Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Birthday thrills

Yesterday was Glory's 35th birthday. One would think that having a birthday immediately after Christmas would be a difficult thing, but it's nothing a little word called surprise can't fix.

The first surprise came at lunchtime (which I hardly ever do because work is 13 miles away), when I came home with a carrot cake. The kids and I sang happy birthday and Glory blew out the candles. We had just 20 candles, which probably made Glory feel better. I mean, 35 candles probably would have started a house fire, anyway.

We were fortunate to have a friend watch the girls for us and Glory and I (and baby, too) went to Alfy's. Now, we weren't too sure how it all would fare. Alfy's isn't exactly the Il Italiano bistro. But we were pleasantly surprised. We had the banquet room all to ourselves. Glory's chicken alfredo and my lasagna ranked right up there with what we had at a fine dining establishment, Bella Isola, in Anacortes, a couple of years ago -- and we paid a fourth of the price, too.

But what made her day, I think, was when after I got our waters and salad, I told Glory I forgot something. I had a florist deliver a bouquet of flowers to the restaurant about an hour before, so it was waiting behind the counter when we arrived. Glory didn't even see it. When I brought it to the table, Glory was surprised, smiled, and started crying. As she said, to be able to produce tears for a good thing, was great. Score one for me.

We had plans of enjoying a coffee at Starbucks, but that was not a good idea. We didn't think some yuppies and others conversing or gathered around a laptop would appreciate a crying or fussy baby. We ended up sharing an egg nog latte to go and picked up a nice red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting at Fred Meyer. We then went light looking, and had the cake after the kids went to bed.

It's not the expensive things that really count. Sure, being able to buy her a diamond ring would be nice, and perhaps someday that will happen, but I would like to think memories of the simple and surprising things go a long ways. She seems to agree.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

ahhh....the smell of plastic

Is love an item on a shelf with a price tag?

As our family tumbled out of the van and headed toward, we could detect the odor floating like a pungent haze over the big blue and white shrine. Making our way into the store it grew stronger and the acrid stench billowed out of the open doors where shoppers were burning an incense they did not own to the god of greed and pride.

Granted I am sure not everyone there was using credit for their purchases but I am sure we were among the minority who had the cash in hand to pay for our holiday surprises. But there were moments of temptation to buy more than we could afford. Yes, even moments when the children asked for things that we hadn't planned on getting, followed by brief episodes of sulking upon hearing our refusals.

Is it by buying them gifts with money you don't have?

This year has been a better year, yet we feel more circumspect about our decisions. We want to be sure that the love we portray to our kids isn't the kind that they will snatch out from under the tree on Christmas morning. It's the love that comes home from a long day at work. It's the love that bakes bread in the kitchen. And it's the love that gathers around the table and acknowledges God's provision for our meal. Daily love. Hardly artificial love.

How do you show that you love someone?

Bill and Glory

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Out Of Touch

Today is not much different than yesterday, or the day before, or even Tuesday of last week. Honestly, I can't remember doing anything out of the ordinary since Ulie was born. It's a season, I tell myself, a repeat of what I've heard from my pastor's wife, my husband, and pretty much anyone else who observes my classic symptoms of sleep-deprivation and mental vacancy.

It's gotten to the point that Bill comes home to bring me the news of the day or else, short of anything exploding within a one-yard radius of our home, I'd miss it altogether.

That doesn't make me near as sad as realizing that I can go about my day without offering a hug to our kids or even a kiss to Bill when he comes home from work. I'm just not thinking about it. I have given Ulie so many kisses, hugs, caresses, snuggles, and cuddles throughout the day that I am just not aware of my lack of attention to anyone else.

I am out of touch. Terribly so. In every possible way.

But I am so happy that God isn't.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My New Heart-Throb!!!

He's short...only 20 1/2"
He's toothless...but he has a great smile!
He's bald...well, almost bald.
He's fat...for someone who's only 20 1/2" tall.
He's still in diapers...and I'm the one who changes him.
He's younger than 34 years!
He's jobless...unless you count eating, sleeping, and soiling diapers.
He cries a lot...when he's hungry, tired, or sitting in a soiled diaper!

He's quite a departure from the guys I've typically gone for, but I am SO IN LOVE WITH HIM!!!
I've told Bill all about him and he's totally okay with it...even letting him share our bed!

Well, what sane person in this world wouldn't??? Just look at him!

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Loveable Ulie

It was 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. The afternoon was rainy and cold in Mount Vernon. I was at the EMS office on CPR detail. My name is Bill, my wife is Glory, and we were about to have a baby.

(cue Dragnet theme music)

2:55 p.m. I dropped by the grocery store and got some hot dogs and tomato soup for the kids.

3:10 p.m. I walked into the house and saw Glory who looked like she was going to burst. She had called our midwife who was making her way along the rain-soaked interstate.

4:30 p.m. The midwife called and said that she would be running a little late. The wind continued to blow and the rain came down in sheets. We waited for the midwife.

(cue more dramatic music)

4:50 p.m. Midwife arrived in an ivory colored trench coat and an olive green hat. She was ready for business. After assessing the situation, the midwife determined that breaking the water was necessary. She broke Glory’s water. We then waited all night.

(scenes of pacing, playing cards, eating cookies, looking at the clock repeatedly, etc.)

11 p.m. The midwife had told us that we would likely have a delivery in at least six hours. The promised delivery did not happen. I was beginning to have my doubts.

12:30 a.m. We finally started seeing signs of the delivery. We woke up the midwife, who was sleeping on our eldest daughter’s bed, and got to work.

1:15 a.m. Glory gave a couple of effective pushes and our little son was born. Uilleam Theron Honour weighed a whopping 9 pounds, 8 ounces.

9 a.m. After many hours of taking care of the little one and Glory, and getting a couple hours of sleep, the midwife left us alone with our new son.

(end Dragnet music.)


Monday, September 26, 2005

Does It LOOK Like I’ve Had This Baby Yet???

Oh, the questions someone asks a mother-to-be who is quite blatantly due…

The answer should be VERY obvious, wouldn’t you think?

So, yesterday we had a few friends over for dinner. Yes, I did have nearly 24 hours of contractions on Saturday and our midwife confirmed that I am dilating and doesn’t think I’ll go 2 weeks past due (October 2nd, for those who may have forgotten) like the last time. Actually, that was the very reason why we had friends come over for dinner, which I gladly cooked and prepared for. I have never been a sit-around-and-wait-for-hours-until-something-happens person (pre-marriage romances aside, thank you) so my agenda is very simple: do life as usual until something happens. By “something” I do mean either the water breaks (which has never happened), I am paralyzed from the ribcage down with painful contractions (which I hope doesn’t happen), or I have to sit down and rest and feel as though I have chosen a large firm grapefruit for my cushion (which would be exponentially more uncomfortable than it sounds).

As it turned out, the women who came over are so godly and wise that I felt more like their amusing little ragamuffin as we discussed this year’s upcoming ladies’ Bible studies, what God desires for us as wives, and how we can uphold our husbands and the marriages in our church in prayer. I am so humbled and blessed to be in their company and fellowship. Our husbands, likewise, were outdoors near our fire pit enjoying their own conversations. For my husband it didn’t end there as early this morning he went to McDonald’s to study God’s Word with another guy from our church.

For our family we truly have a home within our church. Late Saturday night while Bill and I were relaxing together after the kids were in bed (notice I didn’t say asleep) I let my emotions spill out over the fact that, again, we would be without family for another child’s birth. Being alone is a common thing for both of us as we were alone for our wedding, we are alone for many holidays, and alone now while we anticipate our son’s birth. Yet here God has ministered to our loneliness and has surrounded us with family of His choosing. Our natural family is out of reach but last night we were hugged by sisters and brothers in spirit. We pray for, encourage, and support each other as God intends and, even when we are just laughing over the many mishaps of life, we are connecting in ways that will deepen our relationships with each other and inevitably bless and minister to our church. The love we have and demonstrate toward each other will draw more to our Savior. And that’s the whole point!


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

F R E S H !

