Monday, December 14, 2015

Doing Away With 'Should's, Part One

My mother in law snapped some family pictures for us yesterday in the back yard.  I'm determined to send out Christmas cards this year....something I haven't done the last 2-3 years.

I was feeling good about finally crossing this item off my 'to do' list.  And, I was feeling pretty spunky and confident in some new clothes I was wearing.  I had just received the skinny jeans & new black boots I had ordered.  And, I also had a new (to me) black sweater tunic I had purchased at a consignment store to go with those skinny jeans.

I was thrilled to have something a bit more fashionable to wear and I was feeling pretty confident about how I looked.  I was excited to have something fun & funky.  I've been feeling really blah & frumpy lately...and old.  So, I felt more youthful...and maybe even pretty.

My contentment lasted until I saw the pictures.  I was shocked.  Who was that fat woman?  Am I really that big?  While I certainly am not blind to the fact that I'm overweight, I still look different in my mind's eye...and even in my bedroom's full length mirror.  But, pictures don't lie, do they?  The truth is, I'm heavy....a lot heavier than I realized.  And, my fun, funky outfit didn't look nearly as fun & funky as I thought.

I felt like any joy I had felt just crashed & burned.  And, it's been a hard fight for me to find joy lately.  Lots of things have been weighing me down - mainly areas where I feel like I fail.  Failure as a mom.  Failure as a wife.  Failure as a woman.  Failure as a productive member of society.  Failure to keep my home well.  Failure to manage my time well.  Failure to be grateful enough.  Failure to be spiritual enough.  Failure.  Failure.  Failure.

But at that moment, the most pressing failure was my failure to manage my weight.  It has always been a struggle for me.  My weight has yo yo'd up & down ever since my teens.  In my 20's I had managed to stay fairly slim (although at the time I still thought I was fat).  But, with age & having children & sometimes feeling aimless & as though I'm drifting through my life I feel like I have lost any semblance of control I had over my weight.  It scares me.... this loss of control.  I just haven't been able to get a grip.  And, I keep getting larger & larger.

So seeing those pictures, I felt defeated & hopeless.  I actually typed this into google search...because I needed somehow to iterate what I was feeling..."Am I destined to be fat forever?"  Surprisingly...or not surprisingly...quite a few results popped up.  I clicked on the first one.

It was from  In an article there they talked about a study that had been done that showed that once people reach the 'obese' stage (which I now fall in that category according to medical charts), they are highly unlikely to lose weight & keep it off.

Great!  I thought.  Really encouraging.  But then I kept reading, and basically what he was saying in his response to this study, is that there IS hope.  In it he talked about moderation, not beating yourself up, working on being happy with yourself, changing a mindset rather than finding more willpower, and living a healthy life as opposed to following a 'diet'.  He talks about failures, accepting that they happen but not allowing them to derail you.

Ok.  Good stuff.  But, probably all stuff I've heard before.  Stuff I should know by now.  But there was something different about this site.  First, I didn't feel like he was trying to sell me something.  Second, it just seemed a real person...not some flashy website followed by millions of people.  And, not one that was going to say "You're ready to get started?  Awesome here's a 40 minute workout to get you going.  Eventually you can build up to our 2 hour workout, but we have to start somewhere."  In other words, it didn't seem overwhelming.  It seemed to understand how large a hurdle even the smallest amount of exercise or change seems to me right now.

So I signed up for their email updates.  And, the first one I received, asked me to do one thing.  That day.  Take a 10 minute walk.  If it's cold, he said, put on a jacket.  If it's raining, take an umbrella.  Just 10 minutes was all he was asking.

At first, I was like "Yeah, yeah.  Ok.  That seems easy enough.  I could start that tomorrow."  I stopped myself.  No.  This is today.  He's asking me to start this today.  So without thinking or agonizing over it too much more.  I got up & I went out for a walk.

And that's when it got interesting.....

Monday, November 23, 2015

Love Like Jesus?

I was standing in church on Sunday during our worship time singing God's praises.  And, as I looked around at all the people engaged in worshiping God, I asked myself "Do we believe what we are singing?", "Can we take the passion and love that we are experiencing right now & take it outside these doors?", "Or, are we just interested in soaking up all the goodness that God has for us personally without the willingness to share that with others?"

My heart been heavy this last week or so.  After the attacks in Paris, the whole war on terror & Syrian refugee crisis seemed to come to a head.  We are faced with the fact that terrorists can strike anywhere at any time.  And, we are afraid.  And we have spilled that fear over into how we respond to the Syrian refugees.

So many many Christians have said "No.  We don't want them.  We aren't taking that chance."  And, those folks have good reasons, rational reasons for saying that.  "Terrorists could sneak in posing as refugees.  We need to protect our families, our country.  We have so many in need in our own country - we need to take care of them first."

I get it.  I do.  All those reasons resonate with my own thoughts & fears.

But, do they resonate with what Jesus taught us?  Do they?

Jesus - who told the story of the Good Samaritan, an outcast to the Jewish people, who stopped to help a wounded Jewish man.  The Jewish people would not have associated with Samaritans.  They hated them.  They considered them dogs.  Yet, the Samaritan helped a man who he knew in any other circumstance would have spit on him & hated him.

Jesus - who said the greatest commands are 'To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, & all your strength.  And, to love your neighbor as yourself.'  And, when he was questioned on who our neighbor is he shared the story of the Good Samaritan.  Our neighbor isn't just the people who will appreciate us & return our kindness.  Our neighbor is also those who spit on us and hate us.

Jesus - who also said (because he knows we're stubborn of heart & need further clarification) "You have heard it said - Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But, I tell you LOVE your enemies & pray for those who persecute you.

Jesus - who didn't just love the unlovable from a distance, but who welcomed them into his embrace.  The tax collector, the adulteress, the Samaritan woman, uneducated & loudmouthed fisherman - they all encountered Jesus personally & came away transformed.

Jesus - who was willing to go to a bloody, torturous death for us - while we were still sinners, still enemies of God.  He went to that death knowing that not all would accept him, that many would reject him & even mock him.

Friends, I don't want to live a comfortable Christianity.  I'm 45.  I'm middle-aged...most likely even past the midpoint of my life.  Why am I here???  Am I here to go through life as happy as I can?  Or am I here to be the hands and feet of God?  To see His kingdom advance?  To sacrifice my own life & my own desires for His glory?

Sacrifice.  We don't like that word.  We don't like denying ourselves or making ourselves uncomfortable.  We feel blessed when we're warm & well fed & we can afford that summer vacation.  We feel blessed when we have good jobs that pay well & nice homes & family surrounding us.  We feel blessed when we have health and security.  We feel blessed when things are going our way.

