Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lessons from the cat

Our oldest moved out two weeks ago but left behind her furniture and cat.. The idea is to come back for it all just as soon as things are arranged...

At first we were not keenly thrilled with the idea of the cat, as there had been some challenges with his training and I'm not a fan of indoor animal cleanup.. however, the cat almost immediately responded when left with us, and is doing excellent.

The lessons I'm learning from the cat are varied, but today I'm thinking of one thing in particular. Cats love napping. And generally their favorite place to nap is on someones lap (or next to it.) Every morning I get up and the cat starts to follow me around, which is rather neat and makes me feel special, but it only occurred to me this morning what the real deal is.

He is waiting for me to sit down so he can sit with me. 

It took me two weeks to slow down enough to evaluate and be honest about the truth.

Sitting down is not something I'm good at. In honestly, I'm usually a flutter of activity that doesn't stop until I lay down at the end of the day. Of course I sit at my desk at work, and that is where I spend much of my day, but at home I don't pause. In the world I don't pause.

So whats the solution?
I certainly cannot and will not guilt myself or shame myself. This is the year to ban negative self talk from my mind. Rather than saying "I should," I simply need to be honest with myself and remind myself of what I find joy in.

Ah, joy and happiness. Complex things we rush for, strive for, but perhaps don't always identify.

I find joy in the bible, in prayer, in singing, in walking with my dog, in being with my girls doing something they love, in reading a good book, in cooking a meal, in talking with friends over a meal. I find joy in my work and in the public sphere when I'm solving problems and helping people..and I am finding that I enjoy being with Jake when we are doing life together - walking together, watching the same show, or eating at the same place/time.

Here's to more Rurouni Kenshin with Emily, driving with Sarah with the radio on, and meals with Jake. Here's to an honest look at the calendar to find time to read some of these great books I'm piling up (currently reading Start With Why and its pretty dang good.) Here's a quote in line with this "Every instruction we give, every course of action we set, every result we desire, starts with the same thing: a decision." And of course, here's to spring, which brings more time for walking outdoors and opportunities to pause with friends over a beverage or a meal.

The cat, his name is Winston by the way, finds joy in being with us. He love to nap, to watch, and to be a moderate pest. He is inquisitive, even though he isn't a kitten, and he has certainly won us all over. He will be missed when she comes to collect him, but I hope the lessons we are all learning from our time with him will remain with us. Thank you to my daughter for the opportunity!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

39th year

This is my 39th year.

I haven't yet had my birthday, but I'm living like I have.

I remember so many people of long ago, as they were approaching 40. Forty... It seemed like an impossible number at 10, and today, at 38.6 it still seems impossible.

I told a friend today that I only feel 30. 

And so it goes..

The three decided not to halt time and are growing up. The eldest has a moving out date all arranged... all that has to happen is the date to appear. The middle has her college sights set and is doing much .. and the youngest, she is determined to shine, as she has ever since birth...

My best friend, my beautiful dog Asia, is geriatric. Someday she will not be my walking partner, and I will weep for a time...

The king and I, we are talking of "when the girls are gone" and "the next 30 years" as if we have any more clue now than we did at 19, when this all began.

I'm hopeful for their lifeskills, praying daily for their daily... longing for jesus as I know this crazy world isn't getting any more sane.

I think about that 10 year old looking at those old people like they are crazy. I know the truth, that they are crazy, and yet they keep on, because at 40 you don't care about the world like you did at 10.

So how am I living like I'm 39? Great question. I'm doing a terrain race - I'm hiking the South Sister - I've started seeing a naturopath and I'm taking better care of my health -  and I'm going to spend a weekend or two in silent retreat this year on the encouragement of dear friend.

I'm almost at the point where I can write...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Its been a long time......

It's been such a long time since I've been here. I am working on a project for myself, writing the skeleton of my book.

12 days post op, need a haircut!
And I'm recovering from surgery. I have a healing scar on my neck as a result of a two level ADR - I have two Mobi-C artificial discs now, between C5/6 an C6/7. I'm a new woman!

Where to begin?

In my recent mental ramblings I've been pondering the concept of identity. Nothing new for me, but I'm learning more and more how vital our identity is to our faith, maturity, and relationships. The hinge points for maturity are identity and truth - Who I believe myself to be dictates how I engage the world, and the truth I believe sets my moral compass.

For me, I can recall a distinct point in my life when I started to adopt the truths I had been learning and hearing and considering for so long. I was in my mid/late 20's, and I was essentially crashing into adulthood - yes, late, considering Jake and I were parents long before this time.

For a while I considered myself to be an adult but in reality acted like an overgrown teenager. I had issues from my life, acted like a victim at times, my wants and pleasures were self focused for the most part, and I as often people pleasing and looking for validation or approval. Not that I was able to articulate all that, but it is what was going on.