Every night for several months Murron, our toddler, has the same routine. She gets her diaper changed (potty training is forthcoming), she gets into her pyjamas WITHOUT any help (as she exclaims, "I try! I try!"), and she brushes her teeth (as we exclaim, "Open! Open!). This is capped off with her favorite part of oral hygiene: FRESH! It's when we pour a small portion of mouthwash into the cap and she swishes it around for a few seconds, before the flavor and antiseptic agents start to sting her tongue, then spits it into the sink. We give her a bit of water to drink and when she has swallowed her 4th sip we take her out of the bathroom and she proceeds to make her rounds. She walks up to each one of us and says, "Smell my fresh?" and sends a short puff of minty breath to our smiling faces. She gets the same reply every time: "Mmmm, fresh!" She smiles and goes to the next willing recipient of fresh.

Murron has her words for everything. For more than a year she has used a word to ask for things: GOGGY. It's definitely a word of her own invention but I think we have all borrowed it from time to time. I've even caught myself using it to ask Bill to hand me something when the kids are asleep or otherwise occupied. Just the night before last she said, "Goggy?" to ask me for the digital recorder that we were using to record her singing, "Stop! And let me tell you, what the Lord has done for me." Another word is NEE NEE, which describes every food and beverage known to man. Oh, she knows what juice, milk, cereal, cookies, hot dogs, and chicken is. But nee nee suffices when she's just plain hungry and wants something yummy to fill her tummy. And when she is at a loss for words and doesn't know what something is she has a special word for that as well: A TU.

Bill and I know that these days won't last and one day all we will have is her recorded voice. That will give us comfort when her voice no longer resembles the one we will document and save and cherish for many years to come. In fact, I really think that her words will make it into a lexicon along with toddler-ese throughout the centuries. And we can be the proud parents of a history maker.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

What To Do? What To Do?

We have a very lovely coffeepot that was “free” from Gevalia just for trying their line of wonderful gourmet coffees. It is classy, sleek, and smart. It is the stainless steel model with a visible water level, clock, and we can program it to brew our coffee at the precise moment we…er…I or Bill, that is…step out of the shower and don a fluffy white bathrobe. There is a certain status that we feel we have achieved in this acquisition. We are almost yuppies.

So, after purchasing what we deemed to be the equivalent exchange in luxury coffee flavors, we cancelled our shipments. Now we’re back to Folgers, Sanborn and Chase (which I fondly refer to as Sanford and Son), and the occasional splurge of Seattle’s Best (my apologies to any Starbuck’s loyalists). We still have the coffeepot, our trophy of sorts, to remind us that we are still high ranking among coffee drinkers the world over.

Alas, a day of fear and dread came when we discovered that we had run out of cone coffee filters. These were the Melitta specialty papers that strained our coffee so meticulously that every cup was as smooth and enjoyable as applying mineral oil to a baby’s bottom. When we realized the fate of our existence I did what daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers have done for centuries: I told myself that I could deal with this little setback and that we would still enjoy our breakfast blend, just differently.

Upon opening the pantry my eyes seized upon a package of basket filters. With practice I have become skilled and quite nearly expert at folding these circles into cones. There is an art to this, however, and might take some trial and error but the resulting product is nearly the same as a factory made cone filter. On occasion when my eyes are still blurry from an unsound sleep (pregnancy in the last trimester will do that) I will place a folded cone into the coffee pot, pour in the Folgers grounds which I have fine-milled for a slightly gourmet flavor, and brew a ¾ pot of coffee only to discover fine silty grounds on the bottom of my cream and sugared beverage. I tell myself that this is to be expected but I resolve to make better folds and creases for next time.

Now if I can keep all these pesky flies out of my coffee cup my mornings would be most pleasant.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Diamonds are a toilet's best friend

It's funny how I liked, and loved, some girls when I was a wee lad when they were just plain witches to me. The witchier they were, the more I loved them. A glutton for punishment, you say? Perhaps.

Melanie was a her name. She was cute. She was nice. She hugged me once after a kid named Augustine threw a ruler at me and nearly poked out my eye. (A quick hometown newspaper check several months ago revealed that my ol' childhood chum Augustine got another notch on his rap sheet for drug dealing, again. Seems that ruler throwing was just the beginning of his criminal career.)

But I digress...

I wasn't the only one who loved Melanie. Todd loved her, too. So, I hatched a plan to show just how far I would go to prove my (our) undying affection. I would buy her a ring. Yep, the fanciest, prettiest, most gorgeous ring a 10-year-old could buy.

I wonder how serious the jeweler took me when I walked into her store and started pouring over the diamond-, sapphire- and ruby-encrusted rings like a gem expert. Then, there it was. The ring that would be proud to be on Melanie's finger. I asked to see it. The lady behind the counter smiled and let me look it over. It was fine to me. I noted the price tag wrapped around it: $2.08. No problem. I reached into my pocket, brought out $2.08, slapped it on the counter and ran out the door.

The next day I told Todd I had the ring. I was too chicken to give it Melanie myself, so I asked Todd to give it to her for us. After lunch, Todd went behind her and tapped her on the shoulder as she walked with one of her girlfriends. She turned around. Todd kissed her, forced the ring into her hand and ran away. Success!!

The next day, I summoned the courage and told Melanie that the ring was from both Todd and me, but it was I who bought it. I asked her what she thought of the ring. "I flushed it down the toilet," she said matter-of-factly, smiled an evil smile, turned around and walked away.

That bothered me for a couple of days. How anyone could trod underfoot an act of love was beyond me. How insanely evil.

How insanely stupid.

For some reason, I thought of this episode a couple of years ago and finally realized that I actually stole the ring! That diamond ring didn't cost me a week's worth of lunch money, no. It was $208! Funny that the jewelry store owner didn't come charging after me.

Silly Melanie. She was pretty, but she wasn't too bright.


Friday, August 05, 2005

It's Your Day, Baby!!!

You captured my heart and made me feel safe Image hosted by
You lead our family in wisdom and humility Image hosted by
You build a life that is special and create memories to cherish Image hosted by
You are my friend, my lover, and my partner for life and you make me feel like a queen every day Image hosted by

I love you, honey. Have a blessed birthday!!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Happy Birthday to the King's Daughter

Image hosted by Photobucket.comPrincess Elizabeth 12 years ago...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comPrincess Elizabeth today...

Have a royally wonderful day!

Dad, Mom, and Princess Murron

Friday, July 29, 2005

Blogging In Proxy

Even after getting up with Bill this morning, making a blueberry cobbler for his Advanced Spanish class's potluck, and having my devotional study, I have nothing. I am still in bed dreaming about diapers and lost kittens. So, I will share a poem that Bill wrote just before our first anniversary. I giggle whenever I read it just because it describes us perfectly as a couple. He has broadened my sense of humor in unimaginable ways, and I am blessed to laugh with him often. Enjoy!

I thought I saw you
when you looked at me
but that was no
was it?
You're laughing on the
You're ripping a gut
You're hyperventilating
You're beside yourself
Watching me
Funny bones
"You're crazy," you say
Over and over
Goofy pants
I'm a clown, taken away by shaving cream
And hand animals
barking on your stomach
Silly pants
I'm glad you enjoy your stay
your visit to this
Wedded Amusement Park
At least we're not watching paint dry

Bill - January 17, 2003

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Like Mighty Warriors

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe house was an oven, last night. And I was a Thanksgiving turkey getting roasted slowly while my inner moisture reserves were exuding from my pores in a vain attempt to cool off the rest of my body. I was envisioning a Seinfeld type of moment where my family would sniff the air and ask me if we were having fried chicken for supper. Something drastic needed to be done. Elizabeth and I set to work rearranging the living room furniture to clear an area near our screenless windows (we’re working on that one). It was then that I found my copy of With All Their Heart by Christine Yount. From reading the introduction I knew I would like this book as Christine writes: “Welcome to this journey where I will tell stories from ours and others’ sojourns. The chapters are short for the busiest people on the planet – parents (I couldn’t stifle an Amen! when I read that). Dig into the Scriptures to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into God’s revelation of truth.”

So, today, I am going to do just that, and leave you with the reflections from Chapter 5: Like Mighty Warriors. Hey, if I have to endure conviction so do you!

1. How would you answer the question, “Do you love God?”
2. How would your actions answer the question, “Do you love God?”
3. Consider whether you’ve defaulted your role as your children’s primary Christian educator to your church. If so, what changes do you need to make?
4. If you were tried in court, what evidence would there be to the living presence of God in your life?
5. Which things are present in your life from the list in Psalm 112 (fear of the Lord, delight in God’s commands, graciousness, compassion, generosity, justice, a steadfast heart that trusts in the Lord, no fear, triumph over your enemies)?
6. What is God calling you to do differently in order to be the example for your children that you need to be?