And, don't get me wrong.  I'm thankful for all those things.  But, what does Jesus say about blessing?
Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourn
Blessed are the meek
Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness
Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the pure in heart
Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness.

I don't know about you....but some of those don't line up with my American idea of blessing.  Some of those sound...hard & uncomfortable & undesirable.

But we are called to a counter cultural kind of life.  We are called to something beyond what we see as the American dream.

"And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  Luke 9:23
Take up my cross?  Lord, that's hard.  I don't like denying myself & my wants & my ideas of how my life is supposed to go.

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13,14
Oh Lord.  I'd rather stay on this easy path.  Don't ask me to take the difficult path.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."  Romans 12:1-2
There's that word sacrifice again!  Do you really mean sacrifice sacrifice?  Like something that is hard & difficult & painful at times?  Or is it ok that I gave up tv & caffeine for Lent?  Those were sacrifices.  Those were still hard.  I could barely do those.  Please don't ask more of me Lord.

I've felt convicted lately that the American church is missing the mark.  We are missing what being The Church means.  We are missing our calling.  If The Church mobilized & truly started reaching out into this dark, hurting, messy world I believe we would see miraculous transformations in hearts & minds & souls.  We would see the most wicked of the wicked overwhelmed by the Power of a Mighty God's love.

Do we believe it?  Do we believe that love is more powerful than evil?  Do we believe that perfect love casts out fear?  Or, is it just a nice sentiment to tell ourselves when we're feeling a little blue or discouraged.

Christians, if we BELIEVE it - really believe it - we need to LIVE it.  And, it's going to hurt & it's going to cost us....and some of us might even have to sacrifice our lives literally.  Paul said 'For me to live is Christ & to die is gain.'   If we really believe everything that we sing about, teach about, read & pray, then we need to grasp this.  Our lives are to reflect Christ.  And, if we die because of it - we still win!

This is not our final destination.  We are passing through this life.  We are ALL passing through this life.  We get to keep nothing that we value in this life.  "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
I want to share one more thing.  I had begun a time of prayer & fasting a few weeks ago.  As it turns out there was conference at our church that happened about a week after I'd started this fast.  What I didn't know is that the speaker who was there has a ministry that specifically focuses on prayer & fasting.  The conference was called 'Open Wells' & it focused on God's spirit springing up like an open well...that there is an abundance of spiritual water for those who thirst.

That first night of the conference I went home & went to sleep but woke up around 3 in the morning.  There were words resounding in my head.  I woke up & thought those are pretty powerful.  I should remember them.  I felt compelled to get up & write them down.  I did.  And as I lay back down, more words started coming.  I got up again, wrote them down & went back to bed.  But, when I still felt like there were more words coming for the third time, I got up & went downstairs so I wouldn't disturb John & I could write down everything I felt God was saying.

It's not easy for me to share things like this.  But, I feel God is calling us into something deeper than a comfortable Christianity.  And, these are the words he laid on my heart.  I don't think they're just for me....

"You cry out, "More Lord!"  And, I say "It is enough."
What I have given is sufficient for the plans & purposes I have set before you.  It is time to stop just taking in & start giving out.

I won't pour myself into vessels that only sit and receive ...with my precious living water running out uselessly on the ground.  They must be willing to pour themselves out and share my water with those dying of thirst.  Then revival will come.
Yes, fast!  Yes, pray!  Yes, praise me!  Yes, ready my word!
But do not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word.  

And I say, "Go forth!"
You are a mighty army that has assembled & prepared itself.  And, now it is time to advance.  Even the strongest & mightiest army is useless if it does not engage the enemy.
So I say, it is time to move out & fight!

And this battle will be fought with unusual weapons -
with love
with mercy
with justice
with a holy passion
with forgivenes

And I will go before you.  And the enemy will have to flee.  He will leave behind his wounded & you will pick them up.  You will care for them, tend their wounds, & bring them into your camp.  
And so your army will grow & will continue to advance the kingdom of God.  
It is time to advance!"

One other thing..... we know that God's heart is for ALL the nations.  This link has a really good list of the many, many Bible verses that speak of this...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Moving From Negativity Into Thankfulness & Joy

(I decided to remove the original post I made on insecurity & envy that this post refers to.  As I mention in this post I was pretty deeply embarrassed that I shared some of the negative thoughts & assumptions that I had made.  I am worried that some of the things I said in that post, made out of my owns feelings of inadequacy may have actually been hurtful to others.  In retrospect it was probably never a post I should have share publicly and I should have dealt with some of the complicated emotions privately - working through them with God's help.)

I'm not sure how to begin this post or how exactly to say everything that I feel I need to say.  But, after my last post God's really been challenging me & bringing to light issues in my spirit that I need to deal with.  He's done this through His word & time spent with Him, and through the words of others.

I have a tendency toward negativity.  There are two major contributors that I see to this tendency.  The first is learned behavior.  There's a bit of a generational thing that seems to have been passed down through the women in my family.  It certainly isn't an intentional thing...but it's there, this tendency to see the darkness more easily than seeing the light.

The second stems from the fact that I'm extremely introspective and I feel things deeply.  Often this introspection can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed by all the BIG emotions pressing in on me.  The state of world, all it's problems, the struggles of others.  It can sometimes seem like the enemy is winning on every side.  And, that's a pretty big recipe for the negative.

All this to say, that when I start experiencing negative emotions or thoughts, it can be very easy to forget the greatest ways to combat negativity - thankfulness & joy.

I'd say that was pretty evident in my last post.  I had gotten so wrapped up in my own insecurity & envy that I allowed thankfulness & joy to be stolen away.  In fact, I practically gave them away.

Frankly, I'm pretty embarrassed by my last post.  While it accurately described how I was feeling at the time, I'm not sure that it was something I needed to put 'out there'.  And, even though the people who I had expressed so much envy over probably didn't read my post, I still feel as though I owe them an apology.

And, that's rather awkward isn't it?  "Hey.  I'm not sure if you somehow came across something I posted on the internet or not, but I want to apologize for allowing assumptions, fears, insecurities, and envy to control my emotions and possibly to have hurt you."  I'm still praying about whether or not to have that conversation.
You see, I did get to spend time with them this past weekend, and here's the thing.....They are really fun, genuine, warm, welcoming, Spirit filled, great people.  And, I almost missed that.

How many things do we miss in life when we allow negativity to rule our worldview?

I am reminded that thankfulness & joy is supposed to be a way of life for us as Christians.

I Timothy 4:4 & 5  "For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer."
I Thessalonians 5:16-18  "Be joyful always: pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Hebrews 12:28, 29 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverance and awe for our 'God is a consuming fire' "
Philippians 4:4-7  "Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in Christ Jesus."
Psalm 95:  1, 2  "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."
Thankfulness & Joy go hand in hand.  It's next to impossible to be thankful and not feel joy.

