Wednesday, November 28, 2012

for today...for now.

it's early. really early. normally i don't like getting up early at all... but these days, i crave quietness enough to get up when all is cold and dark, just to be alone. i haven't blogged in over a YEAR. but, today i felt like blogging. so here's what i've been thinking about: miracles. and experiencing them. as they happen. cause here's the thing: miracles are happening in our hearts and in our lives. they are! when someone chooses to wrap you up in their arms, and love you...what do you think that is? when your heart feels a surge of joy, and experiences a moment of truth, that leaves you going, "wow. i'm changed, because of this, forever." what do you think that is??? the thing is, the moment...the second...we start to fear something being taken from us, is the second the miracle is no longer experienced. holding on to something with a death grip will bring death. isn't that hard though? to allow yourself to feel something so deep and so wonderful, but make a choice to say that if it is taken from me, it will still have been worth it? my tendency is to keep myself safely removed from the miracle so it won't hurt so bad after it's gone. but that's not experiencing it. no matter what the pain... i WANT and choose to experience life. miracles. be transformed. experience redemption. life is now. today. this second. to live fully is to give in to life and the effects it has on your heart. God is doing big things. huge things. i want to be a part of it. i AM a part of it. and i don't want to make the mistake of spending too much time looking back, or looking ahead, and miss the miracle of today.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

the hearts, the tears, the real, of the daughters of the Father

it's hard to believe the last blog i posted was july 15th.
this thing called time.
moving at exactly the same speed always,
and yet all these moments in between where time seems to stand still,
or when it seems to speed up, and you feel as if you are holding on for dear life.

there are times when life seems so SAME.
for so long.
but for me,
i look at the growing bodies of my children,
or the fact that here and there, grey hairs are popping up in my dark brown,
and i know for sure and for certain,
that while life seems same,
it is not.
and i make extra effort to SEE and LIVE,
to soak in the details.

at any given moment,
i am pondering many things.
it's part of the way i'm wired.

(i hit post before i was ready to post. hence the reposting of the above.)

i have been pondering the real.
what does it mean to live in the real?
honest.  transparent.
admitting and acknowledging that pain exists in our lives and hearts.
that longings are there, no matter if we allow them to have a voice or not.
but at the same time,
not getting wrapped up in me.
you know?

doesn't integrity demand realness?

but doesn't our choice to be in Christ also demand something?

so then my sister gave me a book for my birthday.
it's called one thousand gifts. (by ann voskamp)

perfect timing.
for in this book she addresses this very issue.
this acknowledgement of the longings.  the pain. 
but also the choice to believe in God's goodness, and receive His
gifts even as we live and feel what each moment brings.

there is an inner shift happening.
i can feel it.
and it brings peace.

in the last few weeks, i've had the deep honor
of talking real with my sisters in Christ.
these fellow daughters of the Father, who are living the real.
these beautiful women who have entrusted me with their tears.
with their real.
and as i see there tears,
and listen to their hearts,
my own heart responds and i say "yes. yes! this IS what i believe in."
and i am blessed deeply to be allowed in as their hearts feel and seek and live.

and i thank God for the gift of these women.
for their trust.
for their tears.
their faith.
their commitment to live.

and i am also reminded (even in my own heart and life)
how the emeny works even harder to whisper doubts and lies.
to keep us from the real.
and if we do not listen to his whispers, he screams. 
and we work that much harder to not listen.
to counter his lies with HIS truth.

you know those questions that we ask God.
what am i here for?
what IS my purpose?
what would you have for me?
do i have a calling?

i've asked.  many times.
even when He's told me.  many times.
i still ask, because there are times i am afraid to believe what He's told me.
and i think surely i've misunderstood.

but He has told me many times that my calling is to exhort the believers.
can i have the courage to exhort?  to believe? to be real?!

i've talked to other sisters in Christ recently.
i've listened to them, and their words,
and my own heart responded.

i hear this desire,
this common desire,
that says,
"i do not want to be held back any longer.
the pain of being held back,
of holding myself back,
is too great.
i want to be free.  to live with abandon. to run!"

