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.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Linking Up with Lisa-Jo and Rwanda

Every week Lisa-Jo hosts a link up inspiring people to write with no inhibitions for five minutes about a topic of her choosing. Here is my contribution this week.

Topic: CLOSE as in not far away.




Close. It's exactly what I am feeling I need to be with my husband. Today is the day he received his lay off notice. His second in three years. He's angry that after nearly a decade of being a fire fighter his reward is that he is no longer needed. So close devil. You thought you had a foot hold, but ye be wrongo. We celebrated over a grilled dinner in the backyard and s'mores. I will stay close and offer whatever encouragement he needs from me. And God will remain close as we navigate the next few weeks of looking for jobs and a new home.
Sometimes when your enemy is looking you in the face, so close that you can feel the steam streaming from his nostrils, you answer with a bold and audacious faith. Sometimes you hole up and find a happy place, but that behavior won't offer glory to God. So I am taking the crazy route. The faith building and risk it all route. So, I am trying my hardest to get to Rwanda. you can help. Please click on the link below and simply click VOTE above my head.
The trip takes place in July. I have five kids, and never could manage a trip of this magnitude, but as it turns out, my husband will be available to help with them. He's wide open actually. Thank you for helping me get there. You can vote everyday until Wednesday. When I say I want to go, I mean today I made little hand outs and walked my neighborhood of used to be strangers and asked them to vote for me.



You too can join in with this link up. Here

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Maybe. I've decided I need some perspective. In fact, I need serious perspective. Tomorrow my husband may be getting a lay off notice. Saying this reminds me of the scene from ELF when he gets kicked out of Gimbel's and comes back. He tells his co-worker, "It turned out OK. They gave me a restraining order." Like that's the silver lining.
But then it gets me thinking, maybe getting laid off isn't the worst thing that could happen. Actually, on the scale of the worst things that could be happening and eating a Mickey Mouse ice cream head AT Disneyland on a slow day, this is much nearer the ice cream side than I first thought. That's because I am working on gaining perspective. Mine is fleeting and emotional and a jerk.

So, for what feels like ages I have been praying for God to open my eyes to the opportunities around me. Mid-prayer today, a homeless man knocked on my car window. No kidding. Then tonight, I was at it again, and I came across a tweet about Meriam Ibrahim. The next one was the chance to win an all expenses paid mission trip to Rwanda with an unbelievable group of women. They are advocates for the poor. That's it (she says tongue in cheek). They see poor people and women and children. And they have more to offer than a measly granola bar. I should have more to offer as well, but I am too wrapped up being a chump and fretting over my tiny problems. So I am calling their bluff and asking you to vote me in as I jump my fears out of my gang. Heres what you do. Click on the word Rwanda and vote for me. Everyday until May 28th. I am late to the game, so I really need everyone to take a minute and vote.


I wonder if the nonsense in Africa is the same as the nonsense in America.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Jennie Allen, you stole my heart when you said "let's crave God and run our guts out… let's get real…let's get literal" ok maybe she didn't say all of those things, but it's what I heard between the lines. 
Every week day morning I join hundreds of other girls to talk about a few scriptures on Jennie Allen's website. 


Currently we are reading through Acts. Of the New Testament, Acts has always been my favorite book. I believe it's the OCD in me that is drawn to all the clear lines. The order. The very paired down commission given in this book. It answers questions:

What should the church do?
How should the church help?
Who the heck is the church anyway?
Where did Jesus go?
Who in the world is going to help me through this nut house?
Will there be food involved?
What do I do while I wait for Jesus to come back?

The answers are simple and so easy to read, but impossible to do on my own. Outside of God. Outside of community. And I never do them well really even when I get close to living them out at all. 

God's doing something weird in me. I'm getting the church less and less and craving the company of the hurting more. 

Yah. I'm confused, too. 

I've spent more time studying the word and with Jesus than ever before. Family crisis does that to a lot of people. But instead of gaining clarity of how much I love church, I am only recognizing how much we are doing it wrong. More wronger says Larry the Cucumber. 

Today's passage in Acts 4 says the people in the church sold everything including their lands and their houses and brought that money and laid it at the disciples' feet. They gave everything they owned. Sold what they could. Used the money for outreach. For inreach. To help anyone as they had need. 