Here's what I was reminded of these past couple weeks....something the enemy would love for me to forget.  I am insanely, lavishly, incredibly blessed.  God has given me very good things indeed.

-I have an amazing husband who loves me in spite of my failings.
- I have four beautiful, crazy, funny, talented, smart, wonderful boys.
 - Our family has health
 - We are surrounded by family and friends who love us and support us.
 - We have an incredible church where we are continually challenged to grow deeper in our relationship and understanding of God.
 - We have a home that not only has all the essentials we take for granted (electricity, running water, a solid foundation) but is filled with memories and love.
 - I have a pretty amazing view in my backyard.  God's unspoiled & beautiful creation stretches out before us.
 - We have always been able to meet our financial obligations.  Even when things are tight, there has always been a way.
 - In addition to paying our bills, there has been extra that we've been able to spend on vacations, family outings, and hobbies.  And, there's been the ability to give & share when needs arise.
- We love our school district and feel confident that they have our children's best interests at heart.
- We live in a country of freedom!
 - We have transportation.
 - We have plenty to eat.

I could go on and on.  And, I should!  You should!  We all should!  While 'count your blessings' may sound cliche, it's so good for the heart and the soul.

A while back I read "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" by Ann Voskamp.  In it she delves into this idea of living a life of thankfulness.  She repeatedly uses the Greek word Eucharisteo which means thanksgiving.  She talks about three words that work together, go together -
Charis - Grace
Eucharisteo - Thanksgiving
Chara - Joy

I want to read the book again.  She has a beautiful way with words.  They penetrate deeply into the soul.  Because they echo the Truth.  They reflect God's words.

And, Thanksgiving & Joy are things worth fighting for.  Trust me.  It is a fight.  It's so much easier to give in to the negative, to the darkness.  But, declare today, that I will fight for Thanksgiving, Joy, and Truth in my life with the goal of being able to share those with others.

Monday, August 31, 2015


***Prelude:  I wrote this post several weeks ago and never published it.  Mainly because I felt like I was being a big whiny baby.  And, frankly, just writing down all my frustrations helped.  But, I came across it again tonight & thought.'Why not share it?'.  Oh, and as it turns out 3/4 of the things I was stressing about have come and gone & I'm none the worse for wear.  The kids are in school.  The back to school shopping got done.  Vacation happened and it was good.  Taxes got paid.  ***

The word of the day is Overwhelmed.  Being overwhelmed is something I frequently experience.  But, sometimes I reach that threshold where I'm SO overwhelmed that I start to break.  I'm breaking today....fighting back tears of frustration and a sense of being unable to take control of everything going on around me.

It's nothing major.  It's just a lot of little things.  Like the kids going back to school in a little over a week.  Still needing to do back to school shopping for supplies and shoes.  Like the fact that my oldest is going into middle school and that's a whole new learning curve for him and me.  Like the fact that my youngest is going into Kindergarten.  He's not my baby anymore.  This is the first year that all my children will be in school.  And a part of me is looking forward to the freedom and opportunity that offers....and part of me mourns.  I mourn the years of my children being little and needing me.  Did I embrace that time enough?  Did I give enough?  Am I embracing this time now enough?  Am I giving enough?

Then there's the fact that we waited until the last minute to do a family vacation this summer.  Yup.  We're doing it this week.  The week before school.  Because we're a bit crazy like that.  And I should be looking forward to it, but right now all I can think of is everything that needs done.

Did I mention that I forgot Kindergarten orientation?  Yup.  That was last week.  Missed it.  Did I mention that my oldest is in the process of getting braces?  Read:  Orthodontic appointments.  Orthodontic appointments.  Orthodontic appointments.  And,  I got the total cost for the next two years of orthodontic treatments.  Wow.  It's not cheap.

Which leads to other financial considerations.  Fall taxes on our home and our rental property are due.

Oh, what else?  It's soon time to start planning our next Vintage Sale.   We don't have a food stand coordinator this time around.  So, that's added pressure.  And, I'm just not feeling it this time.  I'm feeling like I want to take a step back & re-group....figure out what's next & how to organize my life.

Speaking of organization, that's something that I have as a goal once my children are back in school.  Because frankly my house is a huge source of my frustration and being overwhelmed.  It's a disaster area!  I don't mean  that in the sense of 'oh we have a couple things out of place'.  (Ugh.  If I read one more blog where someone takes before and after home organization pictures where their 'before' is way better than anything I could ever dream of...I will scream).  My house needs some serious attention.  And, I honestly don't even know where to begin.

But, you know.  I'm a stay at home mom whose kids are all going into school, so I  should have perfection in my home & my life, right?  I feel this sense of  judgement....from noone in particular, just a general societal judgement...that managing our home and our family isn't enough.  I should be able to do that AND hold a full time job.  I must be a slacker.

Which is evidenced by the fact that I've gotten fatter than I've ever been before.  Yup.  I weigh more than I did when I was PREGNANT!   No matter how often I try to get a handle on this area of my life, I fail..over and over and over.

There's more.  There's always more because I constantly walk around feeling like I'm not enough.  I'm not doing enough.  I'm not being enough.  I'm not giving enough.  And, that my friends is the perfect recipe for being overwhelmed.

How do I pull myself out of this?  I don't think I can.  I really don't.  I try to remind myself that God is our strength in the midst of our weakness.  But, how does this translate into living my life?  I mean I still have to DO things.

Anyhow, sorry for the pity party.  I feel better getting it out.  Sometimes I just need to get the stuff out of my head and written down, so that I can deal with what's bugging me.

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Battle is His

I was feeling overwhelmed yesterday.  Overwhelmed by the hardness and callousness of this age.  When people can be confronted face to face with what abortion is.  When people can see plain as day that Planned Parenthood has been breaking federal law....when they see the casual-ness with which they discuss the sale of the body parts of unborn babies.  And not care.

But more than not care.  They defend.  They lash out in hatred.

And I feel helpless.  How do I respond?  What kind of difference can I make when hearts are so hardened?

And I came across this passage in 2 Chronicles 20: 15-17.  It felt like it was meant for me in this situation....

"He said Listen King Jehosophat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem.  This is what the Lord says to you.

  'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them.

 They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.

You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you O Judah & Jerusalem.

 Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you."

Jehosophat and his people responded with praise.  The day of the battle they sang and praised God.  And as they did, God began to defeat the enemy causing confusion among them so that they destroyed each other.  King Jehosophat's army never had to fight.

Verses 29-30
"The fear of God came among all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.  And the kingdom of Jehosophat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on  every side."

God fought the battle.  And, God received His glory.