One day I realized this. This had a lot to do with some great friends but I woke up and realized that I didn't really have a healthy frame of mind. I needed help!

Between good friends, good counselors, the bible, other books, and my journal - I began to identify areas where I could see room for improvement. Its been quite a journey but I'm now about 10 years in and I'm so glad!

Identity. Who you believe yourself to be will shape your actions, goals, and motivations. For example. When my youngest was 1-1/2, I went to the doctor and she told me that I weighed 235 pounds. Still. In my mind I knew I wasn't a healthy weight, and I probably knew what that weight was, and I didn't really like it, but I didn't think I could do anything about it. I thought I was either going to suddenly lose weight, like so many women I know after babies, or I was just going to be like this forever. It took a doctor pointing it out to me to help me see that I wasn't on a good track. I had to believe that I could actually make the changes necessary to lose the weight and find health. My goal? To be a great mom with energy for grandkids someday. Nothing ridiculous. My secondary goal? To accept the fact that I have a genetic disposition and I wanted to turn that tide. SO. Not really numbers but truths, and I then embarked on a journey.

I heard the truth, believed I could do something, and began to fill my mind with new information.
It took determination, a consistent stream of truth to replace the wants in my head, and a goal.

For all out there working on this and possibly inspired, here is my grand method. One, eat small meals periodically, don't starve/binge as that kills your metabolism and your mood.  Two, cut out all fast food, processed foods, liquid calories, pizza and ice cream (my weaknesses!) Three, move a little (or just a little more). For me I chose to get an exercise bike. I had kids and couldn't leave them. But I was able to go in my room for 20 minutes when Jake was home to ride the bike. When I was able, I moved on to a real bike and went out for a ride around the block. Didn't cost much, and since we didn't have much, it was a win! Probably saved money by not eating junk too :)

Today I'm consistently about 150. Not the BMI weight of my height, but close enough. I have energy, well, when I'm not recovering from surgery! I mostly walk my dog and keep tabs on my eating. Its a pretty simple method! I still have to keep my mind fed with truth, because I really like food, and I don't think food is the issue, my self control is.

Truth & Identity. They go hand in hand, really. Since I believe that I was created by God, and he loves me, I can believe that I am His and He has a good plan for me. I am able to keep living and growing because I love Him and believe this, because it is true! He created me, loves me, has a plan for me, and it is GOOD. If I stop feeding my mind the truth, though, I become like my heavier self, I lose self control and focus, my wants overcome me, and I feel sick later.

Who do you believe you are?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Living Life Together

In a recent conversation I was reminded that our girls are pretty awesome! It's encouraging to me to see how they've matured into their own right and become women young women that other people see and respect. Another woman made a comment in hopes that her girls could spend time with my girls, to perhaps allow them to have some effect on them. I think about raising my girls often and so I gave her my little bits of wisdom... so I thought I'd share with you.

Of note, the primary thing that we've done with the girls which was possibly unique (to our culture) is  basically what I would call living life together.  If we are involved in something like serving or visiting somewhere or helping somebody we bring our girls with us. Our girls are part of the family so they're part of what we're doing.  I know a lot of people who are in ministry whose ministry is separate from their children,… I don't quite know if I could've done that. I didn't do it and I and I never wanted to... In fact, I was confronted at one point by the fact that the kids were working with me in a ministry that I was doing as their presence was a potential distraction for someone else. So rather than find a sitter or some other resource for them I simply stopped participating in that ministry. Jake does things independently of us, and I will go to meetings by myself, but in those ways that it is possible, we serve together as a family.

Having a brother in prison, it would be very easy to keep the girls sheltered from that world, but we chose not to; they have been in maximum security settings right along with me. It would have been easy not to follow the Lord into short term missions, especially to third world countries, but we live in peace not fear, and so we have all gone. Living in a small town, it would be easy to shelter the kids from a lot of things. But, as I've mentioned in years past, we chose to intentionally visit the city of Portland so that they could learn such things as "how to cross a street" and "how to walk on a sidewalk" and "how not to be a rude jerk when you see someone different than yourself." We've gone to different churches, visited different types of people, and heard different stories - all the while living life together.

There's a passage in the Old Testament that I've kept in mind; I should probably just tattoo it on myself because I love it so much and I'm looking forward to a new tattoo:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:4-99

I've always loved this passage because it is exactly how Jesus taught his disciples; he had them with him and did ministry with them, he taught them as they went and he shared with them as they went. He didn't just speak. In the living of life he taught them the way to live. It's a beautiful picture of the family!

