May 31, 2007


***I got a new job. *today* I'll be a teacher's aid for 2 second grade teachers at our neighborhood school. It is just around the block, so I can easily walk to work! I am so thankful for a good part time job, close to home and with the same days off as my children's schools. I start August 13.

***Blogger blogs drive me crazy nutso! I have been trying to leave comments for everyone who visited mine on Wordless Wednesday, but only got 2 of them through.

***My 17 year old left for her summer missions team work. It's strange having two of my chicks out of the nest now....even if it is just for the summer. There is a sweet post over at The Dust Will Wait called Empty Nest Syndrome that I thought was very timely for me.

***We are signing our 15 year old up for Driver's Ed this summer. She won't be old enough to actually practice in the car until August, but this is the classroom part. Let me just say here that I am NOT READY FOR THIS AGAIN!!!!!

***I had my last day of work doing after school care. I'd say get ready for more blog reading than lately has been the norm. (what a sentence)

***I had TWO very good days of shopping at our local thrift store. *Yippee* Maggie and I have some "new" (to us) clothes for our new ventures this Fall. I'll be working at our neighborhood school and she will be heading off *we hope* to the school I just quit working at. I love how discombobbulated that sounds.

***I was told by a forum friend, "Well, Crickl, that is just ..... your cheery outlook and sunny disposition! And, yes, we all hate you." Heehee....I think she was just kidding though....about the hating part.

***Have a nice day! =)

May 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Sinking sun

**For more WW photo entries go to Wordeless Wednesday or Five Minutes for Mom.**

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised.
Psalm 113:3

May 28, 2007

The downward spiral of a weekend

Have you ever had a holiday weekend that you were really looking forward to, but it started to take on a life of it's own and you had to just stand by and watch it spiral out of your control? That was our weekend. (as evidenced by my silent blog these past 5 days)

The long weekend sounded so good to us a week ago. We were really looking forward to it. Friday we started out leisurely enough. We let the teens skip school so we could get an early start. Pastor's don't get many Sundays off, so we had to make our trip up north just an overnighter. The normal 2 hour drive took a full 3 hours, but as we hit the top of the hill, entering into the Flagstaff area, we rolled down the windows and breathed in the cool, fresh, unpolluted mountain air. I miss that.

We drove to some friends' new home. They lived in a travel trailer for a year while building it themselves and it is beautiful. Then we drove into our old town. Our teenage girls wanted to attend their old friends' graduation, so they left and we spent the evening with a couple who are great friends to us. They live on a hill, beside a highway that goes ribboning back into the mountains, a wonderful gateway into the backwoods, where there are lakes, wilderness, elk, bear, coyotes and eagles. I longed to keep going and explore the dirt roads that lead far, far back into God's creation and pristine scenery. But we had people to visit and the wilderness will be there next time. We also remembered why we used to stay at home every holiday weekend in the summer when we lived there. The place was crawling with RV's and campers and weekenders. NUTS!!! We used to sit on our front porch and just watch the RV's pulling into town.

Three hours later graduation was over. LOL Graduation is a big event and they do a slide show with music for each graduate. Small towns are kind of cool and quirky, and graduation is a thing everyone has to endure, but it sure is a long time to sit on metal bleacher seats. So we opted out this year. *sssshhhh*

The night time drive back to Flagstaff was solemn as we passed by a terrible accident on interstate 40. Someone on a motorcylce hit a huge bull elk. The elk was lying there, huge and dead, but the driver was not in sight. He must have been thrown clear of the sight. There were highway patrol there, but the ambulance was just getting there. A man was on the other side of the interstate rocking in a crumpled position, crying or praying. When we lived in northern Arizona, we always saw a dead elk on the side of the road as we drove to Flagstaff. There must be at least one hit every night there in summer and Fall. Thankfully we never hit one, but it is quite devastating when you do. We rode the rest of the way into Flag in silence, the adreneline pumping and tears welling.

