it, and I am full of fits and giggles when he pulls them out early. I can be talking about how hard something is going to be or how much doubt I have that I can do something, and he will say, "Well that's a turtle on a fence post."


My funny saying of the week is "when it rains it pours". Well ain't that the truth? I have been feeling restless and like there is something frantic going on about me, but I have no idea what it is because I missed a memo somewhere along the way. As it turns out I am not the only one. Not by a long shot.

I feel like I am standing in the middle of a road where a marathon is taking place. All the runners are speeding by or limping by or jogging along slow and steady. But I am standing with my arms reached out to no one in particular and I am shouting, "SOMETHING IS WRONG. SOMETHING IS HAPPENING." And I want everyone to stop and someone to explain it all to me. And then I hear this voice.

"I have you now. Take a step. You don't have to know the trail by heart. Just take a step. I have you now."

That's God. He is saying I am right. Something is wrong. Many somethings are wrong.

Friends from our church had a baby Tuesday morning. He was deprived of oxygen, and as I type they are removing the hypothermic cap from his head to asses the level of brain damage he may have. His kidneys aren't functioning and he is infected.

My pastor and his wife have been waking up with nightmares for two weeks. Screaming, ripped from their sleep because they are sure they are dying nightmares.

One of my besties is experiencing what feels like another round of health issues. This time last year she was inches from death. No kidding. We didn't think she was going to make it through the night.

My husband is losing his job with the Reno Fire Department. Again. And while this feels more like a "fool me twice" moment, it hurts all the same. I look out my window and see a wolf prowling. Pacing back and forth along my sidewalk. 

And I could probably keep searching and write ten pages on what else is wrong. Shoot. We didn't even get into how many starving kids are in my city.

Instead, I am struck with the thoughts of how many things are still so right.

God made and holds that little baby. He was not caught off guard that Matthias was deprived of oxygen. Instead, he holds him in his hands and reminds us that he writes the perfect story. He grew that baby from nothingness.

My pastor and his wife know how this story goes. They have read the end of the book, and they know where the real power lies.

Natalie could have fallen into a freak out depression after everything she experienced. Instead she went and got beautiful and took authority over her health. Even still she is putting her faith in a God who promises good things for her and her life.

And as I was reading through the story of Lazarus, I realized how many truths can be found in the stories we hear all the time and easily dismiss. Here are facts found in Lazarus rising from the dead that apply to my husband's life and job right now. Right here. Today. This two thousand year old story relates perfectly to my home.

It may help to read it first. CLICK to read JOHN 11

John 11:4 Michael losing his job will not end in death. It has happened for the glory of God.
John 11:5 Jesus loves us.
John 11:8 People around us may be doubtful of where and how God leads us.
John 11:12 God sees our situation differently than we do. God doesn't see death as an obstacle.
John 11:14 God can use us, our story, our attitude, and our reaction to help others believe.
John 11:16 We can be like Thomas: all in this together- we can be like Esther: if I die, I die.
John 11:23,24 We should not assume we know what God means when he speaks; we should ask.
John 11:25, 26 Jesus is patient and explains how we need explaining.
John 11:27-29 Once we remember God is who we trust because he is worthy, we are free to obey him and we should do so quickly.
John 11:30-32 God can handle our anger and frustration and doubt.
John 11: 35 He hurts when we hurt.
John 11:37 People will come at us with doubtful theology.
John 11:40-43 There's a chance that, if we allow Jesus to lead our lives and be miraculous, many will believe in him.
John 11:44 Jesus intends to unwrap us from what has been binding us and let us go out.

Sometimes there is sense in the nonsense.  Hmm. Sounds like another one of my husband's funny sayings.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ask and You Shall Receive

This Friday, and seven Fridays after that, I am getting together with a couple ladies in my house. I've invited them so I have reason to clean. Ha. Ok. Partial truth. I've invited them to coffee talk and mull over some God conversation through a book called Restless. 

I've written about Jennie Allen. She wrote the book Anything. Boy did she mean it. I'm passionate about how she lives. I want to reflect some of it. Same with Flower Patch Farm Girl. These girls look the world in the face and punch it in the junk like ninjas. Like boss ninjas in high heels and skinnies and a plaid scarf. That's the kind of Christian I want to be. (Yah. I'm sure that's a loosely interpreted scripture.) 