something amazing is happening in the hearts of the daughters of the Father.
and i rejoice!
and i wait and expect!

and i thank God for the gift of each heart and each tear.
the struggle. 
the birthing period.
the agony of labor
for the hope of bringing new life!
deeper, fuller life.

it is such a good thing.

press in dearest sisters.
cry the tears.
feel the depth of the process.
and allow it to happen!
life is a result!

do not be afraid!
our Father says we do not need to be afraid.
and he is a rewarder for those who diligently seek Him.

your reward will be great.
seek on!


Friday, July 15, 2011

a little something: you know how life is just full of stuff?my life ...

a little something: you know how life is just full of stuff?

my life ...
: "you know how life is just full of stuff? my life is full of stuff too. some of the 'stuff' stays the same, some of it changes as the day..."
you know how life is just full of stuff?

my life is full of stuff too.  some of the "stuff" stays the same,
some of it changes as the days and weeks come and go.

there are different ways to veiw life. (obviously.)

some people go for crazy busy,
others seek simplicity.
some people enjoy lots of drama,
others prefer to stay private and withdraw.
some see everything deeply,
others would rather stay on the surface.
it's fascinating, really,
to observe.

and to discover how each of us veiw life.
is it a gift and an adventure?
or something to be tolorated?
maybe sometimes it changes from one to the other,
and then back again.

in any case,
i have learned that small things give much meaning to my life
when i just need a little something. 
something simple.
but full of beauty.
to give me fresh perspectives...
and a new found pleasure in being alive.

a few weeks ago, i was at the cabin with my mother's extended family.
(that is another blog all of its own.)
my cousin, christy, (whom i love with all of my being) and i were shopping,
just the two of us,
at a little country store in cedar run. 
it is a quaint little shop where one can purchase ice cream,
and/or small little gifts.

upon looking,
i discovered a small, hard covered book called find true north. by douglas wood.
christy and i, heads bent over the book, began to read it out loud.
we were "moved to anything."

(quick story.  years ago, my sister had an exchange student from japan.  she wrote my sister a letter about herself before she came.  in it, she attempted to describe her love of nature and learning about all sorts of things.  i remember her mentioning squirrels.  anyway, her way of saying that she was stirred by these sights was this phrase, "i am moved to anything."  so from that time on, whenever my sister and i come across anything we love or that stirs us, we always borrow natsuko's phrase, and say we are moved to anything.  it has been great fun.)

SO...christy and i came across this book that moved me to anything.
i bought it.
and the more i read it, the more it moved me to anything.
so.  i went online when i returned home,
and ordered three more books, used, by the same auther/illustrator

they are such little books. 
with titles like:
the things trees know.
breathe the wind, drink the rain.
prescriptions from the dock.

the titles alone move me to anything.
(i just have such a thing for words.)

this is why i love these books:
they are full of these great little tid bits.
not paragraph after paragraph of how to how to how to...
but little tid bits.
tid bits that are simple, but thought provoking.
i love when things make me think.
cause most things mean more than they seem to at first.
it is just a matter of whether or not we take the time to get past the obvious.

i am going to share some things from the book i got in the mail today.
(it was a little bit like my own personal christmas without any stress)  talk about merry!!!

and now...
from the things trees know...

reach down as well as up.
no roots, no branches.

stand tall,
but bend when you need to.

be a shelter to someone.
(oh that one really moves me to anything!  how many of us take the time to really be shelter to someone?  do you know that offering shelter can make ALL the difference in the world to a human heart and soul?  i am passionate about this truth!)

grow from the bottom up,
from the inside out.
(way too often we skip the bottom and the inside,
and go right to the top and the outside.  a terrible mistake.)

welcome rainy days.
(many, many good things can not happen when the sun is shining.)

know that being beautiful is the same thing as being yourself.
(why do so few people ever grasp this truth?  it makes me so sad.  being beautiful really IS the same thing as being yourself!)