We got to spend the night with our daughter Hannah and her apartment is so cute and cool and artsy. It has huge windows and a sliding glass door that looks out into a stand of pines, then a park with soccer fields. After a big breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, we left to drive back to the desert that is now our home. Oh yeah, and we had to take a bus back with us. *see my lip start to turn into a snarl here*

A bus. It's a wonderful gift from our old church to this new one we are at, but it's a monster. lol It is extra wide and low (easy to step into), and half the length of a school bus. And it is bright white. It is old, runs on diesel, and goes a mild 55 mph on the highway....35 up big hills. (For those of you who have never driven from Flagstaff to Phoenix, it is very mountainous, curvy terrain.) I followed the bus the whole way. My husband stopped once to tighten a console cover by his right leg. It had been pouring out burning air on his leg, and he thought it was having transmission trouble because there was a terrible clunk whenever it changed gears. But it was also stressful to follow him. The wide, white back end of it was hypnotic as we dragged along at 55 (or 35) mph. I kept having to shake my head to wake myself up and came home with a stress headache.

Saturday night we had a cookout to go to...very fun, very good company, but we came home and fell into our beds, exhausted! Sunday we had a good church service, comissioning 6 teens who were to be summer missionaries, one of which is our Bethany. My 15 year old wanted to hang around with some friends for the afternoon and after their parents all left, I found out they were planning to just walk to Taco Bell and hang out there all afternoon. Ummm, no.... So I rounded them up and took them to our house. My dear exhausted husband cooked them hot dogs and found the boys swim trunks, while Emma rounded up things for the girls to swim in and they all swam the afternoon away. Charles got them practicing dives and then sat in the swing, judging each dive, adding points if the landing in the water sounded like it hurt. lol

Then they left.....yes! (I love them all, but needed some down time badly!) And we had an evening alone with Maggie, relaxing. My teens came home once again with extras last night. Two girls spent the night, surprising Charles as more girls than usual emerged from the hallway this morning. (oops, forgot to tell him)

Emma has been needing new shorts for a while now, so I decided to pick up things I've been needing from Walmart this morning while she picked out some shorts. Only we got sidetracked and decided to try a local thrift shop first...just pop in to see if they had any good deals on shorts. As I drove into the parking lot, there were no parking spaces to be found and we had to park 5 stores down at an Italian restaurant. The sign in the thrift shop window said, "Memorial Day Sale, everything half price"

Oiy with the poodles already people!

The lines of people at the check out stands were curving around and down the clothing racks of the store! But I dove in and decided to try the childrens' section to find summer clothes for a quickly growing 9 year old who belongs to me. Jackpot! I spent $38 and got 12 shirts and 6 pairs of capris or shorts, as well as a cute dress. Each piece of clothing was a dollar or two. AND the children's section was deserted compared to the other parts of the store, which looked like an ant hill! Emma and her friend went to get me a place in the check out line while I looked a while longer. THEN we went to Walmart...busy busy....

I got home, put some things in the fridge and went for a swim. I got to relax for approximately 20 minutes before having to shower and get ready to go to a family gathering at my sisters for homemade ice cream. Add to this, that my daughter from Flagstaff called and said she and 2 friends were coming down to swim and go to a drive in movie. !???! Okay.... They arrived while we were having ice cream, so we went back home to see her for a while before the movie. (more on drive in movies another time)

We sent them off at 8pm, the movies begin at 8:30. I sat down here on the couch with Maggie and have not moved since.

I'm looking forward to a regular week, even if it is a little hectic. These holiday weekends are killin me!!!!!

May 22, 2007

Around the dinner table tonight

As dinner was cooking, I was sitting in my room getting a blog ready for tomorrow. My daughter, Bethany's, room is right across the hall and we heard her talking it up with someone on the phone. She finally put it on speaker phone and it turned out to be my oldest who is away at college, Hannah. I could hear both of their voices and they were talking about books, teasing, and laughing loudly as Beth packed for her summer. She'll be on a summer mission team, doing vacation Bible schools, kids' camps and work crew with different churches around Arizona.

I finally couldn't take it anymore and went in to join the conversation. When the oven timer went off, I took Hannah with, the phone actually....and she talked me through getting dinner on the table.

"Do you want to join us for dinner?" I asked.

She said yes and we tortured her with our "Oh, this is so good"s with a homemade meal while she had just warmed up a frozen burrito for her dinner. I asked her how work was today and at the same moment, in the same tone and inclination to be a twerp, Charles and Emma both said, "workish?" heehee (Charles always says that when that question is asked.)

I guess the response to that question is pretty predictable, but when you have your college daughter on the phone, you have to keep the conversation going! And we did...til it was time to clean up. Then suddenly Hannah's friends were there to visit her and she had to leave.

Uh huh! Just like when she was at home....always skipping out on the cleanup! (just kidding Hannah!)