As they had need. 

Sold their houses. 

Gave it all away. 

These passages are literal. They didn't metaphorically sell their houses. If you sell your house literally, you have no house. And they didn't use some of the money to buy a smaller house. They didn't have a house. It doesn't clearly say where they lived, but we know they dedicated themselves to the apostles teachings about Jesus and who God is, to worship, to prayer, to food! 

That's it. They sold everything and lived their lives doing four things. 

Listening to God's word




This is my kind of party. This is my kind of church. This is how I like to picture Gatsby's parties. It's what I want in my everyday. 

I run a preschool. It's full of broken people, starting with me. All the way down to broken parents and this broken little clown. 
Well he is pretty great, but one day he will know he is broken. I pray already that he craves God and runs his guts out. 

And this is my mission field. I am only now beginning to grasp the weight of my role. I thought it was just preschool. Educators have this snobbery about preschool, as if it's fake school. But I'm seeing how vital it is. And the academics have little to do with it. 

This morning one of our two year olds is appearing in court. His mom makes bad choices. She showed up yesterday reeking of pot. They both wept when she left in separate cars. Today the courts get to decide if he gets to go back to mom's house. 

Last week, a mom cut me off when I tried to tell her how beautiful her daughter is. I was recapping how well she is doing. This mom does not love being a mom. I don't think she likes it at all really. Mom stopped me mid-sentences and said she needed to get to work. She was offended by my words. 

Two weeks ago a little girl told me her mom hits her. 

Yesterday a little girl wouldn't stop holding my hand. 

A few months ago, a little boy told me he never sees his mom. He goes to school only and he wants to see his mom. Then he got angry and hit me in my face and started kicking me. He was supposed to be napping. I held his feet away from me and told him he was handsome and great. He told me to leave and pushed me. I told him I wasn't going anywhere. I loved him and rubbed his back between kicks. After 45 minutes of this, he sat up and abruptly hugged me and said, "I love you". It was his first day at school. He needed someone in his life that wasn't going to quit. Who didn't have a line he could cross that made him lose their love. He bear hugs me every time he sees me. 

A few weeks ago, we had a mom complain (not quietly) about our hours. She fumed. She cussed. She stormed. She threatened to withdraw. I called her as soon as I got to work. She wept. She confessed that she is at her limit with working and just can't decide if it's worth the money to be away from her kids. The answer for me is an unequivocal "no". Not if this is where her heart is. I encouraged her to take a look at her cost to work, financial and otherwise, and decide from there. 

I want to sell my house and give it to her. Only I don't own a house. I want to bring my money to be her money, so she can stay home with her girls. I want to take that mom and her two year old to lunch and remind her of her amazing qualities. She has them for days. I want to hold that little boy and teach him that even when he feels alone, he has God. I want him to know that the Holy Spirit isn't figurative. 

I want to be New Testament bold. I can't even figure out how except to dedicate myself to these kids and their parents and my staff. None of us is exempt. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

This Minute

If I had Dr. Seuss's mad poetic skills I would write you a limerick of some sort and share my feelings that way. Or maybe reenact a scene from a made for TV movie like Molly Shannon. 
Instead, I'll just check in and say that my head is pounding. 
We have no news on a job for my husband, but we know when his job will be finished. 


We know we are struggling with the shaky calm we call our feelings. 
We know we have no control over what happens outside of our hearts. 
And we know that we catch ourselves sighing heavily even in the middle of a happy seeming conversation. 
So we wake up. 
We eat and drink. 
We kiss our kids. 
We read encouraging scripture and try desperately to adhere it permanently to our joints. 
We watch too much tv about things we don't really care about and wonder why no one has called to cancel our cable yet. 
We read our emails and wonder if we should bother replying. Will it really make a difference? 
Can anybody hear me?
Is anybody out there?
Is there an end to this noose? 
If I stand up will I fall?
Does it matter? Shouldn't I try? 