reach for the light.
release the light you've found.
(what good is growth and transformation, if it is hidden and not released?)

go ahead, get big!
(i dare you!  i double dare you!)  smile!

don't let things eat away at you.

be well aquainted with the moonlight.
(do you ever take the time to sit outside at night, and soak in the darkness, and the moonlight?  i think such stirring thoughts, such real thoughts, when i sit alone outside at night.)

it's simple:
if you're living, you're growing.
if you're growing, you're living.

give your fruits freely.
(and be amazed at the return.  be amazed by the sheer joy of giving.)

sometimes all there is to do is endure.
(life is not all grand.  sometimes there is nothing to do but ride it out.  believe that it will pass,
and wait for it to pass.  never under estimate the power to endure.)

sun, storm, drought:
let these sculptors do their work.
(this is SUCH a good one!  it speaks for itself.)

your work is to grow.
(some people choose to do their work.  sadly, some do not.  i want to always do my work.)

each life becomes a part of the landscape.
it becomes someone's landmark.
(the very thought brings me to seriousness.  i am leaving a mark.  each tree does.  each life does.  landmarks are not always beautiful.  but they are landmarks nonetheless.  i am leaving a mark.  others will use it in one way or another.  it will either help them to know which way to go, or help them to know which way to avoid.)

i can not answer for you,
but i surely didn't know trees had so much wisdom to offer.
now we both know.  smile.

i never met douglas wood,
but i just have a feeling he "gets it."

perhaps i'll share something from another one of my little books another day.
but remember, it's not always the fat books that do the deepest teaching.
and sometimes it's just more simple than we make it.

trees...  simple.  alive.  growing.  strong. 
sounds like the real deal to me.

it's a good day to live.
to love.
and to be loved.

until next time,

Monday, June 6, 2011

panties, graduations, and beautiful hearts

well, here i am again.

it's strange to sit down to blog with no idea of what will end up being written. 

today i attempted to teach my daughters how to do laundryyou see,
a few weeks ago, i took very ill.  my sister and my mother had to come and nurse me,
and see to the house and the laundry.  i do not plan on taking ill again, but seldom
does one actually plan these things.
i just think it would be a good idea for more than one person per household to have laundry skills.  (my husband is next on the list to aquire these skills.) 

i am also hoping that it helps my daughters develop an appreciation and an understanding of what actually goes in to keeping a household in clean clothing.
as of now, they are blissfully unaware.

which leads me to this next bit.
i find panties all over the house.
ok.  that's extreme.
but i find them tossed here and there in the bathroom, and in the hallway,
and it's not unheard of to find them in the living room!
what is UP with the dirty panties?!

i have three little girls.  that equals a lot of panties to wash!
now i know, technically, panties are not thought of as a particularly "appropriate" topic,
but who made that rule?  someone has to address it!
i bet i'm not the only mom out there who would be a millionaire by now if we got a penny for every pair of dirty undies we've picked up here and there and washed and folded!! 

and i'm all for changing panties.  i am!
but i do not understand how they end up in the hallway,
or the living room!?
pray tell!
what happens in this process?
my child is walking down the hallway and happens to get the urge to change undies, and just casually steps out of her panties and keeps walking? 
and why don't i see this happening?
where am i when people who live here drop their drawers???

they don't get it from me!

only one time in the history of my life can i remember stepping out of my panties and continuing on with life as if nothing happened.
and i had a good reason for doing so, even though i left my panties by the side of a back road in rural lancaster county!!

i was approx. 10 years old.
we had a phys ed assignment to jog so many miles per week.
my mom would drop me off at a certain spot, and i would run home.
there was a big hill on the above stated jogging route,
but, i only had to run down the hill, not up.
one day i was jogging just as pretty as you please down this big hill,
when i started to feel the elastic of my panties loosing their grip around my middle.
to my horror, with each foot pounding the pavement,
my panties began inching their way downward.
what to do?! what to do?!
i threw a glance back over my shoulder and was even more horrified to see
a car was coming toward me.
i kept running.  the pantied kept creeping down.
soon they were around my knees.
then my ankles!
and i'll be darned if i was going to bend down and hike up my underware
in front of a car full of people.
so.  i couldn't think of a better idea than to step out of them
and keep running as if nothing had happened.
to the best of my knowledge,
that's exactly what i did.
now as a disclaimer:
i may have stopped to pick them up.
or discreetly reposition them at some point.
i really do not know.  because, honestly, i think i've blocked it from my memory.