So I closed the phone and patted it nicely....and had to blink some moisture from my eyes....musta been dust or something.

Conquer much lately?

Note: click on the highlighted words in this post to see the pictures.

We have a special service once a month for our youth and college kids at church called Momentum. It usually has a theme. This month, we had a whole weekend event for the youth. The theme was 'conquer'. So they had a lock in and played conquering games and had lessons on conquering through Christ.

It was all kicked off with the Saturday night service. The lock in was that night, so our youth pastor, Josh, had lots of cool things for the youth to do.

First, one of our very dear youth girls, Jessica, gave her testimony of how in the past 2 years, God has helped her have the strength to conquer the cancer that had invaded various parts of her body. Several people close to their family, who watched her live this out, gave their lives to Jesus as a result of Jessica's faith being lived out in front of them.

Then my husband, Charles did the preaching for the service. It was held outside in the parking lot. And instead of a podium to stand behind, he preached from a rock wall. It was brought in for the lock in, but was also a handy word picture tool for his talk that night.

He climbed as Bible verses were read to make a point:

Then he would stop and teach about how in order to conquer the difficult things in life, we must:
1. Get connected with God and with each other. (like being harnessed up for a climb)
2. Get creative. God is Creator and made us new creations. The old is gone, the new has come. The old ways just don't work anymore and we have to find new ways (new holds)...God's way.
3. Get quiet. Listen and find God's voice. He wants to lead you in the best way. He has a plan for our lives and we need to be listening for Him to show us.
4. Get instruction. God's word is our manual for this conquer.
5. Get committed. The easy way out is to quit. But following through is so worth the climb. His will is for you to conquer in this life. To press on through the hard times, that is conquering. To learn to change the direction your life is going, a lousy attitude or a sin habit that you may have. This is the stuff we must conquer. People who are conquerors keep their gaze on the goal (in this case the buzzer at the top of the wall), and don't let themselves get distracted from it. God is calling us toward a great reward through serving Him.

And if you do fall, God is there, holding onto you. He won't let you go and He will help you to start again, with new strength. Rising on wings like eagles we will conquer.

When the talk was over, the worship time began. It was lead by a group from Prescott, Arizona, called ARB, a Christian Indie band lead by Angie Raess. They are really good! Mostly a worship band, they really had a powerful message and presence.

Our kids were captured by the worship and testimony. The girl here with the neck brace and crutches is the one I wrote about in this post. She is doing great! She was at church the Sunday after the accident and had to be carried up the stairs by her dad to attend the youth group. She is working on conquering a few things physically and spiritually. Maybe she will let me share her testimony here on the blog soon. She got up and talked in church Sunday about this's amazing what God uses in our lives to teach us to take deeper steps with Him!

Afterwards the kids got to climb the wall. This is my daughter Beth on the left. She is learning to conquer a few big things in her life as well and we're so proud of her as she presses on. It takes courage to keep on climbing, but anyone who has reached the top and has stopped to look back over the years of battle, will tell you every step of trembling muscles on the climb was worth it when they look back and see how far God's taken them.

Wordless Wednesday: Willow Creek Mine, Creede, CO

**For more WW photo entries go to Wordeless Wednesday or Five Minutes for Mom.**

May 17, 2007

Friday's Feast #144

List 3 emotions you experienced this week.

Fear (woke up from a bad dream, then obsessed about it from 3am -4am last night)
Happiness (laughing with my family on Mother's Day)
Anxiety (I have teenagers)

Name a car you’d love to have.

VW bus with pop up camper (refurbished with a/c)
Or a new Beetle, blue convertible

Describe your typical morning routine.

Wake up to annoying alarm around 7am
go back to sleep
til I am reawakened by teens getting ready for school
bathroom trip
strong coffee (always ready, made by my dh)
Make lunches: peanut butter and honey sandwiches, crackers, fruit
Sit on my back screened in porch and read my Bible and pray
Homeschool Maggie

Main Course
Have you ever emailed someone famous? If so, who, and what did you say to them? Did they reply?

Not email, but I have commented on the blogs of Chris Rice, Beth Moore and Jars of Clay.

No responses that I know of!

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones?

Nope. Oh wait! I did listen to a podcast (I think that is what it was) of some programs on Life fm, an Australian Christian radio station which a friend of mine helps to run.

See comments section at Friday's Feast for more spreads.

