Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Don't Harsh My Mellow

You know how there are just some days that challenge you and leave you feeling completely beat up?  I have had one of those days.  Maybe my sensitivty is heightened because I've been separated from my family for three weeks.  Maybe my exhaustion is compounded by not only the mental scholastic labor I've been doing but the tremendous spiritual work I've been tending to.  Maybe...maybe my friend says...I was the bug and someone else, something else, was the windshield.

I can't go into today's drama much because of confidentiality and frankly political reasons, but, I'm just feeling a little crossed eyed.  I wonder why it seems so difficult sometimes for people to do the right thing, to extend a hand of compassion and understanding, to give grace and not 'hateful face'.  Really, why can't we all just get along?

A little understanding, a generous dash of compassion and a heap of faith can make an enormous difference in the demeanor of the world. In other words...don't harsh my mellow!

While others are making lemonade out of lemons, I'm gonna take my "harshed mellow" and make smores!!!!

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Dash of Seger

Source: Radu Voinea

Against the Wind by Bob Seger

Against the wind
We were runnin' against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin'
Against the wind

Seems to be the right words for so many things.  Blessings and challenges accompany us on our run through life and God is always at the finish line cheering us on.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." - Acts 20:24 (NIV)

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

A "Fritz" of Fun!

I spent today milling around Kansas City with my Hubs and my Ham. We had a wonderful suggestion to go to a little KC classic dive called "Fritz's Railroad Restaurant". Since Ham loves trains, we decided we'd go and check it out. The food was a bit yummy, yet very greasy and "dive"-ish. The bill was a little fluffy...but, the company was priceless and the atmosphere was super fun for a train lovin' boy and his parents.

As we walked in, they gave Ham his own little train hat.

Making funny faces at my husband.

My Boys

You ordered your food at the table with the phone.

Beside the table was an enclosed train track where a train goes around the restaurant.

This is the track the train takes to bring your food to the table.
Drinks are hand delivered...can you just imagine if they didn't?

The train has a tray below the tracks that carry a container of food.
A metal arm slaps down over the table the food belongs to which slides the container on to the platform below which lowers slowly to the table.

Our food being delivered.

Ham eating his grilled cheese and fries.  He approved.

 Ham, chocolate shake and a fun kid-sized train car to hang out in.


We had a wonderful time and a wonderful day together.
I love my family.
Thank you God for blessing me with the opportunity to share my life with these two beautiful creations of yours.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

A Prayer for Haiti - A Hope for Haiti
Watch the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon on the E! Channel.
iTunes is compiling all the music heard on the telethon to benefit Haiti.

I heard a story today.
A friend of mine lost a friend who was in Haiti for mission work.
This man was a hymn writer, a music lover, a worship leader.
As the building began to crumble, his wife escaped, looking back only to see her husband consumed by the dust and the weight of the rubble.
She reports that later on she could hear him singing. 
He was singing songs to God.  Praising God. 
Through the agony and the pain, it was him and God.
Sadly, he did not make it, but he is now part of a heavenly chorus.

This is just one of many similar stories of the earthquake victims and their relentless faith in God.  Through the suffering, they remained, focused on the God that loved them, the God the suffered with them and the God that brought them comfort and peace.
I pray that I can be that brave in the coming days and years of my life.

Haiti has deeply touched the core of my being.  I am forever changed.
At the core of our faith is an energy, a power that enables us to love one another and through that love we are empowered to care for one another.  We have failed at living out of love.  We hurt the ones we love daily and we neglect others who ask for our love.  I pray that we can learn to see past our differences, to see God in the eyes of the suffering, to refuse to not to do something, to resolve ourselves to Soul Work.

I can't look at the faces of these children and not cry.  Not just the little ones, but the children of God in all ages.  What if I were Haitian and what if I had been taken by the earthquake but my son had lived.  Would someone, somewhere, reach out to love him for me?  What if a tradgedy like this happened in my neighborhood tomorrow?  What if I couldn't find my family, my parents, my husband, my child?  Would someone see my face and love me?