the whole thing happened directly across the road from my classmate's house.
i was humiliated to think that they could have been watching me from a window.
(like they really were!  but you know.  at 10 you really do think it's all about you, so...) 
i know this is true because i have a 10 year old.  smile.

my grandma newswanger had made those panties for me.
if i recall, they had little snails of different colors all over them.
poor grandma must have run out of good, tight elastic when she whipped
those babies together.  (chuckle)
be very wary of home made panties.  especially when rapid movement is going to be taking place in public.

my above mentioned ten year old graduated from 4th grade on friday.
next year she heads off to middle school. (WHAT?!)
no one warned me that 4th grade graduations are such an emotional experience!
at least for me it was!
i was sitting there the entire time barely holding back the ugly cry!
i had just been to my nephew's 12th grade grad a week ago,
and when i watched my little girl file in to the gym with her class to graduate from the elementary school, i knew, sure as i was sitting there,
that in the blink of an eye,
i was going to be watching her do the real thing.  and my eyes burned with unshed tears.
these kids! they make you want to cheer!  
they make you want to scream
they make you so proud! 
and SO embarassed! 
and so happy! 
and SO mad! 
and so energized! 
and SO tired!!

i was reading olivia (the pig) to cheney today at nap time.
at the end of the story the mommy says to olivia,
"you make me so tired, but i love you anyway."
to which olivia replys,
"i love you anyway too!"
and it was a good reminder that our kids are loving us in spite of our weaknesses,
just as we are loving them in spite of theirs.

it's a good thing, you know.
this people loving people thing.

and the awareness that we are wonderful but flawed,
allows us to lavish love on others who are also wonderful but flawed.

this offering our hearts to one another in openness and truth,
it's so very good.

the other day i sent a long email to a friend who i've only seen but once.
in the email, i poured out many aches and hurts i've been toting around latey.
in her response, she said,
"i don't know what to say to make you feel better, but i'm going to talk to Jesus about you."
she also said she was praying for streams of peace and health to flow over our home in the name of Jesus. 
and i was so blessed.
and so glad i had shared my heart with her.

hearts are so beautiful!
i consider it such a gift to share mine,
and to have others share theirs with me.
i really believe it's God's perfect plan for us.
openness and truth.

God called me to share my heart.
especially with women.
i love, LOVE to be among women!
to catch the pulse of their hearts...
where they are.
and to share with them the pulse of my heart...
where i am.
God has called,
and i am in the discerning process of how i can be even more
intentional about following His call.

in the mean time,
i'll keep washing dirty panties,
and watching for opportunities to
learn and grow.
and laugh.
and share.
and rejoice that i am
so i can love people.

take good care!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

bling gone missing, exile, and masks in abundance

i've not blogged in a long while.
it's not that i have nothing anything to say.
but rather, perhaps, i haven't had the courage to say
what has been on my mind and in my heart.

my wedding band is missing a diamond.
it looks like a ring that lost its first tooth.  except not cute.
it discourages me to look at it.  now it needs to be fixed.
i don't know when the diamond fell out,
or where it fell out.
one night i was taking a bath and happened to look at my ring, and
there it was...
a big hole.

right now life feels like that to me. 
bling gone missing.
it's not a permanent thing.  i know this.
diamonds can be replaced.  things right themselves, and often make sense after a while.
but it still brings a sense of discouragement to see the hole...for now.

i'm just leary to make that statement because people feel like they have to add happy words
to make everything better.
why are people so uneasy with themselves, and/or others feeling the pain of life?
it's like if we claim victory, or put on a smile, we can convince ourselves, and/or others
that the pain isn't real.  or that we're so strong, so as to be unaffected.
it's not true.
it's actually the strong who allow themselves to feel.

to allow the truth to be known,
my life is not always great.

but that's not because my husband and i argue constantly,
or because the kids don't obey,
or because the house looks as if a bomb just exploded...