May 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Moon shadows

OK, it's not the moon, it's the Great Sand Dunes National Park and my silly daughters messing around.

**For more WW photo entries go to Wordeless Wednesday or Five Minutes for Mom.**

May 14, 2007

Seven Things I've Learned

e-mom and Iris have tagged me for the 7 things meme. The instructions for the meme are to list 7 random things about yourself. These are not random things though. I wanted this to be more useful than that this time. If you want random, you can look at my 100 things about me post. It took me forEVER to write it.

So here no certain order....7 things I have learned in my life. I have learned a few more than 7 things in my life, but to comply with the meme, I will post 7. =)

1. Ever since I began learning about the Myers Briggs personality profiles, I am almost obsessed with figuring people out. I love to try to determine if they are an E or I or a P or J. I think it's made me a much more understanding and tolerant person, realizing that a person's personality is inborn. I am an ESFP. If you take the test at the bottom of the page, let me know what your 4 letters are please!

2. Experience is almost everything. The more experiences I have in life, good or bad, happy or sad, the more empathy I have in my head/heart for others. It helps me have a better perspective on life. It helps me to be more merciful and compassionate. This also helps me not to be so afraid to have new experiences.

3. Processing and debriefing of daily experiences is so important to growth. I have never been a muller, a processor or an analyzer. I started this blog over 2 years ago as a creative outlet, but a lot of the time I find myself analyzing or debriefing myself as I write. And I'll be saying to myself...'wow, that's what God is teaching me in this'. I had a hard time doing this all my life (I think I"m a little ADD and can't focus on one thing long enough to feel as if I understand it), but writing it out, knowing it will be read by my faithful handful of readers helps me to organize and process my thoughts and experiences like I've never done before. It is like an incredible gift from God.

Kinda makes me feel more grown up. ;)

3. God is good. I always thought it was true, but now I know it is. I have experienced it, seen others experience it and have seen how something good always comes, even when it took a hard time to achieve it. I don't mean physical blessings or an easy life. The good things are often seen in how it affects or influences other lives, not only our own.

4. Friendship is a good investment. I have a hard time concentrating on just one friend long enough to really bond and let myself be known. But it is worth it, even if it does mean it makes it harder to move on, away from the relationship when God leads one of you away in our very transient culture.

5. Laughter is great medicine and making people laugh can be as good or better than counseling with them for an hour. This is good because I am not a gifted counsellor.....but I have been known to make people laugh.

6. People are so right about your 40''s all true. Depressing, but true. So stay out of the sun, floss!, don't lift heavy thing (!), exercise regularly and eat right....please.

7. I don't know much. Sometimes I think I have certain aspects of life or my relationship with God or how the Church should be or marriage or parenting 'all figured out'. I am always humbled to find that there is so much more to it and that my 'knowledge' was so small. There is always so much more to learn about life, my children, marriage, God, His Word or the Church.

Now the hard part. I have to tag 7 other bloggers to do the meme. (but I don't think that many people read this...ha)
So...if they have time to do this, I tag:
And fellow pastor's wives:

May 12, 2007

Motherhood: A chance to die

Fellow lady blogger, Barbara, at Stray Thoughts had such a wonderful entry for Mother's Day that I am borrowing part of it. She has posted parts of letters written by famous missionaries to their mothers. Go over to Stray Thoughts to read letters by Jim Elliot and Hudson Taylor to their mothers.

What I wanted to post today are letters written by Amy Carmichael and her mother. One of the hardest things I can think of would be to give your child to the Lord in service to Him. Most often, it means they will live far away and we may not see them as much as our hearts desire.

My parents gave me willingly to the Lord when I felt that call at age 16, not knowing that I would live most of my adult life far away. Now that my own daughters are entering young womanhood, I realize what a huge sacrifice that was, and I hope I can open my hand, die to my own desires and say,

"Take her, dear Lord — Thou wilt take the most loving care of her, use her in Thy service and for Thy glory now and where Thou pleasest, for Christ’s sake." ~Catherine Jane Carmichael~

From Amy to her mother:

My Precious Mother,

Have you given your child unreservedly to the Lord for whatever He wills?…

Oh may He strengthen you to say “Yes” to Him if He asks something which costs.

Darling Mother, for a long time as you know the thought of those dying in the dark — 50,000 of them every day, while we at home live in the midst of blazing light — has been very present with me, and the longing to go to them, and tell them of Jesus, has been strong upon me. ..