The only rule with them is that they have no rules. They love. That's it. That simple, short, life altering word. 


And things happen. People's hearts change and God gets seen and heard. Then the people get restless. 

If I asked you to give me one area you would love to jump into and help, what would you say? If you had to pick a way to help others, how would you help? Who would you help? Picture the group. 
How old? 
What gender?
What's the theme? 
Does it seem crazy enough to just work? That's God. Run with it. 

Wanna know mine? 
I want to work at a school, to be opened to girls and boys sent here to America through sex trafficking or other tragic pasts, and I want to teach them English and give them someone to trust and hug them and remind them that they're beautiful and loved by a king. A real. Living king. 

I want to sing with them and stop what I am doing to listen to them recap a funny story. I want to introduce them to that game where you have to get the Oreo from your forehead and Into your mouth because they trust me enough to be vulnerable. I want to high five them down low as they return to their seat after their armpits sweat out during a presentation. I want to leave them notes in their locker reminding them that God has traded the ashes of their once wrecked life for new beauty. And when the memories and emotions of that once broken life creep back in and they want answers, I want to look them full in the face and say, "your story isn't finished. That never should have happened to you, but your story isn't finished." 
I want to cook dinner with them and teach them to throw pasta at the wall. I want to sing with them and shout to the ceiling. I want to pray with them every morning and pray over them every night as I fall asleep. 
Recently I was asked what makes me tick. What's my passion? Where would I reach my hands if my arm could extend anywhere I wanted? Well that is the answer. 
I want to work for Mike Mercer of Compassion First. If you don't know this organization, get to. If you have a dollar a month to spare, send it. If you ever think of Indonesia, pray for them. If you have a daughter, niece, nephew, son, sister, brother, or cousin remember that God's Grace is sufficient. 

Jesus said we don't have because a don't ask. Well, I'm asking. Can I work for Compassion First? Please? Amen. 

So, of you have been feeling restless and stuck in a life that seems busy just for the sake of being busy, meet me at my house for the next few Fridays to go through this book, drink some coffee, and watch a little video. We can and should be doing more for God. People need people. Are you people? I'm people. Let's do this!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Break Ups

 I've spent the week being unpleasantly surprised, perked up and encouraged followed by a swift punch to the gut. 

But isn't that usual? It's always typical after you start to make some headway or God asks something of you, and you say yes. 

I've said yes to about eleven things lately. So naturally fear has attempted to lay claim to my psyche. Let's not even mention my heart, my mental stamina, and my intestines. I'm stressed, and the only good thing that can come of it is my favorite jeans might soon fit me again. Worth it? I think no. 

This weekend, I am fighting back with my thoughts (by speaking God's truth), my actions (by driving to Sacramento and going to a Joyce Meyer convention), and my words (here. With all of you. Just a few of my favorite people). 

Last night, Joyce said she wrote a new book. What's new? That lady pops them out like I popped out babies in the first decade of 2,000. I have yet to read one that isn't great. Keep it up sister. In her latest book, she writes a letter to fear. She pulls a Kevin McCallister and screams at the preverbial furnace and shouts, "Did you hear me!!? I'm NOT afraid anymore!" 

And because recent events have threatened my peace, I'm doin it, too. 

Here goes:
Dear furnace in the basement-er, dear fear,
I wish you were a furnace in my basement. Something I could take a quarter-pipe to and dent forever. I could use an electrical drill on your vital parts. Piece meal you bit by bit until you were disassembled and strewn about the yard for the neighbors to see. But you aren't brave enough for that. 

You parade around in our lives like you have some sort of power, as if you have a say in anything we do. Anything I do. 
You whisper and point and attempt to draw out insecurities. 

But you aren't even brave enough to be an animated or inanimate object. It seems you're more scared of yourself than I am scared of you after all. It's a terrible place to live to be afraid of ones own shadow. 

So, I just thought you should know, I'm breaking up with you. I know. It. Just. Hurts. And not in a good way. (You're sick by the way). But there just isn't room for three of us. I'm not going anywhere, and I've just remembered God isn't going anywhere either. He won't. He can't. He promised. And that's not an empty word to him like it is for some people. 