(but just to keep things real...
sometimes clint and i do argue.
lots of the time my kids do not obey.
my bathroom gets shockingly disgusting in between cleanings.)

it's because life is life.  earth.  not heaven.
a spirit longing for Jesus. and Heaven.

sometimes the ache is greater than other times.
sometimes the body, heart, and spirit grow weary.
that's not weakness.  it's reality.

there is a song i really like right now,
and a phrase in it says,
"i wanna soar with You on wings like eagles,
but i'll crawl with You too."
who are we to say that we will only soar?
sometimes, most times, the guts of it...real life...
it takes some crawling.
but God is still God in the muck and poo (as i say).

in the message, the familiar jer. 29 scripture says this:

"when you come looking for me, you'll find me.
yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed. 
I'll turn things around for you. 
I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you. 
bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. 
you can count on it."

i feel rather exiled right now.
not sure where i'm headed.
not sure what's next.

but God says i can count on Him fixing things.  making things right.
taking me home.

so i will hold fast to my convictions that wearing a mask is a lie.
a plastic smile is far less beautiful to me than a face pinched in pain,
or distorted in anger.
a smile is a thing of beauty.
but only if it is genuine.

today i wanted to buy these great earrings that were big and bronze.
i loved them.
but i am going to speak this saturday eve at a mother daughter banquet.
75 strangers.
and if i were to have bought the big bronze earrings that i admired,
they would have been a mask for me to hide behind.
they would have made a statement that i am feeling bold and confident.
but the truth is,
i feel tired.  and broken.  small. 
so i did not buy the earrings.
maybe another time.  if they are still there.
a time when i'll be able to wear them in freedom and truth.

masks are everywhere.  in abundance.
we're milling about in exile, wearing plasitc smiles.
who's buying this??

i am not a negitive person by nature.
in fact,  i am in the glass is half full camp.
i believe in the good things of life. 


but real is real.
and in the midst of faith, and hope, and love,
as long as we are on earth,
we will wrestle and struggle with things.

i'm holding on to the promise.
and choosing to be real while i wait.

what is real?
the diamond on my wedding band is still missing.
my daughter got in trouble at school for making farting noises in class.
and i'm just gonna say it...
I AM SICK AND TIRED OF RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(feels good to say that!)  smile.

my ring will be fixed in time.
cassie will grow up and (hopefully) not make farting noises anymore.
and the sun is always around the corner.

sometime slowly.
but onward, never the less!

truth! real!
or bust!


Friday, February 11, 2011

exercising, quotes, and celebrating the light side.

well.  i did it.
this week i broke out the mini trampoline.
three days i worked out.
and i learned things about myself.

my attitude towards working out has changed.
i have a weak bladder.
and matt maher is everything i need in a work out buddy!

and before i go any farther,
i'd like to say that there is reading discretion advised for this post.
if you are of the opposite sex,
i strongly advise you to discontinue reading. 
here.  (good by, and please come again another day.)

ok.  now that it's just us girls...
on tuesday i went digging for my one and only sports bra.
let's face it.  a mini trampoline... it was a must.
i finally found it.
next i located my tank top, shorts, my one pair of real sneakers,
and my ipod.
and of course, the trampoline itself.

when i was finally dressed in all my gear,
had hallie situated with school work,
had cheney playing with toys,
and was ready to exercise,
i felt as though i'd already had a mini workout.
or maybe not so mini.