And I felt God was saying to me.....
The battle is not yours.  It is the Lord's.  Do not feel compelled to do what I have not asked you to do.  Do only what I ask.  And I am asking you to pray.

So stand firm.  Pray.  Praise Him.  The battle is His!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fifty five million

Fifty five million.  Fifty five million men, women, and children who should be here..standing beside us, a part of our lives. Sometimes maybe you can sense what could have been, what should have a whisper, in shadow & light, in a thought much like a memory.

Fifty five million people who WERE and then were not.  Can you feel them?  They should be here now.  They would be our brothers & sisters, our aunts & uncles, our friends, our colleagues, our spouses.  Today some of them would be fathers & mothers themselves.  They would be connected to us, an intricate part of our lives.  If you've ever felt that something was missing..someone was's because they are.  Fifty five million people are missing.

Entire generations, entire futures eliminated, erased.

Each life is unique.  We know this.  This is scientific fact.  The genetic code in each and every person is unique to that person.  There never was and never will be another person like the person introduced at the time of conception.

So how many unique opportunities, talents, skills have been discarded along with fifty five million people?  Countless.  Where would we be today with them beside us?  We will never know.

We can't get back what has been lost. But we can take a stand. And we can offer HOPE to the women who face what others tell them are impossible circumstances. We can offer SUPPORT to those who choose going beyond just the birth of their child and speak life into their lives.. We can offer HEALING to those who made a different choice. We can offer LOVE to those around us. And we can speak up for LIFE.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Thorn in My Side

I have a problem with food.  Well, actualy, I should point out that I LOVE food.  My problem is actually a problem with self-control.

So many of my Facebook friends seem to have gotten on the health boat and are sailing along so smoothly.
I've gotten on many health boats over my lifetime,  But, as the boat starts to pull away from the shore, food beckons me with it's siren song & I jump from the boat & swim back to my island of "I'm gonna eat what I want to eat when I want to eat" and "It's easier to just sit here & I don't want to exercise".

And, the thing is, I know from experience that being healthy feels good.  It feels so much better than the blobby ball of lethargy and blech that I am now.  But, even those times I've worked hard to get to a certain point and I feel good, I'm still eventually wooed back by the allure of eating greasy, fatty, salty, sweet, rich, decadent food.

I can't even imagine long term maintenance of weight loss....because I ALWAYS gain it back.
There's a part of me that has thrown in the towel and says that I just don't care anymore...that feels destined to always have a weight problem.

But, then there's another part of me that doesn't want to become what I'm becoming....I already see the toll that carrying around extra weight is taking on my body.  I have so little energy, aches & pains, it aggravates my varicose veins (which are a genetic trait passed down in my family, but which I think could be lessened if I wasn't so heavy).  I waddle when I walk.  I get out of breath quickly.  I DON"T want to get old before I'm old!

Looking at everyone else's successes actually makes me less motivated....if that makes any sense.  I see everyone tapping into something that finally clicked for them.  And, I've tried so. many. times.  Even when I think I've finally found my groove, I always, always, always fall back into my old ways.

Food in many ways is an addiction for me.  I hesitate to use that word, 'addiction' because I think it sometimes gets overused.  But, when I look back over my relationship with food I definitely see some addictive behavior patterns.  And, I know from my past and with other issues, it's very easy for me to fall into addictive behavior.

I'm frustrated.  I know it's going to take work.  And work is....hard.  It's so much easier just to not think about making healthy choices.  When I'm feeling discouraged & lethargic, where do I find that motivation to pull myself up by the bootstraps...especially when the boots feel so heavy?

I'm not sure what I'm looking for.  Not sympathy or pity.  I've written about this struggle often enough for it to sound like a broken record.  I guess I just needed to vent.  I needed to express what's on my heart and mind.  Sometimes, just writing it it a voice...helps bring me some relief and clarity.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Be Still

There has been a great heaviness on my heart.
I watch as this world spins out of control.
People consumed with a thirst for self-fulfillment and pleasure.
There is no room for authority.  No room for right or wrong.
Everything is relative.
They not only reject God, but scorn Him, spit upon Him, loathe Him.

And, it breaks my heart.
I've been saying that a lot lately.
But, it's true.  My heart is broken.
To know that so many refuse to see
There is more.
More than what running after their own passions can ever supply.

And, I feel helpless.
Any word I might speak in love
is misconstrued as hate, as intolerance, as oppression.
The blinders are on.
They can't see the chains binding them.
That God wants to free them.

I spent the afternoon listening to hymns, finding comfort there.
Be still, and know that I am God.
And in my stillness...a prayer, a word of faith rose up within me.....
Perhaps it will bring you the peace it brought me.

He is still sovereign  Isaiah 25:8

He is still sufficient  2 Corinthians 12:9

His great love & mercy endureth forever  Psalm 136:4

He is Alpha & Omega, beginning and the end  Revelation 21:6

He makes known from ancient times what is still to come  Isaiah 46:10

His compassions they fail not  Lamentations 3:22

Every knee shall bow & every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord  Phillipians 2:10

His mercies are new every morning.  Lamentations 3:23

He is my strength  Psalm 28:8

He is my righteousness  Isaiah 61:10

He is our fortress  2 Samuel 22:33

He is our refuge  Psalm 46:1

There is none like Him.  Isaiah 46:9

He is Holy.  Isaiah 6:3

His purposes stand.  Psalm 36:11

Do not listen to the roaring
   of the world
The wild clashing
   and angry refrains

It seeks to drown out
   His peaceful song
His sweet melody
   the world cannot endure

But Truth rings out
    soft and pure
In the hearts of men
    a remnant stands

Still yourself
     lest you cease to hear
the gentle leading
     in your soul

Thursday, June 18, 2015

To Soothe My Soul

To say that I've been feeling spiritually dry lately is an understatement.  I'm not even sure I can point to exactly why.  I know I haven't been spending time reading the Bible or praying like I should.  But, it's a vicious cycle you know.  Hitting a dry spell leads to less desire to read & pray.  Less reading and praying leads to more dryness.  And, so on.

I've been trying to force myself to read a quick passage here and there.  (That sounds terrible doesn't it?  Force myself?  But, being honest here).  Sometimes something speaks to me.  Sometimes I'm just checking it off.  Read my Bible today?  Check.

Well, today I was feeling like I wanted to listen to some music to feed me spiritually.  But (here I am being honest again) sometimes, modern worship music leaves me.....wanting more.

Don't get me wrong.  I do enjoy a lot of it.  And, some of it really speaks to me.  But, a lot of times?  A lot of times it's repetitive and not very...meaty.

One of the things that drives me absolutely batty at church or when listening to certain worship music is saying the same phrases over and over and over and over and over and over.