(this passage is actually what prompted the idea for my tattoo on my wrist as a reminder not to concern myself with the things of this world but rather with pursuing the Lord -- Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26)

I'm a repetitive being, but as I look at my girls preparing for adulthood, I am really thankful that I was able to live life with them fully.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Haiti - Final Countdown!

The first half of our team leaves today, and Rachel and I leave in just seven short days! Time has just flown by yet we are truly feeling prepared and at peace to go :)

Thanks to the Lord for his incredible provision! At this time we are over half funded, and Rachel has a couple prepaid babysitting jobs to do when she is back. We were able to get our immunizations and anti-malaria prescriptions last weekend, thanks to a great local nurse who provides affordable missions travel vaccines at the Good News Clinic in Rockwood.

The team has a blog! I'm the blogger while we are in Jacmel, but there will be updates from the team heading to Carrefour as well, if you are curious:

Ways to pray NOW:
Rachel is wrapping up drivers ed in the days to come. She has to take her finals early due to our trip, so please keep her in your prayers Wednesday and Thursday evening from 5-8pm. (her sister Emily will be doing the presentation portion of their final alone on Monday the 17th, and as long as that goes well, and Rachel passes her other finals, she will have passed drives ed!) Rachel also has classes to prepare to miss the week we are out, which  means the pressure really is on her!

I have found the Lord to be quite a teacher to me in these past weeks; learning much about dependence and trust in Him through car troubles and physical challenges. I am suffering from increased numbness in my right arm due to disc compression in my neck - it had been almost completely alleviated through massage/pt/chiro, but has returned with a vengeance. I saw a neurosurgeon and we are awaiting a new MRI to see what we are dealing with. I have confidence that this will not cause any issues in Haiti; it seems to be an issue primarily when sitting (at a desk or in my car) and in Haiti we will be doing everything but sit! You can pray that Providence (my insurance provider) will have mercy and grant me a second MRI this year! Other than that, I'm able to adjust myself as needed to keep the muscle spasms at bay, and I'm practicing the things I've learned through physical therapy. Work is going well and I believe everything will be just fine in my absence. At home, the rest of our family is prepared to take care of things (it does help to have three teenagers and a willing husband, along with a terrific extended family and friends!) My brother (Nick) is at peace about our trip (he is an inmate at CRCI) and we will be spending time with my mom Ellen this weekend (she turns 60 while we are gone!)

We have some last minute things to pickup and anti-malaria meds to take on Sunday, but otherwise, we are just readying our hearts and minds for the ways the Lord will use us specifically while we are in Haiti. May we be so available to His service home and away,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy birthday Seventeen!

October 15 is the day that changed my name and made me mom. I woke up early this morning, remembering every detail... Walking from our apartment to the car, the fog that was so thick yet broke right up in a clean line at an intersection not far from the hospital, the roses out the window, how much better everything was when Shawna arrived... The pain and the stress, and finally, Rachel was born.
Seventeen now.

Christ follower. Oldest sister.

A senior in high school, majoring in fine art, with a love for children and animals (but not always the parents!) She turned me on to bbc, sixty seconds of science and the vlog brothers, and most recently, Sorted. 

Today is your day girl, let's eat some bratwurst, find a banana cake, and celebrate life! Happy birthday!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hard things

Time to talk about some hard things. Things like anger and bitterness... As I mentioned yesterday, I've had some experiences with people that have left me hesitant and unsure about other people, particularly women. 

I was only able to start making true, in real life, local friends after coming to grips with who God is, who I am, and what my life really is to be lived for. Only after I stopped chasing the approval of the world. 

Being hurt and wronged can make a person hard and unsure... I think that until I was able to release people I was looking to exact revenge somehow. 


That beautiful word. Justice. We use it all the time and usually we use it in contexts that it really does apply to. Things like human trafficking, and hunger, and persecution. 

Sometimes though, we use it out of anger against those that hurt us. And that's where I found myself for a long time. Harboring resentment and bitterness. Wanting things to be my way - my right way. 

Last night I was reading a book that I've been trying to read this year - it's a hard one. Written in 1728 by William Law, "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life" is an interesting and highly blunt perspective on how to live a holy life pursuing Christ. In reading it I found the topic for today... I believe he captures really beautifully the idea of the difference between desiring revenge and letting go of that desire... 

He writes "if religion only restrains the excesses of revenge, but let's the spirit still live within you in lesser instances, your religion may have made your life a little more outwardly decent, but not made you at all happier, or easier in yourself. But if you have once sacrificed all ideas of revenge, in obedience to God,  and are resolved to return good for evil at all times, that you may render yourself more like to God, and fitter for his mercy in the kingdom of love and glory; this is the height of virtue that will make you feel it's happiness."

Here we see again that if we let go of the things that trap us, and bind us, we are truly free to have a more full life - A life available to be used by God and to give him glory.