i turned the ipod on and got right to business.
first order of business...
i had the arm swing going and the knees going high.
i was feeling goooood.
soon the music was so motivating,
i found myself doing a nice little jog.
even had  nice form.
feeling gooooood!
and the next thing i knew,
i was so energized by my experience,
i just went to a full out jump.
my spirit was soaring with the worship music,
and i felt so groovy in all my work out gear,
(there is something about wearing workout clothes that makes one feel as if one is limitless.)
and i was so happy with the fact that i was actually exercising.
but as i jumped i had a nagging suspicion that i was peeing my pants.
i was a bit distracted by it, but i really wanted to plow through.
who wants to pause in their work out to change outfits because they had an accident?
not me. 
all of the sudden i wasn't feel nearly so groovy and cool.
i kept jumping and marching and what not,
and then pretty soon my suspicions were confirmed.
i was peeing my pants.

and by now, you are all have different responses -
if you are a male, and you did not heed the advice to stop reading,
you now have no idea whatsoever to do with the information you just read. 
don't blame me.  i warned you.
if you are a young girl,
you probably think it's funny, but sorta gross and weird.  (you just wait honey!!)
if you are a woman who has put your put your poor bladder through multiple pregnancies,
and if you've birthed multiple babies,
then you are laughing, maybe really really laughing,
because you know you would have done the same thing!! 
it's just that most people do not come right out and say
hey, guess what!? i peed in my pants when i exercised.
it really is not very glamorous.  i agree. is real.  isn't it?  and i am ok with you laughing.  because it is funny.

i managed to work out two more times this week without repeating my first experience.
i decided it is worth the inconvenience to stop for a short bathroom break. (smile.)

matt maher makes a fabulous workout companion!
it's so much more enjoyable to have him singing to me,
than to have that annoyingly perky workout girl telling me to do 5 more.

i realized that i have changed.  i like to exercise.  i used to hate it!
but, i used to run from pain.  all sorts of pain.
heart pain and physical pain.
last year i decided no more running. 
i embraced pain for the positive outcome.
my life has blossomed because of that decision.
could it possibly have carried over even in the physical sense?  interesting.
when "exercise people" would say things like "feel the burn!!" like it was positive,
i used to think, "you nut ball!  who wants to feel the burn?!"
but this week while i was pushing my body physically, i was feeling the burn and
was energized by it.
pain is progress!  it means i'm getting somewhere! 

i probably won't exercise every week forever.   it's a season.
i felt the need for self discipline.  for mental stimulation through physical exertion.
for toning my body for myself.  for alone time.  for a challenge. 

why do i feel the need to tone?
read quote below:
"it's rough to go through life with your contents looking
as if they settled during shipping! " ~milton berle

and now because i adore quotes,
i'm going to include a few about diet and exercise.

"you can't lose weight without exercise.
but i've got a philosophy about exercise.
i don't think you should punish your legs
for something your mouth did.
drag your lips around the block once or twice." ~gwen owen

"when i buy cookies i just eat four and throw the rest away.  but first i spray them with raid so i won't dig them  out of the garbage later.  be careful, though, because that raid really doesn't taste that bad." ~janette barber

this used to sooo be me:
"when i feel like exercising i just lie down until the feeling goes away."
~ erma bombeck

"i've been doing leg lifts faithfully for about fifteen years,
and the only thing that has gotten thinner is the carpet where
i have been doing the leg lifts."  ~rita rudner

always something fun to enjoy. 
a little laughter.
something light.  to get us through the heaviness.

i hope you have a wonderful weekend.
i'm going to enjoy a movie with my husband at a very cool little theater.
it has a coffee shop adjoining it.  so you can get your coffee and pastries and
take them with you into the movie.
how great!
and even greater,
is this:
i have a husband who happily watches, with me, movies set back in time.
we are going to see the king's speech.
the main character is played by collin firth.  (mr. darcy!)
i am excited!
for coffee.  for a movie.  for time away with clint.  for mr. carcy.  and all good things.

so.  ta ta for now.
don't forget to look for miracles.

"there are only two ways to live your life.
one is as though nothing is a miracle.
the other is as though everything is a miracle."
~albert einstein

celebrate the miracles.
they are there.
they are there indeed!