Sometimes I just want a SONG.  A song written with verses and a chorus and something really substantive to say.

I clicked on youtube.  At first I thought I'd look for the newer worship song 'It is well'...not to be confused by the hymn 'It is well'.  But, that's exactly what happened.  I actually ended up clicking on a Chris Rice version of the hymn 'It is Well'.  And, almost immediately  peace just washed over me.  I sang along. I cried.

Then, I saw that he had a whole bunch of hymns that he had covered.  And, by covered...I don't mean he mangled them & tried to 'modernize' them.  He just sang these hymns straightforward and the way I was used to hearing them....with ALL the verses!  Not just a couple of most well known verses mixed in with some new arrangement.  He sang the WHOLE HYMN.

I listened to Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  I wanted to listen to more.  But, then my husband came home from work and I turned it off so I could talk to him.

But, as I listened to those hymns, I listened as someone who was starving for the nourishment there.  The words are so rich, so meaningful, so poetic & beautiful yet powerful.  This verse from Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing spoke so deeply to me.

"O to grace how great a debtor 
daily I'm constrained to be! 
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
prone to leave the God I love; 
here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
seal it for thy courts above. "

I mean that song verse met me pretty much right where I am.

And, I don't want to sound mocking in any way.  But, that meant so much more to me than another song we sing in church that goes round my head so often (probably because it's so repetetive)..."Fill me up God, Fill me up God, Fill me up God.  Fill me up."  Yes, I want to be filled.  But singing those words over and over like a mantra doesn't really do it for me.

But after listening to these hymns today I felt like I had sat down to a MEAL.  In comparison, some modern worship songs are like soda....bubbly, light, and sweet - but not very nourishing.

If I had it my way, I'd love for our church to use a mixture of traditional hymns and modern worship.  But, it seems like so many churches today have abandoned the hymns that I grew up with. 

 I'm not sure what the solution is to this.  But today, I found soothing for my soul.

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Heart Is Breaking For Bruce Jenner

Ok.  Add another topic to 'Things I Wasn't Going To Blog About' that I ended up blogging about.

I know some people who will strongly disagree with me on this post.  I know some people who might even despise me for it...or at least have a lesser opinion of me.

The thing about controversial subjects is that they create such a huge emotional response in people.  And, it's hard to be heard...and not misunderstood...when emotions run high.  I usually try to avoid jumping in the fray.  Chances are people are firmly rooted in their beliefs about a subject and nothing I say will change their minds.  If anything, it will just create ill feelings.

But, there are also times when you have to speak up.  And, I feel like this is one of those times.

Facebook blew up today with the latest 'viral' news.  Bruce Jenner has officially introduced himself to the world as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine along with his new persona, 'Caitlyn'.  We knew it was coming.  This story has been in the news a lot recently.  But now it's 'official' with this unveiling.  He has become she.

Or has he?

The simple answer is 'no'.  Just as I can no sooner announce that I am now a different race, or that I'm a cat, or a rock, Bruce can't announce that he's now a woman.     I am still a Caucasian human being.  And, Bruce Jenner is still a man.  He can FEEL like he's something else. He can WANT to be something else.  But, it doesn't change who he IS.

For those people who would say that all that matters is how he feels inside, what he most identifies as, I have a few questions.  What is the new criteria for identifying gender?  Is it what someone FEELS?  If so, isn't that awfully subjective?  For a society that so loudly and frequently points to science as being the only measure by which we can determine reality, I thought something more objective (like DNA & chromosomes) would be required.  For a society that frequently bashes Christians for believing in 'fairy tales' that can't be scientifically supported (I disagree on the lack of evidence by the way), doesn't it seem disingenuous to now support this concept of an individual's reality being subjugated solely to that individual's feelings?

But people are loudly cheering him on and congratulating him and calling him a hero.

And, that really makes me sad.  I feel a huge burden for Bruce Jenner.  I am watching as an entire nation is enabling a man with a serious emotional problem. I agree that Bruce is suffering from gender dysphoria.  He feels a disconnect with his body. He truly believes that he will be happier as a woman...that at his core he is a woman.

And the people cheering him on really believe they are helping.  They believe that now Bruce can truly be free and happy.  I know that they believe they are truly showing compassion.  I don't doubt their sincerity.  And, I admire their hearts.  But, sadly, they've bought into the same destructive lie that Bruce has bought into.  That he was born a mistake of nature or creation.  His body failed him.  He was not who he was supposed to be.

That. Is. A. Lie.

Bruce might be happy for a time.  This initial rush of realizing something he's been longing for and all the accolades he's receiving will fill him for a while.  But, when that first euphoria and the media storm dies down, Bruce will still be left with the void and the emptiness that has been haunting him all along.

One day down the road he will wake up and realize that changing his appearance, altering and maiming his body, choosing a new name and 'choosing' a new gender hasn't really changed the pain in his heart.

There is only One who can do that.  One who doesn't make mistakes.  One who knows us even better than we know ourselves.  One who created us.  Each and every one of us with a plan and a purpose.

Only the healing and redemptive love of Jesus can ease the burden Bruce has been carrying.  Only Jesus can bring him peace and true joy.  Only Jesus can help Bruce finally feel like he is who he is meant to be.  Not surgery, not hormones, not make-up.  Jesus.

I know someone somewhere will somehow find my post 'hateful'.  I'm not sure how when I've tried to approach this from a place of grace & compassion.  Please hear me.  I don't hate Bruce Jenner.  I don't hate transgender people. I love them deeply.  And, because I love them...because I know God loves them, I want for people to speak truth and life into their lives.

 I see them as hurting and broken people in this hurting and broken world.  And, yes,  we are all hurt or broken in some way.

But, I can't keep silent when I know

There is a Healer!
There is a Redeemer!
There is Grace and true Peace available to us all.

I will agree with those with more liberal leanings on one point.  Yes, there is IS more to our identities than our physical makeup.  There IS our soul.  And as God knit us together, he formed in each of us a unique tapestry weaving together who we are.  And, at Bruce's core, he is masterfully created and deeply beloved by the one who commands the universe. What his SOUL...what all of our souls groan for is deep communion with God.  The peace and sense of belonging that Bruce seeks does not come from rejecting how he was created but by finding union with the one who created him.

Matthew 11:28 & 29  "  Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Isaiah 55: 2, 3  "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.  I will make and everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David."

Psalm 42:  1, 2 "As the deer pants for streams of water. so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It Hurts My Heart...But Not for the Reasons You Might Think

I cancelled our newspaper subscription a couple months ago.  I had a few reasons, but my main reason was that all too often I came away from reading the newspaper...specifically the editorial page & letters to the editor...feeling sad, disheartened, discouraged, or frustrated.