Monday, July 25, 2005

Days 1 through 7: A Week-long Peek Into Our Lives

This week we experienced More Than Enough evidence of God’s provisions for us

Day 1: As I type this my hands are happy to be free of their dirt-encased-garden-glove prisons and nestled in a pair of sunny yellow moisture gloves with a fresh layer of Arnica Essentiel Hand Cream from Yves Rocher. I am correcting my typos as I go since I barely pass as a typist without gloves! Today’s goal of weeding, trimming, and re-planting our front yard was cut short by a clear signal from our womb-dwelling son straight to my pelvis that he was quite finished with my bending, crouching, and squatting. I got the message and decided I needed to shower and straighten out the main bedroom before our new acquisition arrives:

We will very soon be the grateful recipients, proud owners, and blissful users of a FREE king size bed. This is an item of material value that I used to associate with only the wealthiest and spoiled-est of folks. I was raised sharing a bed with various sisters until only the youngest of us were at home and I was able to have my own room. My bed was a ¾ full, not even a full size bed, but I was happy with it. Now I don’t know how I’ll manage to fall asleep with all the extra inches...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comDay 2: Last night I slept as soundly as I could have hoped, which is a tremendous blessing. We had to buy a sheet set for the bed so we tried finding something affordable at Target without success. We had purchased our quilt and sham set from Sears from wedding money so we decided to try their bedding department. And there it was: the funkiest, striped linens I’ve set my eyes on since I was a big-haired teen in the 80’s. But that wasn’t the thing that made my eyes pop. It was the price tag of $5.49. A whopping 90% off of the original price. I asked Bill if he cared about the style, which he didn’t, so we toted our purchase home happily thanking God for His provisions of colorful bedding to put on a free bed.

Today I began working on one of several sewing projects I want to finish before our little boy makes his grand entrance. Along with flannel crib sheets, a blanket, and a heart-shaped cushion for Elizabeth, I have a curtain I have wanted to sew for our master bath. It’s a light silver gray linen weave fabric and I planned to put shirring or pleats into the sides. A friend of mine has graciously allowed me to borrow her very easy-to-use sewing machine so I set to work on it today. I should say that I sew as well as I type, which definitely would not land me a job as a seamstress, but I can get by. All this is to say that I am grateful that I have access to a fine piece of equipment without costing me anything.

Day 3: After a difficult day the biggest blessing came at the very end before I fell asleep. I went into Elizabeth’s room and gave her a hug and kiss. She said, “I’m so glad I have a mom like you.” This comment came after a long hard period of chastisement. The joy of the Lord was definitely my strength because I was finished, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And He was everything I needed.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comDay 4: A friend of mine invited me and the kids over for lunch and gardening. Apparently she trusted my pruning ability with roses and allowed me to work on two very tall and large bushes that are growing in her yard. She was nearby weeding around the ivy and we talked about the spiritual analogies between gardening and what God does in our lives. Another friend joined us later and we ended up having such a precious time of fellowship. I realized, once again, how incredibly rich I am in friendship. I am so deeply thankful to God for that.

Day 5: This morning I could hear the timid pattering of raindrops on the rose leaves outside our bedroom window. These have been oppressively hot days and I had come to the place of actually saying out loud, “I hate summer.” I really don’t but there is much resentment to overcome when the house is already warm by mid morning and yard work gets stricken from the list of things to do because the heat has become downright unsafe. So as I retrieved beach towels from the deck rail and brought them indoors to tumble dry, Bill came out of our room and we stood together looking out at our backyard. Neither of us said a single word. We just knew. We are blessed.

Day 6: We actually enjoyed being able to buy some things we normally wouldn’t just because we really wanted to be frugal. Bill received a promotion in his job which earned him a higher wage retroactive to June. This will be somewhat short-lived as he is filling a position formerly held by his supervisor who is manning an interim position. Among the purchases was a refrigerator. Believe it or not, this appliance was very necessary in our home as the one we have been using literally freezes our assets in the form of very poor energy efficiency. It has a malfunctioning seal and drips water into the bottom of an old diaper wipes tub which has been filling up every two or three days. There were some arrangements to be made before we could take it home but while Bill and I discussed the logistics of financing and transport I felt such a deep sense of security in knowing that God was providing for our needs even in big ways. And I felt so safe knowing that I could trust in my husband’s decisions in this and so many areas of our life. He is wise and thoughtful and I know that he prays to his Father about our family every day.

Day 7: After church we invited another family to join us at Alfy’s. What blessed us the most about this was that we see this family on quite a regular basis and it didn’t surprise me in the least to see them seated at our table with a couple of Bibles. The topic of study centered around the verse in Matthew 18:20 where Jesus says, “For where two or more are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.” What an incredible thought! Jesus is present with us when we gather in His name. He is near to us in our struggles and sorrow but also in our achievements and joy. He places people into our lives to share these moments with us so that he is glorified. This week I have been seeking reminders of how much God cares for us. It is so true that with Him we have more than enough.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Not Forgotten

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt has been a very long time since I have been awake like this. So long I can’t remember if I was married and writing as quietly as I could with Bill sleeping peacefully beside me, or if I was single and writing at the kitchen table with Elizabeth sleeping peacefully in her room. I am not one of those people who do their best writing in the wee hours of the morning, either. My head is just too fuzzy so, most of the time, I write my brains out to clear my thoughts and exhaust my intellect enough to doze off. As it is now, I am parked at our PC in the front room, just a few feet away from Bill resting in subconscious-ness, and waiting for my Earl Grey to steep in my favorite Seattle’s Best (my apologies to the Starbucks loyalists) coffee cup.

Tonight I have been thinking heavy thoughts. These are heavy thoughts that I have been evading for a long time but have finally caught me in a vulnerable moment. And after thieving precious time from a husband who needs to be awake in less than five hours my thoughts have finally stolen my ability to drift off into undisturbed slumber. I am left to assess the impact these thoughts have had on me and take inventory of the truths that remain untouched. And I am comforted to discover how rich I still am:

God has not forgotten me.

This summer Bill has been working very diligently at clearing out the portion of our property behind our fence that has been overrun with wild grasses and unruly blackberries. The grasses have been mercilessly hacked away at and shorn until just a few inches of stalk remains above the roots. It won’t be long until these stalks attempt to reclaim their positions of prominence but they will be cut down regularly until all that is left is a soft carpet of green to cover the paths between elders, poplars, willow, and blackberries.

The blackberries, however, will serve an altogether different purpose. Our first thought was to wind the long suckers around the fence rail to encourage the blackberries to grow along the fence. This was a short-lived effort, though, as the sucker snapped in the middle and died in its forced spiral shape. We threw that one away and tried supporting a different sucker so that it would grow in a lazy arch towards a nearby bush. This one too broke in the gusts of a stormy evening so we attempted to tape it back together with florist’s tape. The miniature cast did not correct the break, however, and we had to throw that thorny sucker away as well.

What happened next was something that we really should have anticipated but were surprised by nonetheless. During one of Bill’s ruthless mowing sessions he noticed that the stalks that were broken had begun to bud and bloom. Even now we can see where small green clusters of berries have started to form. Nestled among the soft green leaves is the promise of a fruitful bounty. We know now that this would not have happened if the suckers had been allowed to continue their aimless wandering. In fact, the only possible outcome of letting them grow unchecked is a tumble of thorny stalks winding over and under each other but never producing anything beneficial.

So, tonight, while I was shedding tears that only a broken soul could yield I thought of the blackberries. Many things in my life have needed to be pruned away in order for God to use me to bear good fruit. While I know that my own endeavors are not inherently wrong and I am confident that I would make every effort to glorify the Lord in them, I have known and understand the pain that comes when God shears off those things that have become dear to me. I dare not risk stepping out where God is not leading me nor will I attempt to hold tightly to that which He would have me let go.

No, God has not forgotten me. When I experience any lack of opportunities or the loss of things that I have grown accustomed to having, I can know that He has done it. His desire is to see that I flourish, not to merely take up space. He intends to fulfill His purpose in my life and to do that there will be broken moments and a cutting away of things that would distract me, and others, from His work. And I can anticipate more prunings to come.

And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.Philippians 1:6


Friday, July 08, 2005

Faking It

“You need a nap.” My mom stated, sprinkling dry yeast into a bowl of sugary warm water.

The tone of her voice told me that clearly she wasn’t going to negotiate with me. It wasn’t a request either. I was going to nap.