But home claims seemed to say “Stay”, and I thought it was His Will; it was perhaps til yesterday. I can’t explain it, but lately the need seems to have come closer, and I wrote down a few days ago…why I am not going.

1. Your need of me, my Mother.
2. The great loneliness it would mean to my dear second Father.
3. The thought that by staying I might make it easier for others to go if He called.
4. My not being strong.

But in His sight are these four things worth staying from those poor heathen for? You have given me three-quarters up as it is. My dear old Fatherie is the Lord’s wholly, he would not let me kept out just for him. The other two things surely I could trust about. Still, they seemed to say “Stay”.

Yesterday suddenly the impulse came to have a good talk with my dear Fatherie…and after it I went to my own room and just asked the Lord what it all meant, what did He wish me to do, and, Mother, as clearly as I ever heard you speak, I heard Him say,
“GO YE.”

I never heard it just so plainly before.; I cannot be mistaken, for I know He spoke. He says “Go”, I cannot stay.

Mother, I feel as if I had been stabbing someone I loved. It is Friday now, I could not finish this yesterday, and through all the keen sharp pain which has come since Wednesday, the certainty that it was His voice…has never wavered; though all my heart has shrunk from what it means…the certainty is there…nothing but that sure word, His word, could make it possible to do it, for until he spoke, and I answered, “Yes, Lord”, I never knew what it would cost.

These are the verses He gave me…”If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

“To obey is better than sacrifice.”

Many difficulties have risen in my mind, they seem very great, the “crooked places” seem very crooked, but it seems to me that all He asks is that we should take the one step He shows us, and in simplest, most practical trust leave all results to Him.

Mother, I know that very few of our friends will think I am right. Those who don’t know the Shepherd’s Voice themselves will be quite sure I am very wrong and mistaken, but He has said, “Walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” He knows, and He won’t let me disnonour Him by making a mistake and following my own fancy instead of Him. If it is so, He will show it to me, but if it is His Will, I must do it.
There isn’t much of gladness in this letter, I’m afraid, but I don’t feel anything except sore at the pain this must bring to my loved ones.

Good-bye, my Mother. May He come very near to you and strengthen and comfort you.

Your Own Amy

P.S. Some of these things may cross your mind as they have mine.

What about leaving my God-given Father who does seem to need me a little? Cannot I trust Him to care for him? If He tells me to leave him, He won’t let him suffer. Clara Bradshaw met Hudson Taylor once, and he prayed, “Show this child of thine what blessing she is keeping from her own father” — by staying when He had called her.

If I stayed, might I not keep those dearest to me from God’s richest blessing? But this is a very hard bit to think of, I can hardly face it steadily yet.

“Health” you will think of. He won’t let that hinder if He has said, “Go”. Then as to the money — I don’t see clearly, but I believe He will show us about that. If He does not, I will take it that that means “stay”, for He could not mean me to let you suffer wrongly. But I think soon the boys will be able to help.

To Amy from her mother, Catherine:

My Own Precious Child,
He Who hath led will lead
All through the wilderness,
He Who hath fed will surely feed…
He Who hath heard thy cry
Will never close His ear,
He Who hath marked Thy faintest sigh
Will not forget thy tear.
He loveth always, faileth never,
So rest on Him today — for ever.

Yes, dearest Amy, He has lent you to me all these years. He only knows what a strength, comfort and joy you have been to me. In sorrow He made you my staff and solace, in loneliness my more than child companion, and in gladness my bright and merry-hearted sympathizer. So, darling, when He asks you now to go away from within my reach, can I say nay? No, no, Amy, He is yours — you are His — to take you where He pleases and to use you as He pleases. I can trust you to Him, and I do — and I thank Him for letting you hear His voice as you have done. I shall not speak of your dear loving letter or my feelings. How weak we are. But He knows our frame, and remembers. “Go ye” — my heart echoes. “Oh send forth Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me — let them bring me into Thy holy hill and to Thy tabernacles”, met my eye as I opened my Bible — do you see what the holy hill and tabernacles meant to me in this connection? I never saw it before — and then in the next page comes, “Therefore God has blessed thee for ever.” All day He has helped me, and my heart unfailingly says, “Go ye.” He only knows what this means and will mean to me — to you — to us all. I dare not think — but His grace is sufficient, Amy. Let us keep our eye on Him — and then no wave will swamp us — and He will bear us up in His arms. Oh, isn’t is strange we are not more cheerfully willing followers — to think of His wonderful everlasting love to us, and how little He ever asks in return. Amy, darling, today I got a moment’s glimpse of it all, and how small this life seemed. When we are dying, how very little will it seem that He has asked us to give up for Him. So, my precious Child, I give you back into His loving arms, saying from the depths of my being, “Take her, dear Lord — Thou wilt take the most loving care of her, use her in Thy service and for Thy glory now and where Thou pleasest, for Christ’s sake. Amen.”