There's so much out there to make us feel overwhelmed...and not just in our newspapers.  It's in social media too.  So many opinions.  So many hurting or angry people who lash out at others whose opinions differ from theirs.

And, so many people who reject God.  And many of them seem to hate, or at the very least have serious disdain for those of us who believe in Him.

So, I canceled the paper because it seriously depressed me.  But, the last couple weeks it's been coming to our house again.  I can only guess that this is a marketing strategy by the newspaper to try to woo us back as customers.

I'll admit.  I've enjoyed getting the paper again.  For as much discouraging news & opinion there is, there are also interesting and joyful tidbits.

But, this morning I was reminded of what it was that made me cancel it in the first place.  I was reading the letters to the editor and there was one in there where the author was responding to some earlier letters written by people who were obviously Christians and expressing their Christian views.  This author wrote in to disparage the views he had read in those earlier letters.

His opening line included..." I would note that this country was not founded on religious principles but on the freedom to worship any manmade entity chosen".
Did you catch that?  Any 'manmade' entity.  It immediately clued me in to the direction and the tone that his letter would take.  But, I kept reading.  Here are some additional exerpts from his letter...

"the book of fairy tales known as the Bible."
"The women of this country and the world crack me up: They believe in a silly book that has held them as second-class citizens since fools started reading it."
"In 2007, a poll showed 78 percent of Americans considered themselves Christian. By 2015, such poll results were down to 70 percent. I take great comfort in seeing that the people of this country have gotten 8 percent smarter. I guess it is harder to get people to believe in silly stories when you can’t force them at the point of a sword or business end of a firearm.'

Actually, that was the majority of his letter.  There were only a few other sentences I didn't include.  I came away from reading that letter to the editor feeling like someone had punched me in the stomach.  And, I haven't been able to shake it from my thoughts all day.

The things written by the author of this letter were actually quite mild.  If you spend any time reading comment threads under posts or articles about controversial subjects that appear on the internet, you'll quickly notice the prevailing attitude toward people of faith....and there's a lot of anger and hatred.

I know some of that anger comes from the way that some Christians have abused the name of Christ.  Sometimes wounded people walk into the Church and walk away with deeper wounds than before.

I also know that the Bible tells us that we can expect to be hated, persecuted, and ridiculed.  I know that people will see the Cross as foolishness or a stumbling block.

I know this.  And, yet, it still hurts.

Here's the truth.   Part of why it hurts is because it hurts my pride.  It's no fun to hear people say that as a Christian I must be a fool or a bigot....lacking intelligence or any sense of reason.  It hurts my heart to hear people mock the Truths and the Faith I hold sacred and dear.  I cringe when they take the Name of the One who created our inmost beings in vain....flinging it about as just another cuss word.

But there's another reason it hurts my heart.  It is the reason that it follows me through my day....the reason that my heart is in inner turmoil.

You see, they can call me a fool.  They can call me deluded.

But, what really hurts is when I see how closed their hearts and minds are to God.  I CARE about these people.  I care deeply about those who have rejected God.  And, I don't know how to reach them.  I don't know how to change their minds.

I know that ultimately only the Holy Spirit can change a heart.  But, I so often pray for  or look for the words to say that might plant a begin to open their hearts and minds to the reality of God.

I've taken apologetics courses.  And, they have been great confirmations for me of what I already know in my heart.  There are so many logical, fact-based, science-based arguments for God.  But, I'm not good at recalling a specific argument during a discussion.  And, I'm certainly not as eloquent as some of our modern-day apologists like Mary Jo Sharp, Ray Ciervo, Norman Geisler, Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, and many more.

I can hear and take in and understand the excellent points that they share.  But, I feel like a total dud when I try to incorporate those points into a conversation.  I'm not a great communicator.  And, I'm certainly not a great debater.  I'm too emotionally driven.  It's too easy for me to become emotional in the midst of a discussion.  And, someone who is truly effective in debate needs to be able to keep their emotions in check.  They need to maintain an attitude of compassion but also to have a clear mind and not allow themselves to become clouded with emotion.

So I think of the many people I know who are atheists or agnostics.  And, I think of those who have placed their hope in a false god.  I think of an entire world of lost people.  And, I don't know what to do.  I don't know how anything I can say or do can put a dent in their unbelief.

I feel helpless.

And, this is so critical.  This is a matter of eternal life and eternal death.

I know I can pray.  And, I do.  I frequently prayerfully intercede for those I know who don't believe.  I pray that God would work in their lives, would reveal Himself to them.

I recently had someone tell me that I am a burden-bearer.  I see the needs or hurts of other people and I feel it deeply in my own heart.  And, then someone else mentioned that burden bearers are also those who are often called to intercessory prayer.

This seems to fit me and my personality and the way I am wired.  But, then, I still question myself.  Am I using prayer as a cop out from actually DOING or SAYING anything?  But, then, I argue with myself again and say that kind of attitude reveals my true attitude about prayer...that it's a nice thing to do but doesn't hold the same power as physically doing or saying things.

And, round and round I go.  I get myself so turned upside down that I'm no longer effective at anything. 

And, so instead of taking the burdens of the world upon myself (only One can and DID do that), I need to keep it simple or I will analyze it to death.  What should my response be?

Pray:  Prayer IS powerful.  More powerful than we realize.  NEVER underestimate prayer.

Love:  Love whenever the opportunity presents itself....a kind word, encouragement, a good deed.  These all go further than we can know.

Speak:  Don't be afraid to speak the truth.  But choose your times to speak wisely and always with compassion.

Trust:  Trust that God's got this.  He knows the hearts of each and every man, woman, and child more intimately than we can know or they can know their own selves.  He is still sovereign.  He reigns.

"I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say:  My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please."
Isaiah 46: 9-10

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Schooling Decisions: Public, Private, or Home School?

I put my foot in my mouth the other week.  I do this fairly often.  You would think I would either learn avoid doing it or at least not let it bother me so much.  But,  as always, I was so embarrassed.  And, then, I wondered if it was better to go back to that person & apologize for what I considered quite the snafu or to just let it go.  I'm pretty sure I analyze things more than the average joe.

Anyway, our son Joseph attends preschool two days a week at a really awesome small private Christian school.  He LOVES preschool and we've had a really wonderful experience there.  There's a wonderful sense of community in that school.  And, part of me wishes we could afford to send all our boys there.

We received a call from the admissions director wondering what our plans were for Kindergarten for Joseph.  We explained that he'll be attending Kindergarten at the same public school that his brothers go to.  But, I told her how happy we've been with them and how much Joseph has enjoyed preschool.  Like any good  admissions director, she asked what went into our decision process about where to send him.  They like to have a sense of what families are looking for.