I shuffled and padded my way to the bedroom, stuck my little foot onto the frame of the box spring, hoisted myself onto the mattress and lay down. I was motionless. I was quiet. I was bored. I stared at the glittery white stuccoed ceiling. I examined the square frosted glass light cover. I gazed upon the off-white, blue, and lilac colored curtains. And then it happened. I fell asleep. At least it felt like I had fallen asleep because I was wide awake. Perhaps I had just taken a very long time to blink but I was done napping.

“I’m done,” I exulted.

“No. Get back to bed,” Mom replied, mixing foamy yeasty water into a bigger bowl.

I was surprised and confused. Surely I had dozed off for at least a little while. Again I lay on the bed. I tossed and turned and twisted the covers into fat ropes. I pulled them over my head. I wadded them up into a large lump at the foot of the bed. I wasn’t sleepy at all. But I was smart enough to know that I had to do some scheming to get out of this predicament. Rubbing my baby-fine blond hair messy and scrunching my clothes wrinkly I decided that I looked like I had napped.

“Hi Mom,” I sauntered lazily into the kitchen.

“What are you doing up?” Mom inquired, holding a sticky wooden spoon in her hand.

Staring at the gooey object I responded in a whisper, “I slept.”

Mom glanced at the clock and said, “I don’t think so. You have to sleep some more.”

This time I was determined to be more convincing. I rubbed my bluish-green eyes until they felt puffy then swirled my tongue around my mouth until I had gathered just enough spit to dab onto the inside corners of my eyes. I let it dry for a little while then added more messy hair to the ensemble. With my impromptu costume and stage make-up in place I went out of the room for what would be my final performance. The audience was not impressed.

“Glory-Be! You get yourself in bed and sleep!” Mom commanded while pressing her clenched fists into a huge mound of bread dough.

What sort of thoughts must have been going through her mind at that moment. I know that it didn’t matter whether or not I felt tired enough to sleep. I needed to nap and I know that she needed me to nap as well. She was not going to be conned by a clever preschool drama. Mom possessed a couple of essential skills I had yet to learn. They allowed her to detect if my claim of having napped was truthful: a sense of time and eyes that could see through walls. I know the last one is true because I have the same ability. Just ask Elizabeth.

I might have fooled my younger siblings into believing I had napped. I could even have succeeded at tricking someone who didn’t stick around the whole time. But my mom was a tougher sell. She was making bread dough and, as I have learned, it takes only about 20 minutes to work it into first-rising stage. Not long enough for me to have fallen asleep much less finishing my nap.

Last night as I relayed this story to Bill I remembered a question I had asked him the night before: why do people try to deceive others or even God. As I told the story I was holding Murron in her blankie and, knowing she hadn’t napped in the afternoon, I told her to shut her eyes. She tried holding them closed, her eyelids fluttering rapidly, but she was definitely still awake.

I thought of how many ways we try faking it. Sometimes it’s in the way we present ourselves to others. Little boys draw ball-point pen tattoos on their arms. Pre-teen girls stuff their bras with loose wads of Kleenex. We want to make a good impression. At other times it’s in exaggerating the truth, embellishing a story, adding a few details to life experiences just to make it sound more appealing. Most commonly it’s in simply allowing everyone around us believe that life is perfect – for us – and we have no problems to deal with at all.

God, having created time, also has a good sense about it. And He can see through walls too. He saw through mine when I was a teen trying to please my family and friends and failing miserably at it. When I was a young adult doing all the right things for all to see He knew my inner struggles with purity and shame. Then when the time came for me to face my ugliest self He was there to assure me that He knew everything I had done. I hadn’t fooled Him in the least. In fact, He actually allowed me to experience coming to the end of myself, the impertinent con-artist, and it was then that He could begin crafting His character in my heart.

Knowing what I know now, I would have taken that nap and enjoyed every minute.


A Good Day...*MUST READ*

So, who doesn't long for a day of simple fun and pleasures? My friend, Fran, has a story that will certainly quench your thirst for refreshment by the river...

...and make sure to tell her I sent you!


Friday, July 01, 2005

Random Thoughts: my belly, roses, and tantrums

Image hosted by Photobucket.com3-month bellyImage hosted by Photobucket.com6-month belly
Belly: Now that I have officially transitioned into my third and last trimester I am so happy that people know better than to ask me things like, "Are you having twins?" or "It looks like you're having a big baby!" or worse, "I had no idea you were expecting. When you have your baby then I can see how skinny you really are." Please, to anyone reading this, when a woman is pregnant it's not a good time to just let stupid things fly out of your mouth. Also, think about asking permission to touch her growing belly before you place a hand on her pudgy middle. You'd never do that to any non-pregnant lady would you?
Roses: Besides my slowly stretching abdomen, I have another new obsession that is literally taking over our home: roses. Bill has known since before we started courting that roses were my favorite flower. They're colorful, elegant, and smell wonderful either left on the shrub or arranged in a vase. On Sunday we picked out our third rose from our favorite nursery: Thompson's Greenhouse. They know my face very well, there. Anyway, we selected a rose that would accessorize a corner of our yard just a little but still provide enough interest to the look of our property. We found a gorgeous yellow hybrid called Radiant Perfume that smells like a bowl of lemons and oranges. Then yesterday Bill brought home the vase of roses that his Spanish professorio had brought into the class and I am anxious to know what the name of the pale purple rose with a heady citrus perfume is. I am leaning toward the Fragrant Lavender Simplicity® Hedge Rose from Jackson & Perkins but it could also be Moon Shadow. Have you ever thought about the names of roses? Like Scent From Above...Sisters At Heart...Blaze Of Glory (I was naturally drawn to that one).
Tantrums: Speaking of thorny things, I am gradually learning that I have a lot more energy and stamina than I ever thought possible. Yes, for those in-the-know, I have a 2 year-old, and she's not about to let me forget it soon. It's all in the eyes. Whether it's picking up our new little ki-ki and hauling her everywhere, getting under the bathroom sink to play with foot spa treatments, or grabbing anything and everything within reach on counters, tables, desks, and shelves, it's written in her little green eyes. Yesterday was actually a fairly calm day, but maybe it's just because I diverted her often. When she was starting to get "the look" I gave her a bath. When she didn't want her grilled cheese sandwich anymore I wrapped her in her blankie and watched Little Bear with her. I'm not so naive to think this is a permanent solution but, for one day, all was relatively peaceful and calm. And I am bracing myself for today...

...I think I'll ask Bill to pick up another rose bush.

***Happy Canada Day*** from one displaced Canuck to another.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Lawn Mowing Is A Complete Drag

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI know why it takes Bill so long to get to it! We have a nearly dilapidated push-type mower with a dull blade and a bag that never stays on. It’s aggravating enough for me to hear him laboring over row upon row of dense blades; I could only sympathize as I had no idea what sort of determination he had to muster up every time he mowed our lawn. Since Bill has been in Spanish classes and has quite a bit of homework each evening I wanted to treat him by mowing the lawn...
***today is payday and, since money has been tight, he had to use the gas that was in the gas can for the lawnmower for our van so he could get to work (did you catch that?)*** I tried starting the thing (I forgot to mention that the knob that was attached to the end of the pull string came off a long time ago) about a zillion times before I figured out that the throttle should be set at fast. Once I got the thing started I soon realized why Bill hates mowing the lawn when the lawn is damp. I might as well have been trying to hack my way through a rainforest! And the slugs that kept emerging looked like they were s l o w l y mocking my every grunt and gasp...a very prolonged ridicule of my noble efforts. I hoped the salty sweat that was dripping from my forehead gave them at least a little comeuppance.

Then the lawnmower quit. I checked the gas and there was still gas in it. I pulled the string and nothing happened. I turned the thing over and discovered that a giant wad of clippings had lodged itself between the blade and the space where the bag should have gone. When I dug the grimy green clump out I started the lawnmower again which sputtered for a few seconds then quit again. It was then I noticed that a new mound had been deposited under the lawnmower. I decided that this was likely to happen frequently so I grabbed a rake from the garage and cleared the path in front of the lawnmower....
***not once in all of this had I thought I should have asked my midwife if I could mow the lawn, but I was sincere enough about this job that I hope she will overlook this*** this time I had determined that my love for my husband would perservere and I would get the lawn mowed no matter how long it took me. I was applauding myself inwardly for being such a loving and generous wife and wondering what sort of delectable rewards he would bestow upon me for my goodness.