I pray for all of those lives lost, those who are desperately looking for their families, the parents who have lost children and the children who are now orphans.  I pray for the sick, the broken that they might receive healing.  I pray that the water becomes clean, the medical relief arrives in abundance.  I pray that the food reaches the bellies of the hungry and the love of God is never far from the hearts of the suffering in this world.  I pray that God uses each of us in ways that can help heal each other and I pray we're open to the Holy Spirit moving us.  I pray we can see God in the faces and tears of Haiti.

I pray for Haiti.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Cheer"y Cheesecake

Looks decadently delicious...doesn't it?
Oh yeah, it soooo was!

  What else is delicious?  The sweet company of friends who CHEER you up.
  For those of you who don't know, I've been in Kansas City for almost two weeks now with one more left to go.  I'm taking some classes for my Masters of Divinity work, a.k.a seminary.  My seminary is great and the experiences I've had the opportunity to partake in have been wonderful and rewarding.  However, leaving my family for these intensive course's isn't exactly my "piece of cake".
  When I commit to something, I commit with gusto.  I'm passionate about it, often intense and devoted to making the best of the opportunity.  So, when I made the choice to attend seminary I knew that I would need to go to KC for intensive courses twice a year.  It's really not that bad of a situation as I have a great time getting to know classmates here and making lasting friendships.  Plus, there are wonderful places to go around here and I can never get enough of the Jerusalem Cafe...seriously...the hummus and lentil soup is out of this world. 
  BUT...I'm a family gal and I do love my boys, so being away from home for extended periods of time without my family is difficult to say the least.  Plus, the walls of this here hotel room begin to suffocate a person after awhile and there are only so many day time TV shows one can swallow without bugging.  The last day or two, I've just been kinda down in the know, a little homesick.  Well, today, a friend, classmate and colleague (one in the same) took me out.  She purposed the idea to go somewhere and walk around and not go directly back to the hotel like we usually do.  Right on!  I was in.  We had a great time.  There was lunch, which included great conversation about some new literature I can't wait to read.  Apparently my friend is a big reader as am I and she has tuned me in to a new-to-me mystery series (fiction).   Perfectly enough, there was a big Barnes and Noble right down the street.  We walked down the Plaza and stepped foot into book lovers bliss and the smell of paperbacks whisked me away to happy town.  Something about the smell of books always cheers me up.  Is that weird?
  After books, we walked around Pottery Barn which is dangerous because I love it and can't afford it.  After some more walking we discovered, wait for it...the Cheesecake Factory.  Yum, yum, yum.  I very rarely allow myself a piece of cake.  But today, today was for cake and with the cake came coffee and with the afternoon out came a refreshed me.
  It's amazing how one person's acts of love and kindness can make a tremendous difference, even in ways they cannot possibly know, in the lives of those they care for.  It wasn't much, but the TLC of a friend became so much.  I'm just grateful for the sweet friends, the sweet moments...the cherry topped moments of our cheesecake life.
  Who put the cherries on your life today?

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Missing My Boys

This is my Ham and I.
I miss him.

God has called me into ministry.
I travel to KC in January and in the summer to take seminary classes.
I miss him.

I faced infertility for two and a half years before getting pregnant.
We've been trying for #2 for three years luck...I'm frustrated and hurting.
Ham gives me hope and love.
I miss him.

I've been hugged once since leaving home almost two weeks ago.
Time to think is great but the quiet and the walls are getting to me.
There is no one to play with or read to.
I miss him.

I have to be honest...I'm really struggling being away.
I'm thinking a lot, which isn't bad, except that I'm thinking about things.

I love my son.  I love my husband.
I miss them.

I need to reconnect with my boys.
They are coming to see me tomorrow.
I can't wait not to miss them.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Hand Account of Haiti

Photo by Kim and Patrick Bentrott
I've had a really hard time making sense of and getting a grip on the tradgedy in Haiti.  There are many stories coming in from people my colleagues and friends know who are down there and miraculously alive and of those who have left us to be with God.