I explained that the main deterrent to private school for us was the cost.  She explained a bit about their scholarship programs.  And, she inquired about any other reasons we may have.   What if money weren't an issue, were there other considerations?  I told her we are actually quite happy with our district and that it's an awesome public school.

She dug a little deeper.  Was there anything else?  And, here's where I stuck my foot in my mouth.  This is not something in a million years that I normally would have shared with the admissions director at a private school.  But, it seemed like she could sense that there was even more behind our decision.  And, she was right, there was.  And, she SEEMED to really want to know.  So, I told her.

I told her how I had once heard someone I respect say, that if all Christian families pull their children from the public school system to either homeschool or attend private school, who was going to be left to shine a light in our public schools?  And this has kind of stuck with me.

And, I told her this.

There was a pause.  A silence that told me I said too much.  I immediately regretted it.  She, of course, being very professional regained her footing and said something very diplomatic like 'I can certainly respect that.'  But, I felt so foolish.  Like I mentioned, this normally wouldn't have come out of my mouth.  But, somehow it did anyway.

Because, here's the thing.  I absolutely believe that each family is called in different ways.  Some are called to homeschool.  Some to private school.  Some to public.  One is not 'more right' than another.  I DO respect each families individual choice about schooling their children.  It's just that for us, public school seems to be the right choice.

When I had my first son, I almost immediately began reading up on the whole home-schooling movement.  I have my degree in elementary & early childhood education, so I thought this could be  the thing for me.  In fact, I had become so convinced from all the things I was reading, that I was pretty sure it should be the right thing for everyone!

Then, I had my second son....and my third.  By the time, my oldest had reached Kindergarten age, I had three children age 5 and under and I was tapped out!  I couldn't even begin to fathom how I would add homeschooling into the mix.   So, we enrolled him in public school.  But, homeschooling was still in the back of my mind.

We also liked the idea of private Christian school. My husband had attended a Christian school for all but one of his years in school.   But, we had even less money then to work with than we do now.  It wasn't financially feasible. We knew that John's parent's had sacrificed a LOT so they could send their four children to Christian school.  But, we already felt like we were living as frugally as we could.  We didn't see what else we could sacrifice.   So that idea got placed on an even further back shelf.

Now here we are with four boys.  Wyatt's in 6th grade.  Edison's in 4th. Charlie's in 1st.  And, Joseph is in preschool.  I've learned a few things about myself as a mother.   I've learned that as much as I ADORE my children, I do better when I have a bit of a break from them during the day.  I don't think I could efficiently & effectively carry out the role of both mom & teacher.

I have some friends who DO fulfill both roles & SHINE.  Some have decided to homeschool because their children have special learning needs & they have found they are better able to meet those needs in their own home.  Others just have such a gift for making the home a place of enrichment & incredible learning.  I admire each of my home-schooling friends immensely!  I also know that I just don't have the same gifting.

And the thing is, we LOVE our elementary school.  And, we LOVE our district.  We know we've got a fabulous situation that most parents would love to have.  Our school has a true sense of community.  The teachers, staff, & parents all work together closely and truly have the children's best interests at heart.  We have many Christian teachers at our school.  Our principal is a Christian.  And, there are many Christian community members on our school board.

For us, there's really no reason to leave.  In fact, we've considered purchasing a different home some time in the future.  But, the fact is, we really want to stay in our district & at our school.

And, our school has pulled together through some very difficult times...some very tragic times.

A young boy named Jaden in the 5th grade is battling cancer.  Our school has been involved in fundraising for him.  And, tshirts were given to each child at the school that show support for him.  On a school-level & district-wide they continue to encourage and support Jaden.

And, even more sadly, in December one of our 6th grade teachers was brutally murdered in her own home.  Miss Mathewson was my son's math teacher this year.  The entire school was just completely rocked & shaken by this horrific event.  It was even more devastating to learn that of the two young men arrested in her murder (part of a random home invasion) one was 24 and one was only 16.

But, I want to tell you that our school amazed me even more during this time.  Even though the teachers & staff themselves were absolutely devastated, they put the children of the school first and foremeost.  They did everything possible to offer counseling & guidance through the maze of emotions.  They protected our children from the media firestorm.

And, parents pulled together to show our support for the school.  Meals were brought in for teachers.  Cards, letters, emails came from far and wide.  We all came together as a family.  And, while the loss of Miss Mathewson wounded us all deeply, as a school and as a community we all came out stronger.

I never in a million years would have guessed something like this would have happened at our school, to one of my son's own teachers.  This is not the kind of circumstance anyone ever wants to experience.  But, it solidified in my mind that we were where we belonged.  Our children were in excellent hands.  And, I trust our school & our district completely.

And, going back to the comment I made to the admissions director about Christian families shining their light in the public school....I hope that our family is able to do that.  I hope that our children bless those around them with kindness and the love of Jesus.  I hope that as parents we do the same.

So, what are some things that have gone into your schooling decisions for your children?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Vera Catherine....A Letter From 1946

I've mentioned before that one of the reasons I love auctions so much is that you never know what you'll find.  And, sometimes you get a snapshot of a time in history and the lives of the people who lived in that time.  Today I bought a box lot of vintage paper goods.  In that box was a typed letter from 1946.  It appears to be a friend writing a friend in another part of the country.  I love that you can see glimpses of what it was like to live in that time, but that you can also see similarities to how we all think and feel no matter what time we live in.

Dear Vera Catherine,

I was sitting here letting my thoughts roam and I suddenly remembered I haen't heard from you for some time.  I can't remember if I owed you a letter or not but since I have some extra time I thought I would write you.

Well, Les, two more days and my career as a stenographer is over.  Then I shall become a housewife.  I believe it will take me much longer to become a good housewife than it did to become a steno.  I am looking forward to it very much tho and have a million and one things planned to do.  I have started some embroidery work that I want to finish and also start a layette for the baby.

Guess I told you that David and I shall be parents sometime in November.  We are quite thrilled abou the whole things and only wish tomorrow was November.  The poor baby doesn't know what a future it has ahead having me for a mother.  It scares me just to think of it.  Guess I'll have to get over that right quick, don't you think?  I want a boy, naturally, and David wants a girl.  We haven't thought too much about names but I have picked David Lowell for a boy and Ann Elaine for a girl.

Esther keeps me informed about Cheryl Kay and I never heard anyone talk so proudly of their baby as they do.  Am so glad all is going well with them.  Martha wrote and told me all about her little girl too.  I'm glad it was a girl as that makes her a nice family now.