Sometimes the question can of worms just isn't worth opening. 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Mike Teevee

Do you ever look at a situation and suddenly see it so very differently than perhaps you have ever seen it, even though you may have looked at it your entire life? 
When I was a kid, I would sing along with Bonnie Tyler. I had the album, and I rocked it. Especially the song Total Eclipse of the Heart. 
And it wasn't until I was rocking out to it as an adult, having not heard it for a decade, when I realize I wasn't singing the right words. In fact, I was saying made up words. Really? Why did this take so long. 
There's a line where the orchestra builds and she belts out that she's "living in a powder keg and giving off sparks." Only. I used to sing (and frankly still do because funny habits are worth keeping) "living in a powdy gag givin off sparks". So close. So nonsensical. Hmmm. So not even a real word there. 

I was so wrapped up in the dramatic feel of the melody. So moved by the build of each stanza. The whole thing stirred emotions and made me want to create a drama to perform on the streets of Las Vegas. I knew it would turn others to Jesus. The end. Bonnie and I were agonna change the hearts of teens everywhere. Because really. We can all relate to a living in a powdy gag. It hurts. Turn AROOOUND. 

Well. I assumed so because she sang it with such emotion. But once I learned the real words, the song actually made sense. I viewed it completely differently. The light bulb in my brain finally went on. 

This week I started an in depth study of the book of Acts. It's my favorite New Testament book because it gives such clear instructions on how we are to function. It takes all the information from the Old Testament, and it explains our mission in four simple actions. You'll have to read it yourself really, but it's worth your time. And even though I have read it so many many times before, I feel like before I was living in a powdy gag. NOW it's as if scales have been torn from my eyes and I can hear and see and receive so differently. 
The writer's is suddenly Mike Teevee from willy wonka and before he was just a bunch of tiny particles floating along the ceiling. A jumble and a mess, and the information is only somewhat recognizable. Now it's all coming together. And I am loving it. 
Every time I read the day's passage I want to go back again and again and let it sink further into my brain. I cross reference and listen to others discuss some points. And then I go back and read the parts I want to stick with me all day. 
I have so much to say in my prayers that I can't possibly write quickly enough. 
I am so excited. I wake up in the mornings and check my email box for today's installment of what I am supposed to read. Shoot. Maybe I AM living in a powdy gag!! Maybe I AM giving off sparks!! (Where does one purchase a powdy gag?) 
I don't know what changed other than my perspective. Other than me asking God for more of him and less of me. Other than me adopting the motto "crave God and run your guts out!" 
He's so faithful. 
He's so good. 
Join me and hundreds of other women in this study of Acts through IF:EQUIP. 
It's well worth your 15 minutes every morning. 

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Over the Ostrich Life

So. I am over this way of life. There was a time when things would come at me, and I would deal with as much as I felt I could handle, and then I turned into this guy. Only usually I stick my head in a book or one of my favorite television shows. Either way I am a mess. The stress of life gets to be too much, so I lose myself in someone else's make believe. It felt like escape for so long, but really, the only thing I have accomplished is creating a weight of inevitability. That thing? The heavy, scary, I don't want to deal with it thing is still out there. Still needs my attention.

This time when my husband called so early on a Monday morning with news of ANOTHER lay off announcement, I went to my book shelf. My favorite go-to for hard times. And as I stood there pondering, "Do I want to read Twilight again? It's so easy. It requires nothing of my brain. Or maybe I want to go crazy and read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Nah. Could I handle my newly purchased copy of The Count of Monte Cristo?" No. Definitely not in that place..." And then God trumped me. He broke into my doubt and fear and incessant book choosing ponder and said, "Is this really where you want to find your answers? Is this really the best place for you? I have so much to say."
Had you been standing next to me, you probably would have laughed aloud at the slump my shoulders took. It was as if I was a cartoon character. Charlie Brown when he realizes the only thing he got for all his work at Halloween was a rock. Shoulder slump city. I didn't even pick my feet up all the way as I schlepped my way back to my room, dramatically threw myself upon my pillow, and sighed a long and hefty sigh. But at least I wasn't dramatic. But I did it. I chose my Bible and I have kept choosing it since. In fact, since then I have started leading a Bible study, joined an online Bible study, and I have kept up with my assigned reading from my pastor for work.
Try and hit me Napoleon.
I am going to keep my nose in my Bible and my eyes on God and my heart wrapped around God's promises. I might still be a mess, but I am God's mess.