One of the stories that has flowed in can be found at a blog called Adventures in Life.  This is a moving blog about a couple working with Global Ministries in Haiti.  They, Kim and Patrick, have been living and working in Haiti for awhile now and experienced the earthquake first hand.  Their story is one that has brought me tears, hope, joy and words of praise.  

Visit this blog and read their personal testimony.  You will be moved.

How are you making sense of Haiti?  How have you stepped up to help?  How did your church recognize the tragedy this past Sunday?  Have your children asked about it?

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Photographer: Paul Schutzer, Life Magazine

Remembering a Pioneer in Humanity

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Authentically You

There is a woman I know.  She's amazing.  She's organized, methodical, spiritual, intelligent, physically active and fit, patient, a great mother, a supportive and loving wife, an academic scholar and wise in common sense, she's a leader and a follower and knows when to play which role, she's musical, theatrical and artistic.  I love this woman but every time I'm around her she makes me feel badly about myself.  Though not directly or intentionally, she makes me sad, depressed and not good enough.  This woman's talents and gifts far exceed mine and when I'm around her my vision of my talents and gifts gets muddled and fuzzy at best.

This woman represents a combination of things I wish I could be or at least be better at.  This woman seems to have it all and she castes a mighty big shadow.  It wasn't until I read 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, that I was able to begin identifying who this woman really was.  1 Corinthians 12:4-11 talks about the gifts given by the Holy Spirit and how one person might be given the gift of wisdom, but the other the gift of knowledge.  Why, I wondered, did this woman in my life seem to have it all and I seemed to have the plastic spork to her fine silver?

I quickly discovered that this unnamed woman was a manifestation of my desires.  This woman was only as real as I made her.  She was my ideal woman, the one I created in my imagination, the one I molded out of clay and made my target goal.  This was my idea of who I should be and it was a mighty tall order, one rather impossible to attain.  I also realized that I found this ideal waving back at me through the eyes of other real women in my life.  Friends of mine who had great gifts and talents in different areas would be elevated by my own judgments and perceptions.  A friend of mine who is great at being physically active became the physical representation of my unnamed ideal woman and then jealousy began to brew.  I started to project my growing disdain for my ideal woman onto those who exhibited the gifts and talents.

I read further into 1 Corinthians 12 where the text talks about the Body with many members.  The body of Christ remains today through the community of many members.  This body can't have all arms, or all needs each and every part.  If I'm the nose, I won't ever be a talented foot, but I can be one heck of a nose.  I know this sounds silly, but the point here is that the Holy Spirit manifests itself in the community, the body of Christ, in the form of different gifts and talents.  We are empowered by these gifts to do what we have been called to do.  What God has created me to do, might not be what my friend has been called to do.  This doesn't make me any less valuable than my friend, it just means that my talents and gifts are else where and for other purposes.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.  We have ideal images in our heads of what we should be, what we think we are expected to be and what we expect ourselves to be.  When we fall short of these ideals and than encounter someone who is stronger at something than we are, than we start to beat ourselves up and think we're not good enough.  So am I not good enough, do I have no value if my dinner isn't on the table on time?  What if my child is in the bathtub five minutes longer than he might need to be?  What if I don't get everything on my "To Do" list done in one day?  Get the gist?

Once we are able to identify what our gifts and talents are, as we work with God to identify them, then we can begin to identify what our fruit might be.  For example, I'm in ministry, but as much as I love music, I know my gifts and talents are not for music ministry.  It's then that I would need to discover where my gifts and talents fit.  I believe God has a call on each of our lives, our job is to journey to discover what that call is.  And along the way, we need to learn to be good to ourselves when we don't quite measure up to our ideal.  The body of Christ, this community of believers, needs each and every part.  We can't all be the mouth, or the eye, or the ear.

Discover yourself and be authentically you.

In what ways do you practice being authentically you?

How do you celebrate your gifts and talents?

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