Then the lawnmower quit and nothing would make it start again. I checked the gas and, sure enough, it was empty. So while I was standing in the garage looking at the bare spot where the gas can usually sits I decided I should just get Elizabeth to rake the clippings with me later. Bill will likely mow the lawn, with a fresh supply of gas, sometime this evening. So, perhaps I should just shower off the gas fume laden sweat, give myself a manicure/pedicure, put on some pretty smells, and treat him to a savory dinner…

...and discuss buying a goat.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Jack-Jack vs. Darwin

Image hosted by Photobucket.comYesterday I was at the Pacific Science Center with our 11-year-old for a homeschool field trip. During the first couple minutes watching the IMAX film on volcanoes, earthquakes and tornadoes, I became irritated. Can we watch something without being inundated with lies about evolution and that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and all that nonsense? I mean, the special effects were fantastic, but they were fantastic lies. Mercifully, Satan's part of the program ended after just three or four minutes, but I still wanted to stand up, a la "Network," to tell the 100 or so parents and kids that they are being lied to.

Just then, with the big screen showing the inside of a volcano, complete with a sea of lava, a boy behind me, who couldn't have been more than four or five, whispered to his dad, "I bet Jack-Jack could survive that, Dad."

I smiled.

I still think kids are getting lied to. But perhaps at that young of an age they see everything as a cartoon. Even ol' Darwin could be just a cartoon figure that needs to be wiped out by The Incredibles. That would be nice.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Image hosted by Photobucket.comElizabeth is a born conversationalist. Not very long after her birth she started talking. To the nurses, to the bassinet, to the little giraffes on her blanket (unfortunately the giraffes couldn’t answer back even if they were real). She loved it when anyone would respond to her chattering but it was apparent that she loved the sound of her own voice. Not much has changed in the 11 years since then.

When Elizabeth was a toddler she would talk herself to sleep. I used to listen near her door to hear her singing her favorite little songs and dialoging with herself about everything. More than once I slipped a cassette recorder under her bed and captured her little words and phrases to savor when her voice no longer fills this house.

It didn’t take long after Elizabeth’s first day of kindergarten for her teacher to discover how irrepressible her penchant for discussion was. Mrs. Crossland was very patient, though, as was Mrs. Dorval, Miss Sherwin, and Mrs. Poettker. Sunday School teachers were equally longsuffering and taught Elizabeth a few ways of keeping her thoughts quiet until it was appropriate to share them.

Along with being highly skilled as an orator, Elizabeth also became an expert listener. At least as much as the hum of our vehicle’s engine would allow or the 36” x 2” space under her bedroom door would permit. Soon she decided that any and every topic was perfectly suitable for conversations with school teachers, Sunday school teachers, extended family members, or friends. It didn’t take long, however, for us to realize that we really didn’t want Ms. L or Mrs. J to know what we thought of their teaching methods or classroom management strategies, especially as it was being conveyed by a 10 year-old. There’s bound to be some things left out or embellished in the translation.

So, being the good parents that we are, we decided to teach a little lesson to our daughter. It wasn’t anything terribly profound but I did thank God for giving me the initial idea of giving Elizabeth a discreet little card to carry with her. All I had written on it was what you see in the graphic: A very simple acronym but we talked to her about there being a time and a place to talk or share certain topics of conversation. Discussing bodily functions, for example, just isn’t well received over a dinner out with friends but is entirely expected in a doctor’s office. We wanted her to know that there is a time and a place for speaking and for keeping quiet. stands for Keep IT To Yourself. It wasn’t difficult to remember and it did reduce the number of times Elizabeth would blurt things out in class or among friends. And when she’s home with us we’re all ears!

There is someone that I have spent several months praying for and I could easily say a great many things about something she’s dealing with. You see, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the tree has roots as well. But I know that if the Holy Spirit isn't leading my speech then nothing I say will have any impact or benefit.

I think I’m going to borrow the card for awhile.

“A time to keep silent and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7


Monday, June 06, 2005

Farmers just wanna have fun

Image hosted by Photobucket.comLast Friday morning I was at Shari's restaurant writing a little bit and reading my Bible when I got distracted.

He was a 50-something farmer in coveralls who looked a little like Hoss and sounded like a tobacco farmer in eastern North Carolina I met once.

He struck up a conversation with the waitress.

"You remind me of someone," he told her in his transplanted Tarheel accent. "You look like a movie star."

The waitress, though she was a pleasant looking middle-aged blonde, didn't look like any movie star I've seen. She smiled, told the man that if she were a movie star she wouldn't be working the morning shift at Shari's. She poured the man his coffee.

A few minutes later while making her rounds, the man again remarked on the waitress' celebrity appearance. This time she just muttered politely and went about her business.

Another few minutes later while she was approaching his table, the man exclaimed, "Cyndi Lauper!" He then went into a long story about seeing Cyndi Lauper opening for Cher several years ago. Actually, it must have been more than 20 years ago. The waitress' reply was non nonplus, acknowledging the man with a few forced interjections of "oh really," and "wow."

Through the surprising turn in this exchange I started thinking: What was a tranplanted North Carolinean farmer from the hills of Washington doing going to a Cyndi Lauper concert? Surely the singer of the '80s with colorful hair must have made quite the impression on this man of the soil for it to have been burned in his memory all these years. I wondered what works of other singers make up his music collection. Naturally, I had pegged his musical tastes to be that of Clint Black, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker or a plethora of other country stars who twang out tales of momma, trucks, patriotism and honky tonks. But no. Here's a man who swooned to hearing about girls wanting to have fun and true colors shining through. Perhaps he understood the deeper meaning to Cyndi's tune about the Goonies.

If I were that waitress, I would have parked myself beside this complex man and picked his brain awhile. Inside that man wearing coveralls and a ballcap was a man who was more than tractors, hay and cows.

Perhaps he even went to a Culture Club concert once.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005


There was nothing fair about it, I can tell you that straight off! All of my 14 siblings had been married at least once already and not even once had I come close to wearing an engagement ring. Their advice to just stop looking and God would make it happen didn’t even work. Somehow I had become so very pleasing to date that any idea of a lifelong commitment was unnecessary. I made an excellent girlfriend but not a prospective wife.

So when I finally had my fill of relationships that were going nowhere I was already 30 years old. Having come from a family where practically everyone had married in their early twenties I might as well have been a retired schoolteacher enjoying my pension in a little cabin on Turtle Lake, Saskatchewan. I was also the mother of an extremely active and artistic girl. Mine wasn’t the only pregnancy out of wedlock in my family but mine was the one that wasn’t neatly and cleverly handled by an engagement and wedding ceremony. While the shame of it all no longer paralyzed my heart I had given up believing that any man - single, divorced, or widowed - would be anywhere near taken with the idea of becoming instant dad-in-a-box complete with directions and ready in five minutes.

It was May when I finally dragged my Bible and a box of Kleenex into my living room and began the ugly task of pouring it all out to God. I would have rather been sitting in a dentist’s chair getting a root canal on a back molar than sitting on that couch with all my emotions and nerves exposed like that. It was terrible and I winced at every truth that God spoke into my heart that day. I knew I wanted to serve Him without any reservation. I wanted my heart to belong to Him alone. I wanted to be His bride and life a life of purity and wholeness. I wanted to do all of that whether I was single or married, and I spoke plainly when I said I would accept either option. But I knew that opening my heart to the man God wanted me to marry would be harder later than it would be right then. I wanted to be sure that God and I understood each other on that account because I meant every word.

By then Elizabeth was in 2nd grade and ballet and I was in my third year of University studies, working at a daycare, and very actively involved in my church. I was a worship leader, pianist, vocalist, and soloist. My typical week consisted of Monday night music practice, Tuesday afternoon ballet and Young Adults evening worship and Bible study, Wednesday night Kid’s Club, Thursday evening ballet, and Sunday morning and evening services. My time was occupied enough that I couldn’t think about being single or hate being alone.

One day while I was at the University of Saskatchewan computer lab finding lyrics and chords for worship songs I found a Christian chat site where I could dialog with other worship leaders and musicians. Most of the time the conversation formed around issues such as music style or dress codes. Not once during this time did I think I would meet anyone who would consider me on a romantic level.