As yet we are still sharing an apartment but hope to have something soon.  I would like to get a place and get settled before the time comes when I can't do much.  We may hear something yet this week on the apt. downstairs.  The elderly couple living there now have inherited a home and as soon as they can get into it we have their apt.  They had to serve a 9 mos. notice to the people intheir house and that will be up by the end of Sept.  They offered them a $100 bonus to move sooner.  But even a hundred dollars doesn't help find a place to live now.  We are fortunate to have such a nice place to share.

The weather here has been quite hot but I don't think I will mind it much when I stay home and can dress accordingly.  Now I have to wear hose and all that goes with it.  The nights are rather cool and we have two windows in our room which is a great help.

David has been doing some painting in the apt. for Kay and it sure looks good.  He repainted the kitchen table white and we put Mexican decals on the corners and now he is going to paint all the cupboards and woodwork and we will decorate the rest of the kitchen.  I like it so well I want him to get me a table to paint for my kitchen then we are going to buy chrome chairs to go with it.  We have a lot of ideas if we ever get a place to put them to work.  I am getting a blond oak dinette set which is the same wood as my bedroom and then we are getting two small corner cupboards for the one end of the room which he will paint white and my buffet will be a small chest of drawers with extension shelves on either side also painted white.  I'm getting my sister's portable sewing machine and shall attempt to cover the dinette chairs and make draperies out of the same material.  Sounds like a lot of work but we are anxious to get started.

I just finished a short letter to Louise Sembower.  It was a 'must' as they sent me an Easter greeting and I never acknoweldged it.  I don't know what to write to her but after she had the shower and all for me I almost had to do it.  I just wonder if they found a place to live yet by themselves.

It seems like I have been doing a lot of talking about us but am interested in what you are doing now.  I hope you are taking it easy since school closed.  What are you going tot do for a vacation?  David and I spent 4 days in Texas visiting some friends we met at Camp and sure had a grand time but it was far too short a time.  We went over Decoration Day and the weekend.  Had pullman both ways which was the only way the doctor would let me travel.  We won't get home this fall as we had once planned but will have something nice to bring with us next spring.  I don't know if any of our families will get to come out or not.  David's mother and dad would rather wait until we get a place of our own so they can make a real visit and in a way that would suit me better also.  Mother would like to be with me before and after the baby comes but I don't know if she can make it or not.  David's sister will be in school and she will almost have to be there.  I'm really not worried about it at all right now but suppose I will be when the time comes.

Irene and Hilton, this one couple that we go with a lot, have found and apt. and so Irene is quitting her job also.  We plan on seeing a lot of each other as our apartments are within walking distance.  They are almost as thrilled about the baby as we are.  Then David works with a nice fellow his age and he and his wife have been up to the apt.  She doesn't work either and expects to spend a lot of time at our apts as she has only a sleeeping room to stay in.  I want to have the four of them in for dinner some evening when I quit work.

On June 16th David and I joined the First Presbyterian Church here in K.C.  We like the church very much and it is quite active.  Our Sunday School class is a mixed group of people our age and we had a picnic last night and 39 turned out.  David and I and Irene and Hilton are in charge of the August social for our class.  The young people also have a bowling league of 6 teams and David bowls with them.  I was going but then had to drop out.  Our minister is a very good bowler.

I quit at 3:00 today and am going home and do my ironing.  It makes me feel good to think this is the last week I'll have to go home and do the ironing after work.

Write when you can and let me know how things are with you.


Friday, March 20, 2015

So What Kinds of Things Do I Buy At Auction

For those of you who aren't connected with me on Facebook, my post from a couple days ago describing my love of buying & selling vintage items, may have been news to you.  For those who see me all the time on Facebook, you might find today's post boring & repetetive.  But, for the rest of you.....

I showed you where I go to find my treasures to re-sell.  But, I haven't shown you any of my treasures.  So, what kinds of things do I find at auction?  I can't even BEGIN to tell you.  It's everything and anything!

Sometimes it's beaten up, ready for the curb furniture.  Sometimes it's a diamond in the rough furniture piece just needing a little refresher.  I find glassware, picture frames, vintage board games, boxes of miscellany, artwork, and old army first aid kits.  I've found handwritten diaries & old photos of people whose lives have long since passed.  I've found vintage jewelry, old bottles, crates, & odd things that I had to research to discover how they were once used.

It's a treasure hunt!  It's always a learning experience.  And, it's so much fun.  I love it!

Here are some of my favorite, more recent finds....

You just never know what you'll find!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The End of the Day

Sometimes I come to the end of a day feeling defeated & exhausted & I say "Ugh. That is a day I don't want to repeat." Other times I come to the end of a day and say, "That was a pretty good day."
Today was a pretty good day.
But, the thinker in me can't leave it at that. Because, when I really think about it, I SHOULD want to repeat those 'stinky' days too. Every single day. Every single breath...even the ones that cause us to labor and sigh and strain & strive...are amazing.
Can I remember that?

When A Hobby Becomes More

I've talked on here a little bit about how in the last couple years I've gotten into buying & selling vintage items.  I do most of my selling on a Facebook group that I started & some other similar Facebook groups.  Plus, I have a group called Vintage Revival Market that sprung up from that Facebook group where we do Vintage Sales events 2-3 times a year.

Our Vintage Sales typically bring in about 45 vendors & hundreds of customers.  We also have a food stand & a raffle with donated items.  All proceeds from the food & raffle go to a local ministry, House of His Creation.   And, since the church where we hold the event donates the use of their space we are also able to give the entire proceeds from vendor registration fees to House of His Creation.   We also had one sale that we did last summer to benefit the adoption fund of my cousin & his wife....who are now proud parents of a beautiful girl!

I guess I started getting into this whole field because I love vintage, it was fun, and it also brought in a little supplemental income for our family.  Now that we've expanded a bit & hold these vintage sale fundraiser events, I've been toying with the idea of whether or not I should turn it into an official non-profit business.  However, while I have creative ideas & vision, I just do not have much in the way of business sense.  So, that's definitely on the back burner.

Anyway, our next sale is coming up April 11.  And, I need some more inventory for my own personal stand.  Yes, I'm there as a vendor and as a coordinator.  I'm not sure how long I'll be able to continue doing that.  At our sale last fall I was rarely at my own stand because I was helping in other areas & making sure everything was running smoothly.

Every Tuesday there is an auction about 5 minutes from my house.  This is where I typically go to get my inventory.  Sometimes I can get awesome deals with room for a fabulous profit margin.  Other times things are way out of my price range.   While I don't go every week, I'm there often enough that I'm definitely in my comfort zone when I'm there.

Here are some pictures from this week.  I wish I had gotten a few more because this doesn't even begin to show the scale of this auction.  During the day, there are three different auctioneers going at once.  One in the front outside.  One in the back outside.  And, one inside.  Then, there's an evening auction inside for furniture.

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