For dear Mr. Wilson I feel so much, perhaps more than for myself, but God has his happiness in His keeping. He cannot and will not make a mistake. All other points are minor and must wait — the one thought has been enough today. One step is all that I am equal to — all else will be clear. “The Lord is mt Shepherd, I shall not want.” “Goodness and mercy shall follow me” — and those who trust — “all the days of my life”, and we shall all gather from the north, south, east and west in His home above, and will cast our crowns at His feet, saying “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and blessing.” Til then may we each one be found faithful.

Ever my darling child’s loving Mother.

For days, it seems to me now, the Lord has been preparing the way, Amy, for your letter.

From Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur by Frank Houghton

You can read more about Amy Carmichael’s mother here


May 11, 2007

Territorial turtle's tendency toward terrorizing tats cats

Here is a video for your Saturday viewing. You just have to watch it to believe it.....a high speed guard turtle. Look at his chomping action when there is a shot of the turtle coming directly toward the camera.

I'm amazed...and I think I need one:

May 8, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: A path less traveled

Thank you all for the nice comments about this photo. Since many of you asked about where it is, here is the explanation. We were staying in Creede, Colorado and one day took a dirt road that turned off the 2 lane highway. It went up the mountain (we were down on that road that runs along the valley below in the pic). Then at the top of the mountain, there was a hiking trail that took off over the top, so we went walking. This is where the trail lead. And that is the Rio Grande river running through the valley too. The headwaters for the Rio Grande are in these mountains.

**For more WW photo entries go to Wordeless Wednesday or Five Minutes for Mom.**

May 7, 2007

Hanging by a thread

I went with my husband this morning to make 2 hospital visits. We did end up making 2 visits, but one was not in the original plan. While doing an errand this morning, we found out that one of our high school girls from church was in a car accident about an hour earlier on her way to school. She turned left onto a busy street and was T-boned on the driver's side of her car. With no seat belt on, she is so, so, so blessed to have only a chipped vertebrae in her neck and a hip fracture. She was hit just behind the driver's seat, ejected out her open window and onto the on-coming car, rolling off into the street. Our all consuming thought was: she is the same age as our daughter, who drives to school and turns onto a very busy street every morning. Thank you, gracious Lord, that she is alive. It could have easily been a very different kind of visit we had to make.

For the rest of my life, I will remember the look on her mother's face when we came into the emergency room. She had obviously been crying her eyes out, had just stepped out of bed and into her car to rush to the hospital, waking up to that dreadful phone call...."Your daughter has been in an accident....."

In all seriousness, I think having driving teenagers immediately transforms a luke-warm prayer life into an active, fervent one.

Kelly will be fine after a few months of recuperating. She is in a lot of pain (please pray for her), but is making jokes with her sister and telling her mom about the laundry she left in the washing machine. She also asked her to see if she can reschedule the test she was supposed to have taken this morning at school. My daughters and the other youth from church we have talked to are very sobered by it all.

It is amazing how fragile our lives are. We all hang by a thread between inhabiting these earthly bodies and standing in the presence of God. We are sobered for good reason. Every day we all pull out into traffic, every day we are a heartbeat away from eternity.

Kinda makes you want to close this computer and go hug your kids, doesn't it?

G'night....and God bless you and yours. Hold them near and dear!

May 5, 2007

Sunday Night Hockey

I spent a long time today trying to find and apply the codes for thumbnail links to images. But I found it! And it's'll probably be seeing a lot more of it here, since it doesn't take up my disk space. If you want the code, just hollar at me....uh, or comment or email. =)

Here is what my 2 teenagers and my husband have been doing the past 2 months of Sunday nights. Just click on the little image to see the larger one.

This is our youth room. It is a huge room that they made over to be a hockey rink. Each team has a t-shirt design and banner on the wall. Their goalie masks decorate the end walls too. The bumper walls along the sides are covered with carpeting and the spectators sit on them to watch....or some chickens like me peek in from the doorways to avoid the little rubber balls that come flying.