There was one man, however, who intrigued me above anyone else I chatted with. Bill was my age and he was a reporter at a newspaper in North Carolina. The first thing that interested me about him was his appreciation for the music of Keith Green, 2nd Chapter of Acts, and Phil Keaggy. As our first conversation progressed I was increasingly aware that I was developing a connection with this man that lived 2000 miles from me. This was so unexpected that I can remember feeling anxious about how anything like this could even be of God. We talked about exchanging e-mail addresses then I asked the question that had been burning a hole in my thoughts:

“Are you for real?”

And there was a moment of stillness on the monitor screen before his answer came back:

“Yes, I am for real.”

God, how can I know? How can I trust his word? How can I verify anything he’s told me about himself?

The questions came pouring out like all those painful emotions I had poured out to God only a month earlier. I wanted to be safe. I needed to be sure. I had to feel protected while this man entered the fortress of my mind and stood before the heavily guarded gates of my heart.

As we began e-mailing each other, and later talking on the phone I became very good at tossing out selective bits of information about my life. Not only did I avoid sharing any private or personal details but I also concealed my deeper thoughts and kept vigil over my feelings. We could flirt with our words, banter wittily, and even drop casual remarks about all the possible what ifs. But I would remain distant and detached because I was not going to fall in love, this time. I had experienced my own great fall in love and all the king’s horses trampled me underfoot and all the king’s men had only left me bruised and broken. Now that I was put back together I would stay clear on the other side of the wall.

Two weeks after our first phone conversation I felt that I was done with my cautious waving at the window and decided that I was going to bid my farewell to Bill. I picked out a nice looking greeting card and carefully wrote that “I think God just wants us to be friends.” I hadn’t really asked Him if He did or not but it sounded like something He might have said. What I didn’t know is that God had been having frequent conversations with Bill and that he had been told something completely different than what I had written in my card.

I was finishing up an afternoon at work when a delivery man showed up with a bouquet of three roses for me from Bill. The room was quiet and all the kids disappeared into the faded white walls and crayon drawings. I studied the roses carefully and it wasn’t long before I read the message he had written on their slender stems, their green leaves, and their dewy petals.

Roses are the most treasured of flowers and I will treasure you. Life will have thorns that we must be careful of. Our love began as friendship so let the yellow rose be a reminder of this as we journey together. Our love is deeply passionate like this red rose so know that I will move heaven and earth to be with you and stay by your side. Above all let the white rose assure you that our love is pure as it was given to us by God and will continue to flow through us as we abide in Him.

I’m not sure how I carried that bouquet home with me. By the time I walked through the door and dropped my belongings on the couch where I had poured out my heart two months earlier, I fell to my knees and begged God to tell me what to do.



Accept his love.

Just accept his love?


Respond how?

Respond with love.

It sounded so simple yet my mind could not understand nor could my heart believe what it had just heard. I stayed in that spot motionless for several minutes before I knew what that meant. I got up, found the card I had ready to send, carefully salvaged the stamp from the envelope, and destroyed the rest.

Accept and respond became my mantra during the seven months of our courtship and taught me more about marriage than anything else in my life. Perhaps that had been my problem all along but even that didn’t matter anymore. I had fallen in love and I had landed in a safe place. When we eloped February 4, 2002 I knew that and I was happy to give my heart over to this man who had made me his wife.
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Loyalties and just desserts

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis week, my boss has been unjustly attacked and given a no-confidence letter by members of the unionized segment of the employees.

On Tuesday her picture was on the front page of the newspaper among unfounded and groundless accusations by these upstanding members of our organization. Today there was a meeting about this issue attended by all sorts of people: those of us on her staff who are by her side suffering with her; her bosses who are trying to find a politically nice way of getting out of this mess that the union created; the union members themselves, salivating at the hope of a fresh kill so they can swoop in and tear her apart; and the media to record the slaughter for posterity.

Today, I truly felt what it's like when the scriptures say to weep with those who weep. How painful it has been to watch my boss and friend go through this mess. There were times in today's meeting I wanted to reach back and knock a few teeth out of the heads of those leading this nonsense. I also wanted to put some of my old reporter skills to good use and dig some dirt on these clowns. There is some that could come in quite handy right now.

But, while I was sitting in the meeting, I believe God spoke to me about revenge and trust. He reminded me about David, who asked why those who are evil seem to be successful, while those trusting in God get kicked to the curb. The same frustrating thing happens today. So, all I can do is trust that truth will prevail here and those who unjustly did this deed will pay. Perhaps it won't be the way I want, but there will be a day when all will come to light. That's a hard pill to swallow but it's the only way to go.

Then again, I could join the mob and call in some boys named Guido "The Face" Faduchi or Tony "Nails" Sarduchi and let them do some business. Would be nice.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

And The Winner Is......

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMe!!! Well, actually, it's both Bill and I because our littlest one is healthy, growing, and getting ready to meet the world in less than 5 months! But we had a little bet - minus wagers - about what the gender of this fantastic baby human is. Bill thought this whole time that he was "cursed" with girls, like another family we know. Neither of us would have minded that at all since we have pink bedding, pretty dresses, and froo froo galore. I, on the other hand, had an instinct that we were having a baby boy because I thought that with my "luck" (though I don't really believe in luck) blended with Murphy's Law (we had the pink bedding, the pretty dresses, and froo froo galore) and gender econmics (three females to one male, unless you include our cat Othello) we would likely have a boy. And now we know!

When the radiologist (Jennifer) was moving the wand around she commented several times that our baby was a "wiggly one". I've known that to be true from the first frog-like squirming I could feel. In fact, Bill has felt baby move often, lately, and the movements have been getting increasingly stronger and more frequent. It's been fun to put my hand over my tummy and just know that our baby is healthy and strong. When Jennifer said, "Do you want to know what you're having?" I was probably the more emphatic of the two of us when I said, "Yes, please!" So she moved the wand into position and said, "It looks like you're having a boy."

I squealed, of course, and sent Bill a triumphant "Ha ha!" grin but then it suddenly hit me: I don't know how to raise a boy. Pink is my favorite color. I was the family girly girl with ruffled shirts, pink nail polish, and wearing low-heeled pumps with jeans. I have a picture of myself in a pink sweater over an ivory camisole, deep blue pleated denim jeans, and dangly mother-of-pearl and filgree earrings. Did I mention my favorite color is pink?

I know how to sing, play piano, and figureskate; paint, draw, and write; decorate, cook, and bake. I never did master any athletic skills like softball, soccer, or spitting. There are no trucks in a sandbox in our backyard. There isn't a vast collection of baseball bats, mits, jerseys, or helmets in our garage. When does one buy a jock-strap for a son and for what purpose? I don't know how to do this!

But I will learn how to be a mother to our son. I will be more empathetic towards Bill and his efforts in being a father to our daughters since this must be how he felt. And I will let myself get coached by other seasoned moms of boys like my pastor's wife, church friends, and family members. And I'll ask God often how He raised His Son. And I think I'll get it figured out.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

Rescue Me

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOn Wednesday our family was driving to our church for Bible Study when something happened that would result in this blog. It was a slightly warm day so Bill’s window was rolled down since our air conditioning doesn’t work that well. I could smell the musky breeze from the river mingled with the vehicle fumes of other drivers and Bill and I were engaged in a deep discussion about politics or sandwich meat or something like that. As we talked I was gazing out his window watching the scene roll past us when a lone pedestrian caught my eye. She was probably in her mid-twenties and was wearing a nice red jacket, jeans, and glasses. Her head was down but I could tell she was talking on her cell phone and wasn’t really paying attention to anything around her. This fact became painfully apparent when she connected with a street sign. I knew she’d connected, not just by her startled gestures but because her glasses made a rather loud clang against the metal post that could be heard above our van’s humming engine. I cringed because I saw it happen and I couldn’t do anything about it.

I remembered a similar thing occuring at the University where I was studying for my education degree. *I don’t HAVE an education degree but I digress* Anyway, I was walking quickly to my class which I was already late for when I saw a faculty member walk out of the bathroom and head down the hallway. She had a length of toilet paper trailing behind her – from her waistband – and I was too far away to discreetly address the problem without causing any embarrassment.

During my years as a pianist for a music ministry group we had little money for coordinating ensembles. One of the vocalists bought several yards of cheap fabric and sewed outfits for the four women in the group. Mine was a short sleeved blouse with a creamy background and autumn tones and an orange skirt. I had learned by that time that I shouldn’t care if I looked like a frosted pumpkin because it didn’t matter what we wore as long as we were doing what God had called us to do. However, I hadn’t accounted for the length of the skirt while I was seated at the electric piano and after one of the services the pastor walked up to our drummer and informed him that my skirt allowed an ample view north of my knees. I was mortified and the situation was quickly amended with a thick covering for the front of the piano before the next service.