I am participating in Five Minute Friday. You can too. The rules are simple. Write for five minutes on her given topic and post a link up with her friends.
Today's topic is "mess." Yah. That fits. Be sure to visit a few links on there to show the love.

God's Sweaty Mess,

Thursday, May 01, 2014


When I was a kid, my three older brothers wrestled ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously, it was their answer to everything and their solution to all of life's challenges. 
Don't like the steelers? LETS WRESTLE. 
You ate the last cookie? LETS DO THIS!
It's too hot to play outside? WRESTLE!!
They didn't even have Nacho Libre to set a standard saying wrestling is cool.

It was inherent. 
I am not sure if they taught me that phylosophy or if it really is our human response, but sometimes I don't feel any different. If I were to see inside of my mind, it would probably look like my 1970's living room: hand-me-down furniture, red carpet(yep), two ideas wrestling their hearts out to be heard, and my mother sitting in a pink arm chair yelling "NO WRASTLING!!"
(Anyone else's mom call it WRASTLING?)

I'm wrestling now, that's for sure. Anyone else? Anyone else feel their truest, and often least favorite, parts of themselves threatening to creep back in? People have all different names for those dark parts: sin nature, flesh, human nature. Whatever you want to call it is fine by me. I just want it to go away. So I wrestle them down until they are small in hopes that one day they will be small. One day they will be so tired and so small I forget they were ever a part of me at all. 

I wrestle them so they will begin to understand they have no real business here. I get to decide who I am. WHOSE I AM. My soul was bought and captured and declared no longer available the second I said yes to Jesus and not my Self. If I remember that, then I can be confident in the outcome of the match, even if the wrestling does take a while or leave me breathless. I have peace all through that wrestling match. 
I'll wear the required uniform (tights) and I'll get to the highest point and say, "WILL THE REAL CHRISTIANS PLEASE STAND UP!" 
Because I'm tired of sitting by hoping something is going to come of my life. I'm tired of asking (wrestling with God) until I beat down my selfish desires and hear God and then turn around and offer excuses of why I can't do what he is asking me to do. 
The fact is I can't do those things. They are good and I usually only want good for ME if we are being honest. You can't do those things. Good for other people. Not without God. He is the good in each of us. He is the endurance and strength and the only way we can even be a part of blessing others. He is the good we pass forward. 
I have decided I can go it alone (just me and God) if I need to, but isn't living so much better when your friends are there?
It's time to gather up. Find your commonalities. Talk amongst yourselves. And then decide what you can be doing to pay forward what you receive every morning: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. For there is no argument against such things. God wants us to have them. They are gifts. And the more we give away of ourselves, the more we receive these. It's a wonderful circular system. 
So ask yourself "what can I do? Right here. Right now. With the resources God has given me. With the people I see before me. What can I do to make someone feel loved? To put someone first?" 
Here are some ideas that have been rattling around in my brain. Feel free to add to the list:
Buy a package of socks and hand out a pair of them and a bottle of water to every homeless person I see. 
Carry five dollars in my car each month and let my kids take turns deciding what stranger to give it to. 
Buy a coffee for the guy behind me. 
Clean up someone else's mess. 
Write an encouraging note (by hand) to friends I haven't talked to in a while. 
Finish writing my book. 
Fill the empty bed in my son's room with someone who needs a place to sleep. 
Open my home to whoever wants to eat here. 
Tape four quarters to the meter after I leave for the next guy. 
Assign a prayer request to every hour on my calendar. Set it to notify me and pray for others all day long. 
Buy an encouraging book for someone who is having a tough time. 
Volunteer in a shelter or with a local homeless kids' program. 
Teach English as a second language at my church- for free.
Say yes to helping others as much as possible. 
Go to the university and hand out cup-oh-soups and oranges to passers-by.  

Decide who you want to be. Wrestle down your lazy and non compliant flesh. And do something. Watch how God multiplies it. How he multiplies you and your energy and resources. 
Because what would happen if we took a day. A week. A month. And decided to give to every person we saw in need. It doesn't have to be money, but it can be. It might be. And if it is, God will give you money. If it's time, God will work it out. You may find you have to give up things, but isn't it worth it? 
It's time. 
Stand up. 
Because at the end of this life we all want someone to stand up and say something about us. Now is your time to write that something.