You haven't the stamina for this road I am on. Remember, you had this road, but you chose the basement. 

Meanwhile, I am out for a pleasure cruise in eel infested waters, and I'm about to take an excursion. I've stepped out of the boat. Before you get too excited, remember I am not alone. I will continue to look in the eye of my maker. The one who loves me more than I love myself most days. 
I sense you're getting agitated. Just relax. You have no authority here. Maybe you'll find someone who is better suited for you. 
But we have to break up. 
It's not me. It's you. 
You suck. 
Most Sincerely, 
The Girl Who's Not Afraid of You Anymore

Today, I reread a passage in Jennie Allen's book Anything. She was quoting a fella she knows, and he was talking about what he would do if he was the devil. Sound scary? Wait till you read it. 
It's called "If I Were The Devil":

If I were the devil, Id tell you what I'd do. I would try to deceive you and get you into error. I would get you off base. And if you still stayed true, I would try to disqualify you. I would get you immoral. I would get you where no one would believe what came out of your mouth. I would make you a tabloid, where nobody would believe you. I would remove your confidence until you were afraid to speak because your life was such a shamble. I would get you into sin. I would prowl like a roaring lion to devour you morally. 
And if I couldn't do that, I would try to make you successful. And I would dristract you if I couldn't disqualify. I would get you busy. I would get you so distracted to the gospel that no longer would your prayers be about holiness and souls. They would only be about the bottom line on your business. 
I would get you materialistic, and no longer concerned about the spiritual nature of life. If I couldn't do that, I would divide you. If I couldn't divide you, a I've almost lost you. You know what I would do then? I'd discourage you. And then if I couldn't discourage you, I'd try death. I would try my best to kill you. That's what I would do to take you out. 

After I read this for the first time, and picked my jaw up off the table, I went through what I can only describe as the seven stages of grief. Only it wasnt grief. It was beside-myself-ness. I was speechless, angry, offended, understanding, and all done being a pawn. Ok, that's only five stages, but the sentiment is the same. 

I'm done with leaving the winner's trophy in victory circle waiting to be collected by its rightful owner. I AM its rightful owner. I'm not sitting around waiting to see what scheme the devil has next. I'm staying the course. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

18 and Counting

No. Not kids. I'll leave that craziness to those Duggars. 
I'm counting years of marriage to this guy. 

We've been together for 20 years. I almost can't fathom that. We have been together longer in our lives than we have been apart. We met when I was 17, and he was dating my best friend. A few answers:
No, she and I are no longer friends (my bad)
Yes, he was totally worth it
And, yes he is still a handsome beast. He's better actually, because now he's more than just a pretty face. 

We went out on the town these last couple days. We packed every minute full of something; my Firefighter doesn't appreciate down time, yet. I'm confident he will come to love naps as much a I do soon. 
But after 18 years I realized a few things. Dates aren't always wild times on the town. I mean, who are we kidding here? There's nothing overly wild about me next to my hairs. I'm a good girl, I am. So it made sense that we began our date with a meeting with the lender. We are trying to buy a house, and it made sense that we should meet. I mean, we had the sitter. Then we got a smog check, went to the bank, went and registered our car and tent trailer, and finally made it to the hotel where I asked if I could take a nap. Mr. No Downtime was against it. I powered through and got into my cute clothes. 
I was a little worried for us. I'm amazed that I still get butterflies about that guy. I think it's actually a plus that I get excited when I hear him pull his jeep into my driveway. And sometimes, even though you know me as the wittiest conversationalist this side of New Hampshire, sometimes I have to think of things to talk about with this guy. I still don't know what he's thinking in there, behind those quiet eyes. 

We talk kids, work, plans, and we reminisce. And then it gets quiet. Not uncomfortable. Just quiet. Maybe we are rubbing off on each other: I will learn that there can be pauses in conversation and he can learn to nap. 

Any way you recap this midweek getaway, it was great. I remember how much I love and want and need this guy. And he takes time to hold my door and hold my hand and sit in the freezing cold so I can watch baseball. 

He's my lobster (Phebe from Friends). We used to be so different. Different families. Different values. Different goals. But we are the same now. 

If you're a bird I'm a bird, mister. Happy anniversary, Husband.