Yesterday, Bill traveled by boat to the San Juan Islands for a men’s retreat. Unbeknownst to both of us he gets motion-sick on boats and this was his first discovery of this fact. He spent the majority of the travel time laying down in one of the cabins trying to settle his stomach. While I was on the phone with him I wished so much that I could have been there to offer him water, crackers, Dramamine, or my company, but he was out of my reach.

Sometimes things happen to other people that we just can’t prevent or warn them about, even though we have every desire to. It can be anything from a minor embarrassment to a major blunder but sometimes we are just not near enough to help. So, what are we to do? Perhaps just to be available to pull someone back to their feet so they can start all over again.

And blog about it later.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

To Be Announced...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis morning we all got up, showered, dressed, grabbed some apples and bananas and headed over to our midwife's office. The office is about 20 minutes away and we arrived just a little early to discover that she would be arriving late. No matter, though, because we know her personality and have enjoyed working with her since Murron was still in utero. When she walked in we hugged and chatted about driving distances and such then we got to work at discussing this pregnancy. We discussed a seminar that she has to attend about two weeks after the due date. I have no such appointments because, knowing when this baby is due to arrive, I'm keeping my calendar clear. After all was said and done we scheduled an ultrasound for Monday, which brings me to the subject for this blog.

Announcements. We announced this baby's due date to our family and friends with blissful excitement. Some we told in person, others we called on the phone, and the rest we e-mailed with the news. And after several acknowledgements and congratulations, the most frequent comments have been about how much I'm showing, how I'm feeling, and general prenatal queries. After the first trimester I announced that I had resumed my love of food and I joyfully celebrated with pork roast, mashed potatoes, thick gravy, vegetables, and tall glasses of cold milk. Again the comments were happy and sincere. Since then there has been nothing really new to add. But there will be on Monday, we hope. That's when we plan on finding out the gender of this child so we can give him/her a name when we talk to each other about "baby."

Just this last Sunday a young couple in our church announced their engagement and I was joyful when I spoke to the affianced. Now we are waiting until they announce the actual date of their wedding. That is yet to be announced. It makes me think about the long awaited return of Jesus and how easy it is to just get on with our lives, until the next announcement is given, "He is now come!" I am certain it could happen any day so I'm keeping my calendar open and free.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Manna From Heaven

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt was already the middle of the morning before I noticed it. Something outside of our dining room window caught my eye and I looked out into our sunny yard. Like huge snowflakes I watched the bits of tree pollen float softly and lazily in the air before resigning to gravity and landing on the grass. Tufts of pollen were clinging to the green blades while more continued to fall with every breeze. I felt like going outside and letting it fall on my head and clothes just to imagine for a moment how the Israelites felt when they saw God’s provision for their needs.

The sight of the pollen drifting to the ground brought me so many years back to the farm where I grew up with my 14 other siblings. My younger sister was closest to me so we would often play together when there weren’t any chores to be done. We had some favorite play areas like the rock pile, behind the garage, or beside our slough. It was on late spring days when we would walk around the farm yard and gather the pollen that had fallen to the ground or clung to the wild rosebushes. Some days it was wool for making yarn but that was always short-lived since the fibers never stuck together like they should have. Other days it was manna from Heaven sent down to be our daily provision.

It wasn’t a great stretch of my imagination to think that God could provide for our family in this way. Being farmers we often saw manna in the big black garbage bags full of handed down clothing or the dozens of whitefish that the nearby reservation Indians would bring to us in exchange for fuel. It was God’s way of reassuring us that He was looking after us.

Seeing the manna isn’t always easy, however, and sometimes we have found it where we weren’t looking for it. In the past it has been in odd jobs that an elderly church friend would offer to Bill for cash, banana boxes brimming over with groceries designated for our family without our knowledge, or even a terrible rollover which totaled off our truck but provided the right amount of insurance money to provide for some urgent needs and to buy a van outright. This week, however, we found the manna in a few checkbook register mistakes and more money in the bank than we originally thought.

Today it is raining so I won’t see any pollen sinking down through the air onto our lawn but I have learned from it. But maybe I'll stand out in the rain anyway and let the gentle drops remind me that God will provide for all we need. "Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” Luke 12:27, 28


Monday, May 16, 2005

What would it look like?

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I am not young anymore.

I feel it in my bones. I started wearing bifocals a couple months ago. My conversations are peppered with an oft repeated"huh?" I take a peek at my IRA at the stock broker's web site and realize just how many earning years I have left.

Yep. I am growing older. Now, you couldn't tell by looking at me. I know I don't come close to looking my 34 years. While teaching CPR at a local high school a couple of weeks ago, some of the students mistook me for the new kid. I am used to it.

What's the key to my youthful appearance? Genes and exercise. That's all I can figure. But the latter sure isn't easy anymore. I am finding that I have to be at the gym nearly twice as long as I used to until just recently. But be there twice as much I shall because I don't want to look my age. I don't think it's really going to take away the age I am feeling on the inside, however. My knees still hurt. My eyesight still is going. The years still are ticking by.

Paul wrote about how earthly exercise brings few rewards and that we should be focusing on a spiritual regimen. Why is it that we will punish our bodies but not sweat a drop in prayer or reading our Bibles?

I think I should start measuring my Christianity by how many times I need to shower in a day. It would be a great day when, coming in from the garage and seeing me soaked head to toe, Glory asks me how long I worked out, and I could reply that the Lord and I had a great conversation. Even then I wouldn't mind getting strange looks by people wondering why I now have gray hair. Imagine Moses' family and friends when they saw him coming off the mountain after meeting with the Lord. That must have been quite the sight.

And I don't think he smelled all that good, either.


Friday, May 13, 2005

COFFEE: My Story

I wrote this during University studies, when I was downing triple-shot espressos just to get through my classes. And I'm brewing a mocca java as I type. I hope you enjoy it!
Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy name is Glory and I am a coffee addict. I must confess that I very much enjoy my drug habit. The truth is, I’ve been a coffee user for as long as I can remember. My father was a coffee pusher and gave me coffee whenever I wanted, without asking for my mother’s consent. I can recall the discreet locations where my father and I would enjoy catching a buzz together: in the garage, out in the field, or even in the machinery shed. By the time I was fifteen I was very open with my coffee habit. I could sit at our breakfast table with my whole family, and drink my coffee in full view. In fact some others in my family had also picked up the habit. It wasn’t a secret anymore.

When I reached adulthood I discovered that there were people just like me. There were even restaurants that served it. For sixty cents a hit I could feed my addiction without having to prepare it myself. I found that classier locations offered much better quality coffee for a higher price. I started to purchase stronger varieties and I was more inclined to associate with people who also drank coffee. On nights when we couldn’t afford to spend money on the prepared coffee we would take turns mixing our own. I was good at blending just the right amount of coffee and water together. The hit would be faster when smaller amounts of water were used, but some of my friends preferred a slower effect, so they would add water. I was out of control but I denied it.

One morning I got up the usual time of day for my first hit. I had two cups before I felt very strong stomach pains. I had gotten used to the hand tremors, loss of appetite, and occasional insomnia. This was very different, though, and knowing my father had at one time experienced similar side effects, I asked him what was happening. That’s when he told me I was addicted and I would be ruining my body if I continued my reckless habit. He insisted that I get help for it, and he said he would be there for me. I thought he was being hypocritical, until I realized that he had been warned, too, so he had become more responsible in his coffee drinking. The choice was mine: I could go on impulsively drinking large amounts of coffee, or I could show some control and get my life straightened out. I decided to take his advice and cut down.

The withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant. I’ve had headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue. That’s the price I’m paying for over twelve years of coffee use. I am learning to be more responsible and use coffee less frequently. Some of my friends have also learned to control their addictions but some haven’t. Whenever I can I tell them my story. Hopefully they will relate and I will have helped them on the road to recovery. It is a gradual process, but once I was able to admit that I was addicted, I knew I wanted out. I am in control now.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Image hosted by It always surprises me when I hear the words, "You are a good friend." I think it's because I have my bar set pretty high - for myself, that is - and I consistently find myself knocking it down from its lofty perch. My past friendships have always seemed to indicate how pathetically clumsy I am with remembering to do the right things for my friends. But no matter how brutally honest I am with myself about my friendship skills I still lament my lack of long-term friends. I even get a little envious when Bill gets e-mail from friends he's had for nearly 10 years.