Very cool logo! It stands for Revolution, the name of our youth ministry.

When Josh (youth pastor) has a game to play, my husband fills in as referree. Isn't he cute? =) The toilet paper decor all around the room is from the current TP wars that the youth group plays on Wednesday nights. ;)

Each game begins with a devotion by one of the youth and a prayer huddle.

May 2, 2007

To change the world....

Today I was reading the blog of a person who is upset with the injustices of our world (no arguement....there are many)...and our country in particular. So what is our response? Can we make a difference or would it be a futile attempt, like a trying to count the sand on a beach or trying to drink the ocean?

How would you change the world if it were up to a realistic or attainable way?

I hate to tell you my answer....because I do not think it is possible. I know how it ends....or should I say how it really starts to Begin for us. I've read the Book.

It's encouraging to know that some Day the striving against evil will be over, but for now we live here on planet Earth. And it is not a pretty sight as far as justice and truth. And I am no crusader for world change or lobbyist for justice.

Here is what I left as a comment on that blog:

Oh my....erm, I'm sorry? ;) I'm not really mocking you, I just never know what to say when you rant. =)

Praying for you and your finals and stuff!!
I love you.....and although the world is not an example of human compassion and it is so very hard to think about how change could ever happen, YOU can be (compassionate) and I know you will make a huge difference in numerous lives over the course of yours. And that is GREATNESS chicky."

A lot of you know I'm talking about my daughter's blog. She is a social work major and is constantly (!) confronted with all manner of societal injustice and she is processing it. It is the kind of blog post that she will probably erase tomorrow, but I hope she doesn't. It's true. And it is informative...and hopefully it will be inspiring to many to put on our compassion and parade it around. We CAN make a difference in many, many lives. We should never give up. We should stay informed and righteously angry and actively pursuing justice in our nation.

But here is my thought (my realistic, practical and attainable thought)...... it is in the day to day contact we have with real live people that will make the greatest impact. I may not have the opportunity to change the world, but I do have countless opportunities every day to show compassion, mercy, grace...oh and don't forget "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Tonight I was at Walmart doing some shopping. Why is it that they always have a gazillion checkout stations, but only a few open at any given time? Even when there are 5-6 customers with baskets loaded with groceries waiting and waiting? Whoops, we go back again: The checkout girl in charge of our lane looked nervous and frustrated. The woman 2 people ahead of me had scads of little children's clothing and each piece had to be scanned. Some were on sale and she had to type in the special numbers. It took FOR EVER....and I said so to my daughter Emma, as we stood in line, examining all the new chewing gum flavors.

I made eye contact with the checker one time and I think I was either sighing visibly or rolling my eyes, because it was conveyed to her that I was annoyed. It showed in her gave her discouragement....what a gift. That second of eye contact did something to my heart softened, it pulled me into check. She was doing her best to keep things moving, she was embarrassed and sorry. I suddenly felt like a real jerk (for good reason), dropped my glance, and gave myself a little talking to. I determined I would show this girl some compassion and let her know it was okay and that she was doing just fine. (and all this was before reading that blog post.....gotta be a God thing)

Next in line was a quiet but aggrivated woman. She showed her frustration very passively, yet as clearly as if she had said it verbally. There was mome confusion and frustration for the checker when a gift card the woman was trying to use was not going through on the computer and a manager had to be called over. Her face got beet red. She looked at the woman and said she was so sorry it was taking so long. To which the woman only responded with silence....very loud silence. She looked at me and appologized. So I seized my opportunity and smiled at her....genuinely this time...and said it was okay. It's funny how deciding and taking action to show compassion actually stirs it in your spirit, and it did. I wanted to help her in some way or take her on break and buy her a coke or at least give her a hug...when a few minutes before I was rolling my eyes at her.

My order went through quickly and she beat me to the "have a wonderful evening" part. I think she meant it. I think just a smile and friendly countenance did wonders for her spirit, as well as mine. And I thought to myself on the way out....why can't I do that for more people I run across every day? It would really encourage people and I feel better too. Face it, when you act like a jerk, you feel like one too. When you act compassionate, you become compassionate.

It's kind of along the 'pay it forward' idea. Show kindness, have some compassion and understanding.

It goes a long way in today's fast paced, agressive, cold world. People are craving it.