So, today, I was wonderfully amazed when my phone rang and I answered to hear Nicole's voice. I met Nicole in 1995 when we were both enrolled in a college for business and technology. I was working through computer programming studies and she was finishing up accounting classes. My life was not in order by any means and I was making some very bad personal decisions that caused me a great deal of guilt and heartbreak. Basically, I was bewildered that I even knew someone who freely called me her friend. I wouldn't have chosen me and I still don't know why she did. But when she told me today that I had been a good friend to her I just had to sigh deeply and thank God for His grace. Somehow He saw to it that her remembrance of me was positive and good, even though I used to feel so much shame for not living rightly during that time. She encouraged me with her words and I was astonished that she had found my friendship to have benefitted her at all in any way. It has made me humbly grateful.

Since those years I have learned at least little more of how I should behave as a friend. It still means being honest and open but it also involves much prayer and encouragement. Jesus demonstrates His friendship to me daily and I can't help but wonder why He chose me. But He did and I know my bar will never be as high as His.

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Crying and weeping

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI would expect that Glory would be emotional all the time considering that she is nearly 20 weeks along with our third child. There are the conflicting emotions that run rampant: feelings of inferiority, worthlessness, elation, despair, utter joy and a myriad of other feelings. Yet, at times, I wonder if I should be the one pregnant.

Tonight I am watching Murron as Glory and Elizabeth are at a ladies church function. I find that the littlest things cause me to pause and be somewhat sad. Sad for what, I don't know. I fixed Murron's dinner (all she wanted was cereal), but then when I sat down next to her with my soup, she wanted what I was eating. So, there we were, dad and daughter eating soup together. Later, after the dishes were done, I sat down next to Murron and put on a Little Bear video. Watching her face light up in anticipation of the scenes that she has viewed 1,000 times made my heart melt. She's gotten to the point that she's memorized the videos, so when she anticipates Duck saying, "Oh, dear," in "Doctor Little Bear," or when she looks at me, points to the TV a split second before Little Bear sees ladybugs on a flower in "Father Bear's Flying Flapjacks," I get a little emotional. Or even when she is looking at our hill with me behind our house and marvels at the trees and the grass when I ask her about them, I want the moment to stop and capture it somehow. That cannot happen, so my only recourse is to write these memories down before they fade into the hustle and bustle of the day's events.

It's comforting, however, that my little girl wants to spend time with me, and that she wants to do what I do. Although not a big worry, I do hope that what she sees in me is something I would be proud of seeing in her. I am reminded that Jesus told His disciples that if they want to see what the Father is doing, all they had to do was look to the Son. Even Paul gives himself as an example to his disciples.

Just so long as the girls don't see me when I get lost in Portland, show my frustration when the phone rings off the hook at work, when another day has passed and I haven't gotten many personal things done, or even when...


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Peace In The Laundry Pile

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt’s laundry day, but what else is new? We must do laundry every day of the week, often putting the last load of the day into the dryer before collapsing into bed. I would be thrilled to say that my husband never has to lift a finger to do his own laundry because I am just that attentive to his needs but I’m not. I would also like to say that our toddler always has enough clean clothes for the week but she doesn’t. I would really like to say that I’ve been successful in training our 11-year-old to do her own laundry but I haven’t.

I have equality issues that have yet to be resolved in this area. First of all, our 11-year-old thinks it’s a social necessity to change her clothes every time she walks into a different room: one outfit for the kitchen, another for the living room, and so on. So what I typically see in her laundry pile are clean but wrinkled clothes that have been worn about as long as a prima donna costume. I’ve allowed myself a bit more grace when it comes to our toddler, though. She prefers her own skin to anything else and it helps keep ketchup, fruit juice, and chocolate from staining her clothes. She is well trained in taking her shirt off when we eat, now, though we are aware that this habit will have to change before her first dinner out with youth group friends. Bill’s laundry status is a different matter. He works an office job so he needs to have clean dress slacks and shirts for this. He also works out at the gym before coming home so he dumps sweaty t-shirts, shorts, and towels into our laundry pile. Then he changes into clean shorts and t-shirts for our evenings at home. If we have worship practice or church services to attend then he pulls on casual clothes. Comparing all of this to my singular change of clothes per day I hope you can at least sympathize with my dilemma.

Now that I’ve aired all my dirty laundry I feel a little better in having told somebody about it. But I wonder if I’ve left anyone feeling similarly frustrated with their own laundry issues. I have let you into my world of dirty socks and shirts but I haven’t offered any hope for anyone struggling with their own piles of clothes waiting to be washed, dried, and put neatly away. I have vented my thoughts but I have not opened my door to wisdom or counsel. And the truth is I should be praying over my grubby clothes and linens. It might sound silly to some but I need God for every detail in my life, even my dirty laundry.

“Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Too Much Coffee

Last night Bill and I graciously attended the retirement dinner for the county's Medical Program Director. It was a semi-formal shindig with lots of professionals and notable presenters. There were hors d'ourves, a drink bar, and a $30 plate meal with a rich chocolatey dessert. I saw it as a free date (note the emphasis on free) without the kids. We had a wonderful time and I enjoyed mingling with Bill's coworkers.

My interest in the whole affair started to wane, however, when a few of the presenters took more time with their comments. Just being honest, though, it wasn't the length of their speeches. It was the caffeine. My midwife told me to cut out coffee and caffeine drinks but when Bill brought me a coke with ice from the bar it was so good and refreshing. Then later, during dessert, the coffee carafe was being passed around like the legal stimulant it is and my resolve just withered.

After the effects of the coke and the coffee took effect, I started feeling a little restless and I started passing notes to Bill. Okay, I will be truthful about this as well. We pass notes in church during the service, now and then. It keeps me from blurting out my thoughts and I am less likely to become a distraction by fidgeting or getting up. Basically it prevents me from being obnoxious. So we passed notes during the final speech and it wasn't a problem.

While all of this was going on I watched the kids who had been dragged along to accompany their parents. One girl was playing with her little plastic cup of ice left over from a Roy Rogers drink and crunching noisily on the hard cold chunks. Her brother was splaying himself on their mother's side draping his limbs dangerously close to the half-eaten chocolatey creamy dessert. At another table a very impeccably dressed trio of two girls in dresses and a boy in a suit and tie were waiting for their mother, the Master of Ceremonies, to call the whole thing quits so they could shed their restricting attire and play on their trampoline or some other more age-appropriate activity. At that very moment I wished I could have walked over like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, grabbed their hands and taken them over to a nearby hill and ran through dandelions or played tag. It was not to be, however, and I could only empathize with their bridled energy.

From that moment on I wanted to be at home eating pizza with our kids, watching Lyle the Kindly Viking, and wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. I would still be reaching for the soda and coffee, though, and not feeling like I needed to pass notes either.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Hopeful Start

It is May 3rd! When did I fall off the planet and let the months go by so quickly without doing anything remotely productive? Okay, so I only have 2 kids, one on the way, a hard-working husband who's mending our fence in his *cough*spare*cough* time, and I have the usual stay-at-home busy stuff. But really, I've had no excuse.

Yesterday, while I was helping Bill with the fence, demolishing rotten panels and sawing off the posts, I was plotting my gardening strategy. We're going to dig up the turf, haul in some bark dust, settle in some pavers, plant some trees and shrubs, and basically attempt to transform our home Martha Stewart style on a trailer park budget. I can see the fruit of our efforts in my mental viewfinder but I know the work will be strenuous and sweaty. I know it's totally possible, though, because we've actually begun. It's kind of like when the ground has been cleared to begin building the foundation of a new home. We've moved beyond intent into the realm of implementing the intent. Pretty exciting!

It's making me think of how often I've avoided executing my well-considered plans and missed out on knowing how great the possibilities were. If I had been diligent in the things that I know God had placed on my heart to do, I would have known the reward of doing those things. Recently it is spending quiet time with the Lord before the kids wake up. I am blessed with children who know how to sleep in (and blessed with the ability to homeschool as well). Since I determined to reserve that time alone with Him, and have begun it, I have seen that it really is possible to gain the Lord's approval. I know that He is with me throughout my day, and I can even see His hand on the lives of my husband and children. All because I actually applied myself to the thing God had called me to do. Hebrews 11:6 says: "So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him." I am sincerely seeking and